The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Isaiah 28:16 says, “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”
Jesus himself says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man can come to the Father except through me.”
Jesus said to his disciple Peter in Matthew 16:18,
Jesus is that Rock. Jesus is the cornerstone of a sure foundation with Peter becoming an important part of Jesus’ foundation.
In Ephesians 2:19-21 Paul writes to God’s holy people in Ephesus,
Whether intentional or unintentional, how you start your foundation and what you build it upon will ultimately determine the strength of your building.
How will our building (our life, our hope, our eternal destiny with God) stand if the foundation we build upon is on sinking sand? Jesus tells us about this foundation issue in Matthew 7:24-27.
When Judgement Day comes, where we stand before God and each of us gives an account to God why He should let us in, what will be our answer?
Within all that is called Christianity there are many systems of belief. There are many denominations and different variations of beliefs within each denomination. If someone is searching for Jesus where does one begin?
It is almost like looking at a giant Where’s Waldo picture trying to find Waldo. My eyes and heart are getting weary trying to find Waldo, Jesus, in this big picture called Christianity.
There are many who stand behind a pulpit and do their sincere, heartfelt best to bring their flock a word from God that will bless and encourage them. They give it their all with all seriousness. It is a very high calling with great responsibilities and it is no easy task. Such are held accountable to God for how they lead their people and they know it.
But we would be absent in our duty here if we neglected to also warn that not everyone who gets up behind a pulpit or holds a Bible study has our interest or God’s interest at heart.
In Acts 20:28-31 Paul is warning the elders at Ephesus, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”
Paul again sounds the alarm to Timothy. In 1 Timothy 4:1,2 he writes, “The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
In 2 Timothy 4:3,4 Paul warns Timothy, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
If such was the case so many centuries ago, how much more vigilant must we be today? How much more do we need to seek after the wisdom of God! God will guide us into His truth if we desire to know it. Keep asking Him.
When we eat our daily food we very much prefer and look for healthy food that satisfies us and flat-out tastes good. A steady diet of cotton candy and chocolate bars sounds sooo good but would soon leave us in rough shape. The same is true of what we put into our hearts.
Sound doctrine, that is, sound teaching, filled with the grace and love of God, will build us up in the knowledge of God. By His Spirit we grow closer to God. Sound doctrine taught with the love of God will enable us to be more in love with Jesus our Savior every day.
It will provide strength for our hearts and minds through all the hills and valleys and storms of life. Do we prefer to build our foundation on sinking sand or build on Jesus, our Rock, our fortress and our deliverer?
Well prayerfully, we can bring some clarity that will also add much needed simplicity. With that simplicity, we will find peace with God. We will be able to discard many voices with so many religious rules and mandates. Instead, we will find rest for our souls in the arms of Jesus.
Ninety-eight percent of Christianity speaks of Jesus and His great sacrifice on the cross along with His resurrection from the dead.
If Christianity kept its focus on the blood atoning substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus for all mankind's sins, and His bodily resurrection from the dead, the confusion about having a personal relationship with God would be far, far less.
Our difficulties arise when we start adding requirements to what Jesus did on the cross. Those requirements are such that if not done or performed by us will still, ultimately we are told, leave us short of gaining God’s favor into His kingdom.
It is a theme that seeps into the purity of the gospel. The theme is that there is something else I must do beyond what Jesus did on the cross that will prove to God I’m good enough to let into Heaven.
It is also a theme that I must prove to others that God thinks I’m good enough and so they too will approve of me believing I am also approved by God.
There is much that seems inbred into our religious DNA. For example, when we were small children, did we ever say to our mom or dad, “Look at me mommy, see how fast I can twirl.” “Look at me daddy, see how I can jump.” “See my picture that I drew mommy. Do you like it?” “Look at my muscles, daddy.” The tenderness of youth. Wanting to impress dad and mom. Looking for their approval. Looking without knowing it, to be validated, accepted, approved of.
When we feel rejected as children, life falls apart very quickly. But there is a Heavenly Father who does accept you. He knows and loves you. He is gently drawing you to Him.
He is showing you the way is through Jesus, where all of God loves all of you with an everlasting love. It is in Jesus we are redeemed, restored and experience His eternal love.
Yet we still do the “look at me, Daddy” today as adults, but in a much more dignified way. See how I don’t do this. See me do all these good things. We hope to gain the approval of this Heavenly Daddy by jumping through many religious hoops.
But still we wonder, just hoping for the best. When bad things happen to us we may feel God is angry at us. We don’t know how to make up to our Heavenly Daddy. We get confused, angry, and we hide from Him. Many times, we run away from Him.
It all began in the Garden of Eden. Our Heavenly Daddy has been showing us the way that makes Him happy with us since the fall of Adam and Eve. They chose to sin in the Garden of Eden. God had, a close loving friendship with Adam and Eve before they chose a different path away from God.
God knew they would disobey and God knew He wanted that loving friendship to continue. The righteous, perfect side of God could not condone disobedience. Sin separated them from God forever.
How do you build a bridge from this eternal separation with its everlasting punishment to forgiveness and loving restoration? What would it take? What would be the cost?
It was in Genesis 3:21 where garments of skin were used by God to cover Adam and Eve. There was the taking of life and the shedding of blood that came with it in order to cover them. They tried their way: fig leaves. God would not accept their solution.
God gave them His solution with a promise. Let Me cover you My way. That will cover you in My sight. It took the sacrifice of a pure, innocent animal and the shedding of its blood to cover them God’s way.
