Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 3, 1964

The Foundation Of The Lord's Church

Edgar J. Dye

In our present study we are concerned with the foundation of the church belonging to Christ. Its importance stimulates our interest in a study of it. Any structure is only as strong as its foundation. Recognizing this men gather detailed information before laying foundations. Certainly, no wise master-builder would lay a flimsy foundation, nor build on one.

The Lord's church is no exception to the rule for its lasting existence and perpetual beauty are inseparably connected with its indestructible foundation.

A Sure Foundation

Inspired prophecy declares the laying of a foundation that is tried, true, and sure. (Isa. 28:16; Psa. 118:22) Inspired New Testament writers apply these to Jesus of Nazareth. (Mt. 21:42; Ac. 4:10-12; Rom. 9:33). What assurance! What dependability!

Founded Upon A Rock

In response to Peter's confession of Him as "the Christ, the Son of, the living God," Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church." (Mt. 16:13-19).

What is the rock upon which Jesus promised to build his church? Is it Christ? Peter? or Peter's confession? Note that Jesus speaking in metaphorical language represents His kingdom as a city about to be built upon rock, Himself as the builder, and Peter as the one who bears the keys. Neither Jesus, who occupies the position of builder in the metaphor, nor Peter, who is the keybearer, can properly be regarded as the foundation. It must therefore be the confession which Peter made. (v. 16). Hence Jesus expressly declared to Peter, that upon this fact, the fact of His being "the Christ, the Son of the living God," He would build His church.

From the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth men of all nations have made this confession to God's glory and their own salvation. (Acts 2:21-41; Col. 1:5, 6, 23). Through the preaching of Jesus the foundation was laid and the superstructure erected thereon. (I Cor. 3:10-17).

Embraces His Office And Deity

This significant confession embraces two propositions: (1) The office of Jesus — the Christ; and (2) the deity of Jesus — the Son of God. Truly, Jesus is the Messiah. But He is not just a great man and teacher; He is also divine — both God and man.

The Deity and Sonship of Jesus, who is eternal and has all the power in heaven and in Earth (Jno. 1:1-3; Rom. 1:1-4; Heb. 7:25; Mt. 28:18; I Cor. 15:24-28), is the most fundamental and basic of all truths pertaining to man's redemption — the completeness of which rests and can rest on no other foundation. (I Cor. 3:11; Acts 4:11, 12).

Must Believe This Fact

Man's salvation depends on his faith in and confession of the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Acts 2:36; 8:36, 37; Jno. 8:24; Mt. 10:32, 33; Rom. 10:9-10). The evidence to support this faith is the testimony of the apostles (Jno. 20:30, 31); this fact and the supporting evidence are confirmed by prophecy, by miracles, and spiritual gifts. (Rom. 1:1, 2; 3:21, 22; Mk. 16:20; Heb. 2:14). The commandment to which the believer must submit which is expressive of his faith in this fact is baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the redemption of past sins. (Acts 2:38; Mt. 28:18, 19; Mk. 16:15, 16; Acts 22:16; 10:47, 48; I Pet. 3:21; Tit. 3:4-6).

Each person brought to such "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5; 16:25, 26) is a Christian — and only a Christian.

Significance, Import, Ideas Attached

Saving faith recognizes the significance, import, and ideas attached to the confession of Jesus as the Christ. He is represented as an anointed prophet (Isa. 61:1; cf. Lk. 4:18-21; Jno. 1:32), an anointed priest (Dan. 9:24-26; Zech. 6:13; Heb. 3:1; 5:10; 7:11-17), and an anointed king, (Psa. 2).

Moreover, sinful man's every need in the salvation he seeks is adequately supplied in the performance of these functions. The sinner's need is instruction because of his ignorance, pardon because of his guilt, and emancipation because of his enslavement. In His office of prophet Jesus removes ignorance; as priest, guilt; as king, enslavement.

Therefore, to believe and to confess that "Jesus is the Christ." is to receive Him as the only prophet, the only priest, and the only king, possessing the heavenly powers to instruct us, to atone and intercede for us, to reign over our hearts, and to lead us to victory. (I Cor. 15:57). To His word we must go; on His sacrifice we must depend; and to His authority we must yield.

Its Oneness And Sureness

The oneness of the foundation of the Lord's church establishes the oneness of the entire structure. If there is only one foundation there can be only one superstructure. There are many members, but one body; and its members are individual Christians, not so-called Christian and denominational churches. All the saved who enjoy the promise of eternal life are lively stones built up a spiritual house on this one sure foundation. (I Pet. 2:5-8; Eph. 2:19-22; I Cor. 8:12-17; Acts 2:47).

This foundation will stand. (Mt. 28:20; Eph. 3:21; I Cor. 15:20-28; Heb. 12:28). Doomed are the structures and horrible is the fate of those founded upon the doctrines and commandments of men. (Mt. 15:9, 13, 14; 7:21-27).

Be sure you are building on the foundation of the Son-ship of Jesus!

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