Two Builders (Matthew 7:24-27)

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Those who hear and do will hear the Great Judge say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father..."

Jesus taught about two builders – one wise and one foolish: "Therefore whosoever heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon the rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

A close look at these two builders reveals some similarities. The builders were both similar because they both had been given the opportunity to hear Christ. Christ desires that all people be given the opportunity today, for he gave charge to His disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). This charge is as applicable to his disciples in the twenty-first century as it was to the disciple sin the first century. 

Both builders had a desire to build a house – that is, to plan and shape the course of their lives. They both did build a house; they did build their lives after a certain pattern.  Both of their houses were exposed to the same elements, the same trials and temptations of life – the same rains, and floods, and winds. They both, no doubt, believed they were secure – that their house would stand all the possibilities and ups and downs of life.

While there are some similarities between the two builders there is a vast difference between the wise and the foolish. They differ in attitude towards the Word of God. The wise not only hear, they do the Will of God. The foolish may be like the wise in hearing, but when they do not, there is a vast difference. James says that the man who both hears and does will be blessed in his doing (James 1:25). Cain surely heard the instruction God gave to him and his brother Able, but after hearing did not (Gen. 4; Heb. 11:4). King Saul heard the instruction of the Lord to destroy the Amalekites, but he did not. Though he had great opportunity to serve God, and be a great leader of Israel, he, like Cain, showed himself to be self-willed, and disobedient. His foolishness lost him his kingdom and surely his soul. His house crumbled (1 Sam. 15; 31).

The two builders differ in their consideration of the future. One lives for the present and gives little or no thought to possible events of the future.  To satisfy appetites of the day, the foolish, like Esau, sell their birthright for a mess of pottage, and later, like Esau, cry, "Bless me, even also, O my father," and "Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father" (Gen. 25:29-34; 27:34, 38).  The wise, like Abraham, hear and obey, and thereby look for the "city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:8-10). Since God is the builder, we may be sure that the foundations of that city are indestructible, and that that beautiful city will stand forever.

The two builders differ in present happiness. One whose house falls, whose life is a spiritual failure, cannot truly be happy.  Long ago a wise man said, "The way of the transgressor is hard" (Pro. 13:15).  The two builders are different in this life and vastly different in the life to come. Those who hear and do will hear the Great Judge say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34). But those who fail to do will hear Him say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41).

 

Those who build upon the sand today are morally foolish. Out of His infinite wisdom God established certain principles to govern man's conduct.  Out of His matchless love God has given these principles for man's good. Through the ages they have been tried and tested and have always proved to be for man's best interest (Pro. 30:5).  From generation to generation some think that they have found a better way, but always any deviation from God's way proves to be disastrous. In our time there are advocates of a "New Morality" – actually, nothing more than an old immorality.  Where it supposedly offers freedom, it in fact enslaves and brings into the bondage of sin.  Long ago David tried this sort of thing, and for it paid a fearful price (2 Sam. 11:12).  "Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:7-8).
 

Those who build upon the sand are also religiously foolish. Since God's way is the only right way when it comes to moral conduct, God's way is the only right when it comes to religious practice.  God requires faith in Him and in His Son (John 14:1; 8:24).  Because of the abundance of evidence concerning the reality, power, and wisdom of God, it would be foolish not to believe. God requires repentance (Luke 13:3, 5).  Because we need to change from the practice of evil, it would be foolish not to repent.  God requires baptism for the remission of sin (Acts 2:38; 10:48).  Since God has made baptism essential to man's salvation, it would be foolish to deny it, and turn to the "faith only" and "grace only" doctrines.

We must be impressed with the fact that God tolerates no deviation from His Word (Gen. 4; Num. 20; 1 Sam. 15; 2 Sam. 11:12). 

How are you building your life today – on the infallibly safe rock of obedience, or on the shifting, destructive sands of human judgment?           

Jeremy W. Goen

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