This week’s scripture reading – Matthew 7:24-29,
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes.
Foundation on a Rock
What does it mean to build on the rock and how do you build your life on the rock? Well, this study represents the final part of the often quoted and memorable sermon on the mount from Jesus that started back in Matt. 5:1. This week’s scripture reading on Is Your Faith Built on a Rock is also cross referenced in Luke which gives additional information on the above parable as noted in Luke 6:48a, …and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock. It is notable to mention the need to dig deep while laying a foundation since this is typically where more solid and less fragmented rock exists beneath soil, sand and loose rock. There lies the opportunity to lay a foundation on unmovable substances that can weather the effect of natural elements.
What does the Bible say about building on a rock? This parable in a sense, resembles what people are building their faith upon; whether it is a foundation subject to erosion and collapse through man-made pursuits and beliefs, or whether it is a foundation from God that never changes. This is described in 1 Cor. 3:11, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Here is the assurance of believers in their daily walk with God who is the unchanging, everlasting Lord as noted in Heb. 13:8, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
It is interesting that Jesus uses the reference of a rock foundation in this scripture since it cross references to messianic prophecies, foretelling of the Lord Jesus Christ as the coming Messiah, from Is. 28:16, Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone,] a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. This foundational rock of faith was referenced by Paul in his letter to the Roman church and was originally prophesied in Is. 8:14 as documented in Rom. 9:33, As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Similarly, Paul also gave reference to the presence of the pre-existent, spiritual rock of Christ following the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt as shown in 1 Cor. 10:4, And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. This particular verse from Paul was originally recorded in Ex. 17:6 and also alluded to in Ps. 105:41.
By exploring scripture from both the Old and New Testament it helps to gain better context and comprehension of the eternal Christ. Eternal has neither beginning or ending which is incredibly hard to fathom in human terms but it brings our focus towards the question on is your faith built upon the rock.
A Sure Foundation
As readers go through the teachings of Jesus in this long message spanning three chapters of scripture, it is important to look for common themes of thought. Recalling from the last few readings, Jesus instructed people to enter in at the strait gate, to be aware of false prophets who work iniquity and to caution people that a mere outward show of religion would not get them to heaven. This week’s reading therefore flows in congruence with all previous ones noted.
The Lord is instructing people to build upon a more sure foundation instead of what the scribes and Pharisees’ mere traditions were in the midst of their hypocrisy and iniquity as Paul wrote about in 2 Tim. 2:19, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Paul highlighted this in his other letter to Timothy. In a similar way that Jesus expressed the coming storm in this parable, Paul instructs us to prepare for things to come as noted in 1 Tim. 6:19, Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Doing God’s Will
Let us transition now in this message on is your faith built upon the rock. It is of utmost importance in the teaching from Jesus to not only hear his word but also to do his will. Recall how Jesus warned people from the scripture above, And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, The apostle John wrote of this as he recorded another message from Jesus in John 14:21, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
People may ask what are the commandments from the Lord Jesus but John also made this very clear in a subsequent writing as shared in 1 John 3:22-23, And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
For better clarity on this passage John also gave further guidance emphasizing how this belief was to affirm that the eternal Christ manifested himself in human form as recorded in 1 John 4:2-3, Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
In the final part of this Bible study on is your faith built upon the rock, readers may find it notable over the reaction of the crowd after hearing the teaching and preaching of Jesus. To recap, at the end of this week’s scripture reading, it reads, “…the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes.” By implication from this verse, it was obvious the people did not hold the religious leaders in the highest esteem.
On another occasion when Jesus taught in the temple it was also expressed in John 7:15, And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? This truly confounded and perplexed the religious leaders because from their observations Jesus was an unlearned, common person, who was a carpenter by trade, as noted in Matt. 13:55-56, Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this [man] all these things? * (letters – holy scriptures)
The Unexpected Messiah
To the religious leaders it is quite remarkable in pondering the question is your faith built upon the rock. This was hardly the platform by which their long awaited Messiah would present himself into the world but God had different plans other than to fulfill apparent wise people’s notions as Paul shared in 1 Cor. 1:19-21, For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where [is] the wise? where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Therefore, all of the supposed pomp and pageantry of a highly educated, quasi-religious leader type Messiah was not in the plans, for God was not desirous to have any of this as Paul continued in 1 Cor. 1:27-29, But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea,] and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
To close off this final study on is your faith built upon the rock, let us also take note of Jesus’ words once again as shown, “…whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them…”. Readers may recall from earlier studies the use of this word whosoever as noted by Jesus in John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The gospel of Jesus is indeed open to whosoever, it is neither secretive nor selective in its reach to people from all nations of the world. If you have walked through this sermon on the mount and are a believer in Christ, it is hopeful that your faith has grown through more awareness of how God’s word all comes together in unity and harmony of its message. If you are new to the whole aspect of becoming a believer and are perhaps seeking to have faith in Christ, then this closing message is for you.
Message of Salvation
God is seeking you at this very moment for it was written in Luke 19:10, For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. People may not feel lost right now, they may feel like they have everything life could offer them but there is no redemption from sin outside of faith in Christ. Sin is the great separator between people and God and sin does not just include the usual suspects as listed in the ten commandments. In addition, as Paul wrote in his letters, sin also comes with consequences as noted in Rom. 6:23, For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. For those who think they have not sinned or that their sins are not too bad, the scriptures tell another story as recorded in Rom. 5:12, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
Despite sin separating us from God, the Lord has always been seeking us and the greatest demonstration of this was when Jesus Christ gave his life to atone for our sins as noted in Eph. 2:4-5, But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;). Quicken means to bring alive from a spiritual sense.
New life in Christ comes from believing in what he did through his death, burial and resurrection as atonement to God for your sins. As the apostle John wrote in one of his letters, this then becomes a daily walk in the Lord as recorded in 1 John 1:7-10, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Therefore to conclude this study on is your faith built upon the rock, ask this question of yourself, is the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in you right now? Why not make this decision of faith that will last for eternity, for nothing is more certain in life than God’s plan of redemption in Christ. As Jesus said in Mark 13:31, Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Bible Study Questions
- In this study on is your faith built upon the rock, why do you think Jesus used common examples to preach more complex spiritual messages?
- In this message Jesus gave reference to building on a rock but who is the rock from scripture? Hint 1 Cor. 3:11
- By doing the commandments of Jesus, we will show that we love him and will be loved by him and the Father, true or False? Hint John 14:21
- Why do you think Jesus came into the world in such humble surroundings, i.e. born in a manger, worked as a carpenter?
- Did the Jews and religious leaders understand who Jesus was as their long awaited Messiah? Why?
- The whosoever gospel of Christ includes you and everyone you know? Why?
- Are there areas in your life that are currently built upon sand and need to be shifted over to the rock of Christ for a more sure foundation?
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