Tony Evans: Strong Nations Require Deep Christian Foundations
- Dr. Tony Evans Pastor
- 2016 30 Sep
In Matthew 7, toward the end of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told a story about the need for a solid foundation. In this telling, we read about two very different men who were each building a house. Same supplies. Same goal. Yet two very different foundations.
One man built his house on the shaky and uncertain foundation of sand. The other man built his house on the solid foundation of rock. The test of these foundations happened quickly when the storms hit. The winds raged and the rains fell, beating against these two houses. The foundation that had been built upon the sand quickly crumbled, while the house on the strong foundation remained intact. (Matthew 7:24-27).
In this parable, the rock referred to the man who heard the Word of God and applied it. The sand referred to the man who also heard the Word of God, but did not apply it.
This parable represents anything we build either with wisdom (hearing and applying the Word of God) or foolishly (without applying the Word of God). In the Bible, a house can represent a number of things: a life, family, a church, and even a nation (such as the house of Israel).
Thus, if and when we seek to build our nation on anything other than the stable foundation of the wisdom of God, what we build will not last when life’s trials and challenges come upon us. Rather, we will spend all of our time and money focusing on the fissures.
Wisdom is our capacity to apply spiritual truth to life’s realities. Foolishness in the Bible has nothing to do with degrees or education; it has to do with the inability or refusal to apply spiritual truths to our choices. It was the application of what was heard that determined the foundation of rock, not the information itself that determined the foundation. Both men heard the same thing. Only one applied it. This is why people can sit in church, or read books, or listen to sermons online and be adequately informed, yet never be transformed. Because they have the information without the application. A solid foundation is built on the application of God’s Word.
Foundations are always where you start when building. Everything else depends on how solid the foundation is of a building, a life, a home, a ministry, or even of a nation. Foundations on rock are very hard to construct because they require drilling. The process takes time, effort. Foundations on rock won’t happen overnight. But foundations on sand are pretty quick.
But to take your time with the foundation is absolutely critical depending on the kind of structure you want to build. Doors are important, windows are important, roofs are important, but foundations are essential. Because when that foundation is inferior, nothing else matters.
When someone builds a skyscraper in the midst of a city, you can always know how high builders want to go up by looking at how deep they drill down. The higher the skyscraper, the deeper the pit into which to pour the foundation. You can’t build a skyscraper on the foundation of a chicken coop. Neither can you build a strong nation on such a foundation. Like sand castles on the shore of a rising tide, our country and our culture are quickly being washed away.
Kingdom Citizens and Kingdom Churches
If America is going to rebuild itself morally, socially, and spiritually, it is going to have to begin by fortifying the foundation.
But how does America do that?
Through each one of us functioning as a kingdom citizen.
We must focus on fortifying our own foundations first because the health of a nation reflects the health of its citizens. Strong citizens comprise a strong nation. You and I cannot be responsible for everyone else, but we are responsible for ourselves as well as the people we can influence.
Each member of the body of Christ, as well as the collective church, must begin reflecting at a higher level the foundational values of the Kingdom of God. Yet we can’t do that unless and until we understand and apply the principles and precepts of God’s Word.
Our society is crumbling today because we have dug up and replaced our once-firm foundation with sand. In our own focus on expansion, too often the church has ended up settling for buildings and programs instead of advancing the Kingdom of God on earth.
We’ve had church, but we haven’t had transformation.
Unless the church becomes kingdom minded, we are not being the church Christ came to build. Few people are aware that Jesus mentioned “church” only three times in His earthly ministry—and all three times are recorded in the kingdom-focused book of Matthew. This same book of Matthew uses the word “kingdom” fifty-four times.
Yet which do we hear more about—churches or the Kingdom? Instead of seeking to promote the Kingdom, we have focused on planting churches. Our seminaries teach our future spiritual leaders how to grow churches rather than how to advance the Kingdom.
I’m not saying to get rid of church—I’m a pastor of one, so of course that’s not my point. But I am saying we ought to focus on both the Kingdom and the church because both are linked. We can’t have church without the Kingdom, while the Kingdom carries out its agenda through the church.
It is high time we become kingdom people as a church, representing something bigger than our own personalities, programs, and platforms. We need to make God’s Kingdom our rule and His glory our goal. God didn’t establish the church to make us feel good; He established it to prevail against the gates of hell through developing kingdom disciples.
Excerpted from Kingdom Citizen: Your Role in Rebuilding a Broken Nation by Dr. Tony Evans. Focus on the Family, 2016. Used with permission. www.kingdomcitizencollection.com.
Dr. Tony Evans is founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, former chaplain of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and longstanding chaplain of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on nearly 1,000 US radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans is the prolific author of more than 100 books, booklets, and Bible studies, including the best-selling Kingdom Man and Kingdom Woman (written with his daughter Chrystal). As a pastor, teacher, author, and speaker, he serves the body of Christ using his unique ability to communicate complex theological truths through simple, yet profound, illustrations.
Publication date: September 30, 2016