“Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Matthew 7:24-29 (NKJV)
Jesus’ true followers not only hear his words, but they act on his words, allowing his message to make a difference in their lives. The key to this parable (as with all parables) is the central message, not the peripheral details. In this teaching, Jesus explained that his true followers, by acting on his words, are like a wise man who built his house on rock. The one who builds “on rock” is a hearing, responding disciple, not a phony, superficial one. The apostle James would later write,
“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.”
People today believe the concept of individual autonomy. Truth has been relegated to “whatever is true for me is true.” Because the possibility of absolute truth has been widely rejected, people now depend on “personal truth.” But we can’t make up for the loss of absolute truth by creating our own truth. We are simply wrong too often.
Jesus concluded his sermon with a challenge about foundations. Those who heard him were impressed by his authority. But amazement doesn’t equal acceptance or submission. The sandiest soil seems to be in creek beds or flood plains. It is easy digging but it is easily washed away. False teaching is like sandy soil and it will disappear when a new fad comes along. Jesus’ teaching has lasted through the centuries. When our lives our built on Christ and His words we will still be standing after every storm. Amen and amen.