“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. . .
Blessed is he who is not only a hearer of the word but also a doer of the same. A mere hearer of the word is one who simply hears with an outward ear, receives the sayings of the Lord intellectually, but does not practice them. These sayings do not affect his life; his life remains unchanged. A doer of the word is one who practices the sayings of the Lord; these sayings stay with him; he practices and does what he hears.
Besides, we must do “these sayings of mine.” A mere hearer of the word can be very active. Notice what we read in Matthew 7:21-22. These people are not merely hearers; they are also doers. They are very active in their service of the Lord. But, we must do “these sayings of mine.” This is exactly what these people of the verses 21-22 did not do. They did not know sin and unrighteousness, were not prompted by the Spirit of Christ. They performed mighty works, but in their own strength; their works were exclusively earthy, to make this world a better place in which to live; they were very busy, but without the blood of Christ and of Calvary; their works had nothing to do with the kingdom of heaven.
Indeed, we must do “these sayings of mine,” whereof we have a brief summary in the Sermon on the Mount and as set forth before us in the infallible scriptures.
WHO HE IS
A wise or foolish builder—it is either, or.
Jesus speaks here of “these sayings of mine.” Strictly speaking, these sayings of Jesus refer to the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount. Generally speaking, Jesus’ sayings are the Scriptures. Of course, they are one. Scripture is but a broader setting forth of what the Savior declares in His Sermon on the Mount.
These sayings of Jesus refer, first of all, to the kingdom of heaven. This is God’s kingdom in Christ by grace, and it refers to the service of the living God with all the love of our heart and mind and soul and strength. This kingdom is heavenly. It is not earthy and does not reach its ideal here below, is not realized in the way of earthly glory and power. It does not come in the way of a social gospel, in the way of banishment of sicknesses and diseases, wars and rumors of war, without the cross of Calvary; fact is, it comes in the. way of pestilences and earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars. It is heavenly and will reach its final realization and glory in heavenly immortality. The law, the spiritual law of this kingdom is established by grace and consists in the service of God with all the love of our heart and mind and soul and strength.
Secondly, these sayings of Jesus also speak of our entrance into this kingdom of heaven. We enter this kingdom, first of all, through the blood and righteousness of Christ. The Scriptures teach, emphatically, that we are in ourselves barred from that kingdom. We are hopelessly lost in sin and guilt. We have neither the ability nor the will to pay our debt and satisfy the righteousness of God; the kingdom of heaven is, therefore, hopelessly beyond our reach. The only entrance into this kingdom is the blood and righteousness of Christ, of the eternal Son of God united with our flesh and blood, the blood of the Lamb of God and of Calvary that taketh away the sin of the world. And, secondly, we enter this kingdom, spiritually, by God’s irresistible grace. Indeed, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. The only requisite for our entering this kingdom, what must happen before our entrance, is our regeneration by God’s almighty and irresistible grace. The Lord must call us out of darkness into the light, out of death into life, out of the darkness and corruption, of this world into the light and life of the kingdom of God and of His dear Son.
A wise or foolish builder—either, or. Both hear “these sayings of mine.” The text emphasizes this. And, these sayings of Jesus affect both. Jesus does not speak as do the scribes and Pharisees; He speaks with authority. No hearer of these sayings can ignore them. He must build. The word of God is powerful, always influencing all its hearers.
What is a fool? A foolish man is not an ignorant man. He, too, hears these sayings of Christ. So, he is not ignorant. A fool is one who denies reality. He is acquainted with the Word of God. He knows of the kingdom of God and that it is heavenly. He also knows of the living God and his calling to serve Him with all his life and being. And he knows that the Scriptures speak the truth . . . . And yet he is a fool. Why? Fact is, folly is not merely a matter of the mind, of the intellect. Folly is principally a matter of the heart. The sinner shuts his eye to reality willfully. He knows all about God, His Christ, sin, etc. But he hates God and loves evil. A fool is beyond the reach of any man.
And who is a wise man? He is a product of divine grace. He is not necessarily a learned man, even as a fool is not necessarily an ignorant man. A wise man is one taught by God. He reckons with reality, builds for the future. He confesses his sin and iniquity, cries to God for mercy, has his eye upon the City that has foundations.
