Saturday, May 31, 2008

Proper 4 - June 1, 2008

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838
June 1, 2008
Proper 4
Matthew 7:15-29
Stability in a Storm

Lord God of all nations, You have revealed Your will to your people and promised Your help to us all. Help us to hear and do what You command, that the darkness may be overcome by the power of your light.”

Introduction: This passage does not deal with the construction of houses but, for that of the lives of people. It is saying we should build our lives on the rock of Christ rather than on sand of men. This passage concludes the Sermon on the Mount, the greatest collection of Jesus’ teachings. The question may have come to Jesus’ mind: Will the people obey their teachers or will they resume their old way of life? It becomes a concern of obedience.
These words of the Savior do what a sermon conclusion should do: it is a call to put the Word into action through obedience. Obeying the Law will not gain a right relation with God. Jesus asks for more than lip service. He calls for life service by obeying His teachings. The one who does it will have the security and stability of a house built on rock when the floods come.

He who hears and obeys is like a man who builds his house on rock. Then the storms of life will not wash him away. The results of obedience are stability and security. Two men stand in a storm. On which foundation will we build? We need to be certain from the outset that we have the right foundation. Thus the Gospel for today raises the question, Who will stand in the Judgment?

1. The foolish man — built on sand — vv. 26, 27. “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.” Reason for his foolishness: he heard but did not obey. Consequence: destruction. How is this carried out? Are there certain dangers? There is the danger of lip service without life service. There is the danger of confession without expression.

A. It is not the one who stands on a mere outward performance of Christ’s Word. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Vs. 21)

B. God requires not merely an outward performance of His will but the proper fear, love, and trust in the heart.

C. Many may say, “Lord, Lord,” preach and teach in Christ name, and perform mighty signs to whom Christ will say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you evildoers” (Vs. 23)

D. Now is the time for each of us to examine whether the outward performance of our Christian lives is motivated by a true fear and love of God.

Transition: It is not the one who stands on a mere hearing of Christ’s Word while building his life on another foundation. Only one foundation is acceptable to God – actually doing His will. When Christ preaches His Word, the response He seeks is not just hearing but incorporating the Word at the center of one’s life, committing one’s entire destiny to it, and making it one’s foundation.

2. The wise man — built on rock — vv. 24, 25. 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. Reason for wisdom: heard and obeyed. Consequence: stability, security, safety. Entrance into the Kingdom. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Vs. 21)

A. Those who hear Christ’s Word but choose another foundation on which to build their lives will be washed away in the deluge of His judgment.

B. Now is the time for us to probe our hearts to see if we are merely hearing Christ’s Word while building our lives on another foundation.

C. Certainly the one who stands on the solid foundation of Christ’s hearing and doing the will of God for him will stand in the Judgment.

D. Christ did the will of His Father in heaven. He fulfilled all the requirements of the Law so that all people have a basis for standing in the Judgment.

E. Christ carried the cross to the rock called Golgotha and there pounded out His blood so that all may stand on the rock of His forgiveness.

F. God the father has proclaimed that His Son’s punishment is completely sufficient and has lifted the sentence of eternal death from every person.

G. The Holy Spirit now delivers the Father’s verdict of “not guilty” in Christ to all hearts through His Good News, offering them the certainty that in Christ they can stand in the Judgment.

Conclusion: Examine today the basis on which you expect to stand in Christ’s judgment. There can be only one foundation. Stand firm and confident in Christ’s perfect obedience for you as He has suffered and died – for you – He is your foundation. Standing firm in Him you have a foundation on which to build.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

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