In 1993, construction began on the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Destined to become the world’s tallest buildings, a solid foundation for these twin towers was absolutely critical. So when test-drilling revealed bedrock beneath the proposed site for one of the towers, but not for the other, the site was moved 150 feet. One engineer said: “With each building containing two million square feet of office space, a poor foundation would have resulted in `The Leaning Tower of Kuala Lumpur!'”
While a solid foundation is crucial for buildings, it is far more important that your spiritual life be founded upon a firm foundation. The Lord Jesus Christ proposed a site for your life’s foundation in Luke 6:47,48:
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like;
“He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock; and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock.”
The particular flood that our Lord had in mind is the Antichrist (Isa. 59:19), the coming world leader that will plunge the earth into seven years of what the Bible calls “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21). While you may not live to see the Antichrist come, there is still much we can learn from our Lord’s words here.
You see, a flood is a deceptive kind of danger. In rain-starved desert areas such as the one in which our Lord lived, a flood starts out looking like a blessing! The rain falls, the river begins to rise, and everyone rejoices. And so it will be when the Antichrist appears. He will begin his career looking like a blessing to the people of Israel. He will rebuild their temple and re-instate the ancient sacrificial system of their religion. But when he turns on them halfway through the week of seven years (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15,16), Israel will learn too late that the man they thought to be a blessing was actually a terrible curse.
Most of the perils that young people face these days are similarly deceptive. Drugs and alcohol start out looking like an enjoyable blessing, but untold millions have learned the hard way that the Bible is true when it says of alcohol, “at the last, it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Prov. 23:29-35). Likewise, pre-marital sex allures young people with seductive promises of excitement and pleasure, but in the end lives are ruined and regrets are too numerous to number.
Young person, you can avoid these and all the other dangerous pitfalls of life by building your life on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you are thinking that you already have a firm foundation in life. Your music, the education you are receiving, your friends; maybe you’ve built your life on your relationship with a boyfriend or a girlfriend. These things might seem to offer a solid foundation for your life, but I can assure you on the authority of God’s Word that they are not solid enough! When the hard times come, and the bottom drops out of your life, you will need the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just for a moment, I’d like you to compare the reliability of your foundation to the foundation of Christ enjoyed by the Apostle Paul. In Acts 16, Paul and his friend Silas were falsely accused (v. 20,21), beaten (v. 22,23) and imprisoned (v. 24). A severe test for anyone’s spiritual foundation! Let’s see how Paul held up:
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (v. 25).
Could your spiritual foundation withstand harsh treatment such as this? Maybe. But would your foundation also enable you to sing praises to God after receiving such brutal injustice? If not, maybe it’s time to consider a new foundation. Let’s read on:
“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed” (v. 26).
We’ve been talking about the need to build your life on the right foundation. How symbolic then to read here that “the foundations of the prison were shaken.” Over time, the prisoners incarcerated there had come to trust in those prison walls. Sure, the bars and locks meant that they weren’t able to come and go as they pleased, but incarceration also meant they had food, clothing, and shelter. And those walls also represented the massive power of the Roman empire protecting them from the outside world and worse cut-throats than themselves! Their foundation in life seemed sure and stedfast, and they didn’t think anything could shake it—until now! Now as the walls shook violently, they knew that even the awesome power of Rome couldn’t protect them from everything! And so, while it was Paul and Silas who had been beaten and bloodied unjustly, when the earthquake came it was the prisoners who were shaken to their very foundation! So shaken that even though “every one’s bands were loosed,” not an inmate dared run away (v. 28).
Young person, as sure as you may be of your foundation, there are earthquakes that lie ahead in life that will rock your world. Are you, like the prisoners, trusting some earthly foundation? If so, the time to establish your life firmly on the Lord Jesus Christ is now.
But before the story ends, we find that the prisoners weren’t the only ones shaken to the foundation by this earthquake:
“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled” (v. 27).
Now our focus shifts to the jailor. Only an hour ago, his world was rock-solid and secure. But a Roman prison-keeper was responsible for his inmates with his life. Thinking that all his prisoners were escaped, this jailor was about to choose a quick death over the slow, torturous, excruciating execution to which Rome was sure to condemn him.
How about you? Does a recent earthquake in your life have you thinking that a quick death is preferable to the long, slow, torturous existence that can only lie ahead for someone like you? Suicide is very common among young people, but suicide is no answer! If you, like the jailor, are thinking of taking your life because of your many troubles, you need a new foundation! Fortunately for the jailor, Paul was there to offer him one:
“But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm; for we are all here.
“Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas” (v. 28,29).
After Paul assured the jailor that none of his captives had escaped, and thus talked him out of his deadly decision, this shaken man had a question for the apostles:
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (v. 30).
The songs of praise that Paul and Silas had been singing that night had obviously praised God for the wonderful security of being saved, and now the jailor wants to switch his foundation in life to the Lord Jesus Christ! How about you? Are you ready for a new foundation? If so, it’s as simple as can be. The apostles answered the jailor’s question in the very next verse:
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (v. 31).
Now don’t be afraid of that word “saved.” The Bible uses this word over and over again. Hymn writer John Newton used it when he wrote that most beloved of all Christian hymns, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” Perhaps you’ve even sung that hymn yourself. But are you saved? You can be!
If you are wondering how to be saved, notice that Paul didn’t tell the jailor: “Believe on the Lord and try to be good.” Nor did he tell him, “Believe on the Lord and learn to be religious.” He simply said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ—and thou shalt be saved.” That’s it? That’s it! That’s all? That’s all! The jailor found that it was just that easy to switch to Paul’s foundation on that fateful day so long ago, and it is just as easy to switch to Paul’s foundation today. All you have to do is believe.
If you are not sure what it is about Christ that you must believe to be saved, Acts 16 doesn’t give us any details. Verse 32 says only:
“And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”
So what was this “word of the Lord” that Paul spoke unto them? Well, in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul explains more fully what it is that we must believe about Christ when he tells us “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3). On the day they crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father placed all the sins of all mankind on our Savior as He hung on Calvary’s Cross. But that doesn’t mean that all mankind is saved! II Corinthians 5:21 says:
“For [God] hath made [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
2,000 years ago, God placed all your sins on the Lord Jesus Christ. But it’s only 2,000 years later, when you believe on Him, that God takes Christ’s righteousness and places it on you, completing the transaction that must be completed for the purchase of your salvation.
So the only question that remains is, Do you believe God when He says that all of your sins are paid for? Do you trust Him when He says that? If you don’t, you’ll just have to go on trying to save yourself. By being good, or by not being bad. But this is something the Bible says you can never do:
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).
You must decide right now to trust Christ as your Savior. To not trust Him right now is to reject Him right now. And to reject Him means to spend eternity in the lake of fire:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).
I promise you this. Ten thousand years from this moment, you will remember this moment. And whether you remember it with joy or with eternal regret depends upon the decision you make right now, to receive or reject the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 3:11).