Abundant Living: Two Options (Part 3)

March 18, 2024

Series: Abundant Living

Book: Matthew

This sermon is part of our Abundant Living series. You can watch more here.


Sermon manuscript:

Hey let’s get started!  My name is Michael.  I am one of the pastors.  So good to be here this morning!  We are going to be in Matthew 7.  You can turn to page 89 in our devotional or you can turn to Matthew 7 in your bible.

Super thankful for our church family.  Many of you know my father-in-law was in the ICU for a multiple health problems this last week.  It looks like the family will be making end of life decisions but our family was deeply thankful for your encouragement and support this last week.

In addition, it was beautiful to see our church family gathering for worship, gathering for prayer, seeking the Lord and not only being a pastor in our church but also a recipient of the church.

The events of our last couple of weeks is a constant reminder of how frail life is at the foundational level.  We go to work, we raise families, we live for His glory and in the midst of all those parts of our life there are moments or seasons that show us how easy it is for those things to crumble.

These last few weeks it was our family in the hospital, it was our family having those conversations with the doctors but, even now, the parking lots for all those hospitals are full of people, which makes our passage so applicable this morning.  Let’s read the passage together:

Matthew 7:24-29, “24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” 28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”

In the context of the passage Jesus is bringing His teaching to a close, thousands were listening to these words, and Jesus closes His teaching with the illustration of two houses; one house that stands and one house that falls.

Both houses go through the storm.  Did you notice that?  Both houses go through the flood.  Both houses have wind slamming against them and yet one stands and one falls.

In this illustration of two houses we see Jesus bringing the listener to a place where one must make a decision on how we will respond to His teaching.

The intent isn’t to just listen to Jesus’ Words.  The intent isn’t to walk away and think, “That Jesus has some good things to think about.”  No, the intent is to bring the listener to a decision.

Are you going to enter through the wide gate that is comfortable with lots of people or are you going to enter through the narrow gate with obstacles and challenges?

Are you going to listen to the false teachers who try to lead you astray and destroy you or are you going to listen to Jesus who has come to bring life abundantly?

What say you?  2,000 years later and people around the world are still being confronted with this decision.  Billions of lives have been transformed by these words.  Cultures throughout history have been shaped by these words but how will we respond to these words this morning?  Let’s look at verse 24:

Matthew 7:24, “24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” 

In verse 24 and 26 we see there are two types of people; the wise and the foolish.  Do you see that?  The wise man builds his house on the rock and in verse 26 the foolish man builds his house on the sand.

In addition, the thrust of verse 24 is to not only “hear” the words of Jesus but also “act on the words of Jesus.”  Do you see that in verse 24?  Jesus is bringing His teaching to a close and pushes the listener to “act on His Words.”

Illustration:  Have you ever had those moments in a conversation where someone is talking and then at the end they say, “What do you think?”  It is at that moment that we realize they were talking but we weren’t listening, so we usually say something like, “Can you say that again?”

Maybe there are some of us in that place this morning?  Maybe there are some of us who have never thought about Jesus’ Words at this depth?  Maybe there are some of us who just thought Jesus’ Words were just things people referenced on bumper stickers?

But you need to know all of Jesus teaching that day was to bring people to a place where they would not only “hear the words of Jesus” but they would “act on the words of Jesus.”  Isn’t that interesting?

The word “act” is to do but Jesus has just spent the last 3 chapters making it pretty clear it isn’t about what we DO.  Right?

Verse 23, the previous verse had people casting out demons and performing miracles, so they are “doing” some really religious things but Jesus says, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

At the beginning of chapter 7 Jesus rebukes people for being hypocrites.  It’s not about what you “do.”   In chapter 6 Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for fasting so as to bring attention to themselves.

Jesus rebukes the Gentiles for long-winded prayers, so that when Jesus says, “Hear My Words and act on them” He can’t mean “be more religious.”  Does that make sense?

Jesus isn’t trying to get everyone to be better people, stop bad habits, serve more people, tuck in your shirt, comb your hair, right?  He would be contradicting everything He just said.

Therefore, when Jesus says, “Hear My Words and Do them” He is talking about worshipping Him as Lord.  The invitation isn’t to “do more religious activity.”  When Jesus says, “Build your house on the rock” Jesus is talking about Himself.

Roberto talked about this last Sunday.  The invitation to “know” Jesus in verse 23 isn’t informational knowledge like we “know things about George Washington.”  The invitation is to “know Jesus relationally.”

