The city of Melbourne is famous for its Yarra River – ‘the river that runs upside-down.’ The Yarra is, for the most part, a pretty safe and healthy river. It just happens to carry a lot of silt, which gives it the appearance of being muddy. All that silt gets deposited at the mouth of the river, as it has done from time immemorial.
I remember years ago the authorities began to develop the Docklands area of Melbourne near the mouth of the Yarra for commercial and residential use.
The story goes that they drove huge piles into the ground to support the weight of the planned buildings. Piles are piers designed to go below loose soil onto something solid and immovable, thus enabling the structure above to stand strong.
Apparently, they drove 14m (45′) long piles into the silt, which promptly disappeared. They drove another on top, which also disappeared. I don’t recall how many had to be piled on top of the previous one before they found solid ground, but it was plenty.
The point is that silt can’t carry heavy loads. Unless they could get the load transferred to something solid below the silt, the structure above would collapse in short time.
Not unlike our Christian faith…
We’ve seen a number of high-profiles leaders in Christian circles recently renounce their faith and turn their back on it. I wonder what foundation they had built on?
Jesus warned us to be careful what we built on. He said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand (or silt). The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed – it was utterly destroyed!” [Matt 7:26-27 NET].
How then do we ensure that we don’t build on the silt? How do we build on solid rock so that we can stand against the rain, the flood, the wind and the storms? “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock” [Matt 7:24].
That’s where good foundations, good structures, begin – with hearing and then with doing. So, we need to know what the Bible says; what it tells us about God, about man, about sin, and about salvation. And the 1st chapter of Ephesians tells us some of that.
Eph 1 (especially v3-14) tells us many of the incredible things that God has done for those who have put their trust in Christ. He has chosen us, united us to Christ, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, sealed us, and more. None of these things were we capable of doing ourselves. All of them have been done by God for us.
That’s foundational. If the structure of our Christian faith is to stand against any and every storm, it must be built on the solid rock of the word of God, assured by the faithfulness of God who never changes, anchored on Christ Himself, and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. If we have these truths engraved on our hearts and minds, we are secure.
We will discover as we work through Ephesians, that more is expected than to just know these truths. They must change us; we must respond to them. It is those who hear and do who will never fall.
Paul, in typical fashion, lays a solid foundation in the first half of Ephesians. Then, in the second half of the letter, he says in essence, “Since these things are true, this is how you should live.” “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…” he begins chapter 4.
Strong Christian faith rests of foundations that go below the silt of doubt, confusion, our modern culture, the lies of the devil, our own preferences and desires. Knowing truth and obeying truth are both required if we are to stand. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” [1Tim 4:16].
How well do you know your Bible? How deeply are the truths of the gospel engraved on your heart and mind? Now, more than ever, we need Christians who are solidly grounded in the Bible, living obedient and gracious lives, and boldly displaying the light of Christ in an ever-darkening world. Will you be one of them?