Matthew 7:24-29


“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”


Concluding remarks of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount


“Let’s open our Bibles to Matthew chapter 7, we’ll be looking at verses 24-29.  Jesus speaks of two ways to build your life, two ways to build your life.  I think it’s very important to realize that the one who speaks here is the one who will judge how someone has built their life.  Jesus says in verses 24-29, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine, and acts upon them may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock.  And the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew, and burst against that house, and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine, and does not act upon them will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand, and the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house, and it fell, and great was its fall.  The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitude were amazed at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”  Jesus teaches here at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount how we ought to build our lives.  And he says, ‘Hey, there’s two ways, there’s two foundations upon which you can build.  You can build upon a foundation of rock, or you can build upon a foundation of sand, you can build wisely or you can build foolishly.  You will determine how you build, I won’t force you to build one way or the other.  I’ll give you the blueprint though.  I’ll tell you how you ought to do it.  But your work will be tested, and you’ll either suffer great loss, or you will see your house, your life stand.’


Jesus speaks with authority, not like the scribes of his day, nor like some pastors today who never get into the Word of God or teach from it.


Jesus taught the people in a way that was authoritative.  He didn’t just preach opinions, he didn’t preach what he thought, he didn’t preach quoting constantly from other people.  There’s nothing wrong with occasionally saying ‘I think this might be’, or quoting someone [like other spiritual giants of the past, Spurgeon, John Wesley, D.L. Moody etc.] to substantiate something that you’re teaching or saying.  However, the method of the scribes and the religious leaders was to consistently, constantly quote from other rabbis, and never really get to the Word of God.  [Sort of like the pastors in your older denominations which are spiritually dying out.]  It was like everybody was afraid to actually say what the Word of God said.  And so they would quote someone who was quoting someone who was quoting someone.  ‘As rabbi so and so says, as rabbi so and so says’, and people wanted to know ‘What’s the truth?’.  ‘Well, you know one rabbi said this, but on the other hand it could be this, but on the other hand…’.  And the people were just tired of that, ‘But what is the truth!?’  I think today, though we’re living in a culture where there is a desire for everybody in some segments to want to do whatever they want to do, and yet I think there’s still a desire in the hearts of most people to want know what’s right and what’s wrong.  Surveys still show that most people think that the Big sins are still wrong, adultery, murder, stealing, these things.  Now whether or not they practice what they believe is another thing.  But they still believe those things are wrong, and they still believe other things are right.  And yet the Church is coming into a stage right now where the Church sort of wants to market truth.  [By Church, Pastor Martin is referring to the majority of older denominations as well as a lot of your more recent evangelical mega-churches, they’re big on modern marketing practices.]  We want to speak the truth in such a way that nobody is ever offended, and you know, speaking the truth in love, and speaking the truth in a spirit of fear and compromise are two different things.  We have to learn how to speak the truth in love, and we should always speak the truth in love.  And yet we still have to keep speaking the truth.  And it’s not always popular, it’s not fun necessarily to speak the truth especially if it could alienate somebody, or make them feel less than the best about you.  But you have to remember that if somebody doesn’t like the truth, it’s not that they don’t like you, they don’t like the truth.  So, the people were impressed with Jesus’ teaching because Jesus would teach them as one who had authority.  Of course he is the Word of God [cf. John 1:1-14, and he is Yahweh, John 8:58-59, Exodus 3:13-14], and so his words were the Word of God.  And yet we see him as a model for us today, that when we speak to people concerning the Lord, we don’t have to say ‘I think’, we can say ‘God says.’  We don’t have to say ‘Well in my opinion’, we can say ‘This is what God says.’  And we don’t have to say ‘Well, it could be this or it could be that, or it could be this…’, that drives me nuts, frankly.  Because I think God’s people need to be shepherds in this world, directing, leading, not confusing and clouding issues even more. 


