The Only Foundation
A Sermon on 1 Corinthians 3:11
11For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
After Paul’s departure from the Corinthian church, it had started to divide itself into factions. He perceived that the trouble lay at the very foundation itself. In this sermon on 1 Corinthians 3:11 titled “The Only Foundation,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that it is the same today when the world tries to deal with the symptoms of evil while avoiding the problem at its foundation: it has no foundation. Neither can humanity provide its own foundation. People have astounding knowledge and accomplishments, yet they are unable to find a solution to all their troubles. The human approach is wrong. They are in too much of a hurry and they do not understand themselves. They sense that there’s something or someone greater than themselves, yet they have no desire for the church or Christ. The Bible, on the other hand, deals with the great question of the foundation of life itself. It tells of one who is a flawless inspector, who will judge the foundation of all lives based on His own perfect standards. Yet, this inspector is also the one who came to seek and save the lost. He offered Himself up as God in flesh to become the church’s one exclusive and firm foundation.
The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians because the church was dividing into factions and false teaching was creeping in. He wanted to call them back to the foundation of their faith.
The first point Paul makes is that a foundation is absolutely necessary for life. Without a firm foundation, the whole structure will collapse.
Secondly, Paul asserts that man cannot provide an adequate foundation for himself. All of man's efforts apart from God will come to nothing.
Man's approach is wrong because he is in too much of a hurry. He doesn't take the time to consider foundations.
Man at his best can never provide a foundation big enough and strong enough to support the necessary superstructure of life. Man needs to know himself, his purpose, how to live, how to face difficulties, and what comes after death. But man cannot answer these questions.
Even if man succeeds in erecting a building on a foundation he thinks is adequate, there is another inspector, God, who will determine if the foundation is truly adequate. Man's standards are not the same as God's standards.
The only foundation that can satisfy man's needs is Jesus Christ. He alone can solve the problem of man and save us. The gospel of Christ is exclusive and intolerant. There is no other way.
The foundation of Christ is definite, not vague or nebulous. The Christian faith can be defined and proclaimed. It does not change.
God himself has laid this foundation in Christ. It is the only material adequate to meet man's needs. Christ, as the God-man, is the only one who can save us.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.