The Two Types of Foundations
Matthew 7:21-27, Message by Pastor Eric Chang
Today we are going to study then [the Lord Jesus’ teaching in] Mt. 7:21-27, and this passage reads like this:
Not every one who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.” Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.
The parallel passage to this is in Lk. 6:46-49.
Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.
Differences In Parallel Passages
Now these two passages are similar, but not exactly the same. In the teaching of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels, you often see passages which are similar, but they are not the same. What is the reason for this? One of the reasons for this is that the Lord Jesus did not only say these things once in his ministry. Many times he would speak the same parable or teach the same truth in another place. If a lesson is important, and since the Lord Jesus was not preaching in one place, it is to be expected that he would preach the same message in a different place to different people. But when he preached in another place, there would be some difference in wording and some difference of presentation. Here the difference is very small. In some places, when you study the Gospels, you will notice the difference is quite big. For example, when you study the Parable of the Talents [in Matthew 25] and the Parable of the Pounds [in Luke 19], you will immediately notice that there is a lot that is similar and a lot that is different. We find that sometimes Luke is recording his teaching in one place; Matthew is recording his teaching in another place. But we thank God for these differences because they enrich each other. For the preacher, it is really something most precious to be able to compare the two and find that something was said in this one that was not said in the other, and enriches the meaning of the other one.
Saving Faith - A Faith That Includes Obedience
Last time, we studied something very important. We saw that there are two kinds of faith. One kind of faith is the saving faith, but there is another kind of faith which is truly faith - that is, in any definition of the word ‘faith’ as it is normally used - but that faith is not a saving faith. I hope you have carefully thought through what the Lord Jesus was teaching there and asked yourself whether the faith you have is the saving faith or not the saving faith. We saw the fact that you can prophesy, that you can do miracles, does not prove that you have saving faith, though it does prove that you have some sort of faith.
How important it is today, brothers and sisters, that the whole church should understand this truth, for fear that there are many people in the church who have the same kind of faith as these people we read about last time - a faith that is there, but it is not a saving faith. We saw that the Lord Jesus turned to these people and said, “Depart from me, you evildoers. I don’t know who you are.” [Mt. 7:23] What was the problem with these people? It was not that they did not have faith. It is that their faith did not include obedience.
And we saw that the only faith that is a saving faith is the faith that includes obedience.
What Kind Of Faith Have you Got?
You may genuinely believe in Jesus. You may believe in God’s power to such an extent that you can do mighty miracles. Yet, the life that you are living is a life of self-will. In other words, in your daily life, you just do whatever you please. You go where you want to go; you do not have to bother to consult God at all. The only time you consult God is the time when you got lost; you did not know which way to turn. And you turn to God in the same way that an unbeliever would turn to a fortuneteller! He just does not know which is the right thing to do, so he wants, again, to make use of God to find out what is the right way to go. There are so many people whose Christianity [means that]. Even when they are looking for God’s will, it is not because they want to obey God! It is in the same way that [one consults a fortuneteller]. When they listen to a fortuneteller, it is not because they want to obey the fortuneteller; they want to know what is the right thing to do, which is the way they can avoid getting into trouble. So, these are Christians who have faith, but their faith does not function on the basis of obedience.
What kind of faith have you got? You say, “Well, I believe that Jesus is Christ, that is, he is the Messiah, the Savior of God. I believe that he rose from the dead, having died for my sins. I believe the Bible is the Word of God.” Now, you can believe all of this without once having to obey Christ in your daily life because you simply accept these things as true! Obedience to Christ in a living way is not involved in this kind of faith. Therefore, how can that kind of faith save you? The orthodoxy of faith alone, brothers and sisters, on the scriptural teaching, does not save, just by that intellectual or a very sincere belief.
