God bless you all; it’s time to begin our service this evening. I am trying something just a little different here today, as you can see, and I will see how it turns out. Where we come from, I oversaw our video production and broadcasts, so I have quite a bit of experience doing that sort of thing. But I know it’s more than a one-person job to do it well, and when you are doing the speaking in a live setting, it’s not very easy to also manage the recording equipment at the same time. So, up until this point, that is one of the reasons I have avoided doing that. But I decided to give it a try today. So we will see how it goes.
I am glad to have you here with us. In case this is your first time joining us, my name is Charles Paisley, and I and most of our listeners here are formerly members of the cult following of William Branham known as The Message. I am formerly the associate pastor of the second oldest message church in the world, located here in Jeffersonville where the Message started. And this is just a little mission I operate to help people and offer some encouragement to those who are escaping the cult and in a process of healing from the harm which that group causes.
I want to send special greetings to the saints in the United Kingdom and the saints in Liberia who have reached out over the past week. May God richly bless you. We are keeping you in our prayers. I ask again that everyone also continues to pray for the saints in the Philippines and also pray for the ones in Guyana too, in South America. There are people today making their decisions, and we want to pray for their hearts to be softened, their understanding to be opened, and also pray for the brave souls who are being able to travel and speak. You know I don’t tend to say many names because it’s not safe for some of them. They truly do hazard their lives to share the truth. Please let us all pray for their safety.
We are continuing to see success after success, and I want to praise the Lord for that.
We have been on a series working our way through the book of Ephesians since October, and today we are finally on our way down to the end of chapter 2. I invite you to turn your Bibles there with me, and I will read from verse 17 down to the end of the chapter. The Apostle Paul writes:
English Standard Version
17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him, we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Let us pray. Lord, as we approach the scripture, we ask your blessings and guidance. Help us to understand the things that we read, help it to heal our hearts and our minds. Grant it to us we ask, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We have an interesting topic to look at today. As you know, we have already examined down to verse 19 in our prior lessons. Today, we are going to focus especially on verse 20.
But I have read the preceding verses here because before we dive into verse 20, I want to remind us all of the broader point that the Apostle Paul is making in these verses. Paul has been explaining to us how Jesus Christ created unity, how he broke down the walls of hostility, and how he brought us all near. Near to each other, near to him, and near to the father. He connected us all, in and through himself. And the results of the connection and that unity are that it creates something that is like a new family – the family of God. And this new family, this new community, the church, is one unit because it is all built on the same foundation.
And as we come to verse 20, as Paul talks about this foundation we are built on, he is doing it as part of his explanation about what unites us all with each other. Let’s read verse 20 again. Paul says we are:
“20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.”
So, this is the foundation on which the church is built. The entire church, which is people, this is our foundation. Our foundation is Christ Jesus, laid down by the apostles and the prophets. We all sit upon this. This foundation beneath us is our common ground.
“20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
Now in verse 21, we see that it is in Jesus Christ that this whole structure is being joined together. The points of connection between all these different parts of the building are all being joined together in Jesus Christ.
And, as I have pointed out before, unity, true unity, is unity with Jesus Christ. As he prayed in John 17, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may all be made perfect in one.” It is in him that we all have our union and our unity with each other. All the joints that bind us together, connect, and intersect in Jesus Christ. That is what verse 21 is telling us. The point at which you and I are united to each other – is in Jesus himself. And that is the unity that matters. That is the unity that counts. That is the unity of the faith.
There is a unity that man can create. You see that back with the people who built the tower of Babel. The people who built the tower of Babel had a unity. God even said, “there is nothing these people cannot accomplish when they are united.” Man can create a unity. And in their unity, they can build and do many great things together. They can build a tower to reach up to heaven even. But that is not the sort of unity that Paul is speaking of here in the book of Ephesians.
Paul is talking about a spiritual unity. A unity that mankind cannot create but is a spiritual unity that results from us all being united to Christ and in Christ.
“In whom the whole structure is being joined together. You can join together outside of Christ. You can join together in all kinds of ways. But the unity Paul is speaking of is a kind that can only be had when we are joined together in Christ. Amen.”
And as we bring our attention back to verse 20, Paul says that Jesus Christ is himself the cornerstone of the foundation on which we are built.
In construction, especially back in those ancient days, the cornerstone is very important.
When you build a structure, the cornerstone is the very first part of the building to lay down. However, you lay that cornerstone down; that is going to affect everything else you build.
That cornerstone is going to define the line that your walls take. The walls are all going to be laid out in a perfectly straight line back to the cornerstone. Each and every block will have to line up just right so the wall will be straight. Then, as you stack on more blocks and build upwards, that cornerstone will be used to level the building. Everything will have to be flush and follow the level of the cornerstone; otherwise, once you get so far up, the building will fall down.
When a building is constructed, and parts of it are not aligned to the cornerstone, it is a disaster waiting to happen. The walls will be crooked and not supported the right way. The load won’t sit right across the structure, and the building would be structurally unsound. The whole thing could collapse.
So great care has to be taken to ensure everything is lined up with that cornerstone. And if it’s not, you have to pull that block out and fix it. You might have to tamp it down a little to lever it out or add a little mortar to level it out. Or maybe you have to chisel a little piece of it so it fits right. But whatever you do, it’s got to fit into that wall and line up just so with that cornerstone.
And that is a great analogy for the church. Jesus Christ is our cornerstone, and everything has to be aligned with him. He is the way, the life, and the truth. If it is not aligned with him, the building is not going to be stable.
If you try to make another way to be saved, except through grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, then you are not lined up with the cornerstone. Jesus is the truth, and everything about him is the perfect truth. Any so-called block of truth that does not align with Jesus is a problem. And Jesus is the life; you want to know how to live your life – look at Jesus. Whenever you hear something, you have to ask, does this fit in the life of Jesus? And if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t need to fit your life either. Jesus is the cornerstone, and we can bring everything back and see how it lines up with him in a very personal sense. If it doesn’t line up with him, then it is out of place.
And so, for people like you and I, who are part of this building, you and I are each a stone in this building. We need to align with the cornerstone. We need to look at the cornerstone and know how it’s laid. We need to understand the angle and the level because if we don’t know that, we will end up with something that will collapse. And that is why preaching Jesus is so important. Churches that abandon preaching Jesus and abandon preaching the basics of the gospel, it’s not long, and all the people lose sight of the cornerstone. They get all wobbly, and crooked, and everything else.
So, let’s take a little time here and talk about this cornerstone. Let’s understand its angle and its level because we need to know that in order to evaluate all the other blocks that people may try to join to this building.
And verse 20 says:
“20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.”
Modern Day Apostles and Prophets?
Now, the first question we might ask ourselves here is, what about these apostles and prophets? Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. But what about the apostles and prophets?
And there are different ways that people apply the first part of the verse.
Some of them, like where we come from, will say the foundation of the apostles and prophets – this is the teachings of all apostles and prophets, including the prophet William Branham, and including other modern-day apostles and modern-day prophets. In that way, they will actually insert themselves into the foundation. They will lead you to believe that you need them and whatever latest so-called revelation they have in order to be established on the foundation.
They will tell you that it is necessary for you to build yourself on whatever teachings these modern-day apostles and prophets have come up with. But that is not really what this verse is telling us. As we look at this verse, Paul is speaking about this foundation in the past tense. It has already been built. Paul is not telling the Ephesians here about future apostles and future prophets, but he is talking about apostles and prophets who have already been and who have already laid the foundation.
And if it’s not clear about that, it’s even clearer if we go to 1st Corinthians and turn there with me to chapter 3. I will read three verses there where Paul speaks about this same thing.
Paul says there in 1st Corinthians:
“1 Corinthians 3:10-11 English Standard Version 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
So here, we can see very clearly Paul is saying that this foundation is already laid. It’s laid down in the past, even before Paul wrote this letter. And Paul says very clearly there in verse 11, no one can lay a new foundation. You can’t get modern-day apostles and prophets as part of this foundation. And there is no way whatsoever that Paul is speaking about modern-day apostles and prophets in relation to this foundation.
