Summary: A series on our church’s core values (two not posted here were done by other speakers).
Trinity Baptist Church March 26, 2006 True Values
Scripture is foundational
Howard Hendricks used to say, “aim at nothing, and you’ll hit it every time.” That holds true of both people and organizations. When it comes to “doing life“ -- as individuals, or families or churches, we often find it more comfortable to just keep doing what we’ve been doing, instead of seeking new direction and moving intentionally in that direction. New direction means risk…discomfort…work. It might even mean admitting that our previous approach wasn’t right.
Churches certainly have a calling much grander than “aiming at nothing“. After all, we know Christ’s intent for us -- we have His direction, biblically and personally, as Head of the Church. Therefore, we have purpose, vision and values. Each of those involves aims we must intentionally pursue. I want to spend the next several weeks thinking about the what and why of what we call our Core Values.
What do we mean, as a church body, when we identify certain “core values“? For one thing, these are values we believe God has built into us as a fellowship, over time. That doesn’t mean that we’ve “arrived” when it comes to each value. Our values are in part who and what we are -- they’re also who and what we want to be.
Core values are also principles we’ve recognized as ones which we together value. They’re strong motivations to us. They have begun to define who we are and how we operate as a body. These values permeate and help guide us in ministry. So, we teach them, and we apply them when we discuss, for instance, what topics or books we’ll study on Sunday morning, or in small groups.
The first on our list of Values is in your worship folder: “Scripture is foundational”. This first value reminds us that the Bible and only the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant Word. Because of what the Bible is, it is therefore sufficient and authoritative for us as a church. It therefore is the source of our teaching, and what we urge people to read, study and allow to transform their lives. Those are some of the issues we’ll consider today.
Scripture: the right foundation
To begin with, let’s think about the well-known comparison Jesus made in Matthew chapter 7. Look back at Matthew 7:24 with me. Jesus said, Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against the house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.
You know the rest of the story. The wise man chose a solid rock foundation. The foolish man did things the easy way, so his foundation was very different: it was sand. In reality he had no foundation at all. Jesus emphasizes here the great need we each have to found our lives on something. And we all do. There’s not a person alive who doesn’t search here and there,
and locate some foundation for life. It might be called a “philosophy of life“, or an “idol“, a “security blanket“, or someone’s “central motivation of life“. It’s gets labeled lots of things.
But Jesus refers here to this powerful concept of a “foundation“. The foundation of course, is what the rest of a structure is built upon. He’s describing the secure, supporting structure for all of life.
With the right foundation, everything’s in order. The house -- or the life -- will stand. With the wrong one, disaster is one storm away. And then Jesus describes an inundating storm, the kind of frog-strangling rain and wind and storm that will come and will make short work of the house with sand under it. The one life stands confidently and securely, the other comes apart at the seams.
Let me make 3 Observations about foundations before we move to our other passage.
First, we choose life’s foundation.
I’ve always liked Josh McDowell’s statement about choices. He says, “you can choose your choices but you can’t choose the consequences” (of your choices). Choice is inherent in Jesus‘ words. He observes that some people will hear His Words, pay close attention, and respond accordingly -- and some will not. The foundation is a choice.
A second observation: appearances can be deceiving.
I imagine Gary Unruh (building subcontractor) will back me up on this. You examine two new identical houses -- built near each other, and you’d have a hard time determining that one had a foundation sitting on bedrock and the other rested on 20 feet of fill dirt. The way Jesus tells the story, both houses would have looked the same from the ground up -- from outward appearances. We won’t know the reality of things until later.