Two ways to build your house, upon rock or sand


There are two foundations, two ways that we can build, upon sand, which sinks, and upon rock.  Now, we’ve said this before, and I think you’ll be able to relate to this, that the geography of Israel is very much like the geography here in Arizona.  Those of you who are hearing this that live in Arizona, you understand then very well what Jesus is saying.  Because if you go out into the desert and you see these rocky places that are sort of flat, you could imagine a house built on that flat rocky plateau, and you think 'Alright’, you know, if you built onto that you’d sort of dovetail the foundation into that, and you would have a house that would stand.  But, you might say ‘That’s a little bit of work, it would be easier to go find a nice flat spot in The Wash and build there.  [laughter]  And I know the crowd laughed when Jesus taught this, because they were sitting right there, and he was probably pointing out a rocky spot and the wash-like place, and he was saying ‘Look, you can build two ways, you can build on two types of places.  Where are you going to build, how are you going to do this?  The easy way is to not mess with a foundation, really, and just build on the sand.  The more difficult way, takes more time and effort and thought, precision, is to build upon the rock, the real foundation.’  Now you know from the outward appearance, both houses can look exact, they can look just alike.  In fact, the one on the sand could even look nicer, maybe it’s a two-story, maybe it’s got large wings on either side.  But who wants to live in a house that when it rains it gets washed away?  You could have thousands and thousands and thousands of square footage in your house, but if it all goes down the drain, so to speak, you’d probably rather live in a smaller one on the rock that you’d still have after the last rainstorm.  So Jesus says “Everyone who hears these words of mine, and acts upon them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew and burst against the house and it didn’t fall.  We are called to build wisely.  I don’t know why I’m leaning to acronyms in the last few weeks, but bear with me as I give you just one more.  I want to look at how to construct our houses, our lives, so that they last and stand the test.  And I want to use the acronym, build, B.U.I.L.D.


“B”, “Believe on Jesus Christ”


First of all we need to Believe on Jesus Christ.  I mean, this is foundational.  We need to understand that before you can even think about doing anything in terms of building your house, you need to believe on Christ.  The Bible says “Unless the Lord builds the house”, Psalm 127:1a, “they do labor in vain who build it.”  The reason why so many lives are falling apart is because they have not been founded on Jesus Christ.  You don’t have a chance in this world apart from Christ.  You are simply, you are waiting to be devastated, you are just waiting to be destroyed, you need the protection of Jesus Christ, you need a foundation in your life.  He is the Rock upon which you have to build your life.  [And it’s not well known or realized by the world in general, but the God of the Old Testament, Yahweh, was the Rock Moses and all the Fathers and Prophets of God built their lives on, he was the Rock upon which the nation of Israel was originally founded upon, and married to.  And this same Yahweh was the one was born by virgin birth as Jesus Christ.  So Christ is the Rock of the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments.  The whole Bible, you might say, is about Jesus Christ, the Rock we found our lives upon, just as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and all the other prophets did, just as the 12 apostles and Paul did, as well as the whole early Church.  The whole Bible is really about Jesus, Yahweh-shua, Yeshua.]  You wonder, ‘Why are things falling apart?  It’s because you’re not built on Christ.  It’s so unwise, it’s so utterly foolish, that’s what Jesus calls it.  A life apart from him is foolish.  And you look at where you are right now, and you look at where you want to be, and you’ll never get there apart from Jesus Christ.  Why is it everybody wants a happy family, everybody wants to have peace in their life, everybody wants to know that they’re going to be in the kingdom of heaven for eternity when they die, everybody wants to have their guilt removed and their sins forgiven, they all want that.  But they want it apart from Christ.  You can’t have it apart from Christ.  It’s through Christ that a home is built, a marriage can be built, it’s through Christ that sins can be forgiven, it’s through Jesus Christ that you have peace within.  It’s through Jesus Christ that you can know that if you were to die, tonight, you would go to be with the Lord, in heaven.  You can’t find that any other way.  You can’t hope for it any other way.  And you can’t take short-cuts and say ‘Well, you know, maybe if I try to build on some other kind of foundation.’  They will shift on you, crack on you, and ultimately destroy you.  We’ve all seen the homes in Southern California, built on the hillsides, and when the rains come and the soil begins to be soaked with the water from the rains, and it begins to slide, and we’ve all seen like sections of those homes just slide down the mountain, and you can see into the house.  Maybe not the whole house falls down, but half of the house cracks, and now you have a split-level [laughter].  Or we have a tri-level.  “How’d you get it?’  ‘Well the last rainstorm.’  That’s a sad way to get one.  And we don’t want you walking around your life that way, cracked, split, broken because you’re not on the right foundation.  ‘Oh you may think I’ve got such a great view from up here, oh it’s so nice up here.’  But you know, I would much rather be built on a safe place and not lose everything, than built on a place like that.  Can you imagine how it must be, you’re sleeping, it’s raining outside, and all of a sudden you feel yourself sliding [laughter] down the hill.  I mean, that is not a fun way to wake up.  And what will it take you to wake up to the fact that you need to build your life on Christ?  Some tragedy?  A broken marriage?  The breakup of your home?  A tragedy of some kind in your life?  A great loss?  God forbid, I don’t want to see that have to happen to you for you to come to the point where you realize Christ is who I need.  [Now all those things can and do happen to born-again Christians who have Christ in their lives and the foundation of their lives, and it is that very foundation which, who, enables them to withstand such trials, and in the peace of God, displaying the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.  Trials do happen to believers.]  I think you know that.  Just like people in those days knew you need to build on the rock.  I mean, come on, do you think they didn’t know that?  They did it for the economics of it, they did it because it was the easy way out, they built on sand because they were lazy.  The Bible says ‘What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but loses his own soul?’  So believe on Jesus Christ, that’s the starting place.  “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor are laboring in vain.”


