Building on God’s Sure Foundation

The last post talked about why God’s Sure Foundation is inscribed the way it is (2 Tim. 2:19). In this post, we will learn how to build on God’s sure foundation, which must always be Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).

Standing on God’s Sure Foundation

There are two ways to build on God’s Sure Foundation.

1. Building on Your Own Foundation

The Bible has one thing to say about how to build on God’s sure foundation. It is simple and clear.

Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them I will compare to a wise man that built his house on a rock. The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house. It did not fall because it was founded upon a rock. Everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man that built his house upon the sand. The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house. It fell, and great was its fall. (Matt. 7:24-27)

If you want to build your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ, then you must obey him. It is as simple as that.

I know that many of my readers will cry out, “Wait, what about faith in him?”

You have to be patient. Obviously, the Bible talks about faith in Jesus Christ; therefore, it will come up. But if you want to build a proper model of our faith, you need to begin at the foundation. The foundation is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11), and to stand on that foundation you have to obey him (Matt. 7:23-27). That is what the Bible says. It does not have anything other than that to say about how to stand and live on the foundation of Jesus.

Therefore, we bring up obedience here, and we bring up faith when its place comes up.

The next question is what do we obey? The context of Matthew 7:23-27 is the Sermon on the Mount, which starts in chapter 5. That sermon would be the immediate context of what we should obey, but of course we know that is not all Jesus taught. The Apostle Paul said, “If anyone considers himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write to you are the commandments of God” (1 Cor. 14:37). Both Jesus’ teachings and the Apostles teachings are to be obeyed.

We can’t leave this passage yet because it begins with a “therefore.” We have to find out what the “therefore” is there for.

In this case, Jesus has just finished telling his hearers that saying “Lord, Lord” won’t get them into the Kingdom of Heaven. We have to do the will of the Father in order to enter (Matt. 7:21). In the next two verses, he gives us examples of who won’t get into the Kingdom of Heaven. These include people who cast out demons, worked miracles, and prophesied. Jesus tells them that because they practiced unrighteousness, they need to depart from him (vv. 22-23).

Our study has produced fruit already on the fourth day! We learned previously that “depart from unrighteousness” is written on God’s sure foundation. Jesus confirms there is no hope for those who do not depart from unrighteousness, even if they did “many powerful works” (v. 22).

This is something we expected because of what we learned previously. Our goal is to make it all the way to the end being prepared as we go for what is coming. It is a great feeling to see the teachings of the Bible falling into place this way. This is just the start.

2. Building on the Foundation of Others

During the time of the apostles, the church in Corinth was fighting over who was the best teacher that had visited them. Some chose Paul, some chose Peter, some chose Apollos, and some chose Christ, who of course did not visit in person but who does teach us through his Spirit and through gifted men (and many other ways). In these last days, God speaks through his Son (Heb. 1:2). Read about this in 1 Corinthians 1:10-12.

Paul told them this was divisive, and that forming into parties like that was carnal (1 Cor. 3:3,4). Paul explained the roles of the various teachers. He had laid a foundation in Corinth, and Peter and Apollos had come along afterward and built upon that foundation (1 Cor. 3:5-10).

Paul then explains that it is possible for teachers to come to Corinth and build with precious metals and jewels that will survive the judgment of fire, but it is also possible to build with “wood, hay, and stubble” that will be burned up at the judgment.

Thus there are two ways to build on the foundation of Christ, and they are judged differently. You must build on your own foundation by obeying Jesus, and if you do not do so, you will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 7:21-27). You can build on the foundation of others by teaching, and your teaching will be judged as well. This can be a frightening judgment (Jas. 3:1), but the teacher can be saved despite the fact that his teaching did not survive the judgment (1 Cor. 3:15). He will be saved if he does the will of the Father otherwise (Matt. 7:21-27).

Again, we are addressing these things as they come up. My concern is to build a solid foundation for you, and if we pull from things that you or I believe just to make sure they are included, then we will be like a construction crew that threw studs, nails, drywall and coffee pots into the cement of their foundation. Studs, nails, drywall, and microwaves all have their place in a home, but not as part of the foundation.

Let’s not throw extraneous things into the foundation.

In the next post, we will conclude our study of God’s sure foundation by covering a couple important side notes as regards the foundation. For now, let’s sum up where we are at today.

  1. God’s sure foundation is Jesus, for no other foundation can anyone lay except Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).
  2. The only two things written on that foundation are “The Lord knows those who are his” and “Let those who name the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness” (2 Tim. 2:19). As we build our model further, it will be essential to remember those foundational truths.
  3. There are two ways to build on God’s sure foundation. We can build on our own foundation by obeying Jesus (Matt. 7:24-27), and we can build on the foundation of others by teaching (1 Cor. 3:10-15).
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5 Responses to Building on God’s Sure Foundation

  1. Jon B says:

    Thanks Paul. I look forward to engaging with other posts in this series.

    Jon

  2. Jon B says:

    This question may be more relevant to the previous post, but it was reading this that caused me to ask:

    I don’t undertsand why you have taken one verse in 2 Tim 2 and insisted that it is the exclusive foundation and starting point before anything else. My question would be about other scriptures that speak of fundamental matters. Paul did not say in 1 Cor 15:3 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: The Lord knows who are His and they should depart from eniquity”. He actually mentions Jesus death for our sins and ressurection in the context of being the gospel that he preached to the Corinthians and by which we are saved (v2).

    Paul did not say at the crucial point in his sermon in Acts 13 “Let it be known to you therefore, that the Lord knows who are His and they should depart from eniquity”. But he mentions forgiveness of sins. There are many other scriptures that I could refer to to make the same point.

    Now, am I denying the truth of 2 Tim 2:19? No. It’s there in scripture, and I pray every day that God would give me the power to depart from eniquity. Repentance (which I take that to mean) is certainly foundational to the gospel.

    What I’m saying is, isn’t the other stuff about forgiveness, love and grace foundational as well (and not simply nails, coffee pots and microwaves as you said)? What about the “good” part of the good news?

    The message in the previous post and this one seems to me nothing more than “obey, or else.” Again, where is the euangelion?

    • paulfpavao says:

      It’s coming, in its place. The Gospel is an answer to a problem. Most of western Christianity incorrectly defines the problem, so they don’t get the answer right, either. I have not even gotten to the problem, much less the solution to the problem.

    • paulfpavao says:

      Oops. One more answer. I chose the verses that talk about the foundation because I am beginning with the foundation. In a few moments, I will write the next part of the series, which will cover the rest of the verses that mention foundation.

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