There’s really no middle ground –firm foundation or sand, stability or destruction. For the man who built his house on the rock, “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”; but the man who built his house on shifting sand, that same storm came and hit the house and it came crashing down, “and great was the fall of it.” The clashing of two kingdoms, the collision of righteousness and unrighteousness, is becoming heightened, producing the perfect storm. Where will you be when the “big one” hits? How will you fare when the very foundation of the earth and all you know is shaken? Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount directly precedes the warning found in this parable of the wise and foolish builders; the Sermon on the Mount holds the key to surviving the harsh, volatile and seemingly indiscriminate series of storms we have been assigned to endure. “Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine…”
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Repent and believe
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” The Gospel of the kingdom begins with repentance. It is turning from rebellion against God’s authority to complete submission to His will. It is a conscience act of turning away from the idolatry of reducing God to our own image and according to our own imagination, and accepting the revealed truth of who He really is and walking in light of that truth. Repentance is the only way to align oneself with the Kingdom, the kingdom slated to stand.
Check your attitude
The Beatitudes give us the characteristics of what a citizen of God’s kingdom really looks like. It is the soldier’s identity tags, which mark him as belonging to God and set apart for His Kingdom, His mission. To summarize the characteristics found in the Beatitudes: He is a man who understands all he own comes from God; he is one who truly experiences grief over his own sin and the affect of sin on all of creation; he is not ruled by the things in this world but possesses the strength to rule his own spirit; he judges all things by the word of God; he is the man whose hunger and thirst is to be in a right standing with God; he is a servant of mercy; his heart is purified from sin; he is one in whom the peace of God rules; finally, he is one who takes on the risk of persecution with his unwillingness to compromise the truth. To this man belongs the Kingdom of God.
Let your actions agree with your claims
As we abide by God’s Word we reflect His character, but what good is the proof of the existence of God in our lives if it offers no illumination to a dark world? The outward evidence of our faith should shed light on the knowledge of God and reflect His glory in a dark world.
Respect the Law
Jesus said, “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18, NIV). And it is more than just an exterior observance of the law, because the challenge is the actual condition of the heart and the need for total transformation. For instance, it’s not merely the act of murder that brings the condemnation of the law, but also thought, intent and hatred that renders a man guilty; adultery is not simply the act of sexual immorality outside the confines of marriage, it is the lustful intent of the heart that condemns; and the great commandment of loving others does not merely extend to friends and neighbors, but also to enemies – those who hate you, despise you and use you.
Continue in prayer
Once the storm starts, it may be too late to collect the proper life saving equipment. The Lord’s Prayer gives us an abbreviated list of necessary acknowledgements about God and our need for Him. Make provision now in prayer. In The Lord’s Prayer we learn God is our Father, that He rules supreme and He is holy; we are taught to pray for the continued expansion of His Kingdom, and the importance of acknowledging utter dependence upon Him; we are told to forgive and seek forgiveness; and to pray for power over temptation; to subscribe glory and honor to Him.
Trust God alone
The storms obey God so if you want to survive a storm, He’s the one to know. The knowledge of God’s will and His word will offer keen insight. Speak truth to yourself daily on who God is and what He has specifically promised to you in His word. Occupy as much time as you can to accumulating the knowledge of God and grounding yourself in truth. Hold only to the things that cannot be corrupted by the effects of the fall, the imperishable and incorruptible Word of God (I peter 1:22-25), it is your life vest. Ask, seek and knock, it will be given to you (Matthew 7:7).
Judge according to truth and with mercy
Scripture teaches that we will be judged in the same severity that we judge others. We are instructed to first take the beam out of our own eye before seeking to tweeze out the speck in another’s. If we are confronted by the holiness of God through the truth of scripture, the only proper response is a merciful and humble application of judgment.
Focus on the path
The flesh is easily manipulated. We live in a world where popular opinion oftentimes holds more weight than law, where the majority or what appears to be the majority drives cultural norms, and people find false comfort in numbers. The truth is more difficult to find and the path more costly to follow. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Albert Barnes supports his commentary on this passage with words quoted from Isaac Watts Hymn “Broad is the Road that Leads to Death” in his Notes on the New Testament:
“Broad is the road that leads to death,
And thousands walk together there;
But wisdom shows a narrower path,
With here and there a traveler.”
Guard against the danger of self-deception
Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of heaven, only the one who does the will of the Father. What is the will of the Father? Jesus said, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40).
We were taught throughout scripture to be ready; Jesus spent a significant focus of the subject of being prepared. It is God’s kingdom that will stand, all other kingdoms will collapse. There are a lot of priceless gems in the Sermon on the Mount, take some time to familiarize yourself with these life saving tips – before the storm hits.