Today’s question from Jesus comes at the very beginning of our passage.
Luke 6:46-49-46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
After Jesus posted the question, He went on to tell a parable, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed, and its destruction was complete.”
Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? Jesus asked a pretty direct question here. To help His listeners understand what He was asking, He told a story where He compared two different men, two builders. They could very well have built the exact same house to all of the same specifications. The two houses could have even looked identical. The difference that Jesus was pointing to, was their foundation.
He likened the guy who built his house on the rock to the person who would hear Jesus’ words AND put them into practice. He likened the guy who built his house on the sand to the person who would hear Jesus’ words but NOT put them into practice. Both built houses. Both went through storms, but because of the difference in their foundation, only the one who built on the rock, representing the one who hears Jesus’ words and obeys them, only that guy’s house was left untouched by the storm. Jesus said that house, the one on the rock, was well built. The person who built on the sand chose the wrong foundation, and when the storm came, his house was totally decimated. Allow me this extra thought. Everyone in the wise man’s house would have been kept safe. Everyone in the foolish man’s house would have been decimated. That reality adds some extra weight to the story for me.
As we consider the answer to Jesus’ question, let me raise one. Why would someone go to all of the effort and expense to build a house on a shaky foundation? It’s a thought-provoking question. The foundation work is the strategic work, but it can be the toughest and can be very expensive. The foundation was something we had to pay close attention to as we built this building because our 74 acres contains what is known as Teays Clay. It isn’t the best soil for a large structure to rest on. We had to do something to sure up the foundation. We had to dig further down than we would have wanted to because of the cost involved. We also had to add lime every 18 inches to make the soil more stable, more buildable. You see, what happens below the surface, where no one can see, is the most important part of the building process.
If you want the building to endure, the foundation has to be right and that can be a costly endeavor. It can slow the building process down, taking more time. It requires extra effort. Getting impatient and settling for any foundation will get a builder into a lot of trouble in a hurry.
The foolish builder didn’t want to have to figure out how to get down to the rock level. He preferred the sand. It was easier to dig there. It was something he knew he could do and with less workers. He either saw it as a shortcut, or he simply wasn’t thinking ahead. Maybe he wasn’t building it for himself, but he was building it for other people. Perhaps he was living for the paycheck. The faster he could build the house, the quicker he could get paid.
The wise builder knew that even if it cost more and took longer, the building would endure if he was able to get the foundation securely on the rock. He was building something with the desire to see it last.
A sandy foundation will create a condition for a collapse. What are some sandy foundations people build their lives on?
Relying on our own intellect and understanding, trusting our own instincts, is sandy soil. Our culture calls us to be self-reliant, to believe in ourselves, to trust ourselves, to “look within” for the solutions to life. That wasn’t the Psalmist’s strategy in Psalm 121. We read there, “1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Scripture doesn’t advise us to look within but to look up to God alone. He is the One who stands outside of time, so He isn’t constrained by it. It isn’t an obstacle. He is the One who knows what is ahead. He is the One who knows what it takes to make it through the storms of life. He is the One who can enable us to stay strong and to endure to the end.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is likely a familiar passage, but don’t let its familiarity cause you to miss the powerful truth it contains: 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a]
Trust God in all of your ways. What does the word, “all” mean? It means all, right? Trust Him with your career path. He has given you special gifts and abilities for a reason. Let Him direct your heart to the best place for you to glorify Him. Trust Him with your finances. He has something to say about how you can invest in that which is eternal and be a blessing to others around you. Trust Him with your relationships. He has brought people into your life for a reason. Even those who challenge you will help you grow into the likeness of Christ if you will seek out God’s ideas for how you relate to that person. Trust Him with your health. He created you. He knows how your body is supposed to work. He can work in a moment in time, and He can work over the course of time to bring you through health crises to healing miracles. Trust Him with every decision you need to make. Ask Him to speak to you and to confirm things with His Word, with the Bible. Relying on self is a sandy foundation.
Another sandy foundation is the foundation of our feelings. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us we can’t trust our hearts; we cannot trust our feelings. Like the sand on a beech that is always getting moved, getting pushed and pulled forward and back by the water and the wind, our feelings are much the same. Sand gets kicked and thrown as people run across it, as children dig in it.
