CHRIST THE FOUNDATION

(Acts 4: 10-12) 

WE find a remarkable prophecy in Ps. 118 : 22. Re- 
peated by Jesus (Matt. 21:42). Explained fully 
by Peter in Acts 4 : 10-12. 

The Jews were the builders. Jesus Christ was the 
stone, which, rejected by them, became the Head of 
the corner (Isa. 28:16; Rom. 9:33). 

Jesus Christ the sure foundation of everything per- 
taining to the Christian system. No man can lay any 
other foundation (1 Cor. 3:11). At the time Paul 
wrote these words, Jesus had completed the scheme of 
redemption, had commissioned the apostles to teach 
and baptize all nations, had ascended on high and been 
crowned Lord of all. To Paul, this commission was 
imperative. He had planted a church in Corinth, 
across the Mediterranean, hundreds of miles from Jeru- 
salem, the center of Christianity. Some of the Corinth- 
ians were threatening to apostatize from the true faith. 
So Paul exhorts them to build upon the sure founda- 
tion which he had already firmly established, Jesus 
Christ. 

A good foundation is absolutely necessary. A costly 
superstructure would be of no value upon a weak foun- 
dation. Jesus distinguished the wise man from the 
foolish man by the foundation upon which each built 
(Matt. 7:24-27). Upon what sort of a spiritual foun- 
dation are you building? 

1. Other foundation can no man lay for Christian 
life and character than that which is laid in the life 
and character of Jesus Christ. 

This is one reason why He came down from heaven 
and lived among men — to be our Exemplar in life and 
character. He gave a perfect teaching and a perfect 
example of what He taught. He came to show God to 
the world. He was God in the flesh (John 14:8-13). 
His divinity is substantiated by His matchless humanity. 

Christians are told to let their light shine (Matt. 5 : 
14-16). They are luminaries reflecting the light of the 
Sun of righteousness (Mai. 4:2). The church must 
shed forth a borrowed light. Every Christian is a 
living epistle of Christ. The only Bible which the un- 
saved world is reading is the life of the professed 
Christian. 

We search in vain for a flaw in the character of 
the Master. It was absolutely perfect (Heb. 4:15; 1 
John 3:5). Even His enemies confessed that He was 
just (Matt. 27:4, 19, 24). 

He is our ideal. The ethical principles handed 
down in his life and teachings, if applied by individ- 
uals, would transform communities, states and nations. 
We should strive to attain unto His standard. By 
living close to Him, we can grow more and more like 
Him. 

The story of the 11 Great Stone Face" and its influ- 
ence upon the physiognomy and life of Ernest. Apply 
this story to Christ and the individual. 

2. Other foundation for the church can no man lay 
than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

The fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, 
is the rock upon which the church is built. The fact 
of His being the Son of God depends upon His resur- 
rection. The entire system of faith depends upon His 
resurrection (1 Cor. 15:13-17). Remove the resurrec- 
tion, and the entire scheme of redemption would col- 
lapse. Had Jesus gone down into Hades and stayed 
there, He could not have been the Son of God. But 
He brought His mighty power against the gates of 
Hades, forcing them open; consequently the gates of 
Hades did not prevail against the truth that He was 
the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16: 18). 

Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which the apos- 
tles built. All who are in Christ are spiritual stones, 
fitly framed together, constituting the holy temple of 
God, or the church, which is the habitation of God, 
through, or in the person of, His Spirit (Eph. 2: 19-22; 
1 Pet. 2:3-7). 

The divinity of Christ is the basis upon which the 
church is resting. Some have built upon the doctrines 
and traditions and institutions of men, causing secta- 
rianism and dissension in the religious world. What 
we need to-day is a complete return to the personal 
sure foundation, Jesus Christ; and the exaltation of 
Him as the one to whom all authority has been given 
in heaven and upon earth, the King of kings and Lord 
of lords. 

3. Other foundation for Christian doctrine can no 
man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

Some folks think that the sum and substance of 
doctrine is baptism. Such is a mistaken idea. The 
entire New Testament is the doctrine of Christ. We 
can preach a sermon on prayer, communion, liberality, 
or meditation, and preach doctrine. 

