Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:
Write the Key Verse from memory.
Distinguish between right and wrong spiritual foundations.
Explain the importance of building on the right spiritual foundation.
Acknowledge Jesus Christ as the true spiritual foundation.
List three steps for building a proper spiritual foundation.
“So let us go on to grown-up teaching. Let us not go back over the beginning lessons we learned about Christ. We should not again start teaching about faith in God and about turning away from those acts that lead to death. We should not return to the teaching about baptisms, about laying on of hands, about the raising of the dead and eternal judgment. And we will go on to grown-up teaching if God allows.” – Hebrews 6:1-3
The Bible compares the life of a believer to the construction of a building:
“…you are like God’s farm, God’s house.” – I Corinthians 3:9
Each believer is united in Christ with other Christians to form the Church. The Bible also compares the Church to a building:
“And in Christ you, too, are being built together with the Jews into a place where God lives through the Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:22
Whenever men erect a building they must first lay a proper foundation. Since this is a natural principle understood by all people, God used it to teach a great spiritual truth.
A believer must have a proper foundation in order to build a good spiritual house. The foundation must be laid according to the builder’s plan. The Bible gives the plan of the master builder, Jesus Christ.
This chapter explains the importance of having a proper spiritual foundation. It also presents basic principles the Bible teaches about this foundation.
The purpose of your spiritual “building” is to provide a habitation, a dwelling place, for God. His Spirit will live in you only when your life is built on the right foundation. Paul asked:
“Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16
Because of this you are cautioned to build your spiritual life properly:
“Using the gift God gave me, I laid the foundation of that house like an expert builder. Others are building on that foundation, but all people should be careful how they build on it. The foundation that has already been laid is Jesus Christ, and no one can lay down any other foundation.” – 1 Corinthians 3:10-11
The spiritual foundation of which the Word of God speaks:
is based on God’s Word:
“But God’s strong foundation continues to stand.” – 2 Timothy 2:19a
is a good foundation:
“By doing that, they will be saving a treasure for themselves as a strong foundation for the future.” – 1 Timothy 6:19a
is based on righteousness:
“A storm will blow the evil person away, but a good person will always be safe.” – Proverbs 10:25
“…they will be saving a treasure for themselves as a strong foundation for the future” – 1 Timothy 6:19a)
rests on two basic principles:
“But God’s strong foundation continues to stand. These words are written on the seal: “The Lord knows those who belong to him,” and “Everyone who wants to belong to the Lord must stop doing wrong.” – 2 Timothy 2:19
The two principles upon which the foundation stands are:
1. Redeemed men: “The Lord knows those who belong to him”
2. Living redeemed lives: “Everyone who wants to belong to the Lord must stop doing wrong.”
is built upon a rock which is immovable:
“That person is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the floods came, the water tried to wash the house away, but it could not shake it, because the house was built well.” – Luke 6:48
that rock is Christ Jesus:
“ There is no other God but me. I know of no other Rock; I am the only One.” – Isaiah 44:8
Jesus Christ is the only foundation for spiritual life:
“The foundation that has already been laid is Jesus Christ, and no one can lay down any other foundation.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11
God is the one who chose Jesus Christ as the foundation for spiritual life:
“Because of these things, this is what the Lord GOD says: “I will put a stone in the ground in Jerusalem, a tested stone.
Everything will be built on this important and precious rock. Anyone who trusts in it will never be disappointed.” – Isaiah 28:16
The foundation of spiritual life is not a man-made creed, a denomination, or a religious ceremony. The foundation is Jesus Christ.
Many professing believers try to build great spiritual structures of Christianity in their lives. They become involved in the program of the church and do many good works. The outward appearance of their spiritual building is good. But before long their spiritual building begins to sink and collapse. They become discouraged, defeated, and fall into sin. This is because they are trying to build on the wrong foundation.
