Build On The Rock- Matthew 7:24-27

As we come to the conclusion of Jesus Sermon on the Mount, we find that Jesus concludes here with a parable, a story from real life intended to help us understand what He has been telling us. He tells a story here of two “people”, each of whom build a house, each building upon a different type of foundation. Storms then come, and the house built upon a rock stands in the storm, while the house built upon sand is destroyed. This parable is commonly preached on and taught as telling us that the “house” here represents our lives, and if we build our lives upon the rock of the Word of God, we will stand firm in the storms of life, while if we build our lives on the sand of anything else, we will be destroyed by the storms of life. While this is certainly true, we contend that it is not the primary meaning of what Jesus is teaching here. He begins, in verse 24, with the word “therefore”, which connects what He is about to say with what He has said immediately before this. In other words, He is continuing on in the theme of the false sheep versus the true disciple. He tells us, in verse 24, that those who “hear these words of mine and put them into practice, are like a wise man who built his house upon the rock”. The Greek word translated “words” here is logos, from a root meaning “to explain”. Anyone who hears, understands and acts upon what Jesus just explained (that only those who do the will of His Father will enter the kingdom) is like a wise man who builds his house upon a rock. The “wise” ones here are those who hear what Jesus is saying, understand the point He is making and respond, who become true disciples, ready to take up their cross and follow Him. They are those who understand and do not rely on their own “works” for salvation but who rest upon Him and His works for salvation. This is, then, primarily a message to the “tares” among the wheat, to those who are headed toward hearing “Depart from me, I never knew you”. The wise ones among them will be those who hear His message and take it to heart, who take heed to what He says and become wheat. Those who do so are those who build their house upon the rock and will withstand the coming storm. The storms here then represent Judgment Day, using the Old Testament imagery of God coming in a whirlwind (a storm) in judgment upon the sins of the people. Those who build their “house” upon the rock of Christ Jesus are the one whose houses will be left standing on Judgment Day. He then presents a contrasting group of people in verse 26, referred to here as those who hear Jesus words here and do not respond, who are not willing to become true disciples, to take up their cross and follow Him, who will not do the will of the Father. These are like one who builds his house upon sand, and when the storm of Judgment Day comes, the house will be destroyed, will fall with a “great crash”, representing total and utter destruction. What is also of note here is that it is irrelevant what the house is built out of, the only factor which causes it to stand or fall is what type of foundation it is built upon. So what we have here, then, is Jesus telling us a story which further explains the points He has just made in Matthew 7:13-23. Those who remain on the “broad road”, who are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, who say to Him Lord, Lord but never “knew” Him, are those who build their house upon the sand. Their eternal dwelling place is built upon the foundation of trust in themselves, a life built of “good works”, but works done to build their own kingdom and magnify their own glory. These represent here those who are trusting in their own works, their own performance and behavior, to merit entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Trusting in this is like building one’s house upon a foundation of sand, and it will not survive on the Day of Judgment. Those who take the “narrow road”, who are true sheep, whose works build God’s kingdom and magnify His glory, are like those who build their house upon a foundation of rock, and it will survive the Day of Judgment. Again, Jesus is not teaching here a “works salvation”, but exactly the opposite. What ultimately matters on Judgment Day is what the house is built upon, the difference here is not in the houses but in the foundation. Those who hear what Jesus tells us here, those who think they can get to heaven through their own performance, are mistaken, for the primary point of the Sermon on the Mount is to convince the self-righteous, those who think they can merit heaven through their own behavior, that they cannot. It is those who hear His words and take them to heart, who turn to Him for salvation rather than relying on their own efforts, who are the ones whose houses will stand on Judgment Day. Those who do not and continue in their efforts to gain heaven by any other way, these are the ones whose houses will not stand on Judgment Day, who will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, who have built their house upon the sand.

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