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:
kai pas o akouon (PANSN)
mou tous logous toutous kai me poion (PAPMSN) autous homoiothesetai
(3SFPI) andri moro, hostis okodomesen (3SAAI) autou ten oikian epi ten
(1Sa 2:30; Pr
14:1; Je 8:9; Lk 6:49; Jas 2:20)
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The Wise and Foolish Builder
Everyone who hears - The
pictures the truth that
all (no exceptions) continually
hear Jesus' words. The implication is one can continually hear the
Savior's voice through His word and His instruments of proclamation
(pastors, relatives, friends, missionaries, etc) and yet refuse to truly
"hearken" ("to give heed to") to His words of warning and wisdom by
These words of mine - In
immediate context, these words refer to Jesus' warning about hearing and not doing, but also
the greater context of the sermon on the mount (and then all His words
in the Gospels and in a sense "The Word" for indeed He is "the Word of
God" [Jn 1:1, 1Jn 1:1, Re 19:13-note]
Who became flesh [Jn 1:14]
légo = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means
something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds
expression in words.
Lógos then is a general
term for speaking, but always used for speaking with rational content.
Lógos is a word uttered by the human voice which embodies an
underlying concept or idea. When one has spoken the sum total of their
thoughts concerning something, they have given to their hearer a total
concept of that thing. Thus the word lógos conveys the idea of “a
total concept” of anything. Lógos means the word or outward form
by which the inward thought is expressed and made known. It can also
refer to the inward thought or reason itself. Note then that
lógos does not refer merely to a part of speech but to a concept or
idea. In other words, in classical Greek, lógos never
meant just a word in the grammatical sense as the mere name of a
thing, but rather the thing referred to. In fact, the Greek language has
3 other words (rhema, onoma, epos) which designate a word in its
grammatical sense. Lógos refers to the total expression whereas
(see word study)
for example is used of a part of
speech in a sentence. In other words
emphasizes the parts rather than the whole.
As someone has said our deeds are fruit
but our words are leaves!
Spurgeon put it this way...
I would not give much for your
religion unless it can be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine.
Jesus gave a similar
admonition in His parable of the seed and sower (or "soils") teaching
the one on whom seed (the Word of
God, the Gospel) was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears
the word, and immediately receives it with joy yet (introduces a
critical contrast) he has no firm root in himself, but is
only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the
word, immediately he falls away (Literally "is stumbled" = skandalizo =
habitually is tripped up, offended or "scandalized" by the Word).
Comment: Note the NAS adds "firm"
(You can discern this word is added by the translators because the NAS
and KJV/NKJV place words not present in the original Greek sentence in
italics something most other versions unfortunately don't do)
so it reads literally "no root" where "no" is the
strongest Greek word (ou) to express the negative sense. This
distinction makes quite a difference in one's interpretation, for a
plant with no root is by definition not really a true
plant, in contrast to a plant that has no firmly attached root.
Jesus is not saying these individuals believe and are saved for a while
and then lose their salvation. They heard the Truth of the Gospel but
had no genuine "germinating" faith by which they might lay hold of true
salvation. Their belief was tantamount to intellectual assent. They were
professors but not possessors of belief in Christ. They liked Jesus'
promises of blessing but not His requirement of belief, the genuineness
of this belief being evidenced by one's supernaturally changed life. Cp
"hears...and does not act")
And does not act on them -
Does not as the general habit or practice of their life obey the Words
of truth and life.
Spurgeon comments that many
know as far as the theory goes what
the plan of salvation is, as well as I do (cp Lk 6:46). Yet, where the knowledge is
the same, the ultimate result may vary; two men may be equally well
instructed in the Scriptures, yet one of them may be wise and the other
foolish. To know what faith is, what repentance is, what a good hope in
Christ is, may all be yours, and yet it may but increase your misery
forever (Ed: Lk 12:48 applies to the saved in heaven [1Co 3:11,
12, 13, 14, 15] as well as to the unsaved in hell [Mt 11:21, 22, 23,
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them
(Jn 13:17). It is not
the hearer, but the doer of the word, that is blessed (cp Jas 1:22-note
vs Jas 1:25-note). Knowledge puffeth
up; love alone buildeth up (1Co 8:1).