Our feelings don’t really have enduring properties. They get easily changed by circumstances and people. You could wake up happy and be as mad as a wet hen by 9 a.m.! It’s true. It only takes a hectic traffic commute, a spilled coffee, and an internet outage. Am I right? Maybe after you text a friend, read a verse of Scripture, get your favorite playlist going, and look at the cute screensaver of your puppy or your kids as you open your computer, you are back on track and ready for your day, until 11:00 a.m. and something else happens.
Our feelings are too fickle to trust. Why would we rely on something to inform our lives that is always swaying, always moving in a different direction? But we see it happen all the time. We live as reactionary because our feelings tell us we have a right to be angry or we need to protect ourselves from the hurt we perceive is caused by others. We live below our potential because we don’t feel like challenging ourselves. Too often, when we follow our feelings, we play it safe, instead of stepping out on faith.
Another sandy foundation is building our lives on the opinions of other people. People-pleasing will wear you out and keep you on a performance treadmill. It will rob you of the peace and rest that you need to be able to endure the ups and downs of life. Of course, we don’t want to live with an attitude that says, “Who cares what anyone thinks?” As disciples of Christ, we should want to love and serve others, but not so that they will approve of us or like us or think we are “all that and a bag of chips.” (Do people still say that?) Anyway, people-pleasing will put us on a constant treadmill and invite us to say, “Yes” to things we should say “No” to. It will call us to compromise, and that is a sandy, shaky way to live.
Building our lives on the foundation of money is another sandy soil. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love for every person in this room to never have another money problem again, wouldn’t that be wonderful? I’m not talking about pursuing money through hard work so that you can live responsibly, help others, give to God’s Kingdom the way God’s Word instructs us, and so that you can enjoy life. I’m talking about making an idol out of money and the pursuit of money. I’m talking about looking to money for security and happiness instead of to God for security and happiness. Listen, anything that dethrones God as number one in your life is sandy soil and will cause you to crash and burn at some point. Anything we love or pursue more than God, anything we look to for validation, identity or fulfillment except God will lead us down a dead-end street.
Paul actually described loving money as a “root of all kinds of evil.” He says in I Timothy 6:9-10, 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
The love of money can make people do crazy things and can compromise the quality of their relationships. They could have money but no intimacy with friends or family. They could have money but miss the purpose for which God put them on the planet. They could have money but be miserable and lonely. Hollywood is loaded with people who are loaded and lonely, people who loathe their very existence. Worse, the love of money can cause people to compromise their faith. It can be what causes them to turn their back on Jesus and to cause what Paul calls “many griefs.”
The love of money is a form of worship. The love of money fosters greed and selfishness. The love of money disrupts our love for God. The love of money becomes a person’s master. It becomes what drives them. It becomes what they must pursue and obey when it calls to them. Matthew 6:24 tells us it is impossible to love and serve God and money at the same time.
Since we live in such a hyper-sexual culture, one where you can’t even watch a commercial for insurance without seeing a couple sitting in a bathtub together, I’m just going to go ahead and point out the obvious. Building our lives on our sexuality and sexual expression is a sandy foundation. There is an unhealthy preoccupation surrounding how a person identifies sexually. People are forming their entire identity and their entire lives around sex.
I’ll tell you how those of us who have been bought by the blood of Jesus must identify, it is a Christians. It is as Children of the Most-High God. It is as the called-out ones who represent Jesus on earth. That is where we find our true identity. It isn’t in our sexuality. It isn’t in money. It isn’t in people-pleasing. It isn’t in our feelings. It isn’t in our intellect. And when we build on any of those foundations, we will not hear and do what Jesus says. Anyone who claims Christ as Lord, but who ignores His Word and lives in ways that are contrary to His Word, has a huge discipleship problem.
This parable about the wise and foolish builder is really a parable about Lordship. Who or what is the Lord of your life? What controls you? Who or what dictates the way you live?
Look at verse 47 again: As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.