There were many people in the history of the Christian church who have perpetrated the most disgraceful crimes in the name of Christ, and who believed all these doctrines. Do you think that those people who carried out the terrible business of the Spanish Inquisition and killed a lot of people in the name of Christ did not believe the Bible was the Word of God? Do you think they did not believe in God? Do you think that they did not believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you think that they did not believe that Jesus died on the cross? They believed all these things! In fact, with the cross hanging around their neck, they put other people to death. Now these things are true. These things are the black spots of the history of the Church: that you can wear a cross around your neck and put people to death, and to think that you are doing that for God! Nor should you think that only Roman Catholics are guilty of such crimes. The Protestants did some such things, too, in their time. What about the Thirty Years’ War? All this fighting was being done in the name of Christ! All these things! Why is that so? It is not that they lacked faith, but they lacked obedience. The Lord Jesus is saying, therefore, that you must have the kind of faith that operates on obedience, if you are going to be saved.
Or let us take the people in the church, never mind going back to the history of the Church. There are people who do the same things in the church in the name of Christ. Instead of using the sword to kill people, they use their tongue to do just the same job. There are people who criticize others in the church to the point of trying to destroy them. Nobody has been in the church for very long who will not have experienced that kind of thing. Some people have left the church simply because there are others who just kept criticizing them. These people’s tongues are like a sword. They say, “I criticize you because I am doing God’s service. So, I will call you a liar, a hypocrite, and whatever you are. I do this and just say, ‘I’m doing this for the service of Christ.’” It does not mean the church cannot point out faults and mistakes. But it is not [permitted for] us, as Christians, to go about criticizing and judging people in this hostile spirit, and then saying, “I am doing it for Christ.”
Do You Obey The Teaching Of The Lord Jesus?
Or let us take another point. The Lord Jesus says that we are to love one another, to encourage one another. Do you obey the teaching of the Lord Jesus? Do I obey that teaching? What is the use if I say I believe in Jesus but I do not do what he tells me to do? When I do not love the people round about, [when] I really do not care about them, how can I still be saying that I have faith in the saving sense? The doctrines are correct, but where is the practice? Where is the obedience?
I was in a meeting in Cambridge, England once. I will never forget that meeting of Christian leaders.. There were many Christian leaders there. They were all people whose names were very famous. You will find the names of these people in many books. And so, when I heard that these Christian leaders were having this meeting, and [since] I was in Cambridge at the time, I asked if I might be allowed to take part as one who listens in on the discussion. I must say that it was for me an experience that really made me feel so bad. It shook me. There were these Christian leaders, as I say, well-known writers, well-known Christian leaders, whose names I knew; I knew them from books When it came to a point of discussion, the attitude of argument with one another, I tell you, my heart just sank within me. I do not say that all of them behaved like this, but a considerable proportion of them behaved like this. I think you will not be surprised that I never want to read their books. It is because for me, it is important how the man lives. For me, it is important what kind of a person he is. I am not interested in just how many degrees he has got. It is of no importance to me.
But when there is a godly man and he has something to say, then I want to listen. That is why the books of people like John Sung are so precious to me. Brother John Sung, academically, was pretty hopeless - let me be quite honest about it. I am sure that in the field of chemistry, he would have been outstanding; that was his specialty. But in terms of the Word of God, he had next to no training. And so, when it comes to the academics of the Word of God, then John Sung’s writings are really not worth reading, from the point of view of academic teaching. But spiritually, the works of John Sung are most precious. His spiritual insight is exceedingly good. He can see what the academics cannot see. That is exactly what makes his writing precious. So, it all comes back to this matter of a faith that obeys or a faith that does not obey. That is most essential for us to know. Your salvation depends upon this.
Why Do People Who Have Faith Yet Do Not Obey?
How come then that there are people who have faith and do not obey? The Lord Jesus in Lk. 6:46 says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and don’t do the things that I say?” What is the answer to that question? What do you think is the answer? Why do people call Jesus “Lord, Lord” and they do not do what he says? Ask yourself, in your experience, how many times you have said, “Lord, Lord” to Jesus, but you did not do what he said? In Isa. 29:13, Isaiah says this in the name of the Lord, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Why bother to honor him with your lips if your heart is going to be far from him? Why bother? Here you see the foolishness of people.
