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Wise men and fools Mt. 7:24 - 29

February 8, 2015 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: The Gospel of Matthew

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 7:24–7:29

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Mt. 7:24 - 29  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27“The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

28When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Contemptable. Detestable. Incomprehensible. were all words that were in the news last week.

Your first thought might be, Oh, that must have been the story about ISIS setting a live man on fire to murder him.

No, those words were used to describe the folks at Trinity Western Law School in Nova Scotia because they have a written community covenant requiring all students, administrators and faculty to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Contemptable. Detestable. Incomprehensible.

Those words don't describe ISIS, at least not in the news media. They describe me, and I hope, you.

The passage this morning is about words. Jesus says that no less than 3 times in this short section.

As the incomparable maha rushie, Rush Limbaugh says; "Words mean things". You don't have to agree with him on anything else, but if you don't agree with him on that, our discussion here, is over. Words * Mean * Things.

Obviously, his purpose when he said that was to point out the hypocrisy of our society in how we take words and keep dumbing them down to mean less, and less, and ultimately for stigma to be erased by weaseling with words. Black becomes white. All the sharp edges are gone. Everything becomes relative. Definitions become blurred.

Sodomite became faggot became homosexual became queer became gay became LGBT community and rainbow coalition.

You can trace the lineage of the words down through our history. We have a way of erasing the offensiveness and the stigma of biblical origins by changing the words until we reach a level of comfort.

Political correctness and indeed in the last couple of years, censorship of freedoms drive us to re-defining our euphemisms until they are inoffensive.

Last week terrorists became "armed insurgents". Terrorist is too harsh. These are just folks with guns who don't quite see eye to eye with other folks.

That may work to some extent on the cosmos level of Satan's kingdom, but though we have effectively erased God and his morals from the current equation, He says His book stands.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Ga. 6:7

Heaven and earth will pass away but these words will NOT pass away. God is in heaven saying effectively, call sin anything you please, I'll still judge it. Numb your consciences until they are as dull as a gumb filled with novocaine, but it won't change either God's word, or His judgement.

That is a logical introduction to what Jesus is about to say to His hearers as He ends the Sermon on the Mount.

24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

My mother taught me a little chant. Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me.

Now, I understand my mother's wisdom in teaching me to suck it up a little and get a thicker skin. It's a lesson our society needs to learn all over again. I'm losing freedoms of speach daily because of the perception of damage my words can cause someone else.

It's OK for folks to call me Contemptable. Detestable. Incomprehensible. I don't go home and cry like a baby. But just say the word sin and the same crowd starts crying fowl. They become apopleptic. How dare you think there's a God in heaven who has standards! Incomprehensible!

Sadly, the truth is, words will hurt you. There is a judgement day coming and the God of heaven has warned us by His Son and His prophets that His law is final. He means business and His words will be the standard by which every person is judged.
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Jesus has given a sermon, a manifesto of His Kingdom which is in opposition to another kingdom that his hearers largely live in. Satan's kingdom.

And He has given them an invitation to come out of Satan's kingdom and cross over into His Kingdom. His is the one with the tiny gate and the difficult path.

His is the one where you realize all of the self generated righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, the rulers of your homeland, is bankrupt.

He's laid out the differences bit by bit. And He has called them to be religious insurgents. When you come out of Satan's kingdom and follow Jesus in his, you become an enemy combatant in this world that still belongs to Satan. It's dangerous.

But OH! the rewards, both now, and forever. It is worth it! So worth it. No matter the cost.

24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

So, why don't more people cross over? He's built a perfectly logical case to choose heaven instead of hell. Why do people not follow Him?

They didn't, you know. Of the 20,000 who were following Him around to see the show, at the end of the 3 years, all of them were gone except about 120 who were clinging to Him. At any cost. The few. Why?

The answer is all over your Bibles. Deceit. People are deceived. In our vernacular, they are fooled.

Do not be deceived . . .

This becomes the main issue. And the word is interchangeable with fool. Don't be fooled. Don't be fool-ish. And so the parable that Jesus gives here is just that. The wise man. The foolish man.

The wise man gets it right. The foolish man gets it wrong.

Most people don't plan and execute . . . hell.

The many, who were on the broad road, weren't trying to get to hell. They thought they were on their way to heaven on that road. They were deceived. Fooled.