Just as a good foundation is necessary to properly support a building in the natural world, the right spiritual foundation is necessary to support the building of your spiritual life:
“The foundation that has already been laid is Jesus Christ, and no one can lay down any other foundation. But if people build on that foundation, using gold, silver, jewels, wood, grass, or straw, their work will be clearly seen, because the Day of Judgment will make it visible. That Day will appear with fire, and the fire will test everyone’s work to show what sort of work it was.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11-13
All so called “Christian” works will be tested by God. The structure of your spiritual life will be examined to determine if it is built on the proper foundation. The only foundation of spiritual life which will stand is that which is built on Jesus Christ.
Foundations are very important. The writer of Psalms realized this when he asked:
“When the foundations for good collapse, what can good people do?” – Psalms 11:3
In the natural world if the foundation of a building is not properly laid the whole structure can collapse. The same is true in the spiritual world. A wrong foundation will result in spiritual disaster.
The Biblical record of Haggai stresses the importance of proper spiritual foundations. Israel was experiencing poor harvests in the natural world. Haggai told them to examine their ways:
“Think about what you have done. You have planted much, but you harvest little. You eat, but you do not become full. You drink, but you are still thirsty. You put on clothes, but you are not warm enough. You earn money, but then you lose it all as if you had put it into a purse full of holes.” – Haggai 1:6-9
To correct the problem, Haggai told Israel they must rebuild both in the natural and spiritual worlds.
Rebuilding in the natural world was necessary for Israel because they had delayed building the house of the Lord. They had built their own homes and put their own concerns ahead of God’s command to rebuild the temple. But more important, the spiritual foundation of their lives was wrong. They had been offering sacrifices [good works] with unholy hands:
“The LORD says, ‘This is also true for the people of this nation. They are unclean, and everything they do with their hands is unclean to me. Whatever they offer at the altar is also unclean.” – Haggai 2:14
A right work offered by unholy hands is not acceptable. The spiritual foundation of their lives was wrong and this is why they were not blessed by God.
In the natural world Haggai told God’s people that the foundation of the Lord’s temple must be rebuilt. He said they must also rebuild their spiritual lives on a proper foundation. From the day that Israel started to build on the right foundation God began to bless them:
“From now on, think about these things: Do you have seeds for crops still in the barn? Your vines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not given fruit yet. But from now on I will bless you!’” – Haggai 2:18-19
From the day you start to build proper spiritual foundations, God will bless you in every area of your life.
Jesus stressed the need for building on a good spiritual foundation. He illustrated this truth by a parable of two men who built houses. The Bible has two records of this parable. One is in Matthew 7:24-29 and the other is in Luke 6:47-49. They are reproduced here to allow comparison of the two passages:
“”Everyone who hears my words and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock. Everyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house, and it fell with a big crash.”
When Jesus finished saying these things, the people were amazed at his teaching” – Matthew 7:24-28
“I will show you what everyone is like who comes to me and hears my words and obeys. That person is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the floods came, the water tried to wash the house away, but it could not shake it, because the house was built well. But the one who hears my words and does not obey is like a man who built his house on the ground without a foundation. When the floods came, the house quickly fell and was completely destroyed.” – Luke 6:47-49
There are several important principles in these passages:
The first principle is that building a proper spiritual foundation is part of the doctrine [teachings] of Jesus. This passage records that the people were “amazed at his teaching”. Part of that doctrine was the story He told about building on a good foundation.
Paul also refers to building a foundation as part of the doctrine of Christ:
“So let us go on to grown-up teaching. Let us not go back over the beginning lessons we learned about Christ.” – Hebrews 6:1a
Paul then continues to list the content of the doctrine of Jesus.