You can deal with people like this, but you cannot deal with God like this. But we think that God is much like anybody else. You see, maybe I do not want to offend you, and so I say, “How are you? You are my friend, you know we are always friends.” But in my heart, I say, “The sooner this guy disappears, the better.” We behave like this because it is in our nature to behave like this. I think this is very much the situation in the church today in our attitude to one another. That is the way we behave towards one another. Let us be honest about it. After the meeting, you will be smiling at some people, saying, “How are you? Okay?” But you do not bother to hear the answer. It always reminds me where, in Chinese, we have the courtesy to say, “Have you eaten?” But if he says “No”, you do not say, “Come on, have a meal with me.” If you do that, then you really meant it, and you might say, “Oh, you have not eaten! Can I give you something?” No? So, we find that in many places, we ask the question, but we are not really concerned. We are near with the lips, but our hearts are far away.
Is Your Faith And Love To God Genuine Or Imaginary?
This means an important spiritual principle emerges. That principle is this: that no matter what your relationship is to God, it will be the same as your relationship to men. In other words, if you are far in your heart from God, you will be far from men. In the other way around, the same principle operates in the opposite direction. If your heart is far from people, it will also be far from God. These principles always operate in the spiritual life. If you want to learn to draw near to God, learn to draw near to one another. This is the principle that the Apostle John says in his first letter: “If you do not love your brother whom you can see, how can you love God whom you do not see?” [1 Jn. 4:20] You think about that.
Maybe we love the person we do not see because we do not have to think about his faults and his mistakes and his imperfections of character. It is like some boys and some girls who love somebody in their imagination, sometimes a movie star. Oh, this wonderful person! This beautiful (or handsome) movie star! You dream about this person all the time in your dreams. Just watch the teenagers when “The Beatles” and “The Rolling Stones” come on; they all go wild. But wait till you know that movie star. You see, you love that person so much because that person is only in your imagination. That person is so wonderful because in your imagination, you have made that person wonderful. If you had the chance of knowing that person, I wonder how many days after that you will still be excited about that person. I think that you will be so disillusioned at the end of one week that you would not want to think about that person again. It is because then you will see the person as he or she really is.
You see, that is a problem of marriage among young people, especially if they marry too young. They lack experience in life and the realities of human nature. You see, when they fall in love, they think that boy or that girl is just so wonderful, like an angel. They cannot eat. They cannot sleep. They can only think about this person. One month after they got married, they are already fighting because they have been living in their imagination, and the reality did not match their imagination.
So, we see that the principle here is this: Your love towards God - is that a genuine love or is that something you have built in your imagination? Have [you] painted some kind of an idea of God in your own mind? Now, it is true to say that no matter how wonderful you can imagine God, God will be more wonderful than that. But the point is not that. The point here is that in the spiritual life, your faith must not be a faith towards an imaginary object, but towards God as he really is. Now the question is: How do you know whether your faith is real or imaginary? There is an imaginary faith and there is a real faith. How do we know that one is real and one is imaginary? When it is put to the test of everyday life.
That is why you see some Christians in the church, oh, they are full of love for Christ! Oh, they are full of fire. And then, one year later, they are not in the church anymore! How do you connect these two things? You see the same person who is all full of fire for Christ and you say, “A person who has this kind of devotion to Christ must have a wonderful faith.” How is it today they have fallen away from Christ altogether? I am sure you know people like this. How to understand it? It is because their faith was an imaginary faith. I know many cases like this. I know people who are full of devotion to Christ. They live only for Christ. They study only for Christ. And where are they today? They are not in the church anymore. They are not walking with Christ anymore. You say, “Funny, how could a person have had this kind of devotion and is now completely in the other extreme?” When you see these things, do not be surprised. It will happen all the time.