People who follow the false prophets don't do it because they have a big sign that says Hell. No, they follow them because they are saying, Heaven! This way! And people are deceived. Fooled.

The guys saying Lord! Lord! who did the miracles and cast out demons and preached and prophecied . . . thought God was making a 4rth slot in the trinity for them, but they were deceived. Fooled.

And in our comparison parable this morning, the guy who built on the sand didn't do it because he had good insurance and he'd be better off after the house got washed away. No! He was deceived! Fooled! Bad real estate agent. He believed the wrong people. The false prophets got to him. Fooled.

Gen. 3:1 - 7, 13  Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, hath God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

13Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

It's the oldest trick in the book. Literally. That's where that saying got originated. This really is the oldest trick in the book.

HATH * GOD * SAID

You really can't improve on the beauty of Tyndale's 16th century english. It embodies the idea of Satan deceiving Eve by putting God's words into dis-array and confusion. Here's where the word gaves start.

Hath God said. Did He really say that? What did He really mean when He said that. Are you sure He actually said that. Let me tell you what He really meant when He said that. He was being stingy with the best things. Keeping them for Himself. He didn't have your best interest at heart. He just doesn't want you to live life to the fullest.

And on and on ad infinitum. Satan deceives. He fools. And the foolish will do bizarre things to words simple enough for a 3rd grader to understand, in order to be deceived.

And therein is a lesson for us. A sidebar. Higher learning is an area that Satan uses often to confuse. The Bible is written for 3rd graders to be able to understand. God did not make His revelation so that it is difficult to understand. the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. Is. 35:8b

So, if you're having trouble understanding concepts like Do not lie. Do not kill. Do not steal. I advise you to find a 5th grader and have them help.

Nothing has really changed in the intervening 6000 years since Genesis 3. Satan is still crafty. He uses weasel words to confuse and discount the clear revelation of God.

Paul warned the Galatians who were falling for the weasel words. Going backwards into works righteousness. He said; 3For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Ga. 6:3

This is where the sermon on the mount started and ends. Self deceit. We think we're OK. The pharisees thought they were OK. Jesus said Blessed are you if you realize you're NOT OK. You're bankrupt. Your house is built on sand. You think you're something, and you're nothing. Classic deceit.

James almost quotes verbatim when he says; But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Ja. 1:22

John says the same thing in his letters. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1Jn. 1:8 And then 2 chapters later he says the same thing again. Little children, let no one deceive you! The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. 1Jn. 3:7

Are you beginning to see that deception is the main thing that gets people going happily full speed ahead on the wide highway to hell. The Serpent was crafty. This is his craft.

Words. The basic building blocks of communication. God uses words. Satan uses words to mess up the words. That's why a high view of this book is SO important.

Paul doesn't beat around the bush. Grab a 5th grader and work through this list to see if you're deceiving yourself. 1Cor. 6:9 - 10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? That's pretty clear! What do you think he meant by that??

Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.…

If something in that list is the pattern of your life, and you've convinced yourself that since you signed a card at a Billy Graham crusade in 1983, you're OK, you may be deceived.

We all stumble. We all sin. But it isn't the ongoing pattern of our lives if Jesus is living inside us.

So, with that introduction, let's look at the nuts and bolts of Jesus metaphor here.

24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27“The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Let me help you out with this story.

The land of Israel is very like where we live. I remember well riding on a bus, in Israel, going from Jerusalem, north through what was in Jesus times Samaria on our way to the region of Galilee.

I remember being sleepy and thinking, wake up, you'll never see this again. But my problem was it was almost identical to Southern California. Same chaparral. Like being on a bus going up the grapevine towards Bakersfield. Same scenery.

So I am well versed in people building houses in flood plains.

Real estate in Southern Cal is expensive, and there doesn't seem to be enough for all the developers who want to make a million dollars. So, sooner or later the creep towards the flood plains begins.

It was particularly evident north of Los Angeles 40 miles out where I went to high school. Because after a few years, the flood plain doesn't appear to be a flood plain. So people build their houses and then a 100 year event comes, like 1969.

And you sit and watch houses floating away towards the pacific ocean. Or worse. Sometimes the ground below gives way to the flood a little at a time and the house above is literally torn into pieces as parts of it fall into the swirling waters below.

Here in Jesus story we have 2 people. A wise man. A fool.

