Sermon on July 04, 2021
KaB FKB (Andreas Latossek)
Do your Thing –

What am I building my life on?

“Matthew 7, 24 – 27”


Do your thing – that’s the slogan of a well-known hardware store chain, and it also applies to you graduates of biblical teaching.
You are in a phase of life where you start to make your own decisions. You question what your parents and other adults say, think and believe and tries to form your own opinions, to go your own way. And that’s good.


Each of us, including some adults, is looking for a stable foundation for life and fulfillment.
We want to live a life that is worthwhile, what we enjoy, what fulfills us. And what doesn’t break.


What am I building my life on?
There are many different offers. We saw this in the play: ‘Money and Stocks’, ‘Professional Success’, ‘Self-Empowerment’, ‘High Standing’, ‘Fun’, ‘Fitness & Health’, ‘Family & Friends’,


Jesus tells a fitting story about the building of houses and the right foundation:
It is also on the song sheets to read along: Mt. 7: 24-27:
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
I thought we’d try this out for ourselves and recreate the whole thing. We did that before on our adventurous BU- (graduates of biblical teaching) leisure time last year.
We were the last group at Hessenstein Castle before the lockdown, It was all a bit strange and unfortunately your graduation was postponed by a year.


But this picture, I wish that it will be imprinted on you in your life, and that’s why we’re doing it again here.
So I need four volunteers, always two people build a house together. There are lumps here, this is not going to be a luxury villa now. Some build on sand, others on stone.


In his story, Jesus compares building a house with our life.
We are building a house of life, so to speak. And Jesus says there are clever and stupid builders. A house collapses, one stays standing.
Well, none of us wants to be stupid, everyone wants to build their house well, shape their life well, that it is fulfilled, that it does not collapse at some point and a catastrophe occurs and, above all, that it will last forever, i.e. after this life has. And how can that work?


Let’s take a closer look at the houses.
Both houses look pretty good. Of course there are small differences, but basically these are two good houses. The difference lies in the subsurface. One house is built on sand, the other on rocks.
The story of Jesus is told in the Bible by a second person, namely Luke, and he has one more detail for the construction.
He says that one of them had to dig deep to lay his foundation on rocks.
That cost strength and time, it just wasn’t possible.


So, both beautiful houses, but the stress test for these houses is a storm.
Rain, storm, flooding. If everything is fine, no problem. But wherever storms come in our lives, crises, and storms will come, each of us experiences it, that is where the difference becomes apparent.
And even if the house holds up in this life, the greatest crisis is death, and we should not lose sight of this dimension.


It was quite dry where Jesus told the story.
But when it rained, it did so properly. Small rivulets quickly turned into torrential rivers, and it could get really dangerous. So people knew. Last week it rained heavily here and in Munchausen, it was big in the newspaper, and a lot was flooded.
That is of course tragic. But the houses themselves stopped because they were built on good foundations.
What happened to the houses where Jesus was?
What happens to our houses up here?
I’ll take a watering can: One collapses, one stops.


It was clear, you say.
It was clear, people said at the time. Exactly, says Jesus.
And that is just as clear with our house of life. If we build on the wrong surface, it will collapse.


But what is a stable foundation?
At one point in the Bible, Jesus is said to be the cornerstone.


1. Jesus is the corner stone

Like that big stone, or in the Old Testament that God is the rock. If you build on him, then that is safe and good.
In the BU (Biblical lessons) we looked at how God actually intended life.
That he creates a wonderful paradise for us, where we humans have the best time with one another and with God. And with God in such a way that he himself is there, visible and with his strength and his possibilities helps people to shape their lives.
But we humans screwed it up, detached ourselves from God, thought we knew better and that destroyed our character and our togetherness and this world.
The Bible calls this path without God sin. The Greek word behind it actually means something like “missing the target”. Our life leads past the goal.


But now God is a God who does not simply say: See for yourself what you get out of it and leave us alone, but who says:
In Jeremiah 29:11 we read that, was once a learning verse that you hopefully can still memorize, because it says as much about God and his way as he thinks about us:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.


