Living Without a Foundation
Jesus asked His disciples the most important question of His day and ours, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15) Peter answered Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus told Peter that His identity would be the rock or foundation of His church- the one upon which each one in His group of people would build their lives (Mt 16:16-18).
So many people live their lives from day to day without the acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Thoughts about Him do not even cross their minds. They do not consider His commands. They do whatever they want to do. They allot no time in their schedule for worship to Jesus- no time even to pray to the Father through Him in thanksgiving for their food, much less time to assemble for worship with other believers.
Others profess that they believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, yet their lives do not show it. These “believers” do not live by the moral law of the Divine King. They worship seldom, if ever. Or, perhaps they worship often, but in ways other than their Divine King has directed them to worship. These are no more building on the foundation of Jesus than those who do not profess Him at all. The lives or “houses” that they are building are being built on the sand and not on the rock. Therefore, they will be swept away by the storm of God’s judgment (Lk 6:46-49).
Will you take a few moments and examine with me why that you should build your life on the conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and how this foundation should affect your life from day to day? …
Conviction First Results in Conversion
Before you and I let anyone serve as the foundation of our lives there better be a good reason. Unfortunately, so many people are just told to “accept Jesus” without being given any reason why. That is why their “faith” is so shallow, why it has such a minimal effect on their lives, and why it usually doesn’t last. It takes conviction based on evidence to produce genuine conversion to Jesus.
When Christianity was first preached, 3,000 converts were made in the very city where Jesus had been crucified less than two months before. How were they converted? Peter set before them evidence that led them to the conviction that Jesus is “both Lord and Christ (King)” (Acts 2:36). He reminded them of the miracles that they had seen Jesus perform. He argued that Jesus rose from the grave and rose to be exalted by 1) referencing fulfilled prophecy, 2) relating eyewitness testimony, and 3) explaining the significance of the miracles that they saw and heard that day (2:22-35).
How are converts to Jesus made today? They are made through the presentation of the same evidence that produced the first 3,000 converts. Consider the testimony of John. He concluded his writing by saying that he had only recorded a few miracles, but that they were enough to convince us (the reader) to believe in Jesus- turning water into wine; healing the sick, the lame, and the blind; feeding thousands of people with very little food to work with; walking on the water and raising the dead to life (Jn 20:30-31).
Read the eyewitness testimony of those who said that they saw Jesus alive after His crucifixion. Ask yourself if any other explanation (including the Jewish leaders’ story that the disciples stole Jesus’ body while the guards were asleep) best explains the empty tomb and the success of the gospel in the city of Jesus’ gravesite.
Consider fulfilled prophecy. What if you asked me to pick up your uncle (whom I had never met) from the airport? If you supplied me with enough details about his appearance- short, thin, bald, goatee, glasses, navy pinstripe suit, wingtip shoes, carrying two red suitcases- then I could recognize him immediately and introduce myself to him as his ride. If I could recognize your uncle based upon 8 particulars, then you and I can certainly recognize that Jesus is the promised King from the over 400 specific prophecies which He fulfilled. The O.T. gave so many details of the coming King that it is obvious that Jesus is the One whom the Jews and the world had been expecting.
Once convinced of Jesus’ identity, your conviction will prompt you to do what the first 3,000 did as the result of their acceptance of the evidence. You will repent of your sins, that is, turn from what Jesus says is wrong and turn to what Jesus says is right. Then you will be immersed in water for the remission of your sins, burying the old man and rising to walk in newness of life- a life whose foundation is forever more that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3-4).
Conviction Keeps on Working
Coming to conviction about who Jesus is leads to conversion, opening the door to the continual working of His gospel in one’s life (1 Thess 2:13; Col 1:5-6). Before conviction and conversion, the gospel was just so much paper and ink, but afterward the gospel is the word of the Divine King. Just how does one’s conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God continue to work in his life following conversion? :
1) Conviction works to shield against temptation (Eph 6:16). Satan and his wicked host are constantly attacking a Christian by tempting him to sin. How does the Christian ward off the attack? Through His conviction! When the devil entices him to do something contrary to the gospel, the Christian responds by saying that he dare not violate the moral code of his King.
2) Conviction works to expose sin as sin. A Christian not only refuses to participate in sin, but he exposes it. Because of his conviction, he speaks out against wickedness, letting everyone know the moral requirements of His King. The light of Christ shines on Him so that he dispels darkness, as does the Sun-lit moon. This light comes not only from his example, but through his words of reproof (Eph 5:3-13).
3) Conviction works to share the gospel. The conviction of the Thessalonians was known, not only in their city of Thessalonica, but in Macedonia and Achaia (all of Greece; 1 Thess 1:6-8). They had sounded forth the word so that others, too, might hear the evidence about Jesus and come to conviction, conversion, and salvation. A Christian cannot be silent, but must live by the same principle as Paul, “I believed, therefore I spoke” (2 Cor 4:13).
4) Conviction works to stand firm on the truth and to stand up for it. A Christian will not accept or condone any teaching that is not His King’s teaching (2 Jn 9-11). He knows that, even if an angel told him something different, he would have to reject it (Gal 1:6-10). He will stand up for the truth, exposing error in teaching (Gal 2:3-5) and practice (Gal 2:11-14)- for he defends His King’s Word!
5) Conviction works to stand firm in the face of persecuting opposition. Paul knew that the Thessalonians received the gospel as the Word of God because they endured intense persecution right after their conversion. If their conversion had not been the result of true conviction, then they would have given up their “faith”. A Christian who is opposed for teaching the truth or for living righteously must first fortify his conviction- setting apart Christ as Lord in his heart. Then he must defend the word of His Lord and King with gentleness and reverence (1 Pet 3:14-15).
If you are a Christian, does your life reflect these works of conviction? Perhaps you need to shore up your faith by a fresh review of the evidence. If you have never been converted to Jesus, now you see how that your conviction about Him would change your life if you decided to build your life on the foundation of Jesus…
Conviction ‘Til the End
Twice in a short space the writer to the Hebrew Christians makes the point that it is not enough to come to conviction about Jesus at one point in your life. He writes, “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house-whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end… for we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end” (Heb 3:6,14).
Building on the foundation of who Jesus is must never stop. The confidence in Jesus which one shows at the time of his conversion through his repentance, confession, and baptism (Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3-4, 10:9-10), must be maintained until the end of one’s life.
Paul called on Timothy to live in keeping with his confession in order to lay hold on eternal life. Many witnesses heard him confess Jesus as King and so he needed to keep the King’s commandment without spot until His return (1 Tim 6:12-14).
I call upon all who have not done so to come to conviction and conversion to Jesus through your study of the evidence. To those who have done so, I call upon you to hold fast to that conviction which you confessed in the beginning to the end, so that you may receive the eternal life in heaven which you were called to receive. Keep living by your conviction- on the foundation of who Jesus is. Only then can it truly be said that you are a part of His house.