|Volume 20 Number 2 February 2018||
The children’s song, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock,” encapsulates the poignant simplicity of Christ’s teaching at the end of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:24-27). The one who both hears and does (and not hears alone—cf. James 1:22-25; Romans 2:13) is like one who built on solid rock so that his house would withstand rains, winds and floods. The difference between him and the one who built on the shifting sand is that the latter does not do the things that he heard. No one of knowledge wants to build a home without a well-laid foundation. One must dig deep into solid ground, make rock (concrete) and only after that is completed commence building.
The spiritual seeker must first dig deep. Before he can do the things he has heard, he must hear those things. Thus, Scripture declares that faith can only come through the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Diligence is required in its study (2 Timothy 2:15). The precious light of God’s Word (Psalm 119:105) must be transmitted from the ink on pages to the memory of one’s heart to guard against sin (Psalm 119:11). One must learn the Word of God. This takes hard, old-fashioned study.
Laying a foundation has never been easy, although modern machinery speeds up the time. There is no invention that cuts down on the need for having one’s mind consistently and persistently in God’s Word. Time coupled with effort is the only means. Salvation must be accompanied by a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). It is sad that some have so departed from this basic principle that they believe no knowledge is required, that they simply must superficially call upon Christ’s name for immediate—one might say—cheap salvation. Christ Himself taught forcefully against this in the verses prior to the foundation passage (Matthew 7:21-23).
Once learned, the Holy Scriptures must be obeyed for the foundation to be solid. The living Word of God has the power to change lives (Hebrews 4:12), but men have been given the freewill to reject it. A hearer can know facts, timelines and history, but not allow the Holy Message to change his behavior. This is not the reason for which Christ died and revealed His Word in this last era of humanity (Hebrews 1:1-4). Is it possible that some have deep knowledge of God’s Word, but somehow they deceive themselves out of obeying it? The Scripture reveals that the heart can be so deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and can cause one to become a hypocrite (Romans 2:1, 17-24).
There is no other foundation than Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). Some would depart so far from truth as to invent their own systems of faith, that they even deny the Savior and turn to other religious leaders. This idolatrous phenomenon is not new to the world, but it is being renewed in 21st century America. For a long time in the United States, denominationalism has disturbingly raised its fists against truth. For the last half of the twentieth century, the emptiness of atheism and the mechanism of evolution have been the creed of the movers and shakers. Now, predictably (Romans 1:18-32), all sorts of paganism are taking hold. Such a move is not without consequences. In Romans 1, God gave up such idolaters to the fearful consequences of their sinful foundation (Romans 1:28-32). Like those who would build on an oft-stormed beach without any undergirding, the view for a time would be priceless, but the shifting sand foundation would provide no protection in the tempest of judgment.
Building on a solid foundation begins with God’s people (1 Peter 4:17-19). If neglect of God’s Word and willful disobedience buds there, what hope shall society have for peaceful living, and what chance shall lost men have for salvation?
Lay the Foundation
In Luke 6, Jesus paralleled hearing His sayings to digging down to get to rock. It was necessary to find rock so that the foundation of the house could be put on it.
In verse 47, Jesus talked about the man who hears and then does what he hears. Then, in verse 48, Jesus said such a man is like the man building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation. The foundation sits and is affixed to the rock. It is possible to dig down to the rock, and then just build the house on the rock without creating a conventional foundation. Then, when an earthquake or a severe flood occurs, the house would move on the rock and probably even collapse.
Sometimes the foundation was made of more rock, and sometimes it was made of substances like concrete. This foundation was attached to the rock by some method. It was not simply placed on the rock base.
Our actions in doing God’s Word is the process of building and properly affixing our spiritual foundation to the Rock. The more we put His Word into action, the better our foundation and the better it is affixed to the Rock. Our spiritual house, our life, will be built on the foundation, which is attached to the Rock. The bigger and the better we desire our lives to be, the bigger and the better affixed our foundation must be. If at any time we attempt to build our house bigger without studying the Bible and putting it into practice, our house will crumble when confronted with problems.
Notice that building the foundation and affixing it to the Rock is work. It is not something that just happens while we sit back and wish it to happen. We must personally work to build the foundation. We must affix that foundation to the Rock. Simply reading and studying the Bible will not make our house safe, although it is a good start. We must take action. We must do what God commands. Only obedience added to the hearing will make our spiritual house secure on the Rock.
Study your Bible. Obey it. Make sure your house is secure and safe. Continue to build your spiritual house throughout your life. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.