They both build houses. Actually they both endure the same storm, so the 2 houses are in sight of each other for all practical purposes. Same neighborhood

And here's the thing, before the storm came, both houses looked the same. You couldn't look at the outside and see the difference. The difference is in the foundation. That's hidden.

Then a 100 year flood comes boiling down the canyon like a wall of water and slams against both of the houses. One gets smashed to bits and proceeds on to the ocean. One weathers the storm and remains.

Why? Jesus tells us why! One was built on a foundation that was immovable. The other was built on sand. Fair enough. Now we're getting to the crux.

What exactly is the Rock? And what is the sand? We're the builders. Our lives are the houses. What is the rock. Get me some of that. And what is the sand. I want to avoid the sand. I don't want to be deceived. Like the foolish man.

There are lots of answers out there. God is the rock. We can make a bibly case for that. Christ is the rock. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

I wouldn't argue with either of those, but I think we can go further in Jesus own explanation, and an illustration he gives a few chapters further in Matthews gospel.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them

These what? Words. When Jesus speaks it is divine revelation. It is not less than the Word of God. This book we hold.

At the very end in the final words in this book an angel tells John; These words are faithful and true. I take that to mean ALL of them. From Genesis to Revelation 22. These words.

To build your house on the Rock is to listen to these words and to hear these words and to believe these words . . . and to DO them. That's what Jesus said. And I would submit that if He were here this morning He would say, not just the red letter version, ALL of it. Hear it! Believe it! Do it!

In Matthew 16 there is a familiar story. 13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Mt. 16:13 - 19

What is the rock in that story that Jesus is going to build His church on? “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven Revealed truth. The Word of God.

And I've just seen something in vs. 19 that I don't believe I've ever seen before. The canon of scripture is what is being bound and loosed. The apostles doctrine, written down and passed down to us in the book you hold in your hands is in vs. 19. Arranged in heaven. Given to men. Passed down to us. Complete. Binding.

The Rock is the revealed Word of God.

This makes the battle for the inspiration and innerrancy and infallibility of scripture the most important thing being discussed today.

I believe the very basis of Satanic and demonic deception is in the argument for and against this book. The erosion has been constant through all of the history of the church. Wash the authority of this book away. Erode it out from under the church, and the rock goes with it.

Does this book have authority? In your life?

Do you change course dependent on what this book says? Are these very words the basis and foundation of your life?

That's crazy talk these days. You know that, right.

The onlooking secular world sees people who do bizarre things based in belief of a higher power. Lighting a man on fire and doing a chant and a dance that is based in hell. Dangerous folk.

The problem is the world is looking at us, people like me, who come along and say, you MUST change the course of your life based on a book, and they lump us into the same group of crazy's as the other uber religious folks in Islam.

Crazy people read a book and actually let it have authority over their lives. Actually DO what it says they must do.

Jesus is at the end of His sermon. He says there's wise people and there's foolish people. The wise people hear His words, and DO them. The foolish people hear His words and say, wow, those are powerful words, and then go ahead and chart their course . . . themselves. Walk away from the mirror and forget what they saw

We have some of them in the final words of this chapter.

28When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Now, I think I'm going to say something important. So listen.

Being amazed, even asounded! at Jesus teaching will not get you into heaven. That isn't a hopeful sign. Lots of people were astonished by Jesus. They listened to Him teach. They watched the miracles. They went home and went on with their lives. They died and went to hell.

The demons are astonished by Jesus teaching. James says so! Big deal.

29for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

The scribes would quote all the other scribes that went before them. Like a lawyer making a case using all the lawyer stuff that happened before to make a case.

Jesus comes on the scene and talks like He's . . well . . God. But. Realizing that, and being astonished about that, and talking forever about that doesn't save anyone.

Doing what He said, does. Not the works. The bankruptcy of Spirit, and the crying out for mercy and forgiveness. Blessed are the poor in spirit. They enter into the Kingdom of God. The authority to reign and rule in their lives belongs to Him.

I urge you. Build your life on the foundation of the authority of the Words in this Book.

Ultimately there is only a single person who can weather the storm of judgement. Jesus, the Son of God, faced that storm of judgement for our sins, not His. He died and was buried. He rose victorious on the third day.

We, as believers in His finished work, can only go through the storm In Him. And He in us. We are in Christ. And Christ is in us.

There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Ro. 8:1