Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Carpenter's Rule

"Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him.
Mark 6:3 NKJV

My father was a part-time carpenter as was my grandfather before him. My first real job was as a carpenter's apprentice, and I have worked as a carpenter off and on my entire life. So it goes without saying that I enjoy the fact that Jesus was a carpenter, especially if you consider that God chose for Him to be born to a carpenter rather than to an earthly father with any other trade. As I often do, I ask the question “why” when thinking about this fact. What might the reason be for God to choose this profession for His son? Have you ever considered the fact that God is the master carpenter who built the universe from nothing, and simply wanted Jesus to follow in His footsteps?

One of the very first things I learned as a carpenter was how important the foundation is to whatever it is you intend to build. What could be called the carpenter's golden rule is that you must have a strong, perfectly level foundation on which to build. Working as a framer on many large housing projects gave me ample opportunity to build on foundations others had laid, and I can tell you from experience that a poor foundation affects the entire construction process. Absolutely everything has to be adjusted to compensate for a poor foundation from the framing, wallboard, doors, ceilings, cabinets, and just about everything else you can think of. I'm sure that Jesus was well aware of this rule, and I think it comes as no surprise to those who build that it is reflected in what Jesus had to say about building His church.

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:18 NKJV

Jesus tells us two things here. One, the foundation of His church is built upon a rock so strong that not even Satan can move it. Two, He tells us exactly what that foundation is and if we look back just two verses we see what Jesus is referring to;

Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Matthew 16:16 NKJV

You see, the church is made up of those who choose to believe that Jesus was, and is the Son of God. When an individual chooses to accept this fact, and acknowledges that Jesus died for their sins, they then become “Christians”, or one of those who believe that Jesus was indeed the Son of God sent to this earth to die for our sins, and to then rise from the dead so that we too could have eternal life. From that point on, the true believer seeks to follow all that we are taught by the Word and by the Holy Spirit. Jesus describes His followers this way;

"Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: "He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
Luke 6:47,48 NKJV

Unfortunately, Satan has done a very good job in creating flawed foundations for the world to choose from. There are even those today who seem to want to alter, or modify the very foundation God has laid for us. Yet the Word of God makes it clear that there is only one foundation strong enough to stand for eternity, and the Apostle Paul reminds us of what it is in his letter to the Corinthians.

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:11 NKJV

The events of the past few weeks have led many to consider the idea of “foundations”. We have had many opportunities to witness what can happen to structures built by man, and just how fragile they really are. Is your life built upon the rock of Jesus' death and resurrection? Have you chosen to accept His sacrifice and payment for your sin, or is your life built upon an imperfect foundation laid by man? If you want to build your house on a foundation that will last for eternity, you can do that right now. Simply understand this; First you need to understand you are a sinner who needs a Savior. The bible tells us we all have sinned and failed to live up to God's standards. Second you need to understand that God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for your sins. There is no way we can save ourselves, so God chose to send Jesus to pay the price for our sins. Third, and most important, you need to turn away from your sin and accept this payment by asking Jesus to come into your life and to help you begin to build on the foundation He has made for you.

As we watch the world move ever faster towards the end of this age, may you live your life with the confidence that comes from the knowledge your “house” is built upon a foundation that can never be moved.

Keep watching.