Faithlife Sermons

Building A Wise Life: The Parable of the Two Builders

The Meaning of the Parables  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In this sermon series we are looking at some of the different stories Jesus told throughout the gospels to see how he communicated big spiritual truths that would have a deep impact on our lives. Jesus would use these small stories to tell his followers things like who God is, what are God’s plans for eternity, and how we as Christians can have our lives changed by the gospel so that we could live a life of worship.
And for the last 3 weeks, we’ve been really hitting on the idea of discipleship. And what discipleship is is what our lives look like as we follow Jesus. A life of discipleship is one where we progressively grow in two areas. 1. Receiving Christ as Lord where we believe he is the king of our entire life. And 2. To live with Christ as Lord. Where that truth actually impacts our life and we live a changed life to the glory of God.
And as we’ve studied some of Jesus’ parables, time and time again we have seen that he clearly tells us what it means to actually follow him.
and as we’ve studied some of Jesus’ parables, time and time again we have seen that he clearly tells us what it means to actually follow him.
Sower = Discipleship begins with the gift of faith. Your whole discipleship began because God loved you and was gracious to you in giving you saving faith through the gospel.
Hidden Treasure/Pearl = Disciples live for Jesus Kingdom. My life is not my own, my life is for Christ.
Last week Josh taught us how foolish it is for us to not renounce everything to follow Jesus as whole hearted disciples. That we should count the cost and say, You know what, following Jesus with my whole life is the better deal.
This week, we are going to look at one of the most popular parables of Jesus in the Tale of Two Builders to show us that Jesus promises to save his disciples from God’s coming judgement and that true disciples obey Christ in every area of life.
So go ahead and open to to see what Jesus says.
is faith a gift and...
That living for Jesus’ Kingdom is worth the trade of our whole life for his salvation
And that failing to make this trade is a failure to count the cost of discipleship and appraise it accurately
But this parable will show us that true disciples obey Christ in every area of life.
we would be wise to build our life upon Jesus and his gospel in a way that combines authentic commitment with persevering obedience.
To stake our eternal destiny on Jesus and his gospel and this wisdom will result in a whole hearted obedience to Jesus in every area of life.
Let’s hear what Jesus has to say. To give you some context, this parable is Jesus’ conclusion to his Sermon on the Mount where he has been telling all those that would follow him what it means to truly worship God from the heart. Here’s what he says...
 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 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.”
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 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.”
Now for many of you, this story takes you back to Sunday School when you were young and you were probably told the story meant something like this.
That Jesus is the rock upon which you need to build your life. That way, when the winds and storms of life come, you will be able to stand. Otherwise, if you don’t build your life upon Jesus, then your life will be just an absolute mess.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
You were told that the rain and the floods and the wind represent the hardships of life and unless your life was built upon Jesus it would topple over like the foolish man who built his life on the sand.
They would even pull out verses that talked about Jesus being the cornerstone and say, “See! A stone is basically a rock so that is a parallel passage.”
Now, I hate to break it to you but they were wrong. Not about the message itself. Jesus is the cornerstone and all of our life does rest on him. However, they were wrong about that being the message of this passage. To understand what Jesus is saying in this parable we must look at it in context to the rest of Jesus’ sermon.
Back in Jesus said 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
This was a shocking statement. The scribes and pharisees were the religious elites who spent all of their time studying the OT and teaching it to other people. They set themselves up as examples of what it meant to live a life that worshiped God, and here Jesus tells his followers, unless you are more righteous than them then you’ll never get into the kingdom of God.
20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
Then Jesus goes on throughout the sermon on the mount to ratchet up the expectations of God’s commands in the Law.
You heard it said don’t murder. I say don’t even be angry.
You heard it said don’t commit adultery, I say don’t even look at another person lustfully.
You heard it said and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, I say don’t get even but forgive, and what’s more love those who hate you.
And he goes on and on to talk about what it looks like to live a righteous life. He talks about praying, fasting, and walking in daily faith in God
Then he gets to where he said Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Here is where we begin to see Jesus’ call to discipleship. Its not just in a profession of faith. A profession of faith that leads to a barren life will never save anyone. For Jesus, a person is like a tree, they are known by the fruit of their life.
Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
How do you know that is an apple tree? Because apples are growing on it. People are the same way. Obedience to Jesus is the fruit of a heart that has been radically changed by the gospel. Your life must have fruit to show that there is a Gardener at work!
And this is the key. It is not your obedience or being a good person that gets you into the Kingdom of God. It is God’s work in saving you and bringing you into the Kingdom through the gospel of Jesus Christ that results in your obedience throughout the rest of your life.
Then, just before our parable, Jesus says in one of the most terrifying passages of the Bible. And you must hear the message of these verses because they are crucial to understand the parable of the two builders.
 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Notice what Jesus says here. Not everyone who claims to love Jesus is actually saved. Instead, he gives two criteria for those that are truly his disciples.
True disciples are those that do the will of the Father in verse 21
True disciples are those who Jesus knows from verse 23
What do these two marks of true disciples actually mean?
Let’s start with the first. True disciples are those that do the will of the Father.
On the front end, we might think well that’s obedience. So Jesus is saying those that obey God are the ones who will enter into his Kingdom.
But hold on, that is works based righteousness. The only righteousness that you and I have to stand before God is not in the good that we do, but in the good that Jesus, the Son of God, did for us in living the sinless life we could not live, dying the death we deserved to die for our sins under God’s wrath, through faith in his resurrection from the dead.
Now that doesn’t mean that obedience shouldn’t characterize the life of a true disciple. Indeed, obedience must characterize a disciples life if they are truly following Jesus.
But, we must get first things first. Doing the will of the Father does not begin by obeying all of his commands. Doing the will of the Father starts with faith in his Son.
; 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”...40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
But then look at the response of those that have deceived themselves in believing that they were truly saved. They say...
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
This is a separate occasion where some of Jesus’ followers come and ask, what does discipleship look like? What must we do to do the works of God?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), . 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Jesus tells them if you want to be a disciple, you must first believe in me and my gospel. The gospel that Jesus Christ was God incarnate who was sent to earth to undo all the pain and brokenness of sin through his life death and resurrection. And what sin is is any way that you and I try to satisfy the desires of our heart with anything other than God. We disobey God thinking that those acts of disobedience will finally give us the fullness of life. That anyone that puts their faith in Jesus and the forgiveness of sin God offers in his substitutionary death and bodily resurrection will be saved and given eternal life.
That anyone that puts their faith in Jesus and the forgiveness of sin God offers in his substitutionary death and bodily resurrection will be saved and given eternal life.
And it is from this faith that Jesus’ disciples meet his second mark of true discipleship, that he knows us.
This is beyond a mere confession of faith. This is a daily, whole hearted relationship that is shown through a daily, whole-hearted obedience.
And it is from this faith that Jesus’ disciples meet his second mark of true discipleship
Many Christians today treat the gospel like fire insurance. It doesn’t affect their day to day life but its nice to have in case you bite the big one.
Jesus understood the gospel to radically transform the lives of his disciples. He expected the people that were saved through faith, brought from spiritual death separated from God to spiritual life having a relationship with him, would lead to daily obedience. That Jesus knows them because they walk closely to him. As they see the Son and his glory and grow to be more like him because he showed us what it meant to be truly human.
This is why Paul says in We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
Being saved by Jesus should result in a life that is lived in obedience to Jesus instead of disobedience to him. Lived in holiness instead of sin because those that have truly been saved look at the gospel and say, “God my whole life is yours.” The love that God showed us, his enemies, in Jesus’ life death and resurrection should result in a love for God that shows itself in obedience.
This is why Jesus said If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Obedience is not a way to get God to love you. God loves you because of Jesus dying for you. Obedience is the response to God loving you.
Let’s get the order of salvation straight.
You and I were dead in our sins. We were eternally separated from God.
God, in his loving mercy sent Jesus, God the Son, to live a sinless life that we could not and would not live, die on the cross under God’s wrath in our place as our substitute, and then rose again three days later in victory. That when you put your faith in him, not only does your sin get put on Jesus, but Jesus’ righteous life is credited to you.
Then God the Spirit awakens our hearts through faith in Jesus’ life death burial and resurrection so that we are adopted as sons and daughters of God. No longer dead in our sin but made alive through the resurrection of Jesus.
This is our Justification
Then, we live lives of obedience to our Father who loves us and wants life for us.
