Christ is Foundational

1 CORINTHIANS 3:11  “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

A good foundation is essential to the integrity of any building. The ability of a house to weather storms and the relentless powers of decay, is dependent on the quality of its foundation. Spiritually, Jesus Christ is the only foundation of the Christian faith. He is the only foundation that will stand the storms of time and the eternal judgments of God.

I observed a newer brick home recently that was severely damaged as the result of a faulty foundation. Because the foundation had sunk on one corner, the brick walls also sank, causing very large and unsightly cracks in the brick work. No doubt the owner of that house will suffer significant financial loss as the result of this faulty foundation. We would all be wise to consider the foundation of our faith and hope of heaven. If we have a faulty spiritual foundation, our entire faith someday will sink, and we will fall into everlasting destruction in the lake of fire and suffer the loss of our eternal souls! 

May we take time even now to examine the foundation of our faith, and make certain that we are standing on the only sure foundation. As we will see from the scriptures, the only true foundation of the Christian faith is the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.


How does Jesus Christ become our foundation? The Scriptures teach that we receive Jesus Christ by faith in His person and work. We must believe that Jesus is the sinless, virgin born Son of God; that as a man He died on the cross for our sins; and that He was buried and rose again the third day for our eternal justification.

Does your faith rest on the foundation of church membership, baptism, good works, keeping the law of Moses, or on keeping some manmade creed? Or is your foundation one of believing in Jesus and holding out faithful to the end for salvation? May the Lord help you to see that your foundation is faulty! We are saved by believing in Jesus and His works for our salvation. We are not saved by our doing or working:

GALATIANS 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

Yes, baptism and church membership are works. Holding out faithful to the end for salvation is works. Keeping the law of Moses for salvation is works.  Be not deceived, the natural man seeks to be justified by his works.

If you are trusting in your works or in another Jesus, may the Lord grant you grace to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures, and to receive the only true foundation of the Christian faith.


To read the full version of this article from Sovereign Grace, click here.

 

Going Further

Yesterday we opened Romans 4:1-12, and as we did the theme became pretty evident that our righteousness comes through faith. A number of times we turned to Genesis to read more of the account of Abraham that Paul is writing of in his epistle. To go a little deeper into Genesis check out this brief excerpt from a source on Genesis 15.


FAITH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS

And ho believed in tho Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.’ Genesis xv :6

It is remarkable to find this anticipation of New Testament teaching so far back. It is like finding one full-blown flower in a garden where all else is but swelling into bud. No wonder that Paul fastened on it to prove that justification by faith was older than Moses, than law or circumcision, that his teaching was the real original, and that faith lay at the foundation of the Old Testament religion.

1. The Nature of Faith.—The metaphor in the Hebrew word is that of a man leaning all his weight on some strong stay. Surely that metaphor says more than many definitions. It teaches that the essence of faith is absolute reliance, and that unites us with Him on whom we rely. Its result will be steadfastness. We are weak, mobile, apt to be driven hither and thither, but light things lashed to fixed things become fixed. So ‘reeds shaken with wind’ are changed into iron pillars.

2. The Object of Faith.—’ Lord.’ It is a Person, not the promise but the Promiser. Of course, reliance on the Person results in acceptance of His word, and here it is God’s word as to the future. Our faith has to do with the future, but also with the past. Its object is Christ, the historic Christ, the living Christ, the Christ who will come again. How clear the nature of faith becomes when its object is clear! It cannot be mere assent, but trust. How clear becomes its identity in all ages! The creeds may be different in completeness, but the object of faith is the same, and the emotion is the same.

3. The effect of Faith.—Righteous is conformity to the will of God. Abram was not righteous, but he yielded himself to God and trusted Him, and God accepted that as the equivalent of righteousness. The acceptance was shown by the Covenant, and by the fulfilment of the promises.

So here is the great truth that faith is accepted for righteous. It is rightly regarded and treated as righteous, by the estimate of God, who estimates things as they really are. It is righteousness, for—

(a) Faith is itself a supreme act of righteousness, as being accordant with God’s supreme desire for man.

(6) Faith unites with Christ the righteous.

(c) Faith will blossom out into all righteousness.


