There is something special about being able to take part in building your own house or the house of another. Somehow, the construction and completion of something as usable and positive as a house leaves us all with a good feeling. I have been directly involved in the construction of five houses, and the first lesson that I learned was the importance of laying the foundation properly and carefully. One needs to be aware of the soil on which the foundation rests as well as things like drainage, substance of the base used (usually concrete) and the proper strengthening of the base with metal rods. Once the foundation is secure, the house can be built with confidence. Jesus knew about foundations for houses when He remarked that rock was a lasting base on which to build (Matthew 7:24-27 Matthew 7:24-27 24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell not: for it was founded on a rock.
26 And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house on the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
American King James Version×). But His remarks go further than house-building.
A strong foundation stands the test of time
We lay different foundations for various things in life. A good foundation at home and in elementary school is vital for success at the higher levels of living and learning. Marriage that has been planned and approached with the desire to be strong and lasting needs a good foundation. Our faith and spiritual lives are also secure when the foundations upon which they stand are sturdy. In our spiritual life, it is God who does the shaping, forming, designing and building within each person whom He calls. He is the master potter or master builder (Isaiah 64:8 Isaiah 64:8But now, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and we all are the work of your hand.
American King James Version×). He knows how important it is to begin properly in the development of a “temple” for His spiritual residence (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 16 Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
American King James Version×).
We humans often try to cut corners to save money, time or effort, but God knows the value of good construction that lasts forever regardless of time or effort. On the other hand, God also allows us to have a hand in the construction of our spiritual lives. He is never far away, and is always involved, but we are given instructions and directions that allow us to be part of His great work on Earth. We are to be like Mary and choose the good part – the part that satisfies a hunger for more knowledge and understanding of God’s way as Jesus taught (Luke10:38-42).
The reason and purpose for all God has accomplished is to develop sons for His family for all eternity. The building God is concentrating on will last forever, so the foundation must be immovable and unshakable. It has been laid with the greatest care and attention to detail.
Jesus Christ is the true foundation on which we must build
Jesus Christ was the main “rock” upon which the foundation was laid. The foundation, strong and solid, is to hold the rest of the temple that is to be built. Paul wrote about this in Ephesians 2:19-22 Ephesians 2:19-22 19 Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
American King James Version×. In these verses, Paul explains the wonderful truth that the Church is built upon Christ and the foundation of the apostles and prophets. It is to become a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Our part is to study, learn and then apply the teachings God has given from this foundation (1 Peter 2:1-5 1 Peter 2:1-5 1 Why laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby: 3 If so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×).
Peter goes on to explain the responsibility of each of Jesus’ followers to conduct his or her life in a way that brings honor and glory to the heavenly Father. Jesus left us a blueprint of how we are to conduct our lives. This rock is immovable and not made by human endeavor. It came directly from God, but the remainder of the responsibility in building involves us humans.
Why would God choose those He did when the foundation is so important? Why not the most learned and capable men? God tells us He chose the foolish things that were despised so that He would shame men who think they have a “better idea” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 26 For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
American King James Version×). No human will be able to glory in His presence. He is supreme today, was yesterday and always will be.
Let us concentrate on the foundation for a moment. God chose men and women who were deeply committed to what we call the Old Testament. He chose those who obeyed His commandments (the Ten Commandments and more). The 12 disciples who became the main apostles were chosen from simple backgrounds—men who did not have their minds cluttered with politics, philosophy or greed (Acts 4:13 Acts 4:13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
American King James Version×). God did not expect them to remain as they were, but they were to continue to grow in grace and knowledge of the truth as we all are (2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×). Even with all the help God gave, one of the 12 became the betrayer of Jesus Christ. God does allow for free choice and wants willing followers. That one was replaced sothat they all qualified to have their names inscribed on the true foundation (Revelation 21:14 Revelation 21:14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
American King James Version×).
