The one who hears and obeys God’s word builds his faith on the solid foundation.
Text: Matthew 7:24-29,
1 Corinthians 3:9-15
The word “build” is defined in many ways in the English language dictionary. One of such definition’s states “to develop and give form to, according to a definite plan or process; to fashion, mold, create”. Therefore, building as used in the context of our scriptural text has to do with a conscious effort to put materials together (blocks, cement, roads etc.) to erect a structure (ex. A house) that can withstand all forms of environmental stress. An important aspect of building a house Is the foundation upon which the materials being used for the building are laid.
The believer is involved in building his or her life for God on a daily basis. Our lives must be built on the foundation of obedience to His word. Hence, in the text for this lesson, the LORD compares the believer who listens to and obeys HIS word to the man who built his
house upon a rock and when the floods came beating upon the house, the building stood firm. When our lives are built upon the solid foundation of obedience to God’s word (not just confessing it), we will be able to face life, live right and overcome trying times victoriously.
The objectives of this lesson are to know, understand, consider and appreciate:
- The various materials individuals build upon.
- Who a wise or foolish builder is.
- What rain, flood and wind represent in the lesson context.
- The consequences of building foolishly.
- The benefits of building wisely.
Q1. IDENTIFY THE VARIOUS MATERIALS INDIVIDUALS ARE BUILDING UPON. (Matthew 7:24-27, 1 Corinthians 3:12).
1 Corinthians 3:12 gives a description of some materials typifying the foundation upon which individuals build their lives: gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble. Gold, silver and precious stones typify or represent a life built upon the solid foundation of holiness, yieldedness and obedience to God’s word. One the other hand, wood, hay, and stubble typify or represent a life built or being built upon the shallow foundation of loose living; a life devoted to the flesh with an attitude of “it doesn’t matter”.
The believer’s works are compared to these materials: some become more pure in the fire while some are completely burnt by the fire. “Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13). If a man’s works are “gold, silver, and precious stones”, they will abide the fire and he will receive a reward for his works. However, if they are made up of wood, hay, and stubble, his works will be burned up, yet he himself will be saved from the loss of his soul (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
Q2A. WHO IS A WISE BUILDER AND WHAT DOES HE BUILD UPON?
In our lesson text, the wise builder is the man who built his house upon a rock. The house was given a solid foundation and whatever was laid upon it thereafter stood firm and withstood the stress of environmental hazards, such as wind, rain, flood etc.
Thus, by simple analogy, in the Christian race, the wise believer (builder) builds upon that solid foundation and in fact the only foundation that is the LORD JESUS CHRIST. 1 Corinthians 3:11 states “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”. Also, in Isaiah 28:16, we read “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste”. A life built on Christ is one who has accepted Him as lord and Savior and is solidly rooted in His word embracing His teachings in full (not in bits) and is minded daily to please Him. Such a life manifests the fruit and the gifts of the HOLY SPIRIT and radiates love in his dealings with people; his works are based on the love he has for God and His people. When trials and temptations come, the one who has Christ as the solid foundation overcomes. He celebrates victory because the Solid Foundation Christ strengthens and sustains him.
Q2B. WHO IS A FOOLISH BUILDER AND WHAT DOES HE BUILD UPON?
The foolish builder as revealed in our lesson text is one who built his house upon the sand. The foundation was not strong (i.e. shallow and without depth) and so whatever was laid on it subsequently collapsed; not being able to withstand the environmental stress of wind, rain, flood, etc.
In our Christian context, the foolish builder is likened to the one who hears God’s words and does not obey them. He does not take the word of God seriously; such a one is lured away from God and his word because of the love he has for the things of the world. The result is that most times that person manifests the works of the flesh. His works do not reveal genuine love for God and His people. In times of trials and temptations, such an individual invariably yields or falls.
Q2C. HOW CAN WISE BUILDING BE ENCOURAGED IN OUR MIDST?
As co-travelers on the narrow road to eternity, we should encourage each other to build wisely. This we can do so by teaching biblical precepts to one another, showing each other love, helping to meet the needs of one another and when any one is straying from the path of truth and righteousness, those who are more spiritual are able to restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering themselves lest they also be tempted (Galatians 6:1).
Q3. WHAT DO RAIN, FLOOD, AND WIND REPRESENT AS USED IN THE LESSON TEXT?
Rain, wind, and flood are natural occurrences. When we had strong winds followed by heavy rains and floods, buildings that do not have solid foundations may easily give way. In the biblical (spiritual) context, rain, wind and flood as used in this passage may represent the vicissitudes of life i.e. the trials and temptations that may come our way in the process of living in this world. Such trials may include delay in child bearing after marriage, prolonged bachelorhood/spinsterhood, failure in examinations, delayed admissions into Higher Institutions, unrealized hopes/dreams/ambitions, failed marriages, loss of loved ones etc. They are too numerous to list in any article/publication. These trials most times are accompanied by suggestions (temptations) from the devil to do evil either to fornicate, commit adultery, cheat, consult medium (native doctors, modern spiritualists etc.), steal/embezzle money, backslide from the faith etc. Any believer who is not inclined to obeying God’s word will fall or “collapse” just like the building whose foundation is sand. However, the believer who keeps building his/her faith on that Solid Foundation- The Rock that never fails i.e. the LORD JESUS CHRIST will emerge victorious from these trials as he/she keeps on obeying God’s word and looking unto Him who is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.
Q4. WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF BUILDING FOOLISHLY?
Matthew 7:21-23, 26-27, Hebrews 4:1-2
Anyone who builds his house on the sand (shallow foundation) is descried as the foolish builder. Ultimately, he loses his building and the labor/efforts put in the building go unrewarded.
As mentioned earlier, in the spiritual context, building foolishly involves building with wood, stubble (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) which amounts to building one’s house on the sand. A major characteristic of the one who builds with such materials is that the individual does not obey God’s word. He may be involved in church activities but the heart is not inclined towards obeying God and his word. The consequences of such a lifestyle are great. The growth in grace will be stunted. The peace and joy that comes from God will never be enjoyed by the “foolish builder”. That individual will never know what victory over sin and temptation is. Finally, that person’s works will not withstand the test of the fire and will be burnt (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). The works (services) rendered will be unrewarded. There will be no eternal rewards for the “foolish builder”.
Q5 WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BUILDING WISELY?
The “wise builder” is described as the one who builds his house upon a rock (i.e. foundation that is solid). Whatever may be happening around the building, the house stands firm.
When applied in the context of our walk with God, we have a solid Foundation that is Christ. The “wise builder” builds his life on this foundation with “gold, silver and precious stones” representing the virtues of godliness, righteousness and holy living which keep him in the journey of faith and in times of trial. The “wise builder” is characterized by obedience to God’s word.
Several benefits are associated with building wisely. Peace, grace, and joy will be enjoyed by the “wise builder”. He will experience victory in trials by reason of the strength and grace received from Christ, the Solid Foundation. The individual experiences tremendous growth in grace. His works (services rendered in God’s name and to God’s glory alone) when tested by fire are purified and shines more and more to God’s glory. His works attract rewards both now and in eternity.
Daily Living Application
In building our lives as individuals or the church of God as a body we must live in obedience to His word. Therefore, in building, we must use Godly “materials”. We must depend on Christ, our Solid Foundation Who promised to build His church (i.e. His people) and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Anyone who builds on Christ (the Solid Foundation) experiences victory in times of trial and receives rewards now and in eternity.
1 Corinthians 3:11
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ”.