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Securing the Foundations
Matthew 7:21-27
Skip Heitzig

Matthew 7 (NKJV™)
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Homeland Security

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security issued an important statement, "We [speak] often about protecting our nation, protecting our states, protecting our cities. [But we need] to reiterate the importance of protecting our homes." He acknowledged that the country's foundation is the individual and individual homes. But what about the foundation of the home? What about the foundation of each person? How can you be personally secure--forever?

We live in a country that is on constant guard to preserve the democracy and freedom of its current state. But do we pay as much attention to the security of our souls as we do the security of our nation?

Pastor Skip Heitzig breaks apart the basic components of today's society and looks at the threats that believers face at every level: personally, family, communally, nationally, and globally. This series focuses on what God's word says about each of these levels of society and how we can best follow God's original plan for our lives, our family, and the rest of the world.

FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help) | Buy series

Outline

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I. Making the Right Speech—False Security (Vss 21-22)

A. The Acknowledgment of the Good Lord
B. The Affirmation of Good Words
C. The Accomplishment of Good Works


II. Missing the Right Stuff—Flimsy Security (Vs 23)

A. Absence of a Lifestyle
B. The Absence of a Relationship


III. Minding the Right Steps—Firm Security (Vss 24-27)

A. Know Him
B. Hearing Him
C. Obey Him

Security Exercises:

1. Is your relationship with God secure? Are you on solid rock or on shifting sand? What will you do to be sure that your life is on a solid and secure foundation?

2. Those described in verse 22 would be admired in most circles—a lot of good seemed to have been accomplished by them. Why does Jesus speak so harshly concerning them?

Transcript

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[MUSIC PLAYING]

Would you turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 7 this morning? Matthew chapter 7. And I want to get this out of the way because people have remarked about my pants. Every time I wear them somebody will say something like oh, you had those since, what, '71?

[LAUGHTER]

I just want to say one thing. I am secure.

[LAUGHTER]

Matthew chapter 7 this morning. Let's have a word of prayer. Father, our worship continues as we give you our full attention. We want you to speak. We know that you do that through your word.

And we pray that this week, this day, this moment, would be no exception that as you speak, we would listen. We would want to hear and we would want to do what you say. In Jesus' name, amen.

One of the most famous landmarks in all the world is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's a remarkable structure. Everybody's probably seen it in a picture or they've heard of it, at least. And it's famous.

It's not famous for its height. It's 179 feet tall. There's a lot of taller structures. The downtown plaza in Albuquerque is taller than that structure.

But that's world famous, not because of its height, not because of its architecture-- though it's a marvelous example of Romanesque architecture. No, the reason the Leaning Tower of Pisa is so famous-- one reason-- it's leaning. It's leaning. It's old.

It's still intact. It's 835 years old. But it's leaning. Now, it's not only leaning, it's going to fall. It's going to fall.

In fact, they've been measuring its descent over the last several years. 1911, they first started measuring the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And over the years, they have noticed that it drops 1/20 of an inch every single year. And today, it's 17 feet out of plumb.

They predicted that it would collapse in the year 2007. It's still standing. Hasn't collapsed yet. I'll tell you why before this study is over.

But the word Pisa-- P-I-S-A-- were the city is formed and founded, means marshy ground. So that gives you a clue as to why the tower started to lean almost immediately after it was being built. In fact, they built it up and then it started leaning. And they kept building it.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is built upon weak foundations. And even the foundation they built it on is only nine feet deep. So you've got 179 foot tower with a foundation of only nine feet.

Well, lives are like that. My dad was a builder. And he would tell you that a building is only as good as a foundation. And so is a life. A life, a person, is only as good as the foundation that life is built on.

Well, let's look at Matthew 7. With that in mind, let's read these words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, chapter 7 verse 21. "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven. But he who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and done many wonders in your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you. Depart from me you who practice lawlessness.

Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain descended. The floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall for it was founded on the rock.

But everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain descended. The floods came. The winds blew and beat on that house. And it fell. And great was its fall."

I want to speak to you this morning about the most important thing in life. And that is spiritual security. This is a study on homeland security. We framed what that is going to look like last week.

I want to talk to you about the most vital issue. And that is your own personal eternal security. After all, in the long run, and I mean eternal long run, what does homeland security really profit? I mean, what good is it to protect your borders and your homeland and your family and the house if your soul is in peril? Or as Jesus said, "what does it prophet a man if he gains the whole world and he loses his own soul?"

Well, I've had you turn to the Sermon on the Mount. These are words spoken by Jesus in one of his most famous messages ever. Chapter 5, 6, and 7 of Matthew comprise the Sermon on the Mount. And you'll notice, if you have a red letter Bible, that all the words are in red in all three chapters because it's Jesus' words.

And in chapter 7, where we began, this is the end of his message. This is what we call the application point of the message. He's summing it up to his listeners. It's in admonitory tone. He's admonishing and warning his listeners.

And here's why. The crowd that was listening to him that day, it wasn't a pagan crowd. It wasn't a heathen crowd. By and large, it was a crowd that acknowledged God.

They were Jewish-- a lot of them. Most of them probably attended synagogues around the Sea of Galilee. They had, you might say, a form of godliness.

But any form needs a foundation to be built on. And their foundation was weak. Their lives were leaning. And so he warns them of what to do with what they just heard in that Sermon on the Mount.

I remember as-- I think I was 10 years old. I'm guessing, but I think I was around 10. But for some reason, I got really concerned about eternity, about dying. I think that maybe a friend of the family died. And I was really worried.

What would happen if I die? If I die? When I die? So I went to a clergyman and I asked him.

He was the clergyman of the church I attend. He was a priest. I said, what's going to happen when I die? Am I going to go to heaven?

I'll never forget what he said. He said, well, nobody really knows until they die. I thought, that's not too profound.

Now, I'm a 10-year-old kid. And I'm thinking, you know, it's too late to find out you were wrong at that point. Is there a way to know for sure?

There is a way to know for sure. And we're going to be talking about that, especially next week when we deal with eternal security as a doctrine. But today, we want to talk about building your life on the right foundation.

You see, some people have a false security. They trust in themselves. Some people have a flimsy security. And that is they disobey Christ.

And then others have a firm security. That's where we want to end up. So we're going to go through this in those three swipes.

And, basically, Jesus is supposing a scenario of a group of people who make the right speech, but they miss the right stuff. They say all the right things. But their life doesn't reflect what they say. Making the right speech, but they're missing the right stuff. Let's look at that.

Let's go back to verse 21 to this false security that some will have. "Not everyone who says"-- notice that. It's people professing something with their lips-- "Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven. But he who does the will of my Father in heaven."

Right off the bat, we're dealing with a group of people who are acknowledging the Lord, the good Lord. They're saying, Lord. And notice it's mentioned twice right after the first word, Lord, Lord. And then again in the next verse, Lord, Lord.

That's to emphasize passion, fervor. Lord, it's great thing to say. You'll also notice that there's the threefold repetition "in your name." We did this in your name. We did that in your name, mentioned three times.

Now, we Christians have a vocabulary, don't we? We have our own vernacular. I noticed this early on when I was a Christian. It's not a bad thing, necessarily. But for somebody who's a brand new believer, it's a little disarming.

I remember the first time I heard somebody, go praise the Lord, followed by thank you, Jesus, followed by glory to God, hallelujah. And I honestly thought it was weird. I wasn't used to it. And for some, it was even like a broken record, just kind of like turning on the faucet and letting the water run. It just sort of kept going and going and going.

Now, what I thought was weird I came to see is beautiful. It's beautiful to say praise the Lord. It's beautiful to acknowledge Him as the Lord.

Because when a person says, Lord, Lord, it denotes authority. It denotes submission to a higher power. Here's a person willing to submit to the Lord. It's a beautiful thing to say.

