Matthew 7:24-29

This is our fortieth occasion to examine Jesus’ words in His Sermon on the Mount.  And, taking the entire ten months as one, it has been a truly remarkable event.  On occasion we’ve reacted as Matthew says Jesus’ first hearers did.  Look at verse twenty-eight - they were astonished at His teaching.

He was teaching them as One having “exousia.”  You remember during Jesus’ teaching on prayer He said pray this way:  “give us this day our “epiousia” bread – our “over-being” bread.  Now Jesus is described as One having “exousia.”  The word, in its basic meaning is “from being.”  Or “out of being.”  With a little flesh put on it, it would indicate the one at the beginning from Whom all being originates!  And, of course, as a result, all other authorities are derived authorities, since there is only One from whom all others come!

And it is the Lord Jesus Christ – the second person of the Triune God – without Whom nothing was made that was made.  He is the One at Whose words the crowd was astonished, for He was teaching them as One Who had “exousia” – original “exousia.”  Or, The One from the beginning from Whom all others come, and, therefore, the One with authority.

This is the One Who had just said, as He Himself was overcoming the ravages of sin and death in human illness, “Repent, for the Kingdom is at hand.”  And this is the One Who had just said to John the Baptizer – “It is for us now to fulfill all righteousness!”  He was referring, of course, to the sealing of the elect and the condemnation of the others in His Own baptism!

And this is the One – the One of authority – Who has pronounced blessings on all Who are in Him and have His character, in the passage called the beatitudes.  And this is the One Who said, to only a few other men, “You are going to permeate all the rest of society and give it savor.  You will also be its light!”

And this is the One who condemned Pharisaical and Scribal interpretations of the Law, and Who expounded it as only its Author could!  And this is the One Who has required the mortification of the flesh, the putting away of the ego, in all religious duties, such as giving, and praying, and fasting – and turning away from self - to God the Father and giving Him all the glory!

And this is the One Who has given His disciples the clue to the recognition of all false prophets, and Who has described Himself as the Judge of all of those prophets!

And, finally, this is the One, here in verse twenty-four of our text, Who says, “Each one therefore who is hearing these My Words and is doing them shall be made like a wise man….”

“Many will say – Lord, Lord, I preached in Your Name!  I did many miracles in Your Name!  I cast out devils in Your name!  I built mighty churches in Your Name – denominations came out of my work in Your Name!  Hospitals and nursing homes and orphanages and anti-abortion protests were done in Your Name!”

“Each one who is hearing and doing these My Words, shall be like a wise man….”  These My Words … there’s the criteria, or standard - the Words of God.  “Many will say Lord, Lord… but anyone hearing and doing these My Words….”

As with the rest of the Words of God men can’t respond.  They hear but don’t hear.  And they respond but don’t obey.  Because men are lifeless!

But the Word Made Flesh – CAME!  And He is life!  When the Mighty Warrior-King conquers, men are put to death – mortified – and when they die they are made alive!  And one who has been slaughtered by the King – put to death in the Lamb of God – and who has been raised to life in Him doesn’t merely comply with the outward requirements of the Words of the King!  The Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day were supposed to be the leaders and teachers of the people.  But they were only pretenders.  They were rapacious wolves.  They ripped and tore and scattered the people – and they left them with no foundation – for they weren’t hearing and doing… “These My Words.”

Jesus came to do the will of His Father.  And in John chapter six – one among many which tell us what the Father’s will is – He says, “And this is the Will of My Father, that every one who sees the Son and faiths in Him shall have eternal life!”  And hearing and doing the Words of Jesus is faithing!  A whole life of faithing.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  And anyone who faiths in Him has been mortified and raised up to live!

And that’s exactly what Jesus means when He says, here in verse twenty-four, “Each one therefore who is hearing these My Words and is doing them shall be made like a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”  Now, your King James translation, along with some others, translates “shall be likened to a man….”  But that just gives the impression that a man hearing and doing Jesus’ Words is compared to a wise man!  “Likened to” is the same as “compared to”?

But that’s not what the text says at all.  The text is clearly passive, and the words read – “Each one who is hearing these My words and is doing them shall be made like a wise man….”

You see, not only is the Word of the King the criteria for judging the verity of every prophet – and not only is the Word of the King that by which we hear and do, but the Words of the King are also the effecting cause of men being made alive! – and the effecting cause of men being made wise!  Our Lord Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is truth, His Word is truth – and it is by this truth that men receive this truth and are, indeed, made truthful!  The Word of the King makes men live, and It makes men wise!

“Each one hearing these My Words and is doing them shall be made – like a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”  Now, even though Jesus’ father was a carpenter, and even though Jesus was, more than likely, familiar with every aspect of carpentry, we still don’t have to interpret this saying as if He was speaking in generic building terms!  In other words, Jesus isn’t saying that houses should always be built on rocks!  This isn’t a passage where you can develop big stories having to do with building.  That’s not the point.  Engineering’s not the point.

Jesus doesn’t say that houses should be built on rocks; He says that one who hears and does His Words is made like a man who built his house on the rock!  In other words Jesus is letting us know that He has a specific rock in mind – not just any generic rock!  And that the Rock about which He’s speaking is in apposition to every other building site!  Because every other site is shifting sand – every other site!

Of course the reference point is the huge rock – hundreds of feet thick and emerging from the ground at the highest point in Jerusalem.  This is the site that Solomon chose to build the temple of the Living God.  And it came to be known as the temple rock.  The eternal, immovable rock – the place where Jahveh made His glory known, the place of the sacrifice, the greatest place in all of the world!  The temple of God was eternal and it was built on a rock which could not be moved!  And, as Jesus was speaking of building on “the Rock,” each and every Jew knew exactly what He was referring to!  And every Jew also was aware of the Old Testament prophecy of the living stone Who was to be the foundation of the New Temple!