This is our Sanctification.
True salvation is composed of Justification, being made right with God, Sanctification, growing to walk in our new identity as God’s children in holiness, and eventually Glorification, receiving our resurrection bodies and living forever with God in heaven where sin and death are no more.
You are saved entirely by faith in Jesus
However, while we are saved by faith, true saving faith will always result in obedience.
That’s why he is going to say in our parable today, the one that hears my words and does them.
But this is exactly what makes this passage so terrifying. Jesus says that some people will be deceived about their salvation. Look at the response of some of those that Jesus will judge on the day of judgement when God brings his kingdom to fulfillment on this earth. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
The precise point Jesus is trying to make is that your good works will not save you. After laying out a sermon from about how the righteousness of God’s people must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the pharisees Jesus is trying to say, your righteousness, your good works, will never stack up to save you on the day of judgement. We must have the righteousness of Christ which come through faith in him.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
This is amazing because we look at these works and think, how in the world could someone do those things and not be saved. I mean I’ve never prophesied, cast out a demon or done a miracle!”
But then look at the response of those that have deceived themselves in believing that they were truly saved. They say...
This is amazing because we look at these works and think, how in the world could someone do those things and not be saved. I mean I’ve never prophesied, cast out a demon or done a miracle!”
And this is precisely Jesus point. He is trying to say, listen it is not your good, moral religious activity, no matter how miraculous it might look that saves you. Instead it is a personal relationship to Jesus through faith in the gospel that results in a life of obedience from the heart that truly saves.
And this is precisely Jesus point. He is trying to say, listen it is not your good, moral religious activity, no matter how miraculous it might seem to you that saves you. Instead it is a personal relationship to Jesus that saves.
Jesus said that he will say on that day, “‘I never knew you.”
The basis on which Jesus will judge these false disciples is on their relationship to him. Jesus did not know them because they were not saved by them and this was evident in their life because their discipleship did not match up to Jesus’ criteria of personal relationship from v23 and obedience in v21.
What this means is that a life of obedience in response to the salvation given through faith in Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection is the evidence that someone has entered the kingdom of heaven.
It is not just appealing to Jesus as savior no matter how urgent the appeal might be.
Jesus clearly understood that those who would enter the Kingdom of God, those that were truly his disciples, would be characterized not just by a profession of faith, but by a life of obedience born out of a relationship with him.
And again, I want to make it explicitly clear. I am not saying that you are saved by grace through faith + obedience. What I am saying is that those that are truly saved by grace through faith will give evidence to this radical heart change of faith by living obediently to Jesus.
But hear me. I have to do some real work to guard some of you against religious legalism because you will be tempted to use the verses to judge yourselves and others and whether or not the are “Christian” enough.
This is what we are talking about today. This is not a sermon saying, “Ok. Be good so that you can be a Christian.” That is completely antithetical to the gospel. You can’t be good in yourself because of sin. you need God to work a miracle in you to love him with your whole life. And this side of heaven, you’re never going to perfectly obey Jesus. We are still beset with sin as the flesh, our old, sinful nature, is still a part of us.
You and I were dead in our sins.
God, in his loving mercy sent Jesus, God the Son, to live a sinless life that we could not and would not live, die on the cross under God’s wrath in our place as our substitute, and then rose again three days later in victory.
Then God the Spirit awakens our hearts through faith in Jesus’ life death burial and resurrection so that we are adopted as sons and daughters of God. No longer dead in our sin but made alive through the resurrection of Jesus.
This is where we are able to understand what Jesus is saying in our parable because he is trying to show us that those that will be saved from the coming judgement, those that are truly disciples will believe in Jesus through faith and be characterized by a life of obedience.
Then, we live lives of obedience to our Father who loves us and wants life for us.
You are saved entirely by faith in Jesus and if you are here today, and you have not yet put your faith in Christ by praying to him and asking his forgiveness for all your sins and thanking him that he provided salvation for you from your sin in Jesus, today is your opportunity to enter into the kingdom by faith.
However, while we are saved by faith, true saving faith will always result in obedience. This is what we are talking about today. This is not a sermon saying, “Ok. Be good so that you can be a Christian.” That is completely antithetical to the gospel. You can’t be good in yourself because of sin. you need God to work a miracle in you to love him with your whole life. And this side of heaven, you’re never going to perfectly obey Jesus. We are still beset with sin as the flesh, our old, sinful nature, is still a part of us.
