In this lesson, we will study the parable Jesus taught during His sermon on the mount about the wise and foolish builders. This lesson relates to pre-teens and teens, and by the end of this lesson, they should have learned about the following:
- The importance of doing what the Bible teaches.
- How to prepare for storms.
- Jesus is the only solid foundation.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 7:24-29
MEMORY VERSE: “Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24.
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BIBLE STUDY NOTES FOR TEENS
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. It’s not recognised because of its design, height, beauty, or arches but because of its tilt.
The tower was never designed to lean, so what was the problem? Was it down to a bad design or poor workmanship? The problem was the tower had no firm foundation. The sandy soil under Pisa was not stable enough to support it.
Sadly, the same can be said for many people today.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY
In Matthew 7:24-29, we find Jesus preaching to the people of His day. It is the end of the sermon on the mount, one of the richest and most extensive discourses recorded during Jesu’s earthly ministry. It addresses a wide variety of topics which are still relevant and valid in our time and for all ages.
Imagine the scene: On top of a mountain, in the evening, Jesus is sitting in front of thousands of people who have come from various villages and cities to listen to Him. Until now, Israel had depended on the scribes and Pharisees to interpret the law, but Jesus is not like the other rabbis. He teaches the law from its true intent and teaches with authority. He has spent all day teaching the sermon on the mount, and now as He comes to an end, Jesus concludes His preaching by sharing a brief parable that addresses the difference between the wise and the foolish.
The one who obeys and the one who rejects the teachings of Christ. The person who follows the Word of God versus the one who foolishly decides to build without foundation.
1. HEARING IS NOT ENOUGH
Jesus makes it clear in His parable that hearing is not enough. We have to put what we have heard into practice.
James says the same thing in James 1:22. “But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves.” James continues by giving an example of a man who looks in a mirror and then forgets what he looks like.
Imagine waking up, looking in the mirror and seeing your hair in a big mess or a big dirt mark on your face, but then turning away and doing nothing. You carry on your day, meet your friends, go to school, and attend church looking like a mess.
Jesus wanted the crowds to know that listening to Him is good but not enough. They must also do what He teaches.
Attending church, youth groups, studying the Bible at home alone or with your family is wonderful. But it must not stop there. We must apply Jesus’ words to our lives and allow them to change us.
2. IT TAKES EFFORT TO BUILD A STRONG FOUNDATION
You may wonder, who would build a house on the sand? Or why would anyone build a life on an unstable foundation?
The answer is simple – it’s easy. It is so much easier to dig sand than to carve out rock. It takes less effort, less stress, and it’s much quicker to build. From the outside, it looks the same, if not even better, than the house built on the rocky foundation. If outward appearance is all that matters, then it is simply not worth the effort to dig out rock.
Likewise, building a life on fantasy is easy and may even be fun in the short term. That’s why the internet is so full of ‘get-rich-schemes’ and ‘fab-diets’. People are searching for the quickest way to look good with minimal effort.
Building your life on Jesus’ teaching requires effort. If you’re going to be a follower of Jesus, you will have to dig deep. You’re going to have to stop doing some of those things your friends are doing. You will have to obey the Bible even when it’s inconvenient to do so. You’ll need to forgive others who have hurt you. Love those who are outcasts. Pray when you don’t feel like it.
Yet Jesus promises that any effort spent is more than worth it both now and in eternity.
There is one thing guaranteed in life; storms will come our way. It doesn’t matter if you’re a believer or not. It doesn’t matter if you go to church every Sunday or not. It doesn’t matter if you’re a crook or a preacher. Difficult times are part of life.
The truth is none of us wants to go through a storm. We don’t want storms in our friendships, education, work, and families. Life would be great if it were all sunshine and blue skies, but we all know life is not like that.
When a hurricane or bad storm is forecast, people don’t just carry on their regular lives regardless. They prepare for it, collect supplies, tape their windows, remove things that could cause damage, cancel unnecessary trips, and so on.
Jesus teaches us to prepare for the storm. To build a solid foundation through daily prayer, Bible reading and putting His words into practice.
4. JESUS IS OUR ROCK IN THE STORM
When we face difficult days, and it seems like life is crashing down around us, we have some beautiful words of reassurance from Paul – “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from God’s love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
The wise and foolish builders faced the same storm. But only the wise man remained safe because he had built on a solid foundation. The only place for us to be safe for eternity is in Jesus.
What is your foundation?
- 1. Money. The Bible asks, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?”
- 2. Education. Education is such a blessing, but it’s possible to be a smart fool.
- 3. Career. The world is full of overworked, lonely people in what was supposed to be a dream job.
- 4. Another person. Sadly, relationships often fail.
- 5. Jesus. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-23. “For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus is the rock and the only sure foundation.
YOUTH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES FOR THE WISE AND FOOLISH BUILDERS
KNOCK THEM DOWN
- Give each player or team a set of plastic cups or building blocks.
- Everyone should space out from other players.
- First players build a tower of their choice.
- When finished, give each team a soft ball.
- They should try to knock over the other towers.
- The last remaining tower wins.
Choose one player to be the captain. All other players line up single file, facing the captain.
The captain shouts out orders such as:
- Hit the deck: lay on your stomach
- Clear the deck: everyone must have their feet off the floor
- Salute: stand to attention and salute
- Climb the rigging: pretend to climb a rope.
- Bow – everyone races to the front of the room.
- Stern – everyone races to the back of the room.
- Starboard – everyone races to the right of the room.
- Port – everyone races to the left of the room.
- Give each child or team some spaghetti and marshmallows to build a tower. They may break the spaghetti to form different sizes.
- Encourage them to make a sturdy base for the tower.
- When finished, use a fan to see if the tower can withstand wind blowing on it.