THE CHURCH: THE BUILDING RECAP
This weekend was amazing here at My City Church! It is so great to see what God can do when people come together to connect with Him!
This week Pastor Jesse continued our series entitled “The Church”. In this series we are looking at some of the different images the Bible uses to describe the Church. The use of a capital “C” in the word Church is important here because in this series we are looking at the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ more than a single church or even group of churches. Church, from this point of view is defined as “All believers/followers of Jesus Christ for all time.”
In the past few weeks we have heard about the Church as the Bride, the Church as the Body, and this week we looked at the Church as the Building. Similar to the capital C-Church, the image of the building here is more of a capital B-Building. The Church as a Building is to be a place where the Spirit of God resides. It is to be a home for followers of Jesus where they can be close to God, and it is to be a place where the people of God can find their “place” and “fit” in the Church as a whole.
This idea of each person finding his or her fit is important because it implies there is an order and the best plan that God has in mind. Imagine you have just bought some furniture from Ikea, have drug all the boxes to your home, and now, because Ikea makes you work for it, you have to put it all together. One option is to just stare at all the pieces and just start putting them together the way you think they seem to fit. Inevitably, you come to a place where you have tightened something too soon, or missed a vital part, or just can’t figure out the next step. The other option is to find the directions, work to understand them, and then put each piece in the correct place at the correct time. You can do the build either way, but only one is likely to produce something that looks like the picture on the box! The Bible talks about this fit and putting the right pieces together in the best way like this:
Ephesians 2:19-22 (Message) - That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
This is exciting! As we learn about the Church as a Building, we find out we are no longer out wandering lost and confused. Instead we have a home! A home built by God Himself in which each and every person can live. Paul, the author of the letter to the Ephesians, further describes us as being used by God in the same way a builder may use bricks and stones to construct a building. The more bricks are placed, the more the building takes shape.
Just like the Ikea furniture, key to this is the right process where each brick is placed in the best location at the best time. Paul shows us the instructions here by describing Jesus as the cornerstone. The cornerstone is the first and most important of all the pieces of any building. Set upon a solid foundation, the cornerstone is used for the rest of the construction project to measure, maintain square, and many other aspects of the build. The description of Jesus as the cornerstone of the Building of the Church is vital. Jesus must be central to any form of Church we will build. We must place Him first and trust him as we navigate life and look to find our place.
In a conversation with his disciples, Jesus made a very clear reference to this fact. He asked them all who the people thought he was. The disciples gave the various answers they all heard from people they encountered. Jesus then suddenly turned the question specifically to them. Matthew 15:16 (NIV) “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Immediately Peter answered; “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The response of Jesus is amazing; verse 17 “Jesus replied,
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Jesus is saying to Peter and to each of His followers that the rock that the entire Church is to be built on is that HE IS THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD! This is the cornerstone! This is the first step in the building of the Building – the knowledge that Jesus is the One we can build from, on, and around.
The second step to this Building flows very naturally from the first. We use the cornerstone to help us find our place and our fit. When we are trying to figure out what direction our lives should take, we can look to Jesus as the model. When we are working to figure out what God expects of us, we can read about what Jesus did and use Him as our example. We are called to surrender – to cease resisting – to Jesus and allow ourselves to be shaped into the bricks and stones needed for the house of God.
The challenge of the Church, the Building, is that we each need to allow ourselves to become a part of the whole that God is putting together. The fact is leaving even one piece out of your Ikea furniture build will likely result in an unstable piece of furniture. We each are needed to join in and together we participate with God in building the Building of the Church!
Thank you so much for joining us this week in our Blog recap of our Sunday Experience. Please, check us out on social media, give a listen to our podcasts and get plugged into a CREW!
Have a great week!