So, when he says, this foundation of the apostles and prophets, he is very clearly talking about the apostles and prophets from the days of the Bible. This thing has nothing to do with modern-day apostles and prophets. Nothing whatsoever.
Are Apostles and Prophets part of the foundation?
And there is one other thing I want to point out to you. We notice here in 1st Corinthians, Paul says Jesus Christ is the foundation. At first glance, this actually might seem to be different than what he said in Ephesians. But really, when we look at those two verses together, it is pretty clear that what Paul is telling us is that the apostles and the prophets are not themselves the foundation but they are the ones laying the foundation.
So when he says the foundation of the apostles and prophets, he means it is of them, in the sense that they laid it down. But they did not lay down themselves. The apostles and the prophets did not make themselves the foundation. The foundation they laid down was Jesus. Jesus is the foundation they laid down. He is more than the cornerstone; he is the entire foundation.
Notice again what Paul says here in 1st Corinthians. Paul was a master builder; he laid the foundation. But the foundation is Jesus Christ. And when we go back to Ephesians 2 and there we read Paul say we are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, we can understand more clearly he is not saying these apostles and prophets are themselves the foundation but they are the ones who laid the foundation down. And in that way, the foundation is of them; it is of their labors. But the foundation is Jesus Christ.
Christ guided the whole laying of the foundation because he was the cornerstone of it all. Christ had preeminence in it all. The apostles ensured that every block and every angle in that foundation was fully and perfectly aligned with Christ. And that is why we can put total trust in the things we read from the apostles and prophets here in scripture because they took absolute care to ensure everything we have recorded in scripture is perfectly aligned to Christ.
And in that way, we can say their teachings are foundational because their teachings are entirely aligned to Christ.
You see that symbolism repeated in the book of Revelation when New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. The names of the twelve apostles are written on the foundation. They laid that foundation down. And you and I, as Christians, have everything we need in the foundation they laid down. The foundation does not need to be modified; it is perfect and complete. It is adequate in every way.
No Other Foundation Can be Laid
And no other foundation can be laid. When Peter wrote his second epistle, he told his readers that they had already been given everything they needed for life and godliness. There was no further need for them to have more than what was already given, and no further explanation needed beyond what had already been given. In Peter’s day, they had already been given all things they needed for life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The exact same thing is true today. Everything you need for life and godliness – you can get it through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. There is not anything else you need. People who tell you need something else are tricking you, deceiving you.
Jesus said, “I am the life.” If you want to know what kind of life to live, it’s a life like he lived. Through your knowledge of him, you will have everything you need to know about how to live godly and how to get through this life.
And that has not changed. That is all in the foundation.
And no other foundation can be laid.
We find the apostle Jude speaks similarly when he writes his epistle. He asked his readers to earnestly contend for the faith, the faith which had been once and for all time, been delivered to the saints. They already had the faith in its fullness. It had already been delivered to them once and for all time. There was no more coming.
I would point out to you that Paul, and Peter, and Jude, they wrote those sorts of things before the book of Revelation ever came along. Everything you needed to make it came before the book of Revelation was ever written.
And, I will say something here: If you go into the book of Revelation, an understanding of the book of Revelation has nothing to do with making it. Absolutely not. That idea does not line up with the foundation. The book of Revelation has lots of good things for us, but the idea that you must understand it to make it does not line up with the foundation.
We experienced that where we came from – ideas which did not line up with the foundation. What you need to escape the wrath to come is not hidden in the seven thunders.
We thought there was a secret something hidden in the seven thunders, and we needed that to make it. But that very idea is not aligned with the foundation.
You and I are going to make it because Jesus is our savior. Being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from all wrath.
The idea of needing seven thunders to escape the coming wrath is just flat wrong. That is not lined up to the foundation.
Whatever you take out of the book of Revelation, however you interpret the parables, however you apply prophetic symbols, it all has to be aligned to this foundation. And whenever it contradicts the very heart of the gospel, when it contradicts faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone, we have to throw it away. It has to be tossed out. There is something wrong with that block. It doesn’t line up.
Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. Jesus said, “Who so cometh unto me, I shall in no wise cast out.” He said, “Whosoever believes on me has passed from death unto life and shall not come into condemnation.”
