Saturday, December 16, 2006


Matthew 7:24-27 The wise man built his house upon the rock!

Matthew 7:24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”

We’ve come a long way since Henry Ford said many years ago, “You can have a Model T in any color as long as it’s black.” Today, there are 185 different car companies . There are 64 different athletic shoe companies like Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Asics, Reebok
Now, I think we would agree that even though all of our choices have consequences, some choices are far more important than others. Chuck Swindoll, in his book Strike the Original Match, tells about a guy who fell in love with an opera singer. He hardly knew her, since his only view of the singer was from the third balcony. But he was convinced he could “live happily ever after” if he could marry a woman with a voice like that. He hardly noticed that she was older than he was. He didn’t care much that she walked with a limp. Her beautiful voice would carry them through whatever they faced in life. After a whirlwind romance and a hurry-up ceremony, they rushed off for their honeymoon. She started to prepare on their first night together and as he watched, his mouth dropped open. She plucked out her glass eye and dropped it on the night stand. She pulled off her wig, ripped off her false eyelashes, yanked out her false teeth and unstrapped her artificial leg. With a horrified look on his face, he gasped, “For goodness sake, sing, woman, sing.” 3. Some of the choices we make in life have incredible consequences, but what our study this morning demonstrates that one choice is most important of all. That choice deals with questions like, “What am I going to do about life after death?” “If I want to go to heaven, what do I need to do now to make sure I get there later?” “Who makes the rules for my life?” “Who decides what’s right and wrong?” You see, for a lot of people, those questions are never really solved. Life just sort of happens. And it’s easy to make our choices based on what feels right at the time.
Stories have a way of staying with us, don't they? It has been my experience through the years that most of us do not retain information, facts, and data but we do remember the stories that enter our imaginations. There are at least three reasons for this:Because of the people and personalities that give a story interest. We may forget details but we remember personalities.Because of life situations which we can imagine or even identify. We personalize the story as ours.This is the Invitation section of the sermon on the mount. And the Lord uses a gripping story, one that you have known from your childhood. This is probably one of the most memorable stories of our Sunday school days. Do ou remember the song:
The wise man built his house upon a rock (3x) And the house on the rock stood firm.
The rain came down and the floods came up (3x) But the house on the rock stood firm.
The foolish man built his house upon the sand (3x) And the house on the sand went “splat.”
One element of good preaching is the "clincher." That's a story that comes at the end of the message that perfectly illustrates and concludes what the speaker has been saying. A good "clincher" grabs our heartstrings and drives home truth. Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount by sharing a parable, a "clincher" so simple yet so powerful it still changes lives 2,000 years later.
This clincher grips us as we think of these two people, one wise, one foolish.
There are similarities and differences between these two men.
The first similarity in this story is that both the wise and the foolish builder constructed a house. The image of house is a metaphor that Jesus used to signify a person’s life.
We all Choose a Foundation for Life.
The idea of a man building a "house" in this parable is synonymous with each of us building our lives. We all choose what we will believe and not believe. We choose our morals. We choose our values. We choose our priorities. We choose our attitudes. We choose our philosophies. We choose what we will do with the message of Jesus Christ.
This first man is called "wise" by Jesus. He is "wise" because he looked beyond the present to the future. He could envision a day when he would need a strong foundation. He heard what Jesus had to say and obeyed. He entered into the "narrow gate."
They built for the same purpose. They built with the same plans. They built in the same place.
The final similarity is that both houses will be tested by the “hurricanes” of life. This is inevitable, we all have to face difficult situations that shake the core of our beings and challenge all that we have hoped for.
You see, both houses looked about the same, so long as the sun was shining. But when the storms come, the foundation is revealed!
1 Cor. 3:11-15 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. [14] If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss
I think it’s clear what the rock is. “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine,” builds his house upon a rock. “Whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, builds his house upon a rock.” What is the rock? It is obedience to the Word of God. That’s the rock. Yes God is a rock, yes Christ is the chief cornerstone. But I believe that what our Lord is saying here is simply this, these sayings of mine become the rock bed foundation of the church, the true church, the redeemed church.
Matthew 16 :13, “Jesus came into the borders of Caesarea Philippi,” which is way to the north part of the land of Israel, “he asked his disciples, saying, who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” Who do they say I am? “They said, Some say you’re John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am?” Now listen, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” “Jesus said, flesh and blood did not reveal that unto you, (verse 17) but my Father, who is in heaven.” That is a divine revelation. “And I say unto you, You are” petros, you are a pebble Peter, you are a boulder. But “upon this” petra, “rock” bed foundation, “I will build my church.” And what was the petra? The rock bed foundation, it was the Word of God, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Upon that affirmation of truth I’ll build My church. The petra of Matthew 16 was the Word of God and I am convinced that the petra of Matthew 7 is also the Word of God.
Jesus says that the foundation chosen by this man was "the rock." "Rock" here comes from the Greek word petra which does not mean a stone or even a boulder, but a great outcropping of rock like the side of a mountain. It is solid, stable and unmovable. What is the foundation of your life? Is money, success, or social status? How relevant are the words of God to your foundation?

