This is another sermon that is personal to me. It is personal to me for essentially the same reasons as last Sunday’s sermon – Don’t You Wait Until It Is Too Late – was personal. I look at my generation and the generation that comes after me with a great amount of sadness at times. Why? I grew up learning from my parents, and from TV shows like Mr. Rogers, and Reading Rainbow that you have to live by your dreams and your hopes.
Sadly, many of us are giving up and letting go of those hopes and our dreams. Many will give up their dreams and hopes without even putting up a fight. I hate to see folks give up their dreams and hopes, and I certainly hate to see folks do it so quickly. This leads me to focus on the subject of hope because we ought to have a hopeful spirit residing in all of us.
I have to ask the question: What are your hopes built on? Personally, I am a very hopeful person. I get into what some would call a “habit” of saying, “I hope so” when it comes to many things that are ahead of me. One time I said that and it bothered someone who I had responded, “I hope so” to. She said to me, “you’re supposed to have faith!” I responded, “well scripture (Heb. 11:1) says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” You see, faith and hope are both one in the same for me!
Everybody is hopeful about something, right? We hope to be able to live to see another day. We hope to be able to see loved ones again. We hope to be able to land that job or get that promotion. All of us have goals that we are hoping to reach. That hope is what pushes!
In the times that we are living in, we cannot make it living without some kind of hope! This world will crush you if you are living without hope. So, I want to take a look at your hope today. What is your hope built on? Let’s take a look at the foundation of our hope.
The significance of the “house”
In our key verse, we see Jesus say that the wise man built his house on a rock. This house that Jesus was talking about is very important to us. Let’s understand that Jesus was talking figuratively when He made that statement. This means that the house represents something but the rock is also representative of something as well. “The house” that Jesus is talking about represents you – you are that house.
Inside of these houses are many rooms. I talked about one of these rooms a few weeks ago when I looked at the chamber of our soul. Now, also residing inside of you (your house) are all of your hopes and dreams. So, your soul, your hopes, and your dreams – you as a house are very important. With each passing day, passing months, and passing years we end up doing some building, or renovation onto our houses.
Building a house
You do not simply build a house on the grass and the dirt that you and I walk on. Do you know why? Grass and dirt would be an absolute terrible foundation! The house would simply tumble over with one slight bump into the wall! It would be an utter disaster.
Building a house is not done the way that it is described in the nursery rhyme of the Three Little Pigs. Surely we remember this preschool nursery rhyme, right? Quick rehash of the nursery rhyme: The three little pigs built their houses and the big bad wolf showed up to their homes trying to blow them over. Two of the pigs were in a rush (or lazy) and one built his home with sticks while the other built his home out of straw. The wolf came along the way and blew both their houses down. The third pig took his time and built his house with bricks, and the wolf was unable to blow his house down.
We certainly do not build our homes in the manner that two of the pigs built their home. As Jesus said, a house should be built on a rock – a strong foundation. The brick structure of a home would certainly be a more sturdy structure, but the nursery rhyme did not mention whether or not he built that home on a sturdy foundation. If it was not built on a sturdy foundation, the brick home would drop in the type of weather that we live in! (Let’s imagine he built on a solid foundation.)
What is your foundation?
We want to make sure that when we are working on our house that we are building onto a house that has a strong foundation. Sadly, many of us aren’t exactly sure what our foundation is. If we believe we know what our foundation is, we do not yet realize just how weak and cracked that foundation is (which is very dangerous). If I were to ask you, what are your dreams or what are your hopes, we would easily be able to answer.
We are all practically the same. Most of us wake up with the hope that we will one day make things not only better for ourselves but also make things better for our loved ones as well. (If you told me that your hope is to make things better for yourself and for your loved ones, I would certainly say there is nothing wrong with that!) However, I will tell you that many of us make the mistake for letting our hopes and dreams (those desires) become the sole thing that make up our foundation.
What happens when the devil attacks your home and those things are the foundation for who you are? What do you do when the devil attacks all of your hopes and dreams and your home has been built on things that can come and go? You see, this is what many of us face today – our foundation is too weak to withstand the devil. He comes, and he does not come alone, and ends up doing his best to crush our hopes and dreams.
Building on a weak foundation
The career has become the foundation for some, but careers can be made an ended in a day. The stock market is the foundation for others, but that stock market goes up and down like a roller coaster nowadays (at the whim of one man’s fingers). You can certainly gain a lot in the stock market, but in one day it can all come crashing down. Then the lottery is the foundation for others just as it was for them before I was even born. (I’m not trying to make fun of anybody nor am I preaching out against gaining wealth. However, if these things are the foundation of your hopes, you are building on a very weak foundation.)
It is incredibly dangerous to build a house on a weak foundation or with no foundation at all. Jesus said (Matt. 7:26-27), that the fall is great for those who choose to build their house on sand. Many people are choosing to build their house on sand today all because they are refusing to come to Christ! Jesus proclaims to us that He is the solid rock in which we should build our house on! Instead of building your house on top of a foundation that can crack and erode in the blink of an eye, you ought to build on the rock that is Christ!
