Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jan 9 2013 - Matthew 7:15-29 – A Firm and Fruitful Foundation

A superficial reading of Matthew 7:21-23 may leave one perplexed. Jesus says that those who do the will of his Father will enter the kingdom of heaven but he then rejects many who have prophesied in his name and cast out demons. Surely such acts, particularly the casting out of demons, amount to doing God's will?

However, that is, as I say, a superficial reading of Jesus' words. The parable of the trees and their fruit which precedes these words, and that of the wise and foolish builders which follow, make it clear that Jesus is drawing a contrast between an outward show of religion and true discipleship. A true disciple is one who has been transformed from the inside out; one who obeys Jesus from the heart. The things they do are an expression of who they truly are. Don't be deceived by someone who merely adopts the outward form of religion. They are like a wolf dressed up in the fleece from a sheep. Even more important, don’t be like that yourself.

The well-known parable of the wise and foolish builders illustrates the same point. For all its architectural innovation and splendour, the house built on sand will be swept away. It is like a sandcastle that you build for a child on the beach. You may put a great deal of work into it and take great pride in your achievement, but it will be swept away by the incoming tide and no trace of it will remain. On the other hand, the house built upon a rock, despite maybe its comparative simplicity, stands firm in the day of trial. It’s the foundations that make all the difference.

The only adequate foundation for a life that will last the test of time and stand secure in the Day of Judgment is Jesus himself and the words that he has spoken.

We need to act as building inspectors of our own lives, ensuring that we are always building on this solid foundation.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand…

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

On one occasion, I got from the internet plans of the foundations of a variety of buildings and challenged people to identify them. They were able to identify a cathedral, the Royal Albert Hall, even the Whitehouse. This was possible because the general shape of a building is determined by its foundations. In the same way, the life built on Jesus Christ will be Christ shaped and cruciform – a life devoted to the service of others. The fruit of such a life is the result of the branches drawing their sustenance from the tree of life; from Jesus and his cross.

Lord Jesus, help me to build upon this one foundation and, like a master builder, build strong and true. May every other foundation for my life be swept away. Help me not only to recognise your authority but to do what you say. May I daily live in close communion with you and continually draw my life from you, bearing much fruit – fruit that will last.

Peter Misselbrook