Foundation

hirsch-173131_640Ezra 3:11: And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

When the foundation is laid then all of their activities concerning the building of the house can commence. The foundation is not usually seen, so the public ministries must be an outflow of our private relationship with God. Before you begin to complain of the fruit, check the root. If you don’t pay enough attention to the need of the root, before long, there will be no fruit to talk about.

It is by abiding in Jesus that your productivity, fruitfulness, is assured, (John 15:1-6). When your public life is more beautiful than the private lifestyle of seeking God, then you are a disaster waiting to happen. That model is not sustainable.

There will be a time to test the source of your “spiritual” work, if it is from God, through your connection with him, or from self-effort (1Corinthians 3:8-15). It should not be based solely on your schooling, the strength of your personality, your connection, your scheming, but on God. If that foundation of relationship with God is not firm, then everything built is bound to fall like a pack of cards, if not today, then tomorrow.

Jesus said that the one who believes in him and acts based on his word (which you get in connection to him) is like a man who builds his life on a solid rock which will continues to stand no matter what; that man will continue to have relevance, will continue to be a reference point (Matthew 7:15-29).

Mary decided to take the time to be close to Jesus, to be at his feet, learning from him, hearing his words, and Jesus said she had made the right choice (Luke 10:38-42). A choice to prioritise one on one relationship with Jesus more than doing things for Jesus like Martha Mary’ sister seems to have decided upon.

Every Christian is either a Mary or a Martha. Mary has a strong foundation of relationship with God while Martha was strong in service; she has expertise in the kitchen department that she would like to show off to Jesus and backs it up by complaining against Mary, whom she sees as a lazy bone, lacking in ingenuity and vigour in service.

Service is good but receiving from Jesus, in his presence, is more important. What do you think is more important: prayer time or preaching time? You answer gives a hint where your priority lies, if it is responsibility over relationship, if it is public life of private life, than you are treading on a dangerous path.

What if you have a “private” life with God just for the purpose of making it public, blowing your own trumpet? Jesus said you might as well not focus on any private time at all (Matthew 6:1-6), as you will not be rewarded. In other words, it is your motivation that gives meaning to your action. The private life of relationship with God should be motivated by love for Him.

Jesus went out early in the morning unannounced to pray, away from the glare of his disciples to have an alone time with God (Mark 1:35). Following in that example (priority of prayer) Peter said that the apostle would do everything to be able to realise ensure that nothing else replaces the priority of prayer in their lives. All the result you see in their lives in the book of Acts and the letters they wrote emerge from the foundation of prayer in their lives (Acts 6:1-4).

Foundation is what you stand on, and all of us should have Christ as our foundation. Paul said that there is no other foundation that can be laid except that which has been laid: Jesus Christ. He also said that the foundation of the Lord stands sure, having this seal; the Lord knows those who are his and let those who name the name of the Lord depart from iniquity (2Timothy 2:19). So apart from having the foundation of a personal relationship with God, an adjunct of that is to have the foundation of righteousness, the foundation of holiness. As the Lord is holy, so we should be holy in our conduct (1Peter 1:15-16), we should be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1).

That is the base from which all our activities and expressions and pursuit should flow, being like our father by whose will we are born again (John 3:3). The bible says that Jesus came to his own people and they did not receive him, but those who receive him, he gave the power to become sons of God, even those who believe in his name, who are not born of the will of man, of flesh, but the will of God (John 1:11-13). We are born again by an act of God, and experience spiritual renewal by his Spirit.

In the foundational truth that was mentioned in the book of Hebrews chapter six, repentance from dead works was number one.  If we don’t start with that in our lives, we are not going anywhere. Jesus said the solid rock foundation for our life is hearing his word and doing them; that’s holiness, we should be separated to obeying God. A psalmist says that his motivation for reading the word is so that he can please God. He has the right foundation in his life (Psalm 119:11).

Without the right foundation, there will be no right building. When you don’t understand that grace actually frees us from sin then we do not have a foundational understanding grace (Titus 2:11-15); when you don’t understand that the purpose of Jesus is to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21) then you don’t have the foundation to accurately understanding who he is; if you don’t understand that the wrath of God is still directly at sin (Romans 1:18. Ephesians 5:6), then you will not understand the need to recognise that the blood of Jesus does more than making us acceptable to God, but it also cleanses us from all sins.

If you don’t understand that the problem in the Garden of Eden was sin and that the attendant judgement of death still subsists, you will not appreciate the imperative of the sacrifice of Jesus (that he shed his blood) and the fact that he is the only way back to God.

Jesus spoke of the imperative of having the life of righteousness in God when he spoke about false prophets, saying by their fruits we shall know them, without the fruits of righteousness then, you should not follow such a person. Timothy was instructed of the need to be an example to the believers in speech, faith and righteousness (1Timothy 4:12). That is the mark of leadership. To be used by God, the foundation of holiness should be laid. Thus Paul also told Timothy that it is the vessel that has purges itself of wrong behaviours that will be fit for the master’s use (2Timothy 2:19-22).

 

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