In Matthew 7.24-27, Jesus provides his listeners with powerful imagery for what discipleship to him will do for their lives. According to Jesus, whoever "listens and obeys" his teachings, his way of life, will build their life on a foundation that can outlast the pressures and challenges of this world. Conversely, anyone satisfied with only listening or being entertained by his teachings but never really doing the things it says will find their lives built on unstable ground, ground that is unable to bear the storms of life.
Now, being good Westerners, when we hear these words of Christ we most likely hear his teaching through the filter of our own individual discipleship, our own private spiritual life. And that isn't a wrong thing. Christ's invitation comes to each of us and challenges us to drop everything and follow. However, it's easy to forget that although his invitation is personal it is also communal. By this I mean, Jesus not only calls his disciples to a shared life with him but also a shared life with each other (John 15). Their commitment to him meant a commitment to those who would also follow (John 16.20-21).
Therefore, armed with this understanding, it is possible to rehear Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7 as not only an invitation and warning of the individual houses we build but also an invitation and warning for the houses we build, together, as a community of disciples. In this light, Jesus seems to indicate that it is possible to build a church that has the appearance of having it all together, but when real challenges appear it simply gets washed away.
This Sunday we'll be continuing in our new series, Not Amused, and we'd love for you to join us as we explore what it means to be the church: to build a community on the foundation of Jesus' life and teaching as opposed to building a service that simply entertains our spiritual desires.