Scripture Reference: Matthew 7:24-25
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against the house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell- and great was the fall. (Matthew 7: 24-25 NASB).”
The words of our Messiah meant as both an encouragement and a warning.
His words an encouragement to those who proclaim Jesus as their Lord. Believers in Messiah are those who have built their lives upon the Rock, the very Word of God. This Rock will never crumble and our faith in this Rock will be the fortification that will enable us to stand in the midst of tribulation.
The words of Messiah, as a warning to those who reject Him. He warns those who deny His majesty that they will meet hardship. They have chosen to build their houses upon the sand. The sand representing the ever changing promises and lies of mankind. Confusion and discord taint the words of those who deny the Messiah. The words of mankind, just like the sand, can be easily manipulated by external forces. Our words can be tossed to and fro, just like sand, by the torrent of the sea. The sand provides no firm foundation on which to build.
Jesus warns those who refuse to acknowledge Him, to consider what they are willing to endure. He promises that He will return and He will establish His throne (Zechariah 14:9, 2 Peter 3:10, Mathew 24:44). Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:9-11). In this hour, Jesus is giving us the opportunity to pay Him honor out of our love. The time is coming when those who reject Him, will give Him honor out of recognition. They will recognize the gift that they denied and they will bow in fear of and angry God with whom they have caused wrath to increase (Revelation 22).
I believe we can all understand the teaching Jesus offers as recorded in these verses by Matthew. Jesus did not mince words or speak incoherently. The parable that Jesus develops is spoken in clarity. Often as we read this parable, we focus on the foundation. We consider only the substance that the foundation of the two houses are built upon. This interpretation is correct and sufficient to give us instruction. We are getting what Jesus is preaching. But I believe we can go a little deeper.
One thing that we often neglect to consider is the fact that within this parable, Jesus tells us that the rain fell upon both houses. Now, looking at this aspect of the parable, we can get into an eschatological debate as to whether Jesus is talking about pre/post tribulation rapture. It is not my intention to address this subject in this writing. The topic of the rapture and when it will happen is something that we will never know for sure until the day it happens. The best teaching, I can offer on this is to prepare for the worst and pray for the best scenario.
Leaving the rapture debate aside, I want to focus on what Jesus means when He says it rains on both houses. We all can easily grasp His intent when He talks about rain falling on the house built on sand. This house is washed away by the trials of this world. The aggression of the sea and the rain cause the very ground that this house is built upon to crumble. The message is that we can built the most immaculate house, but if we are not building upon a firm foundation based in faith in Messiah, then when the tribulation of life hits, the sand supporting our efforts provides no resistance. In other words, there is no substance to push back against that which comes against us.
The interesting aspect of this parable is that Jesus explains that it will also rain on the house built upon the Rock. The Rock, again, represents our faith. Our faith in Jesus is our Rock. Our faith in Him causes us to be able to build our lives upon a foundation that can provide resistance to the tribulations of life. This foundation can offer support in times of difficulty. Unlike the sand, which will be washed away, we can be assured that the foundation of Messiah will be everlasting.
So, as believers in Messiah, we can expect to get rained on. There will be times in our lives that are difficult. Jesus tells us this, not as a discouragement, but as a directive to stand firm. He is our Rock. He is our resistance. He is our strength. He is the only firm foundation. I am reminded of the Hymn:
“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. On Christ, the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”
We cannot rely on the word of mankind to provide us with any type of functional, lasting, trustworthy support. Without Jesus our words are sinking sand.
Acknowledging that it will also rain on the house built upon the Rock, we as those of faith can ascertain our call. We are a witness to the house built upon the sand. The words of Jesus are not meant to be about doom and gloom. His words are an encouragement to those who have faith in Him to use the circumstances that life throws at us to be a living witness to the world around us. The rain falling on our houses should provide fodder for our weapons of spiritual warfare. We are to demonstrate fortitude, love and determination to those who are living atop sand. Our homes and our lives should be an example. We are called to be a living testimony. As the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the church in Rome. Chapter 12: 1-3 reads:
“Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed by this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12: 1-3 NASB).”
