With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19v26)
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. 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. 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. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matthew 7v23-27)
The story of the wise and foolish builder is the conclusion to all that Jesus teaches through the sermon on the mount. We are given the truth on which to build our life and we are then given the choice of putting it into practice or not. The story leaves a clear ending, on one hand, we build on a solid foundation of truth and are able to face the storms of life. On the other hand, we can hear this word and choose instead to build on the shaky foundation of all that the world has to offer. A foundation that easily crumbles under the storms of life because everything in this world is temporary and not steadfast. I want to take time to highlight the importance of the foundation we are choosing to build upon. How many of us can sell ourselves short because we have become content with where we are? Forgetting that we do not know what is around the corner and how it can easily tear away everything that we put our trust in. I hope that we will be challenged and encouraged to build our foundation on the obedience of God’s word and to continue in obedience. Jesus does not leave us guessing, what it means to live out God’s word. We are given the truth and we have to make the effort to truly implement it in every season and area of our life.
What do we learn from the sermon on the mount? (Brief overview)
- The beatitudes highlights humility, service, suffering, and care.
- While these characteristics may not lead to much glory, here on earth.
- It will result in blessings in the Kingdom of God.
- Highlights what God honours and cares for in people
- Sermon on the mount/10 Commandments (Exodus 20)
- Not come to abolish the law and this is what it means to live it out in your life.
- Salt and light- the purpose and intention for which we have been created
- Living out the 10 commandments, explained in a way that is plainly understood.
- Taught to have a deeper connection, in the way that Jesus teaches us to pray. Relationship, Father- Loving and paternal care.
- Being mindful of what we are choosing to pursue as our treasure. Is it only temporary or are we willing to focus on that which is eternal?
- Intentions of our hearts- judgment, the path we take, what we long for, forgiveness
- Seeking the Kingdom over all our worries and concerns
- True and false disciples, not using Jesus for our glory. Our work comes from our relationship with him.
Building our life on a solid foundation means knowing who we are living for and who we have been made to be. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6v33). By living in accordance with the teachings found in the sermon on the mount it will ultimately lead you away from serving yourself and allow you to serve God and others. From the beginning of the sermon, we are told who we are, where our identity lies.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5v13-16).
The Lord never leaves us guessing about our identity in him, we do not have to achieve amazing feats to be given purpose in our Father’s eyes. Our Father already gives us purpose and enables us to know how we live that out. We are called to be different but if we choose to be swamped by the ways of the world, we let what we have been blessed to have come to nothing. Each day we need to be surrendering and making the sacrifices that enable us to keep on serving the Lord. To allow the Lord to pour into us. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3v22-23)
Secondly, make the sacrifices now. Throughout the sermon on the mount we see through the teachings, that we have to choose. We cannot pursue worldly ways and God at the same time. It does not work because we cannot serve both well and we normally become more inclined to follow the worldly ways because it looks easier and more satisfying.
For the kingdom, sacrifice needs to be made here on earth. The sacrifice of others is highlighted through the beatitudes, those who are not often seen or in any way praised by the world. These are the people who through their life choose to pursue God and serve others.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. ( Matthew 5v6-7)
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5v10)
The beatitudes highlight what God honours and cares for in people, a life lived in humility and service which leads to a closer and deeper walk with Jesus. A foundation, that even though there is pain here there is so much joy to come
Secondly, cutting off what is leading us to sin. In the teaching on adultery, Jesus teaches it is better to gouge out an eye or cut off a hand. We need to be cutting off anything that we are loving more and selling ourselves to, which is taking us away from God.
What we treasure here on earth, we cannot take with us when we die. If we choose to love the temporary things of the world more than God, we will be left with nothing. It leaves us on a shaky foundation, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. (Matthew 6v19)
It is easy to lose control of everything when we allow our hope to be placed in our riches here on earth.
Further to letting go of control comes in letting go of worry. This does not mean that there will not be things that are worrying about our life, but we must not let worry be the master of our life. The MSG version puts it beautifully, Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Matthew 6v34)
Worry comes down to us attempting to have control of many things which we cannot control. It keeps us imprisoned in this state of doubt/anxiousness and stops us from seeing what is going on right in front of us. It stops us from allowing and seeing how God can and is already moving in that area.