A verbal profession is good. But a verbal profession needs visual proof or it's not good. James said it so succinctly, "Faith without works is dead."

35% of Americans use the term "born again" when referring to themselves. Think about that. Over a third of all Americans-- only 7% are evangelicals of that group, by the way-- but 35% say they're born again.

Now, some of you aren't that impressed because you know that just because you say you are, doesn't mean you are in the biblical definition of the term. There are some people who have the eternal language who don't have eternal life. Billy Graham said, "Our evangelistic crusades find both the greatest challenge and the greatest response among church members."

So the point is this. Talking about God is good. But it's not enough. And if that's all you have, it's a false security. You can talk the God talk. It's a false security if that's all you have.

Notice something else in that verse. Not only do they acknowledge the good Lord, they affirmed good words. Notice this. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name?" Now the admonition, the warning, goes from the pew to the pulpit-- those who speak for God, not just speak about God.

They're processing in his name. They're representing God at some level-- spokesmen, spokeswomen, speaking for the Lord. "We have prophesied in your name." You say, can that be? Is it possible for someone to be a spokesperson for the Lord, a pastor, a ministry leader, and still need this warning? Absolutely it is.

If you remember in the Bible in Acts chapter 19, there is a guy by the name of Apollos. You'll recognize the name Apollos. He was an Alexandrian Jew. And here's his description. "He was an eloquent man and mighty in the scriptures."

But as you read on, you discover something about Apollos. The guy could preach. But what he preached was incomplete.

He taught the baptism of John the Baptist, water baptism. He believed Jesus was a good man, a moral and ethical teacher. But he didn't come to the fullness of the message until somebody brought him aside and explained it all to him.

The boy could preach up a storm. He was a spokesperson for God. But he was not saved at that point.

I'll never forget a Christmas day several years ago. It's one of those years, you know, when Christmas falls on a Sunday. And we had a service in church Sunday morning. It was Christmas day. And we gave an invitation for people to receive Christ.

And a man came forward. He came up on the left side. He had tears in his eyes-- an older gentleman. And at the end of the service, I went to him and I said, what's your story? Tell me your story.

He said, my story? Here's my story. I've been an elder in a church for years. But I have not known Jesus Christ until just a few moments ago when I prayed to invite him into my life. Here's been a representative, a spokesperson, an elder of a church who didn't know Christ.

Martin Luther had the same testimony. Martin Luther was concerned about his soul. And he joined a monastery in Erfurt, Germany, where he was ordained to the priesthood, studied theology, became a doctor of theology, taught the scriptures, taught theology. But his own testimony is he was not a believer at the time.

So the point is this. Talking about God is good. And talking for God is good. But if that's all there is, it's a false security.

Go on in the text. Not only do they acknowledge the good Lord, not only do they affirm good words, they accomplish good works. For they say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name"-- and get this-- "cast out demons in your name and done many wonders, dunamis, powerful acts, in your name?" How was that possible? Is it possible for someone who is either a nominal believer or unregenerate to do this? How do you explain this verse?

Well, number one-- I'll give you three possibilities. Number one, the works were done in the name of Jesus-- "in your name"-- but by the power of Satan. And I know that messes with your thinking a little bit. So I need to explain that.

In Acts chapter 8, there was a guy named Simon who was a sorcerer. He lived in a town called Sumeria. And he did powerful, miraculous works. And even though everybody said this man has the great power of God, the Bible says the powerful acts were done by the power of the devil.

Another case is acts chapter 19. In Ephesus there were seven brothers called the seven sons of Sceva. They were Jewish exorcists who heard about Jesus Christ and saw that using his name was a good thing.

So they grab the name of Jesus and would say in the name of Jesus Christ, whom Paul preaches. And they were casting demons out. Then in the end times, there will be the antichrist who will come, the Bible says, with the working of Satan with all power, signs, and lying wonders. So you see, it is possible.

