The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders

art from jtbarts.com
art from jtbarts.com

We often use Jesus’ parables as a way to teach our children, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They take some complicated spiritual topics and communicate them through simple stories. However, in doing this, we have to remember that these parables are for us too. Jesus was speaking primarily to adults when He shared these lessons. There are things for all of us to take from the parables, no matter our spiritual maturity.

The Wise Man Built

With this in mind, let’s look at Luke 6:47 – 49:

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.

This parable comes at the very end of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. He has just finished his thesis on what it means to live as God would have us live. He has shared spiritual knowledge about morality, about forgiveness, about love, about sin, and about the nature of a relationship with God. By concluding with this parable, Jesus is saying that we are either building upon His teachings or we are building on something less substantive.

A Foundation of Wisdom

I Corinthians 3:10 calls us a spiritual building laid upon the foundation of Christ. The thing about foundations is that they take digging to lay. For us, that means digging for spiritual knowledge. It takes effort and prayer. Remember how Solomon specifically asks God for wisdom? James tells us to do the same thing in James 1:5. So we both search the scriptures diligently and we pray faithfully that we have a knowledge in Christ that becomes a foundation for our lives.

The contrast to this is in I Corinthians 3:18 – 20 and Proverbs 3:7 where the scripture warns us about trusting too much in our own wisdom. Gaining knowledge and wisdom is a good thing, but it should never supplant our knowledge of God. When that happens, we move from standing on a foundation of rock to a foundation of sand. In fact, Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 1:16 – 18, warns that pursuing too much worldly knowledge can lead to worry and sorrow. When we let the things of this world stress us out and worry us away from God, our foundation shifts, and we might not even notice. That is why we need to keep our minds on God so the battle for our souls will not shift us.

The Solid Foundation

When Jesus is about to ascend, He tells His followers to share this foundation with everyone. It’s not enough to build our own house on the Rock. It is ours then to share Him with others. That is part of building our spiritual house. Then, our house grows even stronger upon its foundation as new bricks join. We work together atop the foundation of Christ to strengthen each other so that the storms of this life may never prevail against us.

The Chief Cornerstone

hazy-water

Last time we were together, we looked at the importance of stones and rocks in God’s word, specifically using rocks as memorials. Today, we’re going to look at another rock, our chief cornerstone that is Christ. Isaiah 28:16 speaks of a foundation stone, a sure cornerstone, upon which God’s kingdom will be built. This chief cornerstone is the most solid foundation upon which we can build our trust.

A Solid Foundation

The cornerstone of the capitol building is over 24,000 pounds. It’s entire purpose is to keep the building straight and secure. The entire structure of that building, even additions to it, rely on that cornerstone being there and being secure. It is a stone that is tested and proven, and, for us, that tested and true stone is our Savior Jesus Christ.

Christ is the pillar and support of our hope, of our salvation, of our standard for truth. Any stone set by man will erode over time, but our cornerstone never changes or wears away. In Isaiah 28, Isaiah says that those who trust in that ultimate cornerstone will never be disturbed. Things may shake us and try to beat us down, but we will never completely fall as long as our faith and hope is in Christ.

A Perfect Architect

Psalm 118:22 says the rejected stone is the one who will become chief, and it’s God who put Him there. He is the foundation placed by the perfect architect. I John 1:5 describes this architect as all-righteous, and Psalm 102:25 – 27 tells us this is the God who laid the foundations of our world. He is all-knowing, unchanging, ever true, and perfectly righteous.

When we deviate from His plans, our structure will crumble. I Peter 5:7 says we should always humble ourselves before Him, so He may lift us up. We have to be willing to put His will before our own so that we may build a strong life upon the foundation He provides for us. He provides us with a cornerstone. God provides us with plans. It is ours simply to humble ourselves and obey.

In Christ Alone

In Acts 4:8, Peter makes the bold claim that there is no salvation except for in Jesus. Like the wise man in Matthew 7:24, we have to stand on the rock if our faith is to endure the storms and trials of this life. Ephesians 2:19 tells us we are built together on His foundation to be a holy sanctuary. If He is our foundation, His word is at the center of all we do. I Corinthians 10:1 – 4 tells us even Moses and the children of Israel found hope in the rock that is Christ before they ever new Him.

Christ’s position as cornerstone in our lives is more than a symbolic thing. It’s not something we simply point at as a token. Wearing Christ’s name is more than a label. If we are truly building our lives on Christ, that affects every aspect of who we are. If we are truly wearing His name, it changes who we are. He provides for us a sure foundation and a refuge of safety from the world. I Peter 2:6 tells us we will never be put to shame if we trust in the cornerstone. We may not know what our daily lives will bring us, but we can trust in a future with our Lord if we wholly trust in Him and the foundation He has laid for us.

lesson by Steve Jones