building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

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The Cornerstone

My church has just finished “The Story” published by Zondervan. It’s the Bible in a story form. From beginning to end – it’s all about the Word of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us – Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone – the perfect point of a foundation. Nothing can be built on an imperfect foundation. It will not stand. The Story walked us through God’s story of redemption through Jesus. The Word is the foundation of our lives. It’s the seed that takes root and becomes a fruitful tree. The root is long and keeps the tree from falling during the most difficult storms. When things get shaken, it’s the only thing that will keep us grounded.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t read the Bible. I didn’t understand that it was living and breathing. I didn’t understand that it was God’s inspired word. I didn’t have a basic understanding of the most foundational aspect of a Christian’s life. They say that when the Bible is falling apart; the life of the one reading it isn’t. It wasn’t until my life was falling apart, when I found the Word was the answer I was seeking. My life was off track and it’s the only thing that brought me back. The more I read the Bible, the more I want to learn.

On Monday, I was listening to James MacDonald speak about the foundations of our faith. He called this sermon “Back to School.” It’s getting back to the basics to truly live a changed life. The Word is the instrument that causes the change. We saturate our minds with God’s truth, and it will develop a foundation that will never be shaken. We have to get back to believing in the Word.

The Word is beautiful in its complexity and its simplicity. It has so many layers that we just don’t get! I listened to a snippet of a messianic rabbi speak about Holy Communion. He opened up the Word and talked about the significance of the wine. The wine has two representations: one through the Passover wine and the other as the betrothal wine given to the woman before the engagement.

In Jewish customs for arrangement marriages (back in biblical times), the dowry was paid by the potential bridegroom for the one that was chosen. After the payment, a cup of wine was brought to the woman to consummate the engagement. If the woman accepted the wine and drank it, then the engagement was set between the pair – they were officially married. The man did not drink the wine. It was only for the future bride. The bridegroom left the woman with her family while the husband went to prepare a place for them to live. Once the bridegroom had made the necessary arrangements, He came back for the bride. When the bridegroom came back, a celebration began. The bridegroom would then be given a cup of wine to drink at the celebration. Jesus gave the illustration of the end of times concerning ten virgins waiting on the bridegroom’s appearance. Five were ready; five were not. Jesus’ words were recorded in Matthew 25:13 saying “keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” of the bridegroom’s arrival. No one knew how long it would take the bridegroom to prepare that special place.

In Jesus’ last Passover supper, He passed the cup of wine to His disciples and told them to drink it. Jesus said the wine represented His blood. In Scripture, we are told that blood contains life. Jesus’ blood is the covenant of everlasting life. When we take that cup, we are agreeing to His proposal of marriage. We are to consider this cup very careful. Jesus told the disciples that He would not drink of it “until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). Jesus said that He was going away to prepare a place for us, and He would return one day (John 14:2-3)! When He comes back for His bride, there will be a mighty celebration on that day! The marriage will be complete, and we live with Him for eternity!

Jesus paid the dowry for His bride (the Church) by His death on the cross. Jesus said that His body was the bread that was broken for us. Jesus’ declaration was written in John’s Gospel: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Manna came from heaven while the Israelites were in the wilderness. But the Bread of Life that came down for us; is a life-giving bread that when we eat of it, we will never be hungry again.

Layer upon layer as we take this Word and devour it, it transforms us into a beautiful bride for Jesus our cornerstone – the foundation on which we stand. We will never be unsatisfied with the life given nourishment of this Holy Word. From beginning to end, it is the everlasting covenant that we can trust for eternal life.

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:5-6

The Mirror

I love to watch people. I love to watch people working out at the gym. Sometimes it’s to see what they are doing and if I need to add it to my routine. Sometimes it’s just to watch them for entertainment sake. People are funny. We are an interesting mix of humanity. It takes all kinds for the world to go around! I don’t watch people to judge them; at least I try not to judge. There is one fellow at the gym though that seems to be enamored with himself. He is always looking at his reflection in the mirror. Whether he is actually lifting weights or just walking by. His eye is always on the mirror – not at others – at himself. When I first noticed him a while back, I would chuckle – inwardly of course. However, I began to hear the Holy Spirit telling me this is how I should approach God’s word.

The Word is supposed to be a mirror. We are to study it intently, just as this fellow does at the gym. The mirror does us no good if we look at it and walk away unchanged. We normally check our appearance to make sure we are presentable to the world. The Word should make us presentable for the world to see Jesus in us. We are to look at it so intently that we will not walk away from it unchanged. The Word gives us a reflection of how we measure up to the standard God set through Jesus. Are we close to His reflection? Can others see Jesus in us? When we go to the Bible, the Bible will help us see where we stand. When we need to, the Holy Spirit will give us an indication if we need to repent in order to make us right before God. We are an imperfect people. We all fall short of God’s glory.

Repentance has been the word of late for me. I have wondered if there is anything that is keeping me from the full fellowship of God. I have wondered if there is anything that I need to repent from. I thought I had done all the repenting I needed to do. But as I look intently at the Word, I realized it’s the little things that keep occurring that I need to repent of. It’s my mouth – saying things I should have checked through the Holy Spirit before speaking. It’s the thoughts that have run through my mind. I don’t necessarily say much, but I do think many things that need to be confessed. There are also things that happen in my daily activities that need to be checked. Am I being a good steward with the things God has given me? How about the people in my life; am I helping anyone today? God puts people in our lives that are difficult to love. God uses those people to help us become more like Jesus. I don’t like those lessons. I just like easy things to take care of; but that is not God’s way. He challenges the comfort zone!

As I look at God’s word, I am reminded that I am far from where I need to be. However, I am so much further along than where I was. It’s just a process that is refined and lived out daily. I may not be looking at the physical reflection in the mirror as intently as the fellow at the gym, but I need to be looking deeply at my spiritual reflection. After all, I want the full fellowship of the Holy Spirit. I want the reflection to be more like Jesus. I want to draw others to Him. Nothing else really matters. Eternity is the only lens in which to view all things. We are an interesting bunch for sure. But God loves each and every one of us. Our character matters to Him. And He is in the process of making us perfect even though it doesn’t look like it right now. But eternity is right around the corner!

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. James 1:22-24 (NLT)

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