Foundations of Faith
1 Corinthians 3:10-23

Our glimpse at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians today is beautifully fitting in the light of our Confirmation service at Croydon this morning.  Today we get a chance to sit back for a moment and hear and view the faith statements of eleven young people who have been preparing their whole lives for the rite of Confirmation.  This is but a step along the journey, but one that has allowed them to pause and reflect on where their faith has come from, what its foundation is and how well it has been built on throughout their lives.

Paul writes to the Corinthians having been their first pastor, he brought the message of Christ and his salvation to them, he laid the foundation well, Christ is that foundation.  Think of a foundation to a building as a starting point to what can become a long standing building.  Usually when you look at the foundation you can tell what sort of building might be erected there.  If the slab is just a square metre there is a fair chance that someone is building an outhouse, but if it covers most of a standard quarter acre block or beyond there is something more substantial on the way. 

The foundation needs to be laid well, you’re all familiar with the parable of the man who built his house on sand and the one who built it on rock, and you all know which one will stand up to the testing of floods, and cyclones.  The one with the strongest foundation will win out every time.

The foundation Paul had laid was none other than Jesus Christ, Son of God, the one who came to take our sins upon himself and to take them to the cross for our sake.  This is the foundation point of our faith.  Everything else beyond that has been added to by others along the way.  Paul had left behind others like Apollos who were continuing to build on the faith and knowledge of the Corinthians, but things were starting to go a little astray.  There were issues developing and Paul actually calls the preachers and teachers to account.  What they are building needs to be solid too.  If you build on a foundation with gold and silver and precious stones it too will last, but if you build it from wood, hay and straw they won’t be as strong and will struggle in the fire that is to come. 

This reminds me of the story of the three little pigs.  That story mentions nothing about foundations but is extremely descriptive when it comes to the building materials in use.  The first one built his house from straw and of course the wolf huffed and puffed and down it came, the second one did a slightly better job and gathered up some sticks to build with but ultimately the huffing and puffing took its toll.  Then the wise little pig number three built his out of more sturdy stuff – bricks, and the big bad wolf huffed and puffed until he was blue in the face but to no avail.

When the preachers and teachers of this world teach in accordance with God’s word, they are building with gold and silver and precious stones, so that when the time of testing comes, the house that has been built will stand.  This text even goes to the point of stating that the one who has done the building could run into strife if on the last day the work they have done is made from cheap and flammable material and they disappear quickly in the fire.  The builder will suffer loss, but still be saved.

This is tough for us to hear, so it is great to see young people like ours gathered together today and reflecting on the way that their faith has been built upon throughout their years.  They will speak of influential people who have made a positive impact, they will give credit to the creator, the Master Builder to top all master builders, they will reflect what they have learnt from their parents, friends, school teachers, Sunday school teachers, pastors, mentors, H2H leaders and the list goes on. 

There are many who influence the development of faith in each of these young people and of course in each of you.  It is a long and important road we are on, and there are many turns and traps along it.  We need the help of others, and of course the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us and strengthen us and teach us, so that the firm foundation of Christ is built upon well.

I watched a show the other day called Megastructures, and they were showing the building of a television tower in China, I can’t pronounce the name of the city it was in, but it was over five hundred metres tall, and was being built to withstand category five typhoons.  Bigger and stronger even than cyclone Yasi or Carlos that has been menacing Darwin this week.  The foundations on that thing were intense, but so too was the rest of the building, it was beautiful and functional, strong and striking, worth millions and millions of dollars.

God has given us a foundation even stronger than that, he gave us Jesus.  He has gathered around us many builders along the way to help put together our faith.  The buildings or temples as Paul describes our bodies, are all different shapes and sizes, the walls are higher on some than others, some are built low and strong, others much taller and lankier, but God’s spirit dwells in each of us, to guide us and protect us.

Each of these young people have drawn on that to make their statement of faith today.  Let’s give thanks to God for these young people and the lives they are leading, let’s give thanks for those who have been there for them in their faith life so far, and lets ask God to continue to provide for them, to be with them and to be the foundation and the mortar that holds their lives and ours together.  So that when the day of fire comes they will not be consumed but stand firm in the faith, hope and love that has put them together, firm on the foundation that is Christ Jesus.

Amen.