“U”, “Understand storms will come”


 And then, you understand storms will come.  We do not have any kind of immunity from the storms.  Understand that the storms of life come to everybody’s house.  Because you’re a believer doesn’t mean that there’s a little bubble of protection around your house and no rain is ever going to fall on your house.  Everybody’s house is going to be tested.  The Bible says that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.  Everybody is going to have the storms of life hit their house.  The difference is, what happens to your house when the storms hit.  How do you respond?  How do you react?  What’s going to happen to your life when the storms hit?  They can be the storms of loss, they can be the storm of temptation, it can be the storm of devastating grief, it can be the storm of economic loss.  There’s a lot of things that can hit your life that can be stormy.  If your house is built on Christ, it’ll stand.  But what you need to understand is that because you’re serving the Lord, because you love the Lord, there’s no protection policy on you that says you’re not going to have any trouble.  You may have more.  But that’s OK, your house is going to stand.  You’re not going to get washed away.  But it will be tested.  And you know the purpose of God’s testing your house is not to blow it away, it’s to show it off, to say ‘I built this house.’  Remember, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it are laboring in vain.”?  Well, the Lord has built your house, and then he wants to show it off.  ‘Hey, see what I’ve done.  Isn’t this neat?’   It really can’t be appreciated until it’s tested a little.  And then when it’s really tested, the Lord gets the glory.  So understand that you don’t have immunity from the storms.  Storms will come. 


“I”, “Inspect the way you’re building”


“I”, Inspect the way you’re building right now.  Every believer here should do a little inspection.  [cf. II Corinthians 13:5-6, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?---unless indeed you are disqualified.  But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.”]  And you know, if you were to build today in some place in the city, the city building inspectors would come and they would, you know, at different phases of the building, would come in and inspect electrical, inspect the foundation, the framing, they come and they have to put their approval on it.  Ask the Lord to inspect your life, ask the Lord to show you if there’s any way that you’re building that is off the foundation, if there’s something not squared with his plan.  “Search me O Lord, try me O God, see if there be any wicked way in me.”  Lord, I want you to try me, I want you to test me, I want to know if I’m going off base.  If I’m building a whole wing that’s not on the foundation, what’s going to happen when the storm hits?   Is it going to be a whole bunch of my house that’s going to go down the river?  I don’t want to do that.  I want it to be up here where it belongs, Lord, on the Rock.  So the Lord wants us to begin by believing in Jesus Christ. Understanding the storms will come, inspecting the way that we’re building. [1st Corinthians 10:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”  Here Paul identifies Christ as the God of Israel, Yahweh, and calls him the Rock who is supposed to be our foundation.]


