“Heeding Emmanuel” – Matthew 7:24-29

May 10th, 2015 (Mother’s Day)

Matthew 7:24-29   (Luke 6:48-49)

“Heeding Emmanuel”

 

Service Orientation: The ultimate storm, the Judgment of God, is coming.  Jesus wants you to build your life on the rock so you can weather every storm you must face.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. — Matthew 7:24-29

 

Background Information:

  • Entrance into the kingdom, then, does turn on obedience after all–not the obedience which earns merit points, but which bows to Jesus’ lordship in everything and without reservation. Such obedience necessarily blends with genuine repentance, making the two almost one.  Within this framework, the issue of obedience is everything.  The previous verses have just shown this to be so; and now Jesus draws the Sermon on the Mount to a close with a paragraph introduced by a telling “Therefore.”  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 140)
  • Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount by honestly attempting to frighten men and women into the kingdom, into salvation. You may not believe that a hell exists.  In that case, you may dismiss Jesus as a liar or a fool.  Alternatively, you may be so attached to your sin that even the threat of final and catastrophic judgment may not induce you to leave it.  But you will be foolish indeed if you simply accuse Jesus of frightening you into the kingdom.

The real issue is the truth behind Jesus’ words, the truth which prompts Jesus’ warning.  Either there is a hell to be shunned, or there is not.  If there is not, then Jesus’ entire credibility is shattered, for he himself speaks twice as often of hell as of heaven.  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 142)

  • Both of the men mentioned in this parable are builders, for to live means to build. Every ambition a man cherishes, every thought he conceives, every word he speaks, and every deed he performs is, as it were, a building block.  Gradually the structure of his life rises.  Not all builders are the same, however.  Some are sensible, some foolish.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 379)
  • Now the two builders also have this in common that both erect their house in a valley containing the bed of a water-course. During the dry season this bed is dry or nearly so, with the result that there is no harm to either house.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 379)
  • Jesus demonstrates familiarity with current building techniques in this parable, perhaps a reflection of his own training in his father’s trade as a carpenter (13:55). (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 327)
  • (v. 24) Since by means of what he says and commands he reveals his own heart, his very being, it is certainly also correct to say that, as far as the interpretation or spiritual meaning of the parable is concerned, Christ himself is the Rock (Isa 28:16, cf. 1 Pt 2:6; Rom 9:33; 1 Cor 3:11; 10:4). What is said about God as the believers’ Rock (Dt 32:15, 18; Ps 18:2; 89:26; and Isa 17:10) is also applicable to Christ.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 380)
  • (v. 25) In the OT, and also elsewhere in Jewish writings, the storm sometimes serves as a symbol for God’s judgment (see Ez 13:10ff.), especially God’s eschatological judgment; his final judgment. No power was more certain to evoke fear in pre-nuclear man than the unleashed fury of nature’s violence–the symbol was therefore apt.  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 141)
  • (vss. 25 & 27) What does He mean by the rain? I think He means things like illness, loss or disappointment, something going wrong in your life; something on which you were banking suddenly collapsing before your eyes; perhaps being let down by somebody else, or experiencing some grievous disappointment, a sudden change for the worse in your circumstances, or overwhelming grief and bereavement.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 568)
  • (vss. 25 & 27) But not only did the rain descend; our Lord tells us that the floods came and beat upon the house. I always think that this represents, in general, the world, using that term in its biblical sense, as meaning the worldly outlook, the worldly type of life.  Whether we like it or not and whether we are true believers or false, the world comes beating against this house of ours, hurling itself in its full flood tide against us.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 568-9)
  • (vss. 25 & 27) I tend to agree with those who would interpret the wind as being definite Satanic attacks. The devil has many different ways of dealing with us.  According to the Word of God, he can transform himself into an angel of light and quote Scripture.  He can tempt us through the world.  But sometimes he attacks us directly; he may hurl doubts and denials at us.  He will bombard us with foul, evil and blasphemous thoughts.  Read the lives of godly men of old, and you will find that they have been subjected to this kind of thing.  The devil makes violent attacks, trying to blow the house over, as it were, and the saints throughout the centuries have suffered from the power of this form of attack.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 569)
  • (v. 26) The Greek word used here is moro, from which we get moron. (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, 257)
  • (v. 29) Authority (exousia) has to do with power and privilege, and is a key word in Matthew’s presentation of Jesus’ kingship (9:1-8; 21:23-27; 28:18). In the NT it is used for the power that proves and reflects the sovereignty of Jesus.  The scribes quoted others to lend authority to their teachings, but Jesus quoted only God’s Word and spoke as the final authority on truth.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 488)
  • (v. 29) AUTHORITY = The right to impose obligations. — R.C. Sproul
  • The general meaning of the passage is, that true piety is not fully distinguished from its counterfeit, till it comes to the trial. (John Calvin, Commentaries, Vol. XVI, 370)

 

The question to be answered is . . . What does Jesus want us to consider as He wraps up His Sermon on the Mount?

