Formations lesson for June 15: Building a Firm Foundation
May 30 2003 by Tommy Bratton , Matthew 7:24-29

Formations lesson for June 15: Building a Firm Foundation | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Formations lesson for June 15: Building a Firm Foundation

By Tommy Bratton Matthew 7:24-29

The great Christian thinker C.S. Lewis once wrote that when a person loses control and lashes out in anger, they are tempted to justify themselves by saying, "That is so unlike me. If I had not been provoked, I would have never said such a horrible thing. That circumstance just got the better of me!" However, Lewis believed we should look within rather than blaming the forces that rage against us. For most of us, situations do not suddenly transform us into a different person; rather they expose our true character.

Wise and foolish builders

Our text comes at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the longest discourse and most famous of Jesus' teachings. As He comes to the conclusion of His teaching, Jesus challenges His hearers to take His teachings to heart and to live them out.

Eugene Peterson's Bible translation, The Message, says it this way: "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on."

Jesus is speaking to two types of people who claim to be His followers. Both groups know the teachings of Jesus. On the surface, it would be nearly impossible to tell the two types apart. If they were in our church, they may even share the same pew.

Jesus tells them a parable. The wise builder built his house on a rock foundation, the foolish builder on the sand. In outward appearance, both houses appeared solid. The parable, however, does not speak to the construction but to the foundation. Appearances can be deceiving.

When the storms come

When storms come, and they eventually come, the foundation's strength is tested. By speaking through a parable, Jesus can be vague on the nature of the storms to be faced. As hearers, we can insert the difficult situations that may impact us - family problems, job stresses, death, illness, persecution, worry. The point is not the nature of the storm but the ability to remain strong in the midst of whatever we face. According to Jesus' metaphor, the only way to stand firm is to build on a strong foundation, i.e. acting on the words of Jesus.

Storms do not discriminate. What makes the builders wise and foolish has nothing to do with the storms. The house of the wise builder is not spared from the wind and rain any more that the house built on the sand. Many Christians hope that following Christ will prevent difficulties from coming along. Yet we cannot prevent the storms of life; we can only rely on the strength of a solid foundation to help us endure.

Living the message

The difference between the wise and foolish builders is one of action. Both are in the crowd of followers listening to the words of Jesus, but only the wise act on them. The challenge of these words of Jesus is for us to be doers, not merely hearers who only deceive ourselves (James 1:22).

After hearing the words of Jesus, the crowd was amazed because, as the scripture tells us, "He taught them as one having authority" (Matt. 7:29). I think the authority came from the fact that Jesus was living the message He taught. When Jesus proclaimed, "Blessed are the poor," it became a reality. When Jesus taught, "You have heard it said ... But I say to you ... ", His power to proclaim the fulfillment of God's law was accepted as authentic. Jesus had authority because His words of love and grace paralleled the way He lived His life.

Is your life grounded in the study of scripture? Do you love as Christ taught? When storms come, what is revealed in your character?

May we stand on Christ, the solid rock. All other ground is sinking sand.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tommy Bratton , Matthew 7:24-29 | with 0 comments
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