Do you remember the VBS song? The words are, “The wise man built his house upon the rock…”
Before you read any further, please answer a question. What is Jesus talking about when he made the comparison that this song memorializes? What is he saying to the people who have just heard the “Sermon on the Mount”?
Jesus says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).
Our wisdom or folly hinges on whether or not we put Jesus’ teachings into practice in our daily lives. What kind of things has Jesus just been teaching?
A survey of chapter 5 in Matthew reveals the following teachings:
Rejoice when people persecute you (5:11-12). Do good deeds openly so people will praise God (5:13-16). Quickly seek reconciliation with any brother you harm (5:23-25). Guard against looking lustfully (5:27-30). Honor your marriage vows (5:31-32). Keep your promises (5:33-37). Refuse retaliation (5:38-42). Love your enemies (5:44).
Add to that brief list the teachings of chapters 6 and 7. Now honestly answer the question, “Am I practicing Jesus’ teachings? Am I a wise man, or a fool? Am I building on a solid foundation or sand?”
“Do I obey Jesus?” is the heart of discipleship. Will I listen to him and put what he tells me to do into practice?
Accepting him as Savior is one thing. Obeying him as Lord is another.
This morning I met with seven guys in the local jail. We did a Discovery Bible Study of John 15:1-17. Here Jesus teaches his disciples that our heavenly Father works for us to be abundantly fruitful. God is the gardener. He is willing to do whatever it takes to bear much fruit in our lives. Here we also see Jesus is the vine–we must abide/remain in him.
Then Jesus transitions from the word picture of the vineyard to say that if we love him we will obey him. Disobedience demonstrates a lack of love. His perfect love for the Father was revealed through his perfect obedience. Part of Jesus’ obedience was to reveal the Father to us. Watching Jesus through the gospels shows us God’s heart.
Growing in love with Jesus causes us to abide. Abiding prompts us to build wisely. Our obedience forms a solid foundation. The structure of our lives is secure on this foundation. Are you wise? If so, God will bless you with abundant fruitfulness.