Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guest Speaker, Dave May, on "What Are You Building On?"

In 1174, an Italian architect, Bonnano Pisano, began to work on what became his most famous project: a bell tower in the city of Pisa. It was shaped like a circle, had eight stories and was 185 feet tall. There was just one problem: the builders discovered that the soil around the tower was very soft and the foundation that Pisano had designed, was not deep enough to hold the building. Before long the entire bell tower began to tilt and little by little it kept tilting. For the next 176 years, many things were done to try and stop the leaning tower from tilting more. They made the foundation under the building more firm so it would not tilt more. They rebuilt the top of the tower at an angle to make it look straight. The tower of Pisa has continued to stand for over 800 years; it now leans more than 18 feet Away from the center. And still it stands. Much has been done to preserve the building. But it can never be made perfectly straight, without tearing it down and starting all over again. And eventually the building will have to come down because of it’s unstable foundation. What the foundation is built on is very important as we can see from the above examples. And THE corner stone is the important starting point of any building.
In the summer of 1973, during my summer vacation from bible school, I came to Japan for a 2 ½ month short term mission. I help a professional carpenter build four cabins at the Bible school in Kashiwazaki, Niigata. I am not a carpenter, but when shown what to do I can do it. Anyway, with each cabin, we found a good solid starting point for the foundation. Setup a transit. And From that point all measurements were made.   This ensured that the cabins were square and stable as they were built on their foundation.
1. What are you building on?

Eph. 2:20-22 ...built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by the Spirit.

Remember, Christians are the Temple of God. Not a physical building, but a Spiritual dwelling where God lives by His Spirit. This building is not the church. We are. And when we leave this building it is just like any other building. The church is gone because we the church are not present.
The foundation for our Spiritual dwelling was put down over 1900 years ago by Christ Jesus Himself; By His life, death, and resurrection. You and I cannot put down another foundation. All we can do is build on that foundation laid by Jesus Christ. Are you building on Him? What are you building on Him? How are you building on this foundation? That is the important question for every believer. When we come to Christ, we come with no works.  

Eph. 2:8-9.  “For by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God-not by works lest anyone should boast.” 

We came bringing nothing. By faith we are put on that foundation laid by Jesus. Now, from there we can build on that foundation. How we build on that foundation is up to us.
My first question: What are you building on? Good works? Being a good person? No these things will never get you to Heaven. We have just read from Eph. 2:8-9. Nothing we can do will get us into heaven. No!

Acts 4:12  “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Friend, if you have not put your faith on Christ Jesus the cornerstone, make today the day you do. Make today your day of salvation by simple saying “Jesus by faith, I lay my life on your foundation. From now on I want to build on the foundation You have laid..
The building of a firm Christian life is no different from the process of building a firm foundation for any building. The blueprints must be followed and the materials must be gathered before the work can be done. And were do we find all the instructions for building a firm Christian life? From The Bible, God’s Word. This is our instruction book. That is why it is important to study the Bible. Why we need a quite time with God. Why we need to fellowship with other Christians. But it is important to have not only a good foundation, but it is also very important to use good building materials.
 II. What materials are you using?
    Christian, what are you building on the foundation of Christ Jesus? What types of material are you using to build on this foundation.  Like a physical building, they are many types of materials that can be used to build the building. So also with our spiritual lives. Paul writes,

"If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light…… 1 Corinthians 5. 3:12-15 .

  Several years ago, after my mother went home to glory, my brother, sister and myself were going through her things. My sister said, “David, David! Look here is one of your favorite books. The Three Little Pigs.” And like wise this is a popular story among children today.
 Remember the story? One fine day, three little pigs left their home to find their fortunes in the big, wide, world.  After awhile, the first little pig met a man with a load of straw. The first little pig was tried of walking. And the straw was cheap. So he bought the straw and built a house from it, and things were fine for awhile, until the big bad wolf comes along and, “huffs and puffs and blows the house down.”
In the woods nearby, the second little pig decides to build his house. He gathered some wood and built his house. The wood was a little stronger, but when the big bad wolf came along, and, “huffed, and puffed”, it could not stand.
Now, all this time the third little pig had been very busy. He had collected strong bricks for his house. One by one he laid them until he had a strong, sturdy house. When he finished he had a beautiful strong house to live in. Not long after he had finished, the big bad wolf came along and thinking he would blow it down just like the other pigs houses, he ”huffed and he puffed until he was all out of breath.” But the brick house stood strong. After resting awhile he tried again. A still the house stood firm. Then seeing the chimney, he thought he could climb down it and get the little pig that way. So down the chimney he went right into a pot of boiling water the little pig had prepared. Thus ending the story.
The wolf can represent many things. First, he can represent Satan as he tries to get you to fall to temptation. The wolf can also represent the problems of life. You see, when everything is bright and sunny, and there are no problems, it doesn’t matter what your house is made of. But there will be times in your life when Satan will come to tempt you. When life’s problems, worries, pains, concerns come, during those times will your building be strong enough to stand? And these times will come.
  There are some who are teaching that the Christian life should be all joy. If you are not enjoying a happy, prosperous Christian life you must be sinning. My friend that is a lie! God never promised that the Christian life would be easy. In fact He said just the opposite. God never promised there would be no pain, sadness, and problems. He never promised a life that would only experience happy times. But listen, He did promise that He would be there with us, to help us through these times.
But there is a warning to take our Christian life seriously to use only the best materials. For we will all undergo an inspection.
III. Will It Pass Inspection?

 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2Corinthians 5:10

It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved…,”                1 Corinthians  3:12-15

Several years before coming to Japan, I helped to finish the inside of my sister’s house. The first thing I needed to do was to put in the electrical wiring. I am not a professional electrician. So I bought a book and read how to do it. And then following the books instructions, I wired the house. Not being an electrician, I didn’t use codes, so I didn’t know if I was doing it right. Anyway, when I finished I call the city inspector to come and inspect my work. Well, he was not very happy with my wiring job. He found many, many things wrong. He told me to correct my errors and he would come again to inspect it. Fortunately, I was able to correct all my errors and the inspector came OK-ed my job.
But at Jesus’ inspection, there will be no chance to correct what we have done. It must be done now before we face Jesus: during this life time. If we used good materials they will stand. But if the materials we use are not good they will be burned up.  So then what can we use to build a strong Christian life? I think Peter gives us some good instructions that will guarantee our building will pass inspection in 2 Peter 1:3-83

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ words:
 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”