All right let’s get started.
Imagine, if you will, that you’re on House Hunters. Okay, we’re on House Hunters. And you have a choice
between two homes. I know it’s normally three, but we’re just going to do two for this one. Okay.
And the first home that you look at is new and beautiful, and it has this great view. And then you look at
this other one, and it’s kind of plain, a little bit older, but inside it’s just super warm and cozy. It has a great
fireplace, and you’re just drawn to it, and you’re torn between the two, but you have to choose one. And
then you find out that the new one is built on sand, and it has wood chips just hiding the sand. But the
older one is built on a solid rock foundation that has been dug deep.
Which one would you choose? My son’s father-in-law, Mike. That’s my daughter in law over there is a
residential developer building a community in northern California. And when we first went out there a few
years ago, he took us through his model homes and proudly shared how each home became a reality.
And as we were talking about the framing, the blueprints, we were talking about the foundation.
And I learned a lot. I did not realize the importance of the foundation of a home. I didn’t realize it had to
have its own plan, because there are a lot of things that go into it. Permits to pull and utilities to lay and
engineers to consult. And so, before the concrete is even poured, all this has to happen for the
foundation, because he explained to me that the foundation of a house is its most essential part.
It supports the entire house. It protects it against nature, and it helps it be sturdy against settling. And the
sturdiness of the home depends on the strength of the foundation. Our theme this semester is building
strong families. And so, I ask you, what makes a strong family?
Jesus’ first public sermon is recorded both in Matthew and Luke. In Matthew, it’s called the sermon on the
Mount, because tradition has it that Jesus gave the sermon on a ridge of hills with a magnificent view of
the Sea of Galilee. Just prior to giving this sermon, Jesus announces to everyone, repent. The kingdom of
God is here. The kingdom of God is at hand.
Now, imagine that you are a Jewish person in Israel at that time. They have been watching and waiting for
centuries for this person, this announcement to come. And he stands up and he claims, he says, the
Kingdom of God is at hand, and I am the King. They knew exactly what he was saying. They had the
prophets. They had been looking for the signs. And they were mesmerized.
And in the sermon, the sermon on the Mount, his first sermon. He lays out exactly what it means to live in
the power and the presence of the kingdom of God. Every day he teaches them what it’s like to truly walk
with him. And what he tells them turns their knowledge upside down. What they thought, he completely
changes. Because the religious leaders, the Pharisees, had been telling them, if you just follow these
laws and just be a moral person, and by the way, the laws were like thousands.All the rules. If you do
these things, you will earn favor with God. And Jesus says, no, it’s a lot more. It’s a lot more than
following the rules. It’s about your heart.

The crowds were astonished at the wisdom and the power of his words. He starts with the beatitudes.
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom. Poor in spirit. For theirs is the kingdom of God.
And he goes on through the beatitudes. And then he starts on the rules and the laws. He says, you have
heard it said. But I tell you, you have heard it said. But I tell you, you have heard it said, Do not murder.
But I tell you that anyone who has anger against a brother or sister is subject to judgment.
You have heard it said, do not commit adultery. But I tell you, anyone who looks at a woman with lust or a
man. Has already committed adultery in their heart. He goes on, not just don’t swear falsely. Instead, keep
your promises. An eye for an eye becomes, turn the other cheek and love your enemies. He teaches
them how to pray and fast. Not to glorify themselves. But to grow closer to God. Not for the attention of
others.
He teaches them how to have a proper perspective on money. Not to judge others. But to look at the sin
in their own heart. And then to treat others the way you want to be treated. And then he talks about being
aware of false prophets. That they will come in his name. And then he says something really profound.
There will be those of you that call on my name. And do things in my name. But I will say, I never knew
you.
And then he ends the sermon with this parable.
And you have this on your outline. Everyone then, who hears these words of mine and does them. Will be
like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came. And the winds
blew and beat on that house.
But it did not fall. Because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of
mine. And does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell,
and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and great was the fall of it.
Jesus is comparing the building of a house to the building of a life, a home, a family, a strong family. So,
this verse is going to be our theme verse for the semester, and I encourage you guys to memorize it and
to teach it to your kids and memorize it with them. It’s a very impactful verse. And so, because of that, I
want to spend some time this morning diving deep and unpacking exactly what Jesus was saying.
So first of all, at the end of this radical sermon, Jesus is contrasting two ways of life, two types of people.
The first is authentic Christians, those who know him and follow him. The second would be inauthentic
Christians, those who don’t know him or don’t follow him. How does Jesus characterize these? Authentic
Christians are those who have a personal relationship with him. It’s not a religious experience. It’s a
personal relationship that is intimate and wonderful and is the center of their lives.
They have the Holy Spirit that indwells in them to guide and convict them in what it means to follow Jesus.
They seek to obey God and do his will out of obedience and love for him for what he has done for them.