And so God himself comes in Jesus Christ to show us humans, despite all our mistrust, how God really is.
And it is so blatant that it overcomes the separation between God and us by dying for our guilt on the cross.
We have looked at the fact that the gap with God is so great that we cannot overcome it with our good deeds. But God does it himself, and he offers us forgiveness and reconciliation, free of charge. That was also a question in the play.
If it’s free, is there a catch?
No, God does it because he loves us, and he confirms that what Jesus did on the cross is through his resurrection. Only God can do that, and we have seen that there are many good reasons to believe in this resurrection, in this sign of God, which shows that Jesus is a solid foundation.
He does what he says.
He keeps what he promises – unlike some politicians in our day.
Just because this story is old doesn’t mean it’s out of date. It is very topical, it has to do with each of us.


But Jesus goes one step further.
For he says that whoever builds cleverly hears his words and he does them!


2. It is wise to listen to Jesus and do what he says.

That is also what is part and parcel of faith. Because precisely because Jesus has an overview and knows what is good for my life and what is not, it shows whether I trust him, whether I will do what he says, what I can read in the Bible.


In two years of BU (Biblical lessons), we looked at a lot of what Jesus said.
This story that Jesus tells here is the end of the so-called Sermon on the Mount.
In doing so, Jesus told people what a happy life looks like.
He talks about a lifestyle that makes a difference and infects others.
He talks about the commandments, we also looked at that in the BU,
and Jesus makes it clear that they are not the way to earn heaven, but that God, who knows and loves us through and through and wants our lives to be successful and as Creator knows what is good and what is not. He sets guard rails to protect us, so that we can arrive at our destination safely and how we can really work together.


But at the heart of what Jesus is saying is our friendship with God.
God invites me to be friends with him.
Perhaps one or the other will hear this for the first time today, then this invitation is also for you.
This friendship changes me from the inside out.
The manufacturer is building our house of life, as you said in the play.
His Holy Spirit lives in us when we belong to him, and he changes us and makes us perceive things as God sees them.
In this way we can listen to his quiet voice in everyday life, which tells us again and again what to do, what is good, and then gives us the strength to live like this.
God cares for us when we put Him at the center.
He speaks to us through his word: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path, it says in Psalm 119,105
And then we can ask him for his strength where we notice that it is difficult for us to live what is good in God’s eyes.
This approach is so different: the inside shapes the outside, without the inside the outside is always just a pious appearance or one’s own effort. If the inside is not right, all else is a wasted effort. That is why belief in Jesus is not first of all doing, but a relationship from which our doing grows.
In summary, this other lifestyle looks like this: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
We can build on Jesus – and, in our free time last year, we distributed stones so that on the back it said:


3. Jesus wants to build on us.

Peter writes that we should be built into God’s house as living stones.
God wants our life to flourish, we are so precious in his eyes.
He wants our gifts to come to light and to be used, and that we ourselves can be like a stable house for others, a contact point where we can point them out to the foundation that supports them. Jesus.


One last thought that I would like to give you:
As I said earlier, sometimes we distrust God and we rely on things other than him, seek our fulfillment in ‘money and stocks’,’ professional success’, ‘self-fulfillment’, ‘good standing’, ‘fun’, ‘fitness & Health ‘,’ Family & Friends’
All beautiful things that God also likes to give us, but when we build on them and a storm comes, we notice that it doesn’t really fill out.


Paul takes the picture of Jesus in 1 Corinthians even further and says that the foundation is crucial, but we can also build on it with different building materials.
And so, even as a person who lives with Jesus, it does not mean that we include him in every decision in our life.
And then there are storms, crises, Paul calls them tests, so it is possible that even with Christians, because we are not spared the storms of life, some of the wrong building materials break.
But the foundation gives the necessary support in such situations.
Next week, for example, we will baptize a person who, in the midst of such a blatant crisis, where God has also shown her a lot, but experiences his deep peace and support like never before.
God invites us to come to him.


4. His door is always open,

no matter how much we got lost, failed, or left him out.
He says:
Come to me, all of you who toil and are almost crushed by your burden; I want to take it from you! I mean well with you and do not look down on anyone. Place yourselves under my guidance and learn from me; then your life will find fulfillment. Mt 11:28
Maybe this morning too.
The BU is over. There is still a lot ahead of you in your life with Jesus.
We hope that we have been able to give you a good basis for this over the past two years. Jesus is the cornerstone.
He wants to give us a future.
It is wise to listen to Jesus and do what he says.
He wants to build on us.
His door is always open, no matter how lost you are.
Col 2,6-7:
6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
In this sense: Accept his invitation to live with Jesus and shape your life and live in close contact with him.
Go his way, then your way will succeed.
God bless you in this. Amen.
The next song is about God being our light and his love bringing us safely to our destination through the storms of our lives.