Tony Evans - A Tale of Two Men
We've explained that the reason that God created Adam first was that Adam was supposed to be the foundation for the family, which was to be the foundation for the culture. That it was Adam's responsibility to set the stage for where everything else was to be built on. He was to be the foundation, which is why God raised the question, "Adam, where are you"? because the foundation had moved, and now everything else was in chaos.
And so, we wanna talk today about foundations, focusing on the men, but not limiting it to the men, because Jesus says when he starts the story in Matthew 7, verse 24 that this applies to everyone. But even though it applies to everyone he focuses on two men, so the question I wanna ask all the males by the time we're finished is, which man are you? But then we can ask everybody, which person are you? These two men had some commonalities, things that they held in common. These two men had a contrast which made them very different, and this leads to a conclusion about these two men that is riveting in its effect, but transforming in its ability to change our lives.
So, let's start off with what made these two men alike. What compared them? What made them on the same page? Well, the first thing that was comparable to both of these men is they both shared the same dream. They both wanted to build a house. Well, both of these men had a dream. They wanted to build a house. They wanted to build a house. In the Bible a house can refer to one of four different things.
Number one, a house can refer to your life, as it is referred to here. Both men wanted to build a house. That is, to build a life of substance, significance, value that mattered. They wanted to accomplish something with their lives. Or building a house in the Bible can refer to building a family. Families throughout the Bible are called the house of somebody, the house of David. That means it was David's family, or to build a house in the Bible can refer to building a ministry. The temple in the Old Testament was called the house of God. The church in the New Testament is called the household of faith, or to build a house can refer in the Bible to building a society.
After all, Israel was called the house of Israel. We call it the White House or the House of Congress. What do we mean by the house? We mean that representative entity that represents the society, so to build a house is to build a community or a society that's whole and that's unified and where the culture is benefiting the citizenry. All that is to build a house, and both men wanted to build a house. They wanted a life of significance, they want a family that was strong, they want a ministry that was effective, and they wanted to live in a culture that was ordered, a well-ordered society. That's to build a house.
Every man here, every person here, every Christian here should want to build a house, so the first thing that these two men had in common was that they wanted to fulfill a dream of building a house. The second thing that made these two men alike was they both went to the same church. Now, we know they both went to the same church, because it says, "Both men heard these words of mine," so they're going to an evangelical church, an orthodox congregation, 'cause they're seated in their seats, they've got their Bibles open, they're listening to Jesus Christ preach, so they were at least oriented to the Word of God, 'cause, "They're both listening to these words of mine".
So, the first thing is that they both had a dream. The second thing is that they both were orthodox in their orientation, because they were willing to hear the Word of God. There is a third commonality between these two men: they lived in the same neighborhood. Now, the reason we know they lived in the same neighborhood is they were affected by the same storm. It says the storm came and hit both of their homes, so that meant they were in the same vicinity of the storm. A storm in the Bible is an adverse set of circumstances. When the Bible talks about a storm, it's talking about negative events entering into your life, so here are our two men. They both have a vision, they both wanna build a house, they both have the Word of God, 'cause, "They're listening to these words of mine," and they both have some struggles, storms.
You're here, so you're listening to the Word of God. I hope you have a dream of a better life, a better future in all four of those categories, but there are also folk here in a storm, or just come out of one, or when you leave here today you're gonna run into one, 'cause in this life it does rain. But that's where the comparison ends and the contrast begin. That's where the differences between these two men are spelled out, because verse 24 says one man was a wise man, and verse 26 says the other man was a fool. One man was a wise man, the other man was a fool, so that tells me a lot right there.
That means that a wise man can have a dream and a fool can have a dream. A wise man can sit and listen to Jesus and a fool can sit and listen to Jesus. A wise man can be in a storm and a fool can be in a storm, because while they were a lot alike, there was one fundamental difference: one was a wise man and the other was a fool. What made the difference? Their foundation. It says in verse 24 the wise man built his house on a rock. It says the foolish man built his house on sand. It's talking about what they built their house on.
That has to do with your foundation. Your foundation is what you put your structure on, and it's always where you start, 'cause you pour the foundation first. You don't put up the doors first, the glass first, the windows first. You don't dry-wall first. You don't put up the roofers. You pour that foundation first. Why? 'Cause everything else is banking on its stability. The ability of everything else to hold steady is tied to solidifying a strong foundation. One person, the wise man, built his house on a rock. The fool built his house on sand.