Maybe you have grown up going to church?  Maybe you are visiting a church for the first time this morning?  It doesn’t matter.  The invitation is to “know Jesus personally.”

In 1 John we see John write, “We saw Jesus with our eyes, we touched Jesus with our hands, we heard Jesus with our ears, this we testify to you, so that you too may have fellowship with Him.”  That’s the rock!

Please don’t think you can clean up your life for Jesus.  Please don’t think you Jesus is just trying to get some positive influences in your life.  Those things are great but those things are not the focus.  How could they?

In Matthew 7:12 Jesus says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Think about that for a second.  How could we ever treat others the way we want to be treated?

I think about myself all day.  Let’s be honest, I want people to compliment me all the time.  I want people to laugh at my jokes all the time.  I want people to understand what I am thinking all the time.

Sometimes I will just look at my wife, not say anything and then say, “You know what I am talking about?”  And when she doesn’t I get frustrated.  How could she!  There is no way we could ever treat others the way we want to be treated, which is why Jesus clarifies, “Hear My Words and DO them.”

Turn to Jesus as Lord.  Build your life on the solid rock.  The Apostle Paul says it this way, “For all have sinned who has fallen short of God’s righteousness but the righteousness of God has been revealed from heaven in Jesus Christ.”

1 John, “If we say we have no sin then we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”  Therefore, hear the words of Jesus and do them.  Admit we have failed morally, emotionally, and spiritually and build your life on this truth!  Amen?

Illustration:  This happened in my life when I was 18-years old.  When I was 18-years old I thought I was in charge of my life.  I thought I was the master of my fate and the captain of my ship.  I would hear people talk about Jesus and I thought, “Jesus is for people who can’t make it in life.”

I thought church was for people who couldn’t make friends, so they had to go to church where people had to be nice to them but I worked at Gadzooks in the Irving Mall.

I thought I was so impressive, so that when people would talk to me about Jesus I would say, “Why would I ever worship Jesus?”  I worshipped myself!

Then, one night, when I was by myself, I didn’t hear a voice but I had this thought enter my head that that I had never had which was, “Why would you not worship Me?”  Why would you not give Me your life to Me?  Why would not follow Me?  Why would you not build your life on Me?  And I didn’t have an answer.

It was in that moment that I believed in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  I entered through the narrow gate and I started to walk the narrow path.  I started to build my life on the solid rock, so that storms have come in my life.

We were just in the ICU for neurology last week.  My father and brother have both died from alcohol abuse.  My mother died from Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia.

My child has been in the hospital with unexplainable symptoms.  My reputation has been challenged.  My character flaws have been exposed and I have had storms in life.

I know people like Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince will tell you that Jesus is here to help you make all your dreams come true but Jesus says, “No, storms will come, winds will blow and the one who builds their life on Jesus, will stand.”  Amen?

It isn’t because we have some special skill at navigating storms.  It isn’t because we are such religious people that storms never happen.

It isn’t because we have a secret diet or a self-care program that carries me through storms.  It’s because Jesus is my solid rock!  My trust is in Him.  My hope is in Him.  My life is in Him.  Let’s look at verses 25-26:

Matthew 7:25-26, “25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”

Before we draw out the context of the foolish man, I want us to consider again, “These words of Jesus have stood the test of time.”

Throughout history people have tried to discredit His Word, dismiss His Word, minimize His Word, but these words are like the house built on the rock, they are foundational.

Can you imagine your words still being studied 2,000 years later?  Are billions of people going to reflect on your words?  Are cultures around the world going to be shaped by your words?

In verse 26, Jesus is essentially saying, “Build your life on Me or you’re a fool.”  Do you see that?  Can you imagine if I taught like that on a Sunday morning?  Can you imagine if I said, “Welcome to North Village Church!  You’re a fool if you don’ think this place is amazing?”

You never see Jesus saying, “Does that make sense?”  Jesus never asks, “Do you have any questions?”  There’s no hint of, “Is what I am saying okay?”  Instead, Jesus says “When you hear My Words and act upon My Words and if you don’t you’re being foolish.  Do you feel that?

Listen, you can reject Jesus’ Words all you want but you can’t ever say, “Jesus is just a good guy who loves the kids.”  If you scan down to verse 29 it says, “The crowds were amazed at His teaching” because they had never heard anyone speak like Jesus.

The word “amazed” means “thunderstruck.  It means they were shocked, therefore, it means there needs to be a part of us this morning that is uncomfortable with Jesus’ Words like, “I don’t know if I like what Jesus is saying” because if that isn’t there then you aren’t listening.