My dear friends, I am most earnest
that those of you who are desiring to find everlasting life in Christ
Jesus, may not be content with anything short of a true, deep, and real
work of grace in your hearts; for no clearness of head knowledge, no
natural earnestness of purpose or eagerness of desire can save you;
without an interest in Christ Jesus you are lost to all eternity. “Ye
must be born again;” (Jn 3:3, 5, 7) ye must be brought into vital union
with the living Savior, or your hopefulness will end in overwhelming
James addressed his critical
concern regarding hearers who failed to be doers
commanding his readers to...
imperative = make
this your continual practice - read the Word, then do the Word!)
yourselves doers (poietes
~ "performers", "poets") of the word, and not
merely hearers (akroates = those who sit passively and listen like a
student who audits a class but is not held accountable for what they
hear! Jesus says we are accountable when we hear!) who delude (present
pará = beside + logizomai = exercise one’s reason >> literally reasoning
beside the truth) themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word
and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a
mirror 24 for once he has looked (Literally = Put his mind down on
indicating attention and continuous observation) at himself and gone
away, he has immediately forgotten (completely forgot, literally hidden
upon [one's mind]) what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks
from pará = beside + kúpto = bend, stoop >>
literally stooping sideways in order to see something exactly) at the
perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a
forgetful hearer ("auditor") but an effectual doer, this man shall be
blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious,
and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this
man's religion is worthless. (James 1:22-26-see
verse by verse notes)
Spurgeon explains that...
If any soul will be lost
emphatically, it is he who has been for years a hearer only, a hearer
where thousands have believed unto eternal life (Jn 5:24). Over the cell of such
a man write, "He knew his duty, but he did it not," and that cell will
be built in the very center of Gehenna. It is the innermost prison of
hell. Willful rejection of Christ ensures woeful rejection from Christ.
Will be like
from homoios = similar, of the same kind, of like disposition, in
geometry similar [of figures]) means to make like (active sense).
Most of the uses are in the passive sense meaning to become like
something or someone (He 2:17). Homoioo is used to portray one
thing with another in order to compare. To consider something to be like
something else. To illustrate by comparison (Mt 7:24, 26, Lk 7:31,
13:20, Mk 4:30). To be like, to resemble, to be similar to (Acts
TDNT adds that homoioo...
This word means a. “to make like or
equal,” b. “to liken,” and c. (passive) “to be like.” In Matthew it
usually serves to introduce parables. The introduction may be in the
form of a stereotyped question (Mt 11:16, Mk 4:30, Lk 13:18, 20). In Mt
6:8 Jesus tells his disciples not to “be like” the Gentiles when they
Here are the 15 uses of homoioo
in the NT...
Matthew 6:8 (note)
"Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what
you need, before you ask Him.
Matthew 7:24 (note)
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them,
may be compared to a wise man, who built his house
upon the rock.
Matthew 7:26 "And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not
act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who
built his house upon the sand.
Matthew 11:16 "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is
like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the
Matthew 13:24 He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom
of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in
Matthew 18:23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared
to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
Matthew 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king,
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
Matthew 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to
ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Mark 4:30 And He said, "How shall we picture (with what can we
compare) the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it?
Luke 7:31 "To what then shall I compare the men of this
generation, and what are they like?
Luke 13:18 Therefore He was saying, "What is the kingdom of God
like, and to what shall I compare it?
Luke 13:20 And again He said, "To what shall I compare
the kingdom of God?
Acts 14:11 And when the multitudes saw what Paul had done, they raised
their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have become
like men and have come down to us."
Comment: This use of homoioo
suggests that they have become like in the sense of taking on an
external form like the gods.
Romans 9:29 (note)
And just as Isaiah foretold, "Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us
a posterity, We would have become as Sodom, and would have resembled
Hebrews 2:17 (note)
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in
all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in
things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the
Homoioo is used 29 times in the
- Ge 34:15, 22, 23; Ps. 28:1; 40:5; 49:12, 20; 83:1; 89:6; 102:6; 143:7;
144:4; Song 1:9; 2:17; 7:7; 8:14; Isa. 1:9; 40:18, 25; 46:5; La 2:13;
Ezek. 31:2, 8, 18; 32:2; Hos. 4:5, 6; 12:10; Zeph. 1:11
Psalm 28:1 A Psalm of David. To Thee,
O LORD, I call; My rock, do not be deaf to me, Lest, if Thou be silent
to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.
Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are
the wonders which Thou hast done, And Thy thoughts toward us; There is
none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.
Psalm 49:12 But man in his pomp will
not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 144:4 Man is
like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.
Isaiah 40:18 To whom then will you
liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with
Him? (Used twice)
(moros; English = “moron”) has the root meaning of deficiency and
is used especially of the one who is mentally dull, silly, stupid,
foolish. Such a person is considered intellectually weak, irrational or
lacking in foresight, and this is the manner moros is used by Jesus.
Moros is the antonym of sophos (wise) or as in this context of phronimos
(wise Mt 7:24). Moros is used to describe a person who has no respect
for God (Mt 23:17). In Mt 5:22 (see
moros describes a person who is morally worthless for calling his
brother raca (Aramaic for empty-headed, stupid, vain).
In the present context Jesus says the
person is foolish because he thinks that his house is secure (on "sand")
simply because he has heard and perhaps even acknowledged (externally)
the words of Christ. This person is deceived because he thinks that he
is living a life which pleases God. In this metaphor, he is confident
that his house will withstand the testing elements, but his confidence
is not in Jesus but in himself! He is self-deceived or self-deluded (cp
TDNT explains that moros
(and its cognates)...
denote deficiency, e.g., physical
sloth, but more especially mental dullness. We find such varied uses as
for insipid foods, animals that are sluggish in winter, or people
suffering from fatigue. With a human reference the main use is
psychological. What is meant is a weakness of understanding or judgment,
sometimes through stupidity, sometimes through confusion, but always
demanding censure. Along with a more rationalistic view, the Greeks
suggest at times that folly of this nature is a fate.
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
on sand - Homeowners who have foundation problems find that these
can be quietly costly. How much more eternally costly for those whose
spiritual lives prove to have been built on the wrong foundation!
C H Spurgeon speaking of the
conditions in his day (late 1800's) wrote that there is...
Want of depth, want of sincerity,
want of zeal in religion-this is the want of our times. Want of an eye
to God in religion, lack of sincere dealing with one’s soul, neglect of
using the lancet with our hearts, neglect of the search warrant which
God gives out against sin, carelessness concerning living upon Christ;
much reading about Him, much talking about Him, but too little feeding
on His flesh and drinking of His blood-these are the causes of a
tottering profession and a baseless hope.
Arthur Pink writes that these
bring their bodies to the house of
prayer but not their souls; they worship with their mouths, but not “in
spirit and in truth.” They are sticklers for immersion or early morning
communion, yet take no thought about keeping their hearts with all
diligence. They boast of their orthodoxy; but disregard the precepts of
Christ. Multitudes of professing Christians abstain from external acts
of violence, yet hesitate not to rob their neighbors of a good name by
spreading evil reports against them. They contribute regularly to the
“pastor’s salary,” but shrink not from misrepresenting their goods and
cheating their customers, persuading themselves that “business is
business.” They have more regard for the laws of man than those of God,
for His fear is not before their eyes.
On Rock Or Sand? - Japan's second-largest airport is
sinking into the ocean. When Kansai International near Osaka was
constructed on an artificial island, designers and builders knew that it
would settle. They built hydraulic jacks into the structures to correct
any tilt that occurred. But during its first 6 years, several key
portions of the airport have reached or exceeded their 50-year sinking
projection. They say there is no reason to be alarmed, but local
residents are not so sure.
Most of us will never design or build an airport, but we are all in the
process of constructing a life. There is no more crucial decision than
choosing the foundation upon which we build.
Jesus used the metaphor of building on sand to describe the person who
hears His words but does not put them into practice. "The floods came,
and the winds blew and beat on that house," Jesus said, "and it fell.
And great was its fall" (Matthew 7:27). Merely hearing what Jesus says
is not enough.
In contrast, Jesus likened the person who hears and keeps His teachings
to a wise man who builds his house on the rock (Mt 7:24-note). Not even the
fiercest storm can bring it down.
Solid rock or sinking sand? On what foundation are we choosing to build
today? —D C McCasland (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
If you want life's truest treasures
Do not build on sinking sand;
Build upon the
Rock of Ages
Trust in God's almighty hand. —Jarvis
With God's word as your foundation,
you can build a godly life.