Sermon Notes

Rotten Foundations


  • Three warnings, and now, on to the fourth, at the close of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Each of these warnings having the same constant thrust – that true Christian essence is not in what we claim to believe, but in what we prove with our lives. It is a life lived out on the narrow road of God’s agenda bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
    • It is not enough that we walk a Christian road, even a broadly accepted road, but that we walk the road of God’s truth, the road according to God’s terms.
    • It is not enough that we preach, prophecy or proclaim the truth, but that we live a life of evidence, of behaviour and character that proves that we indeed belong to the truth we preach – Christ Jesus our Lord.
    • It is not enough that we do Christian actions, for actions themselves are evidence of nothing, even if they be the exercising of spiritual gifts; they matter not in the least if our hearts remain unchanged.
  • If anything, brothers and sisters, we are learning in no uncertain terms that there is a pretence of Christianity that can be dangerously misleading. People who believe strongly in their Christian convictions, having the appearance of faithfulness and sincerity, but at the heart of the faith, are hypocrites. They who have a love of the things that pertain to God, but have no real love for God.
  • At an age, where the world belittles the weight of Gospel fidelity, of true knowledge and believe, evidenced in both faith and works, it becomes extremely important for us to heed these warning from the mouth of Christ Himself. The
    rock of our salvation will not open the pearly gates of heaven for everyone. He will open it to only those who are truly saved, who do the will of His Father in Heaven.
  • So, is our Christian life an evidence of such faithfulness, or is it a life that is fraying on the edges of hypocrisy and unbelief?
  • This fourth and final warning is therefore a crucial and awesome conclusion to such a grand sermon. A sermon that communicated that to be a believer is so much more than praying a prayer or casting a lot. It is much more than attending seminars or camps, or debating or writing books; it is about living for the glory of God above all things.


  • Matthew 7:24-2724 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And 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. 26And 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. 27And 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.”
    • From the narrow and broad, sheep and wolves, known and unknown, we now see the comparison between the wise and the foolish. And all of these warnings speak of the very same danger from different perspectives, and so can be seen as one.
      That is to say that there is a broad road, an easy way of life, and those who walk it are wolves, unknown (or not belonging) to the Lord, and are above all else, fools.
      Everything, contrary to truth is not another perspective, it is sin. It is not another way to look at life, it is a false reality. And the eternal Judge of the universe is not confused by conflicting perspectives. The Father, the Son and the Spirit do not sit and discuss their different perspectives. They are united. They are one.
      How much worse will it be for one who, in disregarding God, walked the broad way and harmed the sheep, made might claims only to have all Christian charisma blown away by the wind of God’s sovereignty? Beloved, may none of us dare to stand before God with such foolishness.
    • Here again, in this warning, Jesus uses helpful imagery to help articulate His point.
      Everyone then,
      The invitation here is not exclusive to a chosen few but is an open call upon all who would heed the warnings fo the Saviour. Sometimes I think that it would have been so much easier if God had just told us who all would truly believe. Yet Christ let by example to the point of appointing His own betrayer.
    • who hears these words of mine and does them
      This two pronged reality is what is missing in the majority of Christian learning – people who hear the words of this book, but do not keep what they hear. Having one without the other, either way, is foolishness.
      It is not enough that we learn these great and divine truths, but that we are changed in our belief of them, that we would act and behave in a manner that bears fruit of such belief.

      • Very often, we tend to trust in God’s sovereignty in a way that absolves us from our responsibility. That if God rules over us, and causes all things to work together for our good, then we may slacken on our efforts to obey His word.
        Beloved, here is your sovereign Lord telling you Himself that no such misplaced trust will save you.
      • these words
        Which words? Of course these words that He just spoke as part of His sermon. But let me bring your attention to the fact that these are not the only words of this God. Every word preceding it, and every word that follows it are His words.
      • does them
        Notice that Jesus doesn’t say, ‘everyone who hears these words will cause them to do’.
        Both the hearing and the doing here is not the act of God, it is the act of your obedience. But it is obedience sustained by His grace at work in you. This is crucial to our understanding of fruit-bearing.
        In all the previous warnings we’ve been studying, we’ve established that mere Christian action means nothing unless they are produced from true faith and devotion to God, and such faith and devotion to God will bear fruit in a growing measure in both conduct and good works.
        But the key difference we have to note – in working our minds on the subject of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility – is the difference between the words ‘inevitable’ & ‘automatic’.
        True faith and devotion does not automatically produce Christian living. True faith and devotion inevitably produces Christian living because it leads and motivates the individual to act in ways that are God-glorifying out of His convictions.
        Therefore, the one who does them, who does these words of Christ that he hears, is not one who automatically does them but inevitably does them. Because to be Christian is not only to hear but to do. Knowledge about the fundamentals is different from knowing the fundamentals. True faith and devotion, true conviction will always lead you to action.
    • will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock

