The Two Ways of Life

Build Your House on the Rock

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 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. 26 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. 27 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.”28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28–29)

As we finish up with Jesus sermon on the mount today, we come to His final illustration. This is significant. Jesus first sermon of His ministry, a lengthy message about what it is like to be a part of His Kingdom, HIs world, and as he wraps it up he leaves us with a final illustration. This would have been the last words that His hearers would take with them as they depart from Him. This should be relatively easy for us to understand, as far as its meaning, but like with most of the Lord’s teaching it is not our difficulty in understanding that is the problem but our willingness to live out the Lord’s teachings.

With this illustration, Jesus leaves us with no doubt of the importance of His message and the way He does this is by the dramatic consequences that He gives to those who refuse His way.

Every action has a consequence, could be a very good and positive consequence or could be a very negative and painful consequences. Some consequences are short lived while others can be lifelong or beyond.

Jesus speaks here of both good and bad consequences. Very good ones and very, very bad ones.

He speaks of two people. It is interesting that both of these men have both things in common and things that are not common between them. I want us to look at both. Let me read the passage again and as I do think about what these two men have in common.

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 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. 26 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. 27 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 7:24-27)

What do they have in common. They both, both men heard the words of Jesus.

In verse 24 we see that the wise man heard the words of Jesus and in verse 26 we see that the foolish man also heard the words of Jesus. That is interesting. It is not that one man was privileged to hear and the other man was spared from the message. Both heard the message, they both heard the very same words of truth. Everyone here, unless you are sleeping or zoning out daydreaming everyone here will hear this message. When Jesus delivered this message everyone present heard it. All the people, the wise and the foolish heard the truth, they had this in common.

What else did they have in common?

They both encountered a severe storm. Verse 25 tells of what the wise man encountered. Verse 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house,

Interestingly, we see the same scenario for the foolish man in verse 27

…And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house.

How are we to take this? Well the storm here simply represents the storms of life. They represent the trials and troubles that we all face in life. Wise people face difficult storms of life and foolish people face difficult storms in life. The good and the bad, believers and non-believers get cancer, lose loved ones, are laid off from their jobs, face financial difficulties, have rebellious children, have selfish spouses, both are sad, and can be lonely. All kinds of people deal with confusion in life trials of all kinds.

It is, it pains me to hear preachers and evangelists talk about salvation as if once saved all of life's problems disappear. That simply is not true. We know that from experience but also from the Bible. Jesus the perfect man had trials, obviously. Paul and all the disciples faced tremendous trials. Ones problems do not go away when one is saved. Sometimes problems get more intense with salvation. Now, as a believer, we don’t face trials alone, we have a Savior who helps us and leads us and comforts us. That is true, but the problems are still around.

Each of us will face storms in life. If you are facing significant trials right now, you are not alone. Many people around you this morning, though we might not all discuss them, many around you today are facing trials and troubles too. Jesus said, in this life you will have troubles. And that is the plain truth.

And so both men faced great storms, rain, floods and strong winds beating on their houses, they had this in common.

What else did they have in common?

They both built houses. The passage doesn’t say much about the houses but they both built them. A house is a structure meant to provide comfort and protection from the outside elements. They were both then interested in protection from things like the storm described here. Neither just pitched a tent to laid out a sleeping bag on the ground. They both went to great trouble and probably expense to build their house.

These two had a lot in common. They heard the words of Jesus, they encountered the same storm off life and they both prepared in some way for the storms by bundling structures around them.

Now, thought they had these things in common, there were some other things that they did not share in common. These are important but in the choices they made and the consequences that they faced.

A huge difference in the two, which they did not have in common was that one obeyed the words of Jesus and the other did not. This act of obeying was likened to building a house on the rock while not obeying is likened to building a house on sand.

The difference in the rock, a strong formidable foundation and the sand which was a very weak foundation was in the act of obedience or disobedience. You and I can hear a thousand sermons, read the Bible every year of our lives, sing a million hymns and praise songs, and never really walk with the Lord in obedience to His commands. Better to read one passage and obey it than to read the whole Bible and practice none of it.

I knew a man whose Bible was more marked up and highlighted than any I had ever seen. This man always had a scripture verse on the tip of his tongue. He could quote more scripture than any one I knew. He was a student of God’s Word, He knew it and He loved to talk about it. But this same man was terribly negligent in living an obedient life. In fact, he had very little desire to live out God’s Word. He had a million reasons why he didn’t live out the Words of Christ. His house was built on sand.

Not to pick on this one person. There are many I have met who fit this description. It’s probably the same for you. It is sort of a challenge for some to know the word and those who are proud to quote it, debate it and tell others of it. And yet, there is a terrible disconnect when it comes to what should be done with it, that is to live it.

This goes back to Jesus discussion of fruit. We are known but our fruit, not by our brains or the knowledge we impress others with, we are known by our fruit, or obedience to the Word of God.

Now, there is something else that they did not have in common. And this is a major point and should be a life griping sort of point. When the storms of life hit, the results for each were vastly different.

For the wise man who obeyed the word here is what we read:

25 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)

Isn’t that awesome. The stress put on the house did not topple it. It stood fast, it was secure it’s foundation of obedience held. This reminds me of the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians. He had troubles but look at how it ended for him.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7–18)

This the same picture. Trials of life, hard trials and yet the foundation of Christ stood strong. For Paul there were times when it seemed too much and yet as a true chill of God, the Lord carried him through. Paul heard and obeyed. He heard the message of truth and he embrace the message as his own by faith in Jesus Christ.He chose to live for Christ, not to just say it but to live it.

Now what about the foolish man who head the words of truth but did not live out what he heard?

This is a sad fate.

26 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. 27 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 7:25-26)

The house not only fell but great was it’s fall.

Many will hear and not believe. Many will go through religious motions and never know Jesus. Great will be their fall.

It is a simple illustration and yet a life altering one. Where do you stand? Is your house on the Rock of Jesus founded a life of faith in Him or is it on sand, founded on your own perceived goodness, founded on your knowledge, founded on your own intellect, founded on your pride? Anything you are trusting in other than Christ will be a fail for you of eternal consequence.

Obedience only comes after faith in Christ, obedience is a fruit of repentance and saving faith. Have you trusted Christ for salvation?

I suppose the man who built his house on the sand was pretty proud of himself only to learn of his fate after the terrible storm, don’t be the foolish man.

Now look at the final words.

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28–29)

After this first message that Jesus presented the crowds already, right off the bat knew there was someone different about his man Jesus. They knew he was different. They were astonished, He taught, we read, as one with authority and not as they were used to with their religious leaders.

He would cause a stir that day that has lasted even to our day. The stir that remains about Jesus forces all to examine who he was and where we stand with Him. He is the Messiah, the Savior that was promised, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The question is, is he your savior?

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 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. 26 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. 27 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.”28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28–29)