Here is the link for the above article. Praise God for such a truth that we have righteousness by faith because of what God has done through Christ

The Hardest Place to Pray

An excerpt from Paul Miller’s A Praying Life allows for challenge in some of the things that we allow to take away from our time with God. What struggles do we face in the context we live? Miller does a good job of revealing our mindset and the influence of the surrounding American in this section of his text:


American culture is probably the hardest place in the world to learn to pray. We are so bust that when we slow down to pray, we find it uncomfortable. We prize accomplishments, production. But prayer is nothing but talking to God. It feels useless, as if we are wasting time. Every bone in our bodies screams, “Get to work.” 

When we aren’t working, we are used to being entertained. Television, the Internet, video games, and cell phones make free time as busy as work. When we do slow down, we slip into a stupor. Exhausted by the pace of live, we veg out in front of a screen or with earplugs.

If we try to be quiet, we are assaulted by what C.S. Lewis called “the Kingdom of Noise.” Everywhere we go we hear background noise. IF the noise isn’t provided for us, we can bring our own via iPod. 

Even our church services can have that same restless energy. There is little space to be still before God. We want our money’s worth, so something should always be happening. We are uncomfortable with silence.

One of the subtlest hindrances to prayer is probably the most pervasive. In the border culture and in our churches, we prize intellect, competency, and wealth. Because we can do live without God, praying seems nice but unnecessary. Money can do what prayer does, and it is quicker and less time consuming. Our trust in ourselves and in our talents makes us structurally independent of God. As a result, exhortations to pray don’t stick.



Paul Miller. A Praying Life. NavPress. Colorado Springs, CO. 2009: 15-16.

 

Mother’s Day Approaches

This upcoming Sunday we celebrate mothers, and as we approach Mother’s Day we also want to reflect on the Biblical examples of godly women, who above everything, put God first. The following is from a sermon, found at this site, but it helps us see a godly woman who loved the Lord and allowed the Lord to use her child.


Introduction

Motherhood is a special privilege and a sacred duty. Think about the role a mother plays in the nurture and development of a child. There is a South African proverb: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the nation and its destiny.” A mother’s love is special and unique, but a mother’s duty is to raise a child to follow and serve God.

There may not be a greater heartache than for a woman to have the heart of a mother, the desire to nurture and love a young life, but not have a child. What great pain and struggle for young couples who want a child, yet cannot have one. It grips your heart to see the tears of a woman who wants to be a mother so badly.

This was the circumstance for Hannah, as recorded in Scripture. In 1 Samuel 1:10-13, we read:

“Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the LORD and wept with many tears. Making a vow, she pleaded, ‘LORD of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.’ While she was praying in the LORD’s presence, Eli watched her lips. Hannah was speaking to herself, and although her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk.”

Hannah hurt deeply because she wanted to be a mother. In her pain she cried out to God. This is a side note and not the heart of the sermon, but when you are pain, there is no better person to go than God. As the hymn writer Elisha Hoffman tells us, “I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus, I cannot bear these burdens alone.” Hannah goes to God in her pain and makes a vow.

I. Hannah gave a vow to God

What a great gift it is to become a mother or a father, but what a great responsibility. I don’t know about you, but I am overwhelmed by being a father. It is an amazing honor to be given a precious young life to shape, mold, and direct. Unfortunately, I did not receive an owner’s manual with the birth of my son, and I make too many mistakes. I need someone more qualified than me to help me with this process, and Hannah points us to who that is.

Hannah gives her son to God literally, and she points us toward doing the same. Hannah promised her future son to God as a priest. To demonstrate the depth of her commitment, she committed her boy with a Nazarite vow. According to Jewish tradition, Levite priests served until the age of 50. Likewise, a Nazarite vow lasted for a limited time. But Hannah made a commitment that reached far beyond either one. Her vow was for all the days of his life.

I find it amazing that that Hannah would make such an extreme promise for a son she did not have. Now here is the difficult question: Mom, how much do you trust God? Do you trust Him enough to give Him your children? If not, the next question is, why not? Hannah trusted God completely with her son, and you can too.

II. Hannah gave her son to serve God

The North American Mission Board’s statistics have reported that baptisms in Southern Baptist churches have declined. More than 10,000 Southern Baptist Churches did not baptize anyone in a recent year. What will alter this course? Jesus told us that the harvest was plentiful, but it was the workers who were few. A new generation of individuals given to God could become a mighty army for His kingdom.

