Summary: We are told to not lay again the foundation of our faith, this is a look at that foundation
The giant bucket reached forward and tore a gapping hole in the ground. Like some primitive monster it struck again and again opening the earth to the air for the first time since creation. And when finally it had finished it’s job, it quit. A silence filled the quiet street and where once there had been grass now there was just a hole. Three metres deep, and twenty two metres square. Just a hole. And as night came the hole was cloaked in darkness.
The next day the men were back and the pit was filled with activity as the men erected a crude double wall of plywood along the outer parameter of the hole. The wall was lined with structural steel laced together to form an intricate web. And again the day ended and the hole was left alone for another night. The early morning quiet was broken as truck after truck of pre-mixed cement came and discharged their loads between the double walled box sitting in the hole until finally the plywood walls held 61 cubic metres of cement. Twenty five centimetres thick, three metres high, and twenty metres on four sides. And the trucks left and the men left and the wall sat in the hole for three days. First darkness fell, and then snow fell and gradually the semi liquid cement transformed and became solid.
On the fourth day the men came back, some removed the plywood skin from the cement walls, others climbed down into the hole and laid reinforced metal mesh on the ground, and the trucks came back to pour more cement, this time covering the mesh, and making a floor on the bottom of the cement box.
And the days passed as the men returned to place a sealing compound on the outside of the cement box, and insulation over the compound and then filled the outer part of the hole up until the soil touched the outside of the box. And with that final motion the most important part of the building was complete. Not the prettiest part, not the most obvious part but by far the most important part.
You guessed of course that what was happening was a basement, the foundation of the Wesleyan Church we built in Truro. When I moved to Australia I discovered that building techniques differed between Nova Scotia and Queensland. In Oz because you don’t have to worry about getting below the frost line with your foundation. And because you don’t need to dig four or five feet to do that it doesn’t make sense to put in basements. But they still need foundations, and the foundation of the home we built in Murrumba Downs was just as important to its structural integrity as was the foundation of the Church in Truro. Our new church home won’t have a basement because of the rock on the site but the frost walls go down to the bedrock and they aren’t going anywhere.
For thousands of years builders have acknowledged the necessity of a firm foundation. And it’s not just buildings that need a firm foundation, so do people. Let’s go back to the scripture that Jason read for us earlier.
Hebrews 6:1-2 So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Now listen to how it reads in the New International Version
Heb 6:1-2 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, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. Paul is telling us that there is a foundation each one of us needs in our life. He’s telling us that we shouldn’t rebuild the foundation over and over again. But in order not to rebuild it we first need to discover what that foundation is. Because if we don’t know what the foundation is supposed to be we will either not lay it the first time, or we will keep laying it when we should be finished laying it, understand?
But sometimes it’s good to make sure we are building on the right foundation and so this week we are going to look at the foundation we need to lay before we go.
This reference is found in the book of Hebrews which is the 19th book of the New Testament. The author of the book doesn’t identify himself and so we don’t know for sure who actually wrote the book. Some suggestion offered up have been Barnabas, Luke or Apollo. Most scholars feel that it was probably Paul because of the style of writing. The book was written between AD 60 -70 and the purpose was to warn Jewish believers against turning back to their old ways. As part of that process the Author, whom we will call Paul for simplicity, reminds the believers of the foundation of their faith. And the first thing he mentions is: