1) God shakes up our foundations because he loves us.
2) God shakes up our foundations because he wants us to build the right foundation with the right attitude
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
What is the right foundation? The answer is there in v11 – Jesus Christ. I might be sounding like a broken record, but this has been the recurring theme of my messages since we began 1 Corinthians. Because this is the point that Paul is hammering home to the Corinthian church. Jesus Christ is the only proper foundation on which we can build our spiritual lives, both individually and as a church. Not I follow Apollos, therefore, Apollos is my foundation. Not building your life upon a person. Not building your life upon even a church, like LBC. Nor spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues or prophesying — that can’t be our foundation. Only Jesus Christ and him crucified. That’s our only foundation. The gospel. The cross. This is the one and only foundation for spiritual life and church.
If Jesus is the right foundation to build upon, then what is the proper attitude with which we are to build upon Jesus? v1- – by the grace of God, or it’s better translated, according to the grace that God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder.
In building up God’s church, we have to be motivated by the grace of God. We need to build with the attitude of one who has been shown unmerited favor. According to the grace of God, I lay a foundation.
This sounds obvious, but is it? Obviously, this wasn’t so obvious to the Corinthians. Based on the finished work of Jesus on the cross, His death and resurrection, upon Jesus and him crucified, I can build according to the grace that he showed me. Grace in forgiving me. Grace in accepting me, a sinner. Grace in sending His Spirit to dwell in me. Grace that leads to spiritual truth of who I am and who God is.
We build church from the foot of the cross. From the grace shown to us there. Otherwise, church will quickly devolve into — by my talent and giftedness, I laid a foundation, or by my effort and hard work, I laid a foundation.
Some church leaders say, I had a bad church experience. So they want to lay a foundation in a way that was completely opposite from the church they grew up in. So by my reaction to my church from the past, I laid a different sort of foundation. My church was this way (you fill in the blank) so as a reaction to that, I am going to lay this kind of foundation.
Or, we make the mistake of looking at our past and formulating our faith along certain grooves that are familiar to us. I grew up in a rich home so I believe and expect that God is going to bless me with material things. Or, I grew up with difficult and overbearing parents so as a Christian, I assume God is always unhappy with me and I need to work really hard to earn His love.
We can’t look to our past church experience or our personal past and let that influence the foundation we lay for our lives. We have to look to the cross and according to the grace shown to us there, we can lay a proper foundation. Motivated by the grace that God has shown to us in Christ Jesus.
For this message, I just have one application. When earthquake-like events over the course of your life, and they will, don’t complain against God, but know that these things happen because He loves you.
9/11 was a horrible tragedy. Many people lost loved ones. Remember Jim Riches, the retired fireman who lost his son Jimmy. His life will never be the same. Remember Stanley Praimnath who got called into full-time ministry as a result of 9/11.
As far as I can tell, only one thing is clear — life is short. Yet most of the time, we live as if we will be on earth forever. But suffering has a way of clearing away all the fog and bringing things into sharp focus again. Just like when we were first saved.
Whenever you are shaken up, remember that it’s a God-given opportunity to examine your foundation. It’s God’s grace that he judges us in this life and spares us from the ultimate judgment. When God’s judgment happens, either individually or corporately at a church, take the time to look through the ruins and the burnt pieces. See what went wrong and start again with Jesus as the foundation.
It’s never too late to start over from ground zero of your saving faith in Jesus.
The church is a blessing from God because as we gather together and form a community of faith, together we learn how to build upon the foundation of Christ as one body. And it is my prayer that this communal learning translates into each of our personal lives.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you are close to me. Hopefully, we are close and our friendship helps you get closer to Jesus. But our closeness as an end in itself is not the point. It doesn’t matter how faithful you were at this church. It doesn’t matter how much ministry you did. Ultimately, we all stand before God alone. And I pray that our church will prepare each of us well for that day.