Shelter from the Storm

Matthew 7:24-27

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24)

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. (Matthew 7:25)

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. (Matthew 7:26)

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.” (Matthew 7:27)


Matthew 7

Jesus concludes the sermon on the mount with 3 metaphors

2 Roads One wide road, the easy way that leads to death and one narrow, the hard way, that leads to life.

2 Trees One bears good fruit - allowed to live on, and one bears bad fruit cut down and burned.

2 Houses One Build on rock - Shelter - storm "Though the rain falls, the floods come, and the winds blew - it didn't fall b/c it was built on the rock." And one built on sand "When the storm comes, it falls, "and great was the fall of it."

Jesus was a great preacher.

He understood metaphors.

Metaphors let us visualize theological and philosophical ideas


Hebrew Prophets

The Hebrew Prophets of the Old Testament (who were in a lot of ways Poets) were masters of metaphor.

  • Isaiah - Imagines a day when a Wolf lays down with a Lamb. World famous metaphor for peace.
  • Jeremiah - Imagines "The Root of Jesse growing up out of the house of David and it becomes a branch that goes and fills the world with the fruit of righteousness."
  • Ezekiel - Imagines a new kind of temple with a little stream trickling out of the door that grows into a huge river and it flows into the desolate places of the world and brings healing to the dead seas.

Jesus used lots of metaphors to describe himself : Water, bread, wine, door, road, vine. I'm sure there's more, but I couldn't think of any.

John the Revelator

The craziest, most symbolic book in the bible.

Where Jesus is described as a freshly slaughtered lamb with 7 horns and 7 eyes. Who is ultimately triumphant.

If we were to talk about the church

If we were to talk about the church

We could say something abstract like: God's alternative society formed around faith in and allegiance to Jesus Christ.

I agree with that. It's the best description I've ever heard to be honest. But it doesn't really spark the imagination. Would you agree?

So how does the New Testament describe the church? It's a body, bride, city, temple, vineyard, house.


Jesus uses the metaphor of a shelter from the Storm.

Not originally from him.

He's borrowing from the prophet Isaiah.

Who uses this metaphor 3 times - "Shelter from The Storm"

(The coming King and Kingdom) - It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. (Isaiah 4:6)

For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. (Isaiah 25:4)

See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. 2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. (Isaiah 32:1)

Jesus takes this metaphor and contrasts it with a house that would NOT be a shelter from the Storm.

It's not just a timeless illustration, it's also a prophetic critique of the jerusalem temple of that day.

Which people really had a lot of affection for but it wasn't going to last in the coming storm. It wasn't doing what it was there to do.

Romans - 70AD. - Decimate Jerusalem and the temple. It was built on sand.

So Jesus is forming a new group, a new temple - "This temple is built on the rock. And it will stand."

In this temple, Jesus Christ himself is the cornerstone. And we become this house that has been prophesied about that is a shelter from the Storm.

I love that metaphor for the church!


It's cold out there

How many people know that's it's cold out there?

The world is rough. Hard to just get through life.

I can't think of a more beautiful way of inviting people into the Christian community than to describe the church as a place that is safe and warm.

"Come in, we'll give you shelter from the Storm."


Know that song?

Do you guys know that song?

I've been reading a lot of Brian Zahnd lately. And he makes it so that listening to Bob Dylan is practically required. He has a song 'Shelter from The Storm'.

It's a song about a man who's worn out, burned out, tired. And he encounters a women who offers him this kindness "Come in, I'll give you shelter from the Storm."

Can you picture it? A man, in a coat, and hat, in this pouring rain with no one to let him in and finally, he comes to a house, where the lady says 'Come in, I'll give you shelter from the Storm."

And my gosh, what a picture of the the church.

Read the lyrics when thinking about the church, how amazing it fits.

'Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm

I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes an' blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm

And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm

I've heard newborn babies wailing' like a mourning' dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm (Bob Dylan)


That's what I want for this church.

We've talked a lot about the future of the church, and how in a lot of ways I think our voice and reputation is changing in the world. And most likely not for the better. But when I think of what the church SHOULD be, in a lot of ways, I think of this: A shelter from the storm.