Acts 20:32, “I commend you (listen to this) to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up.”
The foundation is the Word of God. It’s the Confession that Jesus is the Christ. Its obedience to Him, as we obey the Word of God.
In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing bell tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa. The tower was to be eight-stories and 185-foot-tall tall. There was just one "little" problem: builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated, and the foundation was far too shallow to adequately hold the structure! And sure enough, before long the whole structure had begun to tilt... and it continued to tilt... Until finally the architect and the builders realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again. It took 176 years to build the Tower of Pisa and during that time many things were done to try and compensate for the "tilt." Foundation was shored up; the upper levels were even built at an angle to try to make the top of the tower look straight. Nothing worked. The tower has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet away from where it should be. One day, experts say, it will fall. All because it wasn't built on the right foundation.
In December 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was finally reopened to the public, after having been closed for almost a dozen years. During that time, engineers completed a 25 million dollar renovation project designed to stabilize the tower. They removed 110 tons of dirt, and reduced its famous lean by about sixteen inches. Why was this necessary? Because the tower has been tilting further and further away from vertical for hundreds of years, to the point that the top of the 185-foot tower was seventeen feet further south than the bottom, and Italian authorities were concerned that if nothing was done, it would soon collapse. What was the problem? Bad design? Poor workmanship? An inferior grade of marble? No. The problem was what was underneath. The sandy soil on which the city of Pisa was built was just not stable enough to support a monument of this size. The tower had no firm foundation.
Springy floors reveal sunken piers in houses on black soil plains, and Glen Innes.
Now this parable points us to three very clear truths:
1. There Are Storms That Must Be Expected.
You may face a time of depression
You may face a time of discouragement
In the comic strip "Pardon my Planet" by Vic Lee, there is one panel with two couples sitting facing one another. The radio is playing music. One of the characters says, "Hey Norris, they're playing our song."
Another character speaks up and says, "When Jonas and I were dating, our song was `I wanna hold your hand.' Then after 15 years of marriage it was `We can work it out.' Now it's "If I had a hammer'. . . ."
You may face a time of disturbance
Ravi Zacharias, a well-known Christian author and teacher did a lectureship at Ohio State University not too long ago. As he was being driven to the lecture, the car passed the new Wexner Art Center. The driver said, “This is a new art building for the university. It’s a fascinating building because it is designed in the post-modernist view of reality.” Zacharias looked at the building and noticed it had no pattern.
Staircases go nowhere. Pillars support nothing. The architect built the building to reflect life. It goes nowhere and makes no sense. Zacharias says he turned to the man describing it and asked, “Did they do the same thing with the foundation?” He laughed and said, “You can’t do that with a foundation.”
Some folks have no preparation for the storms that will come into their lives. They live their lives in a hodge podge fashion. They are living confused lives, which, when the pressures of life come upon them will crumble. There are many Christians today who say they love the Lord, who feel they are going to heaven, but are living lives of quiet frustration. On the surface, they seem to be successful. They have homes, cars, possessions, family-anything a person could want. They are living a dream.
Their lives are going nowhere. They have no sense of real accomplishment. The pillars of their life: their faith, their family, their work, lack the emotional and spiritual support they need.
Their stability is a fragile one. Because they have no support, the slightest upheaval in their existence shatters the structure of their lives. The result is families torn apart, or severely damaged. Peace and contentment are strangers. Their cry is much like Job’s, “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?. . . I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."(Job 3:11,26)
Psychological problems arise, which lead to physical illness. Stress is high. There is none of the joy and victory that is supposed to be evident in a Christian’s life.
Charles Spurgeon once said: There are tens of thousands to whom the preaching of the gospel is as music in the ears of a corpse. They shut their ears and will not hear, though the testimony be concerning God's own Son, and life eternal and the way to escape from everlasting wrath... When worldly trouble comes like a storm those persons who will not hear the words of Jesus have no consolation to cheer them; when sickness comes they have no joy of heart to sustain them under its pains; and when death, the most terrible of storms beats upon them they feel its full fury, but they cannot find a hiding place. They neglect the housing of their souls and when the hurricane of almighty wrath shall break forth in the world to come they will have no place of refuge. (Swindoll. p.246).

