Building On The Foundation
by Bart Jones
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
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.