This is why Jesus instructed us above all else, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6v33). Seek God above all else, when our trust is fully put in Him then we know that through the good and bad He can meet our needs. He will be with us every step of the way. We have to make our choice now which gate we are going to go through and the path we follow. Jesus instructs us to enter through the narrow gate, for it will lead to life. However, the broad gate is easier for us all because it is wider and the path easier. Ultimately it will lead to death. We are given the choice are we willing to walk the path less trodden?
Thirdly, the intentions of our heart matters. Jesus challenges our pride, exaltation, and authority over others. To even hold anger against a brother or a sister is accountable for judgment, And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. For anger that is harboured in the heart often leads to sin through the act of murder or death via our thoughts to a relationship.
This is furthered in the conversation on forgiveness. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6v14-15). The importance of this is reiterated through ‘The Parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18v21-34). The servant was saved from unpayable debt to his master, only to demand a small debt from a fellow servant. Due to the fellow servant not being able to pay it, he is thrown into prison. However, the master finds out what his servant has done and it leads to the servant receiving the punishment he was initially saved from. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother and sister from your heart. (Matthew 18v35)
Forgiveness is a tough subject and we all will have to deal with it within our lives. In whatever we may encounter we need to remember that through every hurt and injustice, we are the first servant within the parable we have been forgiven an unpayable debt. We are free and we live in God’s good grace. Honestly, there will be some people who we will find so hard to forgive but do it for yourself.
‘To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.’ C.S. Lewis
The work that we do in the name of Jesus, should always be for God’s glory. For if the intention of our heart is using the name of Jesus to give us fame and glory, that is a shaky foundation for you are doing it in your own strength. It is not work, that has come from a relationship with Jesus and it results in your heart being revealed. Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.’
When our intentions are not in line with what Jesus is asking of us. When we are doing life to live for our glory and recognition. We build on a shaky foundation of worldly success. Which can so quickly topple through any financial crisis or job loss.
When our intentions are in line with the word of God, beautiful things will grow and flourish on a solid foundation. Even when storms come it may make us shake a bit, but it will not destroy us. It takes sacrifice, it takes knowing our identity and who we are choosing to follow, and it is about knowing the intentions of our hearts.
Lastly building on a solid foundation, enables us to enjoy freedom. It leads us to a closer relationship with God, Our Father. Jesus teaches us how to pray with the Lord’s prayer, beginning with ‘Our Father’ shows the love and care that God has always had. Through the blood of Jesus, the way was made for us to have a close connection with God and there is nothing that can separate us again.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.( Romans 8v38-39)
Knowing that you do not have to live in the grip of worry and help other people to be able to know that freedom. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6v32). Knowing that your prayers do not go unheard, you pray to a God who can meet every need. You do not have to be ashamed to ask.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. There is such beautiful freedom in our relationship with God.
So in everything do to others what you would have them do to you for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7v12)
What does it mean to build our life on a solid foundation?
It means that we know who our Lord is and who we are choosing to serve and live our life for. It leads us to not be ignorant of the word of God. Allowing the word of God to permeate every bit of us and transform us into the people who He has called us to be. As we step into living out God’s word in every area of our life, it enables us to face the storms of life. Although they may be terrible storms, they may leave bits of damage along the way they will not overcome us. The word of God is a strong foundation, that enables us to apply it to all areas of our life. There is no area of our life that God is not afraid to step into and guide us through. We continuously make the choice of what we will choose to pursue and whose advice we will let guide us. Let us not pretend that is easy to live completely by the word of God for it seems to contradict a lot of what society tells us should be our concerns and what it glorifies. However, it is truly the only solid foundation that we can build on. For everything else is temporary and crumbling.
This is a blog that is from an outline of a sermon that I shared last month. It was a topic in which I needed to minister to my heart. In a time where everything has felt so shaky and many things have crumbled. May we all trust in the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. May we trust in a God who is steadfast and true in every situation we go through. This may be a message we need to constantly remind ourselves of, but may we not sell ourselves short to the ways of this world just for a moment of gratification.
I am going to link two sermons I listened to yesterday which have ministered into my heart. If you have time, I would highly recommend them.
Have a blessed week. May we keep the faith and keep supporting one another. God bless, love Victoria.