How Firm A Foundation

Bible Book: Isaiah  8 : 14
Subject: Jesus, Rock of Ages; Rock, Solid; Trust; Faith; Foundation, Jesus the

How Firm  A Foundation

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Isaiah 8:14

The songwriter penned,

“My hope is built on nothing less,

Than Jesus blood and righteousness,

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

“On Christ the solid rock I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.” (Edward Mote; Circa 1834)

This great hymn expresses the security we have in Christ, the solid rock. Today we are going to look at a passage from the Old Testament which speaks of Christ hundreds of years before the Savior came into the world. Look at Isaiah 8:14 ...

"He will be as a sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel,
As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem."

Our text speaks of a “sanctuary” upheld by a Cornerstone.

The “sanctuary” spoke of a Place of:

  • Asylum
  • Security
  • Protection
  • Blessing
  • Peace
  • Grace

The Cornerstone spoke of ...

  • A Person
  • A Man
  • A "He" and not an "it"
  • A stumbling stone to those who reject Him

Note 1 Peter 2:4-10 ...

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (NKJV)

To those who believe, Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone. He is the solid foundation. To those who do not believe, He is a stumbling block.

A few years ago, my wife and I sold a home in Georgia. I discovered a few months after selling the home that the new owners had experienced a difficult and weird problem. The owner walked out of his house to find that his vehicles, which he had left outside the garage on the cement driveway, had fallen into the ground. If fact, all he could see were the windshields and roofs of the vehicles. A person was called to inspect the parking area that had collapsed and to offer a solution to the problem. What this person discovered was a bit strange. It seems that the initial builder had used a portion of the lot to discard his excess materials while erecting the house. Then, he paved over that section to create a parking pad outside the garage of the house. After a period of time the driveway simply sunk under the weight of the vehicles because the material discarded under it had rotted away. Of course, my wife and I bought the home without knowing about this issue, but it troubled us that the new owners had inherited the problem. In the end, what appeared to be a solid foundation was only rotting building material underneath.

In life, one must find a sure foundation. Do you have a solid foundation under your life? Let me assure that the only eternal, solid and firm foundation in this world is Jesus!

How Firm A Foundation. Everthing else is rotting material, or the songwriter penned, it is "...sinking sand."

First, let's condsider ...

I. The Description of the Cornerstone

The Cornerstone is described in the Bible, which tells us clearly that God's intention was for us to know how to find and rest on the firm foundation that He alone provides. A poor foundation can be repaired in many cases, but if one rests his or her soul on the wrong foundation for eternity there is no recovery whatsoever. In order to have a foundation that will not give way when the time of judgment comes, we need to know several things.

A. The Cornerstone is a Person

See Acts 4:11-12 ...

11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

First, we must note that the Cornerstone mentioned in the Bible is symbolic of Jesus Christ. The foundation is not a religion, not a denomination and not a set of ethics. The foundation is not money, position, looks or skills. The foundation is the person and work of Jesus, the true Lord and only foundation for the soul.

Sadly, many people are trusting in their own good works and deeds as a foundation for eternity. That would be like the man who bought our home depending on his vehicle's value and worth to keep them from sinking when the driveway pad gave way. His automobiles were helpless when the foundation collapsed. No matter what he paid for them, or how highly they were rated by the car industry, they were doomed and fell into the pit when the source on which they rested gave way.

Your life, no matter how good, is hopeless to hold you up unless you have placed it on something substantial. There must be a solid source on which to stand.

Recently I read about a couple who had just married and were on their honeymoon. They were in the mountains and wanted to get a photo standing near the edge of great precipice. They backed up to the edge and moved a little too close to the loose rocks around the rim of the mountain. Suddenly, the rocks gave way and they fell to their deaths. It did not matter how strong the new husband was, he could not prevent the fall. In did not matter how sweet the new bride was, she could not keep from tumbling down the mountain to her death. They died on their honeymoon because they rested on a poor foundation.

Let me ask you a serious question: On what are you standing today in regard to your eternity? I assure you, one day you will be called upon to meet God. In Revelation 20 we read about the Great White Throne Judgment.

Note Revelation 20:11 ...

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them."

This verse reveals that those who appear before this judgment will have no earth on which to stand. Believe me, you don't want to be in that situation.