Let's talk about those two different foundations for a moment. If you build on sand, that's gonna be quick. Don't take a lot of time to put sand and put a sand castle together on a beach. If you build on rock, it's gonna take you some time. If you build on sand, it's gonna be easy. If you're gonna build on rock, it's gonna be a little harder. You gotta drill through that. If you build on sand, it's gonna be cheap. Don't cost much to put together sand. Oh, but it's gonna cost you something if you build on rock. You see, one man was willing to put in what it would take for his foundation to be strong. The other man was not willing to take what was necessary for his foundation to be strong, but he still wanted a house. This issue of the foundation is critical.
When you go to downtown anywhere and you see a skyscraper being built, they will cordon off the area where the skyscraper is going to be built, and you always know how high they plan to go up by how low they drill down. You cannot build a skyscraper on the foundation of a chicken coop, because a chicken coop can't handle a skyscraper. In other words, your foundation must be worthy of the building you plan to put on top of it. You can't have a big building on a small foundation. See, a lotta folk want God to do big things on a chicken-coop foundation. Your building must be worthy of the foundation that you want to put on it, and your foundation must be worthy of the building, the life, that you want to arise from the ground from it.
So, one man built on sand, and the other man built on a rock. So, what was the difference between these two men? What do you mean by rock versus sand? Here it is. "Both men heard these words of mine," but here was the difference. It says, "The wise man," verse 24, "heard these words of mine and acted on them". It says, "The fool heard these words of mine and did not act on them". If you want to build a life, a home, a ministry, or a society, a house, it must be resting on the right foundation and the foundation is not merely information.
The difference between the wise man and the foolish man was not how much edumacation they had. It had nothing to do with whether they were graduates of high school, got a BA, got an MA, got a PhD It has nothing to do with how much education you possess. All of us know educated fools. Education does not wisdom necessarily grant you. The difference between the wise man and the fool was their willingness or unwillingness to act on what Jesus had taught, or put it in another way: only when the Word is applied does the Word work.
The Word, God's Word, does not work just because you hear it preached. God's Word does not work just because you were excited about what you heard or read. God's Word doesn't work just 'cause you said amen to what was said. God's Word does not work just 'cause you wave your hand in the air like you just don't care. God's Word does not work just because you agree with it. God's Word is only activated to work when applied. If it is not applied, it's still God's Word, it's still alive, but you won't experience what it can do until you act on it. They were listening to God's Word, both of them, but only one did something with what he heard and therefore only one experienced what was needed to be experienced based on what is taught.
So, one man is called a wise man and the other is called a fool, so let me define the two. Wisdom in the Bible is the ability and responsibility of applying God's truth to life's realities. It is the responsibility tied to the ability to apply spiritual truth to life's decision making. The fool in the book of Proverbs distinguishes between the wise man and the fool throughout the whole book of Proverbs. The fool in the Bible is the person who has the inability or refusal to apply spiritual truth to life's decision-making, so you only know you're wise or you're a fool by the decisions you make, by the action you take, not by the information you can quote.
So, quoting the Bible, rehearsing the Bible, saying biblical things, speaking Christianese, all that means absolutely nothing unless there was the decision to take the spiritual truth and do something with it in this living scenario. Wisdom in the Bible is always practical 'cause it's always tied to life's choices. When you choose God by action, not simply by talking, then you have activated divine programming from the Word into your life situation. Now, what a lot of Christians try to do is mix rock and sand. What they want is they know they need God, rock, but they also have their own way of doing things, sand, so what they want is sandy rock. They wanna mix the two, okay?
The fundamental difference between rock and sand, sand is human wisdom. It's man's point of view, the way you wanna do something, the way your parents taught you, you ought to do something, the way your friends say you ought to do something, the way the media says you wanna do something. That's sand. Rock is God's point of view acted on. Well, with a lot of Christians, though, they know they want rock and need rock, but they use the sand, so they try to mix them together, so let me help you with the sandy rock mixture. Matthew 15, verse 6 says, "You do nullify the Word of God with your traditions". So, once you bring man's point of view and attach it to God, when it contradicts God's point of view, Matthew 15:6 says you cancel out God.
So a lot of us will actually cancel out the very thing we're wanting by bringing an antithesis, a foreign point of view, into the equation. The Bible says, "Let God be true and every man a liar". So when God says A and you think B, God says, "Don't bring B over to my A. Let me be true and let every man, including you, be a liar". So, when you disagree with God, you need to have a conversation with you. You need to tell yourself, "Self, you're lying to me right now," because God says this and self is saying that, and God says let God be true and self and everybody else be a liar when they contradict God. When you want sandy rock, what you are doing is being double-minded, and James chapter 1, verse 5 said, "Let the double-minded man know he will receive nothing from the Lord," so if you're trying to bring human wisdom and attach it to divine revelation, what you need to know is God says don't think you will get anything.