The promise from God was that God Himself would come as a seed and enter a virgin woman. This virgin woman would give birth to the sinless Messiah who would bruise Satan and defeat him. Genesis 3:15. The bridge from eternal separation to forgiveness and loving restoration would be complete. The way back to God was made for each of us.
The stage was set. There was to come a Messiah who was fully God, yet He was also fully man. He is sinless. His sacrifice, His atoning blood is all-sufficient to cover not only our sins but the sins of the world.
Throughout the Old Testament the offering of a blood sacrifice showed us a picture of the sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus, who would one day offer Himself up as payment for the sins of all mankind.
In Genesis 4 Abel offered up the blood offering of the fat of his firstborn flocks. God accepted those offerings. Cain offered up his offerings from the fruits of the soil. One can imagine Cain worked very long, hard, care-filled hours to make sure God would be happy with all his work.
But God did not accept Cain’s offering. God tried to show him why He didn’t accept those offerings and that he still could make things right. It didn’t matter to Cain. He most likely wanted God to be impressed with all his hard work, his way.
But the end result of Cain’s way was only great anger, then the murder of his brother Abel, which brought more great sorrow.
In Genesis 22 God would test Abraham by telling him to go to a place and sacrifice his only son whom he loved, by slaying him on an altar. His son Isaac asked his father as they arrived, “we have wood and fire…but where is the lamb?” Abraham must have spoken to Isaac of a lamb used as a sacrifice on an altar to God.
soon learned he was that lamb. Isaac was
bound and placed on the altar. As
Abraham was about to slay his son Isaac, God stopped him and provided another
animal, a ram, in Isaac's place.
God the Father sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to a place to be the sacrificial Lamb of God. Jesus voluntarily let Himself be bound and nailed to the cross offering Himself up to God, in our place.
Jesus took on all of the sins of the world, taking our punishment upon Himself once for all, for everyone. The Heavenly Father provided no ram caught in the thicket for Jesus. Instead, what was provided was victory over death!
His dearly beloved Son's sacrifice was the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. Jesus knew before and as He was being nailed to that cross, and during His crucifixion that He would defeat death and the grave and rise from the dead after three days. Only God could do this.
Perhaps somewhere in the back of Abraham’s mind and heart he suspected something similar with Isaac. We do know that by faith Abraham believed God’s promises about Isaac’s future. We also know for sure about Jesus.
When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, God sent Moses to bring His people out of slavery. Pharaoh resisted setting God’s people free. With the last plague in Exodus 12 God would take the life of every firstborn, human and animal, in Egypt.
The only way Israel’s firstborn would survive that night was for them to select a lamb, without blemish, slaughter it--just one lamb, and put some of the blood on the sides of the door and over the top of the door.
Such is the picture of our perfect, sinless, without blemish Savior Jesus Christ. God’s judgement of death would "Pass over" those households where God saw the sacrificial blood.
In Exodus 34:25 God says, “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast…". What do you think God’s heart would have felt, and what would God have done if on that Passover night some of the Israelite's came to Moses and said,“I’ve got a four-leaf clover we can nail up over the door to go with the blood? I’ve got a horseshoe, Moses, let’s put it up alongside, right about there. Let’s not forget my lucky rabbit’s foot, Moses! We all just want to cover our bases.”
Moses would have rejected such offers, as God would have. Death would have come to that household if there was anything added to the blood on those door posts. Throughout the Old Testament, God called for a sacrifice, without blemish.
Everything pointed to Jesus and His sinless, perfect, blood atoning sacrifice. Hebrews 9:22 says, “and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” When we add to God’s way another, our way, it becomes a blemish and thus is rejected by God.
One favorite chapter, among many, in the Old Testament that speaks of the suffering sacrificial Messiah that was to come is Isaiah 53.
Isaiah 53:4-6 says, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Acts 15:1 says, “Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved’.”
Here were people attempting to add to the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus Christ. They were earnest in proclaiming that these extra religious laws and required ceremonies were also needed and necessary for salvation.
If keeping the law could have delivered people from their sins, why would Jesus, being God, come to Earth, be born in a cow’s lunch box, live a hard life filled with sorrows and then willingly die a horrible, most humiliating, pain-filled death on that cross?
Why would God go through all of that, if in the end He couldn’t finish the job and needed our help to finish His redemptive plan?
How is it any different today when we mix Jesus with our religious ceremonies as requirements for salvation? It isn’t. Fig leaves by any other name are still fig leaves.
On the critical importance of the gospel and its purity without blemish Paul writes in Galatians 1:8,9 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”
What is that gospel, that good news that Paul preached about Jesus? He tells us in Romans 10:8-10. “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
The apostle Paul makes his point again in Ephesians 1:7-9. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ…”
Ephesians 2:6-9. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
This, my dear friend, is your Sure Foundation. Your Sure Foundation rests on the finished work of God’s greatest, most selfless act of love, for you. His name is Jesus. He willing gave up His life, for you. He rose from the dead, for you.
When we add our fig leaves, our religious add-on's as necessary for salvation, we discredit the power of the blood of Jesus. Christianity becomes so complex. God kept it simple. For some, simple is very hard.
Recognize your need for Jesus and by faith, turn to Him, putting the keeping of your soul, your trust in Jesus and in Him alone. The name of Jesus is all powerful. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He loves you. He knows you. His arms are open for you. If you do not already know Him, come to Him. He is ready to embrace you. He is the Sure Foundation for your heart forever.