"FOUNDATION AND FUTURE"

1 Peter 2:5 “You also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. “

As the New Year begins, I’d like to focus on just 2 things. And those 2 things are: Foundation and Future. Ephesians 2:19-20 tells us that the household of God is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.”

Since our beginning, the BRAT BASE CHAPEL has been founded on the teachings of the Apostles and Prophets found within the Word of God and upon “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone”.

How has that foundation been built upon? Well, first of all, we understand that the foundation of the BRAT BASE CHAPEL isn’t a physical foundation of brick and mortar but rather it’s a foundation made up of “living stones”. Just as Peter says, you Chapel Brats, YOU are “living stones, built up into a spiritual house” and because our foundation is made up of living stones, made up of believing people, that means our foundation is also one of relationships. Over the last year the relationships that have been formed within this Chapel have proven to be real a blessing and source of comfort and love for us all!

It was during the Last Supper that Jesus said these words to His disciples; “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).

A Christian’s obedience His new command was vital then and it remains vital now. We must love one another as Christ has loved us. And how did Jesus show His love in the context of the Last Supper? The answer is found in John 13:4-5 where it says: “He rose from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.”

How did Jesus show His love? He washed His disciple’s feet. He even washed Judas’ feet even though He knew Judas had already betrayed Him. Why? John 13:1 tells us…”having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end”.

Jesus washed their feet and then He said this: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14- 15). We’re told that we must follow the example of Christ by washing one another’s feet. Now, I understand that there are many Christians who literally wash one another’s feet, I’ve done that a couple times as a Christian too, but let’s not ignore the obvious symbolism that foot washing represents.

Foot washing represents how we are to relate to one another within the Body of Christ. And how is that? Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us to “walk worthy of the vocation by which you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

That, BRAT brothers and sisters, means that we are all called lower ourselves just as Christ lowered Himself and took on the form of a servant washing His disciple’s feet. That means we’re all supposed to consider others more highly than ourselves, we’re all supposed to be slow to anger and quick to forgive and we’re to forbear one another… in love.

The word “forbear” means to put up with and to endure the shortcomings of another person. We forbear one another in love in order to keep unity and peace within the Body of Christ. This has been the foundation of the BRAT BASE CHAPEL from the start.

Let’s move onto my second point…our future.

Our future is found in the words of Paul to the Philippians when he wrote: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if indeed I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:10-14 ).

The Philippian church was a spiritually mature, generous church who desired to come along side and to enjoy the fellowship with Paul as well as co-labor with Paul in ministry. It’s here in chapter 3 that Paul was being completely transparent. He was being completely honest with them regarding his true spiritual condition when he said: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect”.

Understand that when Paul wrote this he had been a Christian for about 30 years and after 30 years he stated that he still hadn’t reached Christian perfection. After 30 years, Paul was still unsatisfied with his accomplishments and his walk toward Christ-likeness.

This is the same Paul, the great Apostle, the inspired writer of 14 of the 27 NT books! This is Paul, the worker of miracles and he tells the Philippians that there are still some things he hasn’t grasped, one of which is perfection. After 30 years of being a sold out, hard core Holy Ghost filled Christian, Paul readily admitted that he still wasn’t perfect. And that tells us that we’re not perfect either. You know there’s an old saying, if you find the perfect church, don’t join it because if you do you’ll ruin it! We’ve not yet attained perfection…

But, Paul continued to say “I follow after, if indeed I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” What’s he saying? He’s basically saying “I am striving to take hold of, to grasp the thing that Jesus Christ Himself has called me to” namely a deeper more intimate relationship with Him. Where do I get that from? I get it from verse 10 where He says: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”.

For 30 years Paul followed Christ. For 30 years Paul pursued Christ just so that he might know Him more…and the more Paul got to know Christ more of Christ he wanted to know! BRAT brothers and sisters…THIS is our future! There can be no other future for the BRAT BASE CHAPEL other than to pursue knowing Christ and to desire that others may come know Him as well.

AW Tozer wrote a great book called “The Pursuit of God”. If you haven’t read it, you really should. In his book Tozer talks about following hard after God. Tozer says: “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,… God is a Person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.”

That’s exactly what Paul’s talking about in Philippians 3 …he saying that “Christ grabbed hold of me on that Road to Damascus 30 years ago and ever since I have followed hard after Him in order to apprehend a perfect knowledge of Who He is and to be conformed to be just like Him!”

That is the future of the BRAT BASE CHAPEL!

We’re going to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus which means that we will follow hard and pursue Christ in order to know Him more perfectly and to become more like Him.

So, Brothers and Sisters, we will continue to stand upon the firm foundation of the Word of God and our loving relationships in the Lord Jesus and we will continue to look toward our future spiritual growth as our relationship with Christ deepens in our knowledge of Him which transforms us all to be more like Him… year after year after year after year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR & GO BLESS, BRATS!