Once you marry the two with a double mind, God cancels the whole thing, so a lot of us are canceling out our prayers. We're praying for one thing, bringing human wisdom into it, which cancels the whole prayer. He says you cannot have both, so now it did not become apparent, here is the conclusion, it did not become apparent who the fool was and who the wise man was until the storm came. See, as long as it was sunny outside, both houses looked good. Both men looked great. Both families looked intact. Both ministries appeared to be solid. The nation seemed to be on track. That is until the storm came. It was the storm that revealed what the real deal was.
Let's look at the storm. It says the rain came, the flood came, the wind blew, so whenever you have rain coming down, flood coming up, and a wind so strong it can knock over a house, that's called a hurricane. That's a hurricane. It's not a rain shower, it's a hurricane. And in your life you're gonna run into hurricane season. Hurricane season is not some minor trials when all hell breaks loose in your life, is when your world shuts down on you, is when, when everything that could go wrong does go wrong. It's the bad prognosis from the doctor. It's just something that devastates you, that overwhelms you. It's hurricane season, and if you are alive you're gonna run into that season, or that season is gonna find you. He says and when the rain came and the flood came and the wind blew, the wise man's house stood and the fool's house fell, because they didn't start at the same place. The houses may have looked wonderful on the outside, but the storm always reveals what you're resting on.
You can fix the foundation or pour a foundation before a storm. You can repair a foundation after a storm. What you can't do is fix it in a storm. See, a lotta folk want God in a storm. Oh, they didn't pour a foundation before the storm, so they're wondering why they're falling apart, because the idea is you pour the foundation first. In other words, you set this thing in motion first. Many couples wanna get a divorce when they never poured a foundation, so no wonder when the storm comes it blows the marriage over, 'cause you didn't pour a biblical foundation, or a single a biblical foundation, or financially, a biblical foundation. Whatever the issue is, you never poured God's foundation, and you wonder why you're being blown over by the circumstances that take place in our lives.
Your foundation determines your future, and your foundation is the Word of God applied, not just the Word of God studied, heard, or known. Until application hits, you will not see the intervention of God, so while you are waiting on God, I am waiting on God, he is waiting on us. He is waiting on the men to take their rightful place, to begin to dream dreams and to have visions they begin to apply and to say, like Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". He's waiting for men to pour the foundation on which everything else can stand, but then he's waiting on all believers to apply God's truth to their lives, whether they be male or female, to see God intervene, so don't get me wrong.
I am not suggesting to follow God means to avoid storms, and sometimes until you really follow him you haven't seen it rain yet. I am saying when the Word of God is applied without being mixed with human wisdom that contradicts his authoritative Word, you have now engaged the programming of his Word to work, and you will watch him, even in the midst of the storm. The wise man still had a hurricane. He didn't avoid the hurricane. He just withstood it. He didn't succumb to it because he was resting on the right foundation.
When I was a boy growing up in Baltimore, one Christmas my father bought me a balloon punching bag, a balloon punching bag. And so you'd hit it, boom, it hit the floor, bam, then it would bounce back, ding. You hit it again, boom, boom. It would go bam, bam, and then it would bounce back, ding. One time, I kicked it, hit the wall, hit the ceiling, came back, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, ding. No matter what I did to it, it kept coming back. That's 'cause it had a weight at the bottom that was heavier than the air at the top, so whatever I did to it up here, down there determined where things wound up, so I wish I could send you on your way and say when you leave here today trouble not gonna bother you, the devil is not gonna bother you, but I would be lying.
But I can tell you this. He may go boom, and you may go bam, but if you got the right foundation, you're coming back, ding. He may go boom, boom, and you may go bam, bam, but if you're resting on the right foundation you're coming back ding. And sometimes when all hell breaks loose he goes bam, bam-bam-bam, bam, bam-bam-bam, bam, bam-bam-bam, you're being hit from all over, and I wish it didn't happen, but sometimes it does. And when it does, you may go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, but if you're resting on the right foundation you're coming back...
What kind of man are you? As a man you can go in one of two directions. You can be a wise man or a foolish man. You can be a responsible man or an irresponsible man. You can be a defeated man or a defeating man. What kind of man are you? Jesus gives us two options of the kind of man that you can be, and he gives us the secret of becoming the right kind of man. Regardless of what yesterday has been, you can turn that thing around and become the right kind of man, a man of stability, a man that builds something and doesn't destroy something or someone, a man who doesn't take the easy way out when there is the responsible way to do it and to do it better. Our world needs men to build things, to build families, to build churches, to build society, to make it stronger and more vibrant, and only the right kind of man can do that. Let's let Jesus tell us what that man looks like and how he becomes the right kind of man.