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).


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).


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!

3. Storms and Outcomes.

a. Both houses are hit by a storm, but only one of them survives.

b. Storms will come--for everybody; every house we build will face a storm.

c. Illust. Crucial idea. Following Jesus does not exempt us from life's storms! Jesus is not teaching a parable about how to build our houses in protected areas. There are no storm-free zones! This is a parable about foundations, not avoiding the weather. The outcome is determined by the foundation we're sitting on.


1. That's where we want to end this AM. Everything depends on our foundation.

a. Either you are building your life on Jesus and his teaching or you are not.

b. If you are you will experience life; if you are not you will experience destruction.

2. Illust. Take a good look at these two glasses. Both were designed to hold liquid. Which of the two, do you suppose, is the sturdiest? Firmest? Strongest? Most secure? It might appear that one is stronger than the other, but really both are secure because they are both sitting on a strong foundation. Even a solid glass is at risk on a weak foundation . Let's go back to Jesus' illustration about foundations--a weak house built on a rock will stand better than a strong house built on sand! The issue is where are you building your house? If it's not on Jesus and his teaching it's going to fall down.

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Tillie Servi

commented on May 16, 2009

Excellent! Not only food for thought but a wake-up call! Thanks.

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