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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Final Parable - Part 1

Verse for the Day: Matthew 7:24-25
Therefore whoever hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Daily Scripture Reading: Colossians 3

The Puritan Catechism
Question #1 - What is the chief end of man?

Devotional Thoughts
These last few verses are difficult to separate, but I want to take the time to look at them one by one. I want to see the similarities and differences between the two men Jesus describes in these last 4 verses of His message to the crowd on the mountainside. He begins this last paragraph with the word "therefore." So what is that therefore there for? It indicates to us that Jesus is nearing the end of His message and is summing up His thoughts and sayings. Because of all we have already learned Jesus now presents us with a picture of what can and should happen in our lives.

In these last 4 verses we will look at those who hear the word, what they do with the word they hear, whether they are wise or foolish, and what they build in their lives as a result of being wise or foolish. Both men hear the Word of God - they hear Jesus' sayings. They have heard the gospel and the truth. And each one builds a "house" or a life on a foundation. One is rock, the other sand, as we will learn.

This first verse shows us the wise man. He has heard the preaching of Jesus and responded with obedience! To obey PROVES the reality of our faith. If we say we believe something but it doesn't show in our lives and in our behavior then we really don't believe it do we? The man who hears and obeys Jesus is a wise man, He tells us. He has the proper motivation and perspective. He has responded in faith and has done what Jesus said. As a result he is building his house on the rock. This serves as a picture of what we build with our lives and on what foundation the work is done. The wise man has built on the firmest of foundations - rock. This word here for rock is petra and it means a large outcropping of rocks. A solid place on earth for building.

So, to show the truth being taught in these verses we will ask three questions of both the wise and the foolish man.

1. What was his relation to the gospel?
The wise man heard the gospel. He heard truth and recognized it as truth.

2. What was his response to the gospel?
He responded in faith proven by his obedience. He obeyed the truth. He did what Jesus said to do and did not do what He said not to do!

3. What were the results of his response to the gospel?
He lived his life founded on the rock. The foundation of his life was firm and immovable.

What made the difference here? As we will see later when we look at the foolish man's life, the wise man differed in that he was obedient. God's grace gives us the desire and the power to do His will. To be obedient. Without Christ we don't have the desire or the power to do what He says. The proof that he was a wise man is his unyielding obedience to Christ.

As I was thinking about how to make application in this devotion it dawned on me that many people today hear, know, learn, read, study, memorize, recite, sing, apply, interpret, explain, teach, preach, and "belong" to the truth of God's Word - but very few obey it. If you obey it, the other things will naturally follow. If you do not obey it, then all the others don't matter at all!

You have heard the gospel. What have you done with what you have heard? Hopefully you have been obedient. The gospel demands that we die to self, repent of our sin, and believe Jesus! Have you? If so, today your life is being built on the most solid foundation available. The Rock of Ages.

As we have just learned, the man who is wise will obey the truth of the Word of God. In his wisdom he will learn to build his life on the foundation of Christ. He is the rock on which everything we do must be founded and rooted.

As a result of the founding of this man's house on the rock, it will withstand the storm. A wise man has built his life on Christ so that it will stand up to any trial. Look at the verse. It rains, floods, and the wind beats on the house but it won't yield or fall. It can't be knocked down! It isn't moving at all.

The life of a wise man (an obedient Christian) will not be bowed down or knocked over by the storms life may present. It may rain in our life, circumstances may arise that cause sadness or grief, trouble or pain, confusion or fear. It will happen to all of us in this "rain" of Providence. It rains on the good and the bad, God tells us in His Word. Rain is simply a fact of life - ever since the flood of Noah, it has rained. Sometimes we have drought, sometimes floods, but it will always rain again. Likewise, the "rain of circumstances" will fall on us wherever we go and whatever we do.

Many think that a change of scenery will bring a change of climate - but it will rain everywhere on earth from time to time. It will also rain in our circumstances no matter where we work, play, live, or worship. It will rain. We can't stop the rain - we can't prevent it, we can only try to stay dry when it does rain. When the rain is not water falling from the clouds, but situations that seem to just "fall out of the sky" we must understand that we can't change the situation, only our response to it will change anything.

It also floods from time to time. We are overwhelmed with a flood of emotions - despair, loneliness, grief, anger, happiness, elation, fulfillment, humility, humiliation - all of these can flood our hearts and lives. Some of them are good. Sometimes a flood is the only thing that ends a drought. Other times the flood destroys everything in its path, remaking the landscape as it races for the sea. When we are overwhelmed by our emotions we must learn to realize that the truth is not influenced by emotion. Truth never changes. Hold on to what is true and we won't be swept away in the flood of emotions that life can swamp us with.

Lastly, the wind beat upon the house. How often do the winds of criticism or change attack our spiritual progression? Often, the wind blows and it is all we can sense or hear - just the howling storm around our lives. But He is there even then. He hasn't left. He alone stands with us even when everyone else leaves and runs for shelter. The wind is extremely powerful - actually I think there is a progression here - from a light rain to a torrent of floods and enormous winds, maybe a hurricane or a tornado. All of this pounds the house. It beats at it attempting to move it out of the way and wipe out any sign of its existence. But the house doesn't move, it doesn't collapse – it stands.

The house in this parable represents our lives. What we build with what God gives us on the foundation of Christ and His Word. And the foundation is the only reason that the house stands - meaning that a life built on Christ WILL NOT BE TORN ASUNDER by the rain of circumstances, the floods of emotion, or the winds of change. Because of the foundation, the house withstands all that is thrown against it.

When we build on Christ we stand and will endure to the end, no matter the trial or test, the temptation or the triumph - we will stand. But we must remember that the foundation of the house is determined by our response to the Word of God. If we obey it we build on Christ (the rock) if we do not the house will fall as we will learn. The foundation makes all the difference in how the house weathers the storm!

We must learn not to pray, "God, please help me...." We must instead pray, "God, will You do this through me ...." It is not what we do – it is who we are. And to obey His Word makes us wise. But as we continue to grow in the wisdom and obedience, we must learn that it is He who does through us, not we ourselves. Don't ask God to help you - ask Him to do it Himself and use you!

No matter what life (or the flesh or the devil) throws at us today - rain, flood, or wind - we have this blessed assurance, we will stand because He won't let us fall! Let's make sure that we build today on the foundation of the rock by our obedience to the Word, no matter the personal cost. The storm is not central in our lives, Christ is. And often when we fight and worry and manipulate, He simply sleeps in the bough of the boat. He is not disturbed by the storms of life - why should we be? He is Lord of all - trust Him today!


Bible Reading For Further Study


Recommended Songs for Family Worship

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