Summary: Learning to become strong for the off-road times of life from 1 Timothy.
August 10 & 11, 2002
“Body By Jesus”
Let’s review a bit of last weeks message entitled “Hitting the Road. In last weeks lesson we learned that the Chassis that a “Built Lord Tough” life is built upon is a correct understanding of the “Promise of Life” that Paul writes of in verse 1 of chapter 1. Further that promise is predicated upon God’s gift and our reception of Grace, Mercy and Peace. Grace was defined for us as “Receiving from God what we do not deserve. Mercy is when God withholds from us what we do deserve and peace is that “inner-sense of well being” that comes when we realize that God is in control of even the minutest of circumstance. The final component of our “Built :Lord Tough” chassis is courage. And courage is the desire and ability to face and conquer our fears by the indwelling Spirit of our Lord.
Today we turn our attention to the Body that is attached to that chassis that houses all the working parts and allows us to travel down the roads of life in comfort and style. Please turn to 2 Timothy 2:1-13 and read with me. You can find it in your small print pew bibles on page number 842 and large print bibles on page number 1853.
Their names were Fred, Charles and Albert. They had made their way to Detroit from Norwalk, Ohio. The boys were brothers and their Father had been in the carriage business for over thirty years and likewise his father and grandfather before him. The three brothers were sure that their future and fortunes were to be found in a town that was fast becoming the open air motorcar capital of the United States. It would be another sixty plus years before we would hear the Motown sound but the fledgling auto industry was already making some mighty big noise in Detroit in 1908. In just five years the three brother’s company had built ten plants in Northern Detroit and Canada and were churning out over 100,000 motorcar bodies for such notables as the Ford Motor Company, Krit engine works, Chalmers (who would later quit making cars and start making tractors with Allis), Cadillac and Studebaker. They were joined that year by Edward and Andrew, brothers who graduated from the Johnson Carriage and Automobile Drafting and Design School in New York, N.Y. Two other brothers, William and Howard, later joined them several years later when their father’s carriage works went bankrupt. He had had seven sons, the brothers had seven sisters that were variously married off to wealthy industrialists and maybe the reason that their dad’s business went belly up was because he spent more time making… well other things besides carriages. Whoopee!
Three years later their construction capacity had grown to 370,000 auto bodies per year and had gained such notable clients as Chevrolet, Elmore, Packard, Oldsmobile and Buick. Soon after the foundation of General Motors in the middle of the “Roaring Twenties” their company was purchased by GM for a then whopping price of about $208 million dollars in a stock swap. They began at that time to manufacture auto bodies exclusively for GM and left the Ford Motor Company to stamp out their own sheet metal.
The brothers would remain and serve in many Board, design and management positions all the way till the seventies when the last brother, Edward died in 1972. Their body works became the “Gold Standard” in auto body design and manufacture. Their logo was stamped on millions of GM cars up until 1984 when the company was officially closed and the name Fisher Body works was retired for good. If you had made a $200 dollar investment with the Fisher brothers in 1908, it would be worth over $118 million dollars, even with GM being down 30% in the last two years. For eighty years the stamp of excellence in auto carriage manufacture was the Napoleonic Carriage logo and the words “Body by Fisher” always stood for excellence and quality.
If only “Body by Jesus’ could carry the same strength. If a little logo were added to every church and every believer, would Jesus gain the reputation for “Building them well” as the Fisher brothers did. Sadly, we cannot stamp out believer after believer as the Fisher brothers stamped out rear quarter panels but there are some insights in chapter two that can enable our little band of believers to show that “Built Lord Tough” stands for excellence and durability. In fact the first command found in our scripture passage today is to “be strong. Perhaps a better rendering of the Greek verb here would be the command to “let yourself be empowered.” That strengthening and empowering comes from someplace other than ourselves. We can’t be “Built Lord Tough” by trying harder or by drawing on our own strength. You can’t grit your teeth and flex your biceps and get the job done. We only become strong when are manufactured so. The assembly line of that manufacture is grounded in the Spirit of the living God and plugged into the promises of God’s Grace.