Derek Prince - How Did The Wise Man Built His House Upon The Rock?
Now we come to the next important practical issue. If you have laid the foundation, how do you proceed to build on it? You remember that the metaphors we used at the beginning all spoke about building. So here’s the next vitally important and practical issue how do you build on the foundation? And I want to go to a parable of Jesus that He spoke at the end of Matthew chapter 7. A well known parable about the wise man and the foolish man, each of whom built a house but they built it different ways.
Beginning in Matthew 7 verse 24: Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (The bedrock, petra). And the rain descended, the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house and it did not fall, for it was founded on the bedrock. Now everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain descended, the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house... and it fell, and great was its fall.
First of all, it’s important to see that each house was subjected to the same test. There was no house that was free from being tested. The same storm that hit one house hit the other. And let me tell you the Christian life is not a storm-free life. You will go through storms. God has never guaranteed that you won’t. In fact, Paul and Barnabas said to an early church: We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God. If you’re on a road that has no tribulation it’s questionable whether it leads to the kingdom of God. Because that’s what Paul said: We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God. It’s not in the scope of this talk to explain why we go through tribulation, but believe me, God has a purpose in it. And if you’re going through it now, don't give up, God will bring you through, and you’ll find at the end that He’s dealt with you and taught you things you couldn’t learn any other way.
You know how I know that? From personal experience. I very seldom preach theories. So, how does the wise man build? Very simply. Two ways: By hearing, and doing, the words of Jesus, the words of the Bible. So how can you build on that foundation? Just the same way. Hearing what the Bible says and doing it. Don’t be just a hearer only because the Bible has no promises for them, but a hearer, and a doer. It’s practical. It’s applying the teaching of the Bible and the teaching of Jesus in your own life. And you will find as you go on in this that God will continually open up to you new areas in which you need to apply the truth. I want to tell you I’ve been a Christian for more than 50 years but God is continually showing me new ways in which to apply His word. New areas of my life in which I need to apply it. My building isn’t complete it’s being built. But I thank God it’s passed through a number of storms successfully.
Now there’s one other parable of Jesus in Luke chapter 6 which is very similar but there’s an important addition. So I’m going to turn to Luke chapter 6 for a moment. Verses 46 through 49. Again, it’s Jesus who is speaking. And He says: But why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things which I say? That's an important question. It is futile to call Jesus Lord if you don’t obey Him. because the very title Lord means someone who is to be obeyed. Jesus says beware of just having a vocal confession which doesn’t affect the way you live. Then He goes on with this parable: Whoever comes to me and hears my sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like. He is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house and could not shake it. For it was founded on the rock. The bedrock, the petra. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built his house on the earth without a foundation against which the stream beat vehemently and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.
Now there’s one important detail added in Luke which is not in Matthew. I wonder how many of you noticed it. It says the man who wanted to reach the bedrock had to dig deep. He had to get a lot of things out of the way before he could build on the bedrock. And that is true with many of us, maybe not with all of us, but most of us who’ve grown up in a nominal Christian culture, there’s a lot of things we have to get out of the way before we reach the bedrock. Others, too, who have grown up in a completely non-Christian culture will have to eliminate things, too, but they’ll be different. And I want to suggest to you five things that we need to dig out of the way.
The first is: traditions. Now, not all traditions are bad, some traditions are good. We don’t want to throw out all the traditions but Jesus said to the people of his day: By your traditions you have made the Word of God of no effect. You’re believing traditions and acting on them which are not in line with the Scripture. And I have to say, according to my observation; Jesus would say exactly the same thing to the same Jewish people today. By your traditions you’ve made the Word of God of no effect. But let’s not just look at the Jews because it’s true of many others from Christian backgrounds. We’ve inherited traditions, ways of acting, things we do, words we speak, which are not necessarily in line with Scripture. So we have to be very careful to check. I think I’ll refrain from making any specific suggestions but there are many I could make.
Then the second thing we need to eliminate is prejudices. Now there’s no one here who hasn’t had some prejudices at one time. You may have got rid of them, I don’t know. But there are all sorts of prejudices. There are racial prejudices. Unfortunately, the world is full today of racial prejudice. And we know in countries like South Africa, for instance, where there’s been a wonderful change let me add, where racial prejudices eliminated certain people from being part of the church. A terrible thought! But that’s not the only area where there’s racial prejudice.
