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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               Building To Withstand The Storms (7:24-27)

INTRODUCTION

1. 1998 was quite a year for natural disasters in the state of
   Florida...
   a. There were killer tornadoes, devastating fires, destructive 
      hurricanes
   b. Impacting the lives of many people

2. Such disasters proved to reveal much about contractors...
   a. We learned that some builders were unscrupulous
   b. Failing to build according to code, many homes and buildings were
      destroyed

3. Jesus made a parallel between storms and buildings at the end of His
   sermon - Mt 7:24-27
   a. As He sought to encourage people to act upon His sayings
   b. Contrasting the difference between those who were doers and not
      just listeners

4. In this lesson, I wish to address the following questions...
   a. What do the "houses" of the wise and foolish builders represent?
   b. What "storms" is Jesus talking about?
   c. How can we "build" so as to be able to withstand the storms?

[Let's begin by identifying the "houses"; I suggest that...]

I. THE HOUSES REPRESENT OUR LIVES

   A. EACH OF US IS BUILDING A "LIFE"...
      1. A life that will eventually face the vicissitudes of life
      2. A life that will respond to the many ups and downs that come
         our way

   B. WE ARE BUILDING THESE "LIVES" UPON A FOUNDATION...
      1. The foundation is whatever teaching, doctrine, or philosophy
         to which we subscribe
      2. It may be a philosophy or doctrine adopted from others, or
         developed ourselves

[We cannot escape the fact that we are "builders."  The question is 
whether we will be wise or foolish builders.  The tests that will 
determine are called "storms"...]

II. THE STORMS ARE THINGS WHICH THREATEN OUR WELL-BEING

   A. THIS MAY INVOLVE LITERAL STORMS...
      1. Such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, etc.
      2. Which may take away all we own, perhaps even our loved ones
      3. How we respond to such tragedies will reveal the quality of
         our "building"
         a. Will we be emotionally devastated?
         b. Will we be able to stand strong, willing to continue on
            without despair?

   B. IT MAY ALSO INVOLVE FIGURATIVE STORMS...
      1. Such as illness, loss of loved ones, financial setbacks
      2. Which may take away our health, family, possessions
      3. Again, how we respond to such tragedies will reveal the 
         quality of our "building"
         a. Will we be emotionally devastated?
         b. Will we be able to stand strong, willing to continue on 
            without despair?

   C. THEN THERE IS THE FINAL "STORM" OF LIFE...
      1. That of death and the final day of Judgment - cf. He 9:27;
         Ro 2:4-6
      2. Which will be the truest test of our "building" (i.e., 
         character) - cf. 2Co 5:10-11
      3. The Lord will describe the kind of "builder" (or servant) we
         have been
         a. E.g., "Well done, good and faithful servant..." - Mt 25:21
         b. E.g., "You wicked and lazy servant..." - Mt 25:26

[The longer we live, the more "storms" we are likely to face; and there
is the final "storm" that none can escape!  How can we be sure to build
our lives so as to withstand the storms?]

III. OBEYING JESUS IS THE KEY TO WITHSTANDING THE STORMS

   A. BEING A "HEARER" ONLY IS NOT SUFFICIENT...
      1. Such is foolishness, building on a shaky foundation that will
         not stand the test of storms - Mt 7:26-27
      2. As James wrote, one is deceiving only themselves - Jm 1:22-24
      3. Like the unscrupulous contractor, the storm will reveal the
         true quality of one's character
      4. As Moses said, "...your sin will find you out."- Num 32:23

   B. WE MUST "DO" WHAT JESUS SAYS...
      1. Those who "do" what Jesus said will be those to withstand the
         storms - Mt 7:24-25
      2. Because their lives (houses) are built upon the "rock" (a 
         solid foundation)
      3. As James went on to write, it is the doer who is blessed in
         what he does - Jm 1:25

   C. HOW THE SAYINGS OF JESUS HELP US WITHSTAND THE STORMS...
      1. His saying regarding where to lay up treasure - Mt 6:19-21
         a. In which we are told to lay up treasure in heaven, not on
            earth
         b. If we heed His words, our hearts will not be distraught if
            earthly treasures are stolen or lost
      2. His saying regarding what to seek first - Mt 6:33
         a. Calling upon all to seek first the kingdom of God and His
            righteousness
         b. By heeding His words, we need not have anxiety for the 
            future
      3. Indeed, His sayings provide the basis for a solid foundation
         in which to build a life...
         a. That will avoid being misled by false prophets - Mt 7:15-20
         b. That will stay on the straight and narrow way that leads to
            life - Mt 7:13-14
         c. That will fulfill the Law and the Prophets - Mt 7:12
         d. That will receive what good gifts God desires to give His
            children - Mt 7:7-11
         e. That will not be judged by some inconsistent standard 
            - Mt 7:1-6
         f. Where the necessities of life are provided for - Mt 6:30-34
         g. Free from materialism and anxiety - Mt 6:22-29
         h. With treasure that cannot rust or be stolen - Mt 6:19-21
         i. With acts of righteousness that are well-pleasing to God 
            - Mt 6:1-18
         j. With righteousness that surpasses that of the scribes and
            Pharisees - Mt 5:20-48

CONCLUSION

1. Yes, this is a life that can truly withstand the storms!
   a. Whether it be the literal or figurative storms of every day life
   b. Or the storm of the Day of Wrath and Judgment that is yet to come

2. What kind of foundation are you building your house (life) upon?
   a. Heed what Jesus is saying, and your life will be solid
   b. Be listeners only, and your life will be as shaky as sand!

Just as Jesus is the Rock-solid foundation of the church (1Co 3:11;
Ep 2:20; 1Pe 2:4-6), so let Him be the Rock-solid foundation of your
life!
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