It is no more strange or no more different from the young couple that got married. They were so deeply in love, and then a few months later, they got divorced. You ask yourself, “Did they not genuinely love each other before they got married?” You saw them in love with each other. Sure, it was genuine. You saw them holding hands and all the stars in their eyes, like being drunk with new wine, staggering down the streets. How can it be now, after a few months, they are already fighting each other?
This is the point. There is a difference between genuine love towards a genuine object, and a love that might have been genuine but towards an imaginary object. The difference between these two kinds of love, these two kinds of faith, is vast. If you fall in love, I hope that you fall in love this time with your eyes open, and not that kind of love where it says, “Love is blind.” That kind of love - forget it! It is because one of these days, when your eyes open, you will say, “What am I loving? Up to now, I have been loving with my eyes closed - blind love. Now I open my eyes and I see the reality.” So, start now with your eyes open. When you become a Christian and you love God, do not go there with your eyes closed. God does not want this kind of blind love.
Differences Between The Two Kinds Of Faith
So, how do we know the difference between these two? Where there is a true love (the love with the eyes open) the more the problems, the more the difficulties, the love gets deeper and stronger all the time. It is not a love that weakens with problems; it gets stronger with the problems! Then you know you have got the right kind of love, the right kind of faith in the other person. When you can see one year later, they are just as close as when they first got married, then you know they are on the right track. When five years later, they are even closer to each other than when they first got married, you say, “Praise God! They really know what love is about.” In the same way, the Christian who first came to the Lord, had love. Now, you see, one Christian five years later is even stronger than five years before, and the other, five years later is nowhere to be seen. There you know the difference of two different kinds of love, the two different kinds of faith.
How do you grow in this right kind of faith, this right kind of love? It is the love and the faith that is prepared to give one’s self to the other and not just to take [from] the other. The difference between “give” and “take” is the difference between these two kinds of love. That is why I am so afraid of those preachers who say, “Accept Christ today as your Savior. Take him.” I think that those of you who know my preaching do not hear me talking like this. I always speak about giving yourself to him; I do not speak about accepting Christ. Now you will know the reason. It is the fundamental difference between two kinds of love. To take is to get something for nothing. Most preachers like to prey on this baser aspect of human love: “If you believe in Jesus, you’ve got nothing to lose. You get Jesus on top of everything else, so you’ve got one bonus - a big bonus - on top of everything else. You have nothing to lose! “ There, my preaching is exactly the opposite. When you come to Christ, you give everything to him. The preacher who says, “Come and accept Christ! You’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose,” has got lots of people raising their hands. One year later, [what has happened to] these people who raised their hands? Where are they? The fallout rate (according to one survey) of the average evangelist in one year, is 80%! But for those who come to the Lord through my preaching, the fallout rate is almost nil. I have proved this in Liverpool over the years. All those who came to Christ still stand. Is it because I am more clever than these preachers? Not at all! I am sure many of them are more clever than I am, and many are better preachers than I am. But the difference is that I am determined to preach as the Lord Jesus taught.
Where in the teaching of Jesus do you see “accepting me”? Can you find me a passage where it says so? On the contrary, he says, “He who comes to me....” It is not “I come to him,” but “he who comes to me, I will not cast out.” “If you give yourself to me, I will accept you, if you come with an open heart [paraphrased].” When does the subject expect the king to come to him? It is we who go to the king! It is not a question then of accepting Christ - though that is not entirely untrue; of course, in a sense we do accept Christ - but more important than that is the teaching of the Lord Jesus in which he accepts us. The whole teaching of the Lord Jesus is that: Except a man deny himself for the sake of Christ, he cannot be Christ’s disciple.
