Today marks exactly two years since the horrific Copper Lounge Collapse in Sioux Falls. When this downtown building crumbled to the ground, one person died and another was trapped under the rubble. I remember watching the rescue operation as I was working at Southeast Tech and hearing the horrible news that a person died in the collapse.
After numerous investigations of why this happened, investigators learned that the contractor working on the building illegally removed a load-bearing wall without the proper training. A load-bearing wall is vital to the structure of a building and is what supports everything above it. The removal of a load-bearing wall without any replacement will eventually cause a building to collapse – which is what happened on that fateful December day in 2016.
Might I suggest this is a picture of the Christian Church – especially in the United States?
Towards the end of Jesus’ high priestly prayer, he shifts his focus from praying for the disciples to praying for all future Christians. In John 17:20, he prays to the Father, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.”
Although it’s easy to miss since we have a habit of reading the Bible far too quickly, Jesus makes it clear that the key to believing in Him is through the “Apostolic” word (or the word of the Apostles).
Jesus wants us to understand that the Church is not built on our personal vision but rather on the Word He has given us through the Scriptures. As soon as a local church seeks to be built on anything other than the Bible and the person of Jesus, it will soon collapse. Sure, the numbers may increase because the messages are geared around the “felt-needs” of the audience – but the Church will fail to make disciples or help people grow spiritually.
The Apostle Paul, using a similar building analogy, describes the Church as, “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:20-21).”
This is one of the many reasons we preach through books of the Bible at Renovation Church rather than topical sermon series. I am convinced without faithful verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible, the Church will quickly be built on the personality and interests of the preacher rather than the “apostles and prophets” with Jesus as the “chief cornerstone.”
Here’s a question I want to challenge you with today: who or what is the foundation of your life? The church is the gathering of God’s people; in order for the Church to be built on the Bible and Jesus, each of our lives much also be built on the Bible and Jesus.
As a Christian, the foundation of our lives is NOT family, career, income, citizenship, political party, or anything else in this world. An authentically Christian life is one which is rooted in the teaching of Scripture and sustained by the person of Jesus Christ.
As we begin Advent today, what are some ways the Spirit is calling you to build your life on this firm foundation?