2. There Are Short cuts That Will Be Exposed. “Fools make haste.”
Shortcuts In Preparation
Both builders differed on their approach to life. This was a matter of preparation, because it took time and effort to establish the foundation. Do you use the word of God on a continual basis to prepare you for life? In addition to the preparation, the two builders differed on their practices.
Shortcuts In Practises
Building a foundation takes time and it is done gradually.
However, some people approach this by taking shortcuts, which is a great danger because when the hurricane hits the house will not stand because the foundation is weak.
Do you take shortcuts in your life when it comes to obeying God’s word? Do you listen but not apply what you heard?
This parable is an illustration, and it is not uncommon today. A friend of mine, Dave was involved in exposing a racket. Menai builder and the reo (reinforced steel rods that reinforce the concrete being taken out. Dave the Council Building inspector got it all on film. And then they sent film away to be developed. It took 6 weeks to get back. The house was almost completed. Dave showed photos to the builder. The builder had to pull it down and start again!. This was a far better deterrent than a small fine!
Shortcuts In Prevailing
Because the foundations were different one house prevailed while the other did not. This is a danger that Christ is trying to impress on his audience, and it is something that is the test that will tell who is a real follower of Christ.

3. There Are Strengths That Will Be Examined
There is the Hearing Of The Word
James 1:21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; 24 for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts—this person will be blessed in what he does.
There is the Heeding Of The Word
I had a discussion with a pastor recently, “What are pastors going to do with the new wave among Christians of people who aren’t married living together.” I question whether that can happen among Christians. I think maybe we better reevaluate not the standard for marriage but who’s really a Christian. If this isn’t the direction of your life, these truths and The Sermon on the Mount then you may be well self-deceived. It’s not as simple as I’ve been saying all along, just making a decision, signing a card, raising your hand. Salvation is a recognition of a divine standard, a subsequent overwhelming sense of sinfulness, a pleading for God’s mercy to receive His righteousness, because you desire to fulfill His Word. People don’t say, well I’m coming to Christ, and I want to be saved but I don’t want to get into all that obedience stuff. Then you’re not a Christian.
There is the Holding to the Son of God.
Col 1:21 And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. 22 But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him— 23 if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. [This gospel]has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a minister of it.
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.”
We all Experience the Consequences of our Choices.
There is the consequence of building on a solid foundation.
Jesus says the "wise man," the one who built his house "on the rock" experienced all the forces of the storms of life. However, no matter how the storms beat down on his house. Jesus said "it did not fall for it was founded on the rock."
When you build your life on Jesus, you can let the storms howl.
When your life is built on Jesus, you can even whether the storm of death. Paul said in Phil.1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
There is the consequence of a poor foundation.
Jesus says that the "foolish man" who built his house on shifting "sand" faced the difficult storms of life and his house "fell." I don't know how people face the storms of this world without Christ. As I look back on every crisis, Jesus has been my shield and my comforter.
Notice that Jesus not only says that the house "fell" but "great was its fall." The great fall of a life not built on Christ is a fall into a Christless eternity, an eternity in hell.
If you only hear and read truth, you are not prepared for the storms to come.
If your foundation is sure, no storm will cause your life to collapse.
Do something about the foundation right now!

Thomas Carlyle loved his wife Jane Welch Carlyle, but he was a cross grained irritable creature, and he never made life happy for her. Unexpectedly she died. A friend told of Carlyle’s feelings for her “ He was looking through her papers her notebooks, her journal, and old scenes came mercilessly back to him. In his long sleepless nights he realized too late what she had felt and suffered under his childish irritabilities. His faults rose up in remorseless judgement. And as he had thought to little of them before, so he exaggerated them to himself in his helpless repentance. “oh he said again and again “ if I could see her but once more, were it but for five minutes, to let her know that I always loved her through all of that. She never did know it, never.”
There is a time for doing and saying things, and when the time is past they can never be said and never be done.

There is a time to get your foundation right, and that time is right now.

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