For our last sermon in the What Jesus Taught Series Tim looks at Jesus’ last words of the Sermon on the Mount, a call to not just hear Jesus words but to put them into practice in our lives! When we do this it is like building our house on the rock, when we hear Jesus words and don’t do what He says, it’s like building our house on the sand – when troubles come it falls with a great crash! What are you building your life on?
Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday June 12, 2022.
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- 23/10/22 – Ephesians 1:20-23 The Glory of The Church – by Kirrily Smeallie
I must admit, I feel a little sad this morning as we are ending our sermon series on What Did Jesus Teach through the lens of the Sermon on the Mount.
– I always remember doing a course on the Sermon on the Mount back in Vancouver 15 years ago at Regent College.
– My professor Darrell Johnson used to remind us that Jesus was the most brilliant man to ever live.
– I mean yes, he could do miracles and was compassionate and… well he is our saviour
– But it is good to remember that he is also brilliant. The smartest man to ever live… the mostprofound ethical teacher to ever live.
– I would challenge you to find a genius on the level of Jesus at any point through history. Hiswords have endured!
So as we close this series, it is no great surprise, having given the most brilliant and profound ethical teaching, that Jesus then finishes his sermon with a challenge to implementation!
– Having talked about the ethics and values of the kingdom of God. (gym membership)
– He is saying this is what it looks like when the gospel gets a hold of your life…- So Jesus then challenges his listeners to action. This is not to be interesting thoughts to mull over…
– Jesus words are to the be the rock upon which you build your life.
– This is the life built on implementing his teachings that will help you endure the storms of life!
Matthew 7:24-29“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. 25 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. 26 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. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
One of the things I love about where we live are those big East Coast low storms…
– I don’t know if they are happening more regularly, but when they hit, along comes ridiculously big waves (which Murray surfed at Deadman’s recently – pride by proximity)
– But for a few days the waves and wind beats on the coast… it pours with rain, and you often also get flooding.
– One of the big ones hit about 7 years ago, the week that Luca was due to be born.
– I remember getting SMS’s from the SES about possible evacuations because we were livingmnear Queenscliff lagoon.
So Manly Dam was flooding and king tides were pushing into the lagoon… and so the waters rose…
– I found the whole thing very exciting. Our friend Dr Becky the obstetrician was on call in case the flooding meant we couldn’t get out and Victoria went into labour.
– Victoria wasn’t quite as relaxed about it all as I was… and let’s just say, I’m glad I am telling the story…
– Anyhow, the Noah’s flood of Manly never quite eventuated and Luca was happily born up at North Shore Hospital.But of course, other than the birth of my son, the other big story at the time were the houses built on the edge of the beach at Collaroy that lost their front yards… pools and some even parts of their homes!
– Photos of the foundations exposed…
– At that stage, as the storm raged… and the waves beat against the shoreline… it is too late tostart doing any building work. Right?
– Instead it is a time of revelation. What has your house been built upon? Say again…
– Put simply, you can’t build foundations while the storm is raging…
– And what Jesus is telling us today, is that when the storms come in life, it is often too late todo any building work…
– Instead the storms of life reveal the foundations of how we have built our lives.Lets just unpack the passage…The house Jesus talks about is your life.
– We are all in one sense building a house… building a life… and it’s a gift from God.
– It really is! It is a miraculous, wonderful, complex but amazing gift!
– It is made up of so many things… our education, our jobs, our relationships, our passions andpersonality… and importantly, our character.
– So what kind of a person are you?
– As you build your life, it isn’t just what you do, but how you do it.
– How do you treat people? Are you honest? Do you have meaningful goals? Are you kind?
– Does your life involve serving other people or just building your own house.So be under no illusions… you are a builder of a life. One that not just affects you, but those around you.
– So we are all in the building game.
– And we want a life well built.
– I mean you would be a bit strange if you didn’t want to construct a meaningful andsuccessful life.So Jesus says, the wise person hears the words of Jesus, puts them into practice. And this is like building on rock.
– As the letter of James says, this person is a doer of the Word. They are wise because they take heed of Jesus ethical teaching and build a life upon those instructions.
– So this is not necessarily about being smart or knowing a short history of everything…
– 1 Corinthians tells us that knowledge puffs up but love builds up…
– So this is about implementation! It just is… it just is…
So the wise man hears the words of Jesus and puts it into practice. The life built on the rock, is the life of discipleship that implements what is learned.
– Now it would be a brave man who tried to sum up all of Jesus words or teachings in one sermon.
– And obviously part of Jesus words or teaching was God’s gift of salvation. The gift of eternal life for all who believe.
– But it also shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus basically has something to say on every aspect of life.
– From our work lives, to our relationships, to our integrity, to our purpose.
– Would you agree? This series has been eminently practical.
– And broadly it was to love God, love our neighbours, forgiving those who hurt us, don’t behypocritical, don’t judge others!One of the most foundational and summary passages though is found in Matthew 7:12
– Strangely enough we actually didn’t cover it during this series, so it makes sense to me to bring it in, in our last sermon in the series.
– It is called the Golden Rule, and is often regarded as the most profound ethical guide to life ever given. Do you know it?
– “So in everything, (Jesus says), do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
– So in other words, treat people how you would like to be treated.
– There is something to put into practice. Yeah? Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
– Treat other people with the concern and kindness you would like them to show toward you.So Jesus teaches his followers “do to others what you would have them do to you”
– Do you want compassion? Give compassion.
