Dig deep. Build the house on solid foundation. Luke 6 is NOT about becoming a Christian. It is about growing in the knowledge and practice of being a Christian. Jesus is the coach instructing the players in how to make it on his team. Jesus wants deep rooted people. / rock solid people. The reason Jesus needs deep rooted rock solid strong foundation people is because there will always be storms.
Many people want Christianity to be something like winning the lottery: instant riches. The dreams. The improvements. The fun. Why do most instant millionaires lose the money? No roots, no plans, no preparation. The person who slowly saves money, who plans and prepares will be the one that will find a measure of stability with that same amount of money. Accepting Christ into your life is the beginning of a lifetime commitment, shaping, learning, digging, living so that as you mature in Christ, the receding flood-waters will find the house still standing because the foundation is the rock of Christ. Jesus gives two pictures in today’s scriptures comparing what it is like to be a Christian: A fruit producing tree and a house. A fruit tree takes a long time to mature ~ I think that is part of the point Jesus is making. A well built house is planned out and is a huge commitment. I think the purposeful nature is part of the point Jesus is making.
Luke 6:43-45 talks about how a bad tree produces bad fruit and a good tree produces good fruit. What comes out is an indication of our character. The best pear I ever ate cost me $25 ~ would you ever pay $25 for a pear? I did! When Sally and I first moved into our home we planted a few dwarf fruit trees, including a pear tree that cost $25. A year later not a single pear was produced. The next spring I watched that tree like a hawk. Sure enough, year #2, a single pear was pollinated and began to grow. That became my $25 prize pear. I babied that pear. Watched the pear. Protected the pear. Prayed for the pear. And when the time was right, I picked the pear at the most optimum time and with the right amount of pomp and circumstance I carefully sliced the pear, cored the pear and shared the pear with my family. If I was fool enough to have a $25 pear I was determined to enjoy it! That same tree has since produced an abundance of pears. It is a good tree!
Jesus wants us to be people of character, integrity. That is our calling. To grow in Christ. And the result will be good fruit. My desire is to be so deep in Christ, so dependent on him, so understanding of his ways, that I want to see a whole tree loaded with $25 pears. It’s almost like Jesus is saying don’t depend on a miracle to bail you out, but be the person who is a miracle for others ~ to help, to serve, to love, to care, to lead…The deeper your roots go in Christ the fruit that will be produced is Christ fruit. To be on the team of Jesus is to be a rooted deep, a strong foundation (the next story), producing fruit that is pleasing to Christ. Here’s a test for your character. According to this scripture, the best indication of your character are your words. READ Luke 6:45c. Spend a day considering your words: the words that come out of your mouth. Write on a paper two categories: $25 pear, sour grape (blessing/curse). Objectively evaluate every word exchange with other people for a day ~ put a check mark under one of the two categories…. You may be able to justify the rude comments to the person who makes you angry, but you always have a choice in how you respond. A $25 pear is always better than a sour grape. Just see what kind of a tree you are. In your wishful thinking you may want to be the kind of tree that bears $25 award winning pears, but if the fruit is sour grapes, then you are a junk grape vine.
Jesus switches to the house on the rock vs. the house on the ground. Ever see a house built on the ground (show the skeleton key on my key chain)…the key came from a house that belonged to Mrs. Gerard on the Swartwood Rd. When my parents bought the property in the sixties, Mr. Gerard was still living in the home. No foundation. When I was 12-13 years old, Tim VandenBos and I dismantled that house from the ground up. I’ll never forget the day all the windows, doors, siding, wall board, flooring had been removed and all that remained was the roof supported by the studs. It did not take much to push the house over. No foundation. The floor was rotting into the ground. A gap between the floor and the walls…
Jesus tells about the house built on the ground in Luke 6:49 READ. It is important to lay the right foundation for life. Building a house without a foundation is a temporary dwelling. Making decisions, living life, being a Christian without a strong foundation provides the illusion of stability and confidence. A year ago when the Crouse family spent the Summer getting the back yard ready for Esther and Wesley’s wedding, my motto was that we were seeking the illusion of perfection. I did not care if the roots were in the ground as long as you could not see the weeds. Behind the scenes the arbor was not anchored down…. Perfection was not necessary, only the illusion of perfection. But my life is different ~ morals, responsibilities ~ I may be able to fool you for a while, but if I am not rooted in faith when the storm hits I will not stand.
