The 07th of November 2013, the world captured an outside view of the most powerful cyclone in history. The islands of the Philippines were preparing for super typhoon Haiyan with ferocious winds over 300 km/h and a wall of sea water, just like a tsunami, of nearly 5 meters high.
Journalists who experienced it and saw the devastation after its passage said “they had never seen or experienced anything like it in their lives. Destruction was apocalyptic. Virtually all houses were destroyed, very few remained standing, debris covered the streets and, under the heat of the sun and humidity, the scent of dead bodies was everywhere.”
Civil engineers then began their quest to find out why so many buildings were destroyed and yet a few remained standing and the people who were in them were saved from the storm.
Then come, very recently, the 25th of April, Nepal, just North of India, was stroke by a powerful earthquake. Arial photos show a place of extreme destruction… nearly every building had some part of its structure or the entire part of it failed and collapse by the quake.
Here again engineers are pursuing intense researches on various building materials and construction methods to guarantee safer houses in earthquake zones.
Scientists say that nearly every populated area on Earth is at risk of a Natural Disaster and where ever we live can be subjected to some form of destruction.
Well, we are safe here in Holland, you might say. We are far away from the tropical cyclones and typhoons and are not subjected to earthquake activity like in Haiti, Japan, South America or Indonesia… that is true, but the Netherlands are vulnerable to floods.
So my question now is: Are you sure that you house will stand after the quakes, the storm and the floods? Are you 100% sure?
- What does a building need to stand strong after such catastrophic events?
It needs a firm and strong foundation.
So we can say without a doubt that any person who wants to be saved must have a firm foundation.
Ok, we will all be engineers today, and we will study together what kind of foundation we must have and how we can reinforce it in order to be saved when the rough times comes.
I- From what is build our foundation?
Let us read Matthew 7:24-27
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Of course Jesus is teaching here about something spiritual with an earthly example: this is called a parable.
But like we said, even in the natural, it is important to know what kind of material you are using to build your foundation.
For example here in the Netherlands, because the ground is made of soft dirt or sand and contains a lot of water, it is imperative that builders use material like steel, iron, concrete (beton), gravels (small stones) when they are building a foundation. A foundation made out of wood would decompose after a few years due to the humidity; or if its bricks only it will sink after a while under the pressure of its own wait because the ground is soft. Usually they would make columns of steel and concrete that go deep down into the ground then build the foundation and house above.
In the parable that Jesus give he compared the 2 types of persons as houses. Just like every house has a foundation, both men had something in common: they both heard the Word of GOD.
This is the fundamental material necessary to build our foundation: Hearing the Word of GOD.
So basically all of us have heard the Word of GOD at some point in our lives… that is the way we came to know Jesus.
The Bible also says in Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
So faith starts when we hear GOD’s word. We can hear it over the radio, TV, or by a person preaching or sharing his/her testimony.
Just like a little seed that begins to germinate, it begins to develop some roots in our spirit.
Remember that a genuine encounter with GOD is something supernatural… out of all the gifts and miracles one can possibly imagine the greatest one is to receive eternal life.
But because none of us has seen GOD the father, the Holy Spirit or even the Son Jesus Christ, whenever we come to Him we must believe that He is GOD and Savior.
So even on our first contact with Him, we have to exercise faith… that is why Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Our spiritual foundation must be built by and with faith.
II- How can I reinforce my foundation
Now that we have seen what our foundation must be made of, let us see how we can reinforce it.
But there is another point that Jesus makes in his parable that makes the big difference between the 2 types of individuals having faith.
On one hand he speaks about the “man who hears the Word and DO what is says” and on the other hand, the “man who also hears the Word but fail to do what it says”.
So having faith is not enough. It is not sufficient to just sit and listen to GOD’s Word or even just reading it. Jesus is focusing on the person who do or follows what the Word says.
Jesus said that the man who did not follow the guidelines describe in the Word, when the storm of life came, he was swept away and destroyed.
You might be asking: “Pastor, doesn’t having faith is enough to save someone?”
I can give you my answer but let us see directly what the Bible has to say in James 2:14 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”
Want more proof? Let’s read verse 17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Still not convinced? Ok, let us read verse 20 “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
Wow! I guess that James wanted us to get this point in our minds, in our hearts, in our soul by insisting so much on the fact that just simply having faith is not enough, but we have to act upon that what we hear and believe.
Like I shared with the brethren at Purmerend a few weeks ago: having faith or just hearing God’s word is like knowing or being conscious that you have 2 arms and 2 feet, someone puts you in a deep swimming pool or in the ocean and you do not use them. What will happen?
Ok, so in practical, how can we all reinforce our base, our foundation, our faith?
Well, there are not 10, 6 or 2 answers to that, but 1 only!
Reinforcement comes by simply doing, doing on a regular and persistent basis.
Bodybuilders reinforce their muscles by weightlifting every day. Chess, quiz and other mind game player reinforce their mental capacity by practicing memorizing lots of information daily. Military vehicles are reinforced by developing stronger materials that are subjected to testing on a daily basis. A child reinforce their muscles and bones by: eating and walking, running every day.
So by living or practicing the Word daily our foundation of faith grows deeper and deeper, and so we become stronger and stronger.
But how can I practice something that I don’t know? That is why coming to church; going to Bible classes or even assisting every week to family group is fantastic and very good but not excellent… we have to exercise what we hear and learn on the individual level at each moment of the day, every day of the week.
No wonder that Bible says that “Man should not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the word of GOD”.
And since the Word was God and was with God and became flesh: Jesus Christ the man of Galilee we who are born again, wash in His blood, believing by faith that He is the Son of GOD and Redeemer of Mankind can say without a doubt that our faith is in Jesus Christ who is the Rock of our Salvation. Yes He is our fortress, our deliverer, our GOD, our strength and strong tower.
So as your faith is reinforced, deeply rooted in the Rock and just the Rock is solid and strong, so we will become firm and strong and able to resist all the attacks of the enemy.
We will be able to stand and be saved.
Ephesians 4:13-15 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”