One false theology I have great issues with, is the prosperity Gospel. No matter how big your faith, storms will come in life and I want my students to have deep roots in Christ. If they build their faith on Jesus the Rock, they’ll be able to survive any storm with their faith intact. For more Youth Sermon Topics, check our our special page!
Bible passage: Matthew 7:24-27
Key Message: Jesus is the Rock
Start with the story of Fallingwater, one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous buildings. You can find all the details here, but the aspect you need to stress is the fact that there was conflict over the foundation and support between Wright and the owner, who had enlisted an engineering firm. The latter were not convinced Wright’s calculations about the support and foundation needed, were correct.
The foundation of a building, especially one like that, is of crucial importance. If the foundation is unstable, the whole building could sag, or even collapse.
The famous leaning tower of Pisa in Italy is an example. The combination of an inadequate foundation and a soft ground caused the tower to lean sideways, f they hadn’t supported it in later years, the whole thing would have collapsed already.
Read Matthew 7:24-27
In this passage, Jesus talks about building your life on the right foundation: a rock. He compared building on a rock to building on the sand. When the storms come, one house will crumble, while the other will stand.
Ask your students what this would look like in life: how could your life crumble in a storm, what would that look like? What are some of life’s storms? And what would a life look like that withstands the storm?
Ask a rhetorical question: how are they experiencing the storms in life? Do they feel like they are strong, able to withstand the strong winds and rains, or do they bend over and almost crash when life’s storms hit?
So Jesus tells us to build our lives on the rock. What does He mean by that? The first sentence is our clue: “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man”. Jesus tells us to hear His words AND put them into practice.
What words does He mean? Just before he said this, Jesus gave the famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’ where he talked about the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus explained that loving God above all else and others as ourselves was what God really wanted from us, more than following strict rules.
Let’s make it practical: building your life on a strong foundation, means building it by listening to Jesus and doing what He has told us to do. Because the storms will come, no matter what you build your life on. Christians have their fair share of trouble as well. Building on Jesus the Rock doesn’t mean a happy clappy life.
But it does mean no storm in life can ever makes us fall, or even sag.
- Asking questions is a great way to engage students, but it’s always risky because you don’t know what they’ll say. Prepare to be quick on your feet and expect some wacky answers!
- The rhetorical question I posed is fairly abstract. Make it more concrete depending on your audience and use examples from your students’ lives, like their parents getting divorced, bullying, losing a loved one, a difficult situation at home, etc.
- In the synopsis, I gave a super-short summary of the Sermon on the Mount. If you have more time, summarize it in a bit more depth and highlight some aspects you feel are important.
- Find a story to illustrate that hearing alone is not enough, but that you need to obey as well. We don’t just need to know what to do, we need to actually do it.
- Find a personal example to share that shows Christians have their life storms as well.
- Here’s another illustration you could use: In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed thousands of homes in South Florida. Yet in an area where the wreckage looked like a war zone, one house remained standing, still firmly anchored to its foundation. When a reporter asked the homeowner why his house had not been blown away, he replied, “I built this house myself. I also built it according to the Florida state building code. When the code called for 2” x 6” roof trusses, I used 2” x 6” roof trusses. I was told that a house built according to code could withstand a hurricane—and it did.” (source)
- The younger your audience, the more important it is to make the abstract (the comparison of your life and a building, building on rock vs building on sand) very concrete. Young teens lack the abstract abilities to do this themselves and may end up walking away thinking they need to literally build something on rocks.
- If you have more time or want to add an extra layer, you could also make a link to Eph. 2:20 where Jesus is called the cornerstone of our faith (and of the church). To do this, explain the importance of a cornerstone especially in older times.
- There are many songs that reference to building our faith on Jesus (and Jesus as cornerstone, for instance In Christ Alone).