Summary: God never called any to be a lone ranger Christian. We are called to come together as living stones to build up the New Temple of God, to be His dwelling place.
I brought this brick with me this morning. Now there is really nothing special about this brick all by itself. It’s not much to look at. But if we take a whole bunch of these bricks and put them together, the results are much more impressive. These bricks do not build a building all by themselves. We have to prepare a foundation then they are laid together carefully. Look at our brick structure; In order for many of those bricks to fit properly, some had to be cut or chip off part so that they would fit properly.
That’s exactly what Jesus does when He builds His church. He takes a bunch of bricks that aren’t much good on their own and he fits them together as a master builder, with Himself being the foundation – and as we will read, the very cornerstone. In order to do that, He has to chisel away and cut out those parts of our bricks that would detract from the finished product or that would keep us from fitting in with the other bricks. Although Jesus is concerned with the individual bricks, His overall purpose is to create a building that will bring glory to Himself.
We have people who say they can just sit at home and worship by watching a preacher on TV or listening to one on the radio. I listen to good sermons on the radio and there is nothing wrong with that. But if that is all you do and not active member of a church, you’re missing out. I wonder if some of those folks get up and give their radio or TV a big hug after worship?
Others will pick out a church based on what they can get out of them. In this current culture, we have conditioned ourselves to be selfish and narcissus . We live in a society where its all about me.
According to Bob Hyatt, pastor of Evergreen Community Church in Portland Oregon, in an article titled “Escape from Consumer Church,” he said:
“If you consider yourself a follower of Christ- you need to know this. The church is not here for you. You are here for the church, your community, and your community, the church is here for the world. Jesus did not die to make you into a sanctified consumer. He died to bring you alive to God and to a desperately needy world. And if you really believe that, it’s going to change everything- both the way that you do church and the way that you live every moment of your life from here on out.”
Being a participating and involved part of a local body of Christ is essential to our spiritual life.
Ephesians 2:19 (NKJV) Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
The background to our passage is important to our understanding. The Jews and Gentiles in the Church at Ephesus where not getting along. There was dis-unity among them. The Jews thought the Gentiles, even though they were saved, they were not quite up to their spiritual level. Besides, it was culturally unheard of Jews and Gentiles mixing, like oil and water. The church today has much of the same problem. One of the most segregated groups in American today is the church. This ought not be so.
In the church, in the body of Christ, we have no “strangers and foreigners.” Those words meant outcast, those living on the fringes. In the those times, if you were from another country or people group, folks looked at you with suspicion. But such were the Gentile believers, but now they are “fellow citizens with the saints.” Saints here means the holy ones of God, all of them through out the world. We are fellow citizens of heaven. And not only that they are now “members of the household of God.” In short, all believers are children of God, we are siblings. This why we call each other brothers and sisters. Like family, we ought to be watching out for one another. Paul is telling the Gentiles (and the Jews), that they were full citizens. Paul told the church in Galatia:
Galatians 3:26–29 (NKJV) For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
We talked about this last week. Christ in You. Christ in Me. This was the mystery revealed. We are in Christ together. Color of skin, male or female, rich or poor, social & economic standing, none of it should matter among the family of God. We are all one in Christ. But now Paul changes gears and from a family metaphor, to one of a building.