A tale of Two Builders
I recon that the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy is going to fall. Scientists travel to the town of Pisa every year to measure the building’s slow descent. They report that the 179-foot tower, which was built in 1173, moves about one-twentieth of an inch a year, and is now 17 feet out of plumb. Recent renovations may have saved the 840-year old tower and prevent it from collapsing. Quite significantly, the word “pisa” means “marshy land,” which gives some clue as to why the tower began to lean even before it was completed. Also, another issue is the fact that the foundation is only 10 feet deep! The reason the Leaning Tower of Pisa is leaning is because it was built on a
Today’s Gospel reading is about two builders who built two houses on two different types of foundations with two different results. In this “Tale Of Two Builders” Jesus teaches us that the foundation upon which we build the house of our lives is of the utmost importance. I want to point some elements of this parable that show us why the foundation of your life matters. Notice these elements with me today as we consider
A Tale Of Two Builders.
Firstly, CONSIDER THE COMPARISONS
This short parable appears to speak of two very different types of people. The two people Jesus pictures here have several important characteristics in common. Let me point them out.
• Both Heard The Words Of Christ – The two people in this parable both heard Jesus share His message of faith and
repentance, v24 & 26. Thus, both people referenced in this parable knew the way of salvation. They both heard the Gospel and each one had a reaction to it. Then …
• Both Built Houses – Each of these people built a house based on their understanding of what Jesus had said. The house in this parable is a picture of a life. That is, each man built a life based on how they interpreted the message of Jesus. This means that both people believed the message to a certain point. They each applied the words of Jesus to their life as they saw fit. Then…
• Both Built In The Same Location – Verse 27 describes a very severe storm. This storm affected both houses, so they must have been built in close proximity to one another. Then …
• Both Built Similar Houses – Nothing is said about their houses being different. They used similar materials, and most likely, a similar design. From the outside, these two homes looked similar. In fact, they were so similar, you might not have been able to tell them apart. It puts me in mind of my home. My house is just like the house next door. They have the same shape, size, floor plan, etc.
The picture is of people and how they respond differently to the Gospel message. Just to clarify, the Gospel is very simple. Here it is again, Paul says “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,” 1 Cor. 15:3–4. This is the message that must be believed in order for a person to be saved!
The Bible puts it this way: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved,” Rom. 10:9. Salvation is all about believing and receiving the Gospel.
Of course, you will notice that the Bible says in that verse “…confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus…” Salvation involves faith in the Gospel, but it also involves repentance of sin, and a willingness to yield to the Lordship and control of Jesus Christ in ones life.
So, people hear that message, and they react to it in different ways. Regardless of how a person may react to it, they all build their lives based on what they think Jesus is saying. These people build their houses in the same location. That is, they weather the same storms, work the same jobs, do the same things, go to the same churches, hear the same preaching, and live the same kind of lives. From the outside, you really can’t tell much difference between the two hearers.
Obviously, these people pictured here are religious, sincere in their beliefs, serving in and supporting the church. They are responsible citizens. Both seem to believe the same things and live the same kind of lives. They have a lot in common, at least on the outside. So this is our Consideration of The Comparisons.
Now – CONSIDER THE CONTRASTS
While there are several similarities, there are some very major differences between these two types of people. Those differences and these contrasts are worth noting. Consider first the …
• One Man who Built His House On The Sand – One man built his house with little preparation. He found a spot for his house and began to build. Sand is unstable, ever changing and moving. Sand offers no stability. Sand is not a good place
to build a house. Sand can never provide a firm foundation.
In this context, building on the sand speaks of people who hear
the Gospel, but instead of believing the Gospel and coming to faith in Jesus, they believe they can build their lives on the shifting sands of human philosophy, wisdom, opinion, and religious achievement. They are driven by outward, religious appearances and faith in themselves, rather than faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
People who build on the sand hear the Gospel and yet choose to save themselves. They hear the Gospel, and believe its general message, but they choose to follow God on their own terms. To them, His Word is open to interpretation. If He commands them to do something, they will obey it if they choose to. If they don’t like it, they won’t do it.
They build the house of their lives on self-will, self-fulfilment, self-sufficiency, self-satisfaction, and self-righteousness. Theirs is a works based religion that has the appearance of being right, but that lacks the power to save the soul. Paul describes that kind of person like this: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,” 2 Tim. 3:5.
People build on the sands because it is easy. It requires little effort. Just a little change here, and a little change there, and they can fool themselves, and everyone around them in to thinking they are right with the Lord. A life built on the sand requires no commitment, no sacrifice, and no faith.
People who build on the sand believe they can pray a prayer, sign a card, join a church, and all will be well. People who build on the sand can turn it on and off like flipping a switch. They can be in today and out tomorrow and in again the next day. Sand builders ultimately have their faith in themselves.
When God makes demands on sand-builders, and calls for total
surrender to His will, they make excuses. Jesus encountered this very thing during His own ministry. People who build their lives on religion, self-righteousness, and false hope will not serve God. They will not sacrifice. They want only to walk the easy path. Sand builders like instant results, instant rewards, instant satisfaction, and instant pleasure. They are shallow people who love the heights, but hate the depths. They are hot and then cold. They are in and then out. They are up and then down.
Contrast all of this with the ..
• One Man who Built His House On The Rock – The word “rock” refers to “a large outcropping of rock; or bedrock.” While one man built his house on the sand, the other dug deep. He dug until he reached the bedrock and built his house on the rock. That rock does not move. It is unchanging and stable.
Rock offers a good, – the best foundation for a house!
Building on the rock speaks of people who hear the Gospel and believe it to the point that they build their lives on it.
The “rock” in these verses is identified as “these words of mine.” The “rock” is the Gospel. It is the same “rock” mentioned in Matt. 16:16-18 where Jesus said to Peter “thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” In that passage, “rock” refers to Peter’s profession of faith in the words of Jesus. In other words, it refers to faith in the Gospel.
Rock builders understand that Jesus alone has the power to save their souls. Rock builders hear His Word and they conform to that word. They hear what the Bible says about Jesus, that He is “the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by Me,” John 14:6. They hear that message and they receive
it with all their heart. That message strikes them like a bolt of lightening. It comes into their hearts with absolute clarity. They hear the truth about Jesus and they believe it. They embrace it. They yield to it. Only then can the message change their lives.
What God tells them to do in His Word, they do. What God warns them not to do, they avoid. They pay any price, walk any path, and do anything the Lord tells them to do. The house built on the rock is built by someone who realizes that God deserves the best. They sacrifice, they work, they do anything to please their Lord. They love Him, honour Him, and obey Him. The rock builder’s obedience to the Word of God proves they love the Lord. Rock builders hear the Word of God, the Gospel, and make it the foundation for their lives.
By the way, this is how the redeemed know they are redeemed. The Bible says: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked,” 1 John 2:3–6.
Here then are two people who construct vastly different lives based on how they hear and respond to the Gospel. One house is built on a firm foundation of faith in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The other is built on the shifting sands of religion, works, and self-righteousness. One of those houses describes the kind of life you are building right now.
You are either a believer in the Gospel and in Jesus, or you have a false religion, and a false hope of salvation. But you need to know that “…other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor. 3:v11.
Who, or what, is the foundation for your life? Who, or what, are you building on? Are you building your life on the solid rock of Biblical truth; or, are you building your life on shifting sands?
Consider The Comparisons…
Consider The Contrasts…
then make sure you CONSIDER THE CONSEQUENCES
The parable tells us that the rains came, the floods followed, and the winds of destruction blew. This image is not just about some storm in life; this is the image of judgment. In the end, both houses were subjected to a terrible storm of judgment.
One house stood firm, while the other was totally destroyed.
• The house that was built on the sand could not face the weathering judgment of God, and it collapsed. Jesus adds,
“and great was the fall of it.” This means that the house was utterly destroyed. There was nothing left to show for the life lived within it. There was nothing left of hopes, dreams, plans, efforts, works, or anything, – everything was destroyed and swept away as if it had never existed.
This is a picture of what will happen to every person who builds their life on anything but Jesus Christ and his Words. There is coming a day of judgment. There is coming a day when every person will face God. People who are trusting religion, good works, some prayer they prayed, some emotional experience they had, some profession they made, or anything else, will see the house they have built crumble and fall before the judgment of
God. The person who builds their life on the sand will spend eternity apart, separated from God – the Bible calls that Hell.
Notice the word “therefore” in verse 24. That word ties this parable to the verses that come before it. Matt. 7:21-23 tells the tragic tale of some very religious people who built their lives on the sand. These people faced God with all their works and their self-righteous deeds, and they were cast out of His presence. God does not accept sinners into His Heaven based on our own good works, or our religious efforts. God accepts sinners into His heaven only when that sinner is in a faith relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life,” 1 John 5:v12.
• The house that was built on the rock experienced the same storm. The rain, the flood and the wind “beat upon” that house. The word “beat” means “to strike, to batter.” This house was battered and beaten, but it stood against the storm that was thrown at it. This house might have been shaken, but it did not fall. It stood on a firm foundation, and it weathered the storm. You can judge any structure by how it survives a storm.
This house stood because the builder dug deep and built it on something greater than himself. This is the picture of a builder who had built his house on the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This builder believed the Gospel. This builder understood that Jesus died for his sin, rose from the dead, and had the power to save anyone who would believe on Him. This person built his life on Jesus, and he was accepted by God.
Do you realise that …
• You can join the church and still go to Hell.
• You can be baptized and still go to Hell.
• You can be a good person, in the eyes of other people
and still go to Hell.
• You can build you house on religion and still go to Hell.
• You can build you house on atheism, human wisdom, human philosophies, and anything else you can name,
and you will still die and go to Hell.
• But, if you build your life on faith in Jesus Christ, and on His death and resurrection, your house will stand and you will be saved from that awful place called Hell.
The person who built his house on the sand did not intend for his house to fall. He thought he was doing the right thing. He thought he was building a house that would stand against anything that came. He has confidence that his house will stand. But He was wrong. His confidence is not in the Lord; it is in himself. His confidence is misplaced. There was nothing wrong with his house. There was nothing wrong with the materials. The only problem with his house was the foundation.
That’s the lesson today. If you are building your house on anything but Jesus Christ and the Gospel, it will fall. It might look sturdy. The materials might be all right. It might be pleasing to the eye. Everyone else might think your house is fine. But, if it is built on the wrong foundation, it will fall. When it falls, you will suffer its loss, a loss that will endure for ever?
By the way, the one who sold this man the land upon which he built was the false prophets mentioned in verses 15-20. Beware of anyone who preaches any Gospel other than the Gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Beware of anyone who says salvation is anything but by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
Everyone of you listening today, is building a spiritual house. Every day you attach boards, drive nails, add on rooms, and try to improve your house. Regardless of what you may do to the house you are building, what matters most is the foundation.
Be sure that you are building on Jesus Christ and his word.
If you have realized today that you are building on the wrong foundation, you can change that. You can come to Jesus. He will save you and get you started building on the right foundation. Please don’t ignore what I am saying to you, for as surely as I am speaking to you now, there is a storm coming, and your house – your life, is right in its path. When that storm comes,
the only structures that will stand are those built on the
solid foundation of the Word of God.
If you are standing on the wrong foundation, those sinking sands will be your end. Think about it!
God Bless you. Amen