Psalm 74, Ezra 3:1-11, 1 Corinthians 3:10-17
In Seattle, building after building is going up with those huge cranes on top. The population of Snohomish County is projected to grow by 10,000 people per year for nearly the next 20 years, and the first couple of years of that projection (already having passed) have exceeded that growth. As we look around the area, there is a lot of building going on. Around Generations Community Church, there are multi-house developments being completed at an amazing pace. As those homes are built, a lot of effort goes into them. The community (the City of Marysville) has requirements for the development, roads, and houses. The developer has to meet all those requirements. In addition to meeting those requirements, the builder has to meet the expectations of people they’ve never met…the buyers. There really is a lot that goes into building a house.
The first is the ground itself. The ground has to be prepared. Everything goes from there. The next is the foundation. The interplay of ground and foundation are critical to the durability and lifespan of the house. If both are not prepared well, and in harmony, there will be trouble.
Through Creation God created the ground. All of us, believer and nonbeliever, walk upon it. It is the foundation that is the dividing point. When the foundation is Jesus Christ, it should be different than the “foundation” of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, even Judaism (though there will be similarities there). The biggest difference is the understanding of who Jesus is. Jesus is the one and only begotten Son of God. Jesus is God. Instantly, the foundation of Christianity is different. However, the problem in the church (and has been for centuries) is the concern about what is on top of the foundation.
When the Israelites returned to Jerusalem from exile, the temple was no more. It still held its preeminence in Israelite religious culture, but its magnificence was long gone. However, the foundation was still there. Instead of being stuck with the outward appearance, the exiles celebrated the next feast. The feast they celebrated was the Feast of Booths, intended to annually remind the Israelites of their ancestors’ wandering in the desert. They celebrated wandering on a firm foundation. When we wander through life (or just take the next right) and remain on the foundation of Christ, all will (eventually, at least) be well.
As Paul writes about foundations, he acknowledges that people will build the “temple of their hearts” with what they can. Some people, through no fault of their own, only have twigs, rocks, and mud to make one with. Some people, through wrong decisions, will have fire-scarred wood to build with. Others, through the grace and mercy of God, will build with gold and jewels. Now, we aren’t talking about literal gold, jewels, or mud, or twigs. We’re talking about the spiritual condition of the heart. What makes it even more interesting is that we may be deceive ourselves with what we are thinking are building. We may think we are building with gold, but we are building with mud. Or, we may thing we’re building with twigs, but we are building with jewels. In many ways, though, it doesn’t really matter what our spiritual temples are built with, but that they are built. The refiner’s fire will burn away all the pain and misery, and all that remains between us and God.
1) Foundation as the starting point. How do you view Jesus as your foundation?
2) Can you see the foundations others might have? What is the weakness and/or strength of their foundation?
3) Why do people look past the foundation, even of their own homes, let alone their spiritual life?
FD) Only before God’s creative grace and love can mud, stick, jewel, gold, stone be viewed as the same. What does that tell you about how God looks at people?