Inauthentic Christians, on the other hand, are just going through the motions. They have a transactional
relationship with God. If I do this for you, you’ll do this for me. They lack on and wonder. They’re
self-righteous and judgmental. Their God is really themselves.
Instead of trying to line their will up with God’s, they want to push their will on him. Either they don’t know
Jesus at all, or they’re living according to the world’s values, building their hopes on things like wealth,
power, education, and their talents. Where do you stand?
Our big idea for today is strong. Families are built on an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, founded
on an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. So, what are the characteristics, if we were talking about
authentic Christians? I kind of briefly said what an authentic Christian is, but let’s really dive in and talk
about, and in your groups, you’re going to talk about this as well. But what does that mean? An authentic
Christian.
So let’s start with an authentic Christian. I’m going to tell you three things. An authentic Christian knows
Jesus. They believe and receive him. As I said before, they have a personal relationship with him.
Have you ever trusted Jesus as your savior? The Bible says in Romans 9:10, “if you confess with your
mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
God knows that we cannot earn our way to him because he’s perfect and holy and we will never be. But
he came to earth instead and died for us. And that’s the most amazing thing about Christianity, isn’t it?
That all the other world religions want to earn their way to God by trying to do good things or whatever.
And Christianity, God says, I know you can’t do that, but I love you so much. I’m going to come to earth,
and I’m going to pay the penalty that you deserve. And when you believe in that, then you will have
peace, eternal life. You will have me. A personal relationship.
So authentic Christians have believed and received Jesus, and they examine themselves. This is a tough
one, but this is really what it takes to follow Jesus as we examine ourselves. Some people call it living the
examined life, where we allow him, the Holy Spirit, to change us, to point out those things in our life that
are not pleasing to him, to confess those sins and to ask him to search us and point out our sin, that’s a
big one. We are teachable. Authentic Christians are teachable. They take criticism. Timothy Keller calls
them the chief repenters. Chief repenters because they mourn over their sin. The more you get to know
Jesus, the more you mourn over your sin.
Strong families are founded on an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. Authentic Christians know
Jesus. They also respond to him in obedience. If you look at your verse, verse 24 says, therefore,
everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his
house on the rock. So an authentic Christian, that’s what that’s saying, put them into practice and be wise.
Jesus is telling us that his words, following his words, make us wise. Who doesn’t want to be wise?
Right? According to the Bible, wisdom is the ability to make godly choices in life. The ability to make godly
choices in life.

A wise man seeks God with their whole heart and does not lean on their own understanding. As proverbs
3:5-6 says a wise man or woman walks the path of righteousness, tries to know the truth and applies it to
their life. Jesus says that to be a true disciple, we can’t just say, those words sound good and they seem
good. We can’t just agree with Jesus’s words. We have to do them.
Jesus knew this was an issue. This problem goes all the way back into the beginning of creation. Hearing
and doing has always been a problem for mankind. The word hear in this verse links back to
Deuteronomy 64, where Moses says, hear, o Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
The word for hear is translated from the Hebrew word Shama, and Shama is a really hard word to
translate because it actually means to listen and obey. Listen and obey in English, the best we could
probably do is active listening.
Active listening. And James addresses this really well. What does it look like? Do not merely listen to the
word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in the
mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever
looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it, not forgetting what they have
heard, they will be blessed, but doing it, they will be blessed in what they do. Now we’re going to talk this
semester about the balance between the hearing and the doing. But it’s important to note that the
Christian life is a rhythm of both hearing and doing. We hear. And then that knowledge should transform
our behavior, not because we’re trying to earn favor with God, but out of obedience and thankfulness,
gratitude for his love and sacrifice for us.
As we respond to Jesus’ words and obedience, we shine his light to the world. And that is the most
beautiful thing. As we follow Jesus and gain wisdom, people around us should see something different
about us. They should see us growing and changing. Our knowing him informs our doing.
This is the transformation Jesus was talking about in the parable. Hear these words and practice them.
Our lives should be attractive to the unbeliever. Do people know about your faith? Do they know the
difference that God has made in your life?
We should proclaim that they should see it when culture goes one way and Jesus says to go another.
Authentic Christians follow Jesus choosing to be in the world, but not of it. Maybe you’ve heard that it’s a
mantra. This will mean making choices that mean leaving old ways behind. We talked last semester about
our identity in Christ and how we are to put off the old and put on the new.
This is the same thing, putting off the old sinful ways, those idols of our heart, those things that entangle
us, could mean relationships, lifestyles, whatever it is. We have to ask the Lord to show us and lay it
down. And you know what that does? That shines his light so brightly, and it is the most beautiful thing.
Rachel Joy Scott.

Does that name ring a bell? Rachel Joy Scott. She was one of the twelve students killed in the Columbine
shooting in 1998. You guys were all probably pretty young. I remember it so well.
In her diary, she describes the persecution that she went through as a high school student. As she began
to leave her old life behind and follow Jesus. As she began to make those godly wise choices. She
experienced a lot of persecution. And she recounts in her diary how she processed through it that it was
really hard. Five days before her death, she writes,
“Dear God, I promise that I will not drink this Friday when I go out with blank. This is so tempting. I want to
so bad. Well, I thought about it, as you know, and I thought that since you always forgive me anyways, I
might as well do it. And then I realized that you will always, always forgive, but you may not let it go
unpunished. Then I decided not to do it strictly out of fear. And I thought about it more, and I thought that
if I did it out of fear, it would not be done. Because I loved you, I obeyed you, and I followed you. This is
my reason for not going. Now, I know I will always be faced with temptation, but because I love you, I
obey and I follow you. I will not fall into the core of it. Thank you, Father. Always. Your child, Rachel Joy.”
She was 16. Wow. That is strong faith. That is a foundation. And then God called her home, but she got it.
She obeyed him. We are to obey him out of gratitude for what he has done for us. Any other reason is
self-motivated.
We’re going to look different for following the way of Jesus. Our kids are going to look different.But the
way of Jesus is better. It’s better. The benefit for following Jesus far outweighs the cost. We can prepare
our kids for this as we disciple them. My last podcast was an interview with Sarah Cowan Johnson, who
actually wrote the book that we talked about last semester- “Teach Your Children Well”, a step-by-step
guide to family discipleship.” And she and I had a great conversation about this and many other things.
So, I encourage you to go back and listen to it if you haven’t already. Maybe you’re feeling convicted
today and doubting your relationship with God. No matter where we are in our walk with Jesus, he is
waiting for you with open arms, ready.
If you confess and repent, he will forgive you. That’s grace. There may be consequences for our actions,
but he will always, always love us. And as Rachel said, always forgive us. Or maybe you’re thinking of a
spouse or a family member or a child that you know has not trusted Jesus yet, I encourage you just to
keep praying, keep seeking God and doing what you can do, because the Holy Spirit has to draw them in.
It can’t be you, and that’s really hard. But God promises us his strength. Strong families are founded on
an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.
Lastly, an authentic Christian trusts Jesus. This one trips a lot of us up. You trust people you know. The
more you know someone, the more you trust them. If you know God, you should trust him. If you don’t
know him yet, you get to know him and you will trust him.

