On the Solid Rock I Stand

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)

For as long as I can remember, I have loved music. God reminds me of Biblical truth through music and so today’s focal verse evokes strong reminders of a classic hymn that echoes the same truth.

The hymn, My Hope is Built On Nothing Less, echoes:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

What a beautiful shadow of the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 7:24-27. In the words of Jesus I am reminded of a basic truth: storms will come. It isn’t a matter of “if” trials and tribulations will find us, but when. It is when the storms of life come that the truth of where we’ve built the house of our lives will be revealed. 

Being a true follower of Jesus has always been about faith and action motivated by that faith. Jesus tells us that it is those who both hear His words and “does them” who are truly founding their lives on the Rock. It shouldn’t be strange then that we see this same reminder in James 1:22: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

As I think about “building my life on the rock”, I also think: what other things do people build their lives on? Some build their lives on professional pursuits, their career defines them. Others build their lives on their physical health. Some build their lives in worldly relationships like their marriage or with their children. Some place their trust and hope in manmade religion or the human pursuit of knowledge in the sciences. What about you? What (or who) are you building your life upon today?

Jesus promises us in John 16:33 that in this world all of us will have tribulation. In essence, Jesus says that the storms of life will come and in these moments, if we’ve built our lives on anything but Him, our lives will fail in the fury of the winds and waves. Simply, when you lose your job because of a worldwide pandemic, crisis will strike. When an unexpected sickness comes or the diagnosis is terminal, your world will come crashing down around you. When your spouse betrays you or they are taken much sooner than you imagined, you will be left numb and broken. When religion and science fail to give you the answers you know you need, your faith in them will be shipwrecked.

So… how do we respond in light of the words of Jesus? I’d like to share some general thoughts but I will summarize all of them this way: trust Jesus fully and build your life on Him as the unchanging Rock of your salvation.

You might respond this way:

  1. Realize that there is nothing and no one else besides Jesus on which you should build your life (John 14:6)
  2. You can’t build your life on Jesus if you don’t trust Him as Lord. If you haven’t already, confess Jesus as Lord and trust in Him alone for salvation and life (Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13)
  3. Prayerfully and carefully consider: what or who defines you? If it is not Jesus and His unchanging Word that defines you, your life is not founded on the Rock. Ask: am I a doer of the Word? Why or why not? (James 1:22)
  4. If you are a true follower of Jesus and you’ve been trying to build your life on something or someone else, stop. Confess it. Ask for forgiveness and step back into a deep, surrendered life before Jesus. (1 John 1:9)

 

Turn Your Eyes Towards Jesus

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

The classic hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, echoes these words:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

As I read the focal Scripture from today, I see this same reminder. The call to us as true followers of Jesus is to “lay aside” everything and anything that is distracting and takes our eyes off Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I find this especially difficult to do in times of anxiety, trial, and especially tribulation.

When we allow our lives to become fixated on these things and we lose focus, disaster is sure to follow. We must keep our gaze fixed on Jesus and see our lives through the lens of His Word and His promises. When we see the world through eyes of faith fixed on Jesus, then and only then can we truly “look full in his wonderful face”. 

We find a historical account in the Scripture that shows us how to respond in light of great anxiety and stress. In 2 Chronicles 20, we see the king of Judah faced with a crisis. The Scripture records that the armies of multiple nations were coming against the small kingdom of Judah, led by King Jehoshaphat. 

First, I’d like to point out that in 2 Chronicles Chapter 19, we see that King Jehoshaphat was a king who sought to know and serve the Lord. The crisis that this devout king would go on to face is a reminder: even God’s true servants face crisis. Jesus promised us this very thing… that in the world we would face tribulation. But, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).

When faced with the certain annihilation of Judah at the hands of the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and the Meunites (2 Chronicles 20:1), King Jehoshaphat did what we all must, he set his face to seek the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:3). In essence this king looked past his problems to his God and sought help from the Lord. Imagine if we approached our problems, both the mundane and miraculous problems, this same way. Are you fixing your eyes on Jesus?

The king of Judah humbly and urgently seeks the face of God. In his prayer, he ends with a profound thought that should echo in our hearts: “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12). This king and his people knew that they were powerless and hopeless without God. If God didn’t show up, all would be lost as death and destruction overtook the kingdom of Judah. The same is true for us… without Jesus and the hope of the resurrection, we have no hope (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

Today, I don’t know what you are facing. It may be a terminal illness. Maybe your marriage is in shambles and the divorce papers have already been filled. Maybe you are hopelessly addicted to alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling, sex, or some other master that has enslaved you. Maybe you feel trapped in false religion and dead works. Today maybe you have a wayward child or family member and they have rejected Jesus and you. Whatever is standing in your way today… God knows. He is calling you to look past the problems and the pain, and instead trust Him with all your heart.

Before we look at some practical ways God calls us to respond in crisis, I want to remind you of two important truths: without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and with God, nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26).

With these truths in mind, today I want to challenge each of us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Here are some reminders about God’s faithfulness and His call to us as His true followers.

  • If we are weary and heavy burdened, Jesus calls us to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28)
  • We can cast our anxiety on Jesus because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)
  • In our time of need, we can boldly come before God’s throne to find mercy and grace to help us (Hebrews 4:16)
  • In Christ, nothing and no one can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39)
  • God will never leave us, or forsake us. Jesus is with us always. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20)
  • The grace of Jesus is enough. His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • In this world we will have tribulation but in Christ we can have peace (John 16:33)

A Consuming Fire

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV)

This morning I am reminded of the supremacy (their is nothing and no one greater) and the sufficiency (in Him we have everything we could ever want or need) of Jesus. Over the past few months, I’ve been blessed to sit under the teaching through a series called Greater Than. If you are interested, you can view this series online for free here.

The Scripture tells us that in these last days that God has spoken to us not through just prophets and men, but His own Son. (Hebrews 1:2) Jesus, God’s only Son, came into the world so that you and I could experience true life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). 

If you are a follower of Jesus this morning I want to remind you: nothing and no one can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). Through faith alone in Jesus alone by His finished work on the cross alone, we experience true salvation and life. In Christ, we find that every promise of God is yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20). Today let your heart rejoice for the unshakable, unchangeable, irrevocable promises of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

May God’s consuming fire burn brightly in our minds and hearts. May the light of our God shine brightly in this dark world as a reminder of His unshakable promises. May this holy fire spread among our families, our friends, and our communities. Today let our worship not just empty praise, but let it be from the depths of grateful hearts as we remember who we are because of who Jesus is.