The sad truth is, many things we believed in the places we came from do not align with that foundation. Jesus Christ is not the cornerstone of the cult we escaped. Jesus Christ is not the cornerstone of The Message. William Branham, or one of his successors, is the cornerstone of The Message. That is why it’s so screwed up.
Remember back in the gospel where Jesus asks Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” And Peter says, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
That is it right there. That rock is the foundation. The rock was not Peter; the rock was Peter’s revelation. And the foundation of the church is not revelation in general or the ability to receive revelation in general.
Don’t be fooled; the church is not built upon revelation in general or the ability to receive revelation in general. The church is built on that specific revelation that Peter had – the revelation of who Jesus Christ was and still is today.
And if we want to get very specific here, that is what this cornerstone is. The revelation of who Jesus is – the revelation that he is your savior. And that’s it. That is the cornerstone.
If you have that revelation, if you have that revelation of who Jesus is to you, what did Jesus say? The gates of hell cannot prevail against you. If you have that foundation under you, you are going to make it.
It’s not the mountain you worship on, the people who surround you on that mountain, the rules you keep, the mysteries you understand – it’s Jesus. It’s your savior. It is faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone. That is the foundation. That is the rock the church is built on. That is the foundation the apostles laid.
“20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
Unity vs Uniformity
Now this foundation, it is the basis of our unity. Jesus Christ is our common ground, and we cannot miss that is the underlying point Paul is driving at here. He has explained to us we are all made one, one in Christ. And as he comes to talk about this foundation we are built upon, it is for the same purpose, to point us to what is the basis of our unity.
The foundation is the basis of our unity.
And what we have is unity around Christ, and unity in Christ, and unity based upon Christ. I want to point out to you that unity and uniformity are two different things. Unity and uniformity are two different things.
What Paul is describing here, this is unity. It’s not uniformity.
There are places, like the cult we come from, that have totally confused unity with uniformity. That is especially true where I come from, in particular. Unity does not mean we are all just alike, that we are almost like cookie cutter made. We can have unity but still be unique, each one of us in our makeup – unique in our gifts, unique in our talents, our skills, unique in our personalities, unique in our experiences, unique in our desires, and the one they hate most of all – we are unique in our convictions. And we have an absolute right to be that way. We are not uniform, and we will never be uniform, but we will be in unity.
When they confuse unity with uniformity and start trying to force everyone to be uniform, they are actually grossly sinning. They are sinning against every single person they force into uniformity because within our unity, there is a big, huge, vast amount of liberty we have. When people fail to respect our Christ-given liberty, they sin against us, and that is a huge problem in the cult we come from, leading to many of the worst abuses that happen there. Their effort to force uniformity instead of recognizing true unity for what it is – they are after this false, man-made uniformity.
But for the true church, our unity is based in Christ. Are you built upon the foundation? Are you in him?
Because if you are in Christ, then you are built on this foundation. Jesus Christ died to pay for our sins, mediated peace between us and God, and between us and each other. And he created in himself one new body, one new man, one new church. And that is the basis and the foundation of our unity. And that unity will never, ever, ever be uniformity. No, absolutely not. Unity is something scriptural; it is in the Bible. But uniformity – that is the product of a cult, brainwashing people, and it is usually to mold them into the image of the cult leader.
Where we come from, they take their leader’s hobbies, imitate their mannerisms, talk like them, and gradually people who do not conform to uniformity are punished. We had a pastor who totally destroyed his own immediate family, had bad relationships with his parents and siblings, was hostile towards his wife, showed no emotions, remorse, or care for all the harm and damage he ever caused, had no genuine friendships or healthy relationships with anyone around him. And look what happens to all the people who follow his example – they have uniformity. You can even call it unity, but it’s surely not what Paul is talking about here.
We had another preacher who liked to yell and scream like a raving lunatic – vicious, hateful, name-calling, insulting, accusing, blaming, destroying. And you have people who are practicing uniformity with that, but that is not what Paul is talking about here.
