Jesus never wasted an opportunity to use the things that are familiar to teach thought-provoking lessons that call His listeners to action. Throughout His earthly ministry He taught the people many times, using “parables.” In closing His sermon on the mount, Jesus, shared a story of two builders. Read on to learn more about His Build your house on the rock sermon.
What You'll Learn Today
The foolish and wise builder
“Therefore,” He began, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
Among His listeners were fishermen, tax collectors, teachers of the Law, Scribes and Pharisees. They may have wondered, what does building a house have to do with following the Law?
But Jesus continues;
“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the stream rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
What foundation will you build on
In light of all He had taught on the mount, Jesus wanted to make it clear that it was very important not just to listen to his teachings but to apply it to one’s life.
To bring this point across Jesus compared His listeners to two builders: one wise and discerning the other foolish. The first built on an unshakeable foundation, the latter did not. One built his house on the rock, and the other built on the sand.
“Anyone who hears, considers, understands, believes, and obeys or applies My teaching to his life can be compared to a wise [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible] man who built his house on an unshakable foundation.”
“But anyone who hears my teachings and does not practice them can be compared to a foolish [a stupid] man who built his house on the sand.”
Those who practice His teachings will build lives on a foundation that is extremely strong, and reliable; not easily shaken. While those who reject His teachings are building on a foundation that is easily shifted.
Build on the Rock through obedience
The importance of walking in obedience to the commands of God wasn’t lost on Jesus. Though He was God’s divine Son, yet He learned the obedience needed to qualify Him as our High Priest, through His suffering (Hebrew 5:8; Matthew 26:39; Philippians 2:6-8).
And if He, who was perfect willingly submit Himself to the will of the Father, how much more those who would follow Him!
Many hear the Word of God but refuse to apply it to their lives. But Jesus made it very clear that It is not enough to hear the Word; we must actively and continually obey its precepts. No one is exempt: “Anyone who hears…”
When we hear the Word, we must internalize its meaning and act in obedience to the revealed Truth. Anything else is a delusion. We are only deceiving ourselves when we don’t put the Word into practice.
James compares the man who hears the word and does not act upon it, to a man who looks at his face in a mirror, sees himself and immediately forgets what he looks like! James 1:24
Be a Doer
James 1:22 states,
“But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only.”
Faith without works is dead (James 2:16-17). Saying we have faith by itself is not enough. Unless our faith is accompanied by action it is useless.
According to 1 Corinthians 7:19 and Galatians 5:6 the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through loving obedience. The faith we speak of must always be followed by obedience to the commandments of God. Obedience is the root and heart of the Christian faith.
The seed of the kingdom is the Word of God (Mark 4:14-20). But it is only in our obedience that we bear fruit. We can only bear fruit when we abide in the Word (John 15:4, 7). The Word produces life when we act in obedience to its truth (John 6:63).
The Word of God is the source of knowledge and life but only for those who practice its precepts.
“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers shall be justified” Romans 2:13.
At best, our knowledge of the Word is superficial, if we do not walk according to its commands. Our justification hinged on our “doing” what the word says.
The Rock is Jesus Christ
Jesus is the Rock, the only foundation on which our lives must be built (1 Corinthians 10:4; Deuteronomy 32:4; Ephesians 2:20-22). He is the Divine Word, the Logos of God (John 1:1; Revelation 19:13). If we build our house, or our lives, on Him, we will not have to fear the storms of life which will come our way.
Although other foundation for confidence toward God, and a hope of eternal life, can no man lay than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11); yet we pretend in vain to build on Him, if we do not obey His doctrine, and make it the rule of our whole conduct.
When we put what we hear into practice, when we submit ourselves to the ordinance of the Word, when we live and walk in them, we are building on the Rock which is Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our foundation will be tested
Notice in the parable that both builders faced the same situations: the rains came, the flood arose, the wind blew, the house was buffeted. One house stood firm but one fell. Every man’s house will be tested to determine the strength of its foundation (James 1:2-4, 12; Proverbs 17:3; 1 Peter 4:12-19; 1 Peter 1:7).
We must build our house on the rock because we are living in a world of sin, where situations and troubles will arise from time to time.
If we are building our lives on Christ, we, through Him, will overcome (John 16:33) because He is always there to help us in time of need. He is a present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46; Isaiah 41:10; Philippians 4:6-7).
When the wind of sickness or lack, rejection or persecution comes our way and beats upon our house; we will not be easily shaken because our house is built upon the Rock.
Whatever harsh situation life throws at us, when they beat against our soul, we will stand firm, because our strong foundation is Jesus Christ (Job 23:10; James 1:3; Romans 5:3-4).
The world we live in is in trouble! There is so much that is going wrong but Paul in Ephesians 5:15-16 exhorts us to “Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise…”
God wants us to actively take action to live wisely. It is to our advantage to stop wasting time and intentionally live a life that is pleasing to God.
Don’t let the distraction around you lead you astray. Be focused on living your life on purpose. Put aside those obstacles that will cause you to be distracted from God and His Word. Be focused on building your house on the rock by applying its teachings to your life.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).