“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.” Matthew 7:24
Dear Faithful Friends and Fellow Seed-Sowers:
Well, we’ve made it! We have made to the end of The Apostles’ Creed. Congratulations on making it through this 12-week series. By now, you should know a little more of what you believe and why. Do you remember that the Apostles’ Creed was written around 140 A.D. as a baptismal confession for people joining the church?
Join me as we read The Apostles’ Creed together. I would like to add the word “AMEN” at the end of each line. Here we go:
The Apostles’ Creed
1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; — AMEN!
2. and in Jesus Christ, His only (begotten) Son, our Lord; — AMEN!
3. who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, — AMEN!
4. suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; — AMEN!
5. He descended into hell; — AMEN!
6. the third day he rose again from the dead; — AMEN!
7. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; — AMEN!
8. from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. — AMEN!
9. I believe in the Holy Ghost, — AMEN!
10. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, — AMEN!
11. the forgiveness of sins, — AMEN!
12. the resurrection of the body, — AMEN!
13. and the life everlasting. Amen — AMEN!.[i]
So What? After a dozen weeks, what is it that you believe about God our Father in Heaven? What is it that you believe about God the Son, our Savior who came from heaven and died for us? What do you believe about the person and work of the Holy Spirit? What do you believe about the Holy universal, all-embracing catholic church? (That is what catholic means–universal.) What do you believe about the communion of the saints? What do you believe about the forgiveness of sins? Do you know that you know that you know that YOU are forgiven? Do you know that we are commanded to forgive as Christ has forgiven us? What do you believe about the resurrection of the body? What do you believe about the life everlasting?
It is my hope that after spending 12 weeks studying the CREED that your faith has been strengthened and that you know more emphatically what you believe and why you believe it. It is my prayer that, as we finish the series, you can and will, stand and say, “YES and AMEN” to the ancient, but relevant, Apostles’ Creed.
So What? What does the word “AMEN” mean? We say it all the time. “Amen.” What do you think it means?
Do you know that the word “AMEN” is used by the Jewish people, Christians, and Muslims? The word “AMEN’ is used in many languages, and may be the most widely known word in the entire world. Our next-door neighbors are Korean. Each morning, when I go out to do my reading and prayer time, my neighbor does, too. We don’t speak the same language but I can understand my neighbor. As he prays, I hear him saying, “Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen and amen.” Every morning at about 6 am, he prays one word: AMEN for 15 -20 minutes. I often wonder if he’s reading the Scriptures and then just agreeing with the WORD.
Point 1 for today: “AMEN” is a word that is one of the most widely known words in all the world. Point 2: What does AMEN mean? In the Hebrew language the word means “so it is” or “let it be,” derived from a verb meaning “to be firm or sure, to be reliable, to believe in, to trust.” In the thirty times that “AMEN” appears in the Old Testament it precedes a statement and the people are agreeing that they believe and put their trust in the WORD of God. The people are agreeing as one body that what will be said will be reliable, sure and firm. The significance of using “AMEN’ is that the people are agreeing that what they heard, they had just adopted as their very own. In essence, they are saying, “We can take what was just said to the bank. What was just said is as solid as a rock foundation. What was just said is reliable and we can trust it with our life.” AMEN? AMEN!
Our two Scripture readings for today come from the Gospel of Matthew and from the last book of the Bible, Revelation.
Before we go to the Words of life, let us come before the giver of life in prayer. “Lord, God of all creation, we come to say “AMEN’ to your Word of life found in our scriptures. May Your Words of life be a solid foundation for us, a firm and reliable foundation that will withstand the storms of life. Amen and Amen”
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.” 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..
In the Gospel words we just heard, Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount and had just given His new disciples a detailed “to do” list. Jesus laid down His vital principles for life (Matthew chapters 5-7) and is now applying the final word of truth: AMEN. This section is the “So What” part of Jesus’ message. Jesus is confronting His followers with the two possibilities they will face in life: Will they be wise or will they be foolish? Will they build on the solid rock or will they build on sinking sand?
Warnings about being wise or foolish are found all over the Scriptures. The two men in Jesus’ house story have the same desire–they each long to build a house. They each want the same thing. At the beginning of the story, there’s no difference between the two. But then it appears, the foolish man does not take the time to listen to others. The foolish man does not investigate all of the possibilities of how the building should be built. The foolish man does not look at the blueprints or ask for advice, he just throws up his building.
We are told a little more of the Sermon on the Mount story in Luke’s account in chapter six. Luke tells us that the wise man dug down deep and laid his foundation on rock, not on the sinking sand. The difference between the two builders is that the wise man did listen, he investigated and desired to build on a solid foundation.
Will we be wise or will we be foolish? Will we build on the solid rock or will we build on sinking sand?
Remember the word “AMEN” means “to be firm or sure, to be reliable, to believe in or to trust.” What is it that you are saying “AMEN” to you your life? What is it that you are staking your life on? What is it that you take to the bank as totally reliable and true? What are you building your life upon?
Jac and I are in Texas as I write this SEED OF FAITH. We drove here. We left earthquake country and entered tornado country. As we stopped at one of the roadside rest stops in Texas, I noticed a door with a sign on it, “STORM SHELTER.” It made me think. In California, you have 10-60 seconds to get ready for an earthquake. I remember this summer when we had two back-to-back earthquakes. We were out back cleaning up the pool. The cement block walls started waving back and forth. Javon hollered, “Earthquake!” The next steps are: DROP, COVER, HOLD ON. Hopefully, you have an outside storage area with water and food supplies. This method is way different from preparing for midwest tornadoes. The sirens go off. You have a five-10 minute warning to seek shelter. You avoid rooms with windows. When we lived in Missouri and Illinois, we ran to the basement. In Texas, we ran to the closet under the stairs. We already had the important items stocked there: flashlights, batteries, storm radio, water and snacks.
Can you see what Jesus is trying to say? KNOW the layout of the land that you are building your house upon. In the case of Christ, build your heart upon Christ, the solid foundation. He is the ROCK OF AGES.
My guess is that you know your area and that you are somewhat prepared for a storm or earthquake but what I really want to know as your pastor, are you building your life on the solid foundation of God’s word? I pray so!
Can I get an AMEN?
See You Sunday!
God loves you and so do I