Matthew 7:24-29 (NKJV)

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1 Message for THE LORD'S DAY MORNING, July 14, 2013 Message 23 in Living The Salt Life Series (A Study of Jesus' Sermon on The Mount) Christian Hope Church of Christ, Plymouth, North Carolina by Reggie A. Braziel, Minister The Wise and Foolish Builders Message 23 in Living The Salt Life Sermon Series (A Study of Jesus' Sermon On The Mount) Matthew 7:24-29 (NKJV) Today as we conclude our series of messages from Jesus' Sermon On The Mount please turn with me once again to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 7, and let's read verses Matthew 7:24-29 (NKJV) 24 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. P R A Y E R

2 Introduction ILLUSTRATION In the year 1174, Italian architect Bonnano began work on what would become his most famous project: a bell tower for the local Cathedral in his home town. While the tower was being built, Bonnano and his builders discovered that the soil upon which the foundation had been laid was much softer on one side than they had anticipated. As they continued to build the tower they could see the building was noticeably leaning towards the weak side of the foundation. Although the bell tower is still standing over 800 years after it was constructed it will always bear that familiar dubious name, The Leaning Tower of Pisa. (By the way, Pisa in the Italian language means marshlands. Perhaps Bonnano should have looked the word up in his dictionary before he started building the tower.) The Leaning Tower of Pisa serves as a very vivid reminder that whether one is building a building or building a life, it is critically important to build on a solid foundation. Jesus illustrates this truth for us in this brief parable about The Wise and Foolish Builders here at the conclusion of His Sermon On The Mount. In this parable we read about TWO BUILDERS who built TWO HOUSES on TWO TYPES OF FOUNDATIONS with TWO DIFFERENT RESULTS. There are three key thoughts I would like to focus your attention on in in this brief parable.

3 First of all let's consider... I. The COMPARISONS 1. Many have understood the two men in this parable to be polar opposites. They believe the wise man represents a devout Christian and that the fool represents the pagan, non-christian who shakes his fist in the face of God. 2. But to understand this parable Jesus would have us to see these both of these men as religious men or men who profess to be Christians. In fact, by all outward appearances it would be very hard to make any distinction between these two men. 3. Consider the comparisons: (a) Both men HEARD the same words of Christ. vs. 24 Therefore whoever HEARS these sayings of Mine. vs. 26 But everyone who HEARS these sayings of Mine. These two men have been in the crowd throughout JESUS' Sermon On the Mount. They both HEARD Jesus talk about The Kingdom of Heaven. They both HEARD Jesus say unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. They both HEARD Jesus talk about MURDER in the HEART and ADULTERY in the HEART. They have both HEARD Jesus talk about the TWO ROADS, the TWO GATES, and the TWO KINDS OF TRESS, one bearing good fruit the other bad fruit. These two men heard the same message taught by the same Teacher.

4 (b) Both men BUILT the same kind of house. vs. 24 tells us THE WISE MAN built his house. vs. 26 tells us THE FOOLISH MAN built his house. The house in this parable represents one's LIFE. Outwardly it would have been very hard to distinguish between the two houses or the two lives of these men. -They may have been members of the same Church. -They may have both served on the same committees in the Church...or maybe both men were Sunday School teachers...or leaders in the Church. -Their kids were probably in the same youth group. -Their wives sang in the Church choir. -In the community both men appeared to be nothing less than fine, upstanding Christians. Their houses, their lives looked so similar no one could tell the difference. Both men HEARD the same WORDS of CHRIST. Both men BUILT the same kind of HOUSE.

5 (c) Next we see, both men experienced the same STORM. After the WISE MAN built his house, verse 25 tells us, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house After the FOOLISH MAN built his house Jesus tells us in verse 27, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. Jesus used the same exact words to describe the intensity of the storm experienced by both the WISE MAN and the FOOLISH MAN. As the house in this parable represents our lives, the storm in the parable represents those times of trouble and testing. When we think about the storms of life we think about such things as... *A time of sickness or poor health. *Being laid off from work or losing one's job. *Financial problems. *The loss of relative or a close friend. *Going through a separation or a divorce. *Dealing with a rebellious son or daughter. *Dealing with a relative's addiction to drugs or alcohol. *Or dealing with a serious conflict at work or even in the Church. When it comes to life's storms everyone falls into one of three categories: There are those who have just been through a storm. There are those who are currently in a storm. And there are those who are about to go through a storm and don't know it.

6 Both men HEARD the same words of JESUS. Both men BUILT the same kind of HOUSE. Both men EXEPRIENCED the same STORM. Now let's consider... II. The CONTRASTS 1. Despite all the similarities between these two men, Jesus called one a wise man and the other a fool. 2. The difference can be summed up in one word: FOUNDATION. Look at verse 24 again, 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. Now pay close attention once again to what Jesus said in verse 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. 3. Remember both men HEARD the same words of JESUS. One obeyed and one didn't. One put Jesus' words into practice; the other continued to live life his way. 4. Let's consider the foolish man first. Jesus tells us he built his house on sand. If you have ever built a sandcastle on the beach you know how quickly one wave can destroy what you built. Sand is unstable. Sand moves; it blows in the wind, it shifts with every storm and every change of the tides. Sand isn't stable or solid.