 

Answer:  Because Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the World, God incarnate; He loves us far too much to see our lives built on a shaky foundation.  So He asks us to consider Who He is and heed His message.

 

The Word for the Day is . . .   Heed

 

What does Jesus want us to consider?:

I-  To heed and obey Jesus’ message is to wisely build your life on a solid rock foundation.  (Mt 7:24-25; see also: Ps 1; 40:2; 55:8; 62:1-2, 6-7; 95:1; Prv 10:25; 24:3; Lk 6:47-48; 8:18; 11:28; 21:19, 36; Jn 13:17; 2 Cor 1:21-24; Eph 4:10-16; 6:10-18; Jam 1:22-25)

 

Reader, if it be not strong upon thy heart to practice what thou readest, to what end dost thou read?  To increase thy own condemnation?  If thy light and knowledge be not turned into practice, the more knowing man thou art, the more miserable man thou wilt be in the day of recompense; thy light and knowledge will more torment thee than all the devils in hell.  Thy knowledge will be that rod that will eternally lash thee, and that scorpion that will for ever bite thee, and that worm that will everlastingly gnaw thee; therefore read, and labour to know, that thou mayest do, or else thou art undone for ever.  (Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 22)

 

Is there any word in which hearing and doing are summed up?  There is such a word, and that word is obedience.  Jesus demands our implicit obedience.  To learn to obey is the most important thing in life.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 292)

 

It’s not enough to belong to a religion.  You also have to put it into practice.

Religion is like a medicine.  You have to ingest it to combat the illness.  (The Dalai Lama)

 

At this point the record as given at the end of Luke 6 is particularly helpful.  There we are told that the wise man dug deep and laid a foundation for his house, whereas the foolish man did not dig at all, and did not trouble to lay a foundation.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 549)

 

II-  To ignore Jesus’ message is to foolishly build your life on a shaky foundation. (Mt 7:26-27; see also: Prv 1:20-33; 12:3, 7; Ez 13:1-16; Lk 6:49)

 

As both got on with their building, a casual observer would not have noticed any difference between them.  For the difference was in the foundations, and foundations are not seen.  Only when a storm broke, and battered both houses with great ferocity–‘rain on roof, river on foundation, wind on walls’–was the fundamental and fatal difference revealed.  For the house on the rock withstood the gale, while the house on the sand collapsed in irreparable ruin.  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 208-9)

 

Jesus says that the storms will reveal whether we have the true foundation or not.  His primary reference here is to the final judgment because in the OT and elsewhere in Jewish writings the storm serves as a symbol for God’s judgment (see, for example, Ez 13:11b).  The storm can also refer to life’s difficulties.  Sometimes a gracious, dark, hurling storm hits the house on the sand, and its owner finds out that he is lacking.  How tragic to find this out only in the final judgment.  Many will cry, “Lord, Lord” from beneath the rubble of their life’s house, and he will say, “I never knew you.”  How tragic!  (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount, 258)

 

What are the characteristics of the foolish man?  The first is that he is in a hurry.  Foolish people are always in a hurry; they want to do everything at once; they have no time to wait.  How often does Scripture warn us against this!  It tells us that the godly, righteous man “shall not make haste.”  He is never subject to flurry and excitement and hurry.  He knows God and he knows that the decrees and purposes and plan of God are eternal and immutable.  But the foolish man is impatient; he never takes time; he is always interested in shortcuts and quick results. . . At the same time, because he has that mentality, he does not trouble to listen to instructions:  he does not pay any attention to the rules that govern the construction of a house.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 549-50)

 

What are the characteristics of the merely nominal or pseudo-Christian?  We can divide them into general and particular.  In general, they are obviously the very things which we observed in the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  That is to say, he is foolish, hasty and superficial.  He does not believe very much in doctrine, or in understanding the Scriptures; he wants to enjoy Christianity without much trouble.  He cannot be bothered with all these doctrines and definitions, he is in a great hurry, and he is always impatient of instruction, and experience and guidance.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 556)

 

As the angel of death in Egypt passed by the blood-sprinkled homes of Israel’s children while slaughtering all the first-born in the rest, so the same judgment that harmlessly passes over the house that is founded upon the rock of Christ and His Word will utterly destroy the one that is built…upon the sand–which is anything other than Christ and His Word.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 485)

 

During a visit to England, I gave an address at a meeting attended by the eminent historian Paul Johnson, author of Modern Times.  At the end of my talk, Johnson looked at me with his ruddy Irish face, and said, “I think the biggest problem facing the modern age is what to do about the doctrine of hell.  What do you think?”