The RIGHT Foundation:
The steps for building a good spiritual foundation are given in Luke 6:47:
1. …comes to me…
2. …hears my words…
All three steps are required. It is not enough to come to Jesus. You must also listen to what He has said. But coming and listening are not enough. You must also take personal action. A person can come to Jesus, hear what He has to say, but not respond:
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say?” – Luke 6:46
You can know the Word and still not act upon it. Jesus is not truly Lord of your life until you respond to His teachings. A good foundation is based on the Word of God. The man who came to Jesus, heard His Word, and then acted on it is called wise. This man made sure the spiritual foundation of His life was firm. He “digged deep” removing everything between him and the Rock, Jesus Christ.
God’s Word is the plan which shows how to build your spiritual life. The Bible must be accepted as the absolute authority and the plan for your spiritual foundation because…
“No prophecy ever came from what a person wanted to say, but people led by the Holy Spirit spoke words from God.” – 2 Peter 1:21
The purpose of God’s revelation is given in 2 Timothy 3:16:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right.” – 2 Timothy 3:16
The Bible contains instruction in the basic doctrines of Jesus. It also provides reproof and correction for failing to follow these teachings.
The WRONG Foundation:
The man who built on a wrong foundation heard the Word of God but did not take personal action on what he heard. He is called a foolish man and compared to a man who built without a foundation.
“But the one who hears my words and does not obey is like a man who built his house on the ground without a foundation. When the floods came, the house quickly fell and was completely destroyed.”– Luke 6:49).
His house was built on the sand instead of the rock.
“It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house, and it fell with a big crash.” – Matthew 7:27
You build on the sand spiritually when you base your life on the traditions or religious beliefs of man. It is thinking you can make yourself spiritual by good works, church attendance, or religious ceremonies.
The Storms of Life:
Jesus’ story of the two builders reveals another great truth. It is the nature of life to be stormy. Circumstances of life result in many personal crises. You must face death, disease, and disaster. Even believers will face problems. Acts 14:22 warns “We must suffer many things to enter God’s kingdom.”
“I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.” – John 16:33
No one escapes the storms. Stormy circumstances of life are experienced by all people everywhere. The storms are the same, but what differs is how people respond to them. If your spiritual life does not have the right foundation you will fall. Just as the house built on sand, the fall will be great. If your life is built on the right foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word [doctrine], the storm cannot shake you:
“”Once again I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once again” clearly show us that everything that was made–things that can be shaken–will be destroyed. Only the things that cannot be shaken will remain.” – Hebrews 12:26-27
When the shaking experience comes, that which cannot be shaken will remain. Those who stand have built a right spiritual foundation.
A good foundation is a prerequisite for constructing a sound building in the natural world. The word “prerequisite” means that it is “required before.” A proper foundation is required before constructing the “superstructure.” The “superstructure” is that which is built on the foundation.
A proper spiritual foundation is a prerequisite to spiritual maturity. In Hebrews 6:1-3 we are told we cannot go on to perfection unless the spiritual foundation is properly laid. Spiritual maturity is the superstructure [the building] which rests on the spiritual foundation. If the foundation is wrong then the superstructure will not stand and you will never achieve spiritual maturity.
The following lessons explain things which must be part of your spiritual foundation. But as the parable of the two houses indicates, it is not enough to be informed of these basic doctrines. You must make a personal response to God’s Word and integrate these truths into the spiritual foundation of your life.
If you do not respond to God’s Word, you are like the man described by the Apostle James:
“Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy.” – James 1:22-25
Remember that from the moment you decide to start building your spiritual life on the proper foundation, God will bless you.
These are the basic principles you will study in the following lessons:
Repentance from dead works
Faith toward God
Laying on of hands
Resurrection of the dead
(Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter of this study.)
The Bible contains the teachings [doctrine] of Jesus Christ and the words of the one true and living God. It explains how to build your spiritual life on the right foundation.
Study the following verses about God’s Word and summarize what they teach:
The Bible is God’s Word:
II Timothy 3:14-17
II Peter 1:19-21
I Corinthians 2:13
I Thessalonians 2:13
The Bible is Eternal:
The Bible is a Set Standard On Which to Base Spiritual Life: