Sermons

Sermons

What Foundation Are We Building On?

Series: You Are the Temple of God - 2024 Theme

Psalm 11:1-7 gives us a picture of a world that is in chaos where the wicked have turned on the righteous and are attacking them. David then asks “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” That’s an important question when it seems like the world is falling apart all around us. The answer is in verse 1 “In the LORD I take refuge.” And where is the LORD and what is he doing in this text? He is in his holy temple in heaven, and he will hold all men accountable and bring justice on the wicked. In contrast to the wicked who want to destroy the righteous, the Lord will have fellowship with the righteous because he is righteous, he loves righteous deeds, and the upright will see his face.

Psalm 11 speaks a word of hope and direction to any time and culture where the foundations of their society are falling apart, and evil seems to be having the upper hand over righteousness. This is a word that we need to hear isn’t it? In many ways it looks like the foundations of the culture around us are being destroyed. The foundation of Jesus as the Messiah and his resurrection, the foundation of the God as creator of heaven and earth, the foundation of the Bible as the eternal and unbreakable word of God, the foundation of what is a human being and what it means to be made in the image of God as male and female, and so much more. What can the righteous do? They can take refuge in the LORD. God is in his holy temple. God is on his throne is in heaven. Nothing the world does can stop God’s plans.

What are you building on?

Everyone has foundational questions that need answers. Once we have the answers we believe are true, we build our lives on them. Here’s some examples of the type of questions:

Questions about God: Does God exist? If God exists, what is he like? Can I have a relationship with God? Do I have a responsibility to God?

Questions about the Universe: Where did the universe come from? Has the universe always existed? Will the universe always exist? Where did our planet Earth come from? Why does the universe experience natural disasters?

Questions about People: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Why do we have to die? What happens to us after we die? What is our responsibility and relationship to the earth?

Questions about Truth: Does Truth exist? How can I know if something is true or not?

Questions about Right and Wrong: Are there such things as right and wrong? What is right? What is wrong? Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world? Are there solutions to all the problems in the world?

Everyone has these kinds of questions. They are fundamental to our existence as human beings. They are the building blocks of our worldview. Every decision we make is like building on that foundation. What will you trust? Will you trust what man says? Yourself, scientists, philosophers, teachers, textbooks, politicians, etc? Or will you trust what God says?

Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-28 that there are fundamentally two foundations in life. You can either listen to the words of Jesus and construct your life on those truths, or you can simply hear those words and construct your life on the human reasoning. There are two foundations or religions in the world - God’s word or Man’s word. We will end up building our houses (our lives) on something, what do you choose to build on?

The truth is, one day the storms will come. It may be a job loss, physical health challenges, parents passing away, societal unrest, financial collapse, or any number of different events. When our foundations are exposed, if we have not built on the rock our lives will crash and great will be the collapse. Jesus is warning us and wanting us to build on the rock.

What is happening in our culture?

We have had the privilege for quite a while of being more of an Acts 2 type culture. We have had a society that in various ways has been based on the Bible. Remember in Acts 2, that generation had the prophets as part of their foundation. They had this foundational knowledge of God - Yahweh, the true God of the Bible, sin being the problem and the cause of death, and the anticipation of the Messiah. Then, in (Acts 2:16-36), three different times Peter quotes from the prophets and his message is basically this: what the prophets foretold would happen has come true. Because of this, they were willing to accept the gospel and 3,000 were baptized.

The foundations of our culture are under attack. People are saying “you can’t trust the Bible”,  “There can’t be one God”, “What is sin?” “Death is part of human life.” “Why do I need a Savior? Save me from what?” This is fueling an epidemic in two main areas:

First, there are generations of kids that are growing up and walking away from God. In the book “Already Gone”, Ken Ham and others traced out that as many as 2/3rds of children that grow up in a religious home walk away. The statistics have continued to worsen over time to where Generation Z is described as the first truly “post christian” generation. (CES Data Charts)

Second, our culture is quickly becoming more secular and pluralistic. Bible knowledge is diminishing, morality is degrading, corruption is growing. Why? Because it’s like what Paul describes in Romans 1:18-23. This is the story of humanity since Genesis 3. Men are suppressing the truth despite the clear evidence around them. They are not honoring or glorifying God, they are becoming foolish, and the glory of God is being exchanged for images of corruption. What naturally follows is a world that grows worse and worse (Romans 1:24-32).

From a big picture perspective, our world is changing from an Acts 2 type culture to an Acts 17 type culture. In Acts 17:16-21, Paul came into a town that was full of idols. There were some with a biblical worldview in the synagogue, but in the marketplace he spoke with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Epicureans were basically atheists. Epicurus believed a rudimentary form of evolution. The Stoics were pantheists. They believed everything in the universe such as stones, trees, animals, humans, etc, are all parts of God. When Paul taught them the gospel, they said “What does this babbler wish to say?”, and “he seems to be a preacher foreign divinities.” Because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 1:21-22 explains to us what we are seeing. See, for a Jew that hears the gospel they have the foundational knowledge, but they stumble at the message of the cross. For a Gentile that does not have that foundational knowledge, it simply comes across as foolishness. More and more, this is where our culture is moving. The message of the gospel is foolish because they do not have the foundation.

What is the solution?

However, let me give hope. It was in this culture that the gospel initially came and many people were obedient to the gospel. In fact, the gospel turned that world upside down. Yet, we need to notice something very carefully. The sermon in Acts 2 is very different than the story in Acts 17. When Paul taught this city, if you look carefully he is building the foundation again. Notice, Acts 17:22-31, he defines who God is, he explains the origins humanity and the people groups, he explains the broken relationship with God, shows our identity as God’s offspring, and he exposes the futility of idols. Then, he tells that God commands all men to repent because a judgment is coming. But notice the cornerstone of his argument: It is Jesus and the fact that he was raised from the dead. Not as many obeyed the gospel as in Acts 2, but he was doing the hard and laborious work of building a foundation to reach others.

As Paul seeks to create a temple of God in a pagan culture, he goes back and begins building a foundation. See, Paul tells us what the foundation of God’s temple is in Ephesians 2:19-22. It is the teaching of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. That’s what the letter of Ephesians centers on. It is a message of the resurrection of Jesus as king of the world. And a message of salvation from sin that is preached by the apostles and that is founded on the message of the prophets (perhaps old and new).

The solution then to build up a temple to God is to start with the foundation. Then, once the foundation has been laid, the whole structure can be joined together and grow into that holy temple in the Lord. The rest of the Bible then is meant to be the process for building that structure together as a dwelling place of God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22).

This then is part of why I want to begin a series on Genesis 1-11 next week. In a world where the foundations are being destroyed in people’s lives, we need to come back and rebuild the foundation. We need answers to the foundational questions of our lives, we need to answer the skeptics of our day, and we need to set the foundation for all other teaching the church needs. Genesis 1-11 is absolutely critical, all doctrine is either directly or indirectly found in these chapters. So in our desire to build up the temple, this is a logical place to start.

Building up the Temple of God

Let me give an example of the relevance of Genesis and Jesus’ resurrection. In Matthew 19:3 there was a question about divorce: “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” That sounds like a question that could come from our day. At that time, people are wrestling with what various teachers taught and what Moses taught. However, notice that Jesus brings them back to God’s word for the answer Matthew 19:4-6. This is the consistent pattern that will follow in every question of our lives. Will I trust what God says or will I trust what man says?

However, I want to notice two things here. First, did you notice that Jesus appealed to Genesis? He believe that this was the word of God and he believed that what was written had the answer to the question. The core of that argument is in Genesis 1-11.

Second, Jesus’ is the authority that backs up the teaching. He has the right to declare if something is right or wrong. Why is that? It is because just like in Acts 2 and Act 17, the foundation of their arguments was the fact Jesus was raised from the dead. If Jesus was raised from the dead, whatever he says about Genesis or any other part of the Bible goes.

That’s why, if you go through any book of the new testament it will center its argument and authority on the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead, that truth drives it all. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 we have the earliest account of the resurrection. There are some critical pieces of evidence that Paul weaves together here for us to believe the resurrection.

First, Paul says that this was in accordance with the scriptures.

     This Bible has been consistent about this hope. Paul is arguing from scripture just like Peter does in Acts 2. This hope rests on the evidence and story of the       Bible. However, we need to realize that the Jews believed in bodily resurrection, but it was all people at the end of time. Something radical changed their             viewpoint to believe one man in the middle of history was raised. No Jew believed this and that’s what Jesus had to show them. However, Paul is saying                 this is  consistent with what is revealed.

Second, this section deals with many of the false ideas that creep up.

      Jesus died - he did not swoon. His death was not faked. He was dead.

      Jesus was buried and raised - he wasn’t stolen. This message started in Jerusalem - if this wasn’t the case they could have walked over and shown his body.

     Jesus appeared - and this is important - it was at multiple times, to multiple people, even up to 500 at once. This rules out hallucinations or dreams.

      Eyewitnesses were alive. Paul says that most of these people were alive. So, if you want to go speak to them yourself you can - and eyewitness testimony is        one of the strongest forms of evidence there is. Luke’s gospel is one example of this interview process.

     Then, Paul adds himself here at the end and his life is one of the most powerful evidences because of his radical change from persecutor to preacher.

     Finally, something amazing must have happened for this to start in Jerusalem! No faithful Jew worshipped man as a God and they worshipped on Saturday.       Suddenly, a large portion of Jews are worshipping a man as God and worshipping on Sunday.

Conclusion

See, if Christ has not be raised, like Paul says in (1 Corinthians 15:12-19) our preaching and faith are vain, we’re misrepresenting God, and we are still in our sins. We should just go home.

But the truth is, Christ has been raised and he is ruling in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). See, if Jesus was raised his message is true. Jesus sent and endorsed his apostles, so their message is true. Jesus endorsed the old testament, that message is true. We have the foundation.

That means everything he taught about these critical questions is true. We can build our lives on him. He is the solid cornerstone of the foundation and what he taught through the apostles and prophets really is God’s word, and can guide and shape every part of our lives.

So, when the foundations of our society come under attack, we can take refuge in him because his throne is established in heaven (Psalm 11). His word is firmly established because it is rooted in his character and identity as God’s Son.