Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 29th July, 2018
When Venese and I started out on our journey as a family, we built a little house down at Marom Creek, a few kilometres out of Alstonville.
It was an exciting time seeing the excavation happening and the foundation going down. Then the walls started appearing, and every afternoon we’d wander down to the house – because we were renting the old school house just up the road at Marom at the time. It was usually just on dark by the time we got there.
I remember walking through the house one evening when it still had no windows and no roof, only walls, and Megan was just walking. She had a bright pink dressing gown on and little slippers. And I remember this vision of Megan walking to the edge of where the lounge room sliding glass doors were going to be, then I saw this pink dressing gown disappear over the edge into the darkness.
Thankfully it was less than a metre off the ground. But it gave us all a bit of a fright. Sometimes you wonder how your kids ever survived childhood in your care.
I had that memory pop up this week because I really felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me about what we are building with our lives? We’ve built a lot of things over our time – but I believe it has all been preparation for what God is building right now in this season of our lives…
It’s exciting to build buildings… Homes are awesome things to build – well, mostly. Navigating through the process for the inexperienced can be a challenge.
But God is definitely into building…. and I feel as though we need to understand and get with the building program that He is most passionate about.
And God’s building program is always about people!
And just like any building – it always starts with the foundations. And if you don’t get the foundations spot on, the rest of it will be a nightmare. You end up having to do a lot of renovations…
Jesus knew that He had to make sure that His disciples fully grasped the true foundation of the Christian Church – His Church.
Matthew 16:13-19 (NKJV), “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The Passion Translation says (verse 18), “I give you the name Peter, a stone. And this truth of who I am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church…”
The revelation of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Church -,it’s the foundation of our lives. He Himself – all that His name represents and stands for and the power that it carries… this is what our foundation is. That’s why we unashamedly have the name of Jesus as the centre of this stage… And the cross represents the price that He paid so that the church would live.
And the church does live – not because we have a nice building – but because we ourselves are fully alive!
1 Corinthians 3:9 (NKJV), “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.”
So… do you know what the real challenge and the real Holy Spirit prompting is this morning?
If the foundation of the church is Jesus Christ; if it’s His Church, and He is building it, and our lives are actually the true building… then what are we really called to build? And how is the church really going to fulfil its mandate to reach our world for Christ?
Surely we are called to not just provide for ourselves a great physical meeting place… but we are called to build up one another! And to build the revelation of Jesus Christ into the lives of those who don’t yet know Him.
It’s a revelation that doesn’t come through flesh and blood, but through the revealing of the heart of the Father.
There’s a whole apostolic thing going on here, with Peter making that declaration that Jesus is the Son of God. Apostles hear the Father’s voice and heart and proclaim the truth. And it’s that truth about Jesus that is the apostolic message. That is the foundation of the church.
Back to 1Cor 3…
1 Corinthians 3:9-11 (NKJV), “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Paul is saying, he has laid the foundation for the church, which is the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour of the world.
But then others are called to build on that foundation. And there’s a warning that you better watch out just what you are building. Because it has to fit perfectly and be aligned perfectly with the foundation.
My question to you this morning is – what are you building? Is what you are building perfectly aligned with the love, the grace, the revelation of Jesus… does it do justice to the price that Jesus paid on the cross for your life?
Is the way we are loving others, speaking to others, ministering to others, is all of that really revealing and building upon the life, death and resurrection of Jesus?
If no one else here is feeling a bit convicted and challenged about that – then at least I am!
What words are you speaking into people’s lives? What attitudes are you displaying? What opportunities are you giving the Father to minister to people simply by opening up your life to others?
I love the little portion of scripture that has the heading – “Behave Like A Christian.” It’s like Paul is saying, well if you haven’t worked it out yet from everything I’ve told you – here it is in simple straight forward terms.
Romans 12:9-18 (NKJV), “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
This is a blueprint for building not only your own life, but the lives of others. This is how a Christian behaves.
This is how you build on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
It’s not our job to judge, to criticise, to hold offence, to speak behind someone’s back, to withhold our love and care from people, to think we have all the answers and everyone should be just like me and think like me!
Instead – build people up! Encourage them! Be patient with them. Walk through the tough times with them. Celebrate the good times with them.
Put up a door here… a window there… a letter box out the front. Build their life as if it is a building that is being put together. Who knows what that building might become. Who knows what God’s blueprint is going to produce.
Let’s keep going with 1Cor 3 for a moment.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NKJV), “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
So if conviction hasn’t kicked in yet – maybe this will stir things up a bit.
In your own life… what gold, silver and precious stones are you laying upon the foundation of Christ? What precious things are you building into your own life that will stand the test of time… and I mean the test of eternal time?
What precious prayers are you praying? What scripture verses are you building into your life? What gifts of love and compassion are you giving to those around you? What seeds of salvation are you sowing into the lives of the lost? Do other people see your life as something valuable and precious?
