“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. 25″And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26″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. 27″The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Please read the first post on the Sermon on the Mount because it’s important that you know we are not talking about getting into Heaven after you die. That is through a true heartfelt belief in Jesus and He gives that grace quite easily. Jesus is talking about deeper things here as we began discussing Friday…of living a life now that counts eternally. Yesterday we showed that most of what we do here in this world, we will not even remember for the rest of our eternal lives. So we have the choice of living a life that counts now, or wasting away this time and receiving no eternal value for the time spent here. As we study Matthew, I’m not typically going to bring in a lot of other scripture, but since Jesus is using such a simple parable here to describe the meaning of life, I want to bring in a few other sources.
In the parable above, Jesus tells us that we are foolish if we do not use our life now on eternal matters because everything else will be washed away.
42And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? 43“Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 44“Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
45“But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; 46the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, 48but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. 49“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:42-49 NASB)
It is natural for us to be like the slave (NIV uses servant) who thinks his master won’t be coming back for a long time and thus wastes away his days. Jesus is warning us not to make this common mistake. A day of judgment is coming and we will be judged based on what we did with what we were given. He heaps blessings when He returns on the steward who was obedient with this life. He invites us to be this steward. Jesus tells us very clearly that He will cast fire to this earth. It will all be gone. The only thing that will remain is that which has been built upon the foundation of Jesus and His Kingdom.
Paul explains it this way…
10According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are”. (1 Corinthians 3:10-17 NASB)
Paul says clearly that we will get into Heaven if we fritter away our life here with inconsequential worldly living. But God has put us here to live this life in full communion with and obedience to Him through Christ, and that this is the only way to have lasting reward from this life.
“For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:5-13 NASB)
Peter repeats this idea saying that it will come quickly and unexpectedly like a thief. Whether we are alive when Jesus makes his return, or we die before that day happens, either event will come far quicker than we thought it would and will be bring into immediate question how we lived our life.
Finally, let’s look at Hebrews…
“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29 NASB)
Jesus taught in parables. We can hear the story and think it nothing more than a nice story. Or we can understand that he does not speak vain words and search out the meaning of what He is saying. This life is of the utmost importance and we can choose whether to: 1) ignore Christ, 2) accept the grace of Christ’s salvation, or 3) live the true Kingdom life that He calls us to in full obedience to Him.
As we’ve said many times, the amazing thing is that the reward is not just one for the afterlife, but in this life… more abundant joy and freedom. When we allow God to remake us, the new life He gives us is far richer than that life we were struggling to hold onto before we finally gave it up.
Thanks for reading this far if you made it. I allowed this one to go 3 times longer than normal because I am excited to finish this Sermon and wanted to bring in other scriptures to drive the point home. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this!
If you made it this far, I’d love to hear from you. Did you get anything out of this last few weeks discussion of the Sermon on the Mount? Can you add to it? Anywhere I went off course?