Summary: Sermon 20 in a study in the Sermon on the Mount
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.’ When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”
Throughout this study I have emphasized to you that Jesus spent the greater part of it describing the Christian, and I have pointed out that being a Christian is not the result of mimicking a set of behaviors or following a set of rules, but that God makes the Christian and then by the work of His Holy Spirit makes the Christian what He wants him to be.
In the middle part of the sermon He stressed the sort of life that should be manifest in a true believer as pertains to his relationship to God and to other Christians and to the world.
Finally, He has issued some warnings saying, in essence, be very certain that you really are a Christian because there will be many, not few but many, who in the end will discover that they have been deceivers and self-deceived.
Does your life prove that you are a Christian? Not, does your life make you a Christian, but do your behaviors and your attitudes and your relationships demonstrate that you have the Christ-life in you?
In that day that you stand before His throne, will He declare that you have done the Father’s will, or will He shake His head and reveal to all that your profession was false and your works were as wood, hay and stubble and send you away as one would dispatch a trespasser?
Notice an interesting and vital point in these verses prior to today’s text.
Although we stress, and rightly so, that salvation is by grace through faith and not of works, Jesus seems to be saying that the most important thing on that great judgment day will be our fruit and whether we have done the Father’s will.
Now how do we reconcile this? Does this mean that our entrance to Heaven will be gained after all by our works?
Well the answer is still categorically, ‘no’. Because as you can see in verse 22 these ‘many’ that He is talking about will declare their works to Him yet they will still be rejected as strangers.
No, His point is that from the one who truly is Christ’s there will be Christ-like fruit and a manifest desire to do the Father’s will.
So the Christian will not be invited to enter in because he did the Father’s will and bore Godly fruit, but the fruit and obedience to the Father will be the evidence that he belongs. He will not stand before the judgment seat as a stranger, but as a child finally arriving at home.
Jesus continues that thought in our text verses, drawing a sharp distinction between the true believer and the falsely religious.
I will repeat here that He is not talking about the unbeliever and the one who has no interest in the church or Godly things. He is talking about those in the church as an organization; some in the true spiritual church and many who are still worldly within and churchy without but still strangers to the Father, and according to the previous verses, they are false teachers, wolves and practitioners of lawlessness.
He uses this illustration now of two builders and two houses and two foundations and we need to observe some things about them.
First, although it is not expressed clearly in His words, we may envision two men with the same ideas and the same intent. We might even imagine that their houses are the exact same floor plan and so forth. They might be equally talented in the art of building and they may be starting with exactly the same materials and resources.
I say these things because in the course of the illustration the two fundamental differences we see at first are the types of foundation, and the Lord’s brief description of the two men. One was wise, one was foolish. The wise man built on rock, the foolish man built on sand.
Aside from those differences between these men and these foundations the only other thing that differs in the story is the result of the choices they made. We’ll talk about that later.