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Message #109 of Scripture Beneath The Surface
“Build Your House On The Rock”
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Hello! Thanks for being with us. Today I'd like to take a look at the concept of dry ground. Now, I'm not referring to parched ground, as in when there is no rain, but in dry ground, as insolid ground, as opposed to water or to muddy soil. Dry ground is used in scripture to symbolizea stable base of support. We know that Jesus is our solid rock on which we stand. The solidrock is a sure foundation on which we need to build our house. Most of you will remember theSunday School story of the two men who built houses, the one building a house on the sand, andthe other building his house on the rock. If you've ever walked in the sand, you know how thesand will give way to your feet. And especially, if you're walking next to the water, the watermixes with the sand and provides a very unstable footing.
In scripture there is a division between water and dry ground. This initial separation took placein the day of creation. Genesis, chapter one, has a lot of information for us, but this informationis many times glossed over by Christians as not being very significant. But, the creation storycontains the whole plan of God for the world. The seven days of creation contain the story ofEarth, and of its flesh and blood inhabitants, and God's purpose of creating a people who willeventually be able to live with him forever. It is this plan of God, to take human beings and moldthem into born again spirit beings, that is at the core of creation.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon refers to the inhabitants of Earth as being mankind, whohas been placed by God under the sun. Adam and Eve were created by God, and they wereplaced on this earth under the covering of the sun, moon, and stars. We humans have been
placed here on Earth under the covering of the heavens. I hope I'm not making this too difficultfor you, but it is important to realize that we have been put here on this earth as flesh and bloodhuman beings, and that our ability to see the heavenly kingdom of God is hindered by our beingplaced under the sun. Solomon was aware of this concept and understood it. He knew that formankind on the earth, all was vanity. Vanity means temporal, instead of eternal. Earth istemporary. Heaven is eternal. Everything is vanity for mankind on the earth, because mankind,in just his earthly flesh and blood existence, has no capacity to understand the deep hidden thingsof God.
God is a Spirit. And mankind was not created initially as a spirit being. However, we know verywell that this is the process that God is calling us to. Jesus said that unless we are born again inspirit, we will not see the kingdom of God. The heavenly kingdom is a spiritual realm that hasno physical location in the same sense that Earth is a physical location. We know that our housesand our families are located in certain physical places. However, in this earth, we comprehendthe location of things by ascribing measurement to them which is relative to other sources. Forexample, we know that the city of Jerusalem, in an earthly physical sense, is located in theMiddle East in relation to a world map. If you wanted to go to Jerusalem today, you would fly tothe Jerusalem airport by plane, and then you would take a bus or car to the actual city.
However, in the book of Galatians, Paul refers to both Jerusalem which is a physical place onearth, and also to Jerusalem which is above. Jerusalem which is above is the spiritual Jerusalem,and cannot be located by measurements of miles, nor in relation to other physical cities on earth. Let me read a verse in the book of Luke where Jesus refers to the kingdom of God as beingwithin us. It is Luke 17:20-21. It says, “And when he was asked by the Pharisees, when thekingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God does not comewith observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom ofGod is within you.”
It is this concept of recognizing the spiritual meanings that is so important for Christians. Weknow that 1 Corinthians 15:50 tells us that flesh and blood human beings will not inherit thekingdom of God. It is the spiritually born again believer which will inherit the kingdom ofheaven. But God has created mankind first to be flesh and blood human beings in order that hemight separate the righteous from the wicked. If the wicked could see and understand thespiritual existence and majesty of God, and if they could easily recognize the spiritual things ofJesus Christ, then the wicked would easily be saved. But God has determined that the eyes ofhuman beings should be clouded over in order that he might hide the heavenly glory of God fromman, so that man would believe from the heart, and not because of logical understanding throughhis physical flesh and blood nature.
In Ecclesiastes 3:10-11, Solomon said it in this way. “I have seen the travail, which God hasgiven to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 11 He has made every thing beautiful in his time:also he has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes fromthe beginning to the end.” Notice that this scripture points out that God himself has hindered
mankind's ability to comprehend spiritual things. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit of Godwas not given to every man in order that each man might prosper in the things of God. It is onlyin the New Testament covenant that God gives his Holy Spirit to abide in us, and that only comesto those who believe God's word, which includes the testimony of his Son, Jesus Christ. Goddoes not want all people of earth to understand the things of God, but only the righteous in heart. Jesus explained to his disciples that the reason he spoke in parables instead of describing theconcepts of heaven plainly, was to prevent the wicked from understanding. He said that if thewicked understood, then they would repent, and he would have to forgive them and then wouldhave to heal their land.
