Summary: First sermon in a series called Building great. Borrows heavily from Jon Byler at the centre.
It really doesn’t matter who you are God has called you to build something great.
Paul in our reading says::” you are God’s building.”
It becomes great when you co-operate with God in building what he calls you to build out of your life. One day, after work on his cathedral had begun, Wren unrecognised by the workforce, walked among the artisans and stonecutters.
He asked one of the workmen:
“What are you doing?” “I am cutting a piece of stone“, the workman replied.
He asked the same question of the second stonecutter. “I am earning five shillings two pence a day”, the second workman replied.
He asked a third workman the same question, and the man answered, “I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build a magnificent cathedral to the glory of God.”
When Nehemian entered Jerusalem with the call of God on his life when asked what he was doing his reply was revealing Nehemiah chapter 6 verse 3 I am carrying on a great project – Nehemiah could see that the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem was a great project.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 For by the grace God has given me , I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than that already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Everyone is called to build well. Jesus once told a parable about a wiseman and a foolish man who both built houses. One had great results under times of testing and one didn’t.
Today I want to encourage you that God wants you to build something great out of you life and I want to encourage you that there are identifiable steps in the building process.
Last week I preached on the fact that the way up is down in the Christian life so it is appropriate that we begin with the foundation. Houses in a general sense need good foundations.
The house that we live in currently was previously in Christchurch and the ground that it was built on proved to be unsatisfactory it was subject to liquefaction which seemingly is unstable.
How does God want you to build ?
On a firm foundation.
When the Japanese, Toyohiko Kagawa, became a Christian he wanted to be like Jesus and so although suffering from tuberculosis he went to live in a small hut in a Tokyo slum. Cecil Nothcott in, 'Famous Life Decisions', describes what happened: On his first night he was asked to share his bed with a man suffering from contagious itch. That was a test of his faith. Would he go back on his point of no return? No. He welcomed his bed-fellow. Then a beggar asked for his shirt and got it. Next day he was back for Kagawa's coat and trousers and got them too. Kagawa was left standing in a ragged old kimono. The slum dwellers of Tokyo laughed at him but they came to respect him. He stood in the driving rain to preach, coughing all the time. 'God is love,' he shouted. 'God is love. Where love is, there is God.' He often fell down exhausted, and rough men of the slums carried him gently back to his hut.
You can’t build like this unless there is a firm foundation. Many – in fact - most Christians would not share a bed with someone with a contagious itch for Jesus.
The first principle of building then is check the foundations!!!
Paul wrote: By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder. v10. Paul was a pioneer missionary. He it was who established the church at Corinth. The apostle had no misgivings about the foundation he laid. He preached Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1Cor2v2.
The reason that Paul could build such an amazing work was he had laid a firm and lasting foundation, What does that involve. Most people would rattle off - believe in Christ and that is true, belief or faith in Christ is important. But many people believe in Christ and achieve little for the Kingdom of God. There must be more to this foundation business than we realise!!!
When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus he put his faith in Christ but something really important happened that is so simple it is often overlooked.
When Peter preached in Jerusalem what he preached was not God is love although he is. It wasn’t even receive Christ although you need to.
It was this Acts chapter 2:37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" 38Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39"For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself."…