A Tragic Trilogy

SCRIPTURE: Luke 6:46-49, NLT

46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”


If you look up the word tragedy in the dictionary you will find two definitions: [1] An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe. [2] A play dealing with tragic events and having an unhappy ending, especially one concerning the downfall of the main character. Shakespeare wrote ten plays that are labeled Tragedies. Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Othello to mention a few. We were forced to read Hamlet and Othello when I was in high school. Who wants to read a tragedy?

Since I had to read and watch Othello on film, I will use it as the example. In a tragedy, the protagonist [hero] always has a flaw and the flaw leads to his/her downfall. For Othello, he was insanely jealous. Iago, a man who pretended to be his friend planted and seed of doubt in Othello’s jealous mind that his wife Desdemona was being unfaithful. In fact, she was not unfaithful but Othello’s jealousy lead to paranoia and he killed his wife in a jealous rage. Then of course he kills himself because a part from her, he had no reason to live.

We all die so the tragedy is not in his death. The tragedy is that he and she died needlessly. They died because he believed a lie. South Carolina just experience a horrible flood. Over one billion dollars in damages and 14 deaths. Here is the tragedy: some of the 14 drove around barricades and warning signs. These people would be alive today had they simply heeded the warning.

In Luke 6 we have a trilogy of tragedies.


I am going to allude to the Sermon on the mount where Jesus says in Matthew 7:21–Those of you who are listening and do not hear—you are like a fool who builds a house on sand.  How can with listen and not hear? It’s easy, we do it all the time. Let me give you a test: two weeks ago, my introduction was about ‘hearing’, do you remember what I said? You were listening, but you were not hearing.

This is the statement I made: If the only voice you hear today is my voice, you are not listening [hearing]. What do all active listeners do? They take notes. Taking notes is a discipline. Bobby James was a good note taker: He had a record of my Genesis 1:1 sermon in his bible. I didn’t have a clue as to when I began the journey of preaching through the entire bible which took me some 27 years.

Folks, we have the recorded words of Jesus in the four gospels–it would be a tragedy for you not to hear what Jesus is saying.


Jesus said, “why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” Oh the tragedy of a disobedient life. Jesus is not impressed with our profession of faith or our lip service. He wants more than to be acknowledged at LORD, He wants us to obey His teaching.

You are probably thinking: “His teaching are so hard.” I can’t love my enemies; I can give without expecting something in return. I tell you what, lets just start with the GOLDEN RULE found in verse 31–“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Lets me honest, have you tried to practice the golden rule?

To help us understand the tragedy of hearing Jesus but not obeying, let me tell you the story of the Rich Young Ruler. One day when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, a rich young man in a place of authority came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why are you calling Me Good, only God is truly good but to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.” What commandments did Jesus not mention: notably One and Ten. The young man said,  “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the young man in  genuine love, Jesus said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Here is the tragedy: the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

It is tragic to hear Jesus and not to obey.


Jesus said, I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.

Jesus is not talking about building a house: He is talking about building a life and the wise person builds their life on Christ. But Jesus tells us about a second person who build on the sand [surface]. He built his life on the wrong foundation and when the storms came, his house collapsed and he lost everything.

Herein lies the tragedy: to build one’s life on the wrong foundation and lose everything.

Again, let me give you an example from the bible, from Luke. This story is found in chapter 12. We call this story, the story of the rich fool. He was a fool because he left God out of his life. He raked and scraped to amass a fortune. He had so much that he didn’t have room to store it; in other words, he had more than he needed. He never thought about giving anything to anyone. This guy is so in love with himself that he doesn’t think of wife, children, anyone other than himself. He was totally selfish. His goal in life was to amass so much that he would no longer have to put on his work clothes.

This story is a tragedy: here is how it ends. God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ Jesus said in Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? The poor fool built his life on the wrong foundation and in the end, he lost everything, including his soul.


The greatest tragedy of all tragedies is to die without Jesus and spend eternity in hell. Let me explain: Jesus has paid your sin debt in full; He has done everything necessary to secure you a home in heaven. All you have to do is hear HIM and obey HIM. You must repent of your sins and surrender control of your life to Jesus. There is no need for you to die without Christ. What a tragedy to reject the One who can save you.


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