Foolish Fred_ SS Anniv 11th July 04 AM
Foolish Fred – he didn’t think ahead
It was all rather embarrassing really.
For months and months the old poster stood at the top of the Quadrant and people passing the church from below the hill saw the words about the wise man building his house upon a rock…
I wonder what folk made of it?
The message didn’t change – and I suppose many folk would look at that and think it typical of the church in the modern world – an out of date message fading a bit from over exposure.
The children have done a marvellous job of reminding us of that message. Reminding us of the oh so simple story that Jesus told about two builders and their different attitudes to the business of foundations.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Although the story is beautifully suited to children – it was originally told to grown ups – and in Matthew’s account of the story we are told that it really impressed the audience:
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
So before we give out the prizes – and then go home to our well built houses – I want you to think for a moment or two about what Jesus was saying when He told that story.
Ø There are choices
Ø There are tests
Ø There is one real foundation
THERE ARE CHOICES
In the world of buildings you don’t see the foundations – unless you happen to be passing when they are putting them in. Like the big hoardings round a building site where they put in a small “window” so curious passers-by can look in and see how clever they are at putting in the big foundations.
In the world of human lives – you don’t see the deep down decisions that people have made about what matters most – or what their hopes and ambitions are. You can’t tell if that is a person who – unlike Foolish Fred – really does plan for the future.
But everybody makes decisions about the foundation issues of their life. Will there be a place for God? Will I make arrangements for the future – not just tomorrow – or my retirement – but ETERNITY.
Over and over again the Bible warns folk that the only time they have to make these life shaping and eternal decisions is TODAY – NOW.
Of course that’s part of the point of Jesus’ story. It would be completely foolish (just like Fred) to pay attention to the foundation when the building is up!
I realise there is a real danger here today. (This is a sort of building site – and this is a hard-hat area!) The danger is that you’ll be entertained – but you won’t make a decision about God and your life.
I have to stop you right now. I have to challenge you about whether you have any room in your life and your plans for Jesus Christ. If I don’t do that I am failing as a minister of the Gospel.
Children and young people – it really does matter whether you listen to Jesus and what He says. You have a choice to make. Don’t put it off.
THERE ARE TESTS
In Jesus’ story the same kind of tests were applied to each building.
25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house;
the torrent struck
In everyday life we make provision for testing times – if we are wise. We set aside resources for a “rainy day” – for an unexpected difficulty – for the harsh tests of everyday life.
And those tests really do come round.
The crises of life affect us all. And we usually make an effort to anticipate them.
Some of you have been there already. You have had to face death – or disappointment – or disaster – or the failure of a relationship or a venture.
Some of you have been up against it in matters of health or job or finance.
But it is amazing how little we think about the ultimate test of our lives. The fact that one day we really will have to give an account of what we did with our life – how we used every opportunity.
Let’s try a little test now – just to get us ready?
How many things are there in your life about which you are ashamed?
How many regrets?
How much guilt?
Was there a time when God seemed close to you – and you thought you ought to do something about your eternal destiny?
Was there a time when God mattered to you?
Or are you one of those remarkable people with NO REGRETS, NO NAGGING DOUBTS, NO SENSE OF FAILURE – NO WORRIES ABOUT TOMORROW?
You can’t see your life’s foundations – and it doesn’t worry you!
THERE IS ONE REAL FOUNDATION
Jesus told the story so that folk would realise that He offered hope and security, forgiveness and freedom – but that they had to DO what He said and not just say His name in some kind of religious way:
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
Jesus has made it clear that there is one way to God and that is through Him. This is not a popular notion – and indeed some folk will accuse you of being uncharitable to other faiths and persuasions if you say this – but it is what Jesus claimed.
ONE real foundation.
Christ – or nothing. Rock or sand. Steadfastness or disaster.
As a Christian minister I have this obligation to tell you that – whatever you may think or have heard before – only the Son of God, Jesus, who died on a cross to deal with your sins and mine – can offer a way to God.
So – folks – you might have thought today was about a little gentle entertainment and the participation of your children – no more than that – but it isn’t.
It’s the old faded notice outside the church – the old but inevitable message about Christ being the only answer to your needs and mine.
So it’s a serious matter. Foundations are important. This is the way you stand up to whatever life throws at you and eternity too : JESUS CHRIST the answer to your needs and mine!
So what is it that Jesus asks me to DO?
Acknowledge that I need God
That I have failed His test – that I don’t live as He has commanded
That He loves me nevertheless – and sent His own Son to die in my place
That I have to REPENT and TRUST HIM
Jesus – the only foundation for a life that has purpose and hope NOW and in eternity.