Our old pastor, Raymond Jackson – he is a man I have always thought a whole lot of him, and I still do. I honestly wonder if he knew some of the things we know now, if he would not have made the same decision that we have, because there is some of this he did not know. I think there is a chance he might be right here with us if he did.
But he was a man who told us all in his sermons, “Don’t ever get too close to people. Don’t get such a close relationship with people that you are sitting on each other’s porch all the time.” That was a phrase he used. If you were so close you were sitting on each other’s porch all the time, then they were going to influence you too much. And lots of people just close themselves off, and you almost have to in order to survive in the cult where we come from. You really cannot have true relationships with others. If you don’t, the other people will eat you alive. There are so many monsters in there. It’s terrible.
Babylon and Jerusalem
In that way, they sure have a lot of uniformity, so-called unity. But let us never mistake uniformity for unity; those are two different things. Don’t confuse a Tower of Babel-style uniformity with the true unity that Paul is talking about here. The Tower of Babel community had a man-made unity. Babylon was based on a system of man-made unity, but that is not the church that Christ built. The church that Christ built has a different foundation; it has a different foundation on which its unity is based.
Jerusalem – I am talking about spiritual Jerusalem – is built on a different foundation than Babylon, and I am talking about spiritual Babylon.
Maybe someday, if time ever permits, perhaps we could do a study and compare those things throughout scripture. The systems of man are part of the city of Babylon, going all the way back to the Tower of Babel, where man started to build his systems. And that is compared to Jerusalem, which is the city of God. We see Abraham came out of Babylon to go to Mount Zion – Jerusalem. And we see his descendants ended up back in Babylon again and escaped from Babylon and came back to Mount Zion, Jerusalem, again. And those patterns in the natural are reflected in the spiritual as we read the scriptures.
We have to come out of that Babylon. People say Babylon is the Catholic Church or Babylon is a certain religious system. But people who say that are thinking much too small. Babylon is a lot bigger than some religious system; Babylon is the entire system of mankind that is in opposition to God, all of it.
And we need to come to Jerusalem, and that is not a place you can get in your car and drive there or buy a plane ticket and fly there. It’s not the mountain you worship on, but it’s in spirit and it’s in truth; it is in Christ. If you knew who it was that offered you a drink, you would ask of him, and he would give you life that never ends. It’s not me, it’s not preachers, it’s not a place you can go in this world. My precious brothers and sisters, it is in Christ; it is built on the foundation that Paul is speaking of here, the foundation laid by the twelve apostles. Their names are even written on it, and that foundation is Jesus Christ.
And whosoever is built upon that foundation and aligned with that chief cornerstone is part of New Jerusalem, Heavenly Jerusalem, Spiritual Jerusalem.
Let me just tack a few scriptures here to go with this before I close out this lesson. Turn to Revelation chapter 21, and we will read about this same foundation there, verse 2.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
I want to go there, brothers and sisters.
Jump down verse 14, and let’s read about the foundation of this city.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
This is the foundation Paul was speaking of in Ephesians, and we understand this is all just symbolic.
And no other foundation can a man lay, except the foundation which is already laid, which is Jesus Christ. Turn to Hebrews with me; I will read you another passage.
Hebrews 12 English Standard Version 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
You see, even right here and now, in a spiritual sense, we have come into this new heavenly Jerusalem. In a literal bodily sense, we are not, but in a spiritual sense, we are.
And this is what Paul is speaking of back in Ephesians. Turn back there with me to chapter 2, I will point out a verse. And you will notice there in verse 6, Paul says we are “seated together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Already, in the present sense, we are already right now in this spiritual New Jerusalem. That is what being on the foundation means; you are on the foundation of the city. We have left the system of man-made unity, man-made uniformity, and such things. We have left Babylon in all its vastness, and we have come to Jerusalem, a city built on the foundation of Christ, a foundation laid down by the apostle master builders. And now, we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places in a spiritual sense. Amen.
Let me read the verse we are studying again, verse 20.
Verse 20 Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.
Rock or Sand?
Now Jesus told his disciples a parable. He told them about a man who built his house on the rock and a man that built his house on the sand. And storms came, and the floods came, and the winds came. The house on the sand was washed away, but the house on the rock stood firm.