Those who come to Jesus, who listen to what He says, and who put His words into practice, they are not only wise builders, building on a sure foundation, but they are demonstrating that Jesus Christ is the Lord of their life. Hearing and doing are two different things. Why do people call Jesus Lord and not do what He says? It’s because they have a Lordship problem. Christ isn’t the Lord of the person’s life who doesn’t do what He says.
Lordship means that we yield every area of our lives to Jesus. Adrian Rogers said this about Lordship, “When you gave your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, that was the last independent decision you ever made.”
And God is to be more than our Consultant. He is to be the One who sets the parameters for our lives. He is the One who makes the rules and sets the standards. And we struggle, don’t we? To give Him total control is a daily sacrifice of our will. It is an act of consecration. Like Paul, we must “die daily” to ourselves. (I Cor. 15:31)
“But it’s my money. I can do what I want with it.” Nope. God owns everything we have. We are simply stewards of what He has allowed us to receive. Yes, we have worked, but who has given us the strength and the talent to do what we do? God. God has the right to have expectations for us about our money. Jesus talked a lot about money because He knew about the seductive power of money. He knew it could cause us all kinds of calamities if we worshiped it. 16 out of 38 of Jesus’ parables deal with money and possessions. There are more than 2,000 scriptures on tithing, money, and possessions in the Bible, which is twice as many as faith and prayer combined. If Jesus isn’t Lord of our money and resources, He isn’t the Lord of our lives.
“But it’s my body. I can do what I want.” Nope. Christ has purchased your salvation through His death on the cross and has made His home inside of you in the person of the Holy Spirit. Your body belongs to Him. I Corinthians 6:19-20 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. If Jesus isn’t the Lord of our bodies, He isn’t the Lord of our lives.
“But it’s my time. I’ll spend it the way I want to.” Nope. The breath you just took was a gift from God. He holds the number of your days, the minutes and seconds of your life in His hands, Psalm 39:4-5. How you spend those seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months and years is of great importance to the One who has given them to you, not only to enjoy, but to accomplish His purposes.
Lordship. When the lordship of Jesus is settled in a believer’s life, the foundation will be secure. When the lordship of Jesus is settled in a believer’s life, all other issues will be settled. When the lordship of Jesus is settled in a believer’s life, we will both hear Jesus’ words AND do what He says.
Jesus asked, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and you don’t do what I say? Is your obedience up to date, Christians? Is there an area or two or three where you have closed a door, locked a key and not given Jesus access?
I ran across these stunning words by a man named John Bisagno. He said:
We focus on a baby in a manager. But Jesus, though He died on the cross, didn’t just come to stand in a corner. He came to sit on a throne. He didn’t just come to die here. He came to dictate here. He didn’t come to take part. He came to take over. He didn’t just come to board here. He came to be boss. He didn’t just come to be a resident. He came to be president. He was and He will be.
He says, “I’m the King and you are the servants. I am the shepherd, and you are the sheep.” He’s the captain and we’re the soldiers. He’s the master and we are the servants. What is consistent in all of those analogizes? It is obvious that somebody is in control, and someone is subject to their control. As Lord of our lives, we need to understand very simply that He is in charge. Jesus Christ tells us “No” sometimes. “Don’t say that. Don’t do this. Don’t go in there. Don’t make that decision.” We need to ask ourselves, “What part of “no” do we don’t understand?”
He didn’t come to just take part. He came to take over. Jesus Christ didn’t give His life to just keep us out of Hell. He came to rule in the world, to rule in the church and to rule us personally in our lives. Lordship boils down to one thing. Just do what He says.
Jesus said it most succinctly in Matthew 7:21. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Not everyone who calls Christ “Lord” here on earth will be in Heaven. Only those who from their hearts have received Him as the Lord of our lives will be. It is about more than words. It is about our will to submit to His Lordship. We cannot claim Christ as Lord and then disobey His Word. We cannot claim Christ as Lord and live the way we deem best. “No,” and “Lord” cannot be uttered in the same sentence. “No,” and “Lord” cannot reside in the heart of a true Christ follower? Our response must only be, “Yes, Lord” if we want the foundation that will enable us to build a house that will last, a house the will endure the storms of life.
Is Jesus asking you the question He asked in Luke 6:46? 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Don’t miss an opportunity to respond this morning.