Jack Graham - Life on the Rock
Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of the Gospel of Luke. We're in a series of messages in the Gospel of Luke and we come to the conclusion of our Lord's message to His disciples. The Sermon on the Mount given in Matthew 5, 6 and 7, and this sermon on the level given to His disciples specifically... very similar to the Sermon on the Mount but most Bible scholars believe this is a different presentation of many of the same truths that Jesus gave to His followers. And so the greatest sermon ever preached.
And at the conclusion Jesus tells a story and it is a very familiar story, and one that is very simple, and yet, underscoring this story is the most important truth that you can learn: Whether your life is built upon Christ and therefore lasting forever, or if your life is built on nothing, and when life bottoms out and the storms come and rage against your life, there's nothing left to hold you up; and therefore, the collapse of your life. So there's a contrast here between life as Jesus has designed it and built as Jesus has given us, and a life that has no foundation. Before we read the Scripture today what's most important, what I want you to hear today is this... Gonna ask you a question: Is your faith real?
And because, you know, there are a lot of poses today in life. In fact one of the fads of our culture is the reality television show. I don't know how much reality TV you've been watching. If you've been watching much, you don't have enough to do. Okay? But the rage of reality television right now is a thing called "Duck Dynasty". Anybody here care to admit that you watch "Duck Dynasty"? Alright. God bless you. I think the head of the Duck Dynasty fan club is our own teaching pastor Jarrett Stephens. I've noticed that people from Louisiana like this reality television show. It's about some good ol' boys and their wives who live outside of Monroe, Louisiana or as they say down south, Monroe, Louisiana. And they've made a fortune, like Beverly Hillbillies years ago. They didn't strike oil; they started making duck calls. And they have made a fortune, apparently on duck calls. So they're riding in Bentleys , they've got five rings on their finger. They've all... you know they look like hillbillies... long, long hair.
Now I watched this show. They've got Uncle Si and I'm watching this show because Jarrett told me I should watch it. And in the first episode I'm just saying, "Really? Really"? Because I suspect that these guys and their gals are posing and performing a little bit. Now their life may be a little bit like they say it is, but so much of reality TV is just unreality... it's just performance. is it real? Sort of like you ask professional wrestling... Is it real? And there are some people here that still think pro wrestling is real, alright. I was up in I was up in New York not long ago and I went over there to Chinatown and there was a gentleman there selling watches. And there were great watches there at a great price! They're selling Rolexes at an unbelievable price there!
I read one sign that said, "Genuine Imitation Rolexes sold here". Is it real? Is it not real? I don't want your life to be a bad reality TV show. I want my life and your life to be built on something that is solid, strong and stable! Because when storms come, and they do come... No life is storm-proof. We all face the tides and the tempests of life and hardships and struggles in life. And when the storms of life rage against us and our house, and whether or not we're built upon a strong foundation... a solid foundation... the foundation that is in Jesus Christ or else nothing; that is whether or not our lives will last or whether or not they will not last. The Apostle Paul said that everyone should examine his own life. We should all examine our own lives. And examine our own hearts because frankly there are many people sitting in churches today who have no foundation because they don't have Christ in their life! They're in church but not in Christ! They have not possessed what they have professed!
That's what Jesus is talking about at this very stinging conclusion to His sermon. So begin reading with me at verse 46: "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you to do? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been built well. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great". Would you bow with me in prayer?
O Lord, open our eyes to Your word today and our heart to the truth of what Jesus is telling us in this important passage of Scripture. We pray for the work of Your Holy Spirit now in response to Your word and to Your truth. And may we always act in obedience to what we hear, by what we do. For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Yes, there are always imitators and posers and fakers who say one thing and do something else. Who say they are Christians but in reality are not. Now I want us to be especially careful today because you may be thinking, "I wish so and so was here today to hear this message". I want you to draw a circle around your life and hear this message. I'm not asking you is someone else a Christian; I'm asking are you a Christian? It's not "Is so-and-so a Christian"? I want you to ask yourself the question today, "Am I a Christ follower? Am I a Christian? Am I a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ"? And Jesus tells us there is a way that we can know! We must know, we need to know, we can know, and Jesus said, "Here's how you know. Check your foundation"!