There's another explanation of this verse. It could be that though they were nominal or even unbelievers, they were still-- and it's an exception, not a rule-- it was the power of God working through them. Again, that messes with us because we just sort of like it cut and dried.

But remember back in Numbers chapter 22 a guy named Balaam? A false prophet, not a Hebrew prophet. He didn't know God.

Balaam believed in a pagan religion. And yet, when he spoke, God put his words in Balaam's mouth so that he could only bless Israel. It was that restraining power of God that caused that to happen.

And then what about Caiaphas the high priest, an unbeliever, did not believe in Jesus. But he said, "It's expedient for one man to die for the nation." And the gospel writer puts a footnote in there. He didn't know, it says, that he was prophesying that Jesus Christ would die as an atonement. So it is possible.

Here's another possibility. It could be that the group of people Jesus is mentioning just professed it, but it really never happened. They're just saying they did. But they didn't.

But here's the point of it all. Here's the real point, not to explain that. The real point is this. You can talk about God. You can talk for God.

And you can be doing good things for God. And that's fine. But it's a false security if that's it.

Now, the false security turns into a flimsy security when a person with that tries to face the judgment of God. Because if you're making the right speech but missing the right stuff, the house will fall down. The Leaning Tower will collapse eventually.

So let's look at verse 23. This is what they're missing. This is the stuff they're missing. "And I will declare to them, I never knew you."

Ponder that for just a moment. Let that sink in. "I never knew you." And then listen, "Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness."

There's two things this group is missing, though they're making the right speech. What they're missing is a lifestyle, first of all. Notice the word practice. You're practicing lawlessness.

It's a present participle in the Greek language. It simply means a continual action. A better translation would be depart from me you continually or habitually are practicing lawlessness.

Here's the point. Anyone who continually practices sin gives evidence that they don't belong to Christ. I'll say that again. It needs to be underscored. Anyone continually practicing sin gives evidence they don't belong to Christ.

And you say, no, wait, wait, wait a minute, Skip, wait. Don't Christians sin? Uh huh, they do.

Don't Christians fall? Yep. We do, don't we? And there is forgiveness.

And you might even add to that, don't Christians sometimes deliberately sin? Yes, they do. And sometimes there is a strong hold that grips a life.

But here's the point. Even when that happens and there's deliberate sin, it's always a Psalm 51 kind of a reaction. If it's a true believer, he or she will hate it. They will wrestle with it. They'll struggle with it. They'll fight against it-- the war of the flesh and the spirit.

Here's the difference. A Christian is someone to whom sin clings. An unbeliever is someone who clings to sin. Put that in your mind.

There's a big difference. See, it's not falling down on the water that will kill you. It's staying there that causes a person to get drowned. And as someone put it so well, if your religion hasn't changed you, maybe it's time to change your religion.

There's a parallel passage to what we're reading in Matthew 7. It's in Luke chapter 6. It's the same stuff being said, Sermon on the Mount. But let me read the parallel passages.

This is what Luke records. "Jesus said, why do you call me Lord and you don't do the things that I say?" "Why do you call me Lord but you don't do what I say?" So there's the absence of a lifestyle. There's the right speech but they miss the right stuff. And that's the lifestyle.

I read an article about a doctor who was arrested for malpractice. Here's the thing. He wasn't really a doctor.

Said he was. Hung up a shingle-- MD. He had only finished three years, not four years of medical school. And they caught him because he misdiagnosed and mistreated a patient.

So here you've got a guy, his profession is he's a doctor. But his practice is he's a third year medical student. Erma Bombeck once wrote, "Never go to a doctor whose house plants have died."

[LAUGHTER]

Isn't that good wisdom? Makes sense, doesn't it? Who's going to go to a Christian for direction if that person seems lost themselves? Where's the lifestyle? You can make the right speech, but if you're missing the right stuff--

Not only that and here's really the beginning part, the more fundamental part, there is the absence of a relationship. Again, I draw your eyes to verse 23. "I will say to them, I will declare to them, I never knew you." Jesus is not saying, I never knew of you. He's not saying, I never got your name. You're who? What's your name again?

