Build on the Rock

Sermon delivered May 18, 1996

by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road SDA Church, McDonald, TN

Storms are coming. Twisters. Floods. Heavy Rain. No one in this world is exempt from them. The storms of life are hard to deal with. We try to cope with disappointments, sickness, struggles, and heartaches. Perhaps you have about reached the point where you are ready to give it all up. You trained your children the best you knew how and now they are fast slipping away to the world. You smell tobacco on your sons clothing. Your 14 year old daughter insists that Jesus did not teach against pierced noses! Your parenthood seems to be on unstable sand. Where did you go wrong?

Or-- you faithfully returned your tithe and love God and yet you face bills that you cannot find money to pay. Suddenly you are facing financial disaster. What will happen? Your solid foundation seems to be made of shifting sand.

Or-- You have a good Christian marriage. But it seems that your husband has been quiet the last few weeks, and you never dreamed that he was having an affair. Now your marriage is headed for the sandbar of divorce.

If you are looking for answers to the problems you face then let us go to one of the most famous stories in the Bible for help. It is a story about Foundations. PSALM 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Jesus famous story is in Matthew seven.
Let's look at the conclusion of Christ's most famous sermon given on the
hillside and found in:
MATTHEW 7:24-27  Wise man built on Rock.
                 Foolish man built on the sand.
                 The storm blew his sand castle away!
Two men went out to build a house. This story is quite similar to the nursery tale of the three little pigs and the wolf who came and huffed and puffed to blow the house down. I am not a pig and I have never seen a wolf out in my yard blowing at my bricks. But Jesus story strikes home to me.

Here in the Bible Jesus tells of two different house builders. Both built in the same location because they were both hit by the same storm at the same time. So they had to be neighbors. Both houses probably looked similar. Both lasted until the first storm. Then the difference between them was quick to see. One stood fast while the other was reduced to a pile of rubble.

Can you just see two men out on the beach. The man building on the sand makes a quick showing. His walls go up fast. The other man is sweating in his rock quarry. Chiseling and chipping away to anchor his house on the solid rock. The Greek word here does not mean gravel, but a massive outcropping of solid bedrock.

The Sand Man finished his home and sat in the shade on his front porch drinking cool lemonade watching his neighbor sweat it out on the hot dusty rock. He may have scoffed like they did in Noahs day when it took Noah 120 years to build the Ark. "How are you doing, SLOW POKE?"

Finally both houses were finished. For several months or even years they seemed to be on a par. But testing Storms always come. The Rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the sand crashed down.

You see two marriages. Both seem to be happy. But one couple don't pray together or read the Bible. Jesus is not central. When the storm comes that marriage fails so quickly.

If you are shopping for a life partner, build your house on the only foundation that will last...Jesus Christ. Wise Men build on the rock. That rock is Jesus Christ. All other material is sinking sand. Life out there on the beach might be more fun, but it will not last. Sin has great pleasure for a season.

One day I was in Chicago. They were building a tall sky scraper. The workers were down in a large hole 3-4 stories deep driving steel I-beams into the rock somewhere below. It took many weeks just to lay the foundation. Another time I was on Roatan Island just off Honduras and saw some folk putting up a hut near the beach. Many such huts were there built on poles sticking out of the sand by the water.

The longer you want your building to last and the higher you want it to go the greater the foundation must be. Since we plan to build all the way up there to heaven, we must get DEEP into Jesus Christ the Solid Rock of Ages.

WHY did the Sand Man build where he did?
1-  The easy way.  Avoid toil.  Quicker.  Some still build on the sand. 
Students say:  I will drop out of school and  get a job & get married.
However just think how much better if they stick with the foundation work. 
Education is the foundation of success in employment.  Take time to graduate. 
Make good grades.  To skimp on study is like limiting the concrete in the
footings.  While you are young spend time laying solid foundations of good
prayer habits and Bible study.  

2-  The sand man was short sighted.  In every decision there is a short view
and a long view.  Happy is the person who never barters future good for
present pleasure.  So many are not financially solid when they retire.  If
you would start saving $5 per day at the age of 25 and continue until you are
65 you would have $500,000.  If both husband and wife do it they will be
worth One Million dollars at retirement.  
The Foolish person is always in a hurry. In church work he wants the quick easy job. When the nominating committee calls, he does not want something that will tie down his weekends. Commitment is not on his agenda.

