Archive for August, 2012

Matthew 7:24-29 – HOW TO BE SHOCKED ENOUGH TO TAKE ACTION 

Building Your Life On The Rock. Painting and image by Ross Cochrane. Turn your head sideways to the right and you will see a sleeping headland or cliff-face imbedded in the rock.

A luxury villa with an immaculately manicured lawn, beautiful swaying palm trees, an infinity pool, a jetty for speedboats and a helipad, this is the paradise world of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Just one of 300 man-made islands sculpted from sand; a 14 billion dollar dream in Dubai. It took 5 years to build and 320 million cubic metres of sand dredged from the sea to create these islands and nest them inside a protected lagoon. But of course when you build on the sand things come crashing down; enter 2008’s global financial crash. Virtually overnight the market collapsed. Contracts worth hundreds of billions of pounds were put on hold. 60 billion dollars in debt. Shock!

In reading about Dubai World I couldn’t help but be reminded about the story Jesus told in Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT) Jesus says “… anyone who hears My teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Epitaph – “His life was built on an unstable foundation and was not able to withstand the gradual undermining erosion that took place. Cracks in the wall began to appear early in his life. When the storms of sickness and suffering came, when the storms of temptation and sin came, when the storms of misunderstanding and gossip came, when the storms of doubt and rejection came, when the storms of stress and death came, when the storm of God’s Judgment came His life was built on sand and came crashing down. It was washed out to sea. The aftermath of a cyclone and the reminders of His life are now strewn in wreckage along the beach.” Shock!

The storms of life test the foundations of our faith. Not that you would notice the difference on the outside between the house built on sand and the house built on the rock, but when the storms come you will see how immeasurably different they are.

Jesus speaks about building on a solid rock foundation. Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT) “Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” 

The “bedrock” relates to the message of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mountain but also to all His teaching. “Petra” (rock) is the word that is used here in the original language of the Bible. It doesn’t mean a stone or a single rock but it is describing a great outcropping of rock, a large expanse of bedrock which is SOLID, STABLE, AND UNMOVABLE.

How stable is your faith? What are you really trusting in? Will it still be there when the storms have passed, anchored and unmoving? Will the last storm of Judgment burn away the refuse of a life lived without God and produce irreparable devastation and separation from God for eternity?

Matthew 7:28 (NLT) says “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were AMAZED at His teaching …”

Amazed! Astonished! Shocked! There is a big difference between being astonished and coming under the authority of what Jesus is saying, between adding Jesus to our lives as an optional extra and truly following Him as our Lord and Saviour. Jesus was after action not just astonishment, worship not just wonder, obedience not just observation, salvation not just shock. The invitation is to allow God to turn amazement into action by actively trusting and following Christ as your Lord and Saviour today, the Solid Rock foundation for our lives. 

Pastor Ross 

Advertisements

Matthew 7:24-27 – HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN SUSTAINABLE HOME 

Build on the Rock – Photo creation by Ross Cochrane

Many years ago we built our first house. The chief aim in BUILDING A HOUSE AND A LIFE is that it will be able to withstand the storms that inevitably come against us. We consulted a builder we trusted. He was a man with integrity and he assured us that he would build us a house that would last. If ever we pass through Armidale, NSW, we visit that little house where we began to raise our family. We learned a lot from building that little house, so here’s a CHECKLIST before you start building a house and a building a life…

1. Consult with an EXPERT BUILDER and LISTEN to instructions. Listen to someone who knows the building trade. Get access to someone who has credibility.

A carpenter by trade and profession, Jesus Christ knows houses and the building trade. He is the MASTER BUILDER of a person’s life. Psalms 127:1 (NIV) says “Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labour in vain …” In Matthew 7:24 (NLT) Jesus says “Anyone who LISTENS to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock …”

In Exodus 33:13 (NLT) Moses looks to God and says “… let me know Your ways …” Psalms 25:5 (NLT) says “Lead me by Your truth and teach me, …” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” His Word (the Bible) is comprehensive. It’s all in writing. Keep a copy of the plan at hand for every situation you encounter. You will be amazed at His teaching and the credibility of His authority (Matthew 7:28-29).

