Posts Tagged ‘Believing in Christ’

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 

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Genesis 25:24-27 – BEAR GRYLLS VS MASTER CHEF

Bear Grylls and Master Chef

He is an outdoorsman, an adventurer, a survivor, best known for his television series MAN VS. WILD”. He climbed Mount Everest at 23 and has excelled in sailing, skydiving, karate, climbing cliffs, parachuting from helicopters, paragliding, and along the way he has eaten snakes and deer droppings and other disgusting things in order to survive.

Recently BEAR GRYLLS came to our Church (Hillsong Church, Australia) and spoke about his adventures and about his faith in God. He describes his faith as the “backbone” of his life. He promotes the Alpha Course on the basics of the Christian faith.

The Bear Grylls of the Old Testament was ESAU, only with more body hair. Esau was a great hunter, a sportsman, an outdoorsman. Today he would have been chosen as the captain of the Rugby League team and he’d have his own survival TV show.

JACOB, his twin brother, was the total opposite to Esau (obviously not identical twins). He stayed around home, much less adventurous. Today he would be training as a Master Chef, writing recipe books, with his own restaurant called “BIRTHRIGHT” known for its great stew.

Being a FIRST BORN SON brings certain privileges. A first born son in Old Testament times is given the overall LEADERSHIP of the family, the SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY of the family as well as a DOUBLE PORTION of the inheritance. Esau is a firstborn son, if only by a few seconds so this is his BIRTHRIGHT. This is how it is always done. Or is it?

God is not subject to our expectations. He sometimes cuts right across social and cultural expectations and CHOOSES people indiscriminately for His purposes? Or at least it seems that way. We’ve seen this already in Genesis. Neither Seth nor Isaac are first born sons, but they are given the responsibility by God to carry the promises of God down through their generations. What is going on here?

Why does God want to BY-PASS Ishmael and choose Isaac? Why does He want to arbitrarily choose Jacob over Esau? Perhaps it’s NOT arbitrary at all! Is it that God FORESEES that Esau will not be interested in the things of God, that he will never be positive towards God or His promises? Is God stressing the importance of PERSONAL BELIEF in Him, of SPIRITUAL qualifications?

Romans 9:6-13 (NLT) clarifies things further by saying “… NOT ALL who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham DOESN’T make them truly Abraham’s children … Abraham’s PHYSICAL DESCENDANTS are NOT necessarily children of God..”

Abraham is described as the SPIRITUAL FATHER of those who have faith and believe in Romans 4:11f. It goes on to explain that God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants was based on a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with God that comes by FAITH in the promises of God which ultimately speak of faith in Christ.

Romans 9:10-13 is amazing. Listen to this … “When Isaac married Rebekah, she gave birth to TWINS. But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God CHOOSES people according to HIS OWN PURPOSES; He CALLS people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” In the words of the Scriptures, “I LOVED Jacob, but I REJECTED Esau.”” Why was Jacob loved and Esau rejected? Was it because Jacob would be a man of faith who would carry the promises of God to his descendants?

Ishmael and Esau are FIRSTBORN sons but they are not AUTOMATICALLY chosen by God simply because they are firstborn sons. Neither do Isaac and Jacob receive the inheritance of the promises of God because they deserve it or earn it or work for it in any way. I don’t claim to understand it but God CHOOSES them before they were born with the FOREKNOWLEDGE that they would make a POSITIVE non-meritorious response towards Him and His purposes for their lives. Here is the SOVEREIGNTY of God and the FREEWILL of man in perfect TENSION, which has frustrated both Calvinists and Arminianists down through the ages ever since.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) says “God saved you by His GRACE WHEN YOU BELIEVED. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Titus 3:7 (NLT) says “Because of His GRACE He declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” 

When Jacob believes he looks forward to the promise of the Saviour through whom all the nations of the world will be blessed. He looks forward to Jesus. We look back. Romans 4:23-25 says “It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous IF WE BELIEVE in Him, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.”

One thing I know is that God loves the Bear Grylls and the Master Chefs and every other person upon earth and longs for every one of us to believe Him and His promises. He gives every person the invitation and the opportunity to be born again into the family of God as they place their trust in Christ and come under His authority for their lives.

Pastor Ross