Build Your House on the Rock

by Mike Ratliff

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God. 20 Having been built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the Cornerstone 21 in whom all the building being fitly joined together grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22 Possessing the Treasure V1)

We live in dark spiritual times, but that is nothing new. This has been going on quite some time. Philosophers call this current age Postmodernism. It is marked by the shifting sand of constantly changing truth, that is, “truth” is supposedly different for each person. From this foolishness comes the insane concept that the greatest crime is to offend someone else by holding to absolute truth with which they do not agree. No matter how evil the times become in this lost and dying world, Christians are called to not be part of it, to live according the God’s truth not what man says. 

24 Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ἀκούει μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ ποιεῖ αὐτούς, ὁμοιωθήσεται ἀνδρὶ φρονίμῳ, ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν· 25 καὶ κατέβη ἡ βροχὴ καὶ ἦλθον οἱ ποταμοὶ καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ προσέπεσαν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἔπεσεν, τεθεμελίωτο γὰρ ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν. 26 καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἀκούων μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ μὴ ποιῶν αὐτοὺς ὁμοιωθήσεται ἀνδρὶ μωρῷ, ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον· 27 καὶ κατέβη ἡ βροχὴ καὶ ἦλθον οἱ ποταμοὶ καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ προσέκοψαν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἔπεσεν καὶ ἦν ἡ πτῶσις αὐτῆς μεγάλη. (Matthew 7:24-27 NA27)

24 Therefore, everyone who hears of me these words and does them, will be compared to a wise man that built his house upon the rock. 25 And, the rain came down and the rivers came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it did not fall for it had been founded upon the rock. 26 And, everyone hearing of me these words and does not do them will be compared to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. 27 And, the rain came down and the rivers came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and its fall was great. (Matthew 7:24-27 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

What is the house in both examples our Lord gave? It is a religious life. What is the rain, rivers, and wind? This is divine judgment. In this life we see this in our lives as tests and trials. What is the rock? I have had some tell me that this is Christ, but read it carefully. It is the Greek word πέτραν or petran the Accusative, Singular case of πέτρα or petra, “a large rock such a boulder, cliff, bedrock, or even a mountain chain.” The foolish man built his house on sand and when the test and trials came it fell greatly. What is this “rock?” It is the total truth, the words that Christ gave us, His doctrines that make up this bedrock of truth upon which the wise build their faith. Go back and read the passage I placed at the top of this post from Ephesians 2:19-22. Christ is the Cornerstone that holds together the foundation that he laid which is the Apostles and Prophets, which is, of course, His truth preached and taught by them.

28 Καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοὺς λόγους τούτους, ἐξεπλήσσοντο οἱ ὄχλοι ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ· 29 ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν. (Matthew 7:28-29 NA27)

28 And it came about when Jesus finished these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching 29 for he taught as one having authority and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28-29 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

The reason the people were astonished with Jesus’ teaching was that it was from his authority as the Son of God. He spoke the truth to them. There were no grey areas. There were no areas of, we will see later like they were used to hearing from the scribes.

Think of men like Rob Bell who refuses to be dogmatic about anything. In his attempt to gain as many followers as possible in his cult of “doubt is a good thing” he misuses scripture to try to do away with the doctrine of Hell in his book Love Wins. Of course, this is just one example in our time of man-pleasers doing things like this. However, as we read passages like this, we have to wonder what is going to happen when its time for them to stand before the Lord Jesus to give an account as per the following passage.

[I Never Knew You]

            [21] [o]“Not everyone who [p]says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will [q]enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who [r]does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22] [s]On that day [t]many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not [u]prophesy in your name, and cast out demons [v]in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ [23] [t]And then will I declare to them, ‘I [w]never knew you; [x]depart from me, [y]you workers of lawlessness.’

(Matthew 7:21-23 ESV) 

[Cross References]


[o] Luke 6:46; Rom. 2:13; James 1:22

[p] [Hos. 8:2]

[q] [John 3:3, 5]

[r] ch. 12:50

[s] ch. 25:11, 12; Luke 13:25-27

[t] Mal. 3:17, 18

[u] [Num. 24:4; John 11:51; 1 Cor. 13:2]

[v] See Mark 9:38

[t] [See ver. 22 above]

[w] ch. 10:33; [Ps. 101:4]

[x] ch. 25:41; Ps. 6:8

[y] ch. 13:41; Ps. 5:5


Soli Deo Gloria!