Listen to these quotes from missionaries about the need to take the gospel to the world.

“In the vast plains of the north I have seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been.” Robert Moffat.

“We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.” Oswald J. Smith.

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” Amy Carmichael.

“The mark of a great church is not it’s seating capacity, but it’s sending capacity.” Mike Stachura.

“‘Not called’ you say? ‘Not heard the call’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned beg you to go to their father’s house and entreat their brothers and sisters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face – whose mercy you have professed to obey – and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.” William Booth.

When I hear those quotes they stir something within me. How much do they stir you? They might stir you enough to give some money to a missionary or a mission fund. They might even stir you enough that you give some time and actually go on a short-term mission trip. And those are great ways to give to missions. But do they stir you enough for you to give your child to God?

You may say, “I think that is a high price to pay, to give my son or daughter to serve God.” And you are right, it is a high price. It was the price God paid when He gave His only Son to the world. Are you willing to give your son or daughter?

III. Hannah gave her son to worship God

When Samuel was weaned, Hannah made good on her vow to God and brought the boy to Eli the priest. Here is how 1 Samuel 1:26-28 describes that encounter

“Please, my lord,” she said, “as sure as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this boy, and since the LORD gave me what I asked Him for, I now give the boy to the LORD. For as long as he lives, he is given to the LORD.” Then he bowed and worshiped the LORD there.

Here is what is amazing about this passage. It is not Eli who worships God, but Samuel. I find it so amazing that this boy who is at the most, two or three years old at the time, knows how to worship God. How did he learn to worship? He learned from the only person around him: his mother.

Children are like sponges, soaking up every thing around them. One of the greatest moments of my life happened when my son, Jack, was only one and a half years old. His preschool teacher came to my wife and me and told me about what happened in his class. They had snack time and prayed over the snack. Jack put his two little hands together in a prayer position and bowed his head. That was special, but he did it again.

There is a speaker in the nursery that broadcasts the worship service. At one point in the service I said, “Let’s pray” and Jack stopped, bowed his head and put his hands together again. How did he learn to do that?

I’ll tell you where he learned it: at the kitchen table when we pray over a meal. We included him in the prayer. We stop and say, “Jack, let’s pray” and we all bow our heads, and mom and dad put their hands together in a prayer position so we can model prayer for our son.

I have to think Hannah did the same thing. She worshiped God and included Samuel in that time. That is how he learned to worship God. If you want your children to learn to pray, include them in a home prayer time. If you want your children to worship, worship in front of them. If it is service, ministry, Bible study, or any other spiritual discipline, your children will learn it from you if you model it in front of them and include them in it.

IV. Hannah gave herself to God

First Samuel 2:1-2 details Hannah’s prayer. It is the secret to how Hannah trusted God, and taught Samuel to worship God. Look at how I Samuel 2:1-2 records the prayer of Hannah. “Hannah prayed: ‘My heart rejoices in the LORD; my horn is lifted up by the LORD. My mouth boasts over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. There is no one holy like the LORD. There is no one besides You! And there is no rock like our God.'”

Hannah rejoices in the Lord and His salvation. Her horn, which is a symbol of power, is the Lord and her rock is God. In just a few verses, Hannah exalts the might and power of the Lord. These are not just words – they reflect her heart.

Jesus told the story of two men who built homes, one upon the sand and one upon the rock. The storm came and destroyed the house on sand, but the house on the rock stood strong. The purpose of Jesus’ parable was to lead us to build our life on the firm foundation of the rock, which is Christ.

Hannah built her life on the rock. She knew there was no firmer foundation. She was an example of worship to her son. How could she do that? Hannah had a personal relationship with God that fueled her trust, commitment, and life.

Conclusion

How can you be a mother who trusts God which her children? How can you make a commitment to lead you children to serve God? How can you be a model and example to your children of a life spent worshiping God? Your relationship with God through Christ fuels your trust, commitment, and life.

  • Can you trust God with your children? You can if you trust God with your life.
  • Can you lead your children to serve God? You can if you serve God.
  • Can you lead your children to worship God? You can if you worship God.
  • Can you lead your children to become mighty men and women of God, individuals He uses to advance His Kingdom?

You can if you have built your life upon the rock of a personal relationship with Christ.