"Falling Foundation"   (September 2009)

Whether you acknowledge it or not, whether you agree with it or not; this nation has its roots in Christianity.  The first settlers from abroad came to this land in order to be able to freely practice their religion- Christianity.  The first document that was drafted in the “New World”, which later became known as the United States of America, was the Mayflower Compact.  In the Mayflower Compact it reads- “Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony, etc.”  They acknowledged that they made the voyage to America and chose to make it their new home for the purpose of glorying God through the advancement of the Christian faith.  Therefore, they set laws in order that were based on Christian principles and Biblical standards.  Later as we grew into a nation, our founding fathers adopted the Constitution and made it the governing law of the land.  The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.  The first amendment protects our freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.  If you are aware of the things that are taking place in our nation, you know that these rights are being put in question.  There are those who are trying to do away with our rights as individuals- our rights that are protected by the Constitution.  The foundations of this nation are under attack.  The laws by which we have governed ourselves have made us great, but they are being undermined.  The principles and ideals that we have held on to since the establishment of the nation are being ignored, rewritten, disregarded, in short, they are being done away with.

When the laws by which you are governed are removed, there is chaos and confusion.  Laws are given to us as safe boundaries.  For example, a traffic light is placed at an intersection in order to prevent an accident.  Remove the traffic light and every car will think they have the right of way and there will be a collision with perhaps serious injury or even death.

When the foundations are removed, there is nothing to stand upon.  My house is sitting on a foundation.  Remove it and the house will fall.  The Bible talks a lot about foundations.  It tells us which foundations we should build upon and which ones we shouldn’t; which ones are safe and which ones aren’t.  It points out the blessings of being on a firm foundation and the consequences if the foundation is unstable.

This is not going to be a message about the United States of America and the direction in which the nation is going that is taking it off its foundation; nor is it going to be a history lesson.  But I am concerned at what I see happening and know that this nation cannot exist much longer if it is completely removed from its Godly foundation. 

I bought this up about the nation because what we see happening in it is happening in the church as well.  We have been seeing the foundations upon which the church was established being removed or have already been removed in some cases. 

What is the foundation upon which the church is built?  “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.“ (Matthew 16:13-18)  Peter received a revelation from the Father in heaven that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.  It was upon this revelation- Jesus is the Christ- that He said He would build His church.  Jesus used the word “rock” because it was a solid foundation upon which He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.  The Bible tells us that the Israelites drank water from a rock when they were in the wilderness.  Jesus was that Rock.  “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)  A rock is solid, it doesn’t shift like sand, it doesn’t erode with time, it represents strength and stability.  Christ being the Rock that the church is established upon, means that the foundation is eternal, we don’t have to worry about it changing.  So the foundation of the church is Jesus.  “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11)

So if Jesus is the foundation of the church, how can I say that the foundation is being removed?  Jesus doesn’t change and He is eternal.  While the true foundation of the church does not and will not change, men are trying to move the church off the foundation. 

The moving of the foundations of Christianity should come as no surprise to us.  I believe it’s a sign of the end time.  “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be... ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (2 Timothy 3:1,2,7,8)  “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) 

The Holy Spirit inspired the apostle to write that there would be a “falling away” before the coming of the Lord.  I always thought that it meant that many Christians would just stop serving God and turn their back on Him.  But let me submit another interpretation that seems to be more in line with what this “falling away” means.  I believe that it is referring to a “falling away” from the “truth”- the truth of God’s word.  We are warned in the passages above that men would resist the truth, they would not come to the knowledge of the truth even though they were always learning more and more and that they would give heed to doctrines of devils.  Listen to what the apostle Paul said to Timothy concerning this, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Can’t you see this “falling away” from the truth happening?  Not only is there a watering down of the gospel, but countless churches are preaching doctrines that are not even scriptural.  The teachings, even in evangelical churches, range from everything to Jesus is not the only way to the Father to ordaining homosexuals as pastors. 

What are some of the foundational doctrines that are being removed? 