WHAT HE BUILDS
He who hears the sayings of Jesus and doeth them not is like unto a man who builds his house upon sand. How foolish! Especially in Palestine . . . ! He knows how violent these storms can be. But, the sun is shining when he is building. He builds as if the sun will always shine, as if the storms will never come. He fails to reckon with reality.
We must identify this builder. He does not represent the off-scouring of society. Really, drunkards and thieves and murderers do not build. They are no asset either to themselves or to society. This foolish builder is indeed held before us in Matthew 7:21-23. These foolish builders are the men of culture; they would improve the world and all human society. The theory of Common Grace lauds them because they do so much good in the world. Jesus, however, calls them fools. And in the verses 21-23 He declares that He never knew them, calls them workers of iniquity.
He builds beautiful and mighty palaces. How he strives to banish war, to deliver this world from the results of sin, from all sickness and misery! He would transform this world into a paradise, a world of sickness and pain and sorrow into a world of joy and happiness. The world, he knows, needs reform. All sickness and disease must be conquered, the world improved in all its aspects . . . . All the world’s problems must be conquered, and the people of God must cooperate with the children of darkness, it is said, to achieve this goal.
How unutterably foolish is he! He has no foundation. He builds upon sand. He would remove the results of sin but retain sin. He does not reckon with the sayings of Christ. He would be cured of cancer but ignores the Great Physician. Sin is the cause of all misery and the blood of Christ alone cleanses from all sin, but the cross he rejects and Jesus he despises. O, he will use a humanitarian Christ . . . . This Christ, however, does not exist. He is a fool, denies Reality.
On the other hand, he who hears and does the sayings of Jesus is a wise builder. He builds upon rock. The fool builds upon sand, does not bother with a foundation. This man digs. The fool undoubtedly has his house completed while the wise man continues to dig. He is determined to build upon rock. Really, as far as this wise builder is concerned, nothing can ever be seen. He does not build for this world, is not interested in what can be seen.
Indeed, to do “these sayings of mine” does not mean that we do big things for God and for His Christ. The building of mighty palaces is a task which the foolish builder has taken upon himself. This wise builder would stand upon rock, and this rock is Christ Jesus. The house he builds is really a house of sin and grace. He has nothing to contribute except iniquity and sm. He was conceived and born dead in sins and in trespasses. He builds and stands upon Christ; in Christ is all his confidence. In Christ is all his confidence as far as his sins are concerned. He glories in the cross of Calvary. He has learned, by the grace of God, to lay all his filthy clothes at the foot of the cross; he clings to the cross of Golgotha. In Christ is also all his confidence as far as his preservation is concerned in the midst of the world. He knows that he cannot persevere in the way of God’s commandments. That future is heavenly. By nature he, too, is earthly and from below. But Christ is risen from the dead, exalted into glory, and he has received life, a new life from above. Hence, he now sees the now in the light of the then, the present in the light of the future, the earthly in the light of the heavenly. And to be inducted into that heavenly Jerusalem he builds upon Christ. He does not cling to his own work. He clings to the work of Christ; in His cross he glories. And for him to do the will of his heavenly Father means that he will declare and show forth His praises, having been called by God’s grace out of darkness into His marvelous light.
THE RESULT OF HIS BUILDING
How great is the fall of the house built upon sand! These winds and rains are the symbols of God’s judgment. They will occur when the world shall have reached its pinnacle of development, its highest development in culture, and also in sin. Great and magnificent will be this development of the world . . . !
The house of the foolish builder will fall, and great will be the fall of it. Of course! The house will be great. And its fall will be great. Sin will then be revealed in all its awful folly. Even as a corpse must disintegrate when exposed to the rays of the sun, so also all the glory of the world will be revealed in all its vanity and nothingness. Everlastingly the Lord will confront him as a consuming fire.
The house of the wise builder will stand forever. His house is a house of sin and grace. And God is not unrighteous to forget His own work. Even as the Lord loves and seeks Himself, so He will also justify His own work in all His saints. He will reveal, even forevermore, that the work of Christ is eternally sure.
Blessed is he who builds upon that Rock.
Presently whatever is of sin and of the earth shall pass away.
Whatever is of God in Christ Jesus, His Son, our Lord, will abide forever.