I tell you that I have built my house on the rock of Christ! Over the past few years I have gone through some things, the devil has tried to crush my hopes and dreams – my spirit – but my house still stands with those things safely inside! Why? Because my hope is built on nothing less than the Lord! We have lost so many in our society today because their foundation was not strong enough for them to endure. I want to take a look at the foundation of Christ for just a moment.
The Foundation of Christ
Jesus likens His sayings (or Himself) to a solid rock (Matt. 7:24). Rocks are made up of many different minerals that have mixed and compressed together to form what we see as a rock. The cement we use to make the foundation of our homes is a composite that is mixed together and hardens over time. I am very curious to see what the composition is that makes the foundation of Christ so strong.
Our scripture for today comes at the tail end of Jesus’ teachings on the mount (Matt. 5-7). Some of the things Jesus taught were the beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12), genuine love (Matt. 5:43-48), doing good to others (Matt. 6:1-4), the Lord’s prayer (Matt. 6:8-15), and serving one Master (Matt. 6:24). Jesus taught these things because He was seeking to build up a strong foundation in all of those who would listen, believe, and follow Him. (He knew that the believer would be tested by Satan and the world.)
In Matthew 7, we notice that Jesus focuses on two fronts. The first front Jesus focuses on is how we treat one another. You know that I focus on this a lot because how we treat one another as believers has become a big problem for today’s believer. Many of us do not realize that those around us play a vital part to the composition that makes up the foundation of Christ.
How we treat others
Jesus first tells us to remove the plank from our own eyes before we judge others (Matt. 7:5). You may recall that I preached this scripture earlier this year. We learned that this is action is all about humility. We cannot act as if we are superior, we have to be humble. So we see humility is part of the foundation of Christ and it is there for a specific reason which ties into what Jesus says next.
Jesus teaches the “golden rule” – treat others the way you would want to be treated (Matt. 7:12). We learn in school that this saying is all about respect. You want somebody to respect you, so treat them with the same manner of respect you wish for them to treat you with. This means that both humility and respect for others are both a part of the foundation of Christ and I find this to be very interesting. Why would this be in the composition that makes up the foundation of Christ? Why would Jesus teach us these things?
I believe it is because those who are around you can also be your strength. When the Lord created Adam, we see that He also created Eve (his helpmeet). God has put other people around us for a reason, but again, we are too busy seeing others as our enemies in our world.
I tell you, I don’t know where I would be without my family! My family, my church family, and those who I consider to be friends have certainly been part of my strength, especially in recent years. They help me continue to go day by day when I’d rather just lounge around – they give me reason.
You see, it is not possible for us to go through life as a lone wolf. (Every wolf needs a pack, right?) We have to stop seeing each other as an enemy and start learning to value one another as a helping hand. There are too many things in this life to try and tackle by yourself! Wouldn’t it be good if you have people that genuinely want to help you tackle not only this life, but also stand with you in the battle against Satan.
Understand that Satan does not come at you alone. Satan will throw all kinds of tribulations at you and if that is not enough, he will then send his minions in. Wouldn’t it be nice if you were surrounded by people who were willing to help you instead of people pushing you away because you decided you were going to be rude and disrespectful?
The part that is Christ
When we try to take on Satan, life’s tribulations, and then Satan’s minion by ourselves, our foundation is simply not strong enough to hold us up. When we try to take on Satan, life’s tribulations, and then Satan’s minions with the help of loved ones, that battle will still be too much for that foundation. So, what then? What are we missing from our foundation?
Christ says that our foundation should also include coming to Him. Jesus says that we should seek Him and ask of Him (Matt. 7:7). (Jesus wants to be a part of your foundation!) If you have come to Christ, I tell you that Christ becomes your foundation! Jesus is the part of our foundation that truly gives it its strength. Christ has the power to calm the storm by His command (Matt. 8:23-27). By the words of His mouth, Christ has the power to make the demons flee (Luke 8:26-39). By His authority, Christ has the power to put Satan in his place (Matt. 4:1-11).
When Satan, life’s tribulations, and Satan’s minions come to your house, they are now having to take on you, those that make up your support system, and Christ – that’s a foundation that can withstand anything! Who or what can come up against this foundation and knock over the house that stands on that rock? Jesus is my rock and I tell you today that ought to want Him to be your rock as well! Jesus is the rock that will not roll, will not erode, and it cannot be crushed!
Build your hopes and dreams on Christ
My great concern is that too many of us are building our house filled with all of our hopes and dreams on sand. This is a great concern for me, especially in the times we live in where we just said, last Sunday, that the devil is busy and his works can be seen in the open. We are living in a time where the devil is openly attacking the hopes and dreams of everybody. Why?
Again, I tell you, the devil understands just how fragile we are. He knows that if he can crush all of our hopes and dreams, that he can very well crush us as individuals. The devil’s goal is to crush and break the hearts (spirits) of us – he tried to do this with Job. Satan is very good at doing this too; we’ve seen many people tragically have a fall because they lost their hope.
In our time, the foundation for our hopes and our dreams cannot be fragile. The foundation of our hopes and our dreams cannot be built on sand nor cannot that foundation have holes and cracks in it. You are the house that the winds and rains (tribulation) beat up against. You are the house that the floods will come up against! I do not want to see you fall. I tell you today to build your house on a foundation that is sturdy – build your house on the foundation of Christ.