Matthew 7:24-29, Psalm 18:1-6, Isaiah 17:10-11, Matthew 25:1-13, 2 Corinthians 3:18, James 2:20-23
Dubai is the vacation destination of choice for many young adults in our day. The wealthy Middle Eastern country is home to the Burj Khalifa, the largest building in the world. Dubai boasts of horse racing, luxurious hotels, restaurants, and islands with paradise-like beaches. The only problem is that the city is essentially built on sand.
Nearly a decade ago, the country blew sand from the ocean to create more land on which to build, and then spent an additional $450 million on even more sand with which to build. When I first heard that fact, I thought, This is not going to end well. After all, when Jesus warned about the sure way to make a shipwreck of your life, He drew off of the illustration of those who built their houses on sand. When He brought the Sermon on the Mount to an end, Jesus explained that there will be two types of responses to all that He taught: we will either be wise and build a life on the rock of Christ in sincere faith and obedience, or we will be foolish and build on the sand of personal unbelief and disobedience.
Theologian J. Gresham Machen once famously said, “The Sermon on the Mount, like all the rest of the New Testament, really leads a man straight to the foot of the cross.”
When we put ourselves up the ethical standard of Christ’s teaching, we feel undone because of how many times we have failed to keep the demands of God’s law. We then see our need for the Savior who went to the other Mount in order to take all of our sin upon Himself. Then, after we come to Christ in repentance and faith, we abide in Him by faith. We are empowered by His Spirit to walk in newness of life. Those who have been united to Jesus love His commands. Having been redeemed by Him from the guilt and power of sin, sincere believers find that “His commandments are not burdensome.”
The person, saving work, and teaching of Christ forms the solid foundation upon which believers stand. As we abide in Him by faith, we desire to grow in our obedience to His commands. Those who build on that foundation will survive in the day of testing.
All of this has very practical value. When the hardships in life come (and they will most certainly come), those who abide in Christ and His word will find themselves grounded on a solid rock. No amount of testing, trials, or suffering will ever be able to move them off of this solid foundation. “All other ground is sinking sand.”
Written by Nick Batzig