Reading: Matthew 7:24-29
[a] This morning, throughout the whole country, there has been a remembrance of those who have given their lives for us - literally to lay the foundation which we have today for peace, stability and freedom.
[a] I want to pose a very important question - "How stable are the foundations of your life?"
[c] I suppose, all of us, in one way or another, have been involved in D.I.Y.
As an officer, sometimes you don't have much choice - plastering, painting, papering, or like me, in days past, installing burglar alarms, or doing some car repairs. Maybe your part is 'advising' or perhaps the most important bit - clearing up afterwards!
[d] But if you've done a job, and done it well, at least in your estimations, then it gives a sense of satisfaction.
[e] Lots of people today save money by doing a lot of their own house repairs and renovations. David and Kay haven't long bought a new house, and bless them, I think they felt they had moved into a building site! They've been working very hard at it, and bit by bit it's taking shape. They had one room completed, I think the kitchen, and they said they could sit in the kitchen, and just pretend they rest of the house was completed as well! One advantage is that when you do it yourself, you know you've used the best materials and loving care - because it's yours!
THE SPIRITUAL HOUSE
[a] The problem is that many people do not use the same care when building their SPIRITUAL HOUSE!
[b] The Rev. John Orr, who married us over 30 years ago, used the text at our wedding, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it." (Psalm 127:1)
[c] HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED THAT WHEN A HOUSE IS BEING BUILT - THE FOUNDATION OFTEN TAKES LONGER THAN THE REST OF THE HOUSE! ONCE THAT'S COMPLETED, THEN THE HOUSE JUST SHOOTS UP!!
[d] BUT MANY PEOPLE TRY TO BUILD THEIR LIVES AND EVEN SOMETIMES THEIR MARRIAGES WITHOUT A REAL FOUNDATION!!
[a] When we went to Enniskillen corps, we went to a portable classroom building.
The reason was because the foundations of the previous building slipped, and it went into Lough Erne. Truly, the Salvation Army becoming the Salvation Navy!
[b] The Salvation Army had us in the Edinburgh area for 10 years, and so many times we passed by, and even entered, Edinburgh Castle, built there, as it is, upon the huge rock, in the City centre.
One time we were in the adjoining park, and we saw a teenager stuck halfway up. He foolishly tried to climb it, and had to be rescued by the firemen.
Solid rock is responsible for the castle's stability over the many years it has stood, and the history it has witnessed.
[c] Any building is only as good as it's foundation.
[d] In striking contrast to the castle- our East Scotland Musselburgh quarters, had cracking walls, and sloping floors. Structural engineers found that it had no solid foundation, but was built upon shale!
[e] Whilst in Musselburgh, we also had responsibility for TRANENT HALL! Exploratory excavation showed it had NO FOUNDATION AT ALL! IT SORT OF SAT THERE LIKE A BISCUIT TIN DEFYING THE LAWS OF NATURE! ON CHATTING ABOUT IT, THE ARCHITECT AGREED THAT IT MUST HAVE STOOD DOWN THROUGH THE YEARS BY FAITH AND PRAYER.
[a] Jesus likens the necessities of a good foundation in a house, to the building of our spiritual lives, and says, quite simply, if the foundation is SAND instead of ROCK, then the house will not stand!
[b] You'll remember in the parable of the wise and foolish men, the houses had to encounter exactly the same storm! The coming of that storm was inevitable!
[c] You and I in life must go through the storms of temptation, pain, sorrow, and all the rest - whether we are Christians or not!
[d] The DIFFERENCE, is the FIRMNESS OF OUR FOUNDATION! That factor will determine whether or not we will stand!
[e] If your foundation isn't solid - if it is wrong or misplaced, then you will fall - just like the house on the sand - when the storm comes!
[a] Our other Bible reading, has been misquoted, misrepresented, and misunderstood for years!
[b] Some years ago, a Salvationist came to me and said, "But surely the Bible says that Peter is the rock upon which the Church was to be built!"
[c] What in essence he was saying, was that Peter was the first pope, appointed by Christ, and as such, then his successors would have that apostolic authority! And further, that would make him the head of the only ‘true church’.
[d] Nothing could be further from the truth - and in this instance, NOTHING COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUR FOUNDATION!
[e] After all, if that's wrong, then everything is! That would mean the whole spiritual building would be in danger of collapse!
[f] Peter had just made the all important statement that Christ was the SON OF GOD!
[g] THAT IS THE ROCK UPON WHICH THE CHURCH IS BUILT - NOT THE FALLIBLE PETER, WHO WAS SOON TO BE DENYING HIS LORD WITH CURSES AND OATHS!
SOME ROCK! SOME INFALLIBILITY!
[h] In 1 Corinthians 10:4, JESUS HIMSELF IS SPOKEN ABOUT AS THE ROCK!
[i] If the Church is not built upon the TRUE ROCK, THE LORD JESUS, then it will not stand!!
[a] Is your life built solidly upon the Lord??
If not then it is in imminent danger of collapse!
[b] There are many who try and live the Christian life, but their foundation has never been laid properly –
ON THE ROCK CHRIST JESUS!
[c] Is it then any wonder that their spiritual lives collapse as did so many of the houses we have seen in some of the recent terrible earthquakes and floods?
[d] There are others who appear to get the foundation right, BUT KEEP LAYING IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN!! THEY NEVER SEEM TO GET ANY FURTHER THAN THE START – AND JUST KEEP GOING OVER THE SAME OLD GROUND!
[e] The writer to the Hebrews speaks of this in chapter 6:1, when he speaks of those who keep laying over and over, the foundations of conversion, baptism, good works etc. He tells them to get on with building their spiritual lives!! They should be long past all that! IT IS A MARK OF GROSS IMMATURITY!
[f] You know who he's talking to - the kind of folk who never actually build anything of their Christian experience, but KEEP GETTING SAVED ALL THE TIME - SORT OF HAND TO MOUTH CHRISTIANITY - and getting their fingers bitten in the process!
[g] My dear friend, is YOUR FOUNDATION built upon THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!
IF IT IS - THEN LET US GO FORWARD AND BUILD!
[h] If not, then could I encourage you to make a life changing decision for the Lord? The opportunity is yours just now. On this Sunday, when our thinking has been turned to those responsible for laying the foundations upon which our whole society is built.
Will you make a commitment to the Lord?
PRAYER CHORUS NO 94
CHORUS THE WISE MAN BUILT ...