Parables: Builders

Parables: Builders

This week, we’re beginning a new message series where we’ll go through the parables of Jesus and learn from Him how to truly live life to its fullest.

A parable is a simple story that illustrates a moral or spiritual lesson.

Jesus used many different methods to teach, but His use of parables is by far one of the most common. He would take ordinary things and situations from the culture around Him and use them to teach about God’s Kingdom. Jesus was quite intentional about teaching through parables more than any other method recorded and He gave us the reason why:

Matthew 13:10-12
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

You may have heard it said that the best place to hide something is right there out in the open. This same principle applies to why Jesus taught using parables. To those who hungered and thirsted for God’s Kingdom, the parables made sense and they received their fill of revelation. These parables were seeds that fell deep into their hearts and brought incredible life transformation as a result. To those who were indifferent, that same deep revelation went in one ear and out the other without any affect.

To some who heard these parables, Jesus was the long awaited Messiah and satisfied the longing of their souls. To some who heard these parables, Jesus was a good teacher and nothing more. To some who heard these parables, Jesus was a blasphemer, drunk, glutton of a demon who must be stopped. Using parables to teach ensured that those with right hearts who had ears to hear them and eyes to see what they were teaching benefited from them.

We’re starting this week with a parable about building.

Luke 6:46-49 (Matthew 7:24-27)
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Well, isn’t Jesus’ question right there an entire sermon of itself? If we just ponder this verse daily and adjust our lives according to it, we’d all be set!

47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Whether we realize it or not, we are all constantly building. We’re building our own personal lives, our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our schools, our animals, our friends, the businesses we patronize. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we are constantly building.

We build with the words that we speak, with our body language that speaks louder, and with our actions that speak loudest of all. We physically work and toil away to earn finances that we use to build many things. We use our hands to literally build whether it be an essay, a shed, a circuit board, a road, or any other thing that we set our minds to.

The question is never what or whom we are building, but:
1. What we are building on?
2. What we are building with?
3. How are we building?

Every area of life is ministry. Everything that we do everywhere matters to God. Whether we are working on a multi-million dollar project at work or a Lego plane at home, it matters to God. His desire is that whatever we do, we do it with all our heart and with excellence because it is ultimately Him that we are serving through it (Colossians 3:23-24).

1. What are we building on?

As Jesus taught in His parable, whatever we are building, we are to be building it on the foundation of His word. It is God’s word that is the firm foundation that we can be certain of. He reminded us that it is not just about knowing it, but about doing it.

Knowing that safety glasses protect my eyes and having them in my back pocket does me no good at all when that wood chip comes flying at me; they must be put correctly on my face. It’s no different with God’s word!

Jesus also takes this a step further. We very often and easily miss the fact that Jesus calls out two different necessary components in this parable. It is possible to build on the firm foundation of God’s word and His guiding principles and still be in error. It is possible to do business dealings with honesty and integrity and still see that business collapse.

That foundation must also be dug down deep and have its footers firmly planted on Jesus, the rock. God’s word brings blessings and always proves itself to be true. However, to be a truly wise builder, we must also be putting God’s word into practice within the context of a healthy relationship with Him. This is where our true assurance is found.

We live to build not just on the truth of God’s word, but also into a deeper relationship with Jesus; the living Word of God.

What are we building on? The firm foundation of God’s word set on a deep relationship with Jesus, the Rock!

2. What are we building with?

1 Corinthians 3:10-15
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Once we start building on the right foundation, we must also be wise in what materials we are building with. We want to be building with the resources of heaven and not of earth. We want to be sowing out the very things that we want to harvest. We don’t finish siding a house with T-111 and expect to have a red brick home when we wake up the next day. It doesn’t work in the natural world and it certainly doesn’t work that way in the spiritual world.

We don’t sow anger out into our family and expect it to be a home full of peace. We don’t sow gossip out at school and expect it to be a safe haven full of encouragement. We don’t sow out our minimum efforts at the workplace and expect promotion nor raises. We shouldn’t give God our leftovers with the expectation of receiving His finest, abundant blessings in return.

Psalm 121:1-2
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Our resources that we use to build are not of our own, but from Heaven. We build with the glorious riches found there alone. We build with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We build with grace, truth, mercy, strength, courage, hope, splendor, empowerment, forgiveness, and glory. We build with things that will stand the test of God’s holy fire and we will receive our rich reward for such sacrifices in the end.

We have the awesome opportunity to drive over to a warehouse full of endless of building materials all paid for by Jesus, our boss. We truck it out to whatever job site we find ourselves and build up others until we all reach God’s full potential together.

What are we building with? The glorious riches of God’s Kingdom!

3. How are we building?

If you’ve ever undergone a construction project, you know that the finished job isn’t the only thing that matters.

Consider this scenario. You’ve decided to remodel your kitchen and you hire in a contractor. Their crew consistently comes late and they sometimes choose not to show up at all. When you call them, they remind you how busy they are and act annoyed that you bothered them with your project. They make a huge mess everywhere and leave it for you to clean up. They argue with each other and they talk badly about each other behind their backs, but all in front of your family. They ignore your every recommendation and push forward doing things their own way even when you tell them, “No.”

However, the finished job is immaculate, perfect in every way. They took exactly what you had envisioned and made it your reality. Would you ever hire them again? Would you recommend them to your friends?

Likely not. In fact, this beautiful kitchen will stand forever as a reminder of how miserable the process was getting it there. How we build is just as important as the finished product.

1 Corinthians 8:1b
…knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

John 13:34-35
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

There is one word that describes how we are to build in God’s Kingdom and that word is love. We are to build patiently and with kindness. We are supposed to build by humbly honoring everyone. We are to build without anger and without keeping any record of wrongdoing. We are to build by protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering. Love builds faithfully, never giving up until the job is complete and until the day that we hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” spoken by King Jesus.

How are we building? Lovingly!

Let’s go out there and be wise builders wherever we go; not building on sand, but on a firm foundation deeply rooted in Jesus. Let’s build with the priceless resources found in Heaven alone. Let’s not waste our lives away, but choose to build always with the motive of God’s love.