Friday, 10/29/21 – How does God “build His Church”?

How does God “build His Church”?

Perhaps a good place to begin is Jesus’ words following Peter’s great insight that Christ indeed was God incarnate. Jesus had asked the disciples what others were saying about Him. They answered, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Matt. 16:14). Then He asked, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” (An important question each of us must answer.) Peter’s response was immediate: “You are the Christ [Messiah, Anointed], the Son of the Living God.” (v.16). Jesus replied explaining this understanding came by revelation of God and that upon this Rock, (Christ Himself), He would build His Church (v.18).

That Christ is the foundational Rock is further demonstrated in the parable of the two foundations (Matt. 7:24-27). Paul is even more specific in writing to the Corinthians. Linking the wilderness wanderings he writes, “they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). He also assures the Ephesians of their inclusion in the household of God stating,

“[You are] …built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Eph. 2:20-22).

And Peter chimes, “As you come to Him, the Living Stone… you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house” (1 Pet. 2:4,5). Certainly Peter understood that it was not himself, but the Living Christ Who was this Rock, the Cornerstone.

In the above Ephesians passage we see the first layer of construction upon this Rock is “the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” And Christ continues to call and to provide “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Eph. 4:11-12).

In Revelation 21:9-27 John describes his vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God, the final construction of God’s kingdom. Here John describes the city’s magnificence, it’s gates and twelve precious foundations. “I did not see a temple in the city,” he says, “because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (v.22). Temples, synagogues, churches – these all serve as “embassies” while we, His “ambassadors,” dwell here, but none are necessary in our true homeland.

I mention this because I see a parallel in how Christ builds His Church… specifically in its multi-layered foundation. Christ the Rock, the only Foundation upon which anything lasting can be constructed, the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the offices of pastors, deacons, elders, teachers, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the “living stones” of each believer, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the written Word of God, the remembrance of the communion table, and the profession of faith in baptism.

All of these He provides for His Church, His Bride, you and I, ”…God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Tim 3:14-15).

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Tuesday, 9/14/21 – Pressing on… Aborted, Adopted, Adapted…

Aborted, Adopted, Adapted…

There is a passage in an Old Testament prophetic portrayal of God ransoming His people which sounds very much like the Lord Almighty coming upon an aborted fetus,

On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, ‘Live!’” (Ezek. 16:4-6)

Garbage! Birth discharge! Worth no man’s attention but to be tossed aside, made fodder for scavengers. But God sees hope in this bloody issue! His creative voice and life-giving breath speaks to it and command “Live!” And what happens? “Paul says it in Romans: “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption… by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15). He says it again in Galatians: “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” …you are His child” (Gal. 4:6,7). You cry out, “Daddy!”

The above Ezekiel passage continues to describe God growing and nurturing this child, washing and perfuming her, clothing and jeweling her to a creature of great beauty!

From aborting to adopting – this is God’s plan for our redemption. But that is not all! Not only does God seek to restore us to wholeness, but He desires fellowship with us. And not only does He desire fellowship with us, but He also desires to make us like Himself. He desires not only to adopt us, but to adapt us – to fit us for Heaven — to make us holy as He is Holy, for we must be holy to be in His Presence (see Heb. 12:14).

This is the miracle In which John marvels when he writes, “…now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2).

Aborted, Adopted, Adapted!

The Law was just a step along this way. God has much bigger plans in mind.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11).

What an amazing, marvelous and gracious God!

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 4/14/20 – Pressing on…

SHOUT!

group of people taking photo

As Elder Don Longworth read his text this past Sunday I immediately recalled a Sunday School class I had taught long before I was married many, many years ago.

At the time I attended a small non-denominational church just a few blocks from home. The adult class met in the sanctuary but my class, a boisterous group of ten-year-old boys met in a small classroom off the sanctuary to one side of the platform.

To maintain the attention of such an energetic crew required a good bit of creativity. We had been studying through the life of David when we came to Psalm 24. “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? “Who may stand in his holy place?” David asks rhetorically in verse 3. “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” He replies.

silhouette photo of person on stairs

I wanted to impress on the kids what a great privilege and excitement it was to be admitted into the Presence of the Lord Almighty… How the people might SHOUT as they approached Him! So I said to the class, “As I read verses 7-10 when I get to the parts that ask “Who is this King of glory?” (v.8) you fellas SHOUT out loud like you imagine the people to shout,

“The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle!”

Well the first time round it shook the classroom, but then came v.10 – “Who is He, this King of glory?” and again came the roar,

“The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory!“

ebony instrument monochrome musical instrument

This time the piano strings in the sanctuary vibrated! The adult class came to a standstill, and in the classroom papers rustled.

Well, thereafter I became legendary as the class took a spot in that church’s history. Such exuberance! — The King of Glory! ……. My!  But… can we even begin to imagine….

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Rev. 5:11-14)

More tomorrow…

To view Don Longworth’s Easter Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the page from the church website.