I was taken aback; the question had nothing to do with my talk.  But as Johnson explained, I realized how right he was.  When the Church does not clearly teach the doctrine of hell, society loses an important anchor.  In a sense, hell gives meaning to our lives.  It tells us that the moral choices we make day by day have eternal significance; that our behavior has consequences lasting to eternity; that God Himself takes our choices seriously.

When people don’t believe in a final judgment, they don’t feel ultimately accountable for their actions.  There is no firm leash holding back sinful impulses.  As the book of Judges puts it, there is “no fear of God” in their hearts, and everyone does what is right in his own eyes.

The doctrine of hell is not just some dusty theological holdover from the Middle Ages.  It has significant social consequences.  Without a conviction of ultimate justice, people’s sense of moral obligation dissolves; social bonds are broken.

People who have no fear of God soon have no fear of man–no respect for human laws and authorities.   (Charles Colson, A Dangerous Grace, 21-2)

 

III-  Jesus certainly has authority to make these claims.  (Mt 7:28-29; see also: Dan 7:13-14; Mt 8:5-13; 28:18; Jn 7:16, 46; 14:8-11; Phil 2:9-11)

 

It is significant that when Jesus had finished speaking, his audience was apparently more impressed with his authority than with the content of the Sermon itself.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Sermon on the Mount, 270)

 

If we are in doubt about His uniqueness, about His deity, about the fact that here was God in the flesh speaking, then our whole attitude towards the Sermon is undermined.  But, conversely, if we do believe that the Man who spoke these words was none other than the only begotten Son of God, then they have an awful solemnity and added authority, and we must take the teaching as a whole with all the seriousness which must ever be given to any pronouncement that comes from God Himself.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 576)

 

Throughout the last section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is basically asking the question, “What are you going to do with me?”   In 7:13-14 Jesus is asking, “Will you enter the gate to life in the Kingdom of heaven and follow me?   Or will you   reject me for the popular road that leads to destruction?”  In 7:15-20 Jesus is asking, “Will you allow me to change you so you can produce good fruit or will you remain as you are and ultimately be destroyed?”  In 7:21-23: “Will you obey me and my Father and worship me as Lord or will you attempt to come to me on the basis of your own merits and good works and think that they are enough to merit a relationship with me?”   Finally, in 7:24-27 Will you build your life on me and my words and find security or will you build your life on your own power, strength, resources and abilities and in the end discover they were not enough and be destroyed?  What are you going to do with me?” is what Jesus is ultimately saying in these verses. (Thanks to Michael J. Wilkins; The NIV Application Commentary, 330)

 

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a Great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:  or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.” (C. S. Lewis;  Mere Christianity, 55-6)

 

Jesus’ authority has been established by his Word and his power.  The Scriptures are explicit about his authority (note the relationship of authority with each of the following): he has authority to teach (Mt 7:29; Mk 1:22, 27; Lk 4:32); to exorcise (Mt 8:28-34; 9:1-8; Mk 1:23-27; Lk 4:35-36); to heal (Mt 8:1-17; 12:15, 16; Mk 1:29-34; Lk 4:38-31); to forgive (Mt 9:2-8; Mk 2:3-12; Lk 5:18-26; cf. Ps 103:3); to judge (Jn 5:27; 17:2); to give life (Jn 10:28; 17:2); to empower (Mt 28:18-20).  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. One, 152)

 

What struck them most was that he taught them as one who had authority and not at all as their scribes.  For the scribes claimed no authority of their own.  They conceived their duty in terms of faithfulness to the tradition they had received.  So they were antiquarians, delving into commentaries, searching for precedents, claiming the support of famous names among the rabbis.  Their only authority lay in the authorities they were constantly quoting.  Jesus, on the other hand, had not received a scribal education, scandalized the establishment by sweeping away the traditions of the elders, had no particular reverence for social conventions, and spoke with a freshness of his own which captivated some and infuriated others.  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 214-5)

 

Jesus also insisted that his words were God’s words:  “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me” (Jn 7:16).  Yet there was a difference.  The commonest formula with which the prophets introduced their oracles, namely “Thus says the Lord,” is one Jesus never used.  Instead, he would begin “Truly, truly I say to you,” thus daring to speak in his own name and with his own authority, which he knew to be identical with the Father’s (Jn 14:8-11).  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 215)

 

He did not think of himself as another prophet or even as the greatest of the prophets, but rather as the fulfillment of all prophecy.  This belief that the days of expectation were now over and that he had ushered in the time of fulfillment was deeply imbedded in the consciousness of Jesus.  The first recorded words of his public ministry were:  “The time is fulfilled (peplērōtai), and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk 1:15; cf. Mt 4:17).  In the Sermon on the Mount there are five direct references to God’s kingdom (5:3, 10; 6:10, 33; 7:21).  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 216)

