April 17, 1994
This is the final section of the Lord's sermon on the mount,
and it is one of the more familiar parables given by the Lord.
There is a little song sung by children that sets this parable
But there is a two word phrase left out of the song that gives this story its meaning: and doeth, v. 24.
Let me give some points from this section:
I) notice the location of the illustration: This is the conclusion of the Lord's sermon on the mount. This is His concluding statement that He knew was necessary to finnish His message. This final illustration emphasize the importance of what He had just taught.
V. 24, Therefore could refer back to His most recent statement about the ones who were falsely confident in eternal life, or He could be referring back to His total message which started in 5:3, which includes Mat 6:33.
Though These sayings of mine indicates that He is referring back to the total message, this section seems to add to what He just said about those who find out too late that they had a false hope.
Thus the Lord's parable here could have two understandings:
first, only one builder is saved, or converted, and the storms of life reveal that only he has the inner strength to face the difficulties of life.
Second, and I believe this understanding fits best with the context,both builders are converted children of God. One child of God takes the total of God's word seriously, and, by God's grace, seeks first the kingdom of God, and works at applying it to every area of his life.
The other child of God just kind of loafs along enjoying life. He is too busy seeking the good things of life to really be too busy in the Kingdom work of God.
But then again this parable could be a combination of both.
II) the key word is doeth. The Lord is quite clear that the comparison is between those who do His words and those who do not his words, v. 26.
III) the Lord uses something every one can identify with to make His point: building a house. He makes a contrast between two men: one wise the other foolish.
built his house... Both men build a house.
A) both men worked equally hard. The wise man worked no harder than the foolish man.
B) both men were equally confident in their efforts. The foolish man was just as confident that his house was built properly as was the wise man. The Lord could be referring back to the ones He warned in vv. 21-23.
C) both houses may have looked the same and appeared to be made of the same material. Maybe there is no noticable outward difference between the two houses, and their difference could not be seen from the surface. Their difference was in their foundation; their difference was in the area that does not meet the eye.
IV) the truth was not known until the storm came. It was the storm that separated the wise man from the foolish man. This storm was not some hard wind and driving rain. This storm was more like a hurricane or tornado. Moreover, the storm was not just a passing storm as a tornado might hurry over an area.
This storm was much more like a hurricane that parked over the houses: it beat upon that house.
Most people can put up with about anything if an end is in sight. It take a special work of the Spirit to strengthen unto faithfulness with no end in sight.
V) it takes a severe storm to reveal the truth about the houses. Maybe both houses had stood proud and tall in lessor storms up to this point, but in the severe storm, the truth was revealed. The way the house held up in the storm revealed whether the man was a fool or a wise man.
Maybe from the houses' outward appearances, onlookers had the two men confused, thinking the wise man was the fool and the fool was the wise man. Maybe the wise man's house did not look as attractive as the foolish mans house. Maybe the wise man's house was a plain wood frame house, and the foolish man's house was a beautiful stone house.
But the severe storm revealed the truth. Furthermore, from the previous section, we see that the fool in this section probably was confident his house was firmly built. The truth of all his labor was not known until it was too late to do any thing about it.
VI) of course, the point the Lord is making is the foundation: sand or rock. The house did not collapse because it was made by inferior workmanship or from inferior material. The foundation washed out. Whereas the sand washed out under sever weather conditions, the rock remained firm.
The Lord makes it very clear here that no matter how much effort & money goes into the construction of our lives, if the foundation is wrong, the houses will fall.
When I was in the Navy, I was in the Sea Bees. They were mobil construction battalions that could be sent anywhere in the world on very short notice for any kind of construction projects. They were construction oriented with a military organization.
During peace time, the SeaBees maintained overseas Naval facilities. We would build houses, roads, railroads, defence emplacements, whatever was needed on the bases. We would go on deployment about 9 months out of the year. While on deployment, because our families were not with us, we had nothing to do but work. So we usually worked 6 ½ days a week, daylight to dark. Then the three months back in the states, we attended trade schools and did a lot of loafing.
During one 3 month period back at Davisville, RI, a hurricane went close to the Florida coast and washed out a sea wall at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station. The houses were not really damaged, but their protection from the action of the ocean was gone. Another hurricane was plotted as heading toward that area, but the sea-wall was gone, and the ocean was within a few hundred yards of the houses. My battalion was the only one in Davisville at that time, so they asked for volunteers from MCB 7 to go rebuild the sea-wall. Since I had no family and nothing to do, I volunteered.
We were in Jacksonville in less than 24 hours. Of course, we worked 12 to 16 hour days every day, even under flood lights, to construct a protective sea-wall before the next hurricane came in.
The worry was that the sand would wash out from under the houses and the housing would be lost to the ocean. The sea-wall we built spared the houses.
The picture our Lord paints here is very similar: The foolish person built his house with a good view and maybe in a convenient location. He did not care if the house was on the sand or not: his only concern was the convenience and beauty of the location.
The wise man, though, was concerned with the foundation of his house more than he was about convenience and beauty. He sought for and found rock for his foundation.
Maybe others accused the wise man of being too cautious about the location or the foundation of his house. Maybe others told him he was old fashion, and that modern technology would now protect him from the results of his foolish action of building upon the wrong foundation. But the storm came, and the truth was revealed.
VII) one of the most important points of this parable is that thefierce storms will come. We can just count on it, mark it down, take it to the bank: the storms of life will come. The storms will come to everyone. The storms are not the problem; the problem is what the storms reveal about our lives and what our lives are built upon.
I use Ps 119:165 often: Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing will offend them. Offence proves that we do not love the law of God in a particular area of life. Offences must needs come, but woe to him by whom the offences come. The storms of life will come, but woe unto him that causes the storms.
Ez 13:1-16 (vv. 10-16)
This passage rebukes the false prophets for giving the people the message they wanted to here when they should have been calling the people back to the Lord. The Lord promises that the houses the people had been building would fall in the storm He was bringing about.
VIII) the rock and sand defined. The only thing safe to build on is hearing and doing the Word of God. Everything else will collapse. The problem is, though, that after it collapse, it is too late to do any thing about the foundation.
Our houses must be built upon the Word of God by faith. Noah build his house by faith upon the revealed Word of God. He worked 150 years while people mocked and ridiculed him, but in the end, his house stood and the mockers perished.
Yes, the world's crowd, and many of those who profess to be Christians, may mock us as we build like Noah did. They may accuse us of being old fashion and out of touch with reality, but the storms will come. Maybe the foolish man's house will not fall this side of death, but it will fall.
Again, we cannot over emphasize the importance of seeking, studying and praying over the Word of God. The only safety in the storms of this life is hearing and doing the Word of God, these sayings of mine, v. 24.
Vv. 28, 29 Astonishment This little, short concluding section deserves a word by itself.
Jesus' message was lengthy and astonishing. V. 29, the word Forexplains why the people were astonished at Christ's teaching.
The authority of the Lord Jesus Christ came out in His message. Vv. 24-27 pronounced judgment upon those who did not hear and do His words. I would say that this pronouncement was very authoritative. In fact, all judgement has been given to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Psalms tell us (ch 2) that we better kiss the Son less he be angry. This passage tells us that we had better obey the Son less He be angry.
The scribes knew the law of Moses, but they lacked authority because they were men. The Lord Jesus Christ not only knew the truth and the law, but He was the truth and the law. Jesus, though appearing as simply a man, spoke on the mount here as the genuine Lawgiver from God.
James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Christ did not speak as one who throughly knew the law; rather, He spoke as the One giving the law. He spoke as no teacher of the law could speak.
Thus the Word of God is the final authority for all faith, doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in right living. If the Word of God is not adhered to, the house will collapse.
Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Ps 119:169 Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word. so we can properly build upon the rock of hearing and doing the words of Christ.
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