12 thoughts on “Build Your House on the Rock

  1. Hey Mike, I’m just thinking out loud here… so, the Rock we see throughout the Old Testament is Christ, of course (1 Cor. 10:4). And here in the parable of Matthew 7, the Rock is again Christ, but you are saying that it is more than that? So, Christ being the Cornerstone — and an integral part of the foundation — cannot be separated from the foundation (His doctrine) without destabilizing the entire building. The foundation is the Rock plus His doctrine. The building is the Church. Remove any part of the foundation and the building cracks. Yes?

    I’m looking at the Luke 6 account of this parable and seeing that it’s not just that the Cornerstone is part of the foundation, but that the foundation is laid upon the rock. This seems to be an even more stringent warning in that the foundation (His doctrine) is laid upon Him so that the removal of either one would cause the building to not just be cracked but to crumble. Am I reading this right?


  2. Yes Carol, but in this passage the rock Christ is talking about is His truth, His doctrine. Combine that with Ephesians 2:19-22 and you see that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (doctrine) with Christ being the Cornerstone. The Cornerstone is the is the part of the foundation that holds everything together. The parallel passage in Luke uses the same Greek for rock, however, going back to Matthew 7, we see the context points clearly to our Lord pointing clearly to the Rock being His truth and building on that rock is believing it, obeying it, and living according to it.


  3. I enjoyed reading your post. I can appreciate your stance in believing that there is truth that can be found, truth that shapes, truth to live and truth that we will be held accountalbe too. I’m just happy to read that you’re not afraid to use the word truth in the sense that the Bible uses it as so many are.


  4. As I read your wonderful post (thank you for your insights), I couldn’t help but to think of that song “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,,,” as I’m sure many have.
    However, as I’ve grown in my walk with Christ and had to learn to trust in God’s word not my feelings or experiences etc , , I’ve come to realize that it is God’s word (objective truth that is living and active) that is put into practice by the (wise man) =obedience. Didn’t Jesus say, “If you love me you will obey what I command”..
    Romans 1; obedience comes from faith”- Romans 1:5 faith in what -faith in God-Mark 11:22

    So I think it is the Foundation that is what throws most people of when the simile rock is used because we always think of Christ or God as our Rock. I think that the Foundation itself is Christ but the wise man building on that foundation is putting God’s word into practice. sorry if I’m off a bit

    ” What is the rain, rivers, and wind? This is divine judgment. In this life we see this in our lives as tests and trials.” thumbs up to you Mike Ratliff I agree


  5. Linda, I didn’t grow up in church so my first thought wasn’t the hymn, it was Big Tent Revival 🙂

    I do want to point out, though, that the foundation cannot be separated from the Rock, the Chief Cornerstone. But the foundation is not limited to the person of Christ because Paul tells us that he (Paul) has laid the foundation for the Church:

    “According to the the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).

    “…you [Gentiles] are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone…” (Ephesians 2:19-20).

    But we cannot ignore that the Rock is Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

    The truth is that a person cannot claim to know Christ but fail to know His doctrine, including the foundation laid by the master builder, Paul. Likewise, a person cannot rely on simply reciting Scripture and say that this knowledge equates with salvation in the Lord. Christ cannot be separated from His doctrine. He is the Rock, and the Rock is integral to the whole foundation. If someone stumbles over His doctrine, they are really stumbling over Him, for He cannot be separated from His doctrine, which reveals who He is.


  6. In my pastoral study class at Bible College, we had to prepare a service with a theme. The songs, Scripture, sermon, and even the name of the Church had to be connected together with the theme. I used Matthew 7: 24-27 for my text. My songs were HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION, ON CHRIST THE SOLID ROCK I STAND, I GO TO THE ROCK, and ROCK OF AGES. My sermon title was ‘Why are you sinking in the sand when you can stand on the Rock’? I cannot recall the name of the church I came up with, but I got an A+ on the assignment.


  7. Thank you Carol for your firm stance and back up of God’s precious word-Scripture that Jesus Christ cannot be separated from His word~ I love that. The reason why is, when you truly love someone you love what they say-they go together and it’s mighty inconsistent when people say they love Jesus but they do not love God’s word.

    Jesus said, “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”-Matthew 4:4

    That reminds me of that verse where Jesus said in Mar 8:38 “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
    AND- says that they cannot be separate.


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