Did Jesus teach that people who build their life on the foundation of his teaching would be spiritually impregnable? I’ve taught that many times. And it makes sense. But as I’ve been examining these verses more closely I’ve changed my mind. Here’s what Jesus said:
“But let me tell you what the person is like who hears and obeys me. He is like a wise man who dug deep down to the rock to lay the foundation for a house he was building. The rains came and the floodwaters rose and the wind howled and the storm battered that house. But it stood firm. It didn’t collapse, because its foundation was firmly planted on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25; Luke 6:47-48).
Our Strong Foundation
The foundation Jesus told us to build on included more than his words. Just as a foundation made of only cement, only gravel or only sand would be weak and unstable, so would a life built only on the words of Jesus. At first glance that sounds heretical. But think through what the Lord said. If you put cement, gravel and sand together and mix with water, you’ve got concrete–a strong material-strong enough to support a house. Similarly, if you add together the words of Christ, a listening ear and an obeying heart–you’ve got a strong foundation upon which to build your life. A life no storm can shake.
Hearing Isn’t Enough
Knowing the words of Christ isn’t enough. Indeed, Jesus repeatedly condemned the religious leaders of his day for diligently studying and teaching the Word of God but failing to listen and obey what they heard. In fact, after telling the parable of the wise builder Jesus told of the foolish builder. He’s the person who hears the teaching of Jesus but fails to obey him. He built his house on sand, without a foundation. When the same storm encountered by the wise builder hit his home, it collapsed, “completely ruined.”
“Completely ruined” are the last two words Jesus spoke from the Mountain. The final two words of the greatest sermon ever. You have never heard, nor will you ever hear, a sermon with the brilliance of this one–given by a man in his early thirties.
“Completely ruined.” And then he said no more. However, he spent the rest of his life giving snippets of the sermon as he traveled. I suspect it’s the message carried by his disciples as they declared The Kingdom of God.
Why would Jesus end his sermon on such a negative note? I’m not sure–nobody is sure because it’s not included in the story–but my thought is that he wanted people to realize the seriousness of the choice. What will you build your life on? Obedience to the words of Jesus and stability through storms. Disobedience to the words of Jesus and you’ll be completely ruined.
I’d like to continue this train of thought but this has to be posted so it will go out on time. I’ve been reading the Gospels for over 100 consecutive months and I just memorized the Sermon on the Mount. I tell you that to tell you this: I never get bored repeatedly reading the same story. The deeper the Lord draws me the deeper I want to go. And I want others beside me. If you’re not reading the Gospels daily, I pray you’ll give it a try. The Lord Jesus Christ, our King, will himself speak to you and show you himself.