Summary: This is the third in a series of 4 messages designed to help create a new focus on Purpose/Vision/Mission. Thanks to the writings of Dr. Gene Mimms, Dr. Rick Warren, & Dr. Thom Rainer for the 'extra' readings to complete this series.
Purpose for a new year - #3 of 4
• Today, I begin with a question that is personal as well as collective. Here it is; what type of foundation are you building your life on & are we building this fellowship on? This is important.
• The purpose of the foundation is to make strong, secure, and safe. We should know about foundations because we have a slab ‘cracking’ in our office building. When we changed the offices around, all of us saw it but didn’t really do anything about it. Today, we have notices bricks separating in 2 direction & honestly, if left unchecked it will have disastrous effects.
• Our text today teaches us about foundation. A solid foundation is vital. In construction, you cannot build up until you go down & find solid ground. In sports, you cannot build a winning team until you have a strong foundation of fundamentals. In life, foundation is essential! Life WILL (not might) bring disappointments, heartaches, & heartbreaks, and when these come, without a strong, stable, & solid foundation you will find yourself at the mercy of the world. And the world is merciless.
• In our text, please notice two things; a) that the entirety of this text has the feel of construction and b) how many times the word foundation appears in our text. By my count, at least 4 times. What we know is foundation is the key to anything.
• During this series of messages, we have been talking about things like purpose, mission, and vision. These constitutes the foundation of all we do.
• We learn this from Jesus. He lived according to his purpose, everything he did pointed to one mission, and to one vision. He was driven, compelled, and obsessed with the salvation of man & the building of His church.
• Last Sunday night, those of us here, (another message, but it may be time for an examination of ourselves and the church – at what point in our lives did we decide that we can pick & choose when we will be faithful to the Church of Jesus?) heard the message from Matthew 16 which was Jesus’ clarion call. Jesus said, “I will build my gates, and that church will be so strong & aggressive that the very gates of hell cannot & will not withstand the assault. Furthermore, my church will possess the very “Keys” to earth, heaven, death, & life.”
• Do you know how Jesus could make such a bold statement? Because He is the foundation of our faith, the author, the finisher (completer); He is the rock we can build our lives & church upon. I ask today, “What is your foundation?” I could begin with decision. Consider 4 thoughts with me.
1) THE DESIGN – When I read this scripture, as far as I can tell, there are only two foundational designs mentioned here. One is a firm foundation & the other is a flawed foundation. In construction, to have a flawed foundation means the building will not stand. You can put the most expensive material, build the most intricate walls, use state of the art methods, but none of these will overcome a flawed foundation. While the building may stand for a while, inevitably the structure will fall because the foundation is compromised. Consider a couple of thoughts.
• First, the scripture tells us that we can build our lives & this church on a foundation of ‘wood, hay, & stubble.’ What exactly does this mean and how exactly does one build this kind of foundation? Actually, you have to do nothing. This means we do like we want instead of worrying about what He wants. It seems that it’s easy for Christ followers to get into a mode of “my desires & my preferences.” In fact, this is so prevalent that, you’ll remember, Thom Rainer included in his book “I am a Church Member” a covenant phrase which said, “I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires.” When we make the Church about US, we use the material of wood, hay, & stubble to manufacture a foundation & that is easily compromised.
• On the other side of the coin, we can build our lives and church on the foundation (vs 12) gold, silver, & precious stones. How do we do this? There is a two-fold answer here.
• When I think of the church’s firm foundation, I am reminded of that great hymn of faith which says, “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.” As a church we must build on the only firm foundation of Jesus which is found in the Great Command & Commission.
• When we see the church as belonging to Christ, through the spiritual eyes of our soul, our vision for the church changes because we understand the foundation & the structure. Too many churches & church members see the church as the one place they can speak their mind, demand their way, and apply pressure until they get what they want. And too often, the response is to acquiesce (for the sake of peace or trying to be “Christian”) and do you know what the result is when you try to please everybody? You wind up compromising your beliefs &, in reality, you please nobody. And of those we displease, our Lord tops the list.