Why? First of all, his character. His character is unchanging. That’s called immutability. He does not
change.mHe is a rock. The Bible refers to him as the rock over and over again. Everything else is sand
because it shifts and changes. His nature is trustworthy. He has proven himself over and over in scripture,
in our lives, as he comforts us in our times of need and gives us peace, even though it doesn’t feel like it
sometimes.
He’s always good and he is always, always on our side. Whatever we’re going through, he keeps his
promises. He doesn’t lie. He cannot lie. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His character is
trustworthy.
Secondly, his power, God has the power to bring about what he purposes and plans to do. He has the
power to raise the dead to life, and he has done that. His word does not return void. Isaiah tells us in
14:24, “The Lord Almighty has sworn, Surely, as I have planned it, so it will be, and as I have purposed it,
so it will stand”
We can trust in his sovereign care. We are under his sovereign care. Verse 25vinvour verse for today is,
and the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall
because it had been founded on the rock. Y’all, what is this saying?
The winds, the floods, the storms are going to come. They’re going to come. If you’re not already
experiencing one, it’s going to come. God is not promising us a trouble-free life, but he does promise to
be with us in the midst of it. That’s his blessing, y’all.
Our culture has blessing, all distorted thinking that it means giving us what we want, what we’ve asked for
materially or whatever it is. How many times you hear the word, oh, I’m blessed, or she’s so blessed, or
whatever. That’s not the biblical definition of blessing. Blessing is God’s favor, that he will keep us, be
gracious to us and give us peace. That’s what he’s promising.
So whatever it is he’s allowing in our lives is for his divine purpose. And you know what he says? Trust
me, trust me, follow me. My ways are higher than your ways. You can’t see the big picture, but you have
my presence.
We can’t understand God’s plan for things like Rachel, Joyce, Scott, and all the other crazy things that he
allows in this world. We live in a fallen world. We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen, but God knows
and he’s sovereign. If there are times when you feel like God was not caring for you or is not caring for
you, ask yourself why that is.
Could it be that you’re trying to do it in your own strength and you’re not surrendering to him? Maybe you
are walking in sin and suffering the consequences or suffering the consequences of someone else’s sin.
Maybe it’s because you’re still in a period of waiting, or you were in a period of waiting, and God is not
answering. I’ve experienced this many times. To this day, I’m experiencing two times of waiting, and one
I’ve been praying for, for years and years and years. I’m still praying.

My friends around me hold me up and say, keep praying. Keep praying. Because God hears us. He
promises, he hears us. And in his time and in his plan, he will answer.
I was just talking about this to a friend yesterday who’s really struggling with going through a trial, and she
was angry with God. She said, I’m tired of learning the lessons that He has for me. I’m tired of it. This is a
mature Christian woman saying, “I don’t want to know these lessons anymore. I just want it to be over.”
And you know what? I get that. I’ve been there. And, you know, I told her, I said, just tell God that. Just cry
out to him. Tell him, I don’t want this lesson. I’m angry. Take this cup from me. I don’t want it. God can take
that. The Psalms are full of lamentations where David and others poured out their hearts to God in anger
and frustration and sorrow. And he says, I am with you. And by the end of those psalms, they’re always
on their knees, just praising God for who he is and what he has done.
And I told my friend, I said, you need to just get on your knees and go through your gratitude list. Just
start ticking those things off that he has given you and she said, you’re right. You’re right. And so I got a
text from her later yesterday afternoon saying, I feel so much better. I got on my knees, I thanked God for
all these things. I wept. I feel so much better. That’s what it’s about. That’s what it’s about, right? God
takes us through these things.
This is what I have learned in my life.Our culture has a very self-focused view of what the world is about,
what this life is about. We want comfort and ease. We don’t want suffering, and we don’t want suffering for
our kids. Can I get an amen? We do not want it.
But that’s not what God’s about. He’s about the process. The process is teaching us to be dependent on
him in the midst. Oswald chambers. When I was going through a very hard trial, which I’m going to tell
y’all about in just a second, my husband found this quote and he gave it to me from Oswald Chambers. It
is talking about God.
He said, “His purpose is that I depend on him and on his power. Now, if I can stay in the middle of the
turmoil, calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the process of God. God is not working towards a
particular finish. His end is the process.” Wow. His end is the process. To trust God in adversity comes
from knowing him and his Word intimately. And this intimacy requires a rhythm of listening and doing,
failing and succeeding. Going back to God, asking for his help, confessing it’s a relationship. It’s a
relationship. And giving God the glory for what he accomplishes in us. Trusting him in the process means
trusting him with the outcomes.
Let me give you a quick story. From 2006 to 2012, my family moved four times in six years. I have three
kids. They were in the middle of their growing up years. We endured multiple rounds of unemployment
that lasted a long time. Three of those moves meant going to different cities to get a job, which meant that
my kids had to move to new schools each time, and we had to adjust to a new community. My oldest son
had to move in the middle of high school. Definitely not what I wanted. These were hard years. I watched

