6th Sunday after Pentecost
First Sermonette – Foundation – Matthew 7:24-29
How concerned are you about “quality”? How concerned are you about the quality of the food you eat or the water you drink? Are you ok with eating some meat that may or may not cause you to become very sick? Are you ok with drinking water that has a lot of dangerous chemicals in it? How concerned are you with the quality of medical care that you’re provided? Are you ok with a sloppy medical procedure or non-sterilized medical instruments? How concerned are you with the quality of the vehicle you drive? Are you ok with a vehicle that might suddenly break down or has brakes that sometimes work and sometimes don’t? How concerned are you with quality?
Here Jesus’ makes a comparison of two buildings that were built on different foundations. One had a quality foundation and the other not-so-much. Well, just like every building needs a foundation, so every person needs a foundation for their life. And everyone has one. But there’s a huge difference in quality among what people build their lives on. There are many options, aren’t there? There’s many different materials you could use to build your life on, right? Perhaps I’m going to build my life on my career – work really hard, seek promotions and advancement at the cost of my health and family, but what happens when I lose my career or get laid off or retire? Or maybe I’ll build my life on my children- push them to succeed and achieve in sports, in grades, in a job, but what happens when they fail, when they disappoint? Or maybe I’ll build my life on having fun, doing whatever I like, if it feels good do it, but what happens when I’m terminally diagnosed, or when I lose my health or wealth? Then what? What happens when the storms of life come, when the rain comes down, the streams rise, and the winds blow and beat? It will show the quality of the material on which I’ve built my life.
There have been many lives that have come crashing down and ultimately every life not built on the only rock-solid foundation will crumble on the Last Day. What are you building your life on? What’s the foundation for your life? What foundation for life are you passing on to your children?
See what Jesus says? “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” What is the only quality foundation on which to build your life? It’s Jesus and His Words. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” The only rock-solid foundation for life is trusting in Jesus as your Savior. Trusting in Jesus who came to shed His blood on the cross for each and every time you and I have foolishly tried to build our lives on anything else but Him. The only rock-solid foundation is trusting in Jesus as the one who forgives all our sins and promises us eternal life. The only rock-solid foundation for life is found by building my life on God’s Word, hearing it, believing it, and doing it. Build your life on Jesus – the only quality foundation there is. Amen.
Second Sermonette – Safety – Genesis 6-9 (selected verses)
It’s vitally important that when you’re building anything you take certain safety precautions. As I understand it, it’s necessary that everyone working at a construction site must wear a hard hat. Why so? To protect their head in case something falls or is dropped on them. People wear safety harnesses if they are working at some height. People wear ear muffs to protect their hearing when there are loud machines running. People wear safety glasses to protect their eyes from splinters or flying material. We like to remain safe, so we take certain safety precautions.
The people at the time of Noah thought that they were safe. They figured the earth would keep going just as it always had and there was no reason to be concerned. They thought they were safe, but they were relying on the wrong things to remains safe. They thought they were safe from God’s anger and wrath against their sin and rebellion against him. They were wrong. Whatever they relied on for safety failed them when the flood waters came and destroyed everyone and everything. Except for one family.
Only one family relied on the right place for safety. Noah and his family trusted in the Lord and relied on him to keep them safe. And the Lord did. He kept them physically safe. He directed Noah to build this massive ark to house his whole family and two of every animal. That ark kept Noah and his family physically safe while the flood waters annihilated everything on earth. But more importantly the Lord kept Noah and his family spiritually safe. By preserving them God kept alive the promise that He had made in the Garden of Eden to one day send a Savior from sin.
The Lord keeps you and me safe too. God says that He won’t let your foot slip and He who watches over you will neither slumber nor sleep. God also says that he commands His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. God promises that he delivers us from so many evil things that we didn’t and may never know were threatening us. And God also promises to use even the bad things we experience for our good. But even more importantly than keeping us physically safe, God has kept you and me safe forever.
How so? By coming into this world himself. Jesus was born into our world not to remain “safe” but to walk right into harms way. From fleeing from Herod’s soldiers who wanted to kill him as a baby to being arrested, stripped, beaten, flogged, mocked, and left to die on the cross. He lost not just his physical safety, but even his spiritual safety crying out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me.” And for what purpose? So that we’d never lose our safety. To forgive our sins completely, to make us God’s own children, and to keep us safe forever.
We long for safety and security. And we have it. We rest body and soul in Jesus’ almighty and gracious care for us. And finally we will enjoy ultimate safety when we leave this earth. In heaven we’ll realize fully the safety that Jesus has won for us- no more sin, no more danger, sorrow, troubles, pain, difficulties, and hardships. Only joy and peace and security…forever. Amen.
Third Sermonette – Built to Build – Acts 16:16-34
Everything that’s built has a purpose, a plan, a reason. A house is built to provide comfortable place for people to live in. A factory is built to provide a place where things can be manufactured. An office building is built to provide a place for people to work in and have meetings. A school is built to provide a place for learning to take place. A church is built to provide a place for people to worship God and learn His Word. Every building has a purpose, a design, a reason.
What about you? In a way, God has “built” you too. God sent His own Son to live a perfect life, to die on the cross, and to rise from the dead to forgive the world’s sins completely and totally. God then formed you and made you just the way that He wanted. Then God sent the Holy Spirit through the Word and through baptism to create faith in your heart to believe in Jesus as your Savior. God’s made you, He’s built you. But for what? For what purpose? Every building has a reason, why did God build you?
To live any way that you want? To serve yourself and live selfishly? To have no reason or purpose? No! God has built you to be His own child forever, to live for Him, and to be His instrument to “build” others. See what God did with Paul and Silas? They were sharing God’s Word with people but some of the people didn’t like it. They stirred up a riot, Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned. But notice how they reacted? We might have thought they’d complain, cry, become angry, but they’re praying and praising God! Why? God built them to build. Notice that the other prisoners were listening and probably taking to heart what they’re saying. Then there’s an earthquake the prison doors fly open, the chains fall off, the jailer is about to commit suicide and Paul stops him. Why? God built him to build. The jailer assumes he has to do something to be saved but Paul simply invites him to trust in Jesus as His Savior and He will be saved. Why? God built him to build. And the jailer and his whole family were brought to faith.
God has also built you and me to build. God hasn’t promised that our lives will be easy, care and trouble-free. The apostle Paul’s certainly wasn’t. But God gives us incredible opportunities in both good and bad times to build His kingdom, to give the reason for the sure hope that we have, and to share the peace we have in Jesus as our Savior. God has built us to build! Amen.