May 24, 2016
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
1. Have you “heard” these words from THE SERMON? I know you’ve “read” them, but there is a big difference between reading and hearing. Reading bypasses hearing and often leads straight to thinking. Hearing, on the other hand, leads to “seeing.” I’m all for reading and thinking, but I believe hearing and seeing are more essential to what Jesus is after here. The analogy here must be “seen.” Go back through and read THE SERMON aloud or even better, ask someone to read it to you.
2. Are you putting these words of THE SERMON into practice? If you can’t write down an example or two right now then you are probably not. Back to #1– you are probably still thinking about it. THE SERMON is a visionary life. Hear. See. Do. Get a drink of water. Repeat.
3. Are you being mastered by THE SERMON as the Wisdom of God or are you working to master it at the level of knowledge. The Christian faith is not a “knowledge” enterprise, but a Wisdom tradition. The Word of God aims not at information but transformation. The educational approaches most of us have been formed by train us to develop mastery over a subject. The approach to Scripture must be precisely the opposite. We must learn to be mastered by this text.
4. How can you know the answer to #3? There are only two kinds of people in life: those who are in the midst of a difficult struggle or those about to enter into a difficult struggle. Ask yourself this question: What is the effect of the storms recently or presently brewing in my life? Is your life imploding underneath you or are you standing firm in the midst of the storm? Following Jesus does not insulate you from the storms of life, but he does enable you to stand firm through them. And the great part? If your life is in shambles, you are very near to the Kingdom. Go back to v.3: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
As has been my practice along the way in this journey through THE SERMON, I’ll give Wesley the last word. He finishes all of his preaching on THE SERMON with this vision of what it looks like when a person builds their house on the rock.
In a word: let thy religion be the religion of the heart. Let it lie deep in your inmost soul. Be thou little, and base, and mean, and vile (beyond what words can express) in thy own eyes; amazed and humbled to the dust by the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. . . Let your soul be filled with mildness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering towards all men; at the same time that all which is in you is athirst for God, the living God; longing to awake up after his likeness, and to be satisfied with it! Be thou a lover of God and of all mankind! In this spirit do and suffer all things! Thus show your faith by your works; thus “do the will of thy Father which is in heaven!” And, as sure as you now walk with God on earth, you shall also reign with him in glory!
Hear. See. Do. Get a drink of water. Repeat.
In the final analysis only four little words determine the difference between a person whose house survives the storms and one whose house comes crashing down. Go back to the text and see if you can spot them.
1. What do you make of this contrast between reading and thinking on the one hand and hearing and seeing on the other?
2. Are you approaching Scripture more as knowledge to be mastered or as wisdom to be mastered by? See the difference?
3. Crashing and crushing storms are an inevitability in life– for those who follow Jesus and for those who don’t. Do you see the difference that comes from building your house on the rock solid words of his teaching? What difference will that make going forward?
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The four words: “puts them into practice.” ;0)