That's not the idea. The idea of "I never knew you," is I never knew you as my disciples. You never knew me as your Lord. We've never had an acquaintance.

Now, I'm going to put something together here. This is all important. Lifestyle does not produce relationship. Relationship produces lifestyle. That's all important.

It's not lifestyle-- OK, I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that. I'll do the other thing. And I'm going to keep doing those things because if I do those things, then I will have a relationship with God.

No, no, no. You have a relationship with God first. You know Him. You meet Him. You receive Him. And flowing from that will be all the rest. Of

The lifestyle will flow from the relationship. Relationship comes first. Lifestyle follows relationship.

So how do you have a relationship? You've got to be in the family. How do you get in the family? Got to be born into this family. You got to be born into any family to be a part of a family.

That's why Jesus said, "You must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven." If you're not born again, you won't enter the kingdom of heaven. Paul uses that beautiful term of adoption. We're adopted as His children into the family.

In a sense, God says if you receive Christ, you're born into this family. So "Faith without works is dead." That's James 2:20. But it's also true-- Romans 3:28-- that works without faith is dead-- in so many words.

You need faith. And that faith, the relationship, knowing Christ, will produce works. Put it this way. Saving faith is a faith that works. It works. It produces the evidence.

I love how Jesus put it in his prayer to his Father in John 17. He said, you've given eternal life to as many as you have given to me. And this is eternal life. This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

When I was first saved, I remember, I was two weeks old in the Lord. Now, I got to tell you something. I was ignorant. This is confession time.

I was 18 years old. I'd been saved two weeks. In my closet was a couple of lids of marijuana. And I didn't see anything wrong with it. That's how ignorant I was.

See, I sort of thought I needed to receive Christ. And I did legitimately do it. I did legitimately give my life to Him.

And I loved him. I read the Bible and smoke a little here. And read the Bible and got amazing insights.

[LAUGHTER]

And I didn't see anything wrong with it. I was ignorant. I had a relationship.

But one day, I was reading-- it was Good News for the Modern Man. I was reading the Sermon on the Mount. I remember it so vividly. I remember the light coming in the room and what it looked like.

And I'm reading, in this modern translation, Matthew 5. And here was the translation. "Blessed is the one whose greatest desire is to do what God requires."

And I stopped because I felt like the Holy Spirit reached through the words of the page and slapped me upside the head with that. And I just thought about that for a while. And I thought, is my greatest desire in life to do what God requires?

And I had to be honest. And I thought, it's not. It hasn't been. See, I kind of received Christ. And I thought it's all about me. I want my life and my this and my that and my relationships. Oh, and I want to get heaven as well.

I legitimately prayed. I believed I was saved. I still do. But there was something missing because I was living in disobedience.

And it was-- I remember, I thought, I've got to flush some stuff in the closet down the toilet. That's exactly what I did. I got up there, went in, got the dope, threw it in the toilet, flushed it. It was done. So the relationship comes first and then the lifestyle, then the obedience. And what you learn, we respond to.

Now, there's something I want you to pick up on in our verses. There's a reference here to a coming storm in verse 24 through 27. There's a couple of houses that are built. And the wind blows through and the rains come, et cetera.

And one house stands. One house falls. It's a storm that is coming.

Now, typically, people read this and they interpret it something like these are the storms in life. We all go through trials and hard times. And if you trust in Christ, you'll stand and make it through.

And that's great. That's true. But that's not what it means. No, it seems to be referring to a particular kind of coming storm and that is the storm of judgment, God's judgment, God's wrath that is coming.

And it's easy to see that in context. Verse 22, "Many will say to me in that day." What is that day?

That day is judgment day. That is the day when men will face Christ to give an account for their lives. That's the day of judgment.

In verse 23, "And I will declare to them"-- same day-- "I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness." Now we understand why it's so important to have a secure foundation. Because there is a storm of judgment coming. And your life, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, will fall or it will stand, depending on what foundation it was built upon.

