Building On a Strong Foundation

 

Perhaps there is no better illustration of the need for a good foundation than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The height of the tower is 183.27 ft from the ground on the low side and 186.02 ft on the high side. The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees.[4] This means that the top of the tower is displaced horizontally 12 ft 10 inches from where it would be if the structure were perfectly vertical. It may be a great tourist attraction but that is not what the builders intended.

 

Each year we witness homes falling from hillsides; usually expensive homes with magnificent views. The fires come followed by rain and the earth moves. The houses move with the earth because their foundations were not set on bedrock and were too flimsy to resist the forces of nature. Retaining walls are built to keep the ocean from encroaching on property lines but they too often fail. A strong foundation is essential for survival of these structures.

 

Likewise we too need a strong foundation if we hope to survive. We need to build on a strong foundation a foundation of rock. And that Rock is Christ! Nothing else will do.

*   (Psa 127:1 NIV)  A song of ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

Make no doubt about it. Jesus is that Rock in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

*   (1 Cor 10:1-4 NIV)  For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. {2} They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. {3} They all ate the same spiritual food {4} and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

*   (Mat 16:18 NIV)  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Jesus made the point explicitly in a parable. Jesus is the source of our assurance and His words provide us with a map to salvation. His words, if practiced faithfully, make us a building that cannot be destroyed.

*   (Mat 7:24-27 NIV)  "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. {25} The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. {26} But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. {27} The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

*   (Luke 6:47-49 NIV)  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. {48} He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. {49} But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

A foundation is not a home but the necessary prerequisite for a lasting home.

*    (Heb 6:1-3 NIV)  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, {2} instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. {3} And God permitting, we will do so.

Faith alone is not sufficient to build a strong foundation but a strong foundation cannot be built without faith.

*   (James 2:14-26 NIV)  What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? {15} Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. {16} If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? {17} In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. {18} But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. {19} You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. {20} You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? {21} Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? {22} You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. {23} And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. {24} You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. {25} In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? {26} As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Here are just a few of the things you should consider doing to build a strong foundation. Read the entire Bible for a more complete listing.

*    (1 Tim 6:17-19 NIV)  Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. {18} Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. {19} In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

*    (1 Tim 5:4 NIV)  But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

*   (James 1:26-27 NIV)  If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. {27} Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

*   (2 Th 3:11-13 NIV)  We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. {12} Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. {13} And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

Now I want you to hear from a woman that puts this entire subject forth in a much more memorable way than I have. (Play Chonda Pierce Three Little Pigs story.)