Bella Vista Church of Christ



Randall Caselman


Life Upon The Rock


  As a carpenter, there's no doubt that Jesus was knowledgeable about building houses. Palestine was arid and dry, so the ideal home site was next to a stream with water for the family and irrigation. However, such a place often held the potential for flash flooding. Gale force winds and water would surge down canyons destroying everything in their path. So it was worthwhile to search for the right building site, one with a solid foundation.


  Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount with this familiar narrative: "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house 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" (Matthew 7.24 & 26). The wise man is one who knows and obeys Jesus' teachings. The foolish man knows, but fails to put them into practice.


  We gotta ask, are we wise or foolish? Note that wisdom is not based upon knowledge, but what we do with what we know. Knowing and not doing is foolishness. No wonder His brother, James, wrote: "He that knows to do good and does it not sins" ... "We must be doers of the Word, not hearers only" (James 4.17 & 1.22).


  We note two things: 1) This parable is about those of us in the church, not nonbelievers. This Sermon was preached to "church goers;" Jesus' disciples, followers, not to the world. Jesus is speaking of two kinds of people within the Kingdom, two kinds of disciples: doers of the Word, and some who know but fail to practice. 2) The storms represent two things: the trials of this life, and the final trial of the Judgment Day.


So, what can we learn?...


  1) Jesus is the one and only sure foundation. When the gale force winds, the water, the storms of this life and Judgment come, will our life house stand because we have become knowers and doers of this sermon? Only a life built upon the teachings of Jesus will stand.


  2) Jesus' principles make a difference today! Storms are gonna come, this is just the way life is. It was Jesus who said: "I've told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16.33). It's a false doctrine which says if we live for Jesus, we'll not have any storms in life. Think of the Bible greats! They had storms, troubles and trials. "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 2.12). There's no such thing as a storm-free life, neighborhood. We must stop looking for such, but rather prepare for the storms by building our life house upon a solid faith foundation that will last when life tumbles in.


  3) We must be totally preoccupied with our foundation. It was David who wrote: "I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. If Jesus is our rock of Salvation, if our life house is built upon Him and His teachings, we may be swayed in the winds, but won't be swept away in the waters. It was Isaiah who said: "So this is what the Sovereign Lord says; See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation, the one who trusts in Him will never be dismayed" (Isaiah 28.16).


  4) We learn that storms will reveal our true foundation. Did you note in the narrative, we don't see the difference between the wise and foolish until the storm comes, until the gale force winds blow. As we look over a crowd of people, there’s no way for us to see who is wise or foolish until the storms arrive. Here it is church, the more the storms rage; the more evident it is that we need the Rock of our salvation and His teachings. Are we ready to face the storms of this life and Judgment, alone? Or do we need Jesus with us? Have we been clothed with Christ and His teachings, are we hidden in Jesus? It's the only sure foundation in this life and at the Judgment.


  We must build our life house according to the code. I remember a few years ago, a hurricane struck the bay area of Pensacola. It destroyed almost all the homes on the outer banks. CNN was interviewing a man whose house was still standing between two others that were in complete shambles. The newsperson asked him "What do you attribute this to?" He said, "When I built this house they told me that if I would build it by code, it would stand hurricane-force winds, so I did, and it did!"


  What are we building our life house upon, the rock of Jesus or the sands of this world.? "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."


Randall CaselmaN