Sunday, February 04, 2007

One Foundation!

Preaching through 1 Corinthians is pure joy. I’m in chapter 3 and Paul is driving home the point that Jesus Christ is the only foundation that the church can situate on (v. 11). The preaching that Paul began with in Corinth was indeed foundational. He refers to it back in 2:1-2 as his decision “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

The foundation of the church is not New Testament ethics or the moral teachings of Jesus. And as important as love & good works are, neither of those is the foundation that the church is built on. It's not built on the decision-making or teachings of leaders throughout the two thousand plus years of church history. It's built on Jesus Christ & him alone.

Jesus once told the Jewish religious leaders, "You search the Scriptures... & it is these that bear witness of Me...." (Jn 5:39). Paul says in Eph 2:20 that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles & the prophets, & Jesus is the cornerstone. So here in ! Corinthians he says again, "Don't try to lay another foundation."

During an especially heated period of theological controversy in England in 1866 when liberalism threatened to destroy the great cardinal doctrines of the Anglican church, a hymn was written by Pastor Samuel Stone (1839–1900). He was known as a people’s pastor who refused to compromise on doctrinal orthodoxy.

It was Stone’s desire to write a hymn that would reaffirm the Lordship of Christ as the foundation of the church. So he wrote twelve hymn texts based on the Apostles’ Creed. The musical text (click here) below refers to the ninth article: “The Holy Catholic (Universal) Church, the communion of saints: He is the Head of this body.”

The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; She is His new creation by water and the Word: from heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

Elect from ev’ry nation, yet one o’er all the earth, her charter of salvation One Lord, one faith, one birth; one holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food, and to one hope she presses, with ev’ry grace endued.

Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One, and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won: O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we, like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with Thee.

enjoy, ron

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