Summary: Did you know that God has a building code? Christ will inspect our buildings using the ultimate test - the fire of His holiness. I am challenging each individual in the ’Body of Christ’ today to prepare for a building inspection. If we ignore God’s codes
Opening illustration: We must use the right building materials if we want our ministries to stand in the day of His visitation.
Every state in this country has strict building codes. You can’t just buy a piece of land and throw up a structure any way you choose. Local governments have standards for foundations, floors, drywall, roofs, exhaust systems, water heaters, wiring, lighting and sanitary drainage. In some neighborhoods you can’t even erect a shed in your backyard without a permit, and an inspector will always drop by unannounced to make sure you followed the rules.
These codes are important in Iowa where we live. You don’t want to discover during a hurricane that your contractor used shoddy plywood or defective concrete when he built your house or condo. Bad construction just might send your roof into a neighbor’s yard!
It’s ironic that our society does not tolerate sloppy building, yet in the body of Christ we place little emphasis on code enforcement. In fact, in our freewheeling movement we celebrate the independent spiritual contractor who uses questionable materials and answers to no one. Much of our movement during the past 30 years has been built like this - and today we are discovering that what we thought was sturdy was actually stuck together with cheap nails, substandard wood, thin glue and duct tape.
That creaking sound you hear is the sagging of rafters. The Lord has entered our crooked house with His holy plumb line and a clipboard - and He is not pleased.
Did you know that God has a building code? Paul says Christ will inspect our buildings using the ultimate test - the fire of His holiness. I am challenging Christians today to prepare for a building inspection. If we ignore God’s codes our churches and ministries will not stand in the day of His visitation.
Let us turn to God’s Word and check out the building codes for the ‘Body of Christ.’ Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 3: 9 – 17.
Introduction: Because Apostle Paul cared deeply for the believers in Corinth, his heart broke when he learned of their division, bickering, and loss of focus. To ease them back on track (and not always so gently!), Paul confronted a series of issues that had divided and distracted them and encouraged the Corinthians to reunite based on the only sure foundation - Jesus Christ.
Today’s church, also often divided and distracted, has much to learn from First Corinthians. Paul was very concerned largely about the church unity and dealt with this issue without any inhibition.
How to build the ‘Body of Christ’ (church)?
1. Building on the Foundation [vs. 9 – 11]:
(a) First, as in our translation, that they were co-workers with God; engaged with him in his work, that he and they cooperated in the production of the effect; or that it was a joint-work; as we speak of a partnership, or of joint-effort among people. It gives a special sacredness to the work of the ministry, and indeed to the work of the farmer and the vinedresser. There is no higher honor than for a man to be engaged in doing the same things which God does, and participating with him in accomplishing his glorious plans. It is literally, not we are his co-partners, but we are his fellow-laborers, that is, fellow-laborers in his employ, under his direction - as we say of servants of the same rank they are fellow-laborers of the same master, not meaning that the master was engaged in working with them, but that they were fellow-laborers one with another in his employment.
(b) The architectural figure is here continued with some striking additions and illustrations. By the “grace of God” here, Paul probably means his apostleship to the Gentiles, which had been conferred on him by the mere favor of God, and all the wisdom, and skill, and success which he had evinced in founding the church. Paul; he was the wise or experienced architect which God used in order to lay the foundation; to ascertain the essential and immutable doctrines of the Gospel - those alone which came from God, and which alone he would bless to the salvation of mankind. Vast evils are constantly occurring in the church for the lack of proper instruction to young converts. Many seem to feel that provided the foundation be well laid, that is all that is needed. But the grand thing which is needed at the present time, is, that those who are converted should, as soon as possible, be instructed fully in the nature of the faith which they have embraced. What would be thought of a farmer who should plant a tree, and never water or trim it; who should plant his seed, and never cultivate the grain as it springs up; who should sow his fields, and then think that all is well, and leave it to be overrun with weeds and thorns? Piety is often stunted, its early shootings blighted, its rapid growth checked, for the lack of early culture in the church. And perhaps there is no one thing in which ministers more frequently fail than in regard to the culture which ought to be bestowed upon those who are converted - especially in early life.