 

There can never be a true revival unless it comes in God’s way.  And it will never come except through the continued declaration, “It is written.”  There is in our day a neo-orthodoxy which is in reality a pseudo-orthodoxy because there is the attempt to establish the truth of some of the Christian doctrines without the underlying foundation of the authority of the Word of God.  All such attempts are building upon the sand.  The rock of the Scriptures must be the basis for all doctrine or there is no truth.  (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Man’s Ruin, God’s Wrath, 209)

 

Take as an example the section in the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus referred to people who addressed him as “Lord, Lord” (Mt 7:21-23).  He was not complaining that they chose this title, for he accepted it as appropriate.  His point was rather that they were using it glibly and were not investing it with its true meaning.  He was not just “Sir” to be respected; he was “Lord” to be obeyed.  The Lucan equivalent makes this plain, as we saw:  “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Lk 6:46).  Thus Jesus saw himself as more than a teacher, giving advice which people might or might not heed at their discretion; he was their master, issuing commandments, expecting obedience and warning them that their eternal welfare was at stake.  Clearly, in all this Jesus was no ordinary rabbi.  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 217)

 

Here, then, is your “original Jesus,” your “simple, harmless teacher of righteousness,” whose Sermon on the Mount contains “plain ethics and no dogmas”!  He teaches with the authority of God and lays down the law of God.  He expects people to build the house of their lives on his words, and adds that only those who do so are wise and will be safe.  He says he has come to fulfill the law and the prophets.  He is both the Lord to be obeyed and the Savior to bestow blessing.  He casts himself in the central role of the judgment-day drama.  He speaks of God as his Father in a unique sense, and finally implies that what he does God does and that what people do to him they are doing to God.  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 221-2)

 

If any man asks:  Why should I pay heed to that Sermon, why should I put it into practice, why should I believe that it is the most vital thing in this life? the answer is, because of the Person who preached it.  That is the authority, that is the sanction behind the Sermon.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 576)

 

He does not hesitate to correct the teaching of the Pharisees and their authorities.  “They of old time,” you remember we saw, stood for certain Pharisees and their exposition of the Mosaic law.  He did not hesitate to put that aside and to correct it.  This artisan, this carpenter who had never been to the schools, saying:  “I say unto you”!  He claims that authority for Himself and for His teaching.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 579)

 

He does not say:  “If you suffer like this for the name of God your Father in heaven, you are blessed.”  No, He says “For my sake.”  What unutterable folly it is for people to say that they are interested in the Sermon on the Mount as ethical and moral and social teaching only.  Here, before He comes to “turning the other cheek” and the other things they like so much, He tells us that we ought to be ready to suffer for His sake, and that we are to endure persecution for His sake, and that we may even have to be ready to die for His sake.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 580)

 

Another great statement pointing in the same direction is the one we found in 7:21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  He does not hesitate to say that people will address Him as Lord, and that means that He is Jehovah, that He is God.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 582)

 

He does not hesitate to ascribe to Himself, and to take to Himself, the highest term used in the whole realm of Scripture for the eternal, absolute, blessed God.

He even went a step further, and announced at the end of the Sermon that He is to be the judge of the world.  “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,” etc.  notice the repetition–“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  Yes, judgment is being committed to the Son. He is claiming that He is to be the judge of all men, and that what matters is our relationship to Him, His knowledge of us, His concern about us and His interest in us.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 582)

 

The teachers of the law were the legal experts of the OT in Jesus’ day.  Their authority among the people came from their expertise in citing earlier authorities and in formulating new interpretations.  But ironically, their practices had muted the authority of the OT because they added so many traditions and legal requirements that the power of Scripture was defeated (e.g., 15:1-9).  Thus, they could not speak with authority, for they had muted the only source of authority.

But Jesus has inherent authority.  This is seen not only in his repeated declaration in the antitheses, “but I say to you,” showing how he fulfills the OT (see 5:21-48), but also in his dramatic declaration as the judge of a human’s eternal destiny, “I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’” (7:23).  From Moses (Ex 11:4) to Elijah (1 Kgs 21:23) to Isaiah (Isa 3:16) to Zechariah (Zec 8:3), prophets and writers of the OT did not speak of their own authority; instead, they declared, “This is what the LORD says.”  Jesus’ teaching is so forceful that it clearly indicates he bears God’s own authority.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 328)

 

Whereas scribal rulings were based on the tradition of earlier interpreters of the law, Jesus has in 5:17-48 set himself up as an authority over against that interpretive tradition, on the basis not of formal training or authorization but of his own confident, “I tell you.”  It was that sort of inherent “authority” that the people missed in their scribes, even though their office commanded respect.  When to that remarkable claim is added Jesus’ assumption that he himself is the proper object of people’s allegiance and the arbiter of their destiny (5:11-12; 7:21-23, 24, 26), the crowd’s astonishment is hardly out of place.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 299)

 

In the past two hundred years, there has been an unbridled assault, a kind of vandalism, against the trustworthiness, the sufficiency, and, above all, the authority of the NT.  In attacking the Bible, the skeptics have attacked the authority of the Apostles.  That is an assault on the very foundation of the church.  Sadly, we have seen church after church, denomination after denomination, repudiate the God-given foundation.  That means they have constructed their houses on sand.  Those churches and denominations will not stand in times of trouble for the simple reason that they cannot stand.  When the church moves away from her apostolic foundation, she inevitably falls.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 216)

 

The Pharisees said they loved Abraham, but Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (Jn 8:56).  The Pharisees said they loved Moses, but Jesus said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (Jn 5:46).  The Pharisees claimed to love God the Father, but Jesus said, “He who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me” (Lk 10:16b) and “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (Jn 5:23).  The Pharisees could not reject Jesus without rejecting Abraham, Moses, and even God the Father.

Do you see it?  Jesus was refuting the religions of the world that say they believe in God but reject His only begotten Son.  If someone has the Father, he has the Son.  If he has the Son, he has the Father.  He cannot have one without the other.

When Jesus commissioned His Apostles and sent them out, He bestowed His authority on them.  Just as the Father sent the Son, so the son sent the Apostles.  He told them, “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me” (Lk 10:16a).  It was Christ who established the Apostles as the foundation of His church.  If a person rejects the apostolic writings, he rejects the authority of Christ.  If he rejects the authority of Christ, he rejects God Himself.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 217)

 

The central point is this:  Jesus’ entire approach in the Sermon on the Mount is not only ethical but messianic–i.e., Christological and eschatological.  Jesus is not an ordinary prophet who says, “Thus says the Lord!”  Rather, he speaks in the first person and claims that his teaching fulfills the OT; that he determines who enters the messianic kingdom; that as the Divine Judge he pronounces banishment; that the true heirs of the kingdom would be persecuted for their allegiance to him; and that he alone fully knows the will of his Father.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 195)

 

Reason is not God and possesses no such authority.  Its judgments are based on the tenuous, sinful, and subjective pre-suppositions of a creature and are neither grounded in being or in truth.  Reason can only establish a connection with being and truth insofar as it rests, not on its own mythical authority, but on God and His Word.  (Rousas J. Rushdoony, By What Standard?, 14)

 

CONCLUSION/APPLICATION:

How does one become wise?:

A-  Trust God that nothing can blow you away.  (Ps 112:7; 116:15; Prv 3:5-6; 10:25; 30:5; Jer 17:7-8; Mt 16:18; 24:13; Jn 3:16, 36; 11:25; 14:1; Acts 16:31; Rom 4:4-5:5; 8:18-39; 10:9; 1 Cor 16:13; 2 Cor 4:7-5:10; Gal 3:1-29; Eph 6:10-18; Phil 1:21-26; Col 2:7; Heb 11:6; Jam 1:2-4, 12; 2:1-26; 1 Pt 1:3-9; 1 Jn 5:4)

 

The greatest storm is eschatological (cf. Isa 28:16-17; Ez 13:10-13; cf. Prv 12:7).  But Jesus’ words about the two houses need not be thus restricted.  The point is that the wise man (a repeated term in Matthew; cf. 10:16; 24:45; 25:2, 4, 8-9) builds to withstand anything.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 194)

 

It is Jesus’ claim that obedience to him is the only sure foundation for life; and it is his promise that the life which is founded on obedience to him is safe, no matter what storms may come.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 292)

 

When your foundation is on Jesus we have the assurance based upon the Promises of God that no matter what comes our way, we win.  (Gn 50:20; Rom 5:1-5; 8:28; Jam 1:2-4)

 

The sensible man, who shows by his very deeds that he has taken to heart the words of Christ, and is therefore building upon the Rock, will never be put to shame.  Even the day of judgment will be for him a day of triumph (1 Thes 2:19, 20; 3:13; 4:16, 17; 2 Thes 1:10; 2 Tm 4:8; Ti 2:13, 14).  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 381)

 

To know the value of an anchor you must feel the stress of the storm.”   — Bishop David Kendall

 

“God will either quiet the storm or quiet your heart in the midst of the storm” — David Clardie

 

It is impossible to lose your footing while on your knees.  (Sign on Superintendent Thomas Ramundo’s desk)

 

Instead of telling God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is!

