By Jim Cryer (Jim, who was a faithful man of God, was one of the founders of this church and is now with the Lord)
“I will build My Church…” (Matt 16:18)
This statement by the Lord contains important truths that should shape everything we think, say, or do regarding the church.
First, it is His church. He purchased every member of it with His blood. He and the Father conceived it before the world began and made a covenant between themselves for the salvation of its individual members by Jesus’ death on the cross. It belongs to Him!
Second, He is building it. He is both the Architect and Construction Manager. Though He employs other workers, His plan is for each person to be under His direct supervision always.
It is quite possible to do religious work but not be building His church. Only His work contributes to the building of the church – work that proceeds according to His blueprint and that He empowers. Jesus is building a magnificent structure with the finest material and most skillful workmanship through the workers He calls. But attached to it here and there are ramshackle additions of shoddy material and workmanship starkly inferior to the main structure. These represent man’s efforts that were never authorized by the Master Builder.
Scripture reveals that there will be a time –the Day of the Lord–when there will be a “building inspection.”
“…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.” (1 Cor. 3:13)
Our motives may be of the highest order, but work that we conceive and do in our own strength will not endure the testing of that Day. We can imagine the fire of God burning away the “wood, hay, and stubble,” leaving only the magnificent structure that the Lord designed and authorized His workers to build. (1 Cor. 3:14-15).
Scripture gives us the Master’s blueprint; certain workers are called and equipped to be able to read it and direct the work. Not every worker is gifted to understand the blueprint. This gifting is primarily deposited in those with an apostolic calling.
“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.” (1 Cor. 3:10)
Regardless of the church’s present condition, Jesus loves the church. David Miller’s thoughts express this well:
“The boy was horribly disfigured by birth defects…His mother’s heart had been broken repeatedly by the looks of horror and the unkind words. The host of a TV show asked her, ‘When you look at your son, what do you see?’ Tears running down her face, she replied, ‘I see a beautiful boy.’ She was not blind to his defects but defiantly chose to look past her son’s deformity. She chose to see him with eyes of love.
“In recent days I have heard harsh criticisms of the church…My problem is that I have to agree with many of the criticisms. It is hard to argue that today’s American church is not misshapen, deformed, and disfigured.
“But there is something the critics forget…No matter how disfigured the church of Jesus Christ is, it is still the church of Jesus Christ…and Jesus looks on His church with the eyes of love (just) as the mother above did…But there is a key difference. The mother loved her child but could do nothing about his condition. Jesus has all power…to purify the Body, strengthen it, heal it, empower it. He never quits…never tires of the work; He never abandons His sovereign purpose.”
So, let us labor with great care. It is vitally important that we not develop a critical or have a superior attitude toward the rest of the Body of Christ. If God has blessed us, it is our great privilege to serve other members of the Body.