“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a 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 every one that heareth these sayings 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.”
“The Strength of Youth.”
Once a month the Standard Bearer features an article under this heading. These articles are directed especially towards the youth of the Church of Jesus Christ that they may be strengthened and prepared more fully for their walk as a pilgrim and a stranger here on the earth.
Here in the Sermon on the Mount Christ lays down some basic principles with respect to this strength. One is strong if he is wise; he is wise if he “heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them.” On the contrary, one is not strong if he is not wise, but foolish; and he is foolish if he “heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not.” Using the illustration of the two builders Christ bears this principle out.
“These sayings of mine” refer in the narrow sense to the Sermon on the Mount and all that Jesus has to say with respect to the righteousness of the kingdom, its subjects, and their pursuit of that kingdom. Moreover, in the wider sense, “these sayings of mine” refer to the whole revelation of God as contained in the infallible, inspired Scriptures.
Now in the church of Jesus Christ in its earthly manifestation there are two kinds of people which react in two different ways to “these sayings.” The one does them and is a true member of the church, a child of God; the other does not do them and is a false member, a hypocrite, a child of his father, the devil. Both hear the Word of God, both are members of the church visible, but only one hearkens unto that Word and is wise.
The question that confronts each youthful saint as he consciously sets out on his pilgrim’s journey is, “What kind of builder am I?” One can not sit back and do nothing, but one must build, and build he does—not just any kind of structure, but a house. A house is one’s home which is the center of his activity and life, the place of his joy where he has fellowship with the members of his family. The house represents a place of shelter and security. This is true also spiritually. So the question is, “How and where shall I build my house?”
From the illustration of Christ we can see that there are two different ways resulting in two different kinds of houses with distinct and different endings. The one builder builds his house on the rock. In other words, he saw to it that his house had a good, solid foundation. Luke tells us that he had to dip deep to reach this bed rock, a task which was very difficult and which required arduous labor. Consequently; the house was not large and grand, but a small, humble abode. On the other hand, the other builder did not concern himself with a good foundation but expended his time and labor in building a fine, grand, palatial home.
The same difference is present when we apply this figure to the spiritual aspect of life. He who hears and does not the sayings is building on spiritual sand. This is a real danger for our covenant youth. For building on sand represents all the attempts of sinful man to obtain salvation for himself. Young people are enamored by his methods and are led into the ways of autonomous man. Natural man recognizes all the results of sin such as sickness, sorrow, death, wars, famine, crime, etc. In his pride he seeks salvation from these results of sin but not from sin itself. In order to accomplish this salvation he turns to reason, to philosophy, or to science. Now, as I mentioned, the time of youth is a dangerous time in this regard. He is at a stage in his life when he thinks that he knows the answer to every one of life’s problems. Father and mother are old-fashioned as they cling to the “foolishness” of Scriptural principles. After all, we live in a different age. That which was relevant years ago no longer applies today. Consequently he turns to his newly found wisdom with the exuberance of youth, being attracted by all the newest ideas and inventions that man has created for his salvation from life’s social ills.
Beware, covenant youth, lest you be deceived! One who has this earthly wisdom does not have Christ in his heart, and the Word of God does not serve as his guide. He loves man rather than God, with the result that he is a law unto himself. See how that applies today? One no longer obeys the one standard set down by God, but each person is a law unto himself, having his own standards for that which he does. His entire house is built upon the right of the individual, which is no more than an attempt for happiness and for freedom from the guilt of sin apart from the cross of Christ. This is building on spiritual sand.
Looking from the positive point of view we are all called to build upon the spiritual rock, not only to hear the sayings but to do them. He who builds on sand has not exceeded the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees and will in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven, for the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven is only in Christ Jesus. We, young and old alike, must adhere to the Word of God as it is given to us in the Scriptures, for it is perfect and complete, containing the whole will of God and all that is necessary for us to know unto salvation.
To emphasize this point let us look at the Scriptural presentation of the rock upon which we are to build. First of all, this rock is God Himself. He is the Rock of salvation: “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation,” Psalm 89:26. He is the Rock of strength: “Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength,” Isaiah 17:10. Secondly, Christ the Word Incarnate is this rock. As rock He is the sure foundation as described in Isaiah 28:16: “Behold, I lay Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” This tried stone is the chief corner stone : “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone,” Eph. 2:20. Man in his foolishness tries to lay another foundation, his own righteousness, but the apostle Paul in I Cor. 3:11 says that there is no other foundation possible. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” This is all true because of the very character of this rock: it shall never pass away (Matt. 5:18). Covenant youth, this is the foundation for God’s elect, the same rock that is a rock of stumbling for the reprobate.
He who builds on this rock is wise; he who does not is a fool. In Scripture always the wise and the fool are men that are compared with a view to their attitude and relation to reality. A fool does not figure properly with reality either in ordinary life or in spiritual life. He acts as if God is not there or as if he can make his own God, thereby depending on his own righteousness which is self-glorifying. A wise man figures with reality and determines his actions accordingly. Both in ordinary and in spiritual life he has foresight. He sees God as the true Reality, knowing and depending on His righteousness. How can you tell whether you are wise or not? By testing and evaluating your building, that is, your work. This is readily seen once again from the example of these two builders. Their buildings are tested when reality comes. In this case the reality is the storm: the rain, the floods, and the winds. The whole of each structure is put to the test: the rains try the roofs, the great flood waters the foundations, and the winds the walls. The result? The fool’s house fell with a great fall (for it was a great house). There was no foundation and the sand was quickly swept away. The opposite is true of the wise man’s house. It fell not for it was founded on the rock.
Now let us evaluate our spiritual house. The great storm is judgment. Even at the present time we see all kinds of signs prefiguring the final judgment. In times of war and hopelessness when all the human structure collapses, even the world sees that it can not build human salvation and happiness that is not built on the rock of righteousness. But the child of God,, the wise man, who builds upon the rock always has peace and salvation no matter what becomes of him in the world. But the final test is judgment day itself. In that day the ungodly shall perish, shall not stand in judgment nor in the congregation of the righteous. All their work has been based upon temporal man rather than upon the eternal rock. However, the righteous who lived his life out of Christ shall stand firm. We all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and, resting on the perfect work of Christ on the cross, we are justified before God—hence, heirs to His kingdom, partakers of everlasting life!
In all this there is the implied admonition, “Do not build on the sand!” By nature all are foolish and build upon the sand, but by grace we are enabled to build on the rock. By grace we are enlightened that we see reality. This means a life of antithesis in which we constantly remove the sand and refrain from helping the world to build their structure on sand. We stay away from peace that is no peace and steer clear of humanism, human philosophy, and social uplift as a means of salvation. Instead we have the salvation of the world in our handsthrough grace. Salvation which is built on the Rock Jesus Christ. And the outcome will show that the rest are fools and that by the grace of God we are wise.
In this light, young people, go on building. But carry the words of this Scripturally based song in your heart.
“My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand.”