Now, when you became a Christian, on what kind of preaching did you become a Christian? Did you become a Christian in order to get Christ, or to give yourself to Christ? There is a world of difference between these two. Right now, as a Christian, are you the Christian who accepts Christ, or are you the Christian who has given yourself to Christ? If you are the Christian who only takes Christ, who takes him to yourself in this way, in order to have him, to possess him, and to make use of him, you are not going to be a Christian who will survive for very long in the realities of everyday life.
When these two kinds of people become Christians, even their reaction is different at the beginning. You see many people, when they accepted Christ, say they are full of joy. Why not? If I get a big present, I am also full of joy. But when I lead people to Christ, I tell you, many times the tears run down their faces. They enter into the kingdom with their eyes open. They see the problems, the hardship of the narrow way. They have seen the glory of the kingdom of God. Their eyes are open spiritually, but they can see the narrow, the hard road leading there. They say to me, “I will take up the cross and go, to follow my Lord from this day forward.” Even though the tears run down their faces, forward they go! There is nothing superficial about this kind of Christian. They are the different type of Christian altogether in the church. That is why when I tell you that their fallout rate is almost nil, you would not be surprised by now.
So, today, I would like you to examine yourselves. What is the nature of your faith? What kind of a Christian life do you have today? Is it being a Christian in order to get all the things for yourself? Or rather, to see “I know now that Jesus is Lord”? He is King of the universe. He shall reign “wherever the sun does its successive journeys run”, that is, wherever the sun goes around the world. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. This kind of person is not like a present you can take to yourself, that you can put in a package with a nice red ribbon on it, and talk about some present that God gives to you that you can take home. Indeed, God gives us His present, His gift, but the most important thing is that having received it, we give ourselves. That is the most important thing. Then you know what it is to be a true Christian.
This shows the other point that the difference between these two kinds of faith, these two kinds of love, is the difference of the concept of who Jesus is. The kind of Christian who only talks about accepting Christ usually has no concept of the glory, the majesty, the greatness of Christ. He has no concept of that. Little wonder that when the problems come, he cannot stand. It is the difference between choosing the road that is easy, i.e., to get a present is easy, and the road that is hard, i.e., it is costly to give yourself. Costly!
Two Houses And Two Foundations
Now, this is the point of the building of the houses that the Lord Jesus speaks about. The one kind - when the flood comes, when the wind blows - collapses. But the other kind stands, no matter what kind of storm beats against it. Outwardly, these two houses may look the same. You cannot see the foundation; that is hidden. Just like so many Christians; they outwardly look the same. When you look at them in the church, how do you tell the difference? They are both very polite. They both have nice smiling faces. They look the same outwardly. The important difference between the two Christians, although outwardly looking the same, is the inward difference. One is built on the rock. The other one has no foundation; it is just sitting on the sand.
This is the meaning of the Lord’s teaching here. The life that you are living now is like building a house. If you are building just for a short time, why waste the energy and the strength and the cost to build it on a foundation? The man who builds for long-term, he builds on the rock because he is thinking of a long time ahead. This shows again the difference between these two kinds of faith and these two kinds of love. The one kind of Christian only thinks about the present. Another Christian thinks into the future, right through to eternity. You just have a conversation with them and you know which one they are thinking about. The one kind of Christian is only worried about his business, his exams. His whole thinking is only about today and tomorrow and the day after that. He has no vision, no future. The problem of today is the big thing. But the other Christian has his eye away in the distance. He is not short-sighted. Have you ever noticed that the person with the long-term view is the person who does not get too worried about problems in the immediate future? But for the Christian who thinks only about today, every small thing is a major disaster for him. It is because it is today and tomorrow that is important for him. After that, it does not matter. But the long-term Christian is the one who says, “Today and tomorrow, these are important, but not as important as the future that I am building for.”
