Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to walk our readers through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 in order to help them understand what it teaches and how to apply it to our lives. This is our first such series here at Servants of Grace through an extended biblical passage and is part of our larger commitment to help Christians learn to read, interpret, reflect, and apply the Bible to their own lives.

Matthew 7:24-27, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

In early October 2015, my home state of South Carolina experienced major rainfall that led to extreme flooding throughout the state. Arguably, the most flooding happened in my state’s capital – Columbia, SC.

The devastation was unimaginable. It’s our natural instinct to never believe stuff like this can happen to you until they do. All throughout the state churches became shelters and food distributors. Major universities throughout the East Coast gathered canned food and shipped them to South Carolina.

Thankfully, my hometown suffered minimal damage, but I heard the stories of cars being swept off the road by the rushing waters. I saw the news clips of people being rescued from their neighborhoods by small boats. I remember seeing the pictures of the houses with only their rooftops above the water.

I remember staring at a particular picture and thinking, “How is this house still standing?” It was because of its strong foundation. The roof might have some damage and the walls certainly needed replacing, but the house still stood. The winds came, the rain fell, and the floodwaters rose, but the house was still standing.

Be a Doer of the Word

Jesus used this same imagery in our text. In Matthew 7:24-27, He is making a clear distinction between the house built on a sure foundation and the house built upon the shifting sand. Jesus is concluding the Sermon on the Mount, and as He concludes, He says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them…”

Christ is clear! Do not just listen to these words, but do them. Jesus has preached to the crowds and is proclaiming action and application. These words are not for us to feel better about ourselves, nor are they words that suggest a better way of life. Jesus stands and confronts the sins of all listening and proclaims a lifestyle of obedience! The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus coming to us face-to-face, confronting our sin, and calling us to obedience.

When we hear the words of our Lord and we do them, we are like the wise man that has built his house upon the rock. When our foundation is sure, we can face any storm of this life. Nevertheless, this is not how Jesus finishes this imagery. He tells of what will happen for those who do not do these words. For those who hear these words but does not do them, the fall is great.

The Promise

Don’t glance over the promise here in this text. Don’t let the imagery distract you so that you miss what Jesus is saying. Notice this! Christ is promising that the winds, the rains, and the floods will come. Jesus does not say to build our house upon the sure foundation “just in case” the storms come, but He is saying that they will come. There will be times in your life that the winds will swirl around us, the rains will fall without ceasing, and the flood waters will rise quickly. If we have built our house upon the rock, we will endure. But, if we have built our house upon the sand, great will be the fall.

Who is the Rock?

If we are looking at this imagery, we are quickly saying, we want our house built upon the sure foundation. We don’t want to fall with every storm. We want to stand firm through all the winds, rains, and floods.

So how do we do this? We do these words and build our house upon the rock. Christ is our rock. If it were up to us obeying all that Christ has said in this sermon, we would quickly fail. We would surely be the house built upon the sand and falling with every slightest wind that blew, but if we build our house upon the perfect obedience of Christ, our house will never fail.

The gospel is clear in this text. Christ is our sure foundation. He is our rock. His perfect obedience is placed upon us so that we can stand firm. What is our response? Be doers of the word.

I love the old hymn, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, by Edward Mote. The well-known refrain summarizes all of this perfectly.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

Dear readers, build your house upon the rock.