 

“Some Christians haven’t even attempted to think about whether or not they would die for Jesus because they haven’t really been living for Him”  — dc Talk

 

There is nothing that so profoundly tests a man as to his foundations as the mighty fact and moment of death.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 570)

 

In many ways the prime business of the preaching of the gospel is to prepare men to stand up to these things.  It matters not what your view of life may be, nor what your feelings; if you cannot stand up to those tests which I have enumerated you are an utter failure.  Whatever a man’s gifts or calling may be, and however noble and good his character, if his view and philosophy of life have not catered for these certainties, he is a fool, and all he has will fail him and collapse beneath his feet just when he most needs help.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 570)

 

We talk too much to other people and not enough to ourselves.  We must talk to ourselves, and say “Our Lord said, in effect, I preach this Sermon to you, but it will be of no value to you if you do not do what I say.”  Test yourself by the Sermon on the Mount.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 573)

 

The house built on the rock is the life of obedience, the life Jesus has been explaining throughout the Sermon on the Mount.  It is the life that has a scriptural view of itself, as described in the Beatitudes.  It is the life that has a scriptural view of the world, and sees itself as God’s means for preserving and enlightening the world while not being a part of it.  It is the life that has the divine view of Scripture and that determines not to alter God’s Word in the slightest degree.  It is a life that is a godly attitude toward what is said and what is done, toward motives, things, money, and other people.  It is a life of genuineness rather than hypocrisy, and of God’s righteousness rather than self-righteousness.

The house built on the rock is the life that empties itself of self-righteousness and pride, that is overwhelmed by and mourns over its own sin, that makes the maximum effort to enter the narrow gate and be faithful in the narrow way of Christ and His Word.  Such a builder does not build his life or place his hope on ceremony, ritual, visions, experiences, feelings, or miracles but on the Word of God and that alone.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 484)

 

There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.  —Speaker at WMI Women’s retreat 11-9-13

 

B-  Don’t trust yourself.  (Prv 3:5-6; 14:12; 16:25; 30:12; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:9-21; 8:5-17)

 

The wise man builds his house, which represents his life, on these words of Mine.  The implication is that the foolish man, although he does not act upon Christ’s words, thinks that his house is secure simply because he has heard and acknowledged the words.  He believes the life he lives is Christian and therefore pleasing to God.  He does not intentionally build a house he thinks it going to fall.  Both builders have confidence their houses will stand; but one man’s confidence is in the Lord and the other man’s is in himself.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 481-2)

 

The sand is composed of human opinions, attitudes, and wills, which are always shifting and always unstable.  To build on sand is to build on self-will, self-fulfillment, self-purpose, self-sufficiency, self-satisfaction, and self-righteousness.  To build on sand is to be unteachable, to be “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tm 3:7).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 484)

 

It was utterly demolished, leaving its builder with absolutely nothing.  That is the destiny of those who build on the sand of man’s ideas, man’s philosophies, and man’s religions.  It is not that such people will have little left, but nothing left.  Their way is not an inferior way to God, but no way to God at all.  Always and inevitably it leads to destruction; its absolute destiny is to fall.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 486)

 

Failure is the best time to determine if you are a man after God’s heart.  The difference between David and Saul was this:  When David failed his failure drove him TO God.  When Saul failed, his failure drove him AWAY from God.  Saul was trying to save himself and when he was forced to face his inadequacies, he despaired of even trying.  David looked to God for his salvation and so when he failed he simply clung tighter to God who was the Rock of his salvation. — Pastor Keith

 

You take a look at evolution over the last million years, the one species that has survived without adapting is man.  That’s because as soon as he picked up rocks and sticks, he realized he could hit things, he started adapting nature to him.  That’s why men fly into hurricanes. That’s why they build their homes on earthquake fault lines; that’s why they turn rain forests into malls.  That takes some kind of an ego.  We don’t just stand back and admire the glory of the universe—we figure we can improve it.  It’s not smart or correct, but it’s one of the things that makes us what we are. (Red Green Show 1/13/96)

 

For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality; and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline and virtue.  For the modern man, the cardinal problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of man, and the solution is a technique.  (C. S. Lewis; The Abolition of Man, quoted by Tim Keller in a sermon, “Power for Facing Trouble”)

 

The theory that Jesus here teaches the doctrine of works as the means whereby salvation is achieved is certainly wrong, for the very point of the parable is that the foundation of man’s everlasting weal is not to be sought in man but in Christ and his utterances, as has been shown.  It is upon that foundation that man must build his life, including his hope for eternity.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 382)

 

Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”

The marginal reference in my New American Standard Bible gives “But a child left to himself” as a more literal translation for “who gets his own way.”  Interestingly, the Hebrew text uses just the word left and leaves it at that. “But a child left brings shame to his mother.”  Meaning what?  Left in his room?  No.  It suggests “left in the same condition in which he was born.”  A child left without training will bring shame to his mother.  (Chuck Swindoll; Living Above the Level, 231)

 

Every thing besides Christ is sand.  Some build their hopes upon their worldly prosperity, as if that were a sure token of God’s favor, Hos 12:8.  Others upon their external profession of religion, the privileges they enjoy, and the performances they go through, in that profession, and the reputation they have got by it.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 98)

 

Biblical authority must never depend on human verification for it is the unquestionable Word of God.