Think about the inn that turned away Mother Mary. And the stable that welcomed her in.

And I think of how our default posture as Christian is open arms.


We must resist - temptation - ADD things - Feel unwelcome.

We must resist the temptation to ADD things to the Christian faith that would make certain types of people feel unwelcome.

Notice I said the word "ADD". I'm not talking about dealing with the hard truths of Christianity. I'm all for that, but to add things to it, is a big mistake.

  • Super hard edged - debatable theology
  • Creation
  • Eschatology
  • Voter guides

I think it's a sign of maturity in the Christian faith when you realize that huge amounts of the Christian faith have very different views than you. And you're able to keep your heart pure towards them, and appreciate their unique expression of the Christian faith. So often it's the things we add to the Christian faith that makes is so revolting to the outside world.


Conflict

I think of conflict

Rarely are people wanting MORE conflict in their lives.

The single mom with 3 kids. So with the single mom, we choose to use the metaphor of us being in a spiritual war. We're fighting. And then becoming a Christian is in a way switching sides in the war. And no doubt there's some sense of that. But the single mom doesn't care.

The man dying of aids doesn't want another battle to fight.

I'd much rather us be giving a picture of being a shelter from the storm.

That there's time when you're 'so good!' and you come here and we celebrate together and we find the hurting and those in need and we get around them.

And then there's times when you're the one out in the cold, and you come here and we say 'Come in. We'll give you shelter from the Storm.'

(Penguins - Video)

Has there ever been a clearer picture of what the body of Christ is supposed to be than that.

But see, a lot of people come to church only when they're hurting and you can see how that totally screws the whole thing up.

BC often times it's not that needs shelter, it's the person that's next to you.

I think about how the church was in the book of acts. And how similar they were to the penguins.

Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)

Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. (Acts 2:43)

All the believers were together and had everything in common. (Acts 2:44)

They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2:45)

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, (Acts 2:46)

praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47)


Shelter from the Storm - Metaphor.

Of course, Shelter from the Storm is a metaphor.

What provides shelter for people is not a building, but a people.

The Christian on their own totally misses all of this. Both in their ability to stay warm and to keep others warm.

Tim Keller says the lone Christian is like a totaled car. It's not that it disappeared. No, it's still there, but it's totally incapable of fulfilling a it's job.

And in the same way, Paul describes us as building blocks :

Ephesians 2:19-22

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, (Ephesians 2:19)

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20)

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:21)

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)


There was a time when God and man lived together. In the garden.

And there will be a time in the future where God and man lives together. God himself is our shelter.

No pain, suffering, fear.

Revelation 21:1-3, 22-25

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1)

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. (Revelation 21:3)

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22)

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21:23)

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)

On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. (Revelation 21:25)

But until that time, I kinda think of us as keeping each other warm. With the blessed hope that it won't always be this cold.


(The band)

Ever have someone - WANT - bring community.

I wonder if you've ever felt like there's someone who's not a believer in Christ, and you love them, and you WANT to bring them into our community, you'd like them to come to a knowledge of Jesus as Lord. - However you'd say it. You'd like them to become a Christian. But you HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO TO HELP THEM DO THAT.

They know you're a Christian.

They know you'd like for them to become a Christian. You wouldn't be much a Christian if you didn't.

Maybe you've invited them to church, maybe you haven't. But at the end of the day, you're like 'Geez, what should I do?'

Well here's one thing: Be a shelter from the Storm.

Maybe their storm hasn't come yet. That's ok. It will. Is that too negative? Life will happen. And at that moment, they will seek, and hopefully, they will find you, and you can bring them into a community that will provide shelter for them, and the great hope is that through all of that, they will find Jesus.

As we close with communion

And here at Outlet, we're obsessed with this being a moment where you're not pretending to be something other than what you really are.


As they pass: Whatever place you're in, my hope is that you could spend a moment with God, and sense that it's his hope that you'd come to this place and be comforted, so be comforted.

Spend a moment remembering that He's always there.