Hebrews 9:27 couldn't be any clearer. "It is appointed to every man once to die. And after this, the judgment." Another one is Hebrews 10:31. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God."

You've heard the name W.C. Fields? Do you recognize the name? He's before our era. But he was an actor. And he was famous for talking like this.

And W.C. Fields was in a hospital. He was on his deathbed. A friend came to visit him.

W.C. Fields was not a believer, never read the Bible. But here on his deathbed, he's reading the Bible. And his eyes are focused on that book.

And his friend comes in and notices this. And he's shocked. And he goes, what are you doing reading the Bible? And W.C. Fields looked up and said, "Looking for loopholes."

[LAUGHTER]

There aren't any. There aren't any loopholes, except one. And that is Christ. That's the only loophole. That's the only exit from that coming storm.

And this is, you've got to understand, something, a major biblical theme. The wrath of God is a major biblical theme. It's absent from modern preaching. It's not in a lot of pulpits. There's a lot of feel good, smile, God loves you, you're OK, I'm OK. But it's a major biblical theme.

I call it the flip side of the gospel. The gospel means good news. You know why there's good news? Because there's been a lot of bad news of a coming storm, judgment.

Here's the good news. Here's the bright side of the gospel. You know it well. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." That's the bright side.

There's a flip side. And I don't know for the life of me why people stop at John 3:16. I say, read the whole chapter.

Go down 20 verses to verse 36, same chapter. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life. He who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Now, some think that the wrath of God is Old Testament, right? Well, that's the God of the Old Testament, God of wrath. Love, grace, mercy, that's the New Testament.

You got it wrong. The wrath and the grace of God are themes throughout the entire Bible. Here's New Testament, Romans chapter 1. "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness."

See? A continual revelation, he says, all throughout is being revealed from heaven. That's why the gospel is such good news. Hey, you could escape. But you have to have the right foundation.

There's a word that's haunting. Look at the first word of verse 22-- "many." That should stop everybody dead in their tracks. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord." Not a few, many.

Now go back to verse 13. Just go back a few verses. "Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.

And there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life. And there are few who find it."

It's a shocking word. Sobering. So it means that if you're making the right speech but you're missing the right stuff, lifestyle based upon a relationship of knowing Him, that we need to be minding the right steps. Minding the right steps.

Let's look at the firm's security of the last few verses as we close. "Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rains descended. The floods came.

The winds blew and beat on that house. It did not fall. It was founded on the rock.

Everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain descended. The floods came. The winds blew and beat on that house. And it fell."

Look at that last sentence. "And great was its fall." Wow. "Great was its fall."

Now, here you got a couple of houses. And there are some similarities to them. Both builders build a house each. And both of them are building a house because they want to house, a secure house. That's similarity number one.

Similarity number two, there are probably in the same area because the same storm pattern blows through and affects both of the houses. Similarity number three, they probably looked alike on the outside. I mean, they had a door, windows, two camel garage, fitting with the time. But you could not tell the difference because on the outside they looked the same. The difference was the foundation, what you don't see.

Here's the point. You can't tell by looking between a secure life and an insecure life, between a saved person and a non-saved person that easily at first. You can't say, that man's saved. Well, how do you know? He's smiling. That's not enough.

Well, she's saved. She's a Christian. How do you know? She's carrying a Bible.

I knew seminary professors that taught the Bible as literature that carried a Bible and didn't believe a word of it. So what you see is not always what is real. It's the foundation that's underneath. A real Christian will take three steps-- and I think we've seen them by now-- knowing, hearing, and obeying. Know, hear, and do.

Verse 22 is knowing him. Jesus said, "I never knew you." Have you met Christ? Do you know Him?

Because here's the truth. Once you meet Him, you're going to love Him. And if you love Him, you're going to want to hear what He says.