“L”, “Learn the things that please the Lord”


And then, learn, “L” is for learn the things that please the Lord.  Look at 2nd Corinthians chapter 5, the Scriptures give us an exhortation here, and this is towards the end of an exhortation, he simply says “try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”  That’s the desire of every Christian.  2nd Corinthians chapter 5, verse 9 says “Whether in the body or absent from the body, we have as our ambition to be pleasing to the Lord.”  As Christians, our ambition is to want to please Christ, we want to walk with the Lord, we want to please him in all that we do.  Learn what pleases the Lord.  That’s where our daily Bible study comes in.  That’s where spending time with him (in prayer) comes in.  What do you want me to do, Lord, in my life?  How do you want me to respond to the truths that I’m learning?  How can I put what I am hearing into practice.  Learn what he likes.  It’s sort of like the builder looks at the architect’s plans and he does what he sees.  I mean, what if your builder went crazy and he says ‘I don’t care what the architect wants here, I’m going to do what I want.’?  ‘No, no, I paid the architect, I got together with the architect, we decided this is what we wanted to do, he drew up the plans, I paid him a whole lot of money to do that, now you’re doing that over there, you can’t do that!’  No, that isn’t the way it works.  We follow the architects plans, and as we build our houses we follow the Lord’s plans.  ‘What pleases you, Lord?’  ‘Well I designed it all here, and it’s right here.  Here’s the drawings in the Word, in the Word.’  So the Word of God not only contain  the plans, but as we saw earlier it’s the square, the inspection process of our lives, we put the Word of God up to our lives and we say ‘Lord, try me, test me, is there anything that’s off-center here, is there anything that doesn’t align with you Lord?  I want it to be in order, and Lord I want to learn what is pleasing to you.’


“D”, “I want to do what you say”


And “D”, I want to do what you say.  I want to do what you say, going back Matthew chapter 7, verse 24, Jesus says “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts upon them may be compared to a wise man, who builds his house upon the rock.”  Everyone who hears these words, and what!?  Acts upon them!  The foolish man, however, is the one who hears these words, verse 26, and does not act upon them.  I mean, how stupid.  If Christ really told you “This is the way of life.”  If Jesus Christ could appear right now to us and he could say “Church, people, friends, let me tell you how to live.”  We would listen, our ears would ring with the truth, and we would walk out of it, ‘Man!  Jesus just spoke to us, Whoa, I’m going to do this!’  I guarantee you, your lives would be different, our lives would be different, because we would be saying ‘Jesus Christ just spoke to us, we just heard his voice, we just saw him, etc.’  The thing is, Jesus Christ is speaking to us through his Word.  He has just shared from chapters 5, 6 and 7, we’ve read his sermon on how to live, how to his disciples live.  And he says now “Everyone who hears these words of mine”, the context is this sermon--- [from the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12, through Jesus’ discourse on the spiritual Law of Christ, Matthew 5:17-48, through his instructions on how to pray, and how to and not to fast and give alms, Matthew 6:1-23.  Where to place your faith, and what to seek, the kingdom of God, Matthew 6:25-34.  How to judge righteous judgment, and how not to, Matthew 7:1-12, beware of false prophets, and how to detect, recognize them, Matthew 7:15-23, and that is what Jesus is telling us in Matthew 7:24-29.]---everyone who hears this sermon that I have been preaching, and acts upon these words, is like a wise person who builds a house on a solid foundation.  And when the tests come, this person’s house is going to stand.  You know what, it doesn’t mean that your house isn’t going to creak some, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to feel some drafts going through it.  It doesn’t even mean that there aren’t going to be some shingles flying off.  I’ve known some pretty precious brothers and sisters that have been tested in big ways, very severely.  And you know what?  They’re standing strong.  The waters hit, doesn’t even say the house wouldn’t be flooded a bit.  But when those waters recede and the winds cease, the house is left standing.  Maybe some repair-work needed to be done afterwards, but the house is standing.  I know some of you right now, the winds are blowing, the waters are raging, you’re wondering ‘Will my house stand?’.  Let me encourage you, my brothers and my sisters, that your house is going to stand, because it is built upon Christ, it is built upon the blue-print, you have followed the Lord, you have let the Lord search you and try you.  That can be an awful process.  It’s like God’s walk-through experience.  Ever buy a new home, and have the walk-through, and every little thing that’s wrong gets pointed out.  Well sometimes you may feel extra-scrutinized, but you know it’s just because God wants to show you off that much more.  He’s getting ready to really move in and do something great. 


