10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation… 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 3:10-11
Let me begin by trying to get your attention. Let me begin by stating that the foundation of the church is weakness and foolishness.
I am so glad I was able to state that.
Every structure has to have a foundation. Actually, every thing has a foundation. But it cannot just be any foundation. The firmer the foundation, the easier and more securely the structure which is built on that foundation will rest. The structures or things that we see in the natural that have been built by God are unspeakably secure. We see them: the planets and galaxies in the cosmos; the sun and the stars. They are immovable. Even the mighty ocean cannot overcome the boundaries that God has set for it, even though all the world’s rivers, both mighty and small, have been flowing into it for thousands of years.
One can add so many things to this list. All these things have a foundation, and it is this foundation that makes them secure and immovable.
This is incomparably more so in the Spirit. If God can secure His creation in the natural to the extent that we see with our natural eyes, how much more would He do for the things of the Spirit, which are of far much more value to Him? You can therefore imagine just how strong the foundations of the things of the Spirit are. Chief amongst these things – the thing He values above all – is the gospel. This is the singular thing which God was willing to give His Son to die for.
(Don’t you think that for this reason we ought to take a moment to reflect and thank God that it was for us that He did this incredible act of selflessness.)
The gospel of Jesus Christ has a foundation, thank God!! And what, pray, is this foundation?
It is Jesus Christ Himself, Christ crucified. The minute you remove the word “crucified” you have removed the foundation from under the gospel, and that gospel will crumble like a card of sticks.
Thankfully, “Christ crucified” was the foundation that the Apostle Paul lay in the Corinthian church when he first preached the Good News to them. When Paul uses the words “wise masterbuilder” to describe himself, he is not seeking after our accolades. Rather, he is stating a spiritual fact which is so important for the church. He is stating the wisdom of God.
Paul directed the Corinthians to the cross. He told them to accept sufferings for the gospel’s sake, and to crucify self, to the end that the life of Christ might be found in them.
“1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:1-2)
“… we preach Christ crucified”. (1 Cor. 1:23)
Paul told the Corinthians to accept to become weak, and foolish. What a challenge! But the Corinthians rose up to it, and Paul left behind a strong, holy and united church in Corinth. Everyone had surrendered their lives to Christ.
What a strong foundation the Apostle Paul had laid! For as long as the Corinthians stood on this foundation, they were safe and secure. Since they had denied themselves and taken up their cross, it was the easiest thing for them, in everything, to find themselves standing together “in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).
Wow! What a testimony!
It is not easy for any number of people to stand together “in the same mind and in the same judgment”. Human nature simply cannot allow that. But with God all things are possible. With “Christ crucified” firmly enthroned in our hearts, it is so much possible!
But not long after Paul left them, the Corinthians began listening to other doctrines and teachings. Probably they heard the gospel of prosperity, who knows? Or a gospel of law and prescriptions. They could have heard any number of strange gospels. But it is clear they were no longer adhering to the gospel that Paul left them with, “Christ crucified”. For this reason, they came off the foundation of the cross.
And now they were no longer secure! Now there was war, fraction, and every kind of evil work amongst them. They had come off the only secure place God had given them; the revelation of the cross in their hearts had been darkened. And now they were on another, different foundation, which was fast crumbling.
The church today cannot expect to become spiritual without this revelation in our hearts. There is no other way, and there is no shortcut. The words of the Apostle Paul, backed by the authority of God:
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
It is a foundation of weakness and foolishness… weakness and foolishness with Christ.
[True unity in church can only come about through a revelation of the cross in our hearts]