Matthew 7:24-29 — It Is Not A Matter of If Conflict Will Come! It is a Matter of When—Real Life vs. The Good Times Theology

Posted: November 2, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew
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Matthew 7:24-29
The Wise and Foolish Builders

We hear a lot of talk these days about the prosperity gospel or “gospel lite” churches. These are the churches where you are taught that good times are a product of your mindset. These are motivational speaker churches. They teach you that if you think Jesus thoughts that your life will be better and that your prosperity is a measure of God’s love. These gospel lite churches are similar to Bud Lite which is low calorie version of regular Budweiser beer. It looks like the same beer but it does not have all the content of a regular beer. Gospel lite churches always focus on the good time gospel and they teach their people that our faith is an emotion only thing. We must have “that feeling” all the time. That Jesus high is what we want. That feel good feeling of being in the zone. If you don’t have that feeling, you gotta go back to a gospel lite church and try to rekindle that feeling. Just like a drug addict’s perfect high gets harder and harder to find, we switch churches when we no longer get the high we need at our current gospel lite church. When the storms of life come, the gospel lite church’s theology unravels and people fall away. In the gospel lite church, the good times are an indication of our blessing from God. Good times are God’s way of letting us know that we are being good. I guess in a gospel lite church, we would have to avoid a passage like the one that concludes the Sermon on the Mount.

We also hear people in today’s world that have refashioned the values that God gave us in His Word and called it out of step with human progress. We are now saying that we are our own judges of what is right and wrong. We define it, not God. Anyone who believes the old values of the Bible is out of step with our modern enlightenment. These, too, are the people to whom Jesus speaks in this passage.

Jesus says, in Matthew 7:24-29,

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Then Matthew concludes the passage by saying “28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

Notice that Jesus does not say that if the storms come. The imagery used is that a storm is already going on. Jesus is that if we live according to His Word, we will have a solid foundation for life. If we have a firm foundation in Him, we can survive the storms of life. The storms are coming and good time theology is not going to get you through it. Good time theology doesn’t even require real salvation. All you have to do is think happy thoughts and get your Jesus fix on Sunday. Jesus tells us that we will be persecuted for His name. That’s where the good time theology checks out. Hard times for a believer in good time theology? But I have got the sticker on the back of my car? I buy all the latest self-help books from the coolest Christian motivational writers! I go to a cool church! I have the appropriate amount of disdain for all the old-school churches! I faithfully hang out with all my peeps at my cool church! I know all the buzz words! I buy all my church’s merchandise! Hard times, I don’t deserve that! I am doing all the right stuff! But do you have a real relationship with Jesus Christ? A real relationship with Jesus Christ is going to involve going against the tide of public opinion. A real relationship with Jesus Christ is going to involve the Holy Spirit convicting you of your sins which can be a painful experience. All of these things are going to bring internal and external conflict. When we read God’s Word, not just some cool Christian authors book that occasionally quotes Scripture to support his motivational point, when we really read the Bible, it is going to convict us through the Holy Spirit of changes we need to make in our lives. It is going to convict us of our selfishness and push us toward serving our fellow man so that God is glorified. It is going to convict me of sacrifices that I need to make, gods that I need to remove from my life. And that’s just the internal war that is waged within us after salvation. Externally, the Holy Spirit is going to push us to stand up for what is right, according to God’s Word, even when it is not popular. The Holy Spirit will convict us that we can live on less and give more away. We may even face hard times based on stupid decisions of our current life and of our past. How does the gospel of good times stand up against that? It does not. We must have Jesus’ solid rock foundation. In Him, we can survive the storms of life. In Him, we know that all of this temporal life is simply temporary. We do not put our faith in the things of this world. We put our faith in our eternal home in Jesus. When we base our theology on the blessings of this life, we will be building on sand.

At the same time, in society, we see that Biblical values are being shunned as old-fashioned and unenlightened. Today, we see shifting sands of morality. What was once considered abhorrent morally is now glorified and acceptable. This is the shifting sand of mankind. We determine our own morality now and the line is ever-changing as we push the line toward behaviors we want to try. My morality is not your morality. As long as I am not hurting you personally, who are you to tell me how to live my life? Soon there will be no morality based on this premise. We are a society now about doing what feels good not caring whether it is right or not. We determine what is right and it changes. We are like a kid who is left alone with a candy jar and is gorging himself into sickness. When we get rid of God, ignore Him, we are the kid in the candy jar. We are gorging ourselves on what makes us feel good. Only God’s Word is timeless. It never shifts with the times. His ways are eternal. He does not waver. Everything else is shifting sand. Everything else matters not in eternity. Eternal things are the things that matter. God’s Word is eternal and we should be paying attention to it.

So, you can see here, if you are a true Christ follower, this is the world in which you live. Are you not going to be in conflict with it? The storms are going to come. We are going to be in conflict with worldly values. If we believe that Jesus is just a good feeling that we seek then we are in for a surprise. Jesus is foundational change in our lives. He changes us through the Holy Spirit. In so doing, we will be brought in conflict with the world. The rains will come. Choices will have to be made. You may even suffer for having stood with Jesus. We may even suffer because of mistakes we make. We may suffer for no apparent reason other than we live in a fallen world. We may suffer cause other people are looking out for themselves and not us. We will suffer. Good time, good feeling theology will not carry you. Only the solid rock foundation of God’s Word, all of it – even the parts that are convicting and painful. Only the solid rock foundation of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Only the solid rock foundation of true salvation. When we have this foundation, it does not matter what the world brings. We have the hope, the joy, and the perseverance to make it because we are after our eternal home. It is our solid rock. All other ground is sinking sand.

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