Matthew 7:24
Christ turns from the judgment of the teacher, in the parable of the tree and the fruit, to the judgment of the hearer, in the parable now before us. The hearer is responsible as well as the teacher.

I. LIVING IS BUILDING. Every man is building himself a house, for all life-work is the putting together of a habitation in which the worker will have to dwell. Some build feebly and set up but slight structures, mere huts and shanties. Others work with more ambitious designs, and will make themselves spacious mansions, gorgeous palaces, or massive castles. Whatever a man builds, in that he must dwell. We cannot get away from the results of our own life-work. These will either become a shelter to protect us or a ruin to fall about our heads.

II. THE SECURITY OF A BUILDING IS DETERMINED BY THE SOLIDITY OF THE FOUNDATION. Our Lord's imagery would be particularly vivid in his own country. Nazareth is built in a cleft of the hills, some of its houses perched on jutting rocks. A similar character of foundation would be found in the neighbourhood of Gennesaret, where Jesus was now teaching. If the foundation is rotten, the greater the building the more insecure will it be, and the greater will be the fall thereof when it comes down. It is vain and foolish to be bestowing care on the towers and pinnacles while the foundation is giving way. Efforts spent on mere ornamentation are quite wasted if the question of the foundation has not been first of all carefully attended to. Yet in practical life this is the last thing that many consider. They would reach the goal without entering the strait gate; they would gather the fruit without grafting in the right stock; they would complete the house without attending to the foundation. Yet the first great question is as to what we are building on.

III. THE FOUNDATION WILL BE TESTED. All is well at first. The house on the sand looks as fair and solid as that on the rock. Perhaps it is of a more pretentious character. But the calm dry weather will not last for ever. The rainy season ensues. Torrents scour the mountain-sides and sweep the loose soil from the rocks. Wind and rain beat on the house at the same time that it is being undermined by the raging flood that washes the sand from beneath its foundation. This is like the persecution and tribulation that scorch the growth on the stony ground (ch. 13:20, 21). Trouble is a test of the foundation of a professedly Christian life. Death is a great final test.

IV. THE SOLID FOUNDATION IS OBEDIENCE. A careless hearer of this parable might be ready to assume that Christ is the Foundation, and that faith in him is building on that Foundation. Of course, these are truths expressed elsewhere (e.g. 1 Corinthians 3:11). But they are not the lessons of the present parable. Our Lord is distinctly warning us against a superficial profession of allegiance to himself (vers. 22, 23). All is useless if there is not obedience. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). In other words, the only living faith in Christ is that which proves its existence by bringing forth fruit in active service. Only they are on the rock who do what Christ teaches. - W.F.A.







I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock.
I. THE POINTS OF RESEMBLANCE. They both heard Christ's sayings; both saw the necessity of building a house, or place of refuge; both actually erected a house; both houses were exposed to storms; both builders rested with security in the edifices they had raised.

II. THOSE THINGS IN WHICH THEY DIFFERED. In their personal character; in their practice; in the foundations on which they built; in the final result of each.

1. How necessary is careful examination.

2. How important a saving knowledge of Christ.

3. How indispensable practical godliness.

(J. Burns, LL. D.)

American Hom. Monthly.
I. THE BUILDERS.

1. They were alike

(1)in their need of a house.

(2)In their privileges. Both heard the same words of Jesus.

(3)In their efforts; both built.

2. They were unlike

(1)in their character.

(2)In their choice.

(3)In faith and love. One heard and did not. "If a man love Me, he will keep My words."

II. THE FOUNDATIONS. The one sure, the other insecure.

III. THE SUPERSTRUCTURE.

IV. The TRIAL.

V. The RESULTS.

(American Hom. Monthly.)

I. THE DESIGNATION — "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them."

1. Fortuity. "Whosoever," a pronoun contingent; we cannot foresee the issue. We must leave our spiritual toils with God.

2. Privilege. Privilege to hear the gospel.

3. Docility. "Doeth them."

II. WISDOM.

1. Design. Building a house denotes an intention to live in it.

2. Selection. If you build, you must look after a place.

3. Perseverance. He went on building in face of difficulties.

4. Stability. If the works of art are less durable than the works of nature, the works of grace outshine the works of nature much more. There is something enduring when you are enabled to build upon the Rock of Ages.

III. FOLLY.

1. Concession. He could not manage without a house.

2. Labour. He took much pains.

3. Promise. It looked fair.

4. Fall. The fall of a soul! Ruinous.

(E. Andrews, LL. D.)

I. The sayings of Christ are eminently PRACTICAL.

II. They are PRACTICABLE. It Was no impossible ideal. God has provided helpful agencies.

1. The agency of the Holy Ghost.

2. A means of Christian holiness is the earthly life of the personal and human Christ.

3. There is the encouragement of conscious progress.

III. The sayings of Christ are AUTHORITATIVE.

IV. The sayings of Christ are IMPERATIVE.

(H. Allele.)