Others have built on sand


But there are others of you here, who are experiencing storms, and I’m not sure your house will stand, because you’re not built upon Jesus Christ.  You have built like so many others, upon whatever was handy.  And it may be because you didn’t know any better.  But ignorance will not change the result which is disaster.  You can’t say to a flood, ‘You can’t destroy my house because I didn’t know any better.’  You can’t say to the storm, ‘Please don’t rain on my house, because my house can’t take this.’  What you need to do, you must abandon that place and allow the Lord Jesus Christ to build a new place for you.  How foolish it would be going back to our earlier analogy of the homes that are sliding down the mountain, how foolish it would be to insist on living in that house any longer.  It’s perilous, it’s dangerous, it could lead to death.  Those places have to be abandoned.  I’ve seen houses in the northern California coast that were built right on the cliffs of the coast, and the cliffs have eroded to the point that parts of the houses have fallen away.  Other houses, the cliff is eroding underneath the foundation of the house, and the house is literally sticking out over the ocean!  I don’t want to go in there.  I mean, it’s straight down, it looks like a mile down, I don’t know how far it really is, but it looks like forever down there, to the rocks.  That’s the way your house is, that’s the way your life is, if it is not built on Jesus Christ.  Things are eroding, life eroding, and you’re tipping, and your life could just fall into disaster.  The end of that life is forever being separated from God.  There are two ways to build, either as a wise person, or as a fool.  Jesus is the one who someday we will stand before.  And he’s the one who will say ‘You built on me, come into the Kingdom.  You believed on me, come into the Kingdom.’  To others he will say ‘I’m sorry, you built on another foundation’, and the storm of judgment, the storm of God’s judgment day will wash you away, right into hell.  So, the only intelligent, wise thing to do, is to abandon the house on the cliff, to abandon the house that is sliding down the hill, and build on the Rock.  You can build on that Rock by placing your faith in Jesus Christ right now.  In just a moment I’m going to lead you in a prayer where you can invite Jesus Christ to become your Savior, you can believe in him, he will become your Savior, and your life will begin now to be built upon him.  Let’s pray…[How do you become a Christian?  Log onto and scroll almost to the end of the html page to the bolded paragraph title “How to become a Christian” and read from there to the end of the html page.  A prayer asking the Lord Jesus Christ into your life is within that short ending section.]  [transcript of a connective expository sermon covering Matthew 7:24-29, given Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church, 12612 N. Black Canyon Hwy., Phoenix, AZ 85029]


Building a ministry


Another related passage to look at for those building a Christian ministry, church, denomination, whatever.  Verses 1-5 explain that their congregation is still very carnal, composed of spiritual babes.  Verses 6-8 explain about the ministries within the Church, body of Christ, and their function, in a very general kind of way, and that it is God who blesses and gives the increase.  Verses 9-15 give the context that this is talking about building a ministry, not building the spiritual house of one’s own life in Christ,  and gives the warning of how to build that ministry.  First point being that Jesus Christ is to be the foundation of each and every ministry a person may build.  Without Jesus Christ as the foundation, the ministry is not of God.


1 Corinthians 3:1-5, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able: for you are still carnal.  For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?  For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?


Verses 5-8, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”


Be careful how you construct buildings, ministries for the Lord---remember Jesus Christ is to be the foundation for each one


Verses 9-15, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.  According to the grace of God which was given me, as a wise master builder I  have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.  But let each one take heed how he builds on it.  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 


Related links: 


How to build your foundation on the Rock, Jesus Christ:

Log on and scroll to paragraph title How to become a Christian and read from there to the end.