Matthew 7:24–27 (ESV)
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 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. 26 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. 27 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.”
I know that I have posted on this passage before and even my first Hymn of the Day post was about this very passage, but I find it pertinent to other things going on in my life. In particular, my next sermon, coming up on the 30th of July, will be from 2 Peter 2:10b-22. At first glance, you may be wondering, “How in the world did you make a connection between the parable in Matthew and Peter’s strong language in 2 Peter 2?” Well, honestly my mind works in mysterious ways. For whatever reason, I began to think about how the false teachers promise other people, who are unestablished in the faith (Whether new converts, older converts who stop bearing fruit, or whatever), freedom. However, as Peter reveals, this freedom promised is actually to be a slave to corruption, since whatever over comes a person, to that he is enslaved (2 Pet. 2:18,19).
This got me to thinking about being a slave. Not the sort of slavery like America once had, but slavery to a master of another sort. Peter, when first greeting the Christian readers in this epistle says of himself, “Simeon Peter, a servant, and apostle of Jesus Christ.” That word used for servant can be literally translated from the Greek as “bond-servant” or “slave.” Peter characterized himself right away as a slave to something. Actually a slave to someone, viz. Jesus Christ.
Now, in chapter two, Peter reminds whoever reads his epistle, including us, that everyone is a slave to something. Either you are a slave to a counterfeit freedom which leads to corruption, or you are a slave to the Lord Jesus Christ and in that way experience the best sort of freedom.
Ask a porn addict if they can stop viewing porn, for instance, and you will probably hear them say, “Sure, I can stop whenever I want to.” Then, they find that they cannot break the cycle even though they feel shame towards their own “freedom.” Likewise, ask a drunkard (I am using biblical language here instead of alcoholic) if they can stop drinking and you will likely hear, “Now, why would I want to do that?” Or perhaps they desire to stop drinking but cannot seem to find a way to do so even while they are involved in programs designed to help them. One more example, the smoker who decides enough is enough and they give up the habit altogether. But, what is usually the result of kicking the habit? They usually have to take nicotine gum or patches to soothe their longings precisely for what they were quitting in the first place.
My point is this, freedom does not come from doing whatever you want, wherever you want when you want. The result of that “freedom” can be likened to the experience of the fool in Jesus’ parable. The fool decided he would build his house on the sand. He saw that the beach had a great view of the water and water would be just outside his door! However, he did not account for the destruction of his abode when a storm came. He was only stuck in the here and now, never looking forward, only looking at the pleasure living on the beach would grant him. He did not count the cost of his “freedom.”
The wise man, though, did exactly what the Christian must do. He looked at the beach and thought, “Man that is a beautiful view and it could offer me so much pleasure, but what if a storm hits? I would love to have water at my doorstep, but I surely do not want it flowing over my doorstep and into my precious house! I see that rock up above and it seems that the water level will never rise above the top of it. I shall build my house on that foundation. Seems the wise thing to do!” Wise indeed. For when the rains came and the waves rolled in during a storm his house was safe and secure. The rock provided a sure foundation. But, for the fool….. His house was destroyed. His freedom to build where he wished left him without a shelter.
Dear Reader, Jesus promised that whoever hears what he commands and obeys them will be like the wise man who built his house upon the rock. Being a slave to Jesus Christ by obeying his commands leads to freedom. Your house might be splashed with waves or bombarded with howling winds, but your house will stand fast. Don’t be the fool, who decided in his heart that the present pleasures outweighed the coming destruction of his house. His slavery to his “freedom” cost him everything. The Christian’s slavery to Christ grants us everything (2 Pet. 1:3,4). Now that is freedom!