by Mike Ratliff
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24 ESV)
πας ουν οστις ακουει μου τους λογους τουτους και ποιει αυτους ομοιωσω αυτον ανδρι φρονιμω οστις ωκοδομησεν την οικιαν αυτου επι την πετραν (Matthew 7:24 Textus Receptus)
The liberalization of the Church is the result of men compromising God’s truth for the sake of a false peace. This “peace” is between them and the world. The impetus for these compromises is a desire to not be offensive to those whom they perceive it is desirable for their particular portion of the visible Church to be liked or thought well of by them. In other words, they sand off the edges and soften the hard lines of doctrine in order to open wide their doors to those who desire to be included in their “religion,” but who refuse to obey the words of our Lord. Then there are those who are working overtime to change the Church from one centered on the exclusivity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and His person to one that is pluralistic in nature in that all forms of mysticism are welcomed in. Those doing this attempt to justify what they are doing by twisting Scripture to support their “doctrines.”
According to Jesus’ own words, we know that this liberalization, in whatever form, is a clear violation of His commands. This is why men such as Bart Ehrman are contending that the record given to us in the New Testament of the life of Jesus and the history of the Church are misinterpretations of what really happened. If they do not desire to obey Jesus words (His commands) then they attempt to change the source of them in a vain attempt to nullify them and their authority, which is based in Christ’s authority as the Son of God.
In Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6 we have parallel accounts of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 7 and Luke 6:37-49 we read of our Lord’s clear definition of authentic disciples, leaders, pastors, et cetera as well as those who are false. He also included clear warnings to those who would seek to be included in our Lord’s Church, but who are false. We will look at Matthew 7:21-27 and Luke 6:46-49 in this post.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46 ESV)
Our Lord makes it very clear that there are large numbers of people who call Jesus Lord, Lord who are not His. The word used here that is translated “Lord” is the Greek word κύριος or kurios. William Tyndale translated this word as “Master” in his New Testament. This was carried over into the early versions of the Geneva Bible. In the later versions it was retranslated as “Lord.” This was carried over into the 1611 King James Bible. This word refers to one who is Lord, master, or owner. In this context, however, it refers to Jesus Christ as one with absolute authority. Jesus tell us that many call him κύριος κύριος, but they do not do what He commands. These our Lord is referring to will protest their separation from the flock of true believers and their shepherds “on that day.” They proclaim that they prophesied in His name, and cast our demons in His name, and did many mighty works in His name.
The doubling of the word “Lord” by these people is an address of intimacy (Genesis 22:11; 1 Samuel 3:10; 2 Samuel 18:33; Luke 22:31). They are proclaiming that they have feelings of intimacy with Jesus. How many of those who are teaching mysticism to their flocks in our day claim to have an intimate relationship with Jesus? Doesn’t this sound familiar? Our Lord makes it clear that these feelings of intimacy and supposed good works are not what indicate Christian authenticity. No, that is reserved for those who do the will of the Father. Genuine intimacy means knowing Him and being known by Him. Our Lord tells these false Christians to depart from Him. He calls them workers of lawlessness.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And 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. And 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. And 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.” (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)
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.” (Luke 6:47-49 ESV)
In these two parallel passages, we read what a genuine believer does and what the disingenuous believer does in response to hearing our Lord’s words. Both hear the words of truth. The note in my 1560 Geneva Bible for this passage in Luke says, “He speaketh not only to the false prophets, but to all false professors, hirelings, and hypocrites.” We often use polemics to stand against the obvious apostates attacking the truth, but these words of our Lord here should be taken to heart by all of us. I grew up going to church. I would have considered myself to one of those whose house was built on the rock because of how faithful my parents; grandparents, aunts, and uncles were in their religiosity. I did not come to Christ in belief and repentance until I was in my mid-thirties so up until then I would have easily been one of those who thought I was living in a house on the rock. However, my foundation was not in Christ, but in sand. It had no foundation. It was built on the shifting ground of religiosity.
Who are those whose house is built on the rock with a foundation dug deep into it? These are the ones who not only hear the words of truth, but who do them. Then when the tests and trials come upon them, they will be sustained in Christ. The visible Church all around them could go down the drain of apostasy, but they will not. They will stand firm on the rock. They may suffer greatly for their stance. The enemy will attack them mercilessly. Doubt and despair are always lurking to capture them, but their house is built on the firm foundation of the rock, who is Christ our Lord.
Those whose house is built on the sand with no foundation are those who hear the words of truth, but they DO NOT DO THEM.
Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter”; therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.” Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it. (Isaiah 28:14-18 ESV)
Those who hear the words of Christ and do not do them have made a covenant with death and have made lies their refuge. They are stiff-necked. They are in unbelief. They have no fear of God and so they corrupt the truth in order to justify their false versions of Christianity. What is the result? Their house will fall as the overwhelming scourge passes through. God’s righteous judgment is coming my brethren. When these whose houses have no foundation other than sand experience that, they will learn what it means to be beaten down by it.
God is exceedingly patient. I am so surprised that the utter blasphemy going on in the visible Church just keeps getting worse and worse every day and yet judgment has not yet fallen. In which group are you? Is your house built on the rock with a foundation dug deep into Him? If so then you will be marked by an obedient life. You know the words of truth and obey them. On the other hand, those whose house has no foundation other than sand are those who have heard the truth yet they consider their religiosity to be sufficient to avoid the coming overwhelming scourge. They are convinced in their hearts that they are okay with Christ because they have intimate feelings towards Him. They may even do good works in His name, but they disobey His Words. They are either teaching false doctrines or believe and live by them.
Examine yourselves my brethren. Of what does the foundation of your house consist? Are you living a cross-centered life with Christ on the throne? If so then you will be growing in Christlikeness. You will be the humble salt and light of the earth. You will be submitting to others as Christ commands. You will believe and love His Word. You will reverence God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. You will have such a deep love and respect for the Saviour that you would not dare tell crude jokes about Him nor remain at peace with those who do. All of this will be true about you, and so much more, and these traits will be growing in depth and breadth as you mature. The fruit of the Spirit will be fully evident in all of your relationships. You will find it impossible to be at peace with the world. Examine yourselves my brethren.
Soli Deo Gloria!