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Re-Thinking Your Security

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(6/2) I once preached a series called, ĎFilling the Holes in Our Souls.í I believe that from the fall of man in the Garden of Eden to today, People have been searching for something to fill empty spots or holes in their souls. People everywhere are looking for things such as Love, Joy, Peace, Friendship, Self-Esteem, Encouragement, Affirmation, Forgiveness, and more, including, Security. Many who can, plan for retirement. They invest in property, gold, collectibles, stocks and bonds, 401kís and other retirement plans so they can retire when they get older and feel secure with their finances.

They also build or buy homes. For most, among many other things, a home is a shelter. It is a place of warmth in the winter, and a place to escape the summer heat. It is a place of protection from the wind, rain, snow, hail, and the heat of the sun. It is for most, the largest investment we will ever make.

When we see storms approaching, we get inside those homes, and sometimes go the basement. And, as we have been made painfully aware of these last 20 or more years, there are some storms that most houses cannot stand up to. We have watched houses melt off of the sides of mountains or be washed away into rivers, and have seen the devastation of Super Storms, Hurricanes, and Tornadoes.

21 years ago, Hurricane Andrew hit Florida. Steve Farrar, in his book Standing Tall, tells of a T.V. news camera crew on assignment in southern Florida, filming the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew. In one scene, amid the devastation and debris, there stood a house, on its foundation. The owner of the house was cleaning up the yard when a reporter approached him. "Sir, why is your house the only one in the entire neighborhood that is still standing?" asked the reporter, "How did you manage to escape the severe damage of the hurricane?"

"I built the house myself," the man said, "and I also built it according to the Florida State building code. When the code called for 2x6 trusses, I used 2x6 trusses. I was told that a house built by code could withstand a hurricane. I did and it did. I suppose no one else followed the code." I have never forgotten that story and have used it several times.

Listen to me carefully, while saving or investing money for your future or for your children is important, it is also, trying to secure what is temporary. Many are carefully planning for the temporary but ignoring the permanent. You see, one of two things is going to happen. You can be certain of this. Either, the King is going to return and claim His Kingdom and will judge the world when He does (Matt. 25), or you will die and appear before Him. How secure are you with either of those two realities? We looked at this last week, in our Life Lesson, Re-Thinking Your Salvation. Morrie Swartz, the Sociology professor and subject of Mitch Albumís book, Tuesdayís with Morrie, and who died with Lou Gehrigís disease said, "Learn How to Die and You Learn How to Live." The truth of life is that you are not really free to live and enjoy life until you have come to terms and prepared for your death. Someone else said it this way. "Only those who are prepared to die are prepared to live."

What does this have to do with todayís Life Lesson? Everything! Our blessed Lord Jesus is giving His closing statement to the Greatest Sermon ever preached, and it has to do with Security, both for time and eternity. "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes (Matt. 7:24-29).

I. The Summation Ė Our 24th Life lesson from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says, "Therefore," and begins the concluding statement for the entire Sermon. He says, "Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mineÖ," referring to all He has said in this Sermon. Here, is what I want to leave you with, or here, is what I want you to consider. You have to decide what you will do with what you have heard today or throughout this series.

II. These Sayings of Mine Ė

A. The word, Ďwhoever,í just like in John 3:16, is for anyone at any time. This is not just for the Jew on the hillside in Israel that day, nor is just for those who will be here when Jesus returns to claim His kingdom. It is not just for the good and religious people, it is for anyone including the lowest sinner, the rich and the poor, the educated and the un-educated, and every race, and nationality. Whoever, means you and me!

B. The word, Ďhear,í is a word that means to hear with understanding. I listen to some music or have watched some shows or listened to some lectures and I have no idea what I just heard. Some opera, or heavy metal, or progressive music is beyond me. I canít understand the words, or the meaning. I have heard some sermons, perhaps even delivered a few that I said, "I have no idea what he was trying to say." Please, no Amen (s) here. But if you heard what Jesus has been saying and if you understand what He meant, you are faced with a decision. By the way, it is interesting to me, the number of times and places that the word, "hear," is emphasized in the teachings of Jesus. In all seven churches that He addresses a letter to in Revelation 2 and 3 ends with this statement, "He who has an ear to hear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Look at Luke 8:8-18, where 7 times He uses the word, "hear." He closes verse 18 with, "Therefore, take heed how you hear." I believe that is a fitting statement for this conclusion to His Sermon, "Therefore, take heed how you hear."

C. For just a moment letís go back and turn some pages and just look at, "these sayings of mine." Remember that all of this sermon is in direct contrast to what was being taught by the religious leaders of that day.

1. Repent (4:17) Jews needed to repent and be ready to meet the King

2. Realize who are favored by God, not the religious right, but the Poor in Spirit, those who Mourn, those who are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, who are peace makers, and who suffer persecution as a result.

