Matthew 7:26
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:
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7:21-29 Christ here shows that it will not be enough to own him for our Master, only in word and tongue. It is necessary to our happiness that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification. Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges and doings, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand. Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all sin. There are others, whose religion rests in bare hearing, and it goes no further; their heads are filled with empty notions. These two sorts of hearers are represented as two builders. This parable teaches us to hear and do the sayings of the Lord Jesus: some may seem hard to flesh and blood, but they must be done. Christ is laid for a foundation, and every thing besides Christ is sand. Some build their hopes upon worldly prosperity; others upon an outward profession of religion. Upon these they venture; but they are all sand, too weak to bear such a fabric as our hopes of heaven. There is a storm coming that will try every man's work. When God takes away the soul, where is the hope of the hypocrite? The house fell in the storm, when the builder had most need of it, and expected it would be a shelter to him. It fell when it was too late to build another. May the Lord make us wise builders for eternity. Then nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. The multitudes were astonished at the wisdom and power of Christ's doctrine. And this sermon, ever so often read over, is always new. Every word proves its Author to be Divine. Let us be more and more decided and earnest, making some one or other of these blessednesses and Christian graces the main subject of our thoughts, even for weeks together. Let us not rest in general and confused desires after them, whereby we grasp at all, but catch nothing.Jesus closes the sermon on the mount by a beautiful comparison, illustrating the benefit of attending to his words. It was not sufficient to "hear" them; they must be "obeyed." He compares the man who should hear and obey him to a man who built his house on a rock. Palestine was to a considerable extent a land of hills and mountains. Like other countries of that description, it was subject to sudden and violent rains. The Jordan, the principal stream, was annually swollen to a great extent, and became rapid and furious in its course. The streams which ran among the hills, whose channels might have been dry during some months of the year, became suddenly swollen with the rain, and would pour down impetuously into the plains below. Everything in the way of these torrents would be swept off. Even houses, erected within the reach of these sudden inundations, and especially if founded on sand or on any unsolid basis, would not stand before them. The rising, bursting stream would shake it to its foundation; the rapid torrent would gradually wash away its base; it would totter and fall. Rocks in that country were common, and it was easy to secure for their houses a solid foundation. No comparison could, to a Jew, have been more striking. So tempests, and storms of affliction and persecution, beat around the soul. Suddenly, when we think we are in safety, the heavens may be overcast, the storm may lower, and calamity may beat upon us. In a moment, health, friends, comforts may be gone. How desirable, then, to be possessed of something that the tempest cannot reach! Such is an interest in Christ, reliance on his promises, confidence in his protection, and a hope of heaven through his blood. Earthly calamities do not reach these; and, possessed of religion, all the storms and tempests of life may beat harmlessly around us.

There is another point in this comparison. The house built upon the sand is beat upon by the floods and rains; its foundation gradually is worn away; it falls, and is borne down the stream and is destroyed. So falls the sinner. The floods are wearing away his sandy foundation; and soon one tremendous storm shall beat upon him, and he and his hopes shall fall, for ever fall. Out of Christ; perhaps having "heard" his words from very childhood; perhaps having taught them to others in the Sunday school; perhaps having been the means of laying the foundation on which others shall build for heaven, he has laid for himself no foundation, and soon an eternal tempest shall beat around his naked soul. How great will be that fall! What will be his emotions when sinking forever in the flood, and when he realizes that he is destined forever to live and writhe in the peltings of that ceaseless storm that shall beat when "God shall rain snares, fire, and a horrible tempest" upon the wicked!

26. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine—in the attitude of discipleship.

and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand—denoting a loose foundation—that of an empty profession and mere external services.

See Poole on "Matthew 7:27".

