What happens if you don't build properly? Here's a cartoon by Ed Stein I found in the December 12, 2008 issue of Rocky Mountain News that illustrates my point. Stein is illustrating the failures of the American auto industry and their desire to receive bailout money from Washington. In their case it seems they needed to rebuild and restructure their business practices in the light of the ever-changing world economy. Failing to do that, they faced collapse. Views on this issue abound.
Here's what Jesus says,
"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." - Mat 7:24-27 ESVThis is what the church has always taught. We must both hear and do the Word of our Lord Christ. Any individual, any church, any church body that fails to do that sets himself/herself up for failure. And the ultimate failure will come when the foundation is tested at the end of this age. In the verses just prior to those quoted, Jesus says,
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' - Mat 7:21-23 ESVWho is a worker of lawlessness? And what is Jesus getting at? Just this. Everyone knows, in some sense, right from wrong. We come packaged that way. It is in our hearts. We know we are to love and worship God alone. We know we are to love and care for those around us.
But what is also in our hearts is the overwhelming desire to do it my way! and ignore our obligations to love and serve the Lord with all our heart, mind and will. Our natural focus is upon ME! That's called sin. When we hear God's Law revealed in Holy Scripture that sense of sin is deepened and sharpened even more. The primary purpose of God's Law is to reveal our hopeless condition. We are sinners and under judgment. There is no way out.
It is at that point that Jesus comes to us to tell us that He has carried the full weight of our sin in His body on the cross. "Give up on yourself!" He says. "I've already laid a new foundation for your life. Put your faith and your entire trust on Me! And then you will never need to be afraid and guilty again. From this point on, your life is built upon the Rock!"
This is why we are so very, very concerned about the correct teaching of God's Word. Anything taught, said or done that draws us away from that foundation must be rejected and denounced. This is why we will tell you not to commune at the Lord's Supper when we serve it in our public worship services. We insist that you hear us out first. We need to explain in detail why this central, vital, and overwhelmingly important teaching about Jesus Christ is critical. When you hear us out and agree, then we all know we are building together on the one and only foundation. Then we hold hands and kneel before our Lord and Master together. And we rejoice together as we hear Him say,
"Take and eat. Take and drink. This is My body and My Blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sins. Go in peace and serve Me!"