Paul has very much to say about ' ' sound doctrine." 
Doctrinal preaching is the only preaching that can sat- 
isfy the hunger of human souls (Tit. 2:1). Let all 
ministers examine their sermonizing carefully to see if 
they are breaking the Bread of life, instead of handing 
out stones. 

" Christ and him crucified" is the foundation of all 
sound doctrine (1 Cor. 2:2; Acts 8:5, 35). This was 
the burden of apostolic preaching. They revealed His 
will to men. They preached His commands, and re- 
quired unconditional obedience to them, because He is 
King. The doctrine of Christ, as revealed by the apos- 
tles, is the rule of faith and practice for the church. 
It is infallible and complete. 

We must not confuse doctrine with dogma. Dogmas 
are the speculations of men. The Scriptures only are 
profitable for doctrine, and are all-sufficient for the 
government of the one body (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). 

Faith takes the Saviour at His word. We should 
do what He commands, without asking any questions, 
because He is King. If we once bring our wills in sub- 
jection to His will, we will obey without question. All 
sound doctrine centers in Jesus the Christ. 

4. Other foundation for Christian government can 
no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus 
Christ. 

There are several forms of church government origi- 
nated by men of which these are the most important: 

a. A man-made autocracy, in which the government 
is vested in one supreme head, who claims to be the 
personal representative of Jesus Christ on earth, such 
as the Church of Eome. 

b. A bureaucracy, in which the government is vested 
in a council of men, as in the Episcopal Church. 

c. A representative democracy, in which the govern- 
ment is placed in the hands of the representatives of 
the various congregations, as in the Lutheran and 
Presbyterian Churches. 

d. A pure democracy, in which the congregation is 
the seat of authority, as in the Baptist and Congre- 
gational bodies. 

None of these harmonize with the divine plan. 
Jesus Christ established a government, a kingdom, an 
absolute monarchy. This kingdom is not of this world 
(John 18:36). It is a spiritual institution of which 
He is the Head (Eph. 1:22, 23), and has no ecclesias- 
tical organization on earth. The seat of all authority 
is in heaven (Matt. 28:18). Jesus Christ is the abso- 
lute monarch of His kingdom (1 Cor. 15:25; Phil. 2: 
10). His laws are contained in the New Testament, 
from which there can be no appeal. Each individual 
citizen of this kingdom is subject to these laws (2 
Tim. 3:16, 17). Such is the divine plan of govern- 
ment. 

5. Other foundation for Christian unity can no man 
lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

"We have a great deal of talk about Christian unity 
to-day. The world is ready for it — but how can it be 
brought about? 

The Pope of Rome insists that there can be no unity 
outside of the Catholic Church. The Church of England 
invites all followers of God to unite upon Episcopalian- 
ism. But these offers could never be accepted by the 
religious world in general — neither could we desire 
them to be. 

Federation is being proposed by many. But as a 
means of promoting unity, federation is a failure. It 
would establish a Protestant hierarchy upon a founda- 
tion of compromises, that would soon collapse because 
of its own unwieldiness. "We would have no more 
respect for a Protestant ecclesiasticism than for a Cath- 
olic. Federation always signifies a compromise of the 
purity of the gospel, and draws no line between the 
body of Christ and sectarian institutions. 

"What, then, is the foundation of Christian unity? 
Upon what basis can all unite? Jesus Christ. When 
the religious world recognizes His authority, obeys His 
laws, submits to His baptism, wears His name alone, 
and puts Him above all dogmas and creeds, then, and 
not until then, will the problem of Christian unity be 
solved. Indeed, no other kind of unity could be styled 
Christian unity. 

Let us be faithful to hold up Christ before the 
world (John 3:14, 15; 12:32). Let us preach His 
gospel, exalt His laws as the only code of rules of faith 
and practice, insist upon obedience to His terms of par- 
don, insist that all submit to His baptism, and urge all 
to wear His name only. Then will Christian unity be 
brought about by the complete restoration of the church 
of Christ as it existed in the first century.