Back to the Bible!
"According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the Foundation." - The Apostle Paul (1 Cor 3:10)
Do you like pizza? Seldom do you find someone who doesn't! I never get tired of it!
The wonderful thing about pizza, you can build it anyway you like! The different ways of making a pizza are unlimited!
But there is ONE necessity. And without that one thing, you do NOT have a pizza.
You must have the foundation to have a pizza! If you don't have the foundation, the bread crust, then you don't have a pizza! You need the foundation to build on!
Simple as it may sound, our Christian faith is like pizza in that sense. We have a great deal of freedom in how we worship our Savior. But we must have the foundation!
Our varieties of Christian music are an example of our freedom. Some people like the old hymns, other people like traditional gospel music. Some folks like the praise and worship music - other folks enjoy contemporary songs.
Another example of our freedom in Christ is in choosing a place of worship. Some people choose to congregate with large numbers in large buildings. Other people like to assemble in humble settings, perhaps in storefront buildings, or even in open-air meetings.
Just like making a pizza, we have a great deal of freedom in our Christian faith. But if we don't have the foundation, the essential truths of God's Word, then we don't have Christ!
We must have the foundation!
"I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you have received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the Word I preached to you! Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Cor 15:1-4)
The foundation of the Christian faith is the essential, fundamental doctrines given to us in the Bible. The word "doctrine" means "teaching." And our faith in Jesus Christ is built upon the essential "teachings" of the apostles and prophets who wrote down the Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit.
A most disturbing trend among many professing Christians today is this: The doctrines of our faith are being downplayed or thrown out altogether!
This is being done with the faulty reasoning that doctrine is "divisive."
The word "doctrine" has become a dirty word in the minds of many Christians because their leaders are telling them "less doctrine is more inclusive." The trend is toward unity with anything calling itself "Christian" at the expense of sound Christian doctrine.
It's true that doctrine is divisive, but that's a good thing! Sound doctrine, biblical teaching, separates the sheep from the goats!
"Jesus died on the cross for our sins" - that is CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, a teaching of our faith. If you do NOT believe that teaching, that Jesus died for your sins, then you do not have Christ! You are NOT a Christian!
Yes, doctrine is divisive! And it is meant to be! It divides the saved from the lost!
"Jesus rose from the dead" - and if you do NOT believe that, you are not saved! We are called to make disciples of people - and to do that, we must give them the essential Christian doctrines!
Jesus said, "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, division! There will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three." (Luke 12:51-52)
It is the teachings, the doctrines of our faith, that separate the believer from the non-believer! And yet, many churches are being encouraged by false teachers to abandon Doctrinal Statements! They are being led to give up their commitment to sound doctrine! All for the sake of INCLUSIVE UNITY. The trend is to no longer use the words "saved and unsaved" - but rather "churched and unchurched."
It's not about winning souls to eternal life! It's all about packing them in, filling up seats!
Beloved, the move AWAY from sound Christian teaching, AWAY from doctrinal statements - to be more "inclusive" - is a move TOWARD apostasy and confusion in the church! If the foundation is destroyed, what do you have left? If you build a house without a foundation, how long will it stand?
These words by the leader of the Purpose Driven Church movement, lead the way into the abyss of apostasy and confusion:
"The reformation of the church 500 years ago was about beliefs. A second reformation is going to be about behavior. I don't care why you do good, as long as you do good. It's not about what the church believes, it's about what the church is doing. It's all about deeds, not creeds. The first reformation divided the church. The second reformation will unify the church."
This is the FALLEN AWAY "church" being built by men who either do not get it or simply do not care. A "church" where it doesn't matter what you believe! UNITY without the foundation of the church, the Word of God!
Beloved, the church IS in need of reformation. But not as the false prophets envision it. They lead the church into a wilderness, a never-never land, tossed to and fro.
The first reformation brought division, yes, it divided faithful Christians from paganism! The first reformation brought AWAKENING - because it brought souls TO THE BIBLE! The people of that time came to know the Word of God. They came to the FOUNDATION upon which they could build a strong house!
Child of God, the Lord is calling us today, COME BACK TO THE WORD OF GOD!
"Before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord, turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse!" (Mal 4:5-6)
Young people today are being told by a world-gone-mad that there is no real "truth." They are drawn into "churches" that do NOT teach Christian doctrine. They are encouraged to be pleasure-seekers and self-seekers, not God-seekers.
Beloved, let's listen to the call of God in these last days! His call to Return to the Solid Foundation!
