How Firm a Foundation

Our congregational theme at “WE”sonville for 2018 is “STAND FIRM”. We have already heard two excellent sermons from John on the subject. Last Sunday’s lesson on the Parable of the Two Builders from Matthew chapter 7 taught us the necessity of building or STANDING on a FIRM foundation. We want to continue building on those thoughts in this article.

In II Timothy chapter 2, Paul told the young preacher to: “Be STRONG in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (v1); “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” (v8); and “Avoid men who have gone astray from the TRUTH” (v18).  He concludes these thoughts by reminding Timothy that “The FIRM Foundation of God STANDS” (v19). The religions, the platforms, and the denominations of men come and go, but the foundation that God asks us to STAND FIRMLY on remains       forever. We want to look at Scripture, a wonderful old hymn, and some quotes from a great leader in history, to gain a greater knowledge of what it means to STAND FIRM on a FIRM FOUNDATION.

The song “How Firm a Foundation” was published in 1787. Many of its old lyrics came directly from Bible texts, such as Isaiah 41:10, 43:2; Ezra 6:3; and Psalms 46:1, 62:7, in addition to the verses noted in this article.

“How FIRM a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!  What more can He say than to you He has said, You who unto Jesus for  refuge have fled”?

The God-breathed Scriptures provide for us a stable foundation on which we can build our faith and our lives as Christians. As Paul closed his first epistle to the Corinthians, he urged them to remain steadfast by  mentioning their FAITH and STANDING FIRM. “Watch, STAND FAST in the FAITH, be brave, be strong”. (I Cor 16:13). In Peter’s second letter, he stressed that Christ had no need to give further instructions or say more.“He has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, and has given us exceedingly great and precious promises”. (II Peter 1:3-4). The all sufficiency of the revealed message is made plain in II Tim 3:16-17. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”. That entire FIRM FOUNDATION is there for us when we run to Christ for shelter and protection.

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed; For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;  I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to STAND, Upheld by My         gracious, omnipotent hand”.

 The Lord promises to uphold and encourage His children numerous times in Scripture. When the Israelites faced certain death at the hands of the approaching Egyptians,  Moses told them, “FEAR NOT, STAND still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you this day”. (Exod 14:13). We can live our lives without dismay and without fear only when we have that  personal relationship with Jesus Christ that He desires us to have. Christians have been promised STRENGTH from both the Creator of the World and His Son. Paul prayed for the Ephesians in this manner: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be STRENGTHENED with might through His Spirit in the inner man. (Eph 3:16). That same apostle reminded us that, ”I can do all things through Christ who STRENGTHENS me”. ((Phil 4:13). The revealed and inspired Word of God is given to us to uphold and STRENGTHEN us. “And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to BUILD YOU UP and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified”. (Acts 20:32).

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not. I will not desert to his foes;  That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake”.

The song closes with these magnificent words of comfort and hope. Through Moses, God made very similar promises to Israel. “There is no one like the God of Israel, Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His Excellency through the clouds. The eternal God is your REFUGE, and underneath are the EVERLASTING ARMS”. (Deut 33:26-27a). As Christians, when the world is against us and Satan sorely tempts us, we can truly ‘Lean on those Everlasting Arms’. However, Satan not only tempts us, he wages war against us, and tries to shake our faith and our soul to the point of destruction. God has promised His people that they will never be left alone but He will always be with them. As the Lord commissioned Joshua to lead Israel, He assured that good man of His constant  presence. “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not LEAVE you or FORSAKE you. Be strong and of good COURAGE..”. (Joshua 1:5-6a). The same message is repeated in the New Testament. “Make sure your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never DESERT you, nor will I ever FORSAKE you’; so that we may confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will NOT BE AFRAID . What can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6). From song and Scripture, these are beautiful and wonderful words to those who LEAN on Jesus for REPOSE (Peace and Rest) and who faithfully serve and trust Him.

As a final point, a great leader during WWII, Sir Winston Church of England, knew something of STANDING FIRM for what you believe in. He forever changed the course of human history when he became the first world leader to make the questionable decision to take on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, along with Hirohito and Hideki Tojo of Japan. Churchill quickly realized that despite the odds, the Allies could not allow these two world powers to win any military conflict. Here are three of his dozens of quotes from WWII:

“NEVER GIVE IN – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty; never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. NEVER YIELD to force and NEVER YIELD to the apparent overwhelming might of the enemy”. – If we give in to Satan one time, we are more vulnerable than before and if we yield to him completely, no longer STANDING FIRM, we will lose our souls.

“We shall go on to the end…We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets. We shall NEVER SURRENDER”. – We are in a constant battle with Satan and sin so we must have our armor on at all times. We must keep fighting and NEVER SURRENDER to the evil one.

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the COURAGE to continue that counts”. We have to fight the good fight until the finish to gain the prize. When we fall, and we all fall at times, we must get up and keep fighting, keep trying. We accomplish that through COURAGE, a trait that God demands that we have because He knows we need it. May we all encourage each other in these efforts!