1. We have every one of us a house to build; or, in other words, a soul to save.

2. There is a Rock provided for us, on which we may safely build our house.

3. On this Rock we must build if we would escape everlasting destruction.

4. The danger of delaying to place your building upon the right foundation.

(E. Cooper.)

I. WHEREIN THESE TWO BUILDERS RESEMBLED EACH OTHER.

1. They both heard Christ's sayings.

2. They both saw the necessity of building a refuge.

3. They both actually erected a house.

4. Both houses were exposed to storms.

5. Both builders rest securely in their houses.

II. WHEREIN THEY DIFFERED.

1. In their characters.

2. In their practice — one was a hearer, the other a doer.

3. In their judgments of the foundation.

4. In the final issue.

III. THE CONSEQUENCES WHICH FOLLOWED.

1. The fallen house involves the eternal ruin of the inmate.

2. It is a disappointment of fondly-cherished hopes.

3. It is fall, total and irreparable, for ever.

4. The inmate in the other house is in no danger.

5. He lives in peace and plenty on earth.

6. He shall reign with God in glory.

(J. B. Baker.)

I. THE POINTS OF RESEMBLANCE BETWEEN THE CONVERTED AND THE UNCONVERTED PROFESSOR,

1. Both profess to be religious. Both build a house.

2. Both have their religion put to the test.

II. THE POINTS OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM.

1. In their conduct. The one indolent, the other was laborious; one idly plants his house, the other digs for foundation.

2. In the foundation of their hopes.

3. In their end, How wise the genuine believer! How foolish the unconverted professor!

(C. Clayton, M. A.)

1. True religion is likened to a man's own house. Every one's real life is his own home.

2. There are a few persons who are fond of looking at foundations, and questioning whether they rest on the right place; others make the far more vital mistake of not searching into them enough.

3. Foundations are found, after much search, in deep places; certain floating ideas about religion are not enough to build a life upon — such as "He is a kind God, and will not punish."

4. The Spirit of God shows a man the Rock.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

But what can the hurricane do? Just what the elements do in nature. Whatever they do not break, they consolidate. Your trials will only consolidate — they will consolidate your principles, your affections, your hopes — they will make you, on "the Rock," yourselves a rock. Judgments may fall from above, like the descending " rain." Disappointments, afflictions, persecutions, may swell around you, like rolling "floods." Temptations may buffet you with all the mysteriousness of the invisible "wind." Yet St. Luke says, "They could not shake it." The strength of "the Rock" is in the believer — he passes all his troubles on to his "Rock," and from his "Rock" he draws his strength. And the eternal unchangeableness of the foundation, makes the poorest, weakest stone that is once fastened to it, unshaken and impregnable as the throne of Jehovah.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. THE TWO BUILDERS,

1. They were equally impressed with the need of building a house.

2. They were both alike resolved to obtain a house.

3. They were equally well skilled in architecture.

4. They both persevered and finished their structure.

II. THEIR HOUSES.

1. The chief apparent difference between the two edifices probably was this, that one of them built his house more quickly than the other,

2. One was built with far less trouble than the other.

3. The main difference lay out of sight — underground.

III. THE COMMON TRIAL OF THE TWO HOUSES.

IV. THE DIFFERENT RESULTS OF THE TRIALS.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. To show the reasons WHY PRACTICE OR OBEDIENCE IS THE BEST AND SUREST FOUNDATION FOR A MAN TO BUILD HIS DESIGN FOR HEAVEN AND THE HOPES OF HIS SALVATION UPON.

1. Because, according to the economy of God's working upon the hearts of men, nothing but practice can change our corrupt nature; and practice continued in, by the grace of God, will.

2. Because action is the highest perfection and drawing forth of the utmost power, vigour, and activity of man's nature.

3. Because the main drift of religion is the active part of it.

(1)Thus God is honoured.

(2)The good of society.

II. THOSE FALSE AND SANDY FOUNDATIONS WHICH MANY VENTURE TO BUILD UPON, AND ARE ACCORDINGLY DECEIVED BY.

1. An unoperative faith.

2. Honesty of intention.

3. Party and singularity.

III. WHENCE IT IS THAT SUCH ILL-FOUNDED STRUCTURES ARE, UPON TRIAL, SURE TO FALL. The force and opposition from without. Satan.

(R. South, D. D.)

