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Building On The Foundation
by Bart Jones
Danville, IN

When a person builds their dream home they spend many hours pouring over the plans and working out the details. After all, most people plan on living in a house for a long time. So they attempt to build the best house their budget and builder will allow.
On a limitless budget, we would first purchase the finest materials: marble vanities, thick carpets, and the latest in home decorating. We might even take a weekend out of our busy schedule and attend a home show. From the knowledge we could gather, we would try to combine only the best into our home’s design.
Next, we need a builder who could take what’s on paper and make it reality. Hire an experienced master builder. With a master carpenter constructing the house, you would expect it to fit together perfectly. Every day you could count on Him to work diligently, treat it like it was his own, and pour every ounce of talent and training into its craftsmanship.
As Christians, the effort you pour into your spiritual growth should be no less than you would put into building a magnificent home. The Bible tells us that Jesus was the foundation that was laid for you the moment you were saved. Christ, the master carpenter, also gave you His Word, and that’s all the resource you needed to succeed.
You received the very best God offered when you were saved – His Son, Jesus Christ. With a new heart you were compelled to serve God, and you could began to build your life around Jesus. But after a while, without proper care and attention, sinful habits and actions hindered your growth. You felt that initial zeal subside. Then, maybe you decided the passage that states, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23), just didn’t fit into the lifestyle you hoped to attain.
The Apostle Paul found the Corinthian church he loved and helped to establish in the same spiritual position many are in today. Read 1 Corinthians 3: 1-17. He wrote, “… I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” What a terrible situation!
There was a lack of knowledge and understanding among the Christians at Corinth. Paul could not even speak to them like mature Christians. Their minds and lives were so focused on the carnal world they could not bear the truths of God. I even infer Paul was shocked by their lack of growth as he said, “For ye are YET carnal.” (Emphasis)
Paul’s predicament mirrors that of many of our elders, ministers, and teachers today. Paul trained a group of educated and capable people. He left them with all the tools and talents to fulfill their Christian responsibilities. People had heard the truth, but did not always allow it to change their lives. Corrupt flesh will always persuade you to not follow Christ if you allow it.
Are you YET carnally minded, just as Paul lamented about His Corinthian brothers and sisters? Brothers and sisters, God has told you to build your life upon His Son. There was a foundation cemented for all time in your life that day you were saved. 1Corinthians 3:11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Twice Paul said that you would be rewarded for what you build on Christ. Verse 10 said, “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon”, and verse 8 said “and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” (Emphasis) Both verses are calls to action with promises of either positive or negative results.
If you want to build well, then be concerned about the witness you leave behind, just as Paul was genuinely concern about his. Paul had enough foresight to realize people would follow his example. He wrote, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon,” (Verse 10). Foundations are platforms upon which others stand to build their spiritual lives. But read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. Notice how Paul exalted Christ ahead of himself, even to the point where he downplayed his ministerial role, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5). Even though you know you are an example, maintain your humility and servant’s heart. You know that any good accomplished is through Jesus Christ.
The Corinthian’s crux was that they disputed about their foundation. Some said Paul; others said Apollos. However, Paul recognized his role, and your role, in the work of God. He said, “…but God gave the increase. (7) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” Note that planting and watering are actions we must perform. Although God does give the increase, this does not lessen your part in the work. Planting and watering aren’t prayer, desires of the heart, or good intentions. They are actions, just as one may sow and another may reap.
There is a layering of foundations that takes place during a Christian’s lifetime. You get glimpses of this in John 2:13-15, Titus 2:3-5, 1 Timothy 4:12,13, and Ephesians 2:19. Older Christians should serve as an example for you, while younger Christians should be able to look to you for leadership. How you build on Jesus Christ always affects future generations. Refuse “refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). Notice once again that the emphasis in this verse is to “exercise yourself.” No one is ultimately as responsible for your own personal growth as you are to God.
Growing in Christ means replacing sinful behavior with Godly actions. “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity,” (2 Timothy 2:19). As you build on Christ, avoid sin’s influence in your life. Specifically, you must avoid the lusts of the flesh, pride of life, and lust of the eye.

By avoiding sin, you will do two things: identify yourself with Christ and abide in His love.

The Bible instructs you to love God by keeping His commandments. If you keep them, you will abide in Jesus and the Father’s love (John 14:23 and 15:10).
God’s Word is like immeasurable riches. Buy the truth and do not sell it. Your heart should rejoice in following God’s Word. Read Psalm 119:72, Proverbs 16:16, and 1 Peter 1:7. Does your heart mirror these passages?
You have a heavenly foundation in Jesus Christ. You possess the instructions, or plans, given to you in God’s Word. You have a communication line to the throne of God. You are described as the tool God wants to use in His work. You have an unlimited source of strength. You are told to build. Put the evil one behind you. Pick up your cross, crucify your flesh daily, and follow Jesus’ example. Be sure and give God all the glory. You can lay up treasures in heaven.