On Sunday, we finished our investigation of the spiritual discipline of the church, and I hope the study has spurred you on to pursue further mutual upbuilding. There are a few other construction-related thoughts I wanted to share with you, though. Rather than one midweek meditation today, we have three mini-meditations.
Let’s Build While We Can
Yesterday, the Lord called another of our brethren home. Even though we will greatly miss our brother Randy, we are glad that his rest has now been won (cf. Rev 14:13). However, though his work is done, ours continues, and we ought to be diligent and make the most of our opportunity to build up Christ’s church on the earth while we can (Gal 6:10).
You may remember that not long ago we studied this scripture together from Solomon:
Ecclesiastes 9:10, Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol [i.e. the grave] where you are going.
As Solomon warns us elsewhere in Ecclesiastes, most work on earth is vapor and will not make a difference in the end (Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23), but work that is done in obedience and gratefulness to the Lord will both bring joy now and provide a lasting reward later (Eccl 11:9-10; 12:13-14). But the time to do that work is limited. Let us, therefore, make the most of our quickly passing days and build up our brethren while we can. As British missionary C. T. Studd once wrote, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, / Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Let’s Build the Right Way
I mentioned on Sunday how homebuyers do well to beware of “flipped” houses, houses that have been renovated quickly to look attractive and make a profit but which actually end up being a bad deal. Someone pointed out to me how such is often true of local churches. There are plenty of churches that have beautiful outward adornment, impressive ministry activity, or thousands of attendees, but which, on closer examination, are little better than flipped houses. These churches rely on man’s wisdom instead of God’s to build up the church. Shortcuts may seem to produce a splendid house for a time, but God is the true judge of building quality, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
If we want the work at our church to last and obtain a reward, let’s make sure to build God’s way, even the way we’ve studied together over the past four Sundays.
Let’s All Do Our Part
One of the stereotypes about construction workers you might pass on the road is that, while one guy is working, four or more others are just standing around. While puzzling, this collective waiting has good reason in many cases, reason involving safety regulations and a necessary order in getting a multi-step job done. However, in the church, there is less good reason for Christ’s workers to be idle. According to Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16, God’s basic design for the church is for gifted teachers to equip each saint for the work of ministry, so that, ultimately, Ephesians 4:16…
…The whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
A body can get by for a little while without each part doing its work, but the longer the situation continues, the more other parts of the body have to compensate and the more the whole body suffers. We want better for Christ’s body at Calvary. So let us each do our part so that the whole body might be built up in love.
Questions to Consider:
1. How much more time has God given you to build his church? Are you using the time well?
2. What is the difference in spiritual experience for someone part of a “flipped” church versus someone part of a well-built church?
3. How are you contributing to the upbuilding of your local church right now?