On New Year's Day, several years ago, I decided to clean the gutters of my home. In order to get to the high roof at the back of my house, I moved my 16' ladder up on the roof of our sunroom. Then, I started up the ladder to reach the high point on the mainroof. Just as I was about to step off the ladder to get onto the roof, the ladder began to slip away. The ladder was sliding off the sunroom below me. I grabbed the ladder and held on for dear life. The ladder slid off the upper roof and landed on the sunroom roof. Fortunately, the ladder did not slide off the sunroom roof; if it had, I would not be preaching this sermon. It turned out that I broke a rib and otherwise bruised myself severely. I have not been on a tall ladder since that day. My point is, holding onto a ladder that was falling was no protection for me. I had a death grip on the rails of the ladder, and it was an excellent ladder with no flaws; however, the ladder was falling. It provided me with no protection whatsoever.

My dear friends, we all need something solid on which we can depend when these frail bodies give way to death. We must have a divine foundation that will not fail in the hour of need.

We must also be aware that ...

B. The Cornerstone was Planned

1 Peter 2:7-8 ...

"7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

'The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,'

8 and

“A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.”

They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed."

Before the foundation of the world, God planned to send His Son to be the Savior of all who would put their faith in Him.

Look at Romans 5:8 ...

"8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

You see, God was thinking of you before anything and everything was made. He was thinking of you long before you ever thought of Him. He was planning for your salvation before you even knew you needed it. He called you; you did not call Him. You only responded because of His love and grace.

Before a building is built, a plan must be prepared - a drawing or architectural design must be made. Also, the plan must be valid and meet all conditions related to proper building regulations and the correct use of all materials to be used. Then, it must be inspected while being developed. That is the way a safe and effective edifice is erected.

Let me tell you something important; God had a plan and He kept it on course to completion. That is why Jesus cried from the cross, “It is finished.” The plan had be completed and the Cornerstone laid for the souls of men and women of all ages. He is the only foundation – to rest on any other will be like the gentlemen who had his cars parked on a collapsing driveway. If you don’t want the floor of your soul to drop into eternity without hope, place your life on Jesus. He is the Foundation - He is the Chief Cornerstone.

C. The Cornerstone Was Proven

“...tested”

Now, how was the Cornerstone tested? Jesus was tempted on all points as we have been tempted, yet without sin. Someone asked, “Preacher, what about the childhood of Jesus? Expect for His birth, and His appearance at the Temple as a child, we don’t know anything about Him. How can we be sure He was perfect during those years?” I’ll tell you how you can know. When Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, the Father in heaven said, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” Let me assure you that God has not been well pleased with any of us during the years before our redemption. In fact, we have not fully pleased Him even since we were saved. Jesus pleased the Father in every way and at all times. He was tested and proven to be the only reliable Cornerstone for the souls of mankind.

Think of a great Bible figures and almost without exception you think of great sin.

  • Abraham lied.
  • Noah got drunk.
  • David took another man’s wife and put her husband in the front of a battle where he died.
  • Peter denied Christ three times.

Jesus, and Jesus alone, lived without sin. The Cornerstone has been proven and tested, and He in no way was or is found wanting in any respect.

D. The Cornerstone is Precious

“precious”

He is beyond price. His blood is called "precious" because it is more valuable than silver, gold, rubies and diamonds.

A little boy asked his grandfather, “Did God you make?” The grandfather acknowledged that God had made him. “Well,” said the little lad, “Did God make me?” Again the grandfather said that God had made the lad. The little fellow looked at the aged grandfather’s wrinkles and said, “God is doing a better job lately, isn’t He?”

Friend, one thing is for sure, God never did a better thing than provide His Son for our salvation.

  • He is the precious Cornerstone
  • He is precious in His perfect life
  • He is precious in His amazing teaching
  • He  precious in His healing power
  • He is precious in His loving attitude
  • He is precious in His mercy and grace
  • He is precious beyond price in providing a solid foundation for anyone and everyone who will trust Him.

Sadly, let's look at another truth ...

II. The Detesting of the Cornerstone

See Isaiah 8:14; Luke 20:17; Psalm 118:22

How is it that people stumble when it comes to trusting in Jesus as the Cornerstone on which to build an eternal life?

A. Some Stumble in Pride

Perhaps the greatest enemy of the soul is pride. The people in Isaiah’s day were filled with pride, and this has been a great enemy of every one of us. Pride caused the people in the time of Isaiah to refuse to accept God's plan of salvation. So many today reject Christ because it requires that they humble themselves. It can be said that if you are not "humble" you will "stumble." To those who reject Him, He is a stumbling stone and a stone of offense.

