Please start by reading the parable in Matthew 7:24-27.
This parable is told at the conclusion to Jesus teaching, Sermon on the Mount and in verse 24 he says ‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock.’ When we see the word ‘therefore’ in scripture we should look at what precedes it and consider how it relates, here Jesus is telling his listeners that everyone who hears his words and then takes action upon them will build a strong foundation for their lives.
Take a few minutes to look at what Jesus had been teaching to the disciples and crowds before he shared this story, then invite people in your group to look at one of the following scriptures, explain how this should impact us today.
Verse 3-10 (Beatitudes)
Verse 13-16 (Believers are Salt and Light)
Verse 38-42 (Going the Second Mile)
Verse 43-48 (Loving your Enemies)
Verse 5-15 (Prayer)
Verse 16-18 (Fasting)
Verse 25-34 (Worry)
Let’s look at some things that we learn from the story of two builders:1. Everyone Builds
Jesus tells us that everyone is a ‘builder’, and we need to build upon the right foundation because the foundation impacts everything in our lives, our attitudes, philosophy of life, choices and so on.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a well-known example of what can happen when the foundation is not built correctly. At a height of just 55 metres the top of the tower is 3 metres off centre and even though there have been attempts to correct the lean they have been ineffective because of the soft foundation it was built on. You may be interested to know that Pisa actually means ‘marshy land’.
Ask your group for examples of how we are building (consider investments or superannuation, study, commitment to spiritual disciplines).
Jesus clearly teaches that He is the only worthwhile foundation; Jesus is drawing a divine line between himself as Messiah and anyone or anything else for you to make your foundation.2. Every Builder Faces Storms
In the story both are building a house, identical language is used and the same building materials are used, the only difference is the foundation used for building, one built on a solid foundation, the other built on sand, Jesus explains that the foundation has an impact on a buildings ability to stand during storms.
What are some storms we face today? Have you faced storms recently? What have you learnt during these storms about having Jesus as your foundation?Hearing and Practicing
Jesus tells us the wise builder is the one who hears God’s words and practices them (see James 1:22-25). We must not stop with only hearing (or studying) His words. Our hearing must result in doing. This is what it means to build on the rock foundation.
The foundation in this parable is obedience to God’s Word—obedience that is an evidence of true faith. The two men in this story had much in common. Both had desires to build a house. Both built houses that looked good and sturdy, unfortunately, when the storm came, one of the houses collapsed. What was the difference? Not the mere external looks, the difference was in the foundation: The successful builder “dug deep” (Luke 6:48) and set his house on a solid foundation. Concluding thoughts
Jesus presented the two options open to His listeners as he did earlier in this chapter (Two Paths v13-14, Two Trees v15-20). They were now responsible for what they had heard and must make a choice. They could build on one of two foundations. One foundation was likened to a big rock and the other to sand. The foundation determines the ability of a structure to withstand the elements (rain and winds). The rock foundation represented Jesus and the truths He had been presenting, especially the truth concerning inner transformation. The sand spoke of foundations that are not based on Jesus and his teaching, when storms come they would not have a foundation that could hold them secure. In storms the first would give stability; the second would result in destruction.
Hearing and doing (or practicing) Jesus’ words is wise; one that does not is foolish.
Jesus finishes this story leaving those who heard with a clear choice about how they build their lives, please take a few moments to consider our response and pray that we would continue to build our lives upon his foundation.