The Building:- Purpose: Residency How often do we hear people pontificate about the church not being a building. Yet the Bible clearly says that it is, and that God is a builder. “I will build my church” says the Lord. Of course we all realise the difference. I built my own church when I was young but it is not the one that God has and is building. God has always been into building. He commanded Moses to build the tabernacles and David to see that Solomon had the riches and materials to build his Magnificent Temple. The tabernacle that Moses built is a wonderfully detailed parable about the work of Jesus Christ in salvation as our great High Priest. The gold magnificent temple that Solomon built could be said to be an illustration of the work of the Holy Spirit in building the church into a magnificent temple fit for God to dwell in. The first was built by a priest the second built by a king. We have been made to be Kings and Priests unto God, (Rev 1:6) bringing our sacrifices not of blood or animals but the sacrifices of Praise. This is one of the great themes of Ephesians. It is the riches of His grace that cause the people of God to praise God and give Him the glory he deserves. God dwells in the praises of His people. (Ps.22:3.) Solomon built a temple of Gold but it was David who fought the battles to acquire the gold. He conquered all the enemies of Israel and took taxes and booty from them all until he was able to furnish Solomon with the immense riches that were needed to build his temple to the Lord. In Type Jesus is as David. He was the fighter, the man of war. He shed blood. Solomon was man of peace. There was no war during his 40 years reign The temple was built off site and erected in total silence. This is surely a parable of the work of the Holy Spirit, the dove of Peace who is building the great temple of God- the church. If you read Ephesians again with these thoughts in the background you will see David and Solomon again reflecting the work of Jesus and the Holy spirit. Note the constant references to the praise of his glory and the riches of his grace and glory. David acquired the riches, Solomon built the temple. In Ephesians the "Temple is a house of praise (the church) and the "riches of his grace" are things that cause the praise, but they were made possible by Jesus The last few chapters in the second book of Chronicles would be interesting reading alongside Ephesians. Here are some of the best bits concerning the riches that David acquired. Notice that he says he had taken “much trouble” or “great pains” (NIV) to acquire such riches, just as Jesus has taken "great pains" to acquire the riches of grace we now have to enable us to build a temple of praise to our God. Note also that Paul like David, prays that the Ephesians might know wisdom and understanding. It is as if he was inspired by verse 12 in the following passage. 1 Chr 22:7-19 7 And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; “but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. 9 ‘Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. ‘He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ 11 “Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you. 12 “Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. 13 “Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed. 14 “Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. 15 “Moreover there are *workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. 16 “Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you.” 17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, 18 “Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people. 19 “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD.”
*The great supply of women and tradesmen may remind us of the ministries mentioned in ch 4 v 11 Eph 4:11-12:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ:
Verse 18 depicts the church today. We are at rest. We no longer need to fight the fight of works for our survival (salvation), but a fight of faith. So let us build a house for God while in our "rest (peace) time." The following passage illustrates how we are also privileged to give towards the building of Gods temple. God looks for willing sacrifices. (Rom 12:1) 1 Chr 29:2-14; David says,(Jesus says) 2 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. 3 Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, (personal treasure) of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, 4 Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal: 5 The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD? 6 Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly, 7 And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. 8 And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy. 10 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. 11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. 14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
How very, very true that is concerning our giving to God
The last verse reflects Ephesians again- "the riches of His grace" There can be no doubt that these events are but parables of the real spiritual events within the kingdom of God as portrayed in Ephesians. Proof being that Solomon's throne and temple were to last "forevermore". They clearly will not last and clearly cannot last forever because they are material and not spiritual. Verses 11-13 reflect the Lord's prayer and are surely the substance of our own sacrifices of praise, what in Ephesians are referred to as the "praises of His glory"
The New Jerusalem. In Revelation ch. 21 we read that the bride of Christ comes down from heaven and it is not a woman but a city- Jerusalem- The new Jerusalem. I searched the internet for a picture of this magnificent city but found none that seemed authentic, so I drew my own. Though not to scale it illustrates the main features. But there was no Temple in the city for the Lord is the temple and we dwell eternally in him. There was no night for God is the light and there was no sea, for the sea is a symbol of the sinful souls of the nations and peoples of the world. God is truly in the building trade Having been in that trade for many years I see the similarities between a building and the church. It must have been an amazing sight which was revealed to John. The foundation stones of the city (church) are as those which were worn by the priests of old on their Breastplates. Peter says that we as members of this "temple/city" are all as "living" stones. 1 Pet 2:4-9 4 .....To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Stone in the bible is a symbol of law, or the word of God. But we are living stones which suggests the truth that the Spirit has brought the law to life. It brings us life rather than death. It is not the Law of Moses written in stone but the law written on our hearts- so that it becomes our desire to fulfil it. As it said above we have been given willing hearts. The first thing you need when building today is a surveyor who comes with his theodolite and sets the levels for the building. Similarly the first thing in the church is the corner stone, for in Bible days they had no such instruments as we have today so they set one stone as the marker and all other stones were built in accordance with that one corner stone. Jesus is that corner stone and the apostles are all part of the foundation of the church. All buildings must be built according and upon the foundations set down at the start as in the plans. You just cannot lay foundations for part of the building and then build extensions and annexes without foundations. So God’s church has been set down in blueprint fashion. If we are to be built as the church of Jesus Christ, then the Holy Spirit will work in us according to the foundations set by the apostles in the New Testament. Those who profess to be “christian" and whose doctrines and beliefs are unscriptural are mere sects and false prophets practicing false, dead religion. I think it is true to say that while every book in the New Testament preaches the truth, they all refer in some way to those who don't preach the truth. Having spoken of the church as a body we can remind ourselves now that our bodies were designed and fashioned for a purpose. In 1 Cor. ch. 6 we read that they were not designed for immorality, though many think they were. In Paul's day some philosophers said "Meats for the belly and the belly for meats" in order to justify fornication. "It's only natural" is our modern day cry. When we come into the kingdom the Holy Spirit in our bodies tells us through the word that we were made originally as temples for God to dwell within. But sin made that impossible. But Jesus has cleansed the temple and the Holy Spirit has come again to dwell in those who believe and are justified by faith. So we are all mini temples in the great temple worldwide- indeed a temple that develops into a city in the book of Revelation. Some building program, don't you think? Someone has asked the strange question is mortar placed between the bricks to keep them together or keep them apart. Strange question, but in the temple of God the mortar surely is the Love of God, that surrounds each living stone and joins each one of us together into ONE habitation of the Lord. (Click slides to enlarge)