Our One Foundation
Let’s sing this together....
The Wise man and the foolish man.
Our scripture today is from 1 Corinthians 3:11.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Everything today will center around Jesus Christ as our Foundation.
We say that a lot around church. We say things like- Jesus is our rock-and we sing about it- even since we were kids.
But what does that mean? What does that really look like in our lives?
In this verse specifically, Paul is talking about the church’s foundation is Jesus Christ. The church is made up of people, so it stands to reason that if that is to happen in the Church it can only happen if Jesus is the foundation of the lives of everyone in the church.
This morning, during worship, we will ask to be led by the Holy Spirit to encounter God and ask ourselves some questions.
Slide Question 1
1. Is Jesus the foundation of my life?
What does that mean?
Don’t just phone this is in and say sure---This is between you and God. If Jesus is all you had, is He enough?
We will read from the book of Job chapter 1, and find out what Job says when he loses everything, we will hear Jesus’s words from Matthew chapter 7, and find out what Jesus says about having a foundation. Then we will read from 1 Corinthians chapter 3, and find out what Paul says about the foundation of the church. And we will ask
Slide Question 2
2. Is Jesus the foundation of this church?
What does that look like? Imagine if you were in a third world. There are churches that have literally nothing-no building-no chairs- not sound system or screen only Jesus- If we had nothing but Jesus ----is that enough?
The answer to those questions lie inside our hearts. But In order to look inside ourselves-we have to first start by looking up to God. So we will worship-, for those who are able let’s stand a worship first with the word from Psalms, then we will worship in music.
Our first question this morning is Jesus the foundation of my life.
Slide 1 - Question 1
We may be tempted to say sure Jesus is the foundation of my life. I’m here at church. I come, I give regularly. Of course Jesus is the foundation.
That is the Sunday School Answer. But I I’m not looking for the Sunday School answer. You know what the Sunday School answer is right? The Sunday School answer is like this story, and perhaps you heard it before.
A Sunday School teacher asks the students if anyone knows what brown animal goes around and collects nuts? The students are quiet and looking around and not a single hand is going up, so...
The teacher presses on..... Come on a little brown animal, it lives in tress, still nothing, but blank stares. Determined she continues, you know this, he is brown, has a bushy tail, collects nuts and lives in trees. Finally one little boy, realizing the teacher isn’t going to give up, slowly inches up his hand. The teacher calls on him and he says, “ I know it is a squirrel, but it is Sunday School so the answer must be Jesus.”
This story proves a point-When we are immersed in church culture long enough, we learn to know the expectations placed on us by the people around us. So we answer accordingly. We give the answer what we think we should without thoroughly considering the question.
This time nobody is going to know what you are thinking, So this time please consider what that really means. Is Jesus the foundation of my life?
Let me give you an illustration. I am going to explain this in terms of a house, representing your life. Houses are built on foundations. For must of us, myself included, at a very young age people have been working on your foundation, for you. Many people were baptized as infants. We cannot see or help these people, but they were digging the foundation, and laying the block. Soon, T Sunday School teachers came around and laid some more blocks while we watched, maybe we even helped a little, as much as a kid could help a grown-up building a foundation. Then, as we got older we capped off the the foundation at confirmation.
With the foundation in place it is time The house of our life was built on top. We didn’ t completely forget about the foundation. It just faded in importance. Occasionally, we would head into the basement, when we needed to take out the Christmas or Easter decorations. Maybe we even go down once a week or so, just before Sunday dinner, as if we are getting a can of beans off the shelf and back up we go.
As our life grows, we find out we need more rooms. A family room would be nice so we build out to one side, a nice family. Of course we need to work so out the other side we build a home office or a shop. Then there is our leisure time so we need a garage, a shed, and a play room so we continue to build out the back. The problem is have we expanded the foundation?
Every builder knows that before we can expand we must first have a foundation under all those different rooms. We cannot just build another room on the ground, the foundation has to be extended. How did we decide. Does Jesus enter in the picture Does our leisure activities come first, then we fit Jesus in what is left over? Does Christ come first or does our career?