Look underneath. Here are two men: one hurriedly builds a house with no foundation, just on sand. Here's another man who builds his house... very similar, they have the same aspirations. They want a home, they want a place to live, a place for their family. They build a house... one on sand, the other takes the time. He, Jesus said, digs down deep at a cost. He works hard but before he builds on top, he builds this foundation. And then when the storm comes the test is given as to how the house or the life is built. Check the foundation. It's all about verse 46: "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord'". Notice this is public; it's personal. "Why do you call me... why do you call me" is public; "Lord, Lord" is passionate. But "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord' and don't do what I say"?
Now let me just put this pause for a moment and say, we're not talking here about struggling Christians... Christians who sin because we all sin. We're not talking about someone who fails and stumbles in the Christian life. But we're talking about the difference between someone who knows Christ and someone who doesn't; someone who is living the life and someone who's not living the life; someone who is real and someone who is not real! Jesus said, "Why do you call me Lord and do not obey Me"?
Now that's a simple truth but it's one that we often miss. The truth is Jesus will change and transform your life when you come to Him; when you are really changed from within; when you are converted! What is a real Christian? You ask the average person in your neighborhood, at your office, you'll get an answer something like this: "Well, a Christian's somebody who goes to church and reads their Bibles, keeps the Ten Commandments, live by the Sermon on the Mount, obey the Golden Rule, be a good person, live a good life, believe in God, believe in Jesus". Well, you can do all of these things and believe these things, and not be a Christian! Now if you are a Christian you will want to do these things, and more. But you can do all of these things but not be changed from within; not be transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.
For example, you can pray and not be a Christian. Statistics show that most people in America pray for something or someone. Many pray to Jesus. But you can pray to God, you can pray to Jesus and not be saved. You can make visible changes in your life, decide to straighten up, walk the straight and narrow, modify your behavior, stop doing certain things, start doing other things. You can change the way you live your life externally and not be a Christian! You can participate in the ceremonies of your church: the Lord's Supper and baptism and not be a bona fide believer in the Lord Jesus Christ! You can be a member of the church, you can be a leader in the church, a deacon, a member of the choir, a Sunday school teacher and not personally know Christ! I've seen it many times.
Listen to me! You can be the pastor of the church and not be saved! In the parallel passage of Luke 6 in the seventh chapter of Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said "On that Day of Judgment many will say, 'Did we not perform many works in Your name? Did we not proclaim your word? Did we not raise the dead? Did we not cast out demons?' And Jesus says, 'Depart from Me, ye cursed into everlasting fire; I never knew you'". So it's possible to preach and to teach and to lead! It's the most terrifying thought in all of the Bible to think that you are saved and you are not saved! That is why it is critical today and the burden of my heart today is to so preach that you will examine your own life and settle for certain that you are planted on the Rock that is Jesus Christ! That you know Jesus Christ, that you're constructing your life upon Him!
A rich young ruler came to Jesus and said Luke 18:18, "What must I do to inherit eternal life"? Jesus told him to keep the commandments. He claimed that he kept the commandments, though he hadn't. There was covetousness in his heart. But ultimately he walked away from Jesus. He did not follow Jesus. Though he kept the commandments, he was unwilling to commit his life to follow Jesus Christ. And the illustration of Judas. We preached on Judas Iscariot several weeks ago. Judas was the ultimate insider. He heard the messages of Jesus. This message in Luke 6, he listened at the Sermon on the Mount. Beyond that, he had personal and private conversations with our Lord, up close and personal. He had a front row seat to the life of Jesus! He saw the miracles. He watched as Jesus walked on the water. He was there when Jesus healed blind eyes and touched leprous bodies and made them clean.
