October 27, 2021
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer for our prodigals and for revival. The person of prayer is like the builder who has dug deep and is building upon the rock. Prayer puts faith into practice. It builds into God’s kingdom.
This was the emphasis of Jesus' closing words in His Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 7:24-27). He said:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
In my early childhood, I grew up in the small fishing village of Red Bay in southern Labrador. Sometimes I close my eyes and remember the cawing of seagulls as they spread their wings and soared on the powerful wind currents, the smell of salt water as the waves continually crashed against the shore, and the rocks everywhere, as far as the eye could see.
In some places (not many) the rocks were covered with a skim of moss or soil, but mostly the ground was only rock. Our house was founded on this solid rock. There were winter storms with winds gusting well over one hundred kilometres per hour. It was enough to make our house shake and shudder. The wind blew so hard that each year we had to repaint the windward side because the paint had actually been blown mostly off. But the house stood firm because it had a solid foundation. This is how God wants us to build our lives.
The important lesson that Jesus is teaching His disciples and us from this closing parable is the necessity of laying a good foundation.
It is one thing to hear what Jesus was teaching in these last three chapters, but it is another matter altogether to obey these words. He spoke clearly about our blessings, our pursuits, our testimony, our righteousness, our words, our giving, our praying, our treasures, our heart condition, our judging, our fruit-bearing, our treatment of others, along with much more.
To be truly wise is to not only hear these things but to do them. This is the person building on a rock.
Michael DaSilva (Jr) recently gave an excellent message on this story, emphasizing the topic of discipleship. He spoke about the courage of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who gave his life for the kingdom near the end of World War 2. Bonhoeffer once said, “Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.”
Do we believe? Are we obedient? As we consider the kingdom principles that Jesus taught, are we presently seeking to assimilate these into the fabric of our lives? When faced with sin, with wrong thinking, with behavior that is out of line with God’s kingdom, are we willing to make the necessary changes and adjustments?
Here are questions I ask my own heart: Have I been seeking self-promotion instead of pursuing righteousness? Have I been hypocritical in my giving, praying, and fasting? Have I been critical of other believers instead of encouraging? Have I had an anxious heart instead of a trusting one?
These questions are searching and require a great deal of humility, confession, and repentance on a consistent basis.
This sums up what true faith really is. It was the conclusion of the Apostle James: “So faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). If you see a brother or sister in need, and merely assent to their need, but do nothing to help, your so-called faith is of no value. True faith is living in obedience to what Jesus taught.
The story closes with the onslaught of a huge storm of great winds, torrential rains, and rising floodwaters. The house on the sand fell in total ruin, whereas the house on the rock stood firm.
The foundation made all the difference. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I think or even what others think of me. It will be God’s assessment that matters. Therefore, building on the rock, doing what Jesus taught, living by faith will enable us to endure the coming scrutiny of God.
After all, it is before Him that we live our lives!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel