Monday, September 7, 2009

Built upon the rock

What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. Romans 1:19 NIV

After receiving my university degree in another state, I moved back to my family’s church. My comments during the Bible study were the “correct” answers I’d learned in 16 years of Christian school. But the young adults teacher, Steve, saw the world, the Bible, and God very differently. I was frustrated that my memorized answers were shot down with a staccato “No,” but the simple answers offered by those less-educated but more spiritually mature than I were accepted with “Yes! That’s it exactly!”

Instead of accepting every teaching at face value or having it run through the “acceptability filter” of a seminary committee or denominational-doctrines list, Steve persisted in making us look for the gospel in every Bible verse we studied. In time, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, and I found His gracious salvation. Praise God for Steve’s role in that time of my life—and in all my study since!

California is famous for its landslides and unstable soil, particularly during the rainy season. Buildings buckle and wash away, because they’re founded upon sandy soil, not anchored on solid rock. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus spoke of the wise and foolish builders, investing in the places where they kept their temporal treasures.

24 Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 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. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

He said that whoever puts His words into practice is the wise one who built upon the solid rock.

Jesus’ story is not about building codes, architecture, or geology—it’s about the primacy of His words. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Matthew 7:28, 29 NIV

The religious leaders of that time quoted from commentaries, doctrinal theories, and various schools of thought. They let others think for them. But Jesus, the very Word of God, quoted Scripture and spoke with divine authority. The lesson is that we seek first the words of Jesus and how they apply to our lives. Security and salvation are not built on the sandy interpretation or commentary of fallible humans, but upon the solid, clear words of Jesus Christ.

That’s all anyone needs.

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