– Do you want mercy? Show mercy.
– Do you want to be respected? Show respect.
– Right? Step outside ourselves and consider others point of view, situation, or circumstances.We are all pretty self-serving creatures, and no one wishes for a life of hardship or difficulty.
– No one wishes to be disrespected at work, insulted on social media, or excluded at a dinner.
– Therefore, Matthew 7:12 provides a way to interact with people in healthy and ethical ways.
– So…in building your life, when it is time to act, when in doubt about how to respond to asituation or how to react to a person, simply consider how you would like to be treated—and then do that.You wouldn’t commit adultery because surely if you love yourself, no one here would want their partner to cheat on them…
– So out of love… out of treating people how you would like to be treated, we come up with a way to live an ethical, moral life. Adultery gets put off the table…
– Right – you wouldn’t want to be murdered… so don’t murder.
– Right? We hate it when things are stolen from us… so don’t steal. It’s the loving, right way tolive.
– So there is something to put into practice.
– These words of Jesus, are the solid foundation for building a life!So if that is building your house, your life on the rock, then the sand is a life that hears Jesus words and does not put them into practice.
– This is the warning…
– So you can hear Jesus warn against building treasures on earth and then commit your entirelife to getting rich, no matter the cost to your family, your integrity or how you treat people.
– Jesus would say, you are building on sand.
– You can hear Jesus talk about oaths and letting your yes and no be enough… and then spenda life cheating people and making false promises and having no integrity.
– Jesus would say you are building on sand.
– You can hear Jesus warning about committing adultery and then go and cheat on yourspouse or be serially unfaithful or loose in the caboose!
– Jesus would say you are building on sand. Right?All of this and so much more is what Jesus would call an unstable foundation for your life. And just let me be clear. According to Jesus, building on the sand does not end well.
– And it is because of the one constant however you build.
– And that is the storms that come to test the strength of the house and its foundations…
– The storms are the challenges of life.
– One house lasts, one house falls…And 2022… what a couple of year it has been… boy oh boy… can we just start again?
– Remember when the biggest issues we were all facing was not being able to water our gardens?
– Much has been washed away in the last 2 years, and many of us are feeling the strain on our health, our finances, our relationships and even our faith
– The storms of this life hath cometh knocking!
– And I think it is fair to say that Jesus had in mind these external tests that are often out of our hands that severely shake us…
– The storms of life will come. We don’t go looking for them, but they always come…If I was to sum up the current scene, I’d say we are all currently in the post corona slumps, booms, slump… yeah?
– During Covid we got through with blitz spirit… in this together, stay calm and carry on! But it was exhausting…
– Then we came out… well we came out, then went in, then came back out… then got locked back in…
– But eventually at the start of this year… we came out… and there was this post slump boom of life getting back to normal… we could go out again… we could send our kids to school.
– But it feels now a bit like a post corona slumps, booms, slump.
– So many people are sick with all the illnesses we haven’t had for 2 years… and there is a bitof trepidation about debt and inflation and war… and argh!Actually some one asked me the other day do we live in the End times? You know Book of Revelation stuff…
– To which I always give the same answer… Yes… absolutely we are… this is the end times… and we have lived in the end times for the last 2000 years…
– I mean lets face it, we are not the first to live through a storm!
– World War 1, Spanish Flu? The great depression, World War 2, The Cold War, the worshipwars…
– Right? The last 100 years have been full of storms!
– But seriously, life is a wonderful gift, but comes with genuine, challenging storms!
Two things to finish…
Firstly, You are not called to be a solid rock… just to build your life upon one.
– One of the lies that we tell ourselves, and I think particularly as Christians, that we shouldn’thave difficult times in our lives…
– That because we have God we won’t suffer or face giants!
– And one of the bravest things that we can ever do is put our hand up for help.
– So remember that! Jesus and his word is the solid rock, not you!
– So be kind to yourself…Finally, do the building now.
– Put Jesus words into practice in your life… now!
– This is the great encouragement from todays passage… that if we implement the Words ofJesus in building our house… our lives… we will stop things crashing down, when the stormscome!
– As those people in Collaroy learnt… when the storms are raging… it is too late to build properfoundations!I love the story of Captain Casey Sullenberger and the miracle on the Hudson.
– Do you know the story or have you seen the movie with Tom Hanks?
– Sullenberger has taken off from JFK airport with a plane full of passengers, when a massiveflock of geese hits the plane killing both engines… and Sully needs to decide in a matter of moments what he is going to do!
– And in a matter of moments, Sully, lands his airbus passenger plane on the Hudson river in New York
– I remember reading that if it had been a new pilot it would have ended in catastrophe…
– But Captain Sullenberger was so experienced as a pilot that his instincts kicked in and it camenaturally to him, to bring the plane down on the river….
He didn’t have time to look things up in the Book of Instructions. Right?
– And he certainly didn’t have time to run a calculation about what would do the most good for the most people…
– He had to act instinctively, and fortunately, those instincts had been trained by years of experience.
– When the storm came… when the great test came, his thousands of hours of doing it… made him ready to respond!That’s the challenge for us…
– Get the Words of Jesus so deep within you, that when faced with challenges or trials or temptations or big decisions, you instinctively know what to do, because his words have gone deep in your life!
– How did Sully know what to do? Deep within his heart his instincts had been trained to know what to do.
– And so it is with us… we put the words of Jesus into practice…
– And when 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.