The Foundations

Uncategorized // March 8, 2020 //

Turmoil is defined as “a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty”.  Everywhere we turn there seems to be turmoil.   We see this played out in political arenas, social circles, and even among Christians.  So often we find ourselves at odds with someone or something.

As Christians, how are we supposed to deal with this?  The Sunday School answer is to look to the Bible.  And while that is absolutely the right answer, the Bible is a big book.  How do we find answers there to all the different challenges we deal with?  We start by understanding some of the foundation stones that our faith is built upon.

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness”.  I’m listing this as the first foundation stone because everything else will be based on the Bible.  Looking for answers without including the Bible, would be like joining a rescue party in the wilderness with no means of communication or navigation.  In the end, we just become part of the problem, needing to be rescued ourselves.

This verse from Timothy, and others like it, confirms for us that the Bible is our source book.  This is not an ignorant, blind faith.  But it is a childlike faith.  It is a faith that says the entire book is trustworthy because God has already shown Himself to me through what I understand of it.  We could get into the apologetics of why the Bible is a unique book, but at the end of the day our faith is not built on arguments, it is built on trust.

Another foundation stone is found in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  This verse puts us all on equal footing.  No one has any right to think themselves better than anyone else.  We have all missed the mark.  We have all fallen short.  We have all broken God’s heart.  Remember this verse the next time you are tempted to think of one person as more valuable, or more important than another.

Similarly, Romans 6:23 tells us plainly our future based on Romans 3:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  We, all of us, deserve death; the penalty for each of us is the same.  And then comes the word, “but”.  “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Hallelujah!  It just gets better from here.

Romans 5:8 explains, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”  Not only is there a gift of salvation, but it was paid for when none of us deserve it.  This means we all have value.  Our lives mattered so much to God that Jesus died for us.  Not because we are good or deserving.  Our other foundation stones make it clear, that we are not.  Remember this verse when your life seems aimless or meaningless.  Your life, and mine, matter to God.  And so do the lives of our friends and enemies.

Taking these three verses together we understand how even the playing field is.  All of us failed, all of us face the same penalty, and God valued each of us enough for Jesus to pay our price with His own life.  Please, let this lift your spirits.  Understand that your life matters and has a purpose.

Next, we turn to Acts 4:12, which tells us “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”  Acts 4:10 tells us plainly that Jesus is the name referred to in verse 12.  God only created one means of salvation.  The world we live in does not accept this.  Holding to this truth is deemed ignorant at best and intolerant at worst.  But this truth is not based on opinion.  It is based on God’s word.  It is trustworthy.  And, honestly, only God could create a way to heaven.  To believe that we can decide how we approach heaven is silly.  It would be like a small child deciding how he should be rescued from a well.  The child is at the mercy of the rescuer and the rescuer is the one to decide how to be pull the child from the well.

But how do we bring this all together?  We turn to Romans 10:9-10, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.”  For so many years the church has taken a piece of this verse and left the most important part behind.  We have focused on saying some form of a sinner’s prayer.  As if saying certain words can save us.

That is not what these verses teach.  Yes, we absolutely must make a confession, but we are confessing that Jesus is Lord.  If we do not mean that, then the words are empty and meaningless.  Our salvation is not a free gift, it is a gift freely given.  But accepting the gift is acknowledging that our lives are not our own.

And, lastly, Matthew 28:18–20, “Then Jesus came near and said to them, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

We have been commanded by our Lord to go, and take this news with us.  We have been sent into this world to share the truth of all these verses.  To put it plainly, sharing the gospel with my neighbor is my responsibility.  Telling my co-workers the truths of the Bible is my responsibility.  Telling my family about Jesus is my duty to my Lord.

You may say, “I don’t know how”.  The answer is simple, “then learn”.  I don’t say that harshly.  I understand fully well the complications around sharing our faith.  But those complications do not lessen the expectation.  We have been sent to share.

So, way back at the beginning of this article, I mentioned the world in turmoil.  Here are some practical ways these verses help us navigate the turmoil.

If you find yourself in a disagreement with a person who does not know Jesus, and the disagreement has its roots in our faith, don’t argue.  Don’t begin to push Biblical truth on someone who does not believe the Bible.  Remember what we have gone through.  This person needs Jesus.

Our responsibility is not to defend things such as the Biblical view of creation.  At least not with this person yet.  Our obligation is to help this person understand their need for a savior and the love that led Jesus to die for them.  To begin to focus on other issues is to buy into an argumentative culture.  We have been sent to share the love of Christ with a hurting world.  Please don’t allow disagreements or controversies to come between sharing this truth with those who cross your path.

So, what about disagreements with other believers?

In those cases we stick to the basics.  For example, let’s say that one person believes that Christians will go through the tribulation and Jesus will come only at the end of it, while another believes that Jesus will rapture the church before the tribulation.  Both cannot be right.  However, and I ask this humbly, what difference does it make?  Neither view is foundational to what we believe.

So many times we find ourselves at odds with other believers over trivial issues that do not impact our witnesses as Christians.  These issues do not affect how we live for Christ, or the truth we share.  I’m not saying these issues are not interesting or that we should abandon thinking them through, or even discussing them with others who hold a different opinion.  What I’m suggesting is that we recognize that most things are not worth losing fellowship over.

Yes, there are those things that we must defend, even with other believers.  But we need to continually ask ourselves, “does this issue contradict the truth of scripture (not just my personal interpretation)”?  “Is this issue essential to living a life wholly surrendered to Christ?”  “Does this issue somehow subvert the truth of who God is or what He has done for us?”  And I’m sure there are other ways we can look at this.  My hope is not to provide an all-inclusive list.  My goal is to help us think through what’s important so that our witness is effective for Christ and not defined by all the things we stand against.

May the truth of Christ shine through us all and change the world around us.

About Anthony Beasley