      • Jesus considers His words kept to be the rock foundation of our lives. The rock symbolises solid, unshakable, and secure ground for building upon, and the house symbolises our lives. Remember, this sermon is all about the true Christian life.
        The solid rock can be seen, admired, and preached about, and yet not be the place where we pitch our tents. So are the ‘many’, who tend to venture only so far as to capture the potential of such security and yet not embrace it for themselves. Having an appearance of living upon that rock, when in fact they live on the shores of worldliness.
        Christianity for many people is like that man who talks about a place like Italy or Paris with tremendous insight and detail, only to later explain that he’s never really been there but only heard about it and seen it’s pictures on google. We know people like that. And in just the same way, a preacher or a disciple of Christ is often able to describe, often times in depth with great insight and conviction, the kingdom of God and the Gospel that saves us, without having tasted these realities for themselves. The truth of their words does not prove the purity of their hearts. Jesus has no place for such people in heaven. Only those who pitch their tents on this rock will enter in.
      • [The recent report exposing one of the greatest ministers of our time of sexual misconduct is a startling and confusing news. Many of you know who I’m speaking about. But I don’t want to through in my thoughts about that just yet. However, I want us to see something very important. If this individual did the things that he is accused of (and there is a great deal of incriminating evidence of it) could have risen to the heights of popularity and influence as he has, and still lived such a life of such sin in the caves of lust, what do we learn? That men, great and small, are able to present themselves as holy because they spend so much time elaborating the rock of God’s word, that people so easily forget to look to see if they’ve actually built their house upon that rock.
        In an open statement, the ministry of this man stated, “That a leader under our care sinned against others so grievously pains us. We were trusted by our staff, our donors, and the public to mentor, oversee, and ensure the accountability of Ravi Zacharias, and in this we have failed.”But that’s the problem right there brothers. Guarding the life of a man from sin is not the responsibility of a para-church ministry but the responsibility of the church.]
      • Which brings me to my final point on this particular verse. You cannot build the bridge between hearing and doing effectively without being part of a local church. For all these warning that are issued by Christ are issued to Christians and they call for us to examine and determine with clarity the fruits born in the lives of His people. This is the primary function of the church – to be the instruments of God’s pruning of our lives that we may bear fruit in abundance.
        [Read Unashamed – 2019, Pseudo-church]
    • v25 – 25And 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.

      • Just as we always plan to build a house that is capable of withstanding the storms of nature, do we likewise build our lives with the resilience to withstand the storms of life?
        • And the rain fell for the rain will fall. The floods came, for they will come.
          And the winds blew and beat, as must be expected.
          Jesus does not fend off the rain, the floods or the winds. And notice the plural usage of flood’s’ and wind’s’. This is not a one time thing but an ongoing and repeated pattern of storms barraging on the house.

          • Very often we posture our lives on the assumption that such winds will not blow on our doorsteps. Being Christian is not about escaping these trials altogether, it is about enduring them.
          • but it did not fall
            No matter what beat upon this house, it did not fall. As battered as it might appear, it did not cave in. Why?
        • Because it had been founded on the rock.
          Here is the thing beloved, that the rock does not become a rock for you till you abide by what the rock says. The word of God will not be a rock for you. The word of God kept will be a rock for you.
          I ask young unmarried people often about their confidence or assurance that they are able to handle the responsibilities of a married life. And 90% of the time, they begin to explain to me their theological understanding of being a husband or a wife, of marriage and of raising children. In other words, they begin to describe the rock. And I tell them, your assurance of future challenges are not founded by theological clarity alone, they are founded on the reality that in your responsibilities today, you are pitched upon the rock.
        • Your assurance of a future on the rock is your credibility in actually being someone who lives upon the rock today.
          Be founded upon the rock today!
    • v26 – 26And 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
      • It is foolishness, not wisdom to speak mightily of the rock that you do not live upon.
        Notice that in the context such a man has an appearance of being grounded when in reality the ground he is upon is sand, an unstable foundation.
        Discipleship and accountability are about getting to the roots of a man’s life. And I have been surprised time and again when God exposes the substance of people’s faith when the land slides from under their feet.
    • v27 – 27And 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.”

      • Here is the reality of a wise and godly life. That when the storms strike against a house and it does not fall, it doesn’t grab anybody’s attention. It isn’t necessarily seen or recognised as great.
        But when the house of a foolish man falls, great will be that fall.


  • That is the final of the four warnings and the end of the sermon on the mount.
    And it ends with these words, “great was the fall of it”.James tells us in James 1:2-42 Count it all joy, my brothers,2 when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.Beloved, the storms of life are not ultimately the instruments of satan, they are the measures of the sovereign God, which is grace upon the believer and judgment upon the unbeliever. These measures grow the faith and assurance of one who’s life is built upon both hearing and doing the word of God. Whereas, for the one who hears and does not keep God’s word, it is judgment that will undo his facade of piety.
  • Decide, enter, bear fruit, do the will of God, and hear and do the words of God.
    That’s a lot of instruction from Christ commanding you to act!
    There is no room for passive Christianity in heaven.