Then Jesus explained that whoever will hear his words and obey them will be like that man who was built on the rock.
And that is what I want today. That is what we all want today. And to do that, we must hear and obey Christ’s words.
A man asked Jesus, “What must we do to do the work of God?” He said, believe on him whom God has sent. If we do that, if we believe on Christ, then we do the work of God. In other words, believing on Christ is the work to be done, which actually is no work at all – it’s faith, as Paul explains to us.
And we bring this lesson to a close. I am reminded of Nicodemus.
Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. He wanted to understand how this marvelous thing worked, and Jesus explained it to him. He said, “Whosoever believeth on the Son of God has passed from death unto life and shall not come into condemnation.” It’s a challenging thing to believe, isn’t it? Just believe on Christ, and you will have passed from death unto life and never be judged. “How can these things be so?” asked Nicodemus. It was a challenging, challenging thing for a Pharisee like Nicodemus to believe, but Nicodemus believed it. Nicodemus believed what he heard Jesus tell him was the truth, but he felt like he had to stay in the shadows, for whatever reason. He felt like he had to hide. He had so much to lose, you know. He was a man of position, of wealth, of power, of prestige. He had a reputation. And, he very well might lose all of things if he started telling people he believed in something like that – believing on Christ and being saved. Christ as savior… That was hard for Nicodemus.
I mean, what about the pork chops? What about the phylacteries? What about the rituals and the sacrifices? What about all the rules of the law? Here Jesus is saying, believe on me and you will be saved. It seemed to fly in the face of everything he knew. Poor Nicodemus… He had become so confused, he thought the symbols of the savior could save him. He thought the symbols of holiness could make him holy. Nicodemus was a confused man.
But Jesus was not confused, and the scripture is not confused. If you believe from the heart and confess from the mouth that Jesus is your savior, you shall be saved.
And the doomsday cult we come from has nothing to with it. Nicodemus’s Pharisee Temple Judaism didn’t have much to do with it either. Nicodemus hemmed and he hawed, and he hawed and he hemmed. He wrung his hands and he went through all the stages of what we would call conviction, where he knew what he was hearing was true but he could not bring himself to act on it. And then the day finally came when he saw his savior die for his sins.
He washed his eyes with tears, so to speak. And that day something changed in Nicodemus. He couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t just sit there and keep quiet one minute longer. He put on his best robes, he put on his priestly garments, his best phylacteries, his golden rings. And he went and got his buddy Joseph of Arimathea. They were a minority, just two elders of Israel. But you know it’s easier when you have a friend. “Two are better than one,” said Solomon. And down they went, Joseph and Nicodemus, to Pilate. “Give us the body of Jesus,” they asked. And you know the rest of the story. I am sure they paid a great price for what they did that day. I am sure Caiaphas was none too pleased.
But sometimes we just have to pick a side. What foundation will we build on? Who are we going to trust as our savior? Will we build on the rock or the sand? You know, I am sure Caiaphas launched quite the storm and flood against Nicodemus for what he did that day. But Nicodemus had chosen the rock, and Caiaphas had chosen the sand. And Nicodemus is one of us, brothers and sisters. One day you and I will get to meet him, and maybe we can relate to his story a little bit. It’s not always easy to do the right thing. Sometimes it takes a while for us to work up the courage. But there is something about catching a glimpse of your savior and what he did for you that will work wonders in giving you strength to do what is right.
So I want to encourage you today. You might be in a hard spot like Nicodemus. You might find yourself surrounded by Pharisees of the worst sort, murderers even. That is where Nicodemus was. You might be weighing the cost of siding with Christ. And so I want to encourage you that your faith in Christ is not misplaced. He is enough. He will see you through. And if you build on him, the foundation that is Jesus Christ, then your house will stand. And I, and all of us on this side of the cult, we are living proof that is true. Amen.
Let me close here in prayer.
Lord God, I thank you for your goodness towards us. I thank you that you are able to restore our strength. We thank you for the solid foundation beneath our feet. We thank you for the wisdom to be able to discern sand from rock. We thank you for the courage to find our way to the rock. We thank you for being that rock. Bless us, your people, I pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.