We are called to be a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Our lives are to be a living testimony and witness to those around us. The world is to see that we are different, by the glorious Holy Spirit of God living within us. His Holy Spirit is to shine a light of His presence as a beacon to the lost. We are to intentionally make choices and act according to the will of God. As Paul writes “to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.” We are no longer slaves to this world corrupted by sin. We are made new and alive by the washing of His presence in our lives. We wear His robe of righteousness. We are to do His work on this earth. His work is to seek out the lost and call them home.
We are to help them build upon the Rock. All of us hurt. All of us experience suffering. As Paul warns us “not to think more highly of himself than he ought.” In humility, we are to come alongside of our neighbors. We are to help them up. Walk beside them. Offer them friendship and acceptance. We are to allow them to see the light of God’s glory shining within us. The result of our efforts is to give them a glimpse of the glory, mercy and peace of knowing Messiah. Because those with faith in Messiah, have a hope that is beyond hope. We have peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Let your light shine and in humble friendship, become a carpenter for the Kingdom of God. Help your neighbor build upon the Rock. Show them the peace and mercy of Messiah.
I have included a link to a beautiful song which eloquently brings our call to light. The link is:
I pray that the rain that falls upon my house will help me to stand more firmly in Messiah. He is my Rock and my strength. He is my hope and the hope of all mankind. By His Blood alone am I healed. Help me Father to be your servant. Help me to do your will. Help me to hear you call for my life. Help me to reach the lost. Speak through me and allow the ears of mankind to be opened. Only your voice has the power to convict. I am also a sinner. I am no witness in my own flesh. Allow your voice and the determined will of your Son to shine through me.
Rain falls on both houses.
Today's Teaching from Philia Contributor Corby Shuey @ Becoming Bereans Ministries https://www.becomingbereans.com/
Restoring our vision to align with the vision of the Father.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).”
In most instances when I hear this verse being quoted, those quoting most often only quote the beginning of the verse. What Solomon and those quoting this verse are conveying is the need to have vision in walking through this life. We should express forethought in our lives as to how we are directing the choices we make in the present in order to positively affect the future. Our lives should be a process of continual growth and learning. If we stop growing, if we stop learning, we stagnate in the blindness of comfort. The blindness of comfort being the complacency of allowing the present condition to govern our very being. Too often we settle and accept our circumstances out of comfort. Our tendency toward complacency lulls us to reject actively fulfilling the call of God to those who place their faith in Him.
I do believe we need to have diligent vision directing our lives. We should look at life through spiritual lenses knowing that this life is temporary; it is a shell of a greater reality awaiting us in the promises of God. Our vision should be directing us to make choices that help us come into alignment with this greater reality. Rather than having vision to cope with and make adjustment to meet the challenges we see on the horizon, we often just blankly stare ahead and await the coming of those challenges. The vision that Solomon speaks of is the vision to know what is on the horizon and adjust our lives to overcome the difficulties that we face.
Not only should our vision be looking ahead, our vision should also peer into the past. Our vision should expose us to the foundation of our beliefs. This vision cannot be limited to the traditions of our own doctrinal understanding, but our focus should be seeking the standard of Biblical truth. We should seek to pierce the veil of the cultural traditions that cloud the historical and spiritual heritage of our faith.
To then complete the thought that Solomon put forth in Proverbs 29, those who have vision should find rest on the foundation set forth by the Most High God. It is essential that there is also an anchor to ground our vision. Without this anchor, vision becomes relative to the individual. In this vision there can be no common ground as we all are like sheep who “have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:6 KJV).” Sheep without a shepherd are lost because there is no one to guide their vision. They will be distracted by every blade of grass further down the field that flickers in the light of curiosity. Solomon warns that vision must have a standard from which to find structure.
Our faith as Believers in Messiah should be driven by vision but at the same time, our faith should be anchored to our heritage. The heritage of the church is not the Roman political construct developed early on as a means to quell the people to submission to the state. Our heritage is in the heritage of God. The heritage of the people of God whom He brought out of slavery in order to establish an everlasting covenant. Our heritage is Hebraic. Our heritage is in the Hebraic account of God’s people as written in the Holy Scriptures. Our Heritage is God’s Word starting at “In the beginning,” Our truth must be derived from this council. Our vision must originate and be guided by this understanding and recognition.