"I will show you what he is like who comes to Me and hears My Word and puts it into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the Foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it!" (Luke 6:47-48)
"You are members of God's household! 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!" (Eph 2:19-21)
Let me share a short story with you - and I pray it lightens your heart today.
My dad & mom came from farm country, and they grew up back in the day. Their parents, both my dad's and my mom's parents, were farmers who raised dairy cows. They milked the cows twice a day, besides raising big gardens and hogs and chickens.
But times change. After my dad and mom got married, they moved to the city where dad found work that better suited him.
I was born and raised in the city. When I was just a little boy, about every weekend dad and mom loaded the family in the car and off we went to visit my two sets of grandparents out in the sticks. And how I did love them - and how I loved running free through the hills and hollers and backwoods.
By the time I was a young boy, grandpa & grandma (my mom's parents) were raising strawberries. This was strawberry country in those days, and they still have an annual strawberry festival in that little town. Let me brag on my old grandpa a little bit. They put his picture on the cover of Progressive Farmer magazine - standing out in his strawberry field. The magazine wrote up a nice article on the strawberry farmers. That was a big deal - wow, grandpa was famous!
Now the berries got ripe in May, and when they got ripe they needed to be picked pronto. There was a narrow window before they would rot in the fields because, as you know, strawberries are not good keepers.
When the berries got ripe, my dad and mom and all other family members were needed to come home and help pick those juicy reds. Grandpa & grandma had no sons, but they had six daughters! Each daughter was expected to provide one willing son-in-law!
Even us grandkids all helped out, plus the neighbors and all their in-laws and out-laws too - And everybody made money. Grandpa paid everybody "by the quart picked" - all us grandkids made some spending money.
But as I said before, times change. The time came when grandpa & grandma just couldn't get everybody together - family and friends and neighbors had other obligations. There just weren't enough people around who could pick berries for a short period of time in May. Grandpa needed help from somebody. But who would be willing to come in, camp out in the fields, pick berries, and then move on?
Picking strawberries became the job of the migrant workers, the Mexicans. All the farmers in the region depended on them.
Everybody knew they were "illegals" - but who cared? Why would you care? They were needed, and they got the job done. They were paid "by the quart picked" and were happy to make US dollars.
Now when I grew up, after my schooling & years of traveling, I was drawn to live in that little strawberry town in the boondocks where my family came from. I became a country boy, and raised my own garden, hunted my own game to eat, cut my own firewood that I burned in a pot-belly "warm morning stove" - I really went native.
Grandpa and his strawberry farm had both passed into history by that time. But I would still see the migrant workers come into the countryside in May. Loaded in trucks, it seemed every pick-up truck carried several families - with children and babies onboard.
I never gave it much thought. But one night, I stepped out my backdoor on a fine evening in May. I sat down out in my backyard - and looked up into a clear starry night sky.
And you know, I could hear something soft and beautiful begin to arise in the air.
Before you know it, I was listening to the sound of singing. And it was like music I had never heard before. It was truly heavenly singing - like angels singing.
And then I recognized, the words they were singing were Spanish. I listened for an hour or more to some of the sweetest songs I had ever heard, sung by those migrant workers camped out in the fields not far away.
As I listened, I could picture them sitting around together with their children - making beautiful music together out of their hearts.
I will never forget that. I think the Lord made it possible for me to hear that, as I'm sure many other people in the neighborhood also heard it - to bless us in a special way.
I never looked at those Mexicans again in the same way. When I saw them out in the fields picking strawberries, I was moved to see them as the very, very precious people that they are. They were not just a "thing" that happened every May.
We live in a time when some Americans are literally demonizing entire groups of people as "those bad people." What happened to Christian love, mercy and compassion?
People today are choosing between Christ and Antichrist. They are becoming either more Christ-like or more Trump-like.
If we choose Jesus' Narrow Way of salvation, we choose love and godliness. We choose to humble our hearts in the worship of Jesus. And we choose to be like Him.
If you choose the way of Antichrist, you choose the broad road of politics and prejudice. Following Trump, you will adopt his character, demonizing "those people."
Are you being formed in the image of Trump? Are you growing cold, cruel and callous? Unmerciful? The hearts of many will grow colder and colder, Jesus said.
There is only One Way to be saved from all that. Turn from Donald Trump and put your faith only in the true Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Antichrist will not make anything great. Our Savior Jesus Christ is doing all things well - preparing a place for us in Heaven - and that is great!