3. Realize that you- yes you, have a divine purpose for existing to be the preserving salt and light in a dark and decaying world.

4. Listen carefully to Jesusí words because they are different than what is taught and practiced, but notice they are a truer reflection of Godís word.

5. Realize that being right with God is more than religious stuff; it is seeking to honor God in every area of your life (5:21-48)

a. In your emotions

b. In your relationships

c. In your mind

d. In your marriage

e. In your words

f. In your giving up your rights

g. In loving and seeking the best for your enemies

h. These will demonstrate that you are Sons of God, because you will be acting like and for Him

6. Donít be like the religious hypocrites who do what they do for show and forgo any reward from God (Ch. 6). So, when you:

a. Give to charity, donít advertise what you have done.

b. Pray, go to a private place and talk to God in private

c. And, Oh, here is what a prayer should look like.

d. Fast, donít put on make-up that makes you look miserable, wash your face and seek God.

7. Donít stock-pile your wealth so you can admire your treasure, but always have to worry about the stock market, or thieves, or the abuse of aging. Use your stuff to gain an eternal inheritance. Because you canít serve two masters. So you must choose, stuff or the Lord of Glory.

8. And donít worry about tomorrow, if you use your stuff to glorify God, God Ėyour Father knows what you need and will take care of you. The one who went to great expense to adopt you will take care of you. Just put His business first and Heíll make you His priority.

9. Donít assume you can discern a book by its cover (Ch.7)

10. And donít try to help others be right with God when you arenít.

11. Donít mess with dogs and hogs when they get angry

12. If you need wisdom, or the help of God, just ask, seek, and knock, and your Father will give what you need, because He is a Good Dad.

13. Bottom line, just treat people like you want to be treated, not as they treat you, and not as you donít want to be treated. Put yourself in other peopleís shoes and see how you can help and take positive action to demonstrate Godís grace and love because this is the basis for every single law given for people to interact.

14. The entrance into Godís kingdom is hard and narrow because it goes against the grain of our self-righteousness and self -achievement. Entrance is based on Repentance and Faith and Grace in who Jesus is and what He has done on Calvary and the empty tomb. Most people will choose other ways, easier ways, popular ways, to live life and achieve grace, but they canít do it apart from Godís way.

15. Yet there will be teachers who will work hard to draw you away from Godís way. Be aware of their presence.

16. Remember, not everyone who uses Jesusí name is going to be in the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who trust God by faith and demonstrate that trust by obeying Godís will.

III. The Submission Ė In Lukeís Gospel, in a different but similar sermon, Jesus says "But why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" What does it mean to call Jesus Ė Lord? The word is Kurios, and it means, one who has authoritative power, as a King, Prince, or a Master, or the Boss, or a Father and it is like the Hebrew Word-Adonai. It also, refers to a teacher whose Students listen to and obey what the teacher says. This is probably what is implied here, in our text. At the Highest, it refers to Jehovah God, and as such refers to the Incarnation of God in Jesus as when Thomas said, "My Lord and My God." I am not sure that people understood that Jesus was God in the flesh at this point, but I do believe as a teacher with sound doctrine and they definitely liked what He could do for them. They wanted the benefits that He could provide but did not want to live as He taught. Now, we know that the day is coming, a day we call the Day of the Lord when as Paul reminds us Phil. 2, "every knee will bow," that is, every angel, every demon, every inhabitant of hell and every saint in heaven, "will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father in Heaven." Friends, Is Jesus Christ your Lord?

Letís remember that the word Christian is used only three times in the Bible and always as reminder of what the world thought of Christ-Followers. It was in essence a derogatory word. But today everyone who goes to church and many cults refer to themselves as Christians. But many who call themselves Christians do not obey or seek to imitate Jesus. The Bible uses the word Disciple to describe Christ-Followers. Disciples are students that follow the instructions of their teacher and seek to emulate their teachers. They are submissive to the will and teachings of their Master and Lord. Jesus said, "If you abide in my word, then are you my disciples indeed and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31-32). He would also say, "If you love me keep my commandments." (John 14:15) Here, Jesus says, you can do one of two things with what I have just taught you, and He uses two similes to describe what He means.

IV. The Similes Ė A Simile is a figure of speech used to describe something by comparison. That is, it is similar to this. Usually in a simile the words like or as are used. Someone is strong as an Ox, or Satan is like a roaring lion, or she swims like a fish, or he is as fast as lightning or straight as an arrow. Our Lord uses two similes or comparisons; A Wise Man and a Foolish Man.

