Sunday, January 14, 2007

The following is an excerpt of a recent sermon preached by the Rev. Mike Yoho of First Baptist Church of Green Valley in Monrovia, Md.

At the end of His great and instructive Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives the conclusion that is our text this morning (Matthew 7:24-29). Jesus has been teaching spiritual truths that can transform the darkest heart, save the vilest sinner and set the spirit of the lost person free — assured of a home in heaven. But, in order to receive these blessings and these assurances, we must first receive the gift that is offered. Jesus is the light of the world, but we must receive that light. Jesus is knocking on our heart’s door, but we must open the door in order to welcome Him into our life.

Jesus said that hearing His words was not enough; they must be applied in order to be effective (Verses 21-23). You and I must choose. Jesus is warning against profession without possession. There are people who have been listening and who are interested, but have not yet become a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ. They may have all the outward signs of Christianity without a changed heart. The difference between mere profession and true possession is the foundation upon which a life is built.

Jesus gives a word picture to illustrate His point. It is a picture of two houses. The language suggests that to the outward eye, the houses are identical. We can see them standing side by side. They are built in the same place, facing the same direction, having the same number of windows and doors. Both houses are subject to the same testing. These are houses that would meet the needs of family, provide shelter and comfort. They are built by two different people who want the same thing.

Most people in our world today are looking for the same things: peace, security, met needs — physical, emotional and spiritual. While most of us want the same things, we can go in many different directions trying to obtain them.

Even though these houses looked similar, they were fundamentally different. They were different in a way that could not be seen by the casual observer. In fact, the difference would not become known until a time of severe testing.

Both of these builders wanted the same thing, but one was a wise builder and one was a foolish builder. The foolish builder wanted a house and he wanted it now. He did not have the time to dig a foundation. He did not want to listen to instruction, or building codes. His motto was “Git-R-Done.”

On the other hand, the wise builder understood that building a house quickly was not the only goal. It should be built correctly, safely and on a good foundation.

As long as there was no rain, no flood and no wind, both houses fared well. Each family was content, happy and safe within the walls. But rains do come, and floods do come, and winds do blow. It is then the difference can be seen. The house built on the sand could not stand. For all its beauty and workmanship, the house without a foundation could not survive the storm, the flood and the wind. But, the house built on the solid foundation would stand the testing of the storm.

The difference is not the storm. Both houses faced storms. The difference is the foundation. The same is true in every life. Storms will come, winds will blow and rain will fall. Will your house stand? Will my house stand? Have you built on the right foundation? Have you dug deep and founded your life on the rock?

How is it that one person can weather a storm in life and another person just falls apart? How can one person in the depth of despair express forgiveness and love and another person in the same experience express bitterness and cursing? The difference is the foundation. You may be able to speak the language of Christianity, but do you know the Savior? You may know about God, but have you invited Him into your life?

The difference between profession and possession is the foundation. Have you built your house (life) upon the rock — Jesus Christ? There will be testing, no doubt. But the house built upon the rock will stand.

Do you want to build a house and just “Git-R-Done”? If you are living your life hoping to avoid all the storms, you will be sorely disappointed. Or, do you have a deeper and more profound desire to build your life on the foundation that will stand the testing of life? Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness or do you just want the outward look of a Christian (Matthew 23:23-28)? I encourage you to build your life upon the rock, Jesus Christ.

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