Let’s start with the word “fool.”  The word “fool” in the original language is the word “moro” which is where we get the English word “moron.” So that Jesus is essentially saying, “I am telling you about the storms of tomorrow and if we don’t make any provisions today, we’re a moron.”

The world we live in is where “moth and rust destroy.”  It’s where “thieves break in and steal.”  Therefore, when we build our life and our hope in the things of this world we are building our life on sinking sand.  That’s moronic.  Not my words, Jesus’ Words.

We can think we’re smart.  We can have all the degrees we want.  We can be impressed with our accomplishments, have lots of friends that pat us on the back, we can have money in the account, but if we think our wisdom and our words are greater than Jesus’ wisdom and Jesus’ words, then we’re a moron.  Sit in that for a second.

It isn’t about coming to church every once in a while.  It isn’t about trying to clean up our life.  It isn’t about finding a good church with good worship.  It isn’t about trying to find something to get us through a tough season.  It isn’t about a political party.  It isn’t about a social agenda.  It isn’t about giving your kids a similar experience that you had as a kid.

It’s about Jesus being Lord of our life.  It’s about building our life in Him and on Him.  It’s about putting Jesus first in all areas of our life.  That’s the invitation and if we don’t do that or when we don’t do that we are being a moron, therefore, lean into Jesus’ Words, hear Jesus’ Words and act on them, because look at verse 27:

Matthew 7:27, “27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

In verses 24-27 there are references to storms.  The rain is falling, the floods are coming, the winds are blowing and as you might expect with our passage, there are two ways to understand the storms of our passage this morning.

There are phone calls about a family member in the hospital, conflicts in marriage, children who pull away from their family.  There are presidential races with Biden and Trump, banks falling apart.

There are holes in our character being exposed.  Habits that seem to get the better of us in life.  Storms happen in life and if it hasn’t happened in your life, then just wait, because those storms are definitely coming.

The other way to see these storms and I think, Jesus’ most direct application, is of God’s final judgment that is coming.

There are two gates; one leads to life and one to destruction.  There are two trees, one bears fruit and one is cut down.  There are two responses; one is to follow Jesus and the other is to depart from Me, I never knew you.

And there are two houses; one built on Jesus and one built on sand, because one day the flood of God’s judgment is coming.  You need to know this.  It isn’t to be scary.  It is to be honest.

The world we live in is broken and He didn’t create the world to be broken.   Read Genesis 1 and 2.  He created the world to be perfect.  He created the world to be in relationship with Him and reflect His glory, which is why we get frustrated sometimes because deep down we know the world shouldn’t be like this.  Haven’t you felt those moments?

We want a world where women are treated with respect, a world where homeless people don’t stand at the corner in need, a world where people don’t have to go to the ICU, a world where children can be children…that’s called heaven!

In Genesis 1 and 2 everything falls apart and in Genesis 3 God makes a plan to restore all of creation.  This is the gospel!

He calls out Abraham to establish Israel.  He makes a promise that a Savior will come through Israel, so that we know what He will look like, when He will be born, where He will be born, so that throughout the Old Testament they are longing for the day that Savior would come and then He does.

His name is Jesus.  Jesus calls out to everyone, “Come to Me, all you who are weary of this broken world.” Come to me!  Enter into My Kingdom.  Build your life on Me.  You don’t have to wait for heaven.  You can taste heaven today but you must trust in Jesus.  You’re a fool if you don’t.  Won’t you do that this morning?  Even if you know Jesus, won’t you build your life on Jesus?  (Worship Team)

Let’s invite the worship team to the front.  Let’s lower the lights.  Let’s make a decision to build our life on Jesus.

What does that mean?  It means a person can only become a Christian by the grace of God alone, which means we aren’t pointing to our church attendance, our religious behaviors, our bible studies, our memory verses but apart from Christ those things are sinking sand.

When you know someone you don’t glory in the activities with that person.  You enjoy those activities but you love being with the person.  That’s the invitation.  Won’t you do that this morning with Jesus?

Get to know Jesus.  Read your bible to be in awe of Jesus.  Bow your head in prayer to talk to Jesus.  Obey God’s Word because Jesus obeyed God’s Word and when you obey God’s Word you are getting close to Jesus.

And if you’ve never met Jesus, meet Him today.  Enter His Kingdom today.  Turn from your sin today and receive His righteousness today.  We will have people at the back to pray with you for you.


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.

Check out our North Village Church calendar highlights such as our Christmas Eve Service and Easter Sunday Service.

You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


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Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.