Summary: How does God build a church?
It has been three years since this church started. There have been a lot of changes since then. This congregation has moved from meeting at a campground, to services in a used Desert Storm tent, and now, finally, into a beautiful new building. It took a long time to get here. The building program itself has taken longer than first anticipated, but God has blessed and now the people of Community Harvest have a church building they can worship in.
Now that the building is finished, what about the people inside of it? Has this congregation been growing spiritually over the past three years, or has every ounce of energy gone into making sure this building was ready for use? I’m not sure of everyone’s spiritual condition, but I do know that it is easy to place other things before God, especially when it has to do with building a church. With that thought in mind I would like for us to forget about the building around us and concentrate on our individual spiritual conditions. You see, the building program isn’t over yet. In fact, it is still in the beginning stages. Let’s look at a few scriptures and find out how God builds up the most important church there is, the body of Christ.
I. THE BLUEPRINTS – I Peter 1:18-20
Buildings aren’t just haphazardly thrown together. There is a lot of planning that takes place long before the first block is ever laid. Initially a set of blueprints is drawn up so that the builder knows exactly how to put the building together. The blueprint for our salvation and the foundational truth behind the church is the fact that Jesus Christ shed his blood for us.
A. The blueprints are not corruptible or perishable (v.18).
B. The blueprints are precious (v.19).
C. The blueprints are not blemished or spotted. They are perfect (v.19)!
D. The blueprints were laid out long before the foundation of the world (v.20).
II. THE FOUNDATION – I Peter 1:3-5
The only foundation that a church should build upon is Jesus Christ himself. I Corinthians 3:11 says this,
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ.
A. Why should we want to build upon the foundation?
1. We have been brought into a lively hope (a hope that is alive) by the resurrection of Jesus (v.3).
2. We have been given an incorruptible inheritance (v.4).
3. We are kept by the power of God (v.5). See also John 10:27-29
III. THE MATERIALS – I Peter 2:1,2
Anyone who has ever built any type of structure knows that it is important to choose good materials. Crooked 2x4s or cheap plywood may get the job done, but eventually the building will begin to suffer and repairs will have to be made.
We are the materials that God uses to build his church. Unfortunately, because of our human nature, we are not grade A material. We are ridden with all kinds of flaws. In this respect the analogy breaks down because Christians are not grade A material at the time of their salvation, rather, over time God shapes and molds us into something better.
The only reason we are even worthy of being used is because God sees us clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In that sense we are perfect in his eyes. If we had to rely on our own strengths God would never even try to use us to build up his church.
In order for God to shape and mold us we must learn how to deal with others and how to deal with ourselves. Scripture tells us how.
A. When dealing with others (v.1)
1. Lay aside all malice – vicious character, a desire to hurt others.
2. Lay aside all guile – a bait, snare, deceit.
3. Lay aside all hypocrisy – “play acting”.
4. Lay aside all envies – the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the prosperity of others.
5. Lay aside all evil speakings.
B. When dealing with ourselves (v.2)
1. I Peter 2:2 – “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, so that ye may grow thereby”. SINCERE – the absence of fraud or deceit.
a. Newborn babies take their food seriously. When they get hungry they let you know, and nothing but milk will satisfy them. That’s the way we should be about God’s word. We should be serious and desire the Bible just like that little one desires milk. We should have a voracious appetite for the Word of God and nothing else should satisfy us.
b. Why should we desire the milk of the word? Scripture tells us, “so that ye may grow thereby”. We need the word of God so that we can grow spiritually.