1) Jesus is the only way that leads to eternal life.  The replacement- there are many ways to God.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

2) Salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and the work of the cross.  The present day teachings tell us that we are saved through our works- just join the church, shake the preacher’s hand, be baptized in water, hold a position in the church, be a good person and so on.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9)  “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

3)  Repentance.  Repentance is no long taught.  Instead the message of “turning over a new leaf” is taught.  “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)  “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

4) The doctrine of holy living is considered old, out dated and out of touch with the present.  It has been replace with situational ethics- its all right to cast aside moral principles in certain situations.  “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” (1 Peter 1:15)  “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

These are the main doctrines upon which the church is built but there are many more that are also being cast away or replaced.  Many are denying the virgin birth of Jesus.  Others teach that Jesus was a good man but deny His deity.  Not to mention some of the absurd, even bazaar, teachings that are going around.  They include the teaching that promotes sexual activity because you cannot experience true intimacy with God outside of a sexual encounter with someone else.  Witchcraft is being exhibited in the form of “new revelations”.  Hell and heaven are not taught as literal places but ideologies, a state of conscience or attitude.  These are only a few of the teachings that have invaded and are promoted within the church.  There are many more that are blatantly erroneous and others that are more subtle.  I am sure you have heard many of them yourself.

So what is the danger?  What’s wrong with believing what you want to believe as long as you are sincere in your belief?  The answer- right is right and wrong is wrong and wrong will never be right no matter how much you believe it to be right.  In this case, it’s wrong because God said it was wrong and He is the one who makes the “rules” and sets the criteria for what is right.  He determines what He will accept and what He won’t.  We have to come on His terms and live by His standards, not our own.  In Matthew 7 a group of people tried to come to God on their terms but He rejected them.  “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22,23)

The rich young ruler wanted eternal life but he wanted it on his terms.  But he did not receive it.  Jesus did not welcome him into the kingdom.  “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” (Mark 10:17,19-22)

The terms that God established bring us life if we follow them.  They are the foundations that are the basis of Christianity.  They are the foundation upon which our hope of eternal life lies.  They are also the landmarks of the church- safe boundaries.  By that I mean that living within these principles keep our souls safe.  If the Bible warns us about removing the old landmarks, the boundaries for establishment, then how much more should we be careful not to remove “spiritual landmarks” as well if our souls are to be safe and secure.  “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deuteronomy 27:17)  “Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless.” (Proverbs 23:10)  “Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.” (Job 24:2)  “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28)  If the foundational teachings of the Bible are removed, we have no foundation and our lives are built on sinking sand.  “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

How can we make sure our foundation is secure and stays secure and that we aren’t among those who are in the “falling away”? 

First, heed the warnings in God’s word that there are false doctrines out there that try to pull you away from the truth.  Don’t ignore the warnings.  Don’t think that you can’t be deceived.  Don’t think that you are so “spiritual” that it won’t happen to you.  “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)  “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.“ (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Get close and stay close to Jesus.  So close that you learn His voice then you won’t follow another voice.  “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

Be baptized in and stay full of the Holy Spirit.  He is the Spirit of Truth and will lead you into all truth as you submit to Him.  “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)

Read your Bible; memorize the scriptures.  “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)  “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

Search the scriptures and study the word for yourself.  Don’t always depend on someone else to do your reading and studying for you.  “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)  “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:27)

Apply the word to your life- don’t just read it, but obey it, live your life by it.  “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)

Don’t just believe everything that you hear regardless of who you hear teaching it- know it for yourself.  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Keep your mind renewed with the word of God.  Stop listening to the world’s way of thinking.  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Remember that you will stand before the Lord alone one day.  Each person will give an account for himself.  You are responsible for your own walk with the Lord- whether you stand or fall.  So do what you have to do to make sure that you are right with Him.  “...Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12b)

God has so graciously given us His word so that we will know what is truth and what isn’t; what is right and what is wrong; what is a sure foundation and what isn’t.  It is His desire that you stay firmly rooted and grounded upon the solid foundation.  Knowing the truth will do this... it will make you free from error and keep you from falling away.  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)