The problem with much of the popular tactics used by many defenders of the faith today may be summed up as a problem of authority.  The apologist must see clearly that the nonChristian is in need of forsaking his commitment to independence and should turn in faith to the authority of Christ.  If however, trust in Christ is founded on logical consistency, historical evidence, scientific arguments, etc., then Christ is yet to be received as the ultimate authority.  The various foundations are more authoritative than Christ himself. . . . if beliefs in Christian truth comes only after the claims of Christ are run through the verification machine of independent human judgment, then human judgment is still thought to be the ultimate authority.  (Richard L. Pratt, Jr.; Every Thought Captive A Study manual for the Defense of Christian Truth, 79-80)

 

If we build it on man-made rules (don’t do this, don’t go to that, don’t touch this, keep away from that) we live under the delusion that we are truly dealing with indwelling sin when in fact we are merely altering our outward habits. This is no lasting foundation, and when the crisis of the ‘day of evil’ comes (Eph 6:13) we will find ourselves on sinking sand.  (Sinclair B. Ferguson; The Christian Life, 160-1)

 

The essential issue is between the authority of autonomous man and of the Sovereign God.  To allow God into the universe, provided that we open the door, is to say that the universe is our universe, and that our categories are decisive in human thinking.  We can accept the Scriptures as inerrant and infallible on our terms, as satisfactory to our reason, but we have only established ourselves as god and judge thereby and have given more assent to ourselves than to God.  But, if God be God, then the universe and man are His creation, understandable only in terms of Himself, and no meaning can be established except in terms of God’s given meaning.  To accept miracles or Scripture on any other ground is in effect to deny their essential meaning and to give them a pagan import.

Thus, the consistent Christian position must be this:  no God, no knowledge.  Since the universe is a created universe, no true knowledge of it is possible except in terms of thinking God’s thoughts after Him.  (Rousas J. Rushdoony, By What Standard?, 17)

 

Detroit Free Press (9-29-09) “Area Religious Leaders Question Billboards”   Freedom from Religion Foundation put up billboards in downtown Detroit that said, “Imagine No Religion”, Praise Darwin:  Evolve Beyond Belief”.  (14,000 atheist and agnostic members in the USA – website = FFRF.org)

 

C-  Until one is born again, both points “A” and “B” are impossible(Mt 19:16-26; Mk 10:17-27; Lk 18:18-27; Jn 3:1-21; Rom 8:5-17;  1 Cor 1:18-2:16; 2 Cor 5:17-21; 1 Pt 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:6; 2:3-6, 28-29; 3:7-10; 4:7-12; 5:1-5, 18-20)

 

In the closing verses of this chapter, we see that, without an ostentatious parade, our Lord calls attention to Himself as the focal point of the entire message.  This is no mere restatement of the law but is the highest expression of the quality of Christian living that Christ alone can produce.  The gospel is the message of the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Its amazing “good news” is that He can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  He can change a sinner into a saint!  (Edward Hindson and James Borland, Matthew: The King is Coming, 85)

 

Faith is the root of salvation, and works are its fruit.  The works of man do not produce his own salvation.  In fact, to the contrary, this entire message shows that human efforts clearly stated that while salvation is by faith, it is by a faith that shows itself in a changed life.  This is a repentant faith, a life-changing faith, and a faith that works!  (Edward Hindson and James Borland, Matthew: The King is Coming, 84)

 

Imagine you are on a high cliff and you lose your footing and begin to fall.  Just beside you is a branch sticking out of the edge of the cliff.  It is your only hope and seems more than strong enough.  How can it save you?

If you’re certain the branch can support you, but you don’t actually reach out and grab it, you are lost.  If instead your mind is filled with doubts and uncertainty that the branch can hold you, but you reach out and grab it anyway, you will be saved.  Why?

It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. Strong faith in a weak branch is fatally inferior to weak faith in a strong branch.  (Tim Keller; The Reason For God, 234)

 

We have here the doctrine of the mystical relationship to and union of His people with Him, He dwelling in them and imparting His nature to them.  Therefore, they in turn become the light of the world as He is the light of the world.  So it is again a tremendous statement about Him.  He is here asserting His unique deity and His Saviorhood.  He is asserting that He is the long expected Messiah.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 580)

 

We must realize that it is not Satan who defeats us; it is our openness to him.  To perfectly subdue the devil we must walk in the “shelter of the Most High” (Ps 91:1).   Satan is tolerated for one purpose:  the warfare between the devil and God’s saints thrust us into Christlikeness, where the nature of Christ become our only place of rest and security.  God allows warfare to facilitate His eternal plan, which is to make man in His image.  (Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds as quoted in Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word, 323)

 

The wise man builds carefully, because there is substance and great importance to what he is building.  In the parallel passage in Luke, Jesus says, he “dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock” (6:48).  He is not satisfied with superficial confessions of faith, with quickie conversions that involve no repentance, no mourning over sin, and no despairing of self.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 486)

 

Worship Point:  Through your obedience worship the God of the Universe Who has spared no expense and has done all that is necessary to make you wise unto salvation.  (2 Tm 3:14-17).

