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. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes.Matt. 7:24-29
Foundation on a Rock
This study represents the final part of the often quoted and memorable sermon on the mount from Jesus that started all the way back in Matt. 5:1. This week’s scripture reading on the subject of “is your faith built on a rock” is cross referenced in Luke which gives more helpful information for the above parable by noting, “…and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock.” [Luke 6:48a] It is notable to mention the need to dig deep while laying a foundation since this is typically where more solid and less fragmented rock exists beneath soil, sand and loose rock. Therein lies the opportunity to lay a foundation on unmovable material that can weather the effect of natural elements.
This parable in a sense, illustrates what people are building their faith upon; whether it is a foundation subject to erosion and collapse through man-made pursuits and beliefs, or whether it is a foundation on God that never changes. This premise of foundational faith is described in this passage, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” [1 Cor. 3:11] Here, the assurance of believers is presented for their daily walk with God who is the unchanging, everlasting Lord, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” [Heb. 13:8]
It is interesting to note that Jesus uses the reference of a rock foundation in his message since it cross references with messianic prophecies which are foretelling of the Lord Jesus Christ as the coming Messiah from this passage, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone,] a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” [Is. 28:16] This foundational rock of faith was also referenced by Paul in his letter to the Roman church as originally prophesied from Is. 8:14 and documented in this scripture, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” [Rom. 9:33]
Similarly, Paul also gave reference to the presence of the pre-existent, spiritual rock of Christ following the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” [1 Cor. 10:4] This particular verse from Paul was originally recorded in Ex. 17:6 and also alluded to in Ps. 105:41 thus confirming that such scriptures did not occur simply by happenstance.
A Sure Foundation
As readers go through the teachings of Jesus in this long message spanning three chapters of scripture, it is important to look for common themes of thought. Recalling from the last few readings, Jesus instructed people to enter in at the strait gate, to be aware of false prophets who work iniquity and to caution people that a mere outward show of religion would not get them to heaven. This week’s reading therefore flows in congruence with all previous ones noted.
The Lord is instructing people to build upon a more sure foundation instead of what the scribes and Pharisees’ mere traditions were in the midst of their hypocrisy and iniquity as Paul wrote, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” [2 Tim. 2:19] Paul highlighted this in his other letter to Timothy. In a similar way that Jesus expressed the coming storm in this parable, Paul instructs us to prepare for things to come, “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” [1 Tim. 6:19]
Doing God’s Will
Let us transition now in this message on is your faith built upon the rock. It is of utmost importance in the teaching from Jesus to not only hear his word but also to do his will. Recall how Jesus warned people from the scripture above, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not.” The apostle John wrote of this as he recorded another message from Jesus, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” [John 14:21]
People may ask what are the commandments from the Lord Jesus but John also made this very clear in a subsequent writing, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” [1 John 3:22-23]
To close off this final study on is your faith built upon the rock, let us also take note of Jesus’ words once again, “…whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them…”. Readers may recall from earlier studies the use of this word, whosoever, as noted by Jesus when he said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16]
The gospel of Jesus is indeed open to whosoever, it is neither secretive nor selective in its reach to people from all nations of the world. If you have walked through this sermon on the mount and are a believer in Christ, it is hopeful that your faith has grown through more awareness of how God’s word all comes together in unity and harmony of its message. If you are new to the whole aspect of becoming a believer and are perhaps seeking to have faith in Christ, then this closing message is for you.
Message of Salvation
God is seeking you at this very moment for it was written, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” [Luke 19:10] People may not feel lost right now, they may feel like they have everything life could offer them but there is no redemption from sin outside of faith in Christ. Sin is the great separator between people and God and sin does not just include the usual suspects as listed in the ten commandments.
To make matters worse as Paul wrote in his letters, sin also comes with eternal consequences, “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Rom. 6:23] For those who think they have not sinned or that their sins are not too bad, the scriptures tell another story, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” [Rom. 5:12]
Despite sin separating us from God, the Lord has always been seeking us and the greatest demonstration of this was when Jesus Christ gave his life to atone for our sins, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).” [Eph. 2:4-5] Quicken means to bring alive in a spiritual sense and this is the new birth in Christ, to become spiritually alive.
New life in Christ comes from believing in what he did through his death, burial and resurrection as atonement to God for your sins. As the apostle John wrote in one of his letters, this then becomes a daily walk in the Lord, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” [1 John 1_7-10]
Therefore to conclude this study on is your faith built upon the rock, ask this question of yourself, is the Holy Spirit dwelling in you right now? Why not make this decision of faith that will last for eternity, for nothing is more certain in life than God’s plan of redemption in Christ. As Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” [Mark 13:31]
Bible Study Questions
- In this study on is your faith built upon the rock, why do you think Jesus used common examples to preach more complex spiritual messages?
- In this message Jesus gave reference to building on a rock but who is the rock from scripture? Hint 1 Cor. 3:11
- By doing the commandments of Jesus, we will show that we love him and will be loved by him and the Father, true or False? Hint John 14:21
- Why do you think Jesus came into the world in such humble surroundings, i.e. born in a manger, worked as a carpenter?
- Did the Jews and religious leaders understand who Jesus was as their long awaited Messiah? Why?
- The whosoever gospel of Christ includes you and everyone you know? Why?
- Are there areas in your life that are currently built upon sand and need to be shifted over to the rock of Christ for a more sure foundation?
WORD GUIDE – * (letters – holy scriptures)