No Foundation but Jesus

Audio clip and bulletin notes for a sermon preached at Morden Mennonite on Feb. 19, 2017, in a series called “Jesus: Our Church’s One Foundation.”

This sermon concludes our reflection on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians through the story of Gaia, a fictional woman in first-century Corinth. In this sermon Gaia begins to experience what Paul meant when he said that “all things our ours” in Jesus our “one foundation” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23).

Audio: “No Foundation but Jesus”

Pastor’s Notes:

West Forum, Corinth (Holy Land Photos)

West Forum, Corinth (Holy Land Photos)

  • The church in Corinth was a church divided over sexuality and marriage, spirituality and worship. There were factions within the church, each with its favourite theology and preferred leaders. Underneath all this were questions over how to faithfully follow Jesus within a diverse and changing culture.
  • Paul insists the church’s only foundation is Jesus, crucified Messiah and resurrected Lord. Christian unity lies in following Jesus and Jesus’ way of love together; this is even the mark of Christian maturity and spirituality. This means, then, that nothing else is a foundation for the church: not any particular set of rituals or way of worshiping, not any specific set of beliefs or moral code, not any religious or cultural tradition, not even the Bible. Jesus Christ alone is our foundation (1 Cor 3:11).
  • But this one foundation opens up the whole world to us. Paul insists that because Jesus alone is our foundation “all things are ours”: we can draw widely on a variety of people and experiences to grow in this Jesus-centred faith and life (1 Cor 3:21-23). This relates to the idea that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Ps 24:1): because God is our good Creator who has made all things good, everything is available for our edification and enjoyment.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What things am I tempted to place at the foundation of my Christian faith and life instead of or in addition to Jesus? What about us as a church?
  • In what ways am I intentionally drawing on a wide variety of resources—diverse teachers, writings, traditions, experiences, stories—to grow in my devotion to Jesus and his way of love?
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