But, God doesn't want to forgive the wicked in heart. He wants to forgive the righteous in heart. And therefore, he has set the world in the heart of men as a deterrent to their comprehension. Byhindering the wicked, he makes certain that it will only be the righteous who will see andunderstand, and therefore it will only be the righteous who will repent and will be forgiven andwill have their land healed from the curse of sin.
In the beginning, God made a place for the sole of man's feet to stand. He created the solidground, because it is so very plain that without the spiritual power of God mankind cannot walkon water. And he created a separation between the waters above and the waters below in orderthat mankind might understand the concept of separating lies from the truth of God's word.
In the beginning, God created a firmament to separate these waters. A firmament is an openingwhich allows a space between two things. It's like the sheets on your bed which have no spacebetween them until you crawl in between them. When you part them, you have caused afirmament to appear. In a sense, you are inhabiting the firmament which you created between thesheets of your bed.
It is this simple concept of a firmament that God wants the righteous people of earth tocomprehend. He wants you, his chosen men and women, to see and understand the spiritualthings of God. However, in order to ensure that the wicked to not enter into the kingdom ofheaven, he has placed the world in the hearts of men to keep them from seeing God's mystery. We know that the mystery of God is greater than we can comprehend, and that we can only see apart of it now. However, as a Christian, you certainly realize that your comprehension ofspiritual things is much greater than the wicked. In fact, sometimes you most likely find yourselfwondering how the wicked can be so ignorant of what you, as a Christian, can see so plainly.
But the concept of being created under the sun is understood only by those who can alsocomprehend that there is more to life than this physical ball of earth. The book of Genesisdescribes God's creation of a firmament for the purpose of separating two kinds of waters. InGenesis, the waters above represent the truth of God's word, and the waters below represent thelies of Satan. All through scripture God uses the concept of two forms of water in order tosymbolize both the truth of God's word and the lie's of Satan. The symbolism provides humanswith an opportunity to hear the truth and to understand. And, the wicked will hear with their
physical ears, but because their hearts are hardened by the delights of this world, they cannotcomprehend the glory of God. They can comprehend God, but not the real glory of God. Theycan't comprehend the extreme wonderfulness of God's goodness like you or I can. The wickedare blinded by the elements of earth. They only see the physical things clearly, and the spiritualthings dimly. To the wicked, the picture of heavenly things is like a fuzzy picture which is out offocus. They can't see with the clarity that you can as a Christian.
Now, the firmament God created was for the purpose of giving mankind the ability to recognizethat there is a difference between the truth of God and the lies of Satan. Prior to the firmament,the waters were together. The waters above and the waters below were mixed. Unless Godcaused the waters to be separated, mankind would not be able to understand that the waters ofSatan's lies were different than the waters of God's truth. The living water, which Jesus Christgives to us, which is water which flows out from the throne room of God, is water which willgive us eternal life. It is the pure water, the pure word of God. Our thirsting can only bequenched by the pure living water from God. In scripture, the pure waters of God are describedas waters which come in the form of rain, or waters which flow down from the melting snows ofhigh mountains, or from the springs of living water which bubble up from the ground. Inwhichever way the waters of God come, they are pure waters, waters which have not been taintedby the lies of Satan.
When Satan taints the truth of God by twisting it together with his lies, our thirst for the livingwater cannot be quenched. We humans need pure water to drink. Salt water, or thecontaminated waters of mud holes, will kill us. And this concept of mud holes is important whenconsidering the lies of Satan as opposed to the truth of God. The mud holes are described inscripture as miry. We have all heard the scriptures describe miry clay, and how our feet get stuckin it. The place of men's feet were never meant to be planted in miry clay, but in the solidground. Men were not meant to live in the sea, nor were they meant to wallow in the mire ofearth. When the waters of the sea creep up onto the shores of earth, the lowland areas becomemiry, they become muddy places which cause our feet to be dirty, and cause us to become stuck. In addition, if we continue to play close to the sea, instead of moving to higher solid ground, wewill eventually be pulled into Satan's sea of destruction, and will be drowned.
Can you at all see what I'm talking about? Can you see with your spiritual eyes? Can youcomprehend with your spiritual understanding that this earth is just a temporary home for fleshand blood people? Can you recognize that it is also created to be a symbolic form which Godwants his people to see? He wants us to recognize in his symbols and patterns the differencebetween flesh and blood creatures and those who have been born again in spirit. God has told usin so many words that we need to stay away from the lies of Satan and make our dwelling on thesolid ground. The story of the man who built his house on the sand and the man who built hishouse on the rock, is symbolic, and the purpose of this story is to explain to the righteous what itmeans to build an eternal dwelling which will never be destroyed by the stormy waves of Satan'slies. Of course, the wicked are not supposed to understand, so the story is given to us insymbolic form.
