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The Invitation

Matthew 7:13-29



Today we finish talking about the greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest preacher who ever lived.  Jesus finished by giving an invitation!


Joke--The preacher was shaking hands with the members after a service when an old lady approached him and said, "That was a wonderful sermon today, pastor!" With modesty, the preacher said, "Oh, it wasn't me, it was God." She replied, "I wouldn’t say it was that good."


v. 28-29   A few weeks ago I said that Jesus’ sermon commanded attention, had a powerful effect, and is made ‘the greatest’ in part because He included the most important ingredients a sermon can have:  Explanation, Illustration, and Application.  Today we see the end of Jesus’ sermon as He adds the final great element:  Invitation.


I can stand here and preach principles, and illustrate them so we better understand, and help you make application.  Then there’s one final step, and it’s yours, and that is you responding to the invitation and making a conscious decision to accept the application, and to ‘self-apply’ it to your life.  That means making a concrete creation out of it all, which will last after you leave!


This is why we give an invitation at the end…it’s continuing the historic practice of Jesus that has been carried out by serious churches throughout the ages.  Granted, it can be accomplished in new and different ways…but may we never get rid of the old fashioned altar and may we never be found to be one of the few here who never use it!


Life is a never ending journey of making decisions…usually between 2 choices.  But no decision is as big as this one:  Will you receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?


But as we continue in the Christian life, every day we have decisions, as we reach that ‘fork in the road’.  Truly, there’s only 2 choices on the shelf, pleasing God and pleasing self!


Many today have the worldly attitude which says, “I’ll decide what I do, when I please.”  Sadly, most never get around to it.  This is why Jesus gave an invitation and said, “Decide now!”


May I remind you of the cold hard fact, that to wait and make no decision is to decide “no.” 

John 3:18

    He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


What sin do you have to commit to go to hell?  Unbelief! 


So, what do you have to DO in order to go to hellNothing!


The Bible teaches that to not accept Him is to reject Him…there is no middle ground, no excuses, no exceptions.  Don’t put off salvation. 


Don’t fool yourself: false Christianity…profession without possession.


v. 21-23   The only thing worse than being lost and going to hell, is being lost and going to hell, thinking you were going to heaven.


But then Jesus goes on to say, even if you have been saved, having chosen the right road, then you still should build, and build on the right foundation, or you won’t amount to much in your Christian life.


Ill.-- In December 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was finally reopened to the public, after having been closed for almost a dozen years. During that time, engineers completed a 25 million dollar renovation project designed to stabilize the tower. They removed 110 tons of dirt, and reduced its famous lean by about sixteen inches. Why was this necessary? Because the tower has been tilting further and further away from vertical for hundreds of years, to the point that the top of the 185-foot tower was seventeen feet further south than the bottom, and Italian authorities were concerned that if nothing was done, it would soon collapse. What was the problem? Bad design? Poor workmanship? An inferior grade of marble?


No. The problem was what was underneath. The sandy soil on which the city of Pisa was built was just not stable enough to support a monument of this size. The tower had no firm foundation.


v. 24-27   More important than your building skills…more important than how good of ‘material’ you consider yourself to be is this:  What foundation are you built on?


You see, both houses looked about the same, so long as the sun was shining.  But when the storms came, the foundation was revealed!


1 Cor. 3:11-15

    For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. [14] If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss…


This is talking about your Christian life. It is speaking about what you do after you get saved. Everyone will build one of two buildings. If you live for “THINGS AND THRILLS” then you are building wood, hay, and stubble, and it will burn, and there will be nothing left.


You will have nothing to show for your Christian life. There will be no crowns to place at the feet of Jesus during the Judgment Seat of Christ. You will stand before Him, as a Christian, naked and ashamed.


Don’t build with wood, hay, and stubble. [sand]


Build on the foundation of Christ…the Rock!

A life patterned after the Word of God, and the holiness of God. A life surrendered to God.


I.      There Were Two Men.


Both men faced the same storms. The Bible tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust.