And when you hear what He says because you love Him, you're going to want to do what He says. That's the relationship part. You need to know Him.

Second, hear Him. This is an ongoing process. Verse 23, "Whoever hears these sayings of mine." I encourage you, do this every day. Do it every day.

Read your Bible every day. If you don't have one, get one. Read it every day. Listen to Him because if God reveals Himself through His word, how are you ever going to have a relationship with Him if you don't read it? If that's how He reveals Himself, that's how the relationship is developed.

Hear him. Do this when you come to church. Not everybody who comes to church comes to hear Him. There was a guy here a couple of weeks ago and he said, there is a lot of cute girls here.

That's why he was coming. He wasn't coming to hear. He's coming to see. Come to hear what is God going to speak to me?

By the way, I encourage you to bring a Bible to church. Now, you may have forgotten yours today. Don't feel guilty. That's not what I'm doing. But bring it to church and follow along with us because I want you to see at what page and what part of the page what we're reading is because in the future, you may need to refer to that and turn to it and find out where it is.

And then, not only know Him and hear Him, but obey Him. Verse 24, "Whoever hears and does." Now, that is a relationship. That's a relationship. And when you put all these three together, when all three are present-- knowing, hearing, and doing-- that's a secure life.

Now, let me finish my Pisa story-- the Leaning Tower. They predicted it would fall in 2007. The scientists who are measuring its slow decline said, the Leaning Tower of Pisa will fall in the year 2007. It didn't.

But here's where they said it would fall. It was aiming toward a restaurant. And they said, it's going to land on that restaurant in 2007. What's interesting, that was the restaurant they were meeting in every year to discuss the fall of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

[LAUGHTER]

Kind of odd. It didn't fall. You know why? They fixed it temporarily. They fixed it temporarily.

The scientists said they were able to move it back 18 inches to its 1823 position. Now, they said it's temporary. Now they're predicting it will collapse in the year 2300, which means you could go there this year and see it. It won't fall. But it will fall eventually.

You could go in five years and see it. But it will fall eventually. You could go in 10 years and see it. But it will fall eventually. And why will it fall? Foundations are weak.

Now, you may have nothing catastrophic or out of the ordinary happen in your life today, tomorrow, this week, this month. In fact, your life may prosper and get better. But if your life isn't built on the solid rock, like that tower, you will fall eventually. When that storm of judgment comes, great is it's fall.

So you see the need to be built on the right foundation. Know Him. Hear Him. Obey Him.

Let's pray together. Father, thank you for the plain words of our Savior, who not only taught, but applied it so directly to His hearers. And it applies to us today. These are everlasting words. These words are modern and contemporary and speak to our condition.

