Matthew 7:24-29 NKJV
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Jesus was a carpenter by trade and He knew how to build a house but He is not talking about building houses here in the sermon on the mount, He is talking about building a life, a home or possibly a family. If we were going to build a house, we would start with the foundation so that is where we will begin today.
I. EVERY LIFE NEEDS A FIRM FOUNDATION
My father worked in construction as a cement finisher and so I have been around the building industry all my life. I have never seen anyone build a house on sand. I have seen houses that did not have good foundations. I’ve seem some that were falling because of the poor foundation but honestly, I’ve never know of anyone who build on pure sand. Sand is highly erodible, it shifts easily; it is just unfit for a foundation. It may work for a time but eventually a house build on sand will collapse. Jesus says in effect: It is foolish to build on sand.
What is some of the sand that people try to build their lives on these days?
- The first that comes to my mind is success. When I say success, I am using the world’s definition, the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. I happen to know people who believe in success as much as I believe in Jesus. They eat, sleep, drink and think success. They are convinced the success brings happiness and of course, their success means lots and lots of money. Jack Whittaker won the West Virginia State Lottery in December of 2002. You need to Google Jack Whittaker and see how money fixed all his problems. He won 315 million dollars. The biggest jackpot in lottery history at the time. Three most important people in his life were his wife, daughter and granddaughter and he has lost them all since 2002. The only friend he has left is his pastor. Money is sand. Success is sand: you can’t build on sand.
- What about the sin of erotic relationships? Can you build a life on the love that a man has for a woman or vice versa. There is certainly something to be said for youth, beauty and handsome face or a well groomed body but it is sand and you cannot build on sand. Sand will shift. In this case I think one picture is worth a thousand words.
- What about education. Education is the liberals Messiah, their savior, their balm of Gilead. Surely if you want to build an enduring quality life, you must build on education. Education is sand, shifting sand and it has shifted quite a bit in my life time. I offer anyone who can find one, $100 for a 1960 middle school science book. It would make good entertainment today. You cannot find them. I think the liberals had them all destroyed. Only a very foolish person would try to build a life on education, physique, or success.
YOU BUILD ON A SOLID FOUNDATION
Note what Jesus says in verse 25…I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Did you notice that, “The Rock”, not a rock but The Rock.
- Rocks are enduring; they stick around a lot longer than we do: they have been the primary symbol of the enduring and the everlasting for a long time. When we build a life on Jesus The Rock, we are building an enduring everlasting life. Time diminishes our physical bodies and earthly structures but time will not diminish our relationship to Christ, nor out treasures in heaven.
- Rocks are stable. When you build a house on bedrock, you never have to worry about the foundation shifting because it is rock solid.
So Jesus is not talking about building a house; he is talking about building a life on HIM. My entire life is founded on Christ. If you take Jesus out of the picture: my life is a waste, a wash out. I am convinced that my life will stand the test of time; that it will weather all the storms because it is founded on Jesus. My life is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name. YOU BUILD A LIFE ON A GOOD FOUNDATION AND JESUS IS THAT FOUNDATION.
II. EVERY LIFE WILL BE TESTED
- First of all, you will note that everyone encounters the storms. Both the wise and the foolish man faced a storm. As Jesus said, “The floods came”. Storms are going to happen. Life is a series of storms. We are either in one, just coming out of one, in the clear or moving into one. Things may be great for you today but this time next year, you may be in a storm. Just remember, the storms come to everyone. In Matthew 14, Jesus actually sends His disciples into a storm. Even when we are obedient to Christ, we get into storms.
- Storms create lots of pressure. Jesus said, “The rain descends [pressure from above], the floods rise [pressure from beneath] and the winds blow [pressure from the sides]. So there you have it, storms create pressure that comes from all sides or directions.
- Storms shake us up. They have a way of disturbing or peace and even our routine. Just this past April, I was in the sound room working on slides [Thursday evening]. My new phone has a weather alert and it went off. I went straight to the WEE CARE to check on the kids and see what precautions Tammy had taken. By the time I left the WEE Care my phone was ringing. I told June I would come straight home. In route to my house, I met Seth and He told me to turn around and follow him. He was adamant and I turned around. The sky was black and the wind was blowing. As we drove through the bottoms, my concern was falling limbs and trees. So one minute I am studying and preparing a sermon and the next thing you know I am running for my life [it seemed]. Storms are powerful and they can rearrange everything in a matter of seconds.
