Thesis: Only a life built on Jesus Christ will endure.
Opening Illust. In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing bell tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa. The tower was to be eight-stories and 185-foot-tall tall. There was just one "little" problem: builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated, and the foundation was far too shallow to adequately hold the structure! And sure enough, before long the whole structure had begun to tilt... and it continued to tilt... until finally the architect and the builders realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again. It took 176 years to build the Tower of Pisa and during that time many things were done to try and compensate for the "tilt." Foundation was shored up; the upper levels were even built at an angle to try to make the top of the tower look straight. Nothing worked. The tower has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet away from where it should be. One day, experts say, it will fall. All because it wasn't built on the right foundation.
2. Jesus told a story about foundations in Matthew 7.
a. It is at the end of the Sermon on the Mount.
b. Read "The Wise and Foolish Builders" (Matt. 7:24-27).
I. THE CONTEXT OF THIS PARABLE.
A. The parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders is part of the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount that begins at 7:13.
1. Two gates, two destinies on the other side--life or destruction (7:13-14).
2. Don't be deceived! (7:15-23)
a. By the way things look (verses 15-20).
b. By the vocabulary you hear (verses 21-23).
3. Those who say, "One religion is as good as another" and "We're all trying to get to the same place" are wrong!
B. "THEREFORE everyone who hears these words of MINE ..." (v. 24).
1. "THEREFORE" = Because there are only two ways and because there are so many deceivers--you must listen to me!
2. Contrast between Jesus and other philosophies/approaches to life.
3. Issue becomes: Are you listening to Jesus or someone else? (cf. Matt. 17:1-8).
II. THE PARABLE ITSELF.
A. This is really two parables in one (Wise Man and the Foolish Man).
1. Much like Parable of the Prodigal Son (Journey of the Younger Son and the Journey of the Older Son).
2. The key to understanding this parable is to look closely for the parts that are identical and the parts that are different.
B. Three pairs of constants (identical) and variables (different):
1. Hearing and Doing.
a. Both hear, but only the Wise Man does anything about it.
b. James 1:22-25.
2. Building and Foundations.
a. Both men build, but on different types of soil.
b. Everyone is building the house in which he/she lives; either by design or unconsciously (non-decisions).
c. What distinguishes the builders is the foundation they choose to build on! (Only a moron would build a house on sand!)
d. Illust. On Oct. 17, 1989 a massive earthquake struck the San Francisco area and the people there gave a lot of thought to the foundation they were built on. Buildings built on solid ground sustained much less damage than those built on "filled in" areas. The south pier of the Golden Gate Bridge sits directly on top of the San Andreas fault! Yet it was undamaged in that quake because the weight of the bridge rests on the two towers deeply embedded into the rock beneath the sea. Remember that double-decker freeway in Oakland that collapsed? It was built on land that had been filled in. It all looked the same until the time of testing!