“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will like him to a wise man………Matthew 7:24

“But everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man ……”  Matthew 7:26

It is understandable given the wonderful picturesque nature of Jesus Christ’s illustration, that we often focus our energy, as we look at this passage, on the concept of the completed houses located on the sand or the rock.  Yet I have purposefully not included that in either of the two quotes because I don’t want to focus on the end result; in other words, that which is built.  What I think is also important to explore is the method and effort with which the house is constructed.

For what we have is two builders.  They have a goal and that goal is to build a house and we will assume the house is for their own use.  It is not particularly important in this case, and we can’t be sure, whether the houses that are being built are of the exact same physical construction; both brick, same number of rooms, etc.  The reason that it is not important is, that no matter how strong the outward appearance of the home and/or the materials they are built from, the location is what will make all the difference in the end.  It is vitally important we do not get this confused with the fairytale where what the houses are made of is of primary focus; that somehow a very solidly built house on sand can survive.   Jesus is very clear the houses, regardless of their construction, will fail or survive based solely on their location.

So what goes into the decision on where to build?  Does Jesus Christ say that it is based on an extensive experience in building?  Does He say that one must acquire enough resources to purchase the better location?  No.  It all starts with the basic premise, that Jesus Christ’s words must be heard.  It is as if there is no reason to even contemplate building without having heard the words of Christ.  Those words are the construction plans.  They are the blueprints for the house; and in this case we can metaphorically expand the illustration from a physical structure, to encompass the building of our lives.  Also note that at this point, both builders are equal; for they have both heard the words of Jesus Christ.  So in actuality, they both have the potential to have successful construction projects.

Thus having the same plans, what causes one to fail (and great is its fall) and the other to succeed?  What is the impact of the hearing  makes all the difference(for those who think this is going to devolve into a theology of works; please hang in there until the end) .  Jesus Christ, in essence is stating; that you are in my physical presence and hearing me speak is of lessor importance.  What is of greater importance is; what impact does hearing these words make in your life.  Even if you leave me and ponder the words; as words that come from a “good man” but decide that they don’t or shouldn’t have any impact to what you believe and then do, then feel the grains beneath your feet.  If, however, in hearing these words, you understand that they come from the Only Begotten Son of God, that they, on the one hand, humbly convict you or your insufficiency to live a life separated from Christ, and on the other hand, provide you with the hope of faith and love given by Our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, then stomp down and feel the strength of an eternally solid foundation beneath your feet.

For those who might see this as primacy of, it is my acts (the doing) that matters, I would ask you to go back to the hearing of Jesus Christ’s words.  Because those words begin with faith, love, humility, reverence, repentance, to start with.  That those words lead to actions is true; but, the foundation is built on the spirit first.

Two final concepts.  First, which do we think is easier to build on.  I’ve lived near a beach most of my life and sand castles, even very elaborate ones can be built in a reasonable short time and with a fairly easy amount of effort.  I have also lived in places where there is granite rock sticking out of the soil.  I’ve never even tried to build a rock castle.  Jesus Christ never hides the truth that following Him is not easy.  Finally, notice when the difference between these locations become known.  In good weather; nice sunny days, these two locations may look completely equal.  In fact, some might even to prefer to build and live at that sandy location.  But be absolutely assured of this; rain will come.  In life there will be difficulties.  There will be times when we all will be tested by the elements.  There will be time when the enemy; like a flood, will bring his power against us.  If all we have built for ourselves to rely on, is our own intelligence, our own strength, only a belief in ourselves; we will fall!  And great will be that fall.  But we can take heart and be of joy.  For we have been freely given both the Word of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit; that we may be led to both hear and then do.

Dear Father, You have blessed us by giving us Your Son’s words through the Holy Bible.  May it be that we take time daily, search out those words.  Yet Dear Father, we ask that You would help us not just to hear; but to write those Sacred words on our hearts; that we would become faithful, devoted doers of those words.  That in so doing, we will withstand whatever floods may rage against us and having come through those storms; give thanksgiving to You and Bless Your Most Holy Name. In Jesus Christ Name we Pray.

Amen.

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