We're humans. We have been placed on this earth under the sun. We have had the world placedin our heart. But God doesn't want his people, his elect, to be deceived by the flesh and bloodworld. He wants us to see and understand the hidden things of God. He wants us to recognizethe warning signals. He wants us to comprehend the warning message of Colossians 3:2 thattells us to set our affection on things above and not on things of the earth.
What happens to people on earth though is that for the most part they are flesh and blood beingswhich have hearts that are hardened to the understanding of heavenly things. They mayunderstand the concept that God exists, but they can't quite see how wonderful it is. They maysee that God is good, but they don't have a heart for goodness because they have not set theiraffection on things above, but have set their affection on things of the earth. 2 Thessalonians2:10 explains that the reason Satan's deception is successful on certain people is that those peoplehave a lack of love for the truth of God. This allows deception to come. The temptations of thisearth always come, and they come to all people. But the person who has a love for the word ofGod down deep within his heart is a person who will reject the temptations, and will not let thelies of Satan lure them to a drowning death in his sea of destruction.
Make no mistake. The place that God wants his people to be is on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. The solid rock is Jesus Christ because Jesus is the word of God, and God's word is the absolutetruth. Therefore, if you drink the living waters of God's pure word, you will live forever. But, ifyou drink of the waters of death, which is the contaminated word, which is Satan's lies, you willdie. If you want to live forever, you must separate yourself from the waters which will drownyou in the sea of destruction. If you want to live forever you must make your way to the highground. The high ground is solid. It is not softened into miry clay by the waters from the sea ofSatan's lies. And all this is saying is that you must separate yourselves from the lies of Satan andmake your way to the higher ground of God's true word.
You can escape the drowning death of Satan's sea of perdition by staying away fromcontaminated waters. This means that you escape eternal death by making certain that the onlything you use to quench your thirst is the living waters of God. If you allow the lies of Satan toswirl around you, the soil you plant your feet on will become muddy. If you continue to standwhere the lies of Satan can reach you, you will eventually be caught in a quagmire, and will beunable to escape. It is only by separating yourself from the diabolical influence of Satan'sdeception that you will be safe. You can't camp by the sea in the marshes and swamps andexpect to be clean and safe. It is only by leaving the vicinity of lies that you can ever hope to beeternally safe from death.
In this life, there are many people who can comprehend the existence of God, but there are only afew who will embrace God. Many people will come to know that God is big, but for them hewill not be good. True Christians not only know the awesome greatness of God's power, but theyalso know the awesome greatness of God's goodness. True Christians embrace God. The wickedpush him away.
And you know, there are also many people who are setting on the fence between those who wraptheir arms around God and embrace him, and those who push him away. This third group ofpeople are the wicked of heart who claim to be Christians but don't really embrace God. Sure,they hang around God a little bit. They might go to church and they might cloak themselves inreligious clothing, but they will never truly embrace God completely. You see, in order toembrace God completely, you must embrace Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ is the solid rock. You don't find the solid rock of Jesus down by the sea of destruction. You don't find the solidrock of Jesus Christ stuck in the miry clay of the swamps and glens. You find the solid rock onthe high ground. And, the solid ground is where houses are built which will stand firm foreternity.
The pure word of God is not pure if it is mixed with the lies of Satan. You know, Christianseverywhere have a great tendency of embracing God's word and at the same time embracing thethings of this world. But we are men and women who have been created to be under the physicalcanopy of heaven for only a short time in order to bring us to a saving knowledge of God throughJesus Christ. We have not been put under the sun to focus our attention on our flesh. Thetendency of humans is to be occupied with the physical elements of this world. The world is aphysical place, and physical people are occupied with physical things. However, spiritual peopleare occupied with spiritual things. Human beings, including Christians, are locked into theseflesh and blood bodies for a short time. However, we were never meant to be flesh oriented, andthe things of this world were never meant to be important. We are just strangers passing througha strange land, and God never intended that we should find our happiness in the physical thingsof this world. Once again, I will remind you that Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our affection onthings above, and not on things of the earth. If you're a Christian down deep in your heart, thenask yourself this question. “Do I have affection for things of this world which are neither Godlyin nature nor sanctioned by the word of God?” If the answer to this question is yes, then what doyou think God thinks about those things? You are in danger when you make your dwelling nextto the sea. Go to higher ground, before the floods come and sweep you away forever.
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promoting access to White Rose research papers Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/ This is an author produced version of a paper published in Health Sociology Review . White Rose Research Online URL for this paper: Published paper Fox, N.J. (2011) The ill-health assemblage: beyond the body-with-organs , Health Sociology Revi