Sunday, 31 January 2021
Title: Building our faith on the rock
Matthew 7: 24-27
By Dorothy Teoh
I was a young teenager when a great flood hit parts of the state where my family lived. Behind our house was a monsoon drain that ran out to the sea, and there was a particular house built on one of its banks just several hundred meters from the shore. A fairly large home, it had stood for many years. But heavy rain combined with what was probably a king tide had turned the monsoon drain into a raging river.
A line of men from the neighbourhood worked desperately to shore up the bank with sandbags, to no avail. The erosive power of the water could not, indeed would not, be held back.
I still remember watching from a safe distance as a collective cry of despair and awe went up when the river bank gave way, leaving part of the house – with its foundations exposed – perched precariously over the water.
I am sure that the builders of the house trusted to the foundations that they had built on. But they had not counted on a once-in-a-generation flood that turned the lower level of my family home into an indoor swimming pool.
In Matthew 7: 24-27, Jesus talks about wise and foolish builders. 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 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. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Isaiah 28:16 and 1 Corinthians 3:11 refer to Jesus as the foundation of our faith. He is the rock (whatever fans of Dwayne Johnson may think). Matthew Henry said, “Everything besides Christ is sand… That those hopes which foolish builders ground upon anything but Christ, will certainly fail them on a stormy day: will yield them no true comfort and satisfaction in trouble, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment; will be no fence against temptations to apostasy, in a time of persecution.” It is a sombre warning but sometimes, it is good for us to be reminded.
Yet it is not enough just to call Jesus our rock. Building our “house” (faith) is a process. It involves hearing the words of Jesus and putting them into practice. Putting God’s word into practice leads to a solid foundation in life that can withstand the challenges and trials we will face, as Matthew Henry said. Pantai Baptist Church has been listening to a series of sermons on James and studying the book in our care groups. In chapter 1:23-24, James says that those who listen to the word but do not do what it says are like people who look at their faces in a mirror and, immediately afterwards, forget what they look like.
We cannot put into practice what we don’t hear. And we can’t hear if we don’t listen. And we won’t be able to listen unless we spend time with the Lord and read His Word regularly.
Are you the type of person who on buying a new appliance or device reads only the “Quick Start” instructions and starts using the item straightaway? Well, I am. I will only refer to the detailed manual when a problem arises – that’s when I turn to the “Trouble-shooting” section!
But the Bible is not to be used like the trouble-shooting section of a technical manual. If we only turn to the Bible or pray when we face problems or difficult decisions, don’t be surprised if we end up making unwise or hasty decisions or act in ways that we will later regret. The Bible is the Word of God – we read and study it and respond in ways that will draw us closer to our Maker, and deepen our relationship with Him.
Dear Lord, You made us and You have given us the Bible as detailed instructions as to how to live. Help us to make sure that our foundation is built upon Jesus our rock and not upon sand by putting into practice what we learn from Your Word. Grant us the grace not just to hear, but to obey. For we pray this in Jesus’s name. Amen.
当我还是一少年时， 我的家人居住的地区发生了一个大水灾。我们房子的后面是一个雨季排水管，该排水管排到海边，并且在距岸仅几百米的其中一个河岸上， 有一座特别和相当大的房子，建了很多年。但是大雨加上了一个很大的高潮，使排水系统变成了汹涌的河流。
以赛亚书28:16和哥林多前书3:11提到耶稣基督是我们信心的基础。祂是磐石（无论Dwayne Johnson的影迷怎么想）。Matthew Henry说：“除了基督以外，所有的东西都是沙子……那些愚蠢的建筑者寄希望于除基督之外的东西，肯定会在暴风雨来的那天失败：在死亡的那一刻，他们不会有真正的安慰和满足，在审判之日，在麻烦中，在迫害之时，将不能抵制叛教的诱惑。”这是一个很严峻的警告，也是对我们很好的提醒。