Building Your Life On Enduring Foundation
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Matthew 7: 24-29; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11
Sunday 31st July 2016
As we round up this series ‘From Glory To Glory’ today, let’s pick up from where we left off pre-Maximise Life 2016 and challenge each other to apply those word we’ve heard during the course of Maximise Life, in this message that I have titled ‘Building Your Life on Enduring Foundation’.
Here are two passages of scriptures for our foundation scriptures for this message: Matthew 7:24-29 reads thus: ‘“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law” (NLT). 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 reads: ‘Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ (NLT).
The power of God’s word is activated when we obey and apply the principle that has been communicated. God’s glory is revealed when the word becomes flesh (See John 1:14). The important part of Maximise Life is really not in the excitement and exhilaration of the just concluded week-long teachings and worship-time, but in applying the truths that we’ve learnt in the course of that week. In other words, what do we individually and corporately become as a result of that event?
Our first foundation scripture is the culmination of a similar experience – of a series of teachings, which Jesus had with his disciple and the multitude on a mountainside, often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. The teachings covered various topics including the beatitudes, the identity of believers as salt/light of the world, fulfilment of the law, the important role of the heart and mind, the sacredness of marriage, the forbidding of oaths, the importance of going the extra mile, loving and helping others including your enemies, doing good, model of prayer, fasting, giving, dealing with worries and so much more. And just like we concluded Maximise Life 2016, Jesus finished off this teaching with the words of our foundation scriptures – the importance of going beyond hearing the word, to applying its truths. Conversely, our success in life is rooted in this concept.
From Jesus’ conclusion, two types of believers who experienced two different outcomes in life were highlighted. These outcomes were determined by the choices each believer made, notwithstanding the availability of grace. Both sets of believers heard the word, both were builders, both experienced floods and storms of life, but they had different outcomes. In the Matthew 7:24-29, we are introduced to two levels of interaction with the word: Firstly, the hearing or revelatory level, and secondly the doing or application level. It is the application of God’s word that guarantees a better outcome in life. Hence, wise men and women go beyond listening to the word to applying what they’ve learnt from it.
The ultimate purpose of the word is to empower each of us to live victoriously in an uncertain world. Rain, floods, winds and storms are inevitable cycles in our world which we all have to go through. Beyond this, most importantly will our stance as Christians be obvious afterwards? This is the role that faith plays in our lives – strengthening us to rise above all those earthly limitations.
Obeying and applying the word is synonymous to building our lives upon the rock – the rock, our foundation being Christ the Lord. Everything in life derives its strength and stability from the foundation upon which it is built. So does our lives. The scriptures reveal two main foundations - the sand and the rock (the word). The sand is characterised by weakness, fluidity, porosity and perviousness. It represents human thinking, opinion and perspective; human experience, culture and feelings. None of these foundations will provide the stability required to build our lives upon. The word of God is characterised by strength, durability, stability, immovability, solidity and interconnectivity. It is the real foundation upon which our lives should be built.
Here are four attributes of the word of God that qualifies it as a foundation to build our lives upon:
(a) Flawlessness: Proverbs 30:5 reads: ‘Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him’. (NIV). Psalm 12:6 reiterates this same truth; ‘And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times’.
(b) Enduring: Matthew 24:35 reads: ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away’ (NIV).
(c) Strong and Reliable: Hebrews 1:3-4 reads: ‘who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they’.
(d) Supreme: Psalm 138:2 reads: ‘I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name, for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
Here are 4 significance of building on the rock or applying the word in our lives:
(i) Doing the word makes you stand out for God: When you obey God’s word, you stand out as God’s representative. Caleb and Joshua are known as God’s men who stood out in their generation. Numbers 13:30 reads: ‘Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”’
(ii) Doing the word prepares you and empowers you to rise above challenges and storms of life: Luke 5:4-7 records an account of the instructions given by Jesus to Peter, shortly after using his boat for a teaching session. ‘When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink’.
(iii) Doing the word positions you to live a legacy of faith for the next generation: St. Paul instructed Timothy to remember the next generation in his letters to him. 2 Timothy 2:1-2 reads: ‘You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also’. Isaac was able to live a life of faith, having witnessed his father, Abraham obey God on various occasions in his lifetime (See Genesis 22:2-4).
(iv) Doing the word positions you for blessings: James 1:22-25 puts this aptly; ‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does’.
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