The Stable Christian by 94e1A6


									      Dr. Tony Evans
                          Single Sermon – Sermon #8 – February 27, 2011
                            What Kind of Christian Are You?
                                “The Stable Christian”
                                         Matthew 7:24-27

Dr. Evans continues his sermon series by exploring different responses to the question “What kind of
Christian are you?” Today, we examined a response based on Jesus’ parable of the two foundations
(rock and sand). In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus stated, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of
Mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell,
the floods came, and the winds blew, slamming against that house; however, it did not fall, for it had
been founded on the rock.” The “stable Christians” are those who have built their lives on the sure
foundation of God’s word and who actively apply and live out that truth within the everyday realities
of their lives. Dr. Evans used an analogy of cracks that kept appearing in the plaster of his house.
When he called a house painter in to repair the cracks, the painter told him that he would not be able
to fix the cracks because the real issue related to the house’s crumbling foundation. Until the
foundation issues were addressed, the cracks would keep growing. Dr. Evans warned that many
Christians are perpetually providing “crack repair” on lives that are built on unstable foundations. By
examining the comparisons and contrasts between the two builders in Jesus’ parable (the wise man
and the foolish man) who built on two different foundations (rock and sand), Dr. Evans challenged us
to inspect the foundations of our own lives so that we can confidently withstand the inevitable storms
of life.

1. The two builders compared---Dr. Evans noted that these men were alike in several ways. Both
men set out to build a house. In the Bible, building a house can be a metaphor for building a life, a
family, a ministry, or a nation, and, in all of these cases, the concern is that the builder must begin
with the proper foundation. Both men shared what appeared to be solid foundations based on what
Jesus described as “hearing these words of Mine” (see Matthew 7:24, 26). If both men had heard
God’s Word, then they must have been envisioned as members of the local synagogue. In modern
terms, we might describe them as faithful churchgoers. The final shared attribute of these men was
that their houses both faced a violent storm: “…the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew
and slammed against the houses” (see Matthew 7:25, 27). Dr. Evans observed that undergoing storms
is not only a shared experience of these two builders but is also an inevitable, common denominator in
all of our lives. Going to church, praying, and reading the Bible will not prevent storms from coming,
and Jesus’ warning to his disciples that “in this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33) should
be heeded by all of us. Here, however, is where the similarities shared by the two builders ended.
The shared storm served to unveil the contrasts between them because the storms of life usefully
unveil the strength of life’s foundation.

2. The two builders contrasted---As the storm raged, the “wise” builder was revealed to have
constructed his house on a foundation of “rock that withstood the storm”; whereas the “foolish”
builder had constructed his house on a foundation of “sand” that crumbled against the storm’s
violence (Matthew 7:24, 26). A foundation of rock is hard to work with; as a result, it will take time
and some money to drill down into the rock. A foundation of sand is easy to work with; as a result, a
house can be built quickly and cheaply. The central question to be asked, however, when considering
      Dr. Tony Evans
                            Single Sermon – Sermon #8 – February 27, 2011
a foundation is “How long do you want the building to stand?” Dr. Evans noted that one can always
tell how high a building is going to tower by looking at how deep the construction crew is digging the
foundation. A skyscraper cannot be built on a chicken coop foundation. If both of these men had
heard the Word of God, why did the storms reveal different foundations with different levels of
durability? The key difference is that the wise builder heard the Word “and acted…” but the foolish
builder heard the Word “and did not act….” (Matthew 7: 24, 26). In other words, the difference
between the two builders is not in the knowledge of God’s Word but in the application of that Word
to the everyday realities of life. The Word of God, like the script for a play, must be acted out if it is
to have any real authority or meaning for our lives. Dr. Evans warned that the role of Scripture in the
lives of many believers is similar to the role of the Queen of England---a position of great honor but
one with very little real power and authority relative to running the country. We may speak highly of
Scripture and stand up when it is read in church, but is it truly the foundation upon which we live our
lives? Do we allow it to be what it claims to be--- “…inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for
reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)?

In conclusion, Dr. Evans recalled a cruise that he took for the Urban Alternative. In the midst of a
terrible storm that had frightened the passengers, the captain called down with a message that they
should not fear. The ship would hold because “the ship was built with this kind of storm in mind.”
When the storms of life inevitably come your way, upon what kind of foundation will your “house”
be resting? We must remember that foundations cannot be rebuilt in the midst of the storm. Have
you been a wise or foolish builder? The “stable Christian” has constructed a life built on the rock-
solid foundation of hearing and actively obeying God’s Word. What kind of Christian are you?

       1. Review the typology of Christians that Dr. Evans has covered thus far in this series (you
          can review past devotionals directly from the church’s website): the carnal, spiritual,
          worldly, abiding, loveless, cultural, and stable Christian. What type/kind best describes
          your Christian journey right now? What kind of Christian are you?

       2. Upon what kind of foundation is the house of your life resting? Upon what kind of
          foundation is your family resting? Is your foundation in need of repair?

       3. Read James 1:22-25. Are you actively applying God’s Word to the situations and
          questions you face in your everyday life? Are you a “doer” of the Word or just a “hearer”?

       4. John Wesley in his Notes on the Old Testament suggested that when we read Scripture we
          must decide, “whatever light you then receive, should be used to the uttermost, and that
          immediately. Let there be no delay. Whatever you resolve, begin to execute the first
          moment you can. So shall you find this word to be indeed the power of God unto present
          and eternal salvation.” Are you leaving your time of reading God’s Word with a fixed
          resolve to obey whatever God has revealed to you?

Digging Deeper
       Dr. Tony Evans
                        Single Sermon – Sermon #8 – February 27, 2011
Additional Reading:
  1. Oneness Embraced by Dr. Tony Evans
  2. The Kingdom Agenda by Dr. Tony Evans
  3. What Matters Most by Dr. Tony Evans
  4. Life Essentials by Dr. Tony Evans
  5. Theology You Can Count On by Dr. Tony Evans
  6. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding the Bible by Gordon
     Fee & Douglas Stuart
  7. Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene H. Peterson
  8. Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World by Richard Bauckham
  9. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative by Christopher J. H. Wright

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