Sermon on the Mount
September 11, 2011
How’s your Foundation
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. 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. 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. 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.”
Jesus continues to use contrast and hyperbole to teach important life lessons. Thus it is interesting to note in this passage that we have several contrasts and comparisons used by Jesus.
- He contrasts two kinds of people.
- The first person is described as “wise.” The term here for “wise” has more to do with the quality of the individual rather than specific acts or even one’s right actions. The wise man will build on the foundation of Christ and Christ’s word. Note that this is more of an attitude and a characteristic of who the person is rather than necessarily something that is done. It was not just the act of building on a form foundation that made this person wise but his was his ongoing mental state that made him wise.
- The second person is described as “foolish.” One who is foolish is one who manifests a mental dullness or physical sloth. It is one who is lacking sense, judgment, or discretion. This person would rather cut corners and take the easy way out rather than doing what is necessary to have their life built on a firm and solid foundation. Once again this speaks of the moral character of the person rather than the simple act of building or not building on a firm foundation.
- The first person obeyed Christ’s words. Jesus over and over spoke about obedience being a factor of the success of one’s walk with God. In fact, in the Old Testament Samuel spoke to Saul and said that “Obedience is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). In other words, it is possible to do all the right things but in the wrong way because of one’s stubbornness and impatience. In 2 John_1:6 John reminds the passionate follower of Christ that “This love I speak of means that we must live in obedience to God’s commands. The command, as you have all heard from the beginning, is that you must all live in love.”
- The second person rejected or trivializing the word of God. Those who want a religious experience rather than a relationship with a living God. Notice that this is not just a matter of rejecting God’s word but also a matter of trivializing the word. The word “trivialize” means to make it appear unimportant.
- Have you ever tried to put something together and ignored the directions. I remember a time when my clutch cable broke on a car I had. I got my tools together, took the old cable off and began the process of installing the new cable. After several hours of cracking my knuckles, throwing a wrench or two and mumbling some inappropriate words under my breath I deceived to go to the library and look at the Chilton’s auto repair book for my car. When I looked at the directions I realized that if I started on the other end of the cable that it would go on really easy. So, I went home and in 10 minutes I had the project completed. You see, I didn’t think the instructions were important so I ignored them and it cost me dearly.
- So it is with the Word of God, we can ignore it or we can believe that it is not important and it will take us longer to get where we are going and will face more frustration and negative response to life than is necessary.
- One man built on a solid foundation. He built upon the solid rock. It was Paul that reminded the Corinthian church that there was no other foundation than the one laid by Jesus and the Apostles. Ephesians 2:20
- The second man built on a sandy foundation. This foundation was not capable of handling what was to be built on it. Paul reminded the Corinthian church that anything but a foundation built on Christ will fail. 1 Cor. 3:12
- We should note that the foundation of a house is a somewhat invisible and sometimes ignored component of the building. It is increasingly evident, however, that attention to good foundation design and construction has significant benefits to the homeowner and the builder, and can avoid some serious future problems.
- Tony Evans tells of a story about a problem he was having with a wall in his home. There was a crack in so he called in a contractor to repair the crack. He came and repaired the crack but to Tony’s amazement a few months later the crack reappeared. So, he called in yet another person who came and repaired the crack. Once again in a short few months the crack reappeared. So he called in yet another person. This person, however, looked at the crack and began to investigate possible causes. In a few moments, he returned to inform Tony that the problem was not the crack in the wall; the problem was with the home’s foundation. The foundation had been settling and thus the crack kept appearing. The cause of the problem was the sheetrock but it was the foundation.
- The is true of us if our spiritual foundation is not solid we will find that we have spiritual cracks that can only be repaired by repairing the foundation.
- The one house endured the storm without damage or concerns.
- The second home suffered great loss (a great fall). One of the reasons this was a great fall was that it was unnecessary. The Word is our guide and it establishes the foundation in our lives. Had the owner built on a firm foundation, he would not have suffered such a great loss.
While Jesus used many comparisons we must also recognize that there are also many similarities in the passage.
- Both men answered to the same God.
- They received the same Word. In this, I am reminded of the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:3-9; Luke 8:5-15). The seed was the same, the sower was the same but the response to the seed was different.
- Some of the seed fell on the path which been hardened by the walk of life and so the seed could not take root. This speaks of the believer who has hardened his/her heart against a specific truth of the Gospel.
- Some seed fell of the rocky ground where the dirt was shallow. The seed took root but was easily destroyed by the heat because it lacked any real root system.
- Some seed fell on the thorny ground which took root but was quickly consumed by the cares of life and issues they confronted.
- But, thank God some seed fell on good soil and flourished.
- … dealing with a difficult or broken relationship
- … going through a financial crisis
- … withstanding legal problems
- … unpleasant or painful health problems
- … the death of someone you love
- … dealing with rebellious children
- … facing something that brought public disgrace
- … being laid off from work
- … dealing with a conflict situation at work or in church
We all face storms in life but it is the foundation of all our lives that determine the results. It should be noted that building on a solid foundation does not prevent the believer from ever facing difficulty. We will all face storms in our lives. It is how we face the storm that makes all of the difference.
Their decision to obey and follow God’s word makes all of the difference in the outcome. Passionate followers of Christ are those who are passionate about obeying God’s word and following His commands.
As passionate followers of Christ we must recognize that the Word of God and the instruction of Jesus is not just a good book but it gives us instructions for life and in obedience we grow and become effective for Christ.