May 19, 2019

If The Foundation Crumbles
Matthew 7:24-27

Once upon a time there were three Christian pigs, and each of these pigs decided to build a house.

The first Christian pig built his house on the foundation of secular opinion, gathering all of the wisdom he could find from the internet and cable news. As he was building his house he told his friends, “My house will be strong because it’s built on the opinion of beautiful, intelligent people.”

The second Christian pig also built his house. He was more spiritual than the first Christian pig. Instead of building his house on the foundation of secular opinion, he built his house on the foundation of religious opinion. Day by day he gathered pieces of religious opinion from religious radio, religious books and popular preachers. As he was building his house he told his friends, “My house will be strong because my foundation is built on the spiritual wisdom of godly people.”

The third Christian pig was different. Instead of building his foundation on what others had to say, he built his foundation on the Bible. Day by day he spent valuable time reading God’s Word and mediating on its meaning.
The other two Christian pigs laughed at him because he worked so hard, but the third pig said nothing. He just kept reading and mediating until his foundation was firmly laid on the footing of God’s Word.

But one day, after the three pigs houses were built, the Big Bad Wolf of Worldly Woes came to the Christian pigs’ neighborhood. As he stood in front of the first pig’s house he said, “Little Christian pig, let me in, let me in.” But the first Christian pig answered, “Not by the shine on my Sunday School pin.” So the Big Bad Wolf of Worldly Woes blew against the first pig’s house with the winds of disease and illness. In no time flat, the foundation crumbled and the house fell down because secular opinion wasn’t strong enough to stand against the winds of illness and disease. So the first Christian pig ran as fast as he could to take refuge in the house of the second Christian pig.

The next day, the Big Bad Wolf of Worldly Woes came to the house of the second Christian pig. As he stood in front of the house he said, “Little Christian pig, let me in, let me in.” But the second pig answered, “Not by the shine on my Sunday School pin.” So the Big Bad Wolf of Worldly Woes blew against the second pig’s house with the winds of financial failure, and in no time flat, the foundation crumbled and the house fell down because the religious opinion of others wasn’t strong enough to stand against the winds of financial failure. So the first and second Christian pigs ran as fast as they could to take refuge in the house of the third Christian pig.

On the next day, the Big Bad Wolf of Worldly Woes came to the third pig’s house and said, “Little Christian pig, let me in, let me in.” But the third pig answered, “Not by the shine on my Sunday School pin.” So the Big Bad Wolf of Worldly Woes blew against the third pig’s house with the winds of death and grief. And though the house shook and trembled, it did not fall because its foundation stood firm. Then the wolf blew against the house with family trouble and social unrest, but even those winds did not move the house from it sure foundation on the Word of God.

When the Big Bad Wolf of World Woes realized the third pig’s house was anchored on the Bible, he decided to leave that pigs alone. But as he turned to leave, he ran straight into Doug Smith, who shot him straight between the eyes and everybody ate wolf chops after church on that next Sunday. The end.

Now what is the morale of my story? The morale is this: Don’t get too close to Doug Smith when he’s got his rifle. No, that’s not the morale. The real morale is this: We must build our lives on a secure foundation if we want to stand firm when trouble comes our way; for if our foundation is weak, it will surely crumble when faced with the trials we all must face. And what is the secure foundation? It is The Word of God.

If you think my story was a bit juvenile, let me remind you that Jesus told a similar story in today’s text. Listen to his version in Matthew 7:24-27.

“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.”
Like my story of the Three Christian Pigs, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of establishing a firm foundation for our lives, a foundation strong enough to withstand the storms of life.

To get the full impact of Jesus’ story, we need to understand the context in which it was told. This story of Jesus was the concluding illustration to his Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5, 6, and 7, Jesus had been giving potential followers instructions for living their lives. But as he ends his sermon, he realizes some of his hearers may not take his words seriously. So he concludes his sermon with a warning, a warning in the form a story about the house built on rock and the house built on sand. Ultimately, Jesus states that everyone who heeds his words will be wise, but those who do not heed his words will be as foolish as a person who builds his house on a foundation of sand.

So what should we learn from Jesus’ story and my little pigs story. We should learn that our lives will withstand the storms of life only when we build them upon on the foundation of Jesus’ words found in the Word of God. You see, knowing the Bible gives us a foundation for living that helps us stand firm during the storms of life.

Can I be honest with you this morning? I’ve got some real concerns about the lack of Bible knowledge that pervades the American Christian community. Unfortunately, Bible study is no longer viewed as vital to Christian life and growth. To be bluntly honest, many American Christians are functionally illiterate when it comes to the Word of God.

George Barna heads a research organization that studies American religious trends. In a recent report he states, Though Americans profess to see the Bible as accurate, relevant, and helpful, they have problems making time to study it, and committing themselves to it. The resulting theological ignorance and spiritual anemia makes religious and spiritual beliefs exist as a mythical reality more than a substantive reality.

Do you hear what Barna is saying? He’s saying that most Americans are claiming to believe a book they do not know. He’s saying that most of Americans haven’t studied Scripture enough to tell the difference between a Bible story and a fairy tale. And I’m afraid he’s right. I see biblical ignorance every day as I talk to people about the Bible. For the most part, people in our society no longer know what’s between the leather bound pages of our Holy Book, and that’s not just secular people. That’s true of church people as well.

Let me illustrate. For years, I’ve used the 23rd Psalm at graveside services. In times past, I asked those in attendance to quote it with me; but no more. You see, I began to notice that fewer and fewer people knew that beloved Psalm by heart. When I was growing up, almost everybody memorized the 23rd Psalm but that’s not true anymore. I’m afraid we’ve raised several generations of young people who know so little of the Bible. And that’s unfortunate. The Bible ought to be our foundation, our foundation for living, our foundation for loving, and our foundation for facing the problems of life, and if the foundation crumbles, we’re all in trouble.

I don’t know about you, but when I face trouble in my life, I cling to God’s Word for strength and support. When I become fearful I remember Isaiah 41:10 where God says, "Do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely, I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." And when my heart is broken because of the death of a loved one, I remember the words of Jesus when he said, "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare and place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am, there you may be also." And when tragedy rocks my world the Bible reminds me that "God works all things together for good, to those who love him, to those called according to his purpose." And when I’m tired and I’m weak and I wonder if I can face the trials ahead I’m reminded that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Yes, it is the Bible that gives me strength. It is the Bible that gives me courage. It is the Bible that gives me hope. It is the Bible that gives me light. So whenever the storms of life blow my way, I stand firm and secure on the Word of God, the blessed foundation of my life.

Yes, that little chorus I sang as a preschool child rings as true today as it did back then. Remember it?

The B-I-B-L-E. Yes that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, The B-I-B-L-E.

Yes, we have an anchor that keeps the soul,
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep the Savior’s love.

Yes, we have a firm foundation in the B-I-B-L-E.