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The Rock

by David A. DePra

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and hears my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.  (Luke 6:46-49)

This passage is one of those passages in the Bible which is easy to read and quickly pass over. It seems that Jesus is merely telling us that we had better obey Him or we are going to suffer some bad consequences. Certainly that is true. But a closer look at this passage reveals much about how God works with us, and what our lives are to be based on.

Building a House

Those about whom Jesus speaks in the passage, He says, are those who "HEAR these sayings of Mine." Jesus is not talking about people who have NOT heard. No. The people who have never heard are not in any position to build at all as the term "build" is used in this passage. The context of this passage involves only those who have heard the words of Jesus Christ and thus have had opportunity to respond or "build a house" based on what they have heard.

Jesus then talks about two groups of people. He speaks of those who "come to Me," and "hear My words," and "do them." This, Jesus says, is like building a house upon a rock. But then He talks about those who merely "hear" but never come to Him or really obey His commands. This, Jesus says, is like building a house upon the sand.

We need to examine this closely or we will miss the point. At first glance, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that the HOUSE is the focal point in the story. We are apt to assume that if we come to Jesus, and hear and obey Him, that we are building a strong HOUSE. But this is NOT exactly what Jesus is saying. Rather, He is saying that if we come to Him, hear, and obey, that we are building upon a strong FOUNDATION. The house is secondary.

Imagine two houses, side by side. One is built upon solid rock for its foundation. The other is built only upon sand. Notice something: You cant tell which is which simply by looking at them. Both houses might be identical. Both might be very "good" houses. But what is presently NOT obvious, is what each house is built upon as a foundation. The foundation is hidden beneath the surface. You cant really see what either of them is built upon. Until a storm such as the one Jesus describes comes along, all will seem good with both houses.

So what we have here is a three-fold description of how to build a house upon The Rock a solid foundation. First, come to Jesus. Not just for salvation, but for everything. This would mean to look to Him as the Source of my life. As my provision. It would mean to seek Him in all things.

Actually, if you think about it, if I "come to Jesus," hearing and obedience ought to be the automatic outcome. For if I truly come to Him, I am probably in need. I will want to hear and obey.

Of course, many Christians say they "come to Jesus," but do not. They have little intention of taking the next two steps of hearing and obedience. Today, many look to Jesus as a Bible character, or as the figure head of their religion. But they dont want Him messing with their life. They dont want to obey Him with regard to money, relationships, or personal holiness. In that case, they arent really "coming to Him." They are standing aloof.

Second, once we come to Him, we need to open ourselves to Him for whatever He wants to reveal. This is what it means to "hear." As mentioned, one would wonder why we would "come to Jesus," and then not open our hearts to Him. But some do. They come to Christ for what they can get from Him. Temporal blessings. But such folks have it backwards. We are to "come to Him" first seek first the kingdom and then the blessings will follow. God wants US.

Third, building upon the Rock means to OBEY Him. It means to stake everything upon Him in an unconditional abandonment. If we do these things, we will be building our lives on an eternal foundation.

You and I cannot dictate to God what we will allow if we obey Him. It is not given to us to decide what will happen if we obey Jesus anymore than we have control over what happens if we dont obey Him. We are to obey and leave the consequences to Him. We can be sure that we will reap what we sow.

Jesus is referring to our life of FAITH our relationship to God. FAITH, and not merely the works, are the focal point here. It requires faith to "come to Jesus," and then to "hear His words," and then to "do them." It takes faith to risk everything on God. But THAT is what it means to have HIM as our foundation for living! Faith in Christ is the "foundation" of the Christian life.

We are Gods Temple

The house, then, is really US. It is the spiritual house we are BECOMING in which God would want to live. That the house is US makes sense because throughout the Bible WE are likened to a dwelling place for God. We are actually said to be "a holy temple" unto the Lord.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph. 2:19-22)

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (I Cor. 3;16)

Here we see that individuals are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are right now building a house in which God can either live, or cannot live. The house in which God can live is built upon Jesus Christ, if full of Light, and is filled with the Word of God.

Obviously, when we say, "we are building," what we mean is that we are allowing God to build it. We can do nothing. But it is by our faith, hearing, and obedience, that we allow God to build a house in us that He can live in.

Just as importantly, the combined Body of Christ can be likened unto the temple of God. So what Jesus is saying is this: Everything about you can be likened to a house that is being built. YOU are being built. YOU are that temple or house. The church is.

But again, what the house LOOKS LIKE isnt the issue. It is what it is built upon. The foundation is going to determine the fate of the house when the storm comes and it WILL come. If a life is built upon Jesus Christ, it will not be moved by the storm. It is it not built upon Him as the foundation, then the crash will be great.

Doing vs. Being

It is quite possible to walk through this life doing many good works, but to do them without ever coming to Jesus. This does not necessarily mean that people wont benefit from your good works, or that you wont benefit from them. Your "house" might look wonderful! There are many "nice" people in this world. But if you are not living your life with Christ as your foundation, then you are really building a house of cards. You have a nice looking house, but with no eternal life in it.

Jesus said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:53-57)

He also said:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:39-40)

You get LIFE, not by doing good works. You get LIFE by coming to Jesus. That is the ONLY way you get it. But not only that, you must "eat and drink" -- that is, internalize all that He is. That is the "real hearing and obeying." Then, and only then, is what you are building being built upon the One and only foundation. The Rock.

The Rock

Obviously, it is not hard to figure out what foundation is "the rock" upon which the wise man built his house. It is HIM: Jesus Christ. The wise man comes to Christ, and hears the words of Jesus Christ which include everything having to do with our relationship with Him as Lord and Savior and he does them. He yields to them; chooses them. He gives himself to Christ. The "house" which goes up is built upon that Rock it is rooted and grounded in Jesus.

Actually, one of the names of God, and of Christ, in the Bible is THE ROCK:

The LORD is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Ps. 18:2)

The LORD lives; and blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. (Ps. 18:46)

Truly my soul waits upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my Rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. (Ps. 62:1-2)

Of course, the best passage of all for establishing Jesus Christ as THE ROCK is found in Matthew 16:

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He says unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:13-18)

The ROCK upon which the church is to be built is Jesus Christ. Peter had just confessed to the identity of Jesus. Jesus said, "It is upon THAT ROCK the personal revelation of Jesus Christ that the church will be built. And all of hell will not be able to stand against it."

Of course, we like to think that the "gates of hell" are false churches, or the world. But we have a few of these gates in us, too! These are any areas of "our house" which are "off limits" to God. If we come to Christ, hear, and obey, with regard to that particular room in our spiritual house, God will smash down that gate and invade the "room" with His Light and Truth. The kingdom the rule of God will then be in that room. Because our foundation is Christ, God will OWN the house.

The Only Foundation

Paul would write, "For no other foundation can any man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 3:11) Not if we are talking about the Truth talking about Christianity. We have to get this straight and get it settled: Jesus is the only Way to God.

Jesus Himself said so. He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me." (John 14:6) Now, either Jesus was telling the Truth about Himself -- or He was lying -- or He was insane -- because He made this statement. But if He was lying or insane, He cannot be "one of many ways to God," can He? No. For a liar or a lunatic is no way to God! So it is all or nothing. Jesus was either who He claimed to be, or He was nothing.

Unless your faith your life is based on the Truth that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, who died for your sins, and was raised, you have NO foundation. You are, in fact, not a Christian. And I dont care how you redefine things to fit you, or how narrow-minded you think that is. You are lost. You have no life in you.

Really? Yes. How can I know that? Because the way you become a Christian is by seeing who Jesus Christ is, and by embracing Him by grace through faith repenting of sin. That is how you become a Christian. Thus, if you deny the very Truth you must embrace to become a Christian, you cannot BE a Christian.

If I told you I was an atheist, but that I believed in God, you would say, "But you cant be an atheist if you believe in God!" Youd be right too. So you cannot deny Christ and say you are one of His people. You cannot deny who Christ Himself said He was, and then say you are a Christian.

There is only ONE FOUNDATION in Christianity: Jesus Christ. Any other foundation and you are not talking about Christianity. You are not talking about the Truth. You are talking about deception.

Those who hear the Truth of Jesus Christ are to build their lives indeed build THEMSELVES upon Him. He is the Rock. He is the foundation of everything about us.

Those who have never heard the Truth have no foundation. But those who have heard it, yet rejected it, are in worse condition. For not only have they a foundation of "sand," but they are to blame for it. Jesus said, "THIS IS condemnation: That light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." (John 3:19) Light embraced brings freedom. But light rejected brings judgment, and a greater darkness.

When the Crisis Comes

It is when the crisis comes that the true nature of things is revealed. You will find out if the house you have built can stand. But according to Jesus, there is really only ONE thing which will determine that, and it isnt how strong the house is. It is THE FOUNDATION.

Again, both houses may be identical. Both may have the same strength in themselves. But only the one built upon the Rock can stand through the flood and the storm. The other will fall because its foundation was sand.

The ultimate "flood" or "storm," is, of course, death. But our house is going to face many storms along the way in this life. And if you notice, Jesus never promises to spare the house which is built upon the Rock from having to face the storm. No. Both houses face trials and storms. Having your life grounded in Jesus Christ does not spare us from difficulties. But building your house upon the Rock means that will the storm is over, it will be standing there solid upon the Rock.

The house which is NOT built upon the Rock will fall. But before we lament its fall, lets understand that this is not a bad thing. No. It is a good thing. In fact, a REDEMPTIVE thing. We ought to say, "The sooner the better!" Why would we want houses built upon sand to continue to stand?

Notice something here. The FACT that the house is built upon sand is not a good thing. Certainly not. But the fact that it falls IS a good thing. Why? So that the Truth about it might be exposed, and so that a NEW HOUSE one built upon the Rock might be built.

If it were not for God bringing the storm, our house which has the wrong foundation would continue, and we would never know its true nature. But because God is merciful, He promises to bring to the ground every house which is not built on Him. Then, and only then, can a house be built upon Him. God must often tear down the old before He can build up the new.

Many times in life, God will allow floods and storm so that we might see the Truth. Perhaps there are aspects of our walk with Him that are NOT built upon Jesus Christ. God will therefore bring a storm to topple that part of our walk. At first, we may try to "prop up" our house. But this will ultimately be impossible if it is built upon sand. That house must go DOWN. And we must eventually surrender it to God.

Of course, there are some folks who continually try to rebuild their house upon the sand. And God, in His mercy, continually topples it. But what God really wants is a NEW FOUNDATION. That is the whole point. He wants us all to base our lives upon Jesus Christ.

The Immoveable Rock

if you want to have a strong faith, it must be in the Strong One. If you want to have faith like a rock, it must be based on the Rock. Faith is only as strong as the One in whom it is placed. This leaves us with limitless possibilities.

They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abides for ever.

As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. (Psalms 125:1-2)

Jesus Christ is the one and only foundation upon which we can built our lives if we want a life which cannot be moved. Jesus says, "Come to Me, hear My words, and obey them. Who ever does these things will be building upon a foundation which will enable him to stand against all things."

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