Why does the foolish builder build so unwisely? He wanted to avoid the hard work, the preparation. Short-cuts are attractive. I once painted a wall without proper preparation of primer. It looked so good ~ for a short time, but within weeks in the hot sun the wall was peeling; I created a worse mess than when I started. If I had only done it right the first time. It looked so good ~~ at first. It may be easier to take our way than Jesus’ way, but in the end we will come to ruin, no foundation. We cannot accept spiritual laziness as the way forward, but we are called to the disciplines of the Christian life in order to lay a solid foundation. The foolish builder is not only lazy, but also short-sighted. He never thought about six months later when the predictable flooding came. Here is wisdom from William Barclay: “In every decision in life there is a short view and a long view. Happy is the man who never barters future good for present pleasure. Happy is the man who sees things, not in the light of the moment, but in the light of eternity. When we learn that the hard way is often the best way, and that the long view is always the right view, we will found our lives upon the teaching of Jesus and no storm will ever shake them.”
The world needs Spiritual disciplined people ready to work for long term stability ~ not the easy way out, not laziness, but built upon the solid foundation of Christ.
We meet the wise builder in Luke 6:46-48 READ. Jesus wants the people on his team to hear his words and do his words. The best teams in sports constantly practice the basics of the game! The disciplines of the Christian life will change your life. A strong foundation is built when we fellowship with other Christians, worship, read the Bible, pray, serve to the glory of God ~ the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life are meant to make us strong in Christ! FELLOWSHIP, WORSHIP, BIBLE STUDY, PRAY, SERVE ~~ there are other disciplines but those are the biggies that build strong deep rooted solid foundation people producing $25 pears and will be able to endure the storms of life. Fellowship, worship, Bible Study, prayer, serve.
Luke 6 is not about becoming a Christian, it is about living as a Christian. We are saved by grace, yet once we have accepted Christ then we are invited to produce fruit in keeping with our high calling of living for Christ. “I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.” We tend to measure the success of a church by the size of how many people show up on a Sunday morning…. In this scripture the measure is vastly different ~~ how solid is the foundation and what fruit is being produced. Fellowship, worship, Bible Study, Pray, Serve ~ I am not here to make you feel guilty, but rather, this is an invitation to all of us to grow deeper ~ every one of these disciplines is worth exploring….DIGGING is deliberate, purposeful…
What sets apart the wise builder. He digs. Years ago, my first year of college, I had to make a decision. I was making some foolish choices that did not make me happy and were short-sighted. I transferred from one school to another to have a fresh start because I wanted to take time to try and figure out if the claims of my child hood faith were true. Dig, dig, dig. Study, working, practicing, considering. Digging has to be intentional! We need to be intentional people digging smartly into the claims of God…. My apologies to any city workers….there were two city workers. One would dig a hole, he would dig, dig, dig, the other would come behind him and fill the hole, fill, fill, fill. These two men worked furiously. One digging a hole, the other filling it up. A man was watching from the sidewalk and couldn't believe how hard these men were working, but couldn't understand what they were doing. Finally he had to ask them. He said to the hole digger, "I appreciate how hard you work, but what are you doing? You dig a hole and your partner fills it up!" The hole digger replied, "Oh yeah, must look funny, but the guy who plants the trees is sick today." The digging has to have purpose. Deliberate. Smart! A goal in mind to find solid rock.
The Wise Builder is searching for rock. There is a goal as we begin digging: to find Christ. Never resign yourselves to be passive Christians ~ My brother Jim had the devotional at the Men’s breakfast yesterday about being real men for Christ. I think one of the keys to reach men for Christ (maybe all people) is that Christianity has become too passive. Jesus commends the person who hears his words and puts them into action. We must look for Christ, dig for Christ, see Christ, discover Christ, practice Christ. The wise builder, after digging and finding rock, only then builds the foundation. Dig… find rock… lay the foundation. All of this is deliberate, active!
The storms of life will come! The foolish builder becomes desperate and uncertain. The wise builder is able to withstand the pressures of life. The best way to deal with future pressure is to take care of spiritual business right now. Dig, dig, dig. Put into practice the things of God. Make it your aim to produce $25 pears. The Lord wants deep rooted solid foundation people who are ready to dig deep ~ Fellowship (hang out with other Christians), worship ~ praise the Lord in public worship services and private habits of praise, bible study small groups and on your own, prayer, serve in the name of the Lord according to the opportunities and the gifts the Lord gives you.
Dig deep in Christ, putting into practice the words of Jesus, and when the storms of life hit, you will stand firm on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Amen.