Carefully Build the House of the Lord (1)

 

“For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.” (1 Corinthians 3:9)

 

I had spoken before with brothers and sisters regarding the church as the field of God, the object of His work. Through His servants, God took much effort to till and plant the field, so that it should logically give forth produce that is pleasing to Him, increasing in quality and quantity, and bringing glory to the Lord. Over these next few weeks, I would like to talk to you about building a house. Paul likened the church as well to the house that God built. God has laid the foundation through Jesus Christ, the one and only foundation. (1 Corinthians 3:11) He is also the chief cornerstone that is the standard for the whole construction process. (Ephesians 2:20-21) The disciples and prophets of old have laid down a solid base, and generations upon generations of believers have built on it. They did not build up a cathedral of external substance and glamour, but the divine character of each child of God, to be a spiritual house filled with the Spirit of God. After the Flood, mankind did not want to disperse, but instead erected the Tower of Babel to make a name for themselves. After the completion of the salvation of the cross of Jesus Christ, the church has separately built spiritual houses pleasing to the Lord in diverse time and places.

 

Paul reminds us: ”But each one should be careful how he builds.” (1 Corinthians 3:10) This clarifies the attitude man should have when building this spiritual house, since some will use gold, silver and precious stones, and others wood, hay and straw. Only if it survives the fiery test will it have everlasting value. I would like to juxtapose the following real-life example with the proper attitude we should harbour when building the spiritual house.

 

Many years ago, the buildings in the huge housing developments at Tin Sui Wai and Yuen Kok Chau in Hong Kong exhibited cracks on their support columns. After inspections by the Housing Authority, it was discovered that the construction companies short-changed the developer during construction and used inadequately short piles. Instantly the scandal of the short piles shook all levels of society. Similarly, in recent years the road to becoming a believer that many people took was founded on the celebrity effect. If people turn back to God based solely on the touching testimony of celebrity believers, or even are reminded of their need for God during some stand-up comedic talk-show, but lack a deeper understanding of their own sins, and have only head knowledge but no spiritual immersion into the salvation of Christ, then the foundation of faith of these people who thus believed in Christ is worrisome. It is like driving in short piles when building, or even no piles, and erecting from a below-standard foundation. If these people, who are built-up upon short-piled foundations, turn back and re-establish their base, by the mercy of the Lord, they may become secure again. Only by assembling upon the foundation of Jesus Christ can all future building of the church be solid and firm. “The righteous cannot be uprooted.” (Proverbs 12:3) But those preachers who seek quick results and use short piles in their gospel message will have their sin of short-changing prosecuted by God.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, the super skyscraper must be built on a deep, sturdy foundation. This year, the theme of our pursuit is “Build up the Christian Church, nurture a bountiful spiritual life”. Let us continue to encourage each other, examine the support columns of our faith to find the cracks, and return to the foundation of Christ. “I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” (Luke 6:47-48)

 

By: Daniel To