No this sermon says, “If you have been given salvation, then live in the blessedness of salvation by living obediently to Jesus Christ in every area of your life.” This sermon is a call to whole-hearted obedience. This is what it means to build a wise life.

Building upon the Rock

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
Notice Jesus says, “Everyone then...” This is in light of what he just said in what are the marks of a true disciple that will be saved from the coming judgement.
So when Jesus says “then”, its like he is saying “Because judgement is coming” there will be two groups of people.
The first will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. This is someone who Jesus says hears his words, and receiving them with saving faith, actually does them. In other words, follows Jesus in the discipleship of faith.
The man’s house represents a persons life. It is representative of our eternal destiny where we will worship God forever in heaven or suffer under his wrath in hell.
The rain, floods and winds represent the torrent of God’s judgement, and it is only by having faith in Jesus and living for him will we have a sure foundation to withstand God’s judgement.
So what Jesus is saying is that when the storm of God’s judgement that is waiting for every person, comes upon true disciples, those that have heard Jesus, responded in faith, and live obediently in true discipleship will be secure because they have built their life on the rock which is God’s salvation in Jesus Christ.
Don’t miss the amazing grace of God in this. The reason that true disciples of Jesus are able to withstand God’s judgement is not because of their own righteousness, but it is because Jesus has already taken God’s judgement against us upon himself so that God would display his justice, holiness, grace, mercy, and love on the cross of Christ.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
God didn’t cut corners in his holiness by forgiving you. Jesus paid your full penalty of sin and it is only through faith in him that you will be saved from God’s judgement on sinners.
Because of Your being covered by the blood of Christ, you will be able to withstand God’s judgment and be brought into his kingdom.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
But what about those that dont?
-27 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 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.”
In contrast, Jesus describes a second man who he says is a fool. And this is someone who might hear Jesus, but they refuse to repent and be saved. They refuse to say, “God, I have sinned against you and I’ve lived my whole life in complete rebellion to your will. Please forgive me through Jesus’ sacrifice and help me by your Spirit to live the rest of my life for you.”
And it is these people. Those that reject the gospel who build their life, their eternal destiny, on sand. They have no sure foundation against the coming judgement because they are hoping to withstand God’s judgement on some grounds other than Jesus Christ and his life death and resurrection.
What Jesus is saying here is that we cannot make our own path for enduring God’s judgement. Trying to do so is utter foolishness. There is no pluralism when it comes to salvation.
Pluralism is the belief that there are multiple paths to God and sadly, what we are warring against in our culture is that many people are deceived and believe that there are many paths to salvation, one of which is merely making a profession of faith instead of having an entire life, from beginning to end, characterized by faith.
Jesus says there are only two ways we can build. Two ways we can hope to face eternity. We can either build upon Jesus Christ and his gospel which we will find to be a solid as a rock, or we an build upon any other religion or philosophy, even ones that claim to follow Jesus, but fail to be rooted in saving faith in the gospel that is characterized by an obedient life.
The only difference between the two men in Jesus’ story is that one does what he hears while the other ignores it. One man hears the gospel, repents and believes, and shapes his whole life upon its message namely that sin produces death and living obediently to God gives life. The other hears the gospel, but goes their own way, giving mere lip service to its message and because of that, their fall will be great according to Jesus because they will endure God’s judgment of their sin for all eternity.
True religion, truly having a relationship with God does not begin from our reaching up to God, but his reaching down to us in Jesus Christ. Human religion, any attempt to make ourselves acceptable to God by whatever system we declare ourselves to be righteous will not keep out the wind and the hail, and provides no hope for enduring God’s judgement. It is only through faith in his Son will we be saved.

How to Build Upon the Rock

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 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.”
So you and I must have a life, built upon the rock. The question is how? How do we build we build a wise life of discipleship to Jesus where we grow to receive Christ as Lord and live with him as Lord in every area of life.
To be a person that like the wise man, build a wise life and hear Jesus’ words and obey them.
So by way of application this morning, I have three ways that you and I must hear the word in order to live the word in our daily life.