If we simply take a quick survey of the landscape of the church in our day, we see division and confusion. There are countless divisions within the faith. Even within specific individual denominations there are divisions of doctrine and tradition. There is confusion in how we aree to appropriately interpret the Word of God. Do we take the Word literally, seriously, as a suggestion, as a moral allegory, or maybe even just as a story. In this state of confusion, our vision has no foundation. Without a foundation, the whims of the sin nature are able to run rampant on the desires of men. Sin then sets us free in our captivity to be bound to directionless, fruitless vision.
Paul writes of the difference between the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. He gives a clear distinction between the two as a means of discernment. Paul addresses this topic in order to give substance to our vision. Paul writes:
“But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law (Galatians 5:15-23 NASB).”
We can easily see that many in the church have not chosen to be led by the Spirit. This has caused the church to suffer many divisions and to stand upon a weak and ever shifting foundation, as we can see today manifested in the unprecedented tolerance of sin. Our vision truly is bound to the slavery of our sin nature.
Paul writes of two types of fruit. He first describes the fruit of the flesh. Paul describes this fruit as producing, what I think we can all agree, as being negative, harmful, angry results of division. This fruit divides, causes jealousy and impurity to rise, which undoubtedly leads to a lascivious lifestyle. The fruit of the flesh will always seek to please itself by causing its rot to permeate the whole being. Feelings of negativity fester and thrive within those driven by the spirit of the flesh.
Paul exhorts those who have faith to be aware of the fruit that they are producing. We are to consider the fruit that comes out of the choices that we make. If we are producing anger, discord and jealousy, we are acting in ways that are according to our sinful nature. If left unchecked, sin will permeate the whole person. Sin will consume the person like a cancer causing the infected individual to become increasingly preoccupied by that which the sin produces. We close in to ourselves and our vision is limited only to the things that will feed the ravenous sin dominating our lives.
As Believers, we are to be aware of our fruit. Our behaviors should be aligned with producing the Fruit of the Spirit. The choices we make, the words we use and the behavior we exhibit to others should contribute to the production of God’s Spiritual fruit. This fruit builds relationships. This fruit strengthens the faith of both the individual and those whom they come into contact with, and ultimately, this fruit draws us closer to God. Our character comes into agreement with the character of God that dwells within our hearts. The Spirit of God will be given opportunity to manifest outwardly as a witness.
I ask, where do we find the fruit that is produced on a tree?
The fruit is on the outside, hanging from the branches full and vibrance. This fruit finds nourishment from the root. In turn, heathy fruit gives nourishment to those in need. Healthy fruit contributes to the lives of those within the environment. Healthy trees drink from the source of water in its environment. The water must be living and alive. The root system of the tree must be firmly planted on the foundation of soil. The tree must work to draw the water up, through the foundation, this effort produces the abundance we see as fruit.
We, as those of faith in God Most High, should be like this tree. We need to be firmly planted in the foundation of our faith. We need to rely on the Word of God to direct our thought and actions. When we fail, we need to go to God to seek forgiveness, for this will produce a healthy root system by which we are able to drink from the Living Water. We, as Believers, must put in the effort to draw the Water up from the foundation and distribute it throughout the rest of our body. We need to allow the Water to refresh us and redeem us unto our Heavenly Father. This Water brings life and restores us to a right relationship with The One who created all that is seen and unseen. Without this redeemed relationship, we are bound to the sin nature and destined to produce rotten fruit.
Be Diligent! Be determined, my brothers and sisters, to draw from the Living Water. Allow the Source of Truth to enable you to produce good fruit. Inspect the fruit that you produce and compare it to what Paul describes as the Fruit of the Spirit. If this fruit is healthy, allow it to nourish others. If you encounter bad fruit, seek to discover the source of the contamination in your life. Prune the negative influence so that the sin will not taint the rest of the crop. Use your good fruit to bless others. Be an encouragement and seek to build the faith in those with whom you come into contact. Allow your life to be a source of nourishment, a source of good fruit.
In summary, the lesson is to have vision grounded in the Word. To produce fruit that is of the Spirit which will bring harmony and peace. Our vision should be in alignment with God’s vision. His vision is for His children to be a community of servants seeking to plant His grace within the fields of the hearts of mankind.
The Words of Jesus: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33 NASB).”
My friends, seek to be known as a good tree.
This Blog Post is Courtesy of Philia Contributor Corby Shuey Becoming Bereans Ministries https://www.becomingbereans.com
Members of Philia and affiliated ministries