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Builder of the House
Fall Quarter: The Sovereignty of God
Unit 2: The Sovereignty of Jesus
Sunday school lesson for the week of October 9, 2016
By Rev. Denise Walton
Lesson Scripture: Hebrews 3:1-6
Background Scripture: Hebrews 3:1-6; Matthew 7:19-29
Purpose: To discover the ways we can be part of God’s house, built by Jesus Christ
Key Verse: But [Jesus] deserves greater glory than Moses in the same way that the builder of the house deserves more honor than the house itself. (Hebrews 3:3)
Have you ever watched a home improvement program on television? The contractor or builder begins with a plan to rehab the property, and the result is a beautiful home. However, before the project can start the builder must review the foundation of the home to rule out any hidden problems. Sometimes the foundation reveals the property may look sound but is sitting on a rotting foundation, impacting the overall cost of the home repair.
As Christians, our faith is built on the solid foundation of God’s love. That love is most vividly and clearly expressed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first two chapters of Hebrews provide a comparison between Jesus and the angels. In Chapter three and four, the comparison is between Jesus and Moses. While Moses was highly regarded by the Israelites because he received the law, Jesus is greater than Moses.
Reflecting on the Bible Lesson
There are several ways to examine the Bible lesson; one could focus solely on the words which provide a rich picture of the text. Some of these words are a house, Jesus as high priest, Jesus as an apostle in the Hebrews text. In the Matthew text, there are phrases which may be considered such as wise builder, foolish builder, a house built on bedrock, or house built on sand.
In this week’s Sunday school lesson, we will examine the word house and its meanings and implications. Also, we will search for the relationships mentioned in each text and the impact of this relationship to God.
First, we examine texts from Hebrews 3:1-6 and Matthew 7:19-29. Both versions use the word house, but the term refers to different meanings. This week the writers of the Adult Bible Study Series help the reader to understand the utilization of the word house
in each text:
In Hebrews, a house
is used metaphorically in most instances. That is, the author is not speaking about a physical house built out of stone, bricks, or wood. The word house
, depending on the verse, can mean “Israel” (verses 2, 5), “building” (verses 3, 4), “the universe” (verse 4), or “church” (verse 6).
Matthew 7:24-27 contains the parable of the wise and foolish builders. Here, the foundation of the house is the emphasis rather than the house itself. Since this is a parable, it is not about how or where to build a house but about how we build our lives in response to Jesus’ teachings. (Adult Bible Studies, pg. 67)
As we reflect on the Matthew text, how should we build our lives in response to Jesus teachings?
Why is important to have a solid foundation in our Christian faith?
Second, as we review Hebrews 3:1-6 and Matthew 7:24-27, there are many relationships the reader may examine in each of these texts. I invite you to reflect on the list below and then share any additional connections you discover in the texts.
As you examine each of these relationships, what does the relationship tell you about God and the Christian faith?
- The relationship between the partners in the heavenly calling and Jesus Christ, high priest and apostle. (Hebrews 3:1)
- The relationship between Moses (servant) and Jesus (Son) to one another. (Hebrews 3:2)
- The relationship between Moses, Jesus, and God as the Creator of all things. (Hebrews 3:3-6)
- In the Matthew text, the relationship between the wise builder and a solid foundation. (Matthew 7:24-25)
- The relationship between the foolish builder and the house built on sand. (Hebrew 7:25-26)
Finally, I invite each of you to read the Matthew text, slowly reading and absorbing the parable. How does this text speak to your personal walk with Jesus Christ? How does this text inform your personal discipleship?
Everybody who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise builder who built a house on bedrock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It didn’t fall because it was firmly set on bedrock. But everybody who hears these words of mine and doesn’t put them into practice will be like a fool who built a house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It fell and was completely destroyed. Matthew 7:24-29 CEB
For me, the Matthew text affirms the faithfulness of God as Creator and Jesus as God’s Son. However, I must be faithful in my Christian walk and seek to build my faith continuously on God’s word. The storms will surely come and test that faith. However, a faith built on a solid foundation of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ rooted in the Word of God may be shaken, but it will not be destroyed. Any other foundation will lead to destruction.
As I conclude my participation in this year’s fall Sunday school lessons, it has been a great joy to share and receive from each of you. May God continue to bless you as you study and grow in the Word of God.
Let us welcome the next writer, Reverend Earnestine Campbell, Associate Director of the Office of Connectional Ministries. Earnestine is currently an M.Div student at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Ga.
Rev. Denise Walton serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.