Believe the Gospel
This is what we have been talking about all morning. It is seeing Jesus with the eyes of faith, and believing in him for the forgiveness of your sins. and if you are here today, and you have not yet put your faith in Christ by praying to him and asking his forgiveness for all your sins and thanking him that he provided salvation for you from your sin in Jesus, today is your opportunity to enter into the kingdom by faith
Don’t let this day pass by. Don’t ignore the coming judgement. Build your house on the sure foundation of Christ and his gospel.
However, for those that have been saved, it is not as if we are justified and we leave the gospel behind. Daily, you and I must be reminded of the truths of the gospel in order to walk in the newness of life.
We are gospel amnesiacs. We forget all the time Who God is and who we are. We forget our gospel given identity and this is crucial for a life of true discipleship because when you know who you are, you know what to do.
When you go to work, you know your job title which serves as your identity for your company. That way, when you go into work everyday you aren’t asking someone “What should I do today?” You know what you are supposed to do because you know your identity. You’re an accountant so you are suppose to run the books. Or your a real estate agent so you try to sell houses. Your Christian life is the same way. Because your identity is a child of God through the gospel, you know what to do in your life. No I shouldn’t lie in this situation because I’m God’s child. No I shouldn’t get angry and yell at my spouse or children because I’m God’s child. Well of course I’m supposed to love and serve others because I’m God’s child and that’s exactly what he did for me!
Daily remember who Jesus says we are which are holy saints set apart for him to live for his glory.
We must constantly return to the truths of the gospel that God saved us by his grace out of his love for us so that we can then see how we are to live in light of that truth.
This is why we need to be in biblical community. We can willfully deceive ourselves and forget who we are. We need others to know our pain and our struggles with sin so that they can preach the gospel to us so that we might repent and be saved.
Read the Bible
To put it as simply as possible, I don’t know how you can hear Jesus’ words much less do them if you don’t know what he said. How we know what God has said is from the Bible.
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Notice that Paul says that Scripture is given to us to be trained in righteousness so that we can be equipped for obedience.
The point of the Bible is to help us to live a life of discipleship. To know who God is, and who we are, and how we are called to live in light of those truths.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
I think the two most common objections to reading the Bible are 1. Time and 2. I don’t know how
In regards to time, that is simply an issue of priority. All of us make time for the things we value. In our culture time is one of our most valuable commodities so to give it up must be for something really important. If we refuse to give up our time, we say the inverse is true. That something is not important.
My only question to you, is what does your time say you value most? Is it Jesus and his gospel and your relationship with him or something of this world?
If you don’t know how, then ask a brother or sister to show you. Listen, no one. Absolutely no one wakes up one day instantly able to read and understand the Bible. That’s what discipleship is for. Allow another brother or sister to serve you. I’ll just tell you, one of my favorite things to do is to teach people to read the Bible because I know it will bless their life immensely as they grow in their relationship with Christ.
I want us to be a church that not only loves the Word on Sundays or one night a week in our community groups, but to be a church that is daily dependent on God’s word.
Pray the Bible
I don’t know what would happen if every member in our church began growing in Christ through reading his word, and sharing his word with other brothers and sisters as we all try to live lives that glorify Jesus together. What could God accomplish in this place? How many lives could be changed if we began reading the Word to live the word.
I’ll tell you something I have been convicted of this week. As I was praying one morning, I really felt the Spirit impress upon me, how many of my prayers are about me? How many of my prayers are about my little selfish concerns as opposed to what God says he is concerned about in his Word?
I’m not saying that God doesn’t care about the details of your life, he surely does. However, God has saved us to live for his kingdom, not our own.
Think about it this way. If God speaks to us through his Word, and prayer is where we are able, by the blood of Jesus, to speak to God, wouldn’t we want to speak the same language? How often do we pray what we read in Scripture? For example, one of my favorite prayers is just walking through that says And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;
What would our lives and our church looked like if we started asking God to accomplish his purposes in and through us? Let our prayers
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
This isn’t meant to be a guilt trip. God doesn’t want you reading his word out of guilt. In all honesty, if you approach God’s Word this way, you are already missing the point so of course you won’t see how he desires to bless you through his Word.