You see, the old city of Jerusalem was a foreshadowing of the new City of God.  The Old Covenant people was a foreshadowing of the body of Christ.  The old temple was a foreshadowing of the New Temple.  And the temple rock was a clear prefiguring of the Rock which is Christ!

As the apostle Peter says in his first letter, the corner-stone is precious to those who are faithing, but, to those who aren’t, He is the Rock of offense!

And He was the Rock of offense to many!  He even told the Jews that their temple was going to be destroyed – and another one built on a real, immovable Rock!  And that was sheer blasphemy to those who believed that the temple was forever and the temple rock was its foundation!

Here was a simple carpenter from the mixed-race city of Nazareth telling the Scribes and Pharisees of God’s people that no stone was going to be left on another one, and that their immovable and eternal city would be destroyed in this generation, and that their temple was not the eternal temple they thought it was, and that He, Jesus, was the cornerstone upon which the new Temple would be built!  “I will build the new Temple!”

And, then, every one who faithed in these His Words would be made like a man who built his house on the Rock!

Since He is the stone upon which the New Temple of God is built, and since it is upon His exousia – His authority – that His Words go out to build the New Temple upon the real Rock, every one who hears and does the Words is made wise like a man who builds his house on “The Rock.”

The figure, of course, means that if you hear and do the Words of Christ, then you’ll be made wise like the man who builds his house on the Rock – which is Christ!

God’s Will is that all of His elect people faith in His Son to eternal life.  And faithing in the Son is hearing and doing His Words.  And hearing and doing His Words is faithing in objective truth and subjectively doing it!

And then, what we have next, verse twenty-five, is a highly dramatic description of what happens to one who hears and does the Words of Christ – the roof, sides and foundation are all tested to the very limit!  “And the rain came down and the torrents came and the winds blew and they beat against that house and it did not fall for it had been founded upon the rock.”

Each one who hears the Words of Christ and does them will be made like this, now.  And when the winds and rain and flooding torrents of false doctrine come from the false prophets, these will not be moved off of the foundation which is the true temple Rock!

There are a couple of things which you must see clearly here:

·        First, hearing and doing the Words of Jesus is obedience to Jesus Himself.  And that is the essence of wisdom! 

·        Secondly, Jesus is the Word made flesh.  And the Words of Jesus and Jesus Himself are both viewed here as immovable Rock.  It is the doctrinal integrity of the Speech of Christ upon which life is built – life which cannot be moved by the winds of doctrine!  Christ is Way, Truth and Life! – And His speech is the Word of life. 

The exact opposite is to be said of the false prophet.  His word is the word of death.  He is a rapacious wild beast.  And he has a voracious appetite for ripping and tearing and killing.  And he pretends to speak for Christ Whose words make men wise to build their houses upon immovable Rock!

·        Thirdly:  please, please, please see that the house did not stand because it was built well.  It stood through the winds and torrent of false doctrine because it was built upon the Rock!  It was built on the Words of God the Son!  The false prophet can’t be recognized if the man puts his faith in the building, or in his ability to build the building – the false prophet is recognized, and the torrents of false doctrine withstood, only because of the Rock.  “Hearing and doing these My Words”!


In verse twenty-six, one simple change and the outcome is completely different, isn’t it?  “Every one hearing these My Words and not doing them….”  “…shall be made like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  And the rain came down and the torrents came and the winds blew and they beat against that house and it fell; and its falling was great.”

There was no doing.  The doing failed to follow the hearing.  And no matter how sensible men appear to be in business, politics, friendships, and community endeavors – if they don’t do the Words of Jesus then they are dull, ignorant, blind, foolish men.

We are held responsible for knowing the Lord Jesus Christ in all His Power and glory from the exultant revelation of Creation!  But after hearing Jesus Words – the Word Himself made flesh – and we still proceed to build a life on something else other than the Rock, then it is inexcusable foolishness!  It is criminal folly, and it belies common sense!  To think of building one’s whole life on something that shifts rather than on the Rock which cannot be moved! – And everything else shifts!

How ridiculously foolish it must seem to those who know anything at all about building that one would go out and build a house without a foundation!  And that’s exactly what Jesus means here!  The wise man builds his life on the Word of the Rock – which is Christ.  But the foolish man builds his life without any foundation at all!  It just shifts! – Like sand!  There’s no foundation described here in the text!

And this false prophet comes – and life shifts over there.  And another false prophet arrives on the scene – and life shifts over here!  And there’s a terrible crash of the house.  And another rapacious wolf comes around and shows him another building site.  And the whole process starts again.  “And it fell...” Jesus says.  The highest tragedy – being torn apart by wild beasts – being led into false doctrine by animals who look harmless.

The word which Jesus uses here indicates that it fell at the beginning of the beating – not like the word He used up in verse twenty-five, which indicates that the beating went on and on and on.  This house fell at the beginning.  There was no foundation.  Jesus said there was utter ruin.

In describing the reaction to Jesus’ teaching, Matthew uses a very strong word in verse twenty-eight.  Maybe “dumbfounded” is a good one to use.  In other words, when Jesus finished there was deep silence – amazement – Rapt attention while He was teaching, then…silence.  The Man and His Word were overwhelming.  Truly this was the Son of God speaking with exousia – original authority.

The Will of the Father is that all of His Own people see the Son and faith in Him for life.  Hear the Words of God the Son and do them – and you will be made like the wise man who built his house upon the Rock….