Posted on 02/12/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
Good morning, and welcome once again to the gathering of the saints in the virtual world.
Today's message is titled, "Sand Castles", and our text will be taken from the book of Matthew chapter seven, verses 24 through 27.
Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's stand to our feet and go to the Lord in prayer and in praise.
Lord God, thank you for a brand new day, the beginning of a brand new week. Thank you for bringing all of us here together once again, to learn from your Word, and to worship you together.
Be with us in a special way today, Holy Spirit. Teach us. Convict us where we need conviction. Heal us where we need healing. Change us where we need changing. And as we listen to your Word and apply it to our lives, empower us to become more like Jesus.
And it's in Jesus' name we pray.
Let's welcome the presence of the Lord with song. If you don't know the songs, the words are in this week's notecard, just left-click the pulpit for a copy. And I'm up here and my wife is singing we me not to entertain, because if we were up here to entertain, we'd be much better off sitting down; rather, we're here simply to lead you to put your eyes upon Jesus, to lift your voices and your hearts unto him, and to experience the peace, joy, and unmeasureable love that comes from being in the presence of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
If you don't have any worship animations, you can click-touch the first step of the altar for some free animations.
*** to join us in worship, listen to the audio at livingsounds.org ***
BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD
Blessed be the name of the Lord
He is worthy to be praised and adored
So we lift up holy hands in one accord
Singing blessed be the name, blessed be the name,
blessed be the name of the Lord
EVERY WORD OF GOD (Proverbs 30:4-5)
Every Word of God is tried and true
He is a shield to those who put their trust in him
Do you know his name or the name of his Son?
Every word of God is tried and true
Who has ascended into heaven?
Who has descended, come to set us free?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
Do you know his name or the name of his son?
REJOICE FOR THE STEPS
Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man
they are ordered of God, they are ordered of God
Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man
they are ordered of God
In the time of trouble, God will sustain him.
God will preserve him, God will uphold him
In the time of trouble, God will lift him up
so rejoice for your steps are ordered of God
ON CHRIST THE SOLID ROCK
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' Name
When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my Hope and Stay
When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne
Oh Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand
You may be seated.
Our Scripture passage this morning is from Matthew chapter seven, verses 24 through 27, where Jesus says:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
If you're like most of us, there are things in your life that aren't founded upon the Word of God. There are castles you've built just because you wanted to build them, and you've built them on shifting sand.
In Psalm 127 verse one we read, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." If you're building your life on anything other than the solid foundation of God's Word, your works won't stand. And if you're building things that aren't God's plan for your life, then you're wasting your time.
But when you build your life upon the solid rock of God's Word, and seek for his direction in everything you do, you'll see a magnificant building begin to take shape, and it will stand through every storm life brings your way.
As you begin to build your life according to God's awesome plans for you, there is one very important thing you should keep in mind. If you don't realize this one vital truth, you may be tempted to feel as though you are going nowhere:
A tent doesn't take very long to pitch, but it isn't suitable as a permanent home. A structure made of plywood nailed together without any real foundation may take shape quite quickly, but it's going to fail you when you need it the most.
A magnificant castle isn't pitched in an hour, or thrown together in a day. The foundation alone can take weeks, months, or years. You may be tempted to start thinking God is not doing anything in your life, or that you're not moving forward.
Our human nature will quickly become impatient and restless, and new and exciting paths and opportunities will call excitedly to us, glittering and shimmering as only the very best fool's gold can.
But as we read in Isaiah, "Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings as eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint." It is in waiting in the presence of the Lord, and seeking God's presence and direction at the beginning of each new day, that we find the strength, courage, and faith we need to move forward, and it is in those times of intimate fellowship with Jesus that we sometimes see more clearly just how far we've come, and will even get glimpses into what lies ahead.
One thing I would like to point out before we close is that our passage for today about the wise and foolish people is the summary of Jesus' message. He gave a long and powerful sermon covering every facet of life, and then he concluded by saying:
"The one who hears these words I've spoken to you and puts them into practice is like a wise person who builds their house on a rock; the rains fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, but it stood strong because it was founded on the rock.
"On the other hand, the one who hears these words I've spoken to you and does not put them into practice is like a foolish person who builds their house on the sand; the rains fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell; and great was its fall."
Lord willing, we are going to take the next few weeks to look at the words Jesus spoke to which he was referring in this passage.
He begins in chapter five, with what we call "The Beatitudes." He lays out for us the attitudes we are to develop, which are the beginning of a solid foundation for our life.
He then teaches about "Salt and Light", instructing us to keep our saltiness, and shine our light, not hiding the light from others, but putting it on a hill for all to see and come to Jesus.
Jesus then teaches us that all sin begins in the heart, and sin of the heart and the imagination is indeed sin, and not dealing with that sin can end in an eternity in hell.
He teaches us to love our enemies, to repay evil with good.
In chapter six, he teaches us the importance of giving to those in need, and warns us about the consequences of wrong motives.
Then he teaches us how to pray. We spoke on this late last year, but will be talking about prayer again in this series.
He continues by teaching about fasting, about laying up treasures in heaven, and about living free from worry and fear.
In chapter seven Jesus teaches us that we are not to judge others, or we'll be judged; he teaches us that we should ask and keep asking, seek and keep seeking, knock and keep knocking, and that God, being good, will give only good things, namely the Holy Spirit, to those who ask him.
He teaches us that the way to life is narrow, and the way to destruction is wide.
He teaches us that we can know people by their fruit, by the things that come from their life.
Then he concludes by telling us that those who hear and live by all these teachings are wise, and the things they build in their lives will stand; but those who do not live by them are foolish, and the things they build in their lives will not last.
So plan to be here the next few Sundays, and if you absolutely can't come, be sure to stop by during the week and click the Bibles that will be at the front to hear the messages.
I encourage you to read the fifth chapter of Matthew before next Sunday.
I believe we are going to see lives change, as we abandon our sand castles, and start building Godly lives firmly on the rock of God's Word.
The ministry team can come stand accross the front as we close with prayer.
Lord God, thank you for giving us your Word today. Thank you for speaking to us by your Holy Spirit. And thank you that you've given us ears to hear.
Let the seeds of your Word go into fertile soil; may they take deep root and grow, changing our lives and the lives of those around us.
Some of us here today are going through something in our lives; it may be a sickness in our body, or it may be a sickness in our mind; we may have a bondage or addiction we just can't seem to get free from; we may have a broken marriage, or a broken heart.
God put us all here together because he knows we can't do it alone. Whatever your need is, come for prayer.
Perhaps you want a closer walk with God, and you want someone to agree in prayer with you; perhaps you have not yet begun your walk with God, and want someone to help you make that first step.
Whatever your need is, come for prayer.
The rest of you can be dismissed, and go next door to the fellowship room where we'll all meet up in a few minutes for a time of fellowship.
May you build your life upon the rock. May your plans be established in Christ. May your relationships be motivated by and permated with the love of God. And may the storms of life leave you stronger than before. Go in the grace of God. Amen.