What is a Foundation?
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
A foundation is the base layer upon which a house or structure is built. When the foundation is strong, and the structure is built well then it brings stability and a long lastingness to the thing built on it. In Matthew 7 Jesus emphasizes the importance of a strong foundation on acting on His word by giving the example of two very different sorts of foundations. One is sand, sand is unable to hold anything for too long it shifts and does not bear weight well. When things were peaceful the house built on them stood ok but as soon as trouble hit the house went with it. As opposed to that there is the house built on a sturdy rock, the house buil on it was able withstand all kinds of turmoil because its foundation gave it the stability to keep from shifting.
The Idea of a Christian Foundation
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
A Christian foundation is the set of basic ideas that must be established before one can go on in growing in the Christian life. Notice how the Hebrews 6 verse talks about going on to maturity and the Ephesians verse talk about growing on after the foundation is set. This is important. While the foundation is important it is not everything in Christian growth! Too often we’ve seen churches that treat setting a foundation as if it in and of itself was discipleship OR they have said the foundation is all there is to the learning portion of discipleship and then it’s basically just Christian friendship. Neither of these approaches is correct. The foundation is essential but there is learning and real measurable growth that happens even after the foundation is set. The foundation must be set though in order for growth to really happen.
The reason for this is simple if we think of another example. Think of a plant. If one tries to water it and give it sunlight when the seeds have not been properly planted then all of their watering and efforts will be wasted because the first rain or harsh weather will cause the plant or seeds to be moved away. If the seeds are too deep they may never reach the top of the soil.. If the soil is not right the plant may not every get started or it may end up misshapen. In the same way Christians without a strong foundation are constantly moved by doubts and the regular push of life. They get stuck in trying to think through issues of the faith and never get on to living out the faith.
Topics in the Foundation
Scripture gives some specific things that go into this foundation. Some great verses for what make up the foundation are found in the verses above and in the sermons that are given in Acts. Topics that make up the foundation are things like: Repentance, God’s nature, salvation, the role and receiving the Holy Spirit, the final judgment, scripture and its importance, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus to name a few. I’ve broken up the topics to be covered in the following list:
- Does God exist?
- Can miracles happen?
- What is the Bible?
- Is scripture reliable?
- What is God like?
- What is God’s purpose in the world?
- Deep down what are human beings like?
- What happened in the Old Testament?
- Was Jesus a real person?
- What does Jesus claim during His life?
- What do we know about Jesus historically?
- Did Jesus rise from the dead? What does that mean?
- Who is the Holy Spirit?
- What work does the Holy Spirit do? How do you know if you received Him?
- What is God’s plan for Christians?
- God and government/work
- What will happen at the end of time?
When we are discipling others, we should make an effort to establish these topics in their mind and help them to grasp them and wrestle through doubts. Anne and I use a Bible study series that goes over a lot of these topics and then beyond them into growth related topics. We are also working on a podcast series that will be a good audio companion when studying these topics with another believer, The important thing is we are thinking practically, Biblically and systematically about our growth and the growth of those we are helping. We want to see others mature in Christ! So let’s set on to that purpose by setting a good foundation.
Podcast Series starts here: