40 Days in the Word - 01.03.2021 11:00 AM- the Word as foundation for life
Foundations are essential to anything that you build. For example, in education, learning the alphabet is foundational to reading or writing.
In Matthew chapters 5,6,7, Jesus has spend the day teaching a crowd, in what we now call, “the sermon on the Mount.” At a conclusion to his “sermon,” Jesus summarizes the day of teach with a parable.
Matthew 7:24 NIV - Anglicised
“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.
And then he tells the parable,
Matthew 7:25–29 NIV - Anglicised
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. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” The lesson: If you’re building a house, build it on a solid foundation.
If you are building your life, Jesus says, build your life on the solid rock foundation of the Word of God.
I was working on this message on New Year’s day early morning, when I had two defining moments of observation about people and the Word of God and Jesus.
The first defining observation was this: There is an increasing number of people today who are picking and choosing which parts of the bible they will believe and build their life upon. They pick and choose the parts of God’s Word they will believe and toss out the parts they don’t want to live by.
Either the bible is right and true in all of it parts, or it is not right and true at all.
Here was the second defining observation about how people and their approach to Jesus. People want the salvation of Jesus without the sacrifice of Jesus. They want Easter without good Friday. They want to be a fan of Jesus, but not a follower. They want eternal life without a life of discipleship. Here is Christ’s response:
Matthew 16:24 ESV
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Luke 14:27 NIV - Anglicised
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Building your life upon the rock solid foundation of God’s Word and embracing Jesus as Savior and Lord - is an all or nothing proposition.
Here is the example. One day, a rich, young ruler came up to Jesus and asked,
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No-one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
We’ve had enough sadness from last year. It is time to begin a new year. To make a new beginning connecting to Jesus and recommitting and embracing the life to which Christ is calling us. To do so, we cannot pick and choose what we like. We must embrace the whole of Christ, everything in the WORD of God, even the parts that won’t be easy or unpleasant. Building our lives on the Word of God is foundational. You will not and cannot embrace Jesus if you don’t take all of him as found in the Word of God.
The first way for us to make the Word foundational in our lives is by receiving the word like seeds planted in good soil. Jesus told a parable of great promise about of the Word.
Matthew 13:23 (NIV - Anglicised) — 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
When we receives the word of God like seed in good soil, we live fruitful, bountiful and blessed lives. But it all starts here...
Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hearing the Word of God. When ever you hear the Word your faith is being built.
James offers 4 ways to “hear the Word of God.”
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
When receiving the Word, we need to “Be quick to hear …”
There is a sense of readiness, a readiness to give our full attention in order to “hear” the Word of God. Which means we make hearing the Word of God a priority. It is giving the Word the highest authority above all other Words, opinions, ideas, etc. Here is the second one James offers,
undistracted “…and slow to speak...”
Have you ever noticed that if you are talking it is difficult to hear? In chapter 8 of Proverbs, wisdom calls...
Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
The Proverbs suggests that the wise man is blessed when he is hearing the Word of God daily. Here is the third one:
We receive the Word CLEAN “…get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent…”
This doesn’t mean we can’t read, hear and believe the Word if we are sinners. If that were the case, no one could take the Holy Bible in in their unholy hands. But it does mean we come to the Word with honest, repentant hearts, confessing our sins. Now, a repentant heart is one that confesses sin, but it also seeks God’s power to turn from sin. A repentant heart is a heart that is sorrowful over the sins, but also hopeful because of God’s mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. That leads right the last one.
We receive the Word HUMBLY - “…humbly accept the Word planted in you which can save you.” James 1:21 (NIV)
We receive God’s word as a gift. When we take it in our hands we do so with humility. Humility means we know and believe who we are before God - we, as poor miserable sinners, who do not have the right to take the Word in our unholy hands, but God’s love makes it available to us and His Spirit makes it possible for us to receive it with faith. Which leads to the second way for us to make the Word foundational in our lives, we receive it and research it
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
In the book of Acts chapter 17, when Paul was a missionary to the Bereans, he discovered,
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
The Bereans examined the Scriptures daily. Think of the things in life you do well. They are the things in your life you work hard at. When you have, you’ve got better at it, you excelled.
We ought to be our best, or, at the very least, striving to be our best, at those things that matter most. Right? And, if, what Jesus said is true:
Luke 11:28 (NIV) 28 He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Then, we need to be great at hearing and obey God’s Word. We all want God’s blessing on our lives, the blessing that comes from hearing the word of God. Therefore, we should be life-time students of the Bible by researching and studying it daily. Another way we make the Word foundational to our lives, is by Remembering it
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
If we want to remember the Word of God we hear, we need to apply the word to our lives.
It if is true, that you forget 95 percent of what you hear within 72 hours, then, by Wednesday, 5% of what you hear today you may remember. Everything else will be forgotten. That’s scary, but it raises the question: How do we make certain we remember the Word we’ve heard?
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Meditate on it day and night and by so doing we will commit it to memory.
Think about this: There are 23,145 verses in the Old Testament and 7,957 verses in the New Testament. So, if you learn one verse for memory each week of your life, starting at the age of 5, by the 81 years old, you know almost 4000 verses of the bible for committed to memory, or about 12% of entire bible.
The final way we make the Word of God foundational in our lives, is we Respond to it
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
God’s Word becomes foundation in our lives when hearing becomes faith and faith becomes obedience.
You cannot build a solid foundation for your life upon the opinions of others, or on what is popular on tv, or prevailing in the culture. Those things all change like shifting sands. But a life founded upon the unchanging Word of God is a life built on truth, truth that was true thousands of years ago, and it will be the truth for thousands of years from today because truth does not change. Truth is a rock. The Word of God is the ROCK upon which rock to build your life.