When Christ the foundation of our life, we realize that it is God who has called us to be a carpenter, or baker, or factory worker, or salesman, or mother or father. Christ is our foundation in everything we do. He governs our decisions, our choices our life. Every aspect of our life is supported by our faith in Christ.
It is helpful to ask this question-What if tomorrow a storm came through and blew the whole house down, flattened it completely and all we were left with was a foundation. Would we be able to stand in front of Christ and say, yes Lord you were my foundation in everything that I did. I sought after you, and before I did anything you were my foundation? My foundation extends underneath every room of my house.
We heard about Job, in our first reading this morning. Linda read from the book of Job chapter 1. For some people the book of Job seems like a myth, or a fable. In chapter one we read about Satan and God having a conversation in heaven and it sounds fanciful. To make matters worse, most of us have been through Sunday School, and we have seen cartoon drawings of the devil and God talking, and a flannel graph of poor old Job, so we have this perception that is just a fable meant to teach us a lesson.
However, when scholars dig into it, the book of Job is not in the style of fable or myth. There were myths and fables around when the book of Job was written, but Job does not fit that pattern. Instead, some Job begins in the style of historical narrative. Next, we do not find historical sources that doubt the authenticity of the story of Job. In other words, if Job was thought to be a fable, and if ancient people believed the Book of Job to be a fable, somewhere in some ancient writings, someone would have said, of course there is that fable--the book of Job. Instead, we do not find that, instead we find that historically people took Job to be true. Lastly, Job is consistant with all of scripture. The theological teachings in the book of Job, are consistant with the entirety of scripture. In other words, if Job were a fable, we would expect to find places int he text that are not taught elsewhere in Scripture. Instead we find the opposite, Job is remarkably consistent with all of scripture.
Job was real guy, who really lived. When we read the opening pages we found out Job was a man with God as the foundation of his life. He had integrity, and He loved God. He was extremely wealthy, and had kids. As Job had expanded he had God as the foundation in everything he did. He prayed for Hid family and he tried as best he could to draw them into the worship of God with HIm. He had God as his foundation.
You know the story. Job loses it all. He loses His wealth. Then he loses his whole family. Well, Job at least you have your health right? Not so fast. He loses that too, so there He is...every room of the house of his life has been utterly destroyed and.....
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.
He fell on the ground and worshipped....
There is someone who has God as his foundation.
21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
I had nothing I will die with nothing- The Lord gave. The Lord has taken away. MAY THE NAME OF THE LORD BE PRAISED.
That is someone who has God as their foundation. It would be really hard to do that, truthfully, really hard...
Now, most people love fairness, and they see Job as a guy who did not get a fair deal, good guy bad things happened. People love Karma, right? What goes around comes around we say, so people love to jump to the end of the book, and say see Job was restored. He got everything back, and then some. SO we jump ahead, mentally. Yeah maybe a tornado may come but.. I have insurance I will pull myself up by bootstraps and survive, and you may and good for you.
However, more often that not that does not happen. in fact often the Bible does not teach that. Sometimes, things do not come back. Wealth disappears, people die stuff fades away. Job when He worshipped had no reason to believe things would be restored. He thought everything was gone for good. He worshipped the Lord anyway.....The Lord was enough for Him.
Is Jesus enough? Throughout the Bible we are taught that is what it means to have Jesus as your foundation.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
Having Jesus as the foundation of your life means that nothing in your life is more important than Jesus. It means that if you are left with nothing you still have Jesus, and He is all you need, He is your bread and your water, and life, and he holds you and keeps you and leads you and guides you and directs you, and you do nothing without him as your foundation, and first cause in all things.
If we have Jesus as the foundation of our life individually then when we come together as the church, We have this common way of operating and functioning. This is what Paul is calling the Church to, in the text we have been studying from 1 Corinthians chapter 3.
