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Foundation




Foundations

Psalm 46

Matthew 7:13-29


We’ve surely all heard it said, that the three secrets of a successful business are, “location, location, location”. But I’ve also heard it said that the three secrets of a successful and growing church are, “location, location, location”.

Of course, I’m not so sure our church proves or disproves this theory. We have people who drive 10, 15, 20+ miles (one way) to join us for Sunday worship… and I’m not convinced it’s because of our great location. In fact, I’ve thought many, many times that if our church were located in a more visible location… maybe along a major highway… or in the middle of a fast growing neighborhood… we would be a much different church.


And that’s not to make excuses. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “if a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse trap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” Of course, we may, or may not think, that Emerson‘s logic applies to us! But one thing is certain: for most churches, location does play a big role in growth. Location attracts people, and once they step in the door, and meet people, they make a decision as to whether they intend to stay or not. Right?


Jesus even said that location is important in regards to our spiritual lives.


The Scripture that we read today from Matthew is the conclusion of Jesus’ sermon on the Mount. And in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus basically outlined his teachings… Starting with the Beatitudes (blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…). Then moving into the Lord‘s prayer, telling us when you pray (not if but when), pray like this, “our Father…” He speaks of fasting, and storing treasure in heaven... he tells us not to worry... and to be careful judging. And then wraps things up with the scripture we read this morning.


And the fact of the matter is, Jesus’ sermon was tough… and most of us don’t like “tough” sermons. Jesus’ sermon was a little hard to hear, and even harder to accept. He said, “not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom!” In other words, Jesus expects more than lip service… He wants more than religiosity… and trite platitudes… He expects more from us, as his followers, than just knowing the right words to say. After all, talk is cheap.


Jesus wants hearts and minds and souls that are devoted and faithful. Because, in the end, when it’s all boiled down, it matters as to whether or not we’re intentional about being a disciple of Christ.


Of course, Jesus explained himself, as usual, using a parable. The person who does what Jesus says like a man who built his house upon a rock… a solid foundation. When the storm comes… The house built on rock stands firm. But those who hear God‘s word and refuse to do what God says… are like the man who built his house on sand. The view may be great… After all when you’re built on sand, you’re talking ocean front property, right? But when the storms come, and the waters rise, and the sand washes away… The house falls. Making Jesus’ point clear: our location; our foundation, matters. Because when you and I build our lives on anything other than Christ, “the solid rock”… We’re building our lives on shifting sand.


Of course, we’re all prone to buy into the philosophy of the world. Placing our hope, our trust, our security, in the things of this life… expecting to find meaning, and happiness, and purpose… in worldly things and activities. Even adhering to the idea that, “the one who dies with the most toys wins.” But when we do, we risk building our lives on sand… things that do not last, things that are easily lost.


And to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite Star Wars movies, “It’s a trap!” The things of this world simply cannot afford us what we need most! The world can provide temporary satisfaction, for sure (and we all benefit from it)… but none of it, not one single thing in this life last forever.


Of course, even when it comes to things in this world that do matter most… things like love, happiness, salvation… the things of this world continue to fall short. If you think for one moment that the world, and being worldly, can provide the things we need most… Just look at all the miserable and confused people that live in places like Hollywood, and Washington DC. True and lasting love, happiness, salvation… come to those who seek Christ… and those who do God‘s will.


Of course, we’re all guilty... of trusting in ourselves and the world, to some point. The trap is discovered when you and I begin to believe in the idea that, “we only live once… So eat, drink, and do whatever makes you feel good at the moment… regardless the consequences.” We’ve never been called to “do what feels good.” We’ve been called to glorify God. It usually doesn’t take long for us to realize that “doing whatever we want” just because it feels good, quite often leads to disaster.


What if I felt like flying… and decided I’ll go jump off a cliff? I know that would make some of you happy! The point is, it might “feel good” at the moment… It might even provide some momentary thrill, or a rush, that satisfies some temporary need! And it’s not like the fall is gonna hurt you... but that the sudden stop at the end is the problem.


Living life for the moment, for self, for me, myself, and I, is like building a house on sand. And unless you and I are very careful, very intentional… this is the location where many... including many people of faith... end up building their lives.


The religious leaders of Jesus’ day are good examples of what I’m trying to say. They offered long prayers, dressed in religious looking clothes, so people would look at them and say, “look at them… they’re so holy… they’re righteous.” They’d even say things like, “Lord, Lord, look at what we did in your name.” And plenty of people still do that today. Maybe even some of us. We sometimes think that our hard work… that our efforts … that our righteousness… will somehow, someway, earn our forgiveness, or earn our salvation, or merit God’s mercy.


I suppose the question that you and I should be asking ourselves today is, “where are we building our lives?“ On what foundation are we building?


If you and I are building on anything other than Christ, we’re doomed to fall.


The Good News is... it’s never too late. We can still have all the things this life can offer: we can experience everything this life can offer, and experience all the gratification this world can offer.


But unless we do it unto Christ… Unless we build our lives upon the Rock that is higher than “me, myself & I” - it’s all in vain, it’s all for nothing. Let’s do everything we do as if doing it unto the Lord… in His name and for his sake.


That Foundation is eternal. Amen.

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