Sunday, November 24, 2019

Preparing For When The Rain Comes #JesusFollowers

The Parable of House on the Rock is among Jesus’ best-known parables. In it, Jesus says: “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)

While there is a lot here to unpack (and we have dealt with this parable before) what we’re focusing on today is the rain itself. The rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and beat on that house, just as troubles today beat on our own homes, and on us.

We aren’t surprised when trouble visits us. Jesus tells us the God “makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” (Matt. 5:45)

Trouble and trials are, therefore, part of our lives and existence.

We struggle with money, relationships, work, traffic jams, and numerous other challenges each day.
It’s HOW we handle this flood of challenges that makes the difference.

Jesus uses this parable and the rest of his teachings to tell us exactly how to handle the rains, floods, and wind of our lives.

By putting the teachings of Jesus at the core of our faith, we are able to withstand the troubles of our lives.

When we listen to Jesus, and hear that he has provided us with help, we are far better equipped to cope with life’s challenges than without that help.

Jesus teaches us to bring God’s Kingdom down around us through our individual Righteous acts, spreading God’s love with the light He has implanted within each of us at birth.

Jesus tells us to defeat the evil that comes into our lives not by returning evil for evil, but by praying for and actively loving those who persecute us. This truly defeats evil.

Jesus calls us to actively go about serving others, going the extra mile when asked to serve, and seeking to address the immediate physical and spiritual needs of those around us.

But while Jesus’ parable makes it clear that we may choose to be wise and heed these teachings of his, conversely, we may also choose to be foolish and ignore them.

We can simply make Jesus into a magic totem, chanting his name repeatedly (“Lord, Lord!”) while ignoring his actual teachings and not “doing them,” as the parable instructs.

We can try to make Jesus’ goodness our own simply by “claiming” his righteousness, but failing to actually DO the righteousness he calls us to do in this world. (Through the magic of a man-made doctrine named “imputed righteousness.”)

Or we can simply demand that God allow us into Heaven based on our mere belief in the story ABOUT Jesus, again, while ignoring the work Jesus himself calls us to do here on earth to be worthy of God’s eternal Kingdom.

But this false “instant salvationism” reeks of what Jesus warns us about when he speaks of the “wide gate” (Matt. 7:13.) It’s the easy path many take instead of the narrow gate Jesus lays out of those who are called Jesus Followers and who seek to follow him in more than just name only.

If we have a foundation that is solid – one that is built upon the rock of the teachings of Jesus and not the clever, sandy theological teachings of later men, we can weather any of the storms the world sends our way.

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