Father, it is our prayer that if anyone here just in the process of this morning's gathering, who has determined that their life is not on a secure foundation, either they've been trusting their works or trusting what they say about you or say to you, but they have not made a decision in their life to follow Christ and to place there is sin and guilt on Him who died on the cross, I pray they'd be born into the family today, they'd be born again. And out of that relationship would flow lifestyle. But it must begin with the relationship, must begin with just a simple acknowledgment and desire. Lord, I pray that some would make that choice.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/6/2008
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Threat Level - Red?
1 Chronicles 12:32
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The Department of Homeland Security was established after the September 11, 2001 attack. Designed to inform the public as to the threat of terrorism by color-coded levels, it has now become part of our culture. But radical terrorism isn't our only challenge. In this series we will consider the dangers we face personally, culturally, with our family, nationally and globally. In a culture conditioned by fear, how can we have peace?
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1/20/2008
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Heaven-Bound and Enjoying the Ride
1 John 5:13
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Having the assurance of salvation is a prerequisite for enjoying the Christian life. Some don't have that certainty and it shows--they are weighed down by insecurity. Others feel certain that they're saved but they're delusional. Why is it important to know your eternal destination and how can we know? Let's shore up the security of our souls.
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1/27/2008
completed
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Fractured Families-Broken Lives
2 Samuel 13-18
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The Department of Homeland Security was established after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It was, in part, a response to terrorism. But what about our response to the terrorism taking place to our own homes? Our society is hardly family-friendly. There are powerful forces operating to undermine the moral underpinnings of the family unit. Let's discover what happened to Israel's First Family. Lets review the story of David and Absalom that sadly repeats itself today.
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2/3/2008
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Stop the Dominoes!
Joshua 24:14-15
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Joshua's last State-of-the-Union address to Israel was timely. As leader of that nation he knew his people, and he knew there were forces threatening their spiritual survival. He could already begin to see the "domino effect" of compromise happening in his own day. "Put away the gods your fathers served" (vs14), he admonished them. Then as a leader, both of the country and of his own home, he made his own resolve to serve God with his family. Let's consider what this same kind of steadfast determination could mean today for securing our families. Find out how you can help stop the Dominoes.
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2/10/2008
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How to Prevent Soul Thieves!
Nehemiah 1-2
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The Christian is not to be "conformed to this world, but transformed" (Romans 12:2). This value system that the Bible calls the "world" imposes itself on us twenty-four-seven. It beckons to us to lower our standards of righteousness and conform to its unrighteous standard. Just as enemies and thieves were threatening to invade Jerusalem during the days of Nehemiah, "soul thieves" are breaching the walls of our homes and eroding the souls of those inside. What can we do? Find out how to prevent Soul Thieves.
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2/17/2008
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Is the Church Secure?
Luke 21:12-19
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There is an aggressive, consistently growing, vocal and active attack on the church in our culture. In a society where every viewpoint is tolerated and every ideology is celebrated, there is one that is becoming unacceptable--the Christian viewpoint. Once we were marginalized; now we are attacked. What are we to make of this? How secure is the church of Christ? What can we expect in the future and how should we respond to those who want to silence us?
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2/24/2008
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Casualties on the Battlefield of Truth
2 Timothy 4:1-4
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One of the most probing questions Jesus asked about His future return was this, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Today the historic Christian faith is being attacked, not just by outsiders, but insiders--by so-called Christians! Emergent-church philosophies espouse sentiments like, "Well, your truth isn't everyone else's truth." The idea of absolute truth is considered to be passe and harsh. What are we to make of all this?
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3/2/2008
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The Slippery Slope
2 Timothy 4:2-8
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Here's a question: Is everyone who can say "Baahhh" necessarily a sheep? Is every person who throws around the name of Jesus a disciple? In our series on Homeland Security we have considered how to be secure spiritually, relationally, morally and even socially. But what about the future of the church? What kind of Christian legacy are we passing on to the next generation?
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3/9/2008
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Abraham's Other Son
Genesis 16
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Every Muslim reveres Ishmael as the son of Abraham more so than Isaac (whom the Bible calls the son of promise). In fact, Muslims claim that Islam began with Abraham and his son Ishmael, thus claiming that it is older than both Judaism and Christianity. According to the Koran, Ishmael is called both, "an apostle and a prophet". How does this biblical story relate to the modern threat of radical Islam? How does this ancient account in Genesis 16 tie in with the spread of extremist ideas of jihad?
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3/16/2008
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Testimony of a First-Century Terrorist
Acts 9:1-6
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Historians still talk about the amazing transformation of Saul of Tarsus. He was once rabidly hostile to the early Christians, terrorizing them in Jerusalem and in attempting to do the same in Syria. Paul's life shouts to us that no one is too hard, too lost or too far-gone to be saved. If we could really believe that last sentence, it would change forever how we deal with people. Let's consider how God might use us to reach out to the Islamic world with the gospel.
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3/30/2008
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What Now?
Romans 12:1-2
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For the past 11 weeks we have probed the scriptures to find peace in times of terror. We've considered the dangers we face personally, culturally, nationally and within our own family. Today we bring all the pieces together to wrap up with a final application. I'll be joined with a few friends of mine to help me as we think about what to do now!
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There are 11 additional messages in this series.