Today we wrap up a series on Matthew 7. This is the closing of the Sermon on the Mount. We have looked at Jesus’ warning about self righteousness, the fact that God wants to give us life, the narrow and wide paths, avoiding false prophets and the fact that we need to not presume that because we say “Lord, Lord” that we are in the Kingdom. Today we will look at Jesus’ closing statement to the sermon.
Here it is:
“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. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Jesus ends the sermon with a promise in a sense. He says essentially if you put into practice what I have said in this sermon you will withstand everything that comes at you. That doesn’t mean that it will all go your way. It doesn’t mean you will be successful by the world’s standards or that you will be in a particular economic or social status. But it does mean that at the end you will be with Him, on the narrow road and sanctified.
He is promising that even when hard things come be they physical, emotional, financial, world events or whatever else you will still be there. You will be better and more and more who you were created to be. No amount of suffering or hardship can knock you off. If you put into practice what He has said in this sermon, your foundation (your core), will be solid.
There is another promise here though. If you don’t put these things in practice, if you choose the wide road, you will not stand at the end. The foundation (your core) will not be a solid foundation. You will be blown around by the winds of the day. You will knocked down by the storms of life.
The average person looks at life by the storms and winds. If the storms are raging, life is bad, if they aren’t, life is good. We do all we can do avoid the storms. Some of us do it well. Many of us in western culture can do it for long time. The truth is we can build a really, really good house on sand. Heck even if we lose a house due to a storm we might be able to build another one on sand. And it will stand. For a while. But it can’t withstand much. It for sure won’t stand in the final judgement.
Building any foundation is hard. You have to dig out a lot before you can even pour the concrete. Depending on the soil it can be even harder. Building this foundation is no different. That’s why Jesus calls it work to stake our life on Him and His teachings – all of them. But it’s worth it! That’s the promise of this passage.
I reminded as I write this of the most famous scene in Braveheart. William Wallace has been leading his small band of Scots in fighting small English garrisons and winning. In response the king of England sends a massive army to Scotland. Because of the success of Wallace the people show up to fight. But when they see the army they balk. The nobles (false prophets) also don’t want to fight.
Wallace says, “Why are you leaving?” The people say, “If we fight we will die, but if we leave we will live.” Wallace replies, “True. If you leave you will live . . . for a while. But dying in your bed many years from now, you will wish you could back here and now and fight – to say you can take our lives but you cannot take our freedom!!”
You can take the wide path. It’s easier in a lot of ways. You can be your own God. Some of us might even be able to build a little kingdom. But it will be on sand. And at the final judgment you will wish that you could come back and take the narrow road which, while harder, is better.
We have the choice. There is a promise either way we choose. We have to choose. Over and over again. But if we choose Jesus and His Kingdom we will indeed stand at the end.
So what will you choose? For your life? For today?