To show that ethical teaching changes the way people live, Jesus pictures two men, the two houses they build, and the two results when the final storm arrives. One man digs through the layer of sand and builds his foundation on solid rock. The other man doesn’t go to all that trouble and simply lays the foundation on sand. When the two houses were completed they looked very much the same. During the dry summers days the houses stood side by side and the second man had a bit more left over cash to enjoy. The autumn rains came and the pleasure-oriented man smiled as he had means to buy a new umbrella and boots (I admit I am enlarging the narrative just a bit). Then came the rain and a flood swept down through the dry wadi. The wind beat against the houses and for a time it looked as if both would stand. The rock foundation house made it through the storm but the sand foundation house gave away and the house came crashing down.
The lesson is clear: In good weather, the two houses appear to be fine, but when that final storm of life comes the house built on sand collapses. The implication is clear: build your life house on a solid foundation and that foundation means putting into action all that God has taught. If we don’t, then when the storm of life comes we will find ourselves unprepared for what will happen. Down will come all that we had hoped would stand.
Biblical truth was not intended to serve as the basis for a theological discussion. It was meant to be a guide for an active Christian life. Like all biblical teaching, this sermon in Mathew
5-7 presents a lofty goal that we often despair of reaching. But we are to keep heading toward the goal (i.e., be sure you’ve gotten through the sand down to bedrock) and accept the fact that only Jesus ever did or ever will reach perfection. I am sure God recognizes our limitations and can excuse our ”failure,” but what he can’t excuse is the flippant understanding that sand doesn’t matter. The one thing you can count is that there will be a final storm. It’s purpose is to evaluate the house (read “life”) that you have built. I trust that your faith has dug deep through the sand of life and found security in the solid rock – faith in Jesus Christ.