24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
“Therefore” is a great word to use when you wish to issue a final summary comment based upon everything said before. In this case, summarizing Matthew 5:1-7:23, Jesus is ready to conclude the Sermon on the Mount.
To whom do these concluding comments apply to? Jesus says “everyone” who listens and does will be building a house that will stand up against the storms of life. Conversely, “everyone” who listens but does not do what Jesus says, will be constructing a house that will collapse in life’s storms. The word everyone obviously means every single person who hears what Jesus has to say. The only question is whether or not those who hear will do what He says to do, or not.
So, what did Jesus say that everyone is supposed to hear and do? While it is tempting to go to other places in the gospels or the writings of Paul I think it is important to stay within Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount as the starting place. This keeps us away from the temptation of chasing our own rabbits rather than hearing a clear message from Christ, Himself.
That is what this lesson is about. To know what Jesus has said and to know that to which He is most certainly referring it is important to survey the Sermon of Matthew 5-7. To do this as simply as possible I have condensed the teachings of the sermon into a simple list summarizing each point for quick reference:
The process of listening to what Jesus has to say and applying His teachings to every aspect of our lives is a process that is life-long. The key understanding rests in His grace. Without it, these lists become legalistic commands that leave us feeling empty and condemned, incapable of living up to God’s expectations. Under His grace, however, we are free to grow in surges and spurts as life leads us through insights, opportunities and challenges that shape us more and more into the image of Christ. This skit illustrates how this works:
Building our house wisely on the correct foundation is so important. Jesus has just told us in the previous verses that it is a matter of choosing the right path (7:13-14), discerning truth from error (7:15-20) and forming a relationship with God so that His Son will recognize us on Judgement Day (7:21-23). Not only will the obedient citizen of the kingdom successfully weather the storms of life but they will be welcomed home by name!