Speak the Bible
God isn’t interested in us reading his word so that we can be a “better person.” He wants us reading his Word because it is how he has chosen to reveal himself and his love to us. The Bible is meant to be an invitation to hear God speak. Not a chore or spiritual drudgery.
To self
Have you ever wanted to know what God had to say to you? Do you want to know how much God loves you? Do you want to hear his promises that flow from his good and holy character? Then we must read his Word.
To others in biblical community
Walk in the Spirit
 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Walking by the Spirit is one of those commands in the Bible that many people are utterly confused about because of false teaching about the ministry of the Spirit.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
Some people, usually of the more charismatic variety, treat walking by the Spirit more as an emotional feeling or miraculous works than practical obedience.
However, the Bible says that the ministry of the Spirit is intimately tied to the ministry of the Word. Peter tells us that Scripture came to be as men wrote for God as they were carried along by the Spirit (). This tells us that the ministry of the Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is intimately tied to the ministry of the Word.
And he wants to use his Word to bring it to bear on our lives so that we can faithfully follow Jesus.
Likewise Jesus said ; 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you...26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Immediately after telling his disciples that if they truly love him, they would obey him, Jesus says that he will send to them a Helper who is the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016),  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
Jesus knew we couldn’t do it on our own. He knew we needed help from God in order to grow in our sanctification. And what is amazing is that God is always present to help. He lives in you. That was pre Pentecost when the Spirit fell. For all Christians, saved by the gospel today, the Spirit dwells in us.
The next time temptation to sin comes your way, ask the Spirit to show you how to live for Jesus. He is God. He doesn’t need you to lay out a 10 step strategic plan for getting out of temptation. He hears you when you say, “God, I’m being tempted to sin, but I want to live for Jesus. Holy Spirit will you please help me?”
Then go down to 26. Jesus says the Spirit will teach us, and bring to remembrance everything he has said.
Practically this means that walking by the Spirit is simply responding to his leading as he brings God’s Word and truth to bear on your life.
What do I mean by this? Do you think it is just a coincidence or guilt that when you want to flip someone off in traffic that you remember that God says we are to love others and be patient with them?
Or what about when you come home from a long day at work and you see your spouse sitting there after a hard day of their own and you remember that Jesus wrapped a towel around his waste and washed the disciples feet to show them what it means to truly serve others. Do you think that is just you randomly thinking that or could it be the Spirit prompting you to say, “You know what, Honey, why don’t you relax and let me make dinner tonight?”
You know who doesn’t have those thoughts? Those that do not follow Jesus. That is the Spirit bringing Jesus’ words to bear on your life.
Walking by the Spirit is simply trying to obey God’s word by the Spirit’s power especially in those moments when the Spirit brings it to our memory. Saying God, this is the truth you are reminding me of from your word, will you please help me to live in that truth.
What do all of these have in common? They require a dependance on God. You need God to give you saving faith through the gospel. Coming to God’s word to know him more and hear what he says communicates your dependence on his work in your life. You need the Spirit to help you resist temptation to live for the glory of Jesus.
All of your salvation from justification, to sanctification, to glorification is to be rooted in a complete dependence on God working powerfully in you.
You see, trying to be godly in your own power is a fools errand. Its still self-reliance. Its still building your life on sand. It reeks of the old self and man made religion. It says, I can make myself holy when the whole point of Jesus’ parable is that our holiness, our righteousness the only thing that will save us is our firm foundation on the rock of God’s salvation and God’s power to save you in Jesus Christ..
It is only through faith in the gospel of Jesus that produces obedience in the life of the believer that we will be able to withstand the storm of God’s judgement. Not because God still has wrath against his children, but because Jesus covers us in his blood for the forgiveness of our sins so that there is no more judgement left for us.
Having a life of obedience is not about trying harder. Remember, all salvation is a powerful work of God to make a dead person alive through the gospel. That means that your sanctification is just as much a work of God as your justification. Just like God gives you faith and you respond to the gospel in repentance to be justified, God provides faith to help you to respond to the gospel in repentance to be sanctified.
And this is the message of the parable of the two builders. Jesus clearly teaches us that he will surely save his disciples on the day of Judgement through his life, death and resurrection and those that are truly saved, will obey Christ in every area of life.
Its like we think that God saved us, but then its all on us to walk in obedience. These are two sides of the same coin of our salvation.
Let’s Pray.
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