Judas Iscariot was there when Jesus spoke and said, "Lazarus come out of that grave"! And a dead man rose. He saw every bit of that! And yet, he betrayed our Lord with a kiss. He was so close that he kissed Him goodbye, and with it, life goodbye. I'm simply saying that it is possible to be very, very close to Jesus and not know Jesus. And it is too terrifying, too great a thought of possibility for any of us to neglect. And therefore, we examine our own life. The Apostle Paul said 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine your life and see if you be in the faith". We're here to build faith. I'm not here to create doubt, but I am concerned about many who say one thing and do something else. And you know who I'm talking about if you're really taking this to heart. You know if you're living for Christ or not! You know you're obeying God or... you're obeying God or not. You know if this is all a sham and you're just going through the motions and going to church every now and then. You know if it's real or not!
You say, "Well what about grace, what about grace? What about faith? I thought salvation was all about grace, all about faith". Yes, it is, but grace never leaves us where grace found us. And faith alone without works, according to Scripture, does not save. You say, "Where does it say that"? Well, you're in Luke chapter 6; just go to the book of James. Go to the book of James, chapter 2, and let me introduce you to the other side of faith and that is works. Verse 14 says, "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith", notice, he just says he has faith, not that he has faith, but he says he has faith, "but does not have works, can that faith save him"? In other words, can a workless faith save? Verse 17: "So also faith by itself, if it does not have works is what? Dead! But someone will say, 'But you have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works.'"
Now is James saying something different than for example the Apostle Paul who said Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are you saved through faith, not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest anyone should boast". Is the Scripture contradicting itself? Are these 2 men in conflict? Absolutely not! When we talk about God's grace and faith we're talking about the provision of salvation. James is talking about the proof of salvation. It's the difference between the root and the fruit, the difference between the foundation and the building. It's the difference between having not only a know-so faith but a show-so faith! And Jesus says there are two kinds of people; those who hear and do the will of God... the word of God "My word, My will" and those who don't. Two kinds of people. Those whose lives will last because they're built on a sure and solid foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and those who do not what He says and therefore bottom out in life. It's the difference between those who hear the word of God and those who do the word of God. And if you are a believer you will do the word of God, you will do the will of God.
The faith that saves works! Genuine bona fide believers obey God in the way they live their life! Again, not perfectly, but progressively we become more and more like Christ. The direction of your life is changed. It's called conversion; called repentance. And unrepentant, unchanged people are not saved, according to Jesus. And here's how you can know. When the storms of life blow, when some tornado of temptation is unleashed against you, when some great flood tide of suffering or illness, when your life bottoms out financially, when there is a great storm in your life, if you are built upon Christ, you will run to the Rock, you will stand upon the Rock that is Christ! Otherwise, you sink like sand. "On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand"!
Christ is the solid Rock. Any other rock is a sham-rock! Christ is the solid Rock! And the tests of life, the trials of life that blow against us... and you can expect those winds to blow, you can certainly expect those trials to come... when they do, this tests your faith. And the faith that can't be tested is a faith that can't be trusted. A faith that can't be shaken is built upon a life that has been shaken and stood in Christ! So how is it with you? I've seen over the years storms strike church members and they run away and they abandon faith, and we wonder what happened. Did they lose their faith? Never had it! And the winds and the storms demonstrated that their life was built on sand.
How's your foundation? How's your life built? Is it built upon the Lord Jesus Christ? The storms will test your faith and your foundation but Jesus will sustain you. He will be your strength and your stability. He is the Rock to which we run. He's the Rock that is our Redeemer. Do you know Him? Or do you have a hand-me-down faith? Hand-me-down faith won't last. "Oh, well, my parents believed". Okay, good. Do you believe? "Well, my friends at church are believers". Okay, great! Are you a believer? Don't rely upon your parents' faith, your friend's faith, your pastor's faith, because people will let you down. I could let you down.
Don't build your life on anyone or anything but Christ! Christ is the One and only true foundation! Storms will come out of nowhere. That's the indication here in the story that Jesus tells. He tells it almost like He was living here in north Texas where these storms just come out of nowhere! You might say this is a storm warning, because the storm's not only in this life, but Jesus spoke of the storms of the final days. And we're certainly living in a last day scenario! And if you stand alone with no foundation, there's nothing to keep you from falling into hell. But if you stand in Christ the Solid Rock there will be strength, there will be civility, there will be salvation in your life.