Perhaps these men were neighbors. They may have even been related. They may have been father and son. Maybe one worked with or for the other. We don’t know.


        A. One Was Wise. Vs. 24. He built his house on a rock. He surveyed the area and determined that he needed a solid rock foundation. He exercised wisdom in his building.


        B. One Was Foolish.

Vs. 26. He heard the same thing the wise man did. He had been instructed how to build a good house. He just didn’t follow what was taught. He used his own thoughts and ideas.  He made the decision to reject the good counsel that the wise man had accepted.


Hear the warning - DON’T BE FOOLISH.


Two men…


II.  There Were Two Houses.


Maybe one was across the street from the other. We can be assured that one built on the rock was not in a higher financial area of town than the other, else this would be teaching that those who have money will be more apt to accept Christ than the poor. The Bible teaches just the opposite. They may have looked very much alike [When the sun was shining.]  Perhaps from the street you could not tell which one was built on the rock and which one was built on the sand.


Ill.—Comfort Inn in MO:  I watched them build it from the ground up, using toothpick like materials underneath, then they dressed up the exterior real fancy…but I knew what was underneath.  We stayed there on a visit back to the church there years ago, but I told my wife if the tornado sirens sound, we’re running into a camper I saw in the parking lot!


Underneath these 2 houses there was a vast difference. It was a difference so great that one would stand and one would fall when facing the storm.


Today may I tell you to build your spiritual house on the Rock! That Rock is Jesus Christ. He died for your sin. He paid the price of sin that was required by the Father…and then, keep building, and allow others to build you by responding to the invitations God makes to you, whether on Sunday or Monday.  He Who is the Rock is also the Master Builder…let Him keep working on you.  Accept the work of the other authorities He brings into your life.


When a building contractor begins a building he will get the large earth equipment in and he will drill down to solid rock base in several different positions and then pour concrete pillars upon that solid rock. He will then build his foundation on that rock.


Jesus is the solid Rock. He is the Rock of our foundation. (1 Cor 3:11)  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Be like the wise man today and choose the solid Rock.


“My hope is built on nothing less…

On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.”


Two men, two houses…


III.  There Was One Storm.


 Notice the manner in which the storm is described in Vs. 25 and 27.  “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house.”


If there was two different storms here, they were described exactly the same. Probably the same storm. One house stood and one fell.


The two verses read exactly the same - except for one word:  What is it?  The word “not”!


Vs. 25 says, “and it fell not.”

Vs 27 says, “and it fell.”


What brought out the difference in the two houses?  The storm.


There are different applications here:

        We could liken one to a good strong Christian home.

        We could liken the other to a worldly home.


The strong Christian home stood the storm and was beautiful afterward.

The carnal home fell to the ground in shambles. It was built on things of the world. It had a modern mindset.  It went with the flow, following the current trends, hippest fashions, and the accepted attitudes of today.


But this is not the main truth of this passage. The preceding verses in our text would indicate that this is referring to heaven and hell. The end time. The final judgment.


There is coming a judgment. For the saved it will be the judgment of our works for Christ.


There is coming a judgment. For the lost it will be to announce your condemnation and placement into hell forever and ever.


The only difference in these two judgments (storms) is going to be the foundation upon which you built.


What did you build it on? The Rock?

Or did you build it on sand?  If so, it will not withstand the storm.


Notice the terminology in Vs. 27, “...and great was the fall of it.”  What does that mean.


Does it mean that it made a lot of noise when it fell? No.

Does it mean that it scattered everywhere when it fell? No.

Does it mean that all of the residents were killed? No.


Rev. 20:11-15

    And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


These verses tell us how great is the fall of this house.

The fall was great - drastic - dreadful - pitiful. This man went to hell.


This need not be. You can make sure today that your life, your house is built on the Solid Rock.


Listen to the last verse of that hymn that I read earlier:


When He shall come with trumpet sound,

Oh, may I then in Him be found;

Dressed in His righteousness alone,

Faultless to stand before the throne.


On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

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