Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Foundations: Without Them You’ll Crash!

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Summary:  I know lots of home builders. Before they lay the floor and raise up walls and a roof, they construct a rock-solid foundation with rebar and poured concrete. Only then can they build the house. It’s the same, and even more important, with our walk with the Lord. If we don’t establish our lives on God’s prescribed foundations, all the rest of our spiritual efforts will falter and even fail. Having faulty foundations is a fast track to a spiritual crash! Let’s look at four bedrock underpinnings of our walk with God.

Jesus Christ, the Ultimate Foundation

1 Corinthians 3:11, NASB  For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

No one on earth, no human being (“no man”), said the apostle Paul, can lay any acceptable foundation other than Jesus Christ, the eternal and immovable Rock of our salvation. “The one [foundation] which is laid,” that is, Jesus Christ, was sent to this earth by God the Father to be our Lord and Savior.

Those of us in Christian ministry, which more broadly includes all of us as Christian witnesses, have a message of hope for the world, and it is this: Build your life on Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers you. By sincere repentance and faith in Him you will be born again, will become a son or daughter of God, will begin to experience the blessings of God here on earth, and will spend eternity in the glorious presence of God the Father and Jesus His Son. Where does all that start? With coming to Jesus as the only way to God and our one sure foundation for life and eternity.

As I write this here in the USA, we are approaching our 2016 presidential election. People wonder: should I vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Actually what I’m praying for is for Jesus to preside over my country. It will take revival and national repentance to turn our country around and once again to experience the manifold blessings of God upon our nation.

As Paul wrote, we mortals cannot lay any other foundation for our own life or the lives of others than Jesus Christ. But the Lord Himself has provided some additional foundations for the benefit and blessing of His people. Let’s look at three of those.

The Foundation of God's Word Put Into Practice

Matthew 7:24-27  “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. 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. 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. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Notice that both the foolish and the wise builders heard the Word of the Lord. The difference was that only the wise builders (1) heard the Lord’s words and (2) “put them into practice.”

Our churches are filled brimful with people who hear God’s Word preached and taught. And yet America is clearly in a moral free fall. The sanctity of marriage is being widely perverted. Millions of precious, innocent unborn babies are savagely executed in the womb. Corruption in American politics is widespread. Sexual libertinism is seen at epidemic levels. And the list goes on.

How can this be in a nation where most people self-identify as Christians? The answer is simple: even among those believers who attend churches where God’s Word is preached, there are many who qualify as “unwise builders.” They hear the Word but do not put it into practice. They routinely violate the Scriptural command that we be “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22, NKJV).

There may be multiple reasons why America seems to be in a spiritual famine. But one main reason, one that Jesus clearly warned about, is the failure to hear God’s Word and make it a bedrock foundation in our lives by obeying it, by doing it, by putting it into practice in our personal lives and in our national conduct.

The entire Word of God—the Bible, all 66 books—is filled with divine principles that will provide an unshakable bedrock to our walk with God. There is an especially important list of foundational Bible truths found in Hebrews 6:1-2, NKJV. If we allow these principles to be firmly established as foundations for our spiritual lives, we can move “forward to maturity” (vs. 1). These six vital foundational teachings are:

repentance from dead works
 
• faith toward God
 
• the doctrine of baptisms [plural]: both in water and in the Holy Spirit
 
laying on of hands
 
• the resurrection of the dead
 
• eternal judgment

The Foundation of Apostles and Prophets

Ephesians 2:19-20  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

Apostles and prophets! They are a spiritual foundation given by Jesus Himself. Ephesians 4:8,11 tell us that “when He ascended on high … [11] Christ Himself gave the apostles [and] the prophets…” While on earth He chose 12 apostles. And after ascending back to heaven (vs. 8) Jesus has continued to give apostles and prophets, right up to the present. The Church needs their foundational ministries in the 21st century, just as surely as these ministries were needed in the first century. God-given foundations are needed by believers throughout the Church Age, not just at the Church’s beginnings.

Verse 20 reemphasizes our opening verse. That is, the foundational ministries of apostles and prophets, and all other ministries that Jesus gives His Church, must be properly related and totally submitted to “Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.” Every true apostle and prophet will be totally submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and will continually exalt Him in their ministries. If you don’t see this, I exhort you to distance yourselves from such men, no matter how strong their alleged “anointing” may seem to be. True ministers of God, like the apostle Peter, will be known for their confession that “Jesus Christ is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36).

Obviously not each local church will have the blessing of having an apostle or prophet among the on-scene leadership. The church I attend does not. However, our church is related to true apostles and prophets in the broader body of Christ. In fact, as I write this, our church eagerly anticipates the ministry to us next Sunday by an apostle from India who has established hundreds of churches in his nation and preaches the Gospel in Urdu to a radio audience of millions. We also are blessed by the apostolic input and periodic ministry visits of an apostle from Portland, Oregon. I had the privilege of being raised in the Lord and placed into ministry under the fatherly oversight of apostle Dick Benjamin in Anchorage, Alaska. As I write this, brother Dick is in retirement at age 91 and is still a spiritual father to me. He is as close as the nearest phone if I have need of some advice or encouragement.

The Foundation of the Lord's Church

1 Timothy 3:15  if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

ESV:  “…a pillar and buttress of the truth”

KJV:  “…the pillar and ground of the truth”

NASB:  “…the pillar and support of the truth”

This is a very important truth for all Christians to embrace. That is, “the church of the living God [is] the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Notice it does not say that the church is the truth, and it certainly does not suggest that the church is infallible. No, but rather, God’s Word is the truth — “your word of truth” (Psalm 119:43) … “your word is truth” (John 17:17) … “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) … the “truths of God’s word” (Hebrews 5:12).

The church has the high and holy privilege of preaching, teaching, and living out God’s truth before the people of this world. Seekers should not expect to hear God’s Word from the political sphere, not from Hollywood and other entertainment media, not from a country’s financial sector or government. Rather, God has entrusted His Word to His church — that is, to each and every born-again Christian, and especially to those church ministries “whose work is preaching and teaching” the word of God (1 Timothy 5:17).

Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 6:18). The Church as a whole, and the local churches particularly (Revelation 1-3) belong to Jesus! He is “the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18). He is the Chief Cornerstone of His Church's foundation (Ephesians 2:20). So it makes perfect sense that He would entrust to His Church the foundational ministry of declaring His Word, and especially His Gospel, to the world.

In sum, I encourage all of you to build your lives safely and securely upon God’s sure foundations:

Jesus Christ Himself, the Chief Cornerstone
 
• The Word of God, heard and put into practice
 
• The edifying influence of apostolic and prophetic ministries
 
• A biblically sound, Bible-preaching local church that you faithfully attend

With these secure foundations in your life, you will never have to experience what Jesus called “a great crash.”

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Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.