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Castles in the Sand

What is considered the greatest sermon ever told was preached by Jesus in Matt chapter 5, 6 and 7.
This is of course the sermon on the mount. If you have a red-letter Bible, you will notice virtually
all of those 3 chapters is Jesus speaking.

The sermon on the mount ends with this passage.

Matt 7:24; “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Matt 7:25; And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Matt 7:26; Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
Matt 7:27; The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

This passage has four parts to it.
1. The house.
2. The rock.
3. The sand.
4. The weather (elements)

What is the house? It's you! It's your walk with God. It's your view of God.
The interesting thing about this.. it's the man (not God) who builds the house.
( 1 Cor 3:9-10; ) We even get to decide where to build this house. Some of us build on the rock,
and some of us build on the sand.

What is the rock? It's doing. Both types of builders heard the words which Jesus spoke to them.
But one builder not only heard the words Jesus spoke. He acted on them.

What is the sand? It's listening. Of course we have to listen, in order to know what to do.
But we can't be listeners only. ( Rom 2:13; James 1:22; )
This type of buuilder also heard the words which Jesus spoke. But he didn't act of them. He didn't
do any of the things Jesus talked about in the sermon on the mount.

Now of course you have to read the chapters of Matthew 5, 6 and 7 in order to know what the words Jesus
spoke before he concluded with the verses above.

What is the weather? (the wind, the rains, and the flood) It's the things that come against us
in life. Temptation, trials, people, people, people (did I mention people?) and that thing called life.

We will all be tested at some point. But where is your foundation built? Upon merely showing up
for church and listening. Or is it built upon actually doing and living out your life the way Jesus told
us to?

Up here in Washington state we have a lot of forests. There is a practice called "thinning out".
The logging companies don't cut down all of the tress, only "most" of them. They leave a few behind.
In theory this keeps the soil from washing away, and protects some of the smaller trees from elements
(weather) until they are able to bear it on their own.

The problem is... some of these trees that get "left behind" will fall down. Almost every thin cut patch has several of these trees that have fallen down. Why does a big "fully grown" tree sometimes fall?
Because most of their life they've been sheltered from wind and storms. The other tree surround them and take most of the force of the weather, blocking most of it from these trees. Then for whatever reason, these other trees are cut down and removed. Now that tree has to be able to stand on it's own. It has to be able to stand up against the force of the storms. Many trees are able to do this. But some trees are not.

This happens to Christians sometimes, we stand in the shadow of other Christians. Letting them handle most of the storms that come our way. But then one day, they aren't there. There comes a day you have to stand without someone else to hold you up. (of course the Lord helps us and hold us up) but it's up to us where we build the house.

When I was younger I lived in San Diego and went to some of the sand festivals. People can build some truly amazing things. Some of these intricate structures are amazingly complex and beautiful. Often people will build castles. One of the problems with sand castles is that they take some moisture in the sand in order to hold them together. One trick to hold the moisture in for a little longer is to spray them with hair spray (to seal in the moisture) to keep them from crumbling. ( 1 Cor 10:12; )
I think there are more than a few Christians using hair spray to hold their houses together.
But hairspray or not, eventually the wind, rain and tides (floods) will come, and the castles that are
built in the wrong place get washed away.

So what are some of the things Jesus spoke on in the sermon on the mount that we should be "acting upon" or "doing"?
On one hand there are several places in the Bible that say... we are under grace, not under the law (Rom 6:14-15; Gal 2:21; Gal 5:4; etc... )
But on the other hand Jesus said he didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Of course He said this in the sermon on the mount.
He also specifically mentions some of the old testament commandments.

Matt 5:21; “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’
Matt 5:22; But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
Matt 5:23; Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
Matt 5:24; leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering

In the old testament law, we weren't supposed to murder people.
But under the new testament law of grace, we can't even stay angry at them, or even call them "good for nothing".
The covenant of grace has higher standards than the old testament law. Things didn't get easier, they got harder.

Matt 5:27; “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;
Matt 5:28; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matt 5:29; If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

In the old testament, you couldn't sleep with someone you weren't married to. But now under grace, it gets a little harder. You can't even look at a woman lustfully.

Matt 5:31; “It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’;
Matt 5:32; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

In the old testament law, you were allowed to divorce a woman "if she is not favorable in your eyes" ( Deut 24:1; ) but under the new covenant of grace, the only reason
you are allowed to divorce someone is if they are unfaithful and cheat on you.

Jesus also talks about the old testament laws "making false vows" and "an eye for an eye", but again these things don't get easier under grace, they get harder.
Some churches don't have a clue what the covenant of grace is. They preach it as a "get out of jail free card" but this is the opposite of what Jesus says.

Over a dozen times in the New Testament we are told to keep the commandments. Not just by Jesus but by virtually all of the books written by the apostles.
All of the verses above are from Matt 5, which of course is part of the sermon on the mount.
So these are some of the words Jesus is talking about when He says... those who listen and do not act upon them, and those who listen and also act upon them.
The verses I shared at the beginning of this thread are also in Luke. They are slightly different, but mostly the same. In fact it is believed that most of Luke 6
is taken from the sermon on the mount.

Luke 6:46; “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
Luke 6:47; Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:
Luke 6:48; he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
Luke 6:49; But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Why do you call me Lord? What is a Lord? Someone who has authority over you. Someone you have surrendered your life to. Sworn fealty to.
And yet there are many "Christians" who call Jesus "LORD", but yet they don't allow Him to have any authority in their lives.
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

No baggage allowed.

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