There is a road that we occasionally use where the posted speed limit is very slow. When the road was first paved, it was level and smooth and we could travel fast. But then the road settled in multiple places so that we must travel slowly to avoid damaging our car or hurting ourselves. When the road was built, the foundation of the road was not adequately prepared. Now we suffer the consequences. For any large building, the builders begin with a firm foundation. Sometimes they dig down to “bed rock” or sink pilings deep into the earth. Structural engineers know that if they do not build a firm foundation, the ground will settle, the winds will blow, earthquakes will come and the building will fail and perhaps fall.
The Apostle Paul describes the church as a building with a foundation. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11 “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” We are God’s building. Jesus is our foundation. Matthew 16:15-18 “He (Jesus) said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.’” Peter is not the rock on which the church is built. The church is built upon the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God; that is one of the most important principles that we must accept as true.
Other truths of the foundation include the existence of God himself and the truth of the gospel. God sent His son to die upon the cross to take our sins away. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” These are fundamental truths that make up the very foundation for the church.
It is vital that we believe the fundamental truths about God, His Son, and the gospel. But we must also build our lives upon the truths that Jesus taught. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” We can receive the teachings of Jesus and then decide to do things our way instead of His way. His ways may seem difficult; His ways may be contrary to how we want to do things. So we do things our way instead of His way. Then, when the storms of life come upon us, we have no firm, secure foundation and we fall.
The church as a building is described slightly differently in Ephesians 2:19-21 “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” The church is not a physical building made up of brick, concrete blocks or lumber. The church is the “called out” – you and I who have believed the truths about God and His Son and who have obeyed the gospel. Together, we as Christians are a holy temple to the Lord. He lives within us as He dwelt in the Jewish temple. We worship Him as the Jewish temple was a place to worship the Lord. We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The church is not built on the bodies of these individuals, but instead on their teachings and prophesies – the truths that they left for us. In this analogy, Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. A cornerstone is the reference point for the rest of the building and therefore determines the position and strength of the entire structure. The truths about Jesus and His teachings plus the teachings and prophesies of the apostles and prophets make up the foundation that we build upon.
This is how the apostle Peter described building upon Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:1-6 “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’” Jesus is our chief cornerstone that we build upon to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.
It is very important what foundation we build upon. If we have no foundation or we build upon the wrong foundation, what we build will eventually fail. Churches need to be built upon Jesus and the truths of the Bible as taught by Jesus and His apostles. We will then grow up as a holy temple to glorify our God. I encourage you to build your life on the foundation of the truths of the Bible as taught by Jesus and His apostles. If you do, you will be wise and able to stand firm for God when the storms of life beat upon you. Be careful of the foundation you build upon.