He has little time to dig deep into the word of God to find Truth. He loves spiritual highs but cares little about spiritual Depths. The want of Depth is the want of our modern day. Too little feeding on Jesus causes a tottering faith and a baseless hope. It would be well for each of us to spend a thoughtful hour each day meditating on the life of Jesus.

It is the opposite of the Rock.  The Rock is Jesus Christ.  
To build on the Rock is to build on Jesus Christ.  
To build on the sand is to build on self.
Sand represents   Self will, 
                          Self sufficiency, 
                          Self Righteousness.
THE WISE MAN= anyone who HEARS and DOES God's will.  Matthew 7:24  Hears
my words and Puts them into practice.
The foolish man hears them and does not practice them.
The difference is the doing.  OBEDIENCE!  
Does Jesus mean here that we are required to perform deeds of obedience to acquire MERIT and purchase for ourselves salvation? NO! This obedience comes from a saving daily relationship with Jesus. The good works are the evidence of our faith. Some have more good works than others.

Like a group of men of varying height standing at the foot of Mount Everest, differences of spiritual stature are practically unnoticeable when Christians confront Christ. (J. Gordon)

Matthew 7:20 By their fruits shall you know them. The WISE man finds Jesus Christ the Rock and sinks his anchor into the heart of Jesus. There he grows strong and produces such a crop of good works so as to be astounding. The fruit of his life abounds in faithful obedience to the revealed will of the God he loves.

None of his works save him. They are the evidence that he is saved. The connection to the Rock is the source of the rich fruit produced in his life.

Our works are not perfect faultless deeds. Yet they are sincere and come from genuine desire to please Jesus. And it is our greatest pain when we displease our Master. Just as we only Know Him in part in this life (I Cor 13:12) so we only keep His perfect, holy, Commandments in part. God accounts Jesus perfect life of obedience to our record. We are covered by His flawless righteousness.

The wise man builds his house on the rock, hears the word, and falls in love with Jesus, and so- does all he can to please his Saviour by doing those things that make Jesus happy.

If we wish to be wise we will seek the Rock. To find it requires some
real effort.  Notice LUKE 6:48...........
The wise man DUG DOWN DEEP to find the rock................
Superficial religion is worthless. We must dig deep to find eternal life in Jesus. "Build on the Rock, Christ Jesus. A STORM is arising that will wrench and test the spiritual foundation of every one to the utmost. There you must avoid the sand bed, hunt for the rock, DIG deep, lay your foundation sure. Build with tears and heart felt prayers." - 5T129-130

Everyone of us have been tested and will continue to be tested. Some day our health will break, or our hard earned money will vanish. Or our children will disappoint us. Tragedy will strike. Our shaking time is soon coming. When the earth quakes only those who are fastened to Jesus will stand firm.

The world makes a flimsy foundation.

There is a very primitive tribe living in the SATPURA plateau of India. They have a very unique custom. After an earthquake, the men go about driving peg-like-wooden nails into the ground to make it firm again. You will not be blown away if you are nailed down to the Rock of Ages. Fastened to the heart of Jesus we will not be shaken away.

When you are suddenly notified that your son was just killed in a terrible accident... how will you go on?

When you hear the news that a very dear family member was in the airplane that crashed with no survivors, how do you cope?

When your own daughter is suddenly kicked out of school just before
graduation, how can you face people?   Your friends give you a cold look.  
--Or you are ill and no one visits you.  
--Or you suffer through a divorce and your heart is breaking and no one comes
to comfort you.   When the bottom falls out of life there is only one way you
can still stand.  If you have built on Jesus Christ the Rock of Ages.
Jesus is the only foundation that will stand in the trauma of life. Jesus will not fail you or forsake you. Only Jesus will keep you from being blown over in the sure-to-come storms of life.

I Corinthians 3:11 --- "We must each be careful how we build, because Christ is the ONLY foundation."-- Contemporary English Version (CE)

A young mother was having a bad day. The washing machine broke in the middle of the cycle, the telephone rang off the hook, she had a splitting head ache and the mail carrier brought a bill that she had no idea how she would ever pay. She was at the breaking point. She said: I lifted my one year old into his high chair, and leaned my head against the tray and began to cry. Without a word my son took his pacifier out of his mouth and stuck it in mine! --- Clara Null of Oklahoma City, Sept 1995.

Sometimes God can even use our children to strengthen us when the storms of life get too strong for us to bear.

Always remember something in this story of Jesus about the wise man and the foolish man. The wise man built his house on the Rock and when the storm came IT DID NOT FALL!

Build your life on Jesus, and when the storm of judgment blows you will stand firm.

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