I. The sayings to which the Saviour refers.

II. The practical attention they demand.

III. The dispositions of mind necessary for the due reception and practice of the truth.

1. A holy vigilance against whatever may prove an obstacle; custom, curiosity, criticism.

2. To cherish whatever may be likely to promote the due reception of the gospel, freedom of the mind from worldly entanglements; there must be reverence for the truth, docility, self-application, faith in the Son of God, prayer.

IV. THE INVIOLABLE SAFETY OF SUCH HEARERS OF THE WORD.

1. The faith and hope of the Christian may be rudely assailed in the present life.

2. However assailed the Christian is secure.

(J. E. Good.)

I. WHO AMONG THE HEARERS OF THE GOSPEL ARE INTENDED BY THIS REPRESENTATION.

1. It applies to all who build their hope of heaven upon the mere belief of the doctrines of Christianity.

2. The individual who builds upon his own goodness, and rejects, either in part or whole, the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. The foolish builder represents likewise the hearer of the gospel, on whose mind its Divine truths only partially operate.

4. The persons on whose minds the influence of the Word is transient,

II. THE FEARFUL AND TREMENDOUS OVERTHROW WHICH AWAITS SUCH HEARERS OF THE WORD.

1. As regards the time of its occurrence. It fell in the storm, when the builder had most need of it.

2. It was great as to the sacrifice of property. The plans and toils of the wicked are vain.

3. It was great because it was irreparable. Too late to build another.

(J. E. Good.)

The two houses in building; the two houses in the storm.

I. WE ARE ALL OF US BUILDERS. People are often building something quite different from what they fancy. A man fancies lie is building a fortune, when in reality he is building a prison for himself. Some persons go on building for sixty years, and have nothing to show worth calling a life.

II. If we would build safely and well WE MUST BUILD ON A RIGHT FOUNDATION. It is so in small things. The want of a good foundation does not always show at once, but sooner or later the trial comes.

1. Sometimes it is the temptations of worldly companionship and influence that try our foundations.

2. Sometimes it is sorrow.

3. Sometimes sickness searches out the hidden weakness of the foundation.

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

The trust-house. A quiet, bright girl is sitting at work in a cottage by her mother's side; ready, with cheerful promptness, to run on an errand, to spread the table, to fetch her little brother from school, or to teach and amuse the younger children. Is she building anything? Many things. For one thing, a feeling of trust in her mother's heart. Years hence, when that mother is stricken down with sickness, she will not have to say with a sigh, "Jane means well, but I can't trust her." She will say, "I can trust you, my child, to do all that I have been used to do — all that you know I should wish.

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

A brother and sister are sitting together by the fireside, listening to their father's teaching, to their mother's sweet voice reading aloud: they repeat the same hymns; they turn over the leaves of one book; they kneel side by side at firefly prayer. What are they building? A happy, holy chamber of memory, of which they two alone will have the key.

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

Shall we look at one or two other builders? A grave, bright-eyed boy is sitting before a fire, earnestly watching the bubbling, hissing, steaming tea-kettle, and thinking, thinking, thinking. What is he building? Neither he nor any one else can guess; but in truth he is building things as wonderful as the enchanted castles and palaces of the genii in fairy-tales. Steam-engines, steamboats, locomotives, with their long trains of railway carriages, and the long lines of railway made for them to run on: all these are, in time, to grow out of the THOUGHT which that boy is building in his busy brain. All the steam-engines that ever will be built were wrapped up, like a forest of oaks in a single acorn, in the first thought of the steam-engine in the mind of James Watt. For, let me tell you (though I scarcely expect you to understand it), of all that men build in granite, or marble, or iron, or whatever else they please, nothing is so strong and lasting as thought. The pyramids themselves might be blown up and shattered into fragments, but what power could destroy the twenty-third Psalm?

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

Some men's lives are like palaces, fair and spacious and lofty; full of nobleness. Some are like castles, grim and stern and tyrannical, with dark cells and secret winding passages. Some are like mills and warehouses, stuffed so full with machinery and merchandise that the owner has scarce room to move about; and not a glimpse of the bright blue sky can he catch through their dusty windows. Some, again, are lighthouses, standing bravely on their rock amid the dashing waves, and holding forth the light by which many a storm-tossed voyager is guided into port. Some lives are more like ships than houses, ever wandering, nowhere abiding. Some are like quiet cottage homes, with no splendid outside or towering pinnacles, but full of homely peace and quiet usefulness. And some — how many! — never get beyond the beginning: just a few courses laid.

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

If you are going to paint a picture, and get the outline wrong (which is the foundation of the picture), all the picture will be wrong. If you have a long division sum to do, and make a mistake in the first step, all the sum will be wrong. A child soon learns that he cannot even build a card house on a shining, polished table, or on a crooked, ricketty table; or a house of toy bricks without a firm level foundation. How much more must this be so in greater matters!

(E. R. Conder, D. D.)

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