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Castles or Caravans?

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Sermon Matt 7:21-29. St Augustine’s 10:30am 2nd June 2002

Castles or Caravans?


Well, you could have had the bishop preaching this morning…

But I’d already started to prepare.

I wonder what it would be like if Jesus was preaching?

I wonder what he would say to us. But I wonder how we would react?

Would we sit transfixed in amazement? Would we give him a standing ovation? Would we fall on our knees?

Some churches … stands at door.

Wonder if?; would we? “Nice sermon vicar”.

I think Jesus would hate that!

! Matthew 7:24-29

End of Sermon on Mount

Sermon of Mount: 3 whole chapters in which Matthew has collected bits of Jesus’ teaching that have a similar message.

Some of the most famous words of Jesus:-

  • love your enemies
  • Lord’s prayer
  • Do not worry

At the end Matthew records that the crowds were amazed.

And it was great teaching.

But Jesus didn’t want them to sit back and marvel/admire.

Look how he ends his sermon What are you going to do about it?

Image that sticks in your mind

If… built your house on solid rock

If… house with no foundation.

! Exegesis

Graphic/vivid to original hearers

Dry most of year - flash floods- maybe they’d seen houses being swept away.

They also new how you went about building a house.

Dig down.

Digging down  hard work.

I remember having to dig a hole (4ft).

All day.

Hard work living by Jesus’ standards.

  • Loving enemies. If someone at work has a go at you its hard not to react negatively.
  • It’s hard to pray the Lord’s prayer. “Your will be done”.
  • Do not worry about tomorrow. It’s hard not to worry if you’ve got a hospital appointment / operation.

Most people don’t bother: all that religious stuff/ Jesus teaching / dig down to lay foundation.

Instead of building a castle they’re content to opt for a caravan.

It’ll do the job”, “Not so much hassle”.

They get by.

But they forget what’s coming. They forget the rain, the storms, the floods. They forget that life isn’t always easy.

Tough times: People get cancer, children run away from home, businesses go bankrupt.

Not just the big crises – every day we face struggles and wish things were different from how they are.

As a church… not going to be easy but “It’s down to us”.

And its for those reasons that you need foundations. Building a castle and not renting a caravan.

Foundations are hard work but they’re worthwhile. Make it last.

But isn’t it a bit boring?

Many people scared off Christianity because they think it’s a load of rules, too restrictive. Clones.

You don’t want to take religion too seriously – you’ve got to have some fun in your life”

Castles are a lot more exciting than caravans.

All caravans look the same. Rectangular, stilts, pebbledash.

Every castle is unique.

Edinburgh, Chateaux, White, fairy-tale, dream-like castles in Germany.

And the Christian life should be the same. Jesus tells you not to commit adultery, not to restrict you but so that you don’t end up in a mess. Jesus tells you to love your enemies because he knows that being bitter screws people up. Jesus tells you not to worry because he has a vision of a new way of life for you. A way of life that allows you to be truly yourself, to be the kind of person that God always wanted you to be.

Don’t settle for a caravan when there’s a castle on offer.


Well okay, so you didn’t get Jesus (or even the Bishop).

But the point of all preaching is to point us back to the foundations  J.

It’s hard work preparing a sermon- competing voices.

It should be hard work listening- challenge.

Even harder for all of us to put Jesus’ words into practice.

Hard work. But with God’s help we will build a life that is both beautiful and secure.

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