Before building a house, the sand and top soil must be pushed aside in order for the building to be established upon a firm foundation. (This is vividly shown in the way the foundation of the World Trade Center towers were built. There were seven stories under the ground and the foundations of those two magnificent buildings 110 stories tall were surely built upon a sure foundation, JWS). Jesus said the man who heard His word and would do it is "like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon rock." (Lk. 6:48)
In this article let us notice two things:
(1) The sand that must be dug up and cast aside; and
(2) the rock foundation on which we are to build.
The sand, or top soil, could well represent the false ideas and misconceptions that must be discarded before we can really build for Christ. Consider the following:
(1) APPROVAL OF MEN. It is a pitfall and a sandtrap for many who would do right, but who have not the strength to law aside such undesirable top soil. We must not be overly concerned about what others think or say about us. The Christian is not out to win a popularity contest. His main purpose in life is to fear God and keep His commandments. (Eccl. 12:13). Forget about pleasing men, toss aside such worthless sand and dig deep to build on the solid rock. We really need to heed the statement of Paul: "For do I now persuade man, or God? Or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Gal. 1:10).
(2) LOVE OF MONEY. This is another bit of top soil that must be discharged before we can dig down to the solid rock. Money, as a medium of exchange, serves a sensible and useful purpose. Money as a god, an idol, or a goal in life can become the master of man. The love of, the unnatural craving after, the lust for, money, is sin. The money itself is not to blame. It is only a lifeless object, and inanimate piece of material. But notice, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:10).
(3) SOCIAL SINS. In reality, sin is sin. But there is a particular class of sins that are sometimes referred to as the "social" sins. They represent practices that are generally accepted and even condoned within certain religious circles. Some of these are the "social" drink, the "social" dance, "social" gambling, etc. To some people such practices are not actually sinful since the majority and the crowd do them openly. But the Christian cannot engage in any questionable activity. Because we are called upon to be separate from the world of sin, some of our old "friends" will make fun and will speak evil of us. But we must dig deep and discard all sin. "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and obominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you." (1 Pet. 4:3,4).
(4) DENOMINATIONALISM. This is part of the sand that must be shoveled aside in order to dig down to the rock foundation. Denominationalism spells division, discord sectarianism, and strife. Such in the church or out of the church is an abomination unto God. In listing the works of the flesh in Gal. 5, Paul mentioned "hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings" as among the deeds that will bar the kingdom of God against even the Christian. We are admonished to speak the same thing, to be of the same mind and judgment, and to allow no division among us. (1 Cor. 1:10).
(5) LIBERALISM. This item will keep some from finding the solid rock. It, too, must be laid aside. The Sadducees of the first century were liberals. They denied the resurrection, they denied the existence of the spirit or of angels. (Acts 23:8). Some in the church at Corinth were given over to a similar persuasion. See 1 Cor. 15. We must be as "fundamental" as Christ was, adn as "orthodox" as the word of God is. We must continue to be satisfied to speak where the Bible speaks, to be silent where the Bible is silent; to call Bible things by Bible names, and to do Bible things in Bible ways. In short, we must continue to "speak as the oracles of God." (1 Pet. 4:11).
(EDITOR'S NOTE: A liberal attitude toward the Scriptures has manifested itself in various ways. Some would contend that there are Christians in all churches. Some would contend that it is Scriptural for churches to build and maintain human organizations such as Childhaven, Boles Orphan Home and Home For The Aged although they cannot produce one passage of Scripture that authorizes such. Others would encourage churches to make contributions to colleges and missionary organizations although they cannot show that such is authorized in the Scriptures. Some would urge churches to engage in activities such as secular business, entertainment and recreational projects although they cannot prove by the Scriptures that churches should engage in such. Obviously some think that since they like these things, God must also approve of them. Consider Col. 3:17).
(6) TRADITIONS OF MEN. This can cover up the rock for all of us if we are not careful. It is hard for some to distinguish between the traditions of men and the teachings of the Bible. The Pharisees of Christ's time on earth were like that. They made the word of God void by their traditions. (Mk. 7:7,8; Matt. 15). We must do nothing in religion simply on the premise that "our fathers did it that way." If the Bible says it, that is sufficient reason to do it whether our forefathers did it or not. On the other hand, if the Bible does not say it, we must not do it if we find that all our ancestors did it. We must not become guilty of ancestor worship. Traditions must not violate the Scriptures and neither should customs be bound as law. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Col. 2:8).
(7) INDIFFERENCE. Indifference and unconcern must be dug up before we can build on the solid rock. Ours should be more than lip service. We must go, visit, teach work, fight, pray, give, live, run, grow, and serve. Christianity is an active religion. (Matt. 25:42,43; Rev. 3:15,16; Jas. 1:27).
Now, notice the rock upon which we are to build. After we have dug deep and have reached the rock, we are to build. This rock is the sure foundation. (Isa. 28:16). It is the only foundation, (1 Cor. 3:11). "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." "For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Cor. 10:4).
To build upon Christ is to build upon His teachings, and is to be upon the sure foundation. Though the storms may come, though the winds may blow, and though the floods may rise, on this Rock we take our stand and build. Only here is there safety and refuge.
By Guthrie Dean in Gospel Light, Feb. 1960.
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