A. The Wise Man Ė The word, wise, means intelligent, sensible, prudent, or thoughtful. He is one who weighs what he has been taught or heard and then makes a good decision. He hears truth, recognizes truth from lies or falsehood, and adjusts to that truth, especially if this is specifically related to preparing to meet God. Solomon said, "The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom" (Prov. 9:10). Wisdom is the ability to take knowledge and apply it to life. The entire book of Proverbs is about the importance of acquiring wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 says, "Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom, and in all your getting get understanding." And Proverbs 16:16, How much better to get wisdom than gold and to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver."

Jesus said that whoever hears with understanding what He has said, and acts in accordance, is like a wise man.

B. The Foolish Man Ė the word is Moron, and is used not of an ignorant or uneducated person but rather one who does not fear God. "The fool has said in his heart, ĎThere is no God.í" (Ps. 14:1). He doesnít respect God, reverence God, or trust and obey God. He hears truth, knows it must be true but choses to reject the truth. He believes the Word of God is Archaic, out of touch, irrelevant, old fashioned and that science and education, and the new morality and Post-Modern philosophy of relativism is the way to go; or, he chooses a faith system that he deems easier and more widely accepted. He believes that going to church, being baptized, christened, confirmed, catechized, or giving is enough. Therefore he takes no action to secure either his own or his familyís eternal future. He is a fool. Jesus said that whoever hears with understanding what He has said and ignores it is like a foolish man.

C. The Foundations. The similes continue with the picture of two men building the same home. The only difference is that the wise man knows the importance of a solid foundation and thus as Jesus said in a similar story in Luke, he digs deep to find bedrock to build his house on and attach to for security and stability. The foolish man knows he should build by code but chooses to ignore this step. Maybe too much work or too expensive or he figures that foundations are so antiquated and unnecessary so he builds on the sands of the beach. Perhaps there havenít been any hard storms around here for decades. (My heart goes out to the dear folks of Oklahoma, but I wonder how many people didnít put in a storm room because it was too expensive or they thought it wonít happen here again?) The foundational Rock is the word of God, or the words of Jesus and I believe is the same rock He refers to in 16:18 where He says He will build His church upon this Rock. The Rock of Confession of Jesus as Lord and therefore submission to His word. The sands are the constantly changing religions and philosophies of this world. They are the wide gate and broad way.

The wise man knows that the one who created all things knows the best way to be secure for time and for eternity and so He finds the code in the Word of God and then builds his life by the code. And then He rests securely in what he has done.

The Fool chooses an easier way, ignores the code, ignores the word of God for his life and bases his security on his own beliefs or self- efforts and builds on a foundationless ground and rests in his own way.

V. The Storm (s) The rain, the floods, and the wind represent one or two things

A. The Storms of Life Ė Throughout our lives we are hit by storms. These may include failing health, lost jobs, lost property, rebellious children, failed relationships, the death of loved ones, or so much more. The storms of life can also be the tests and temptations that God allows from Satan. They could be the results of poor decisions that others make, but forever affect your life. Sometimes the storms are allowed or designed by God to get manís attention so they would consider repenting and receiving grace (Amos 4). All of these and more happen to Disciples of Jesus and Non-believers alike. In fact, storms are what produce patience and faith and conforms us to the image of Jesus (Rom. 5:5; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9). Or it could refer to:

B. The Storm of Judgment (cp. Ez. 13) when all the faÁade, the excuses, the self- attempts at righteousness are all washed away. The rain, floods, and wind could be a picture of the final judgment of God upon this world and or you. But you can be secure.

VI. The Security

A. In This Life, when the storms of life hit, The Wise Christ followers can still be secure in knowing that God has a plan even if they donít understand. They can rest in the promises of God and they trust in the faithfulness of God. They rest in knowing that this life is temporary and know that what God has prepared for eternity for His children is beyond comparison.

B. In This Life, The Fools have nothing to rest in but fate, and often they look for a way to self- medicate with people, sex, drugs, alcohol, therapists, or even suicide. If they acknowledge God they often express anger to Him. And have nothing else to rest in.

C. In Eternity. The Wise, are secure because they have rested in the person, work, and promises of Jesus. (Cp. John 5:24; 6:47; 10:24-27) And they can be secure at the rewards table because they have obeyed their Lord and their names are written in the Lambs Book of Life (Rev. 20:12-15, Luke 10:20).

D. In Eternity, The Fool will hear, "Depart from me I never knew you." There is absolutely no basis, no security, and no way for entering Heaven. These will be in the Resurrection of the Condemned (John 5:29). The fall of their foundation-less security is great. They will hear, "Depart from me you cursed in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt. 25:41). Those are words in Red, spoken by Jesus Himself.

On this Sunday before Fatherís day. Dads and Moms what are you building and basing your security on. The Stock Market or the Words in Red. If today you stood before God, would He say you were Wise or a Fool? It ainít about going to church; itís about building your life on Jesus and His word.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman