1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Nothing is more important than the foundation in a building project. You see commercials for foundation repair. Sometimes the damage is so severe, there is no saving the building. Structure and foundation must all be removed and replaced. You’re familiar with the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy? Big foundation problems.
So Paul warns us not to build on false foundations. Some Christians try to build on fervent, passionate feelings towards Jesus. Everything is based how humans respond. Now don’t get me wrong. I hope that Jesus inspires powerful emotions in you. I hope that your heart is broken by the things that break God’s heart. I want you to know joy in God’s grace to you. But can you build the faith of people or a church on something so uncertain and shifting as emotions? Isn’t that going to turn out like a bad marriage in which two people were married because of their infatuation, without ever really getting to know each other?
Others try to build on moral lives. They fill their preaching and teaching, their reading and learning, with practical instruction. The applications extend to the finest points of Christian living. Again, don’t misunderstand me. I want you to practice good morals. As a pastor I may even get on someone’s case if they don’t! But without a healthy dose of Jesus’ love, all this morality teaching will eventually lead away from God to self-righteousness or despair.
Some churches try to build on such a spectacular presentation of music and pictures, lights and drama, that they could rival or even surpass the best theaters. One that I know even advertises itself as the “fun church.” I am not suggesting that there is any virtue in making church boring. But entertainment alone cannot feed the soul. It only distracts the mind and dulls the soul.
If we build with God, there is only one foundation on which we can build, and that is Jesus himself. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is not going to shift on us. He will not change his mind about his love for us. I know that he loves me and forgives me whether I feel it or not.
And he does not base my relationship with him on my performance. He bases it upon his performance in his perfect life of love and his innocent death for our sins on the cross. He established that relationship by calling me to faith at my baptism. He maintains that relationship by sending me love letter after love letter in his word, and by inviting me to sit down with him and share an intimate meal of forgiveness with him in his Supper. That not only supports my faith. It supports a life that loves to serve him, that wants to serve him, in all I do.
Is it hard to find Jesus’ life of love and sacrifice for us interesting, compelling, captivating? Tell me the story again and again! Here is where I want to build my faith and life. Here is the place that I can confidently set the faith and future of my friends and neighbors. When we build with God, Jesus himself is the only foundation on which we build.