7 5. That is the foundation upon which the foolish man built his house. Now what does that tell us? It tells us the foolish man was only concerned with outward appearances. He just wanted to build a house that looked good on the outside...a house that would impress people. He didn't want to invest his time...his energy... and a lot of hard work to dig down to the solid bedrock. The foolish man was all about show not substance. 6. Jesus uses the example of this foolish man to show us the shallowness of some people's faith. Like the foolish man, there are many professing Christians who are all about outward appearances and show. They have a religion that looks good on the outside but inwardly there is NO SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE. -People who build on sand have a form of godliness, but deny its life-changing power. -People who build on sand honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from God. -People who build on sand are trusting in their own moral goodness and their good deeds to get them into heaven. -Just like shifting sands many professing Christians are constantly changing. When they around worldly people they can swear and drink and lust and tell dirty jokes along with everybody else, and then when they are around the Christian crowd they shift back to acting and talking like a Christian.

8 7. Now contrast that with the wise man who built his house on the rock. The rock is solid. The rock doesn't move. The rock is always the same, it never changes. Building on the rock speaks of those people who hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believe it so much they build their whole lives and bank their whole eternity on it. ROCK BUILDERS understand and believe that JESUS CHRIST alone can save, NOT their good morals or good deeds. ROCK BUILDERS aren't just hearers of the word they are doers also. If God 's word commands them to do something they do it! If God's word commands them NOT to do something they don't do it! If God's word makes a promise, they claim that promise. If God's word issues a stern warning, they heed that warning. ROCK BUILDERS don't live their lives to impress people, they live their lives to please GOD. The wise and foolish builders were similar in many ways: They both heard the same words of Christ. They both built houses. And they both experienced storms. But yet there was one major difference between the wise and foolish builders: THE FOUNDATION! The wise man built his house on the rock, solid foundation of God's word. While the foolish man built his house on the constantly shifting sands of selfishness and worldliness.

9 Well we have considered THE COMPARISON between the wise man and the foolish man. And we have considered THE CONTRAST between them. Finally, let's consider... III. The CONSEQUENCES 1. Jesus tells us in verses 25 and 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. The wise man's house withstood the storm. While the foolish man's house completely fell apart. 2. In the short term, the storm represents the trials and troubles of this life. But in the long term, the storm represents the judgment of the Lord. Remember that stern warning JESUS gave us back in verse 21? Not everyone who says to me LORD, LORD shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Sadly there will be many whose house will be destroyed when they stand before GOD in judgment. Those who trusted in their religion to save them...those who trusted in their good morals and their good works to save them...those whose profession of Christianity was nothing more than a show to impress people...will have their house wiped away and everything they did while they lived in that earthly house will be destroyed as though it never existed. But those who built their lives upon the WORD OF GOD and trusted in CHRIST ALONE to save them, will withstand the storm and enter into eternal life.

10 C O N C L U S I O N After doing this in-depth study of Jesus' Sermon On The Mount over these past 6 1/2 months, it should be very obvious to all of us that there is NO MIDDLE GROUND in the Christian life. But unfortunately, that is exactly the kind of Christianity many professing Christians are looking for... a middle ground Christianity. They want a Christianity that is EASY and CONVENIENT. They want a Christianity that is BIG ON BLESSINGS and LITTLE ON COMMITMENT...INVOLVEMENT...and RESPONSIBILITY. Many are looking for a Christianity that will allow them to have ONE FOOT IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN WHILE KEEPING THE OTHER FOOT IN THE WORLD. They want a Christianity that will allow them to LIVE WITH THE LORD FOREVER IN HEAVEN, without ever getting serious about LIVING FOR THE LORD WHILE HERE ON EARTH. Can't you see, there is NO MIDDLE-GROUND CHRISTIANITY. There's no such thing as A PART-TIME FOLLOWER OF JESUS or a SUNDAY MORNING SAINT. Jesus has made the choice crystal clear! Its ALL or NOTHING! -Follow Jesus or be LOST FOREVER! -GET BEYOND A HYPOCRITICAL, LOOK-AT-ME RELIGION or be lost forever! -Take the STRAIGHT and NARROW ROAD or be LOST FOREVER! -BUILD YOUR LIFE ON THE ROCK or be LOST FOREVER! Its time to move past all the EXCUSES...all the BROKEN PROMISES...and all the GOOD INTENTIONS...and take up our cross daily and truly follow JESUS! 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, All other ground is sinking sand.

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