What kind of Christian are you? [Are you] the Christian that lives for today? The kind which says, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die? Today is all we’ve got. Let’s enjoy it while we’ve got it.” [Or are you] the other kind? The person who looks into the distance, who says, “It may be hard work today, but it is worth it - the objective I am laboring for.” Now, I would have thought that our Chinese people are people with the long-term view. I am told that there are some people in the world who, if they have got some money in their pocket, they never bother to work until they have no more money, and then they work another day and then they can relax again. But I always understood that Chinese people are willing to work hard today so as to have a better future. They do not mind to have hardship today in order to have a good future. But if you can apply that into spiritual thinking, then you are really getting somewhere.
So, think of the beauty of the Lord’s teaching here. You try building a house on the rock and then you will know what he is talking about. Here is a great rock, how are you going to build a house on it? How are you going to put a foundation into that? Oh, that is hard work, chiseling and driving into the stone, in order to establish the house on the rock. In Lk. 6:48, the Lord Jesus says this, “He (i.e., the wise man) is like a man building a house who dug deep into the rock.” Not into the mud; that would be an easy job - to dig into the mud. But to dig into the rock, to dig deep, you try that! That really is hard work.
Think how many hours he has to chisel into the rock with the sweat running down him. While the other guy building his house on the sand is having an easy time. He just puts his wood together, hammers it together, and behold, there is the house! Here is this poor fellow chiseling in. There you can see the other fellow sitting under the tree, smiling, while the other fellow is chiseling in the rock. He finished his house a long time [ago], while this fellow is still chiseling away at the rock, making only a small hole there and still driving away. And there is the Lord Jesus who says, “He dug deep.” Whoa! This man is not just going to chisel a small hole in the rock. Why bother? He is digging down, deep into the rock. The other fellow says, “This fellow is really wasting his energy. Look! It is nice and cool under the tree, and this fellow is trying to make life hard for himself.” But in English, there is a saying, which says: “He laughs best who laughs last.” So, this fellow is laughing first, sitting under the tree, looking at that poor fellow on the rock still chiseling away.
But, then, summer is past and the winter comes. To understand the picture here, you have to understand a bit about the life in Israel. During the warm months - the summer months - it is dry. But in winter, the rains come down. In summer, even the rivers become dry. But in winter, where there was no river, suddenly there is a river. That is why anyone who knows the Middle East will know the word ‘wadi.’ ‘Wadi’ is a river which you do not see; it only becomes a river in winter. Suddenly, in winter, the rivers begin to come down. And who do you think was laughing last? When the rains came down and the storm blew and the rivers came, this guy in the sand, whose house is going down there [in the waters] is yelling, “Jiu ming ah!” that is, “Help! Save me!” By that time, he is either smashed on the rocks or washed into the sea. But the man who built on the solid rock is safe; nothing happens to him because he built with a long-term view.
Christ Our Rock
What is this rock? Now in 1 Cor. 3:10 onwards, you will find Paul’s exposition of this very passage. There he points out that this rock, this foundation is Christ. If you build on Christ, you will be secure. If you put your life solidly based on him, then you will be safe. What does it mean to build on Christ? It means that your life is dependent wholly on him; that house rests completely upon that foundation, upon that rock. You live a life of total dependence on Christ. Just as the house rests on the foundation, your life rests on Christ. Ask yourself right now, “Am I living a life that is totally depending on Jesus?” In every problem, in every difficulty, I rest wholly on him. I have total confidence in him. I have built a solid relationship with him.
The house does not just sit on the rock; it is dug into the rock. It is “rooted in Christ,” to use Paul’s expression in Colossians. [Col. 2:6-7] Notice, he “dug deep”. We dig deep into Christ. What does that mean? That shows the direction of your life. You go toward Christ, into Christ. You are not satisfied just to have a superficial relationship with him, but ever going deeper into the life of Christ. That means every day you are working towards Christ.
And it [takes] effort. Notice the effort. You do not build a house with no effort. So, it shows the direction of your energy and your effort that you put in every day. How much effort did you spend in the last week in growing deeper into Christ? Ask yourself honestly, “How much energy did I spend digging deeper into Christ in the last week?” How much time did you spend meditating deeply into the words of Jesus? How many hours did you sit back and meditate on his words, going deeper into his word? How much time did you spend communing with him, drawing into a closer relationship with him?