If you were here last Sunday we were talking about how there was division in the church, so Paul was changing thier focus to God, rather than on what divided them. Remember that? We left off at verse 9
9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Now Paul is going to..(Pardon the pun but..I can’t resist) Now Paul is going to build on this metaphor of God’s building .
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Next verse on screen- (Not read aloud)
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.
Paul is saying that by God’s grace, remember Paul’s power comes from God, he laid a foundation or evagelized, or told the people the fundamental truths about Jesus the fundamental truths of the gospel. And another minister or leaders are now there and they are teaching more. Teaching the truths of the faith, like having your life built on nothing less than Jesus’s blood and righteousness. But Paul warns it is easy to get off track, You have to build with care, stay on the foundation, of Jesus.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
DOn;t stray from the elemental teachings of Jesus, stay on track. You already have a foundation don;t let the wisdom of the world creep in. That is no way to build a church. What does that mean? Let’s ask our second question.
Slide Question 2.
Is Jesus the FOUNDAtiON of this church? How do we know what does that mean? It means that no matter how wise something seems, we have to run it through the foundation of the gospel. Through the foundation of Jesus, DOes this project no matter how much sense it seems to make- Honor Christ and further the gospel-How does it do that/ How does this thing we are doing further God’s kingdom?
Back to our text. To look closer. How do we decided what to do and what not to do, maybe money has something to do with it.
12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
Paul uses two sets of three items each. First Gold Silver and costly stones, then wood hay or straw.
The first ones are expensive, and not subject to destruction. Paul is saying IF we build on the foundation using things of value, this is not good. We can easily see churches that spend LARGE amounts of money on huge buildings, worth millions and millions. This has been the case both in history and today. no expense is too great. Huge mammoth soaring Churches overlaid in gold, stained glass and marble. In the United States there has been a basketball stadium, and a mall converted to a church. Some have top of the line technology that rivals entertainment venues.
But Paul says that cheap is not the way to go either. That is the wood hay and straw. Items of little value. Some churches try to do everything on a shoe string budget modesty rules. It reminds me of a joke. How many Youth Pastors does it take to change a light bulb, just one but he has to wait, until Church board decides to buy a new bulb for the Adult study, and then he can have the old one.
Paul is saying it is not spending a lot or spending a little. The answer is that everything has to be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and the gospel. Does this thing advance promote grow the kingdom? If it does spend a little or spend a lot, if it does not build on the foundation of Christ it is useless.
Now we see this occuring all around us. We see Churches growing with dynamic speakers, Others spending huge amounts of money, some using wisdom, others having strong financial resources. They seem to be doing well. People are filling the place what is the answer… tell us about that Paul...
13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
See that word Day it is in caps. The translator capitalized Day for a reason, it is because Paul is talking about a very specific Day. It is the Day of the Lord. Or judgement day. Make no mistake. There will be a day when this life ends. It may be approaching, the Day of the Lord may be near. DOn;t worry so much about those other people, when the Lord has his DAY,, and that day is coming it will be sorted out.
This is an image of the coming judgement, and the quality of what was built will be tested.
14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.
If what has been built- the body of believers survives, if they are built on the foundation of the gospel- no worries they will survive, and those responsible for building the church, weather that is Pasotrs or teachers, or leaders, they will receive a reward, but
15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
If on the other hand the church was built not on the foundation of Jesus Christ the leaders will suffer loss, even though as one only as one escaping the flames. There seems to be a clear warning here. And that warning is that everything the church does, must be built on Christ and Him alone. Everything must have the focus of Christ and His gospel. Will we hear the words “Well done good and faithful servant, or we we just barely escape the flames?
Slide- Question 2
We must ask ourselves this question. If we did not have anything, if it was was gone, would Jesus be enough for the Church to survive? Without the building, without the funds, would Jesus be enough. As you start to think about it, it is a tough question to think about.
We gather as people of God, those born into the family of Christ. We are called by Him, and redeemed by Him. Jesus calls us, it is His voice that must guide us, brothers and sisters let us shore up the foundations of our lives, making Jesus our Foundation, and let us , and make Jesus the foundation of this church.