And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine,.... Who only externally hears them, but has no understanding of them; do not believe them, nor like and approve of them, but hates and despises them; or if not, depends upon his external hearing of them, and contents himself with a speculative knowledge, without the practice of them,

and doth them not; does not yield the obedience of faith to the doctrines of the Gospel, nor submits to the ordinances of it, but neglects them, and all other duties of religion: or if he does obey, it is only outwardly, not from the heart; nor from a principle of love; nor in faith; nor in the name and strength of Christ; nor for the glory of God, but in order to obtain life for himself: such

shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; or, as Luke has it, "without a foundation upon the earth"; upon the surface of the earth, without digging into it for a foundation: and such may be said to build

without a foundation, who pretend to make their peace with God by their own works; who hope for pardon on the foot of the mercy of God, and their own repentance; seek for justification by their own, and not the righteousness of Christ; look for acceptance with God, for the sake of their own worthiness; and who expect salvation in any other way than by Christ: as in each of these articles, they leave out Christ, they may be said to build without a foundation indeed, and to build "upon" the surface of "the earth"; as they do, who build their hope of salvation upon anything that is merely external; as, their riches and grandeur, their wisdom and learning, their natural descent, and religious education, their civility, courteousness, and what is called good nature, their liberality and alms deeds, their morality, common justice and honesty, their legal righteousness, whether moral or ritual, and a round of religious duties; and such may be said to "build upon the sand", on that which will bear no weight, but gives way, and sinks. The salvation of the soul is a weighty thing; and that which is like sand, as is everything of a man's own, can never support it: God has therefore laid the salvation of his people on his own Son; and he must be a "foolish man" that builds on anything short of him.

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:
Matthew 7:26-27. μωρῷ, Jesus seems here to offend against His own teaching, Matthew 5:22, but He speaks not in passion or contempt, but in deep sadness, and with humane intent to prevent such folly. Wherein lay the second builder’s folly? Not in deliberately selecting a bad foundation, but in taking no thought of foundation; in beginning to build at haphazard and anywhere; on loose sand (ἄμμος) near the bed of a mountain torrent. His fault was not an error in judgment, but inconsiderateness. It is not, as is commonly supposed, a question of two foundations, but of looking to, and neglecting to look to, the foundation. In the natural sphere no man in his senses commits such a mistake. But utterly improbable cases have to be supposed in parables to illustrate human folly in religion.

Matthew 7:26. Ὁ ἀκούων, he that heareth) He who neither hears nor does, clearly does not build at all.—ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον, on the sand) which frequently looks like the rock, but is not of the same consistence.

Verses 26, 27. - 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. In the Plain of Sharon the clay seems to have been so interior that not only were the jars made of it often worthless, but the bricks could offer so little resistance to the weather that the houses were hardly safe. Hence a special prayer was offered by the high priest on the Day of Atonement that the Lord would grant that their houses might not become their tombs (Talm. Jeremiah, 'Yoma,' 5:2 [Schwab, p. 218]; cf. Neubauer, 'Geograph.,' p. 48). In the parable, however, it is not the structure, but the foundation, that is wrong. The sand may refer, as Stanley suggests ('Sinai and Palestine,' ch. 13. p. 430), to one locality, in which case it is probably "the long sandy strip of land which bounds the eastern plain of Acre, and through which the Kishon flows into the sea;" or, as would seem more probable, to the sand which would naturally be found on the edges of such a torrent as is here described. Beat upon; smote upon (Revised Version). In ver. 25 the thought is more of the swoop of the tempest (προσέπεσαν); here, of its impact on the house (προσέκοψαν). It is possible that there is here less indication of force necessary for the destruction. "It needed only the first blow, and the house fell" (Weiss, 'Matthaus-ev.'). And great was the fall of it. Our Lord's solemn verdict of the utter ruin awaiting him who does not put his assent into action. The clause conveys an impression even stronger than ver. 23. There the positive worker of lawlessness is banished from Christ's presence; here, on the mere non-worker of Divine messages received is pronounced ruin and (for such, at least, seems suggested) that irremediable. Matthew 7:26
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