Why would God call only Jews and only men who would find it very difficult to change any beliefs they had? Peter, for example, took decades of experiences, learning and effort to finally be able to understand and accept Gentiles as equal to Israelites in God’s eyes. Paul had to confront Peter about his biases and fears years after the lesson God gave in the dream Peter received (Acts 10:14 Acts 10:14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
American King James Version×; Galatians 2:11-13 Galatians 2:11-13 11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; so that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
American King James Version×). God does not fault Peter, though he was wrong. God needed men who would not easily be moved from the teachings of the Old Testament. In fact, they were not to be removed at all, but they were to grasp the greater, magnified teachings that God always intended.
God’s laws define Christ’s foundation
Jesus came to magnify God’s law – not to annul it (Isaiah 42:21 Isaiah 42:21The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable.
American King James Version×; Matthew 5:17 Matthew 5:17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
American King James Version×). He did not come to change the Sabbath to Sunday, for example; He came to support the Sabbath just as He supported and magnified the other commandments in His sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:19-48 Matthew 5:19-48 19 Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21 You have heard that it was said of them of old time, You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought against you; 24 Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, whiles you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. 26 Truly I say to you, You shall by no means come out there, till you have paid the uttermost farthing. 27 You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery: 28 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if your right eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand offend you, cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. 31 It has been said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce: 32 But I say to you, That whoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery. 33 Again, you have heard that it has been said by them of old time, You shall not forswear yourself, but shall perform to the Lord your oaths: 34 But I say to you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shall you swear by your head, because you can not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil. 38 You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not you away. 43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
American King James Version×).
The apostles, however, did need to leave the traditions of men behind. The Jews of Jesus’ day thought they were pleasing God when they defined and regulated thousands of details about behavior that they deemed “sin.” They made God’s laws a burden through the heavy yoke they placed on people (Matthew 23:4 Matthew 23:4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
American King James Version×; Galatians 5:1 Galatians 5:1Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
American King James Version×; Matthew 11:29-30 Matthew 11:29-30 29 Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
American King James Version×). Jesus was not happy with the manmade rules that confined people. God’s laws are supreme, and to be kept, but not as a fanatic.
Jesus expressed a whole new spiritual aspect to God’s laws, which brings mankind closer to God as they learn to think as He does. He also explained that, although the Sabbath was a wonderful holy day, there were things you could do such as visiting the sick, or performing a good deed as He did when He healed the sick (Luke 13:15-16 Luke 13:15-16 15 The Lord then answered him, and said, You hypocrite, does not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, see, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
American King James Version×; John 5:8-10 John 5:8-10 8 Jesus said to him, Rise, take up your bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.
American King James Version×; 9:14). Paul wrote and cautioned each human who builds on the foundation to be careful (1 Corinthians 3:9-17 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 9 For we are laborers together with God: you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
American King James Version×).
Jesus Christ was the express image of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3 Hebrews 1:3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
American King James Version×). He was Jewish too. He learned the scriptures so well that by the age of 12, He could easily discuss them with the most learned men of Jerusalem (Luke 2:47 Luke 2:47And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
American King James Version×). There is a very good reason the Son of God was to be educated and trained among the Jews. There is a very good reason the foundation of the Church was to be the apostles and prophets. There is a good reason that the apostles will have their names engraved on the foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21:14 Revelation 21:14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
American King James Version×). God was making sure that the foundation of the Church was rock-solid.
His holy word was written in the Old Testament, taught and broadened by Jesus Christ and the apostles and written in the spiritual fullness in what we know of as the New Testament. The New does not cancel the Old; it embraces it and is in full agreement. The foundation has been laid, not by men, but by God through men. Humans are allowed to work on this foundation, but not to change it (1 Corinthians 3:10-15 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 10 According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
American King James Version×). It feels good to be building for eternity. This “house” will last forever and is worthy of every effort. It will cost us our lives, yet that is a small price to pay for the new life God offers (Philippians 3:8-14 Philippians 3:8-14 8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death; 11 If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×). Foundations are how long-lasting buildings stand. What a privilege to be on this worksite!