III. EVERY LIFE WILL BE JUDGED
I Corinthians 3:12-15,NLT
Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
Concerning our building: I want to begin with MOTIVE. The good building materials on Paul’s list are gold, silver, and jewels. I want to begin with gold. Gold is a symbol of purity. It is refined by fire, all the alloys have been removed. I am currently reading through the OT in three different versions and I noticed something the other day that I had not seen, David building a monument for himself. I knew that his Absalom built a monument for himself and so did Saul but I was not aware that David did so. [II Samuel 8:3, NIV,ERV]. We are not building a monument to honor our self. I must wave a caution flag here: motive is tricky, it is like shooting in the wind. In John 8 the Pharisees argue with Jesus about motive. Jesus told them that they were motivated by hate. They denied His claim and argued that they loved God. To be honest with you, I am not sure they understood their motive but Jesus did: He always does. There have been times in my life that I argued just like the Pharisees and I was convinced that my motivation was pure but later I came to realize the it was far from being pure. In building a life that will honor Christ, motive is everything.
- Motive is paramount but we also need to use the right MATERIALS: let’s talk about the bad materials first; wood, hay and stubble.
- Bad Material. We don’t think of wood, hay and stubble as being bad especially in the context of building a fire or a shelter or even a bed but the point is–these things are highly flammable and cannot take the heat. There are many things that come under the wood, hay and stubble category but let’s just use one for the sake of time. If you live to save money, to amass wealth, you need to know that it is stubble. It is highly flammable and will not make it through the judgment of fire. Houses, cars, yachts, lake lots, etc–none of these things will endure the judgment to come. If you spend your entire like amassing these things–you life will be a total waste.
- Good Material [Gold, silver, and jewels]. What I want you to notice about these building materials is that they are valuable, lasting and edifying. The materials that fit in this group are too many to mention. I want to talk about just one or two that most people think are not that important. Obviously LOVE would come at the top of any list but I want to talk about KINDNESS which is love in action. If you build a life on Christ and use kindness in building that life, you will never regret it, not even in a million years.
We came to Danville in April of 1979. We came here with three children and my Father-in-law who had ALS. The church is Cherokee had paid us 150$ per week with house and utilities and I worked part time my last year there. We came to Danville for $185 per week, house but no utilities. We were poor. We had a hard time keeping our head above the water. If it had not been for folks like Glenn Miller who let me work part time when I could, I don’t know how we would have made it. Needless to say, we could not go to ball games, go out to eat and we sure could not go on vacations. By the providence of God I came to know Tom and Edith Bennich of Hartselle. Tom has a heart of gold and he felt sorry for us. I cannot list the ways that he and Edith have helped us: their kindness to the Bailey’s is beyond my ability to number. One of the things that Tom did was make his swimming pool available for our kids and we went their a couple of times a year. We would make a day of it and picnic by the pool. Daryle, their youngest son, would be our host and entertainment too.
Daryle was a severe diabetic and he departed this world at a very early age. He was a heart breaking experience for Tom and Edith. Daryl was a special child who needed special care and Tom and Edith had always gave him the best. The first time I remember seeing Tom, he was combing Daryl’s hair and Daryl was 10-11 years old at the time. As I drove underneath the giant oaks of the 1st Baptist Church of Hartselle, preparing myself mentally to go inside for Daryl’s memorial service, I noticed the huge shadow that the 1st Baptist Church cast. I looked at the building which was huge to me at the time; I guess I was admiring it’s size and beauty, much like the disciples gazing at Herod’s Temple. It was at that moment that the LORD spoke to me in an unusual way. The voice was not audible but very clear: He said, “Jack, you are admiring the wrong thing. That building means nothing to me. I am much more impressed with the kindness that the Bennich Family has show you than I am with that building.” I have never forgotten what He said to me that day and I have proclaimed it from every pulpit I have entered since, one kindness means more to God than all the money in the world. I am sure that there are some who would doubt my sincerity but I am on the level. I believe that if you build with the right materials like purity, humility, kindness, sincerity, compassion that you will reap a great harvest.
Are you building a life or wasting one?
Are you leaving a legacy or an inheritance?
Are you building with the right motive?
Are you using the right materials; the ones that will with stand the fire?
Are you wise [listen and obey] or are you foolish [don’t listen and do what you please]?