The other day I saw a photo of a stone that fell from a mountain during a recent earthquake. Below the huge rock was a car crushed as flat as a pancake. The back wheel could be seen compressed as flat and horizontal as the body of the car. The entire car was not more than a few inches thick. It is far better to rest on the Rock than to die under it!

Sadly, many cannot and will not come to Him because of their pride. They abhor the idea of admitting their own sins. Some live in the pride of thinking that they deserve to go to heaven because they are better than the worst person they can think of. Listen, unless you are equal to Jesus – who was perfect – you need a Savior. Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Jesus is the only answer. You must throw off your pride and come to Him in humility and faith.

B. Some Stumble in Pleasure

Some people do not come to Christ because they love their sin. During a terrible hurricane a few years ago, some people threw a hurricane party. They were told to evacuate because the storm was going to be extremely dangerous and destructive. They laughed at the storm, held their party and drank themselves silly as the winds began to howl outside. Soon, however, the water came up around their waists. They cried and screamed but it was too late. Only one person escaped among the several dozen at the party. That person testified to the awful fear that gripped everyone once the water began to rise. Pleasure keeps many people from taking their place upon the Rock of safety before the coming storm of judgment.

C. Some Stumble in Procrastination

Others plan to get right with God, but they keep putting it off. Their favorite line is, “Not right now.” I have witnessed to many people who said, “Preacher, I’m going to do this at some point, but it is just not a good time for me to do that right now.” Yes, they were simply trying to get out of a situation in which they felt pressured, but the pressure will be much greater when death breathes cold on the neck and it is too late.

You see, time passes and the heart hardens, and then procrastination turns into defiance. God said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man – Genesis 6:3a (NKJV)

A preacher went to see a man about salvation. He said to the lost man, “Sir, I’m here to talk to you about your soul’s salvation.” The lost man replied, “Preacher, I don’t have time to talk to you about religion.” The preacher pulled the man up very close and whispered in his ear, “Sir, what if I were death visiting you?” Friend, it does no good to plan for an eleventh hour salvation if you die at 10:30. Many die in their sins because they put off a decision regarding their soul.

But let's end on a high note today. Look with me at ...

III. The Dependability of the Cornerstone

A. Confidence in Christ

Trust means to have faith or confidence in Christ. Christ is dependable for all those who put their faith in Him. One must believe in Him. You can be sure of this, confidence in Christ is never misplaced. You can trust Him to keep His word to you. He is not like those who promise what they cannot deliver, or like those who do not have the means to do what they assure you they will do. He is the sure foundation – the firm foundation of the soul.

B. Confession of Christ

The inward faith must be expressed in a confession. Romans 10:9-10 tells us this fact. Confession means an unashamed, open confession of the Lord. Do you know what the word “confession” means? It means to “agree” with what God says about sin. It means to “agree” with what God says about His Son. When I confess my sin, I am simply admitting that God is right and I am wrong. When I confess Christ as Lord, I am simply admitting that Jesus is exactly who God says He is.

C. Conquest through Christ

If faith is present and confession is made, victory is won! At that moment, you place your everlasting soul on the rock of ages.

When a person confesses sin and confesses Christ as Lord and Savior that person is placed upon the Solid Rock - Jesus. At that moment ...

  • You have a foundation that man cannot move
  • You have a foundation that hell cannot move
  • You have a foundation that time cannot move
  • You have a foundation that no creature can move
  • You have an eternal, everlasting Foundation

“That soul that on Christ has leaned for repose,

I will never, no never, forsake to his foes.”

Conclusion

Christ is the Stone over which you eternally stumble, or the Stone upon which you eternally stand.

He will be the crushing rock of judgment to those who reject Him, but He is the comforting Rock of joy to those who receive Him.

Which one is He to you? I know what He can be. Come to Him today. Place your faith in Him, turning from you self and sin, and He will be your firm foundation, now and forever!

Let those of us who have trusted Him recommit our lives to Him. Perhaps you have been worried and troubled lately. You have lost some confidence because of circumstances. Listen to me, circumstances are temporary but Jesus is eternal. Renew your faith. Don’t sit on the Rock of Ages – Stand on the Rock of Ages.

Now we are going to sing. The Savior is waiting for your commitment. Now is time. Today is the day.