The United States of America has been full of racial prejudice and in many places it still is today. And I’m from a British background, and let me say, the British people have their prejudices, too. I grew up with many of them. I had to dig deep to get rid of them. My own family background is from India. All my forbears served with British forces in India. And I remember as a boy of about twelve saying innocently at a lunch I don’t see why you couldn’t invite an Indian to lunch. And the reaction was one of horror in my family. I thought what is the reason for this? Well, later on I realized this is a prejudice. And believe me, I’m looking at a lot of different people from different racial backgrounds, but very few of who are free from all racial prejudice.
Then there’s denominational prejudice. Most of us react in a somewhat negative way to certain denominations. My first wife, who’s with the Lord, was Danish and she grew up in the Danish Lutheran Church and then she did something that was terrible in their eyes, she was baptized as a believer which they call in Danish ginderker, a second time baptizer. Her case, because she was a teacher in the Danish state school system, actually went before the Parliament as to whether she could remain a teacher. And I’d have to say... that my wife continued in a running war with the Lutheran Church really to the end of her days.
I don’t justify that, I think it was a weakness in her. But I’ve learned myself, when I hear about people belonging to a certain denomination I develop an attitude against them without ever meeting them. I think, well, they’re going to be like that, and this is where they’re wrong, and so on. Experience has taught me, if possible, never judge a person till you’ve met them. Because I’ve met people from the wrong denominational background who are some of the most right people I’ve known. And, some who were from the right background who were wrong. So please, don’t give way to denominational prejudice.
And then there’s social prejudice. Again, I’m an example of somebody brought up in social prejudice. I wasn’t even aware that I had prejudice. But I was educated in Britain at Eton and then at Cambridge University. And I just didn’t know how the rest of the world lived. Then I got plunged into the British Army and I was together with all sorts of people I never had been together with. And I began to realize how limited my knowledge of my own British people was. I thank God for that experience, five and a half years in the British Army, But it cleansed me of a lot of social prejudices. Having been from a family of officers I was used to being on that level, and when I was not on that level I learned something.
When you see people from the same level, they look one way. But when you see them from underneath, they look different. I’ve always tried to say ever since God, how do I look to the people who may see me from underneath? So there’s various kinds of prejudice. There’s personal prejudice. Some people don’t like people with a loud voice. Some people don’t like people with red hair. There’s all sorts of silly, personal prejudices most of us have. I have a prejudice against people who munch apples. I really fight it but it’s still there in the background because I just don’t like that noise.
Going beyond that, there’s preconceptions, people who’ve got a completely false view of who Jesus is. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, turning up at the Christmas party. That’s not the real Jesus. He was a very different kind of person, very shocking. Very prone to eliminate our prejudices and our preconceptions. And there are many other ways we can have preconceptions. Preconceptions of what it’s like to be a Christian. Growing up, as I did in the background I’ve related, I thought to myself: well, if I were to become a Christian, it would mean misery for the rest of my life. And like Pat Boone I thought: Heaven isn’t worth seventy years of misery on earth, so I... I completely eliminated the possibility of being a Christian... until I met Jesus.
Then there’s something else that’s very, very dangerous, and that is unbelief. Sometimes when I’m going to teach I’ll begin by getting all the people, together with myself, to renounce unbelief. Because many of us are still beset by unbelief in various areas. Our minds are not really open to faith.
And lastly, and I think the most important, is rebellion. You might say: Well, Brother Prince, I’m not a rebel. Oh, yes you are! And if you haven’t discovered it, you’ll go on being one. You see, I don’t want to go into the theology of this, but every descendant of Adam is born with a rebel inside. And we have to identify that rebel and deal with it. And God has only got one remedy for the rebel. Do you know what that is? Execution, that’s right. He doesn’t send him to church, He doesn’t teach him the Golden Rule, He doesn’t have him memorizing Scripture. He puts him to death. But the mercy of God is the execution took place nearly two thousand years ago when Jesus died on the cross. Our old man was crucified with Him. We have to come to the place where we identify that rebel inside us and we willingly submit to execution.