2. CHECK THE FOUNDATIONS. Engineer-designed, special REINFORCING and treatment due to high wind zones or proximity to the coast. Jesus Christ is the rock solid FOUNDATION for every life (1 Corinthians 3:11). Every person has an opportunity to build on the best foundation. In Matthew 7:26-27 (NLT) Jesus goes on to say “But anyone who hears My teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

3. COUNT THE COST. Luke 16:11 (NLT) says “… if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?”

Since we built our house the Government in Australia has introduced assistance programmes (such as the First Home Owner’s Grant). Philippians 4:19 (NLT) speaks of the best assistance programme in life. It says “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

4. SIGN THE CONTRACT. When I was sure I signed a contract. When I was sure about Christ I made a decision to trust Him to build my life. Acts 16:31 (NLT) simply says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved …” I believe! I’m committed! Let’s build!

In Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT) Jesus says “Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock …” 

Pastor Ross

Related articles

Matthew 7:22-23 – HOW CAN THINKING PEOPLE BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?

How Can a Thinking Person Believe?

Jesus makes it tough for people living in the Western World. He says “On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your Name and cast out demons in Your Name and performed many miracles in Your Name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.’”

All these things are unfamiliar to our culture. In just a few sentences Jesus speaks about JUDGMENT DAY, PROPHECIES, DEMONS, MIRACLES, KNOWING GOD and GOD’S AUTHORITY to tell us what to do. Not what we want to hear in our scientific age. Richard Dawkins, the famous atheist, mocks the fuse that has been lit by the words of Jesus in these verses. He wants to cast out Christians in the name of science.

Yes, I know there have been times in history when Christian culture has confused spirituality with superstition, regarding various amulets and charms with power to cast out demons. Yes, religious leaders have used these trinkets to promote superstition for personal gain and power. Yes, many believed that all diseases were produced by evil spirits and those with intellectual disabilities or suffering from a mental illness or Epilepsy were considered to be possessed by demons. But please don’t tar every follower of Christ with the same brush? Same old, same old.

Jesus believed in the existence of demons! As a Bible-believing Christian today I acknowledge the existence of a spiritual world including the demonic, without having to put any trust in amulets and charms. Similarly every Bible-believing Christian I know believes in miracles, and signs and wonders without attributing superstitious beliefs to eclipses and comets, magic and false prophets. No intelligent person can explain every human condition by science alone.

Unlike Richard Dawkins, many cosmologists today are speaking of parallel universes or multiverse, even though they are conflicted because it doesn’t fit neatly into the test-tube of science. In his book, A Brief History of the Multiverse, author and cosmologist, Paul Davies, says, “… how is the existence of the other universes to be tested? … somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As one slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less and less is open to scientific verification …The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.” — Paul Davies, A Brief History of the Multiverse

George Ellis, like most cosmologists, accepts the idea of the multiverse saying it would be so far away, however, and that it’s very unlikely any evidence will be found. He says “As skeptical as I am, I think the contemplation of the multiverse is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the nature of science and on the ultimate nature of existence: why we are here … In looking at this concept, we need an open mind, though not too open. It is a delicate path to tread. Parallel universes may or may not exist; the case is unproved. We are going to have to live with that uncertainty. Nothing is wrong with scientifically based philosophical speculation, which is what multiverse proposals are. But we should name it for what it is.” — George Ellis, Scientific American, Does the Multiverse Really Exist?

I know that like the multiverse, when my prayers are answered in miraculous ways we are still not be able to sieve it through the grate of science and come up with God or a miracle. Yet to deny God and miracles on the basis of science is a lie and the spiritual dimensions of life will remain disregarded and silent, unable to be investigated due more to rebellion than reason.

Miracles are not only possible, but any thinking person will concede that life is not lived in the test tube of science alone. Unfounded assertions and rudeness will not help the cause of science. Such a limited view of life displays arrogance and ignorance. Such arrogance and ignorance is the soil in which unbelief grows and does not leave us open enough to investigating the possibility of the truth of the Bible. The invitation God gives is simply to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8 – that’s about as empirical as it gets! 🙂 

Pastor Ross