 

To worship God is also to bow before his absolute, ultimate authority.  We adore not only his power, but also his holy word.  Psalm 19 praises God first for revealing himself in his mighty acts of creation and providence (vv. 1-6) and then for the perfection of his law (vv. 7-11).  When we enter his presence, overwhelmed by his majesty and power, how can we ignore what he is saying to us?  So, in worship we hear the reading and exposition of the Scriptures (see Acts 15:21; 1 Tm 4:13; Col 4:16; 1 Thess 5:27; Acts 20:7; 2 Tm 4:2).  God wants us to be doers of that word, not hearers only (Rom 2:13; Jam 1:22-25; 4:11).  (John M. Frame, Worship in Spirit and Truth, 4)

 

The absence of authority in much contemporary preaching is directly attributable to the absence of confidence in the authority of the Bible.  Once biblical authority is undermined and eroded, preaching becomes a pretense.  The preacher stands to offer religious advice on the basis of the latest secular learning and the “spirituality” of the day.  The dust of death covers thousands of pulpits across the land.

But when the Bible’s authority is recognized and honored, the pulpit stands as a summons to hear and obey the word of God.  True worship takes place when the authority of the Bible is rightly honored and the preaching of the word is understood to be the event whereby God speaks to his people through his word, by the human instrumentality of his servants–the preachers.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 118)

 

All the saints of the OT had broken the law; none had succeeded in observing it.  Yet here is One who stands and says:  I am going to keep it; not one jot or one tittle of this law will I break; I am going to fulfill it, I am going to keep and to honor it perfectly.  Here is One who claims to be sinless, to be absolutely perfect.  Not only that.  He does not hesitate to claim for Himself what Paul puts in the words:  “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”  In other words, He fulfills the law by carrying it out.  He honors it by absolute perfection in His own life.  Yes; but He bears the punishment it metes out upon transgressors also.  He has satisfied every demand of the law of God, He has fulfilled the law for Himself and others.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 582)

 

Gospel Application:  Jesus has done the work to provide us a rock solid foundation.  Our job is to die to our own life and agenda and submit to Christ and His agenda.  (2 Cor 5:21)

 

Spiritual ChallengeStrive to daily allow your heart and mind to be transformed from death to life by seeing God’s mercy, power, wisdom, and love for you.  (Rom 12:1-2)

 

The wise man is anxious to know the right way to do things; and so he listens to instruction and is prepared to be taught.  But the foolish man is not interested in such things; he wants a house; he cannot be bothered about rules and regulations. . . . Not only is he in too much of a hurry to listen to instruction, but this foolish man also considers it unnecessary.  In his opinion his ideas are the best.  He has nothing to learn from anybody. . . .The wise man, of course, presents us with a complete contrast to that.  He has one great desire, and that is to build durably. . .The wise man takes trouble to find out all he can; he holds himself in check, and does not allow his feelings and emotions or his enthusiasm to carry him away.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 550-551)

 

The sermon ends with what has been implicit throughout it–the demand for radical submission to the exclusive lordship of Jesus, who fulfills the Law and the Prophets and warns the disobedient that the alternative to total obedience, true righteousness, and life in the kingdom is rebellion, self-centeredness, and eternal damnation.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 194)

 

In the time of trial his religion does not fail him; the floods of sickness, sorrow, poverty, disappointments, bereavements beat upon him in vain.  His soul stands unmoved; his faith does not give way; his Christian comforts do not utterly forsake him.  His religion may have cost him trouble in the past; his foundation may have been obtained with much labor and many tears:  to discover his own interest in Christ may have required many a day of earnest seeking and many an hour of wrestling in prayer.  But his labor has not been thrown away as he now reaps a rich reward.  The religion that can stand trial is the true religion.  (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 54)

 

Quotes to Note:

When the Apostle John was given his glorious vision of the New Jerusalem–an image of the glorified church–descending from heaven, he seemed hard-pressed to describe how glorious it was.  The city was so extraordinary, it had not one but twelve foundations, and those foundations, John says, bore the names of the twelve Apostles (Rv 21:14).  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 216)

 

 

CHRIST:

IGNORE WITH PERIL

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