my husband struggle, my kids struggle. I had no control over it. My marriage suffered. I thought my house
was falling down. I truly did. I saw things being washed away. But I could have stayed there, frozen in fear
and anxiety. My husband could have given up, gotten bitter. My kids could have turned away from God.
But we made a choice as a family to turn towards him because we believed his promises. We believed in
his character, and we knew we were under his sovereign care.
And so we made a choice to go towards him. And you know what? Through each trial, each time, God
provided for our needs. Yeah, we had times of doubt. There were times when we felt abandoned, but
those were the days when we were walking in our flesh and not dependent on Jesus.
It really came down to we were mourning what he wasn’t giving us that we wanted instead of being
grateful for what he had given us. And when we could change that posture, that perspective, it made all
the difference. And looking back, I can tell you so many blessings that came out of that time. Yeah, I can
look back now and see it. One of them, one of our neighbors, the couple came to Christ over our
testimony.
Our family members, our extended family watched us go through this and stay grounded in our faith. Our
faith grew exponentially. I think the biggest thing though, for us, my husband and I talk about this a lot, is
that all three of our kids watched us go through that and trust God and lean in. And I truly believe that
that’s one of the main reasons that all three of my adult children walk with Jesus. I truly believe that.
Don’t be afraid of the struggles. Don’t be afraid. Turn to God. He’s with you. He will get you through.
Even though our house is shaken, it will not fall when we are founded on the rock of Jesus Christ. A few
months ago, I found this quote from Lisa Terkeurst and I’m going to share it with you because it has
rocked my world! You know, things like this really help me. Like when I start, I mean, I’ve been through so
many things, I’m now going through another thing and it’s like, okay, trusting God. This is the best quote
ever. “Tracing God’s hand of faithfulness in the past is so much more calming than trying to predict the
future.”
Let’s marinate on that for a second. God is faithful. We can trust him. We don’t have to fear the future.
Strong families are founded on an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.
Friends, authentic Christians aren’t perfect. Oh my goodness, no. We fail. We disappoint God, we
disappoint others. But we confess and we repent and we receive forgiveness, looking to God for
guidance, knowing that he is there for us.
Over the semester, we’re going to be building on the concepts of today. Today was an introduction. It’s our
foundation if you will. We’re going to talk a lot more about practical ways that we can build our homes on
the foundation of an authentic relationship. We’re going to get into heart postures and all kinds of great
things.

It’s going to be a really good semester. I hope you guys are excited to be here. And let me just say, a wise
person who builds a house that will stand the storms of life knows Jesus responds to his word and trusts
him. May the Lord make us wise builders for eternity. And now I’m going to bring up Jana Spooner, and
she is going to lead us in worship as we sing our theme song.
I’m all about themes. This semester, we have a theme song that I have on my Spotify playlist and listen to
all the time. Jana is going to come up and play it. So thank you, Jana, so much. And Jana, can you close
us in prayer?

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