1 Corinthians 12:7, “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all”
When the explorers first entered Peru they found huge and impressive buildings that may have been standing for as long as 2,000 years. The ancient Inca architecture structures were built of hand-hewn rocks of different sizes and shapes. Some were 3-sided, some 4-sided, and some 7-sided. Without the use of mortar, they were fitted together so perfectly that they stood for many centuries, even through earthquakes.
My beloved, God builds His church in much the same way. The Bible pictures the church of Jesus Christ as a building, and each believer is a block in that building. Peter said that we, “as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). And the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are “being joined together” (Ephesians 2:21) and “are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22), and 1 Corinthians 3:9 says, “We are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building”.
Because we are all different, that’s not an easy process. People with a variety of backgrounds, abilities, interests, and needs make up Christ’s true church. Yet, when we let the Lord Jesus do His work among us, shaping us and assigning our place in the structure, we become part of a very strong and solid edifice. Yes, we are all different; however, God is building a strong church. The magnificent Inca buildings will eventually crumble, but the church is built to last.
Are we using our gift for the body of Christ? According to 1 Corinthians 17:7-11, the Holy Spirit gives every follower of Christ at least one spiritual gift. These God-given abilities are bestowed so that the church can function effectively and grow strong. We are to use our gifts, whether teaching, encouraging, or helping others, all in service to Christ. Just as little parts of an engine are vital to keep it running, every member of the body of Christ, the church, is important. Failure to do your part may hinder the whole body from functioning properly.
Your failure to witness may be the reason that someone doesn’t hear the gospel. Your failure to support your church financially may curtail the work of evangelism or missions. My beloved, your little part, if neglected, can result in His church suffering, its ministry incomplete, and its outreach and effectiveness crippled. So, are you doing your part?
My brethren, the prophecy of Haggai is often overlooked in God’s Eternal Word, but it holds much truth for us today. This brief book consists of four messages from God to the Jewish exiles who had returned from Babylon. Their mission was to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. They started well, but then their enthusiasm waned and they turned to building houses for themselves. In his first message, Haggai asked, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” (Haggai 1:4).
In message two (Haggai 2:1-9), Haggai asked if anyone remembered the temple Solomon had built, and that King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed. A few elderly exiles could recall the former glory. By comparison, the abandoned work looked pitiful. I want you to think for a moment about our work of building the church today. For us, the church is the body of Christ, the believers themselves (1 Corinthians 12:27). Our mission as followers of Jesus is to become a strong, dedicated, growing, and witnessing church. Remember that as believers in Christ, our commitment to Christ goes hand in hand with commitment to His church. So, my beloved, how are you doing?
(1) How is your local congregation doing?
(2) Is it busy doing the work of God?
(3) Are you personally involved?
(4) Or have you become distracted with the work of building your own “paneled houses” as the Jewish exiles did?
Use now what God has given you,
Count not its worth as small;
God does not ask of you great things,
Just faithfulness – that’s all! – Bosch
The permanence of the church is based on the character of its builder.