Date: August 5, 2018
Pastor Joe Fisher
Title: A Family Built on a Firm Foundation
Text: Genesis 12:1-3; Ephesians 2:11-22
Wellspring Church Springfield, Ma.
SCRIPTURES: Genesis 12:1-3; Ephesians 2:11-22
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.
BIG IDEA: A Family Built on a Firm Foundation
Do you remember what it’s like to be away from home for a while? It could be for something good or it could be something unexpected? What did it feel to be reunited with your bed? If you are away from your family, do you think of being reunited with them? Do you miss them? We long to be in relationships. When things are out of sorts with others, we can tell. We long to be reunited with our family.
People who are outside the church are longing for purpose. With those in our midst that are new Christians we can talk about what it is like to be reunited with a family of believers that you didn’t know you were missing.We are a family built on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.
In this passage Paul is calling to these gentiles, aliens and sojourners. They did not understand the ways of God. He calls them to tell them they are now in the family of God. Literally, the church is the temple presence of Jesus Christ to this world. That’s what is going on here in this scripture.
Often we say thing like “now that I am a Christian I am a temple for the Holy Spirit”. But this is true only in the sense that we in the local church. When you are building a temple you want to know what your foundation is built on. Paul gives us things that our foundation is built on. It is built on the apostles – it is an apostolic church. An apostle is vastly gifted in the starting of new churches from town to town. You see this in places like India and China today. An apostolic church is a church that is faithful to the apostles and the teaching of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our chief cornerstone. We (Presbyterians and Baptists) agree on the most important issues passed on to us by the apostles and prophets. We agree on the supremacy of Christ, the importance of the local church, and that when we take God for our God we take His people as our people. Now we are family brought together by the blood of Jesus Christ.
We cannot have God for our father and refuse to have the church as our mother. The church is the vehicle that Jesus established as his witness in this world. We are the representation of Jesus Christ to the world. He builds up his church by beginning with the local church. He uses preaching, prayer, and baptism as the ordinary means by which He grows the church. Many Christians are ambivalent about the church; they think it is a side issue. They think being part of the local body is just something they do when they have time. They often see the church as an accessory to the Christian life.
Joe’s uncle has always said he loves Jesus, studies the Bible and has even gone on a 40 day fast. He has done these dedicated things but he has never found a church that he feels he can be part of. That’s a problem. Do we think that we can be a faithful Christian and yet not be where Christ is? Where does Christ reside? Christ resides not just with you – his full presence is with the body of Christ.
We cannot be the representation of Christ without one another. We cannot be a lone wolf Christian. The church is where Christ is. We need to be with Christ and His family. How quickly we forget how much we need one another. We miss a Sunday and then another and soon we use Sunday to “catch up” on errands. Do you remember what you ate 5 days go, a month ago? Probably not, yet you have been sustained by the food. What is true of physical food is true for spiritual food. We need each other to keep the firm foundation.
A church built in unity as it grows; joined together – being of one purpose- will be a healthy church. It isn’t just the theology of the doctrine of this foundation, although vitally important, but also the hard things of life together. Some churches have good doctrine but no community. We need to have a high view of scripture but also a high view of the church. We read in Ephesians 4 that there’s patience and love. How do you love one another when you do not participate in the life of the church? How can you help one another to walk worthy without one another? It says humility – it’s hard to be humble when you are by yourself. Unity is in the spirit of Christ. One Christ, one faith, one baptism – using our gifts to build up the body- so that we will persevere until the end; so that we will not be tossed to and fro. So when little waves come we have a firm foundation and when the big waves come we are holding on to one another built on the firm foundation.
Joe is fascinated by Navy Seals. The class starts with 100 candidates and ends with 20. If you ever watch the training, one of the things they have to do is paddle from Coronado in California. Each team has a few hundred pound rubber boat they are in charge of. They have to work together to get out past the waves. The groups that are working together get over the waves because they are working together. They never give up on one another and they never stop paddling. Think about the local church working together. We are rowing together to get over the wave. Soon that wave will come crashing down. We have a fierce bond that will hold us fast.
Be part of the church – don’t be on the outside. Don’t just come and go as you please; belong. That’s what we are being called to here in Ephesians. Build one another up. We want the body of Christ to be the temple presence of Christ. When one falls, the other is there. When the prodigal leaves we are to welcome them home in the name of Jesus Christ. We are to paddle together as the blood bought family of God.