Or do you need to face up to the sub standard and even dangerous building materials of wood, hay and straw that you are building your life upon? What are the things that you know are going to burn up instantly when the fire of God comes upon you and your life?
What are the temporary, earthly, sensual things that won’t last one second in the presence of God? What will be left after all these things turn to ashes?
Sure, you might scrape through smelling of smoke… but aren’t we now new creations in Christ carrying the kingdom of heaven on the inside? Aren’t there Heavenly principles and rewards that are calling our lives forth?
I know the Holy Spirit within us yearns for expansion and increase of the kingdom of heaven on earth… because that means lives are being saved and transformed, and the foundation of the revelation of Jesus Christ is being enlarged and expanded.
And then Paul says:
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV), “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
We should just about be laying prostrate on the floor by now.
We are not just God’s building. We are His temple. His dwelling place. The place where His glory dwells.
Are you building a life that not only makes room for the glory of God, but in itself brings glory to God?
I want off break off every ungodly mindset that “she’ll be right mate.” That I’ll cruise on into heaven – no worries. That I’ve prayed the prayer – I’m all good. If I don’t agree with someone or don’t like what they are doing, I can just cut them off and get on with my own life.
It doesn’t work like that. Your life is founded in Christ. If you build anything else upon that foundation except all these things I’ve been proclaiming this morning, then it could all come crumbling down around you and you’ll find yourself wondering what the heck happened.
We are kingdom people. We live by kingdom principles. We live kingdom lives.
What does the bible says about the kingdom?
It’s righteousness, peace and joy.
It’s sowing good seeds into good soil.
It’s like leaven that brings about increase and expansion.
It’s like a treasure that you find in a field and it’s worth so much and causes you so much joy in your life that you sell everything else to buy the whole field.
It’s like a pearl that is so valuable that you sell everything to obtain it.
It’s like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings up all things good and bad. And again, there’s the fire that comes and burns away everything that is bad… and that’s what it will be like at the end of the age.
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who pays all his workers the same, whether they came early in the day or right at the last. And any judgments we make about that being unfair are unrighteous because who are we to challenge the goodness and grace of God?
I could go on and on about the kingdom of heaven and what it is like, because these are messages for us right now about what we are building from a kingdom perspective.
Are we building kingdom life? Or are we building our own lives on our own opinions and worldly values and standards?
We need to know we are building a Heavenly kingdom here on earth. And not only that – Jesus has given us the keys… we can lock things up spiritually. We can unlock them spiritually. We can bind things in the Spirit realm. We can loose things in the Spirit realm. And the effect of that flows over into our natural world. How is that for kingdom power?
Those keys would have to be the most effective building tools ever!
You have the power to unlock things in your own life that will help you build up your life. You have the keys to shut down the things that you don’t want built into your life.
And these keys are invaluable when we understand that we are also part of a bigger plan and a bigger building than even just ourselves.
1 Peter 2:4-5 (NKJV), “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
It goes on to say that Jesus Himself is the cornerstone of that spiritual house.
A spiritual house… not a natural house… not a physical building… but a place of spiritual oneness and unity. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit. This house that we are all part of is held together by the supernatural power of God.
It started with the power of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room at Pentecost, and we are still part of that expanding house.
A rushing wind filled the room; there were tongues of fire dancing on people’s heads; and the gift of the Holy Spirit filled them all.
And then Peter became a different man – speaking the scriptures with an Anointed authority.
Acts 2:36-39 (NKJV), “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Well we are afar off. You can’t get much more “afar off” from 1st century Messianic Jewish Israel than 21st century Australia. But that’s how big the spiritual house of God has become. Same house – same Holy Spirit – same Jesus Christ – same mandate to keep building – living stone upon living stone…
The Lord added people to the church in the days of Acts by saving them from their sins and He desires to build His Church exactly the same way today!
It’s a big call for the church in 2018, but it’s no bigger than it ever has been.
And so my last thought or challenge is this:
It’s time to grow up!
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NKJV), “but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
We’ve moved beyond the elementary things of God and His Word. It’s grow up time. It’s grow up time in Christ.
It’s time for every one of us to grow into and become knitted into the body of Christ – the Church – the true house of God. It’s knowing that we do belong – and where we belong. And as we grow into that place, the whole house will be built up and will edify itself in love…
To edify literally means to build up… its the act of building.
So this scripture is saying – it’s time to grow up, and be part of building up the body through love. Real love. Caring love. Compassionate love. Sacrificial love. Humble, truthful, authentic, sincere love.
I called this message – “Building People”. But I could have easily called it – “It’s Grow Up Time.”
Let’s get our eyes off ourselves, and look to how we can build up others. Let’s get with the program – God’s Building program.
Let’s take heed at how we are building on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
Let’s use gold, silver and precious stones in our building. Things that have eternal value – and that won’t be burned up instantly in the fire of God.
Let’s make room for glory. God’s glory.
Let’s become kingdom minded. Live according to kingdom principles.
We are living stones in a spiritual house.
We are anointed to build – and the greatest thing we can build into, is one another’s life.