How many people can spend hours with their girlfriend or their boyfriend, and it was like five minutes. But to spend five minutes with Jesus is like many hours. How can you be going deeper into Christ, if you are neither interested in his Word nor [in drawing] closer to him in prayer? Then you are the kind of Christian, let me tell you honestly, that when the storm comes, you will be swept away. When the problems come, you will be gone. Like so many Chinese Christians in China, when the Communists came, their faith was gone. The floods came and they were swept away. Whereas the other Christians, when the Communists came, they grew stronger than before. They suddenly blossomed forth in the new strength that we had not seen before. It was almost as though the flood waters were the ones that really fertilized their roots and they sprang forth in great power.
Notice that the one flood that destroys the godless is the same flood that saves the godly. When the floods came in the days of Noah and swept the world away, that same waters that wiped out those people were the same waters that lifted up the ark and saved it. The same water that divided in order to let the Israelites, the people of God, go through was the same water that wiped out the enemy. So, the same water, the same flood that wiped away all these nominal Christians with that kind of superficial faith is the same water that has made the church in China today the mighty spiritual force that it is. So, I ask you to consider carefully - and I beg of you to consider for your eternal welfare - what kind of faith you have: whether you are built upon the Rock which is Christ, or whether your faith is built on nothing more than the shifting sands of this world.
There are more riches that I wanted to share with you, but there is no time And so, I shall continue again, God willing, next time. But we have dealt with things which are of eternal importance. I pray that when that day comes, when the floods come, and they will come, that every one of you will be able to stand.
Maybe somebody will say, “Well, maybe the floods will never come.” So, if you are thinking like this, you are thinking exactly like the foolish man. That is why he built his house on the sand, because he was sure the floods would never come! “Not this way. Maybe it will go down that way, but not here.” Believe me, the floods will certainly come. Make sure that your life is built on Christ, that you totally trust him and commit yourself to him, like the house resting upon that rock.
Your Survival Depends On The Cost Put In
Now in 1 Cor. 3:10 onwards, the Apostle Paul develops a point in which, having got the foundation, you have got to build on top of it. With what material you build on it [determines] whether the superstructure will survive. It is not only that the foundation survives, but also what is on top survives. What will or will not survive depends on the cost of what you put into it. If you build with costly things like gold and silver and precious stones, it will stand any kind of test. But if you build with cheap things (like so many Christians do, who put next to no cost into it) it will not survive. When the Judgment comes, you will be empty-handed.
Well, today I am sure that you have found it very costly to sit here in this heat. But this kind of cost will be well worthwhile. I hope also that those who can survive the floods, may not have to survive only by the skin of their teeth, that is, with nothing much left after the flood is past. That is, that they do not have to go to God empty-handed. Some Christians will be saved, but my, are they going to be sorry that they did not build for the future! Think of it. One day, even if you survive the floods, and you come before Jesus, and come empty-handed to him! Think of that Day when you stand before the Lord Jesus - and everyone of us is going to stand before the Lord Jesus - and [are] you going to be empty-handed?
Live With No Regrets!
My principle is this: Live your life so that you have nothing to regret. I hope that you really take this to heart. The man who had his house washed away had plenty to regret. Live a life where there is no need to regret. I underline that again. In other words, do not [have to] say on that Day, when you stand before the Lord Jesus, “Oh, I wish that I had lived my life differently.” There are those people who are deciding, “Shall I serve the Lord? Shall I not serve the Lord?” And then, if they decided they were not going to serve the Lord, they are going to make a better living for themselves today. Think! If you want guidance, think on the principle: On that Day when I stand before the Lord Jesus, what would I really have rather chosen to do? I think you will immediately see what would be the right thing to do.
(c) 2012 Christian Disciples Church