WE BUILD TEMPLES TOO!
The LORD will eventually establish a physical temple in Jerusalem in accord with His plan for Israel and the world, maybe soon (Haggai 1-2). That is an issue between Israel and the LORD. The Church, on the other hand, does a different kind of temple building in the world today (Matthew 16:15-18, 1 Corinthians 3:9-17). The work of the Church is not in the building of fancy buildings, although fancy buildings are nice, but the building of Christ into the lives of people.
…this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ (Colossians 1:27b-29).
The Church does not do the same work as Israel did in the past but is doing a new and distinct work of God in the world (Ephesians 3:8-12). Once the building of the Church has been completed, the LORD will resume His dealings with national Israel in accord with the covenant promises He made to Israel as reported by the writers of the OT and affirmed by the writers of the NT (Romans 11:12-15, 25-29). The temple in Jerusalem will be built in conjunction with the purposes of God for Israel. This takes place after the Lord’s Church project has been completed and with the return of Christ. Until then, the work of God on earth is the building of His Church under the direction of the Spirit of God.
CHRIST IS THE CORNERSTONE OF THE CHURCH
Jesus promised to build His Church (Matthew 16:15-18). The work awaited the redemption price paid in the death and resurrection of Jesus before work on the Church could begin. The cost to build the Church was paid in advance in the redemptive work of Christ (Ephesians 1:7-10). Once the redemption price was paid, the work on the Church was begun. The death and resurrection of Jesus not only secured redemption for the Church but also for Israel and is the basis for the eventual restoration of Israel in the plan of God under the terms given to Israel in the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25).
Christ Himself is the cornerstone of the Church because He is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:15-18). This is the core theology of the Church and the necessary credentials required of all those who would do work on the Church. Those who disavow Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God need not apply as a worker in His Church. The Church is an enduring structure that will not be overthrown by the enemies of Christ. The restoration of Israel in the plan of God awaits their acknowledgment of Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God. The judgment of God in the recent time upon Israel is due to their renunciation of the cornerstone – Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 23:37-39, Zechariah 12:10-13:1, 1 Peter 2:6-8).
The professing Church of today and its members stand in danger of a like judgment for the apathy it has toward the work to present everyone mature in Christ through the process of proclaiming and warning (Colossians 1:28-29). The Church should stay focused and rise to the challenge of faithful service to the LORD. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
THE FOUNDATION WAS LAID BY THE APOSTLES
The measure of the building is its relationship to the cornerstone. The building must stay square to the cornerstone. Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God, is the cornerstone of the Church (1 Corinthians 3:8-10). The NT apostles and prophets were tasked with laying the foundation of the Church in its relationship to Christ the cornerstone. The apostle Paul as the chief engineer was charged with seeing that the foundation was laid in accord with the blueprint given him God. The Holy Spirit is the Project Manager and chief operations officer of the Church in the Church Age. Believers in Christ constitute the workforce. We build under the direction of the Spirit of Christ and under the auspices of pastor-teachers (Ephesians 4:11-16). The Holy Spirit is in charge of the work from the laying of the foundation by Paul and the apostles, on into our day as we build on the superstructure of the Church — its walls and ceilings. The work is not primarily the building of buildings, but the building of Christ into the hearts and minds of people through the faithful teaching of the Word of God.
FAITHFULNESS IN THE WORK IS REWARDED BY THE LORD
Faithfulness is the measure of all things spiritual, especially for those who serve in the work of the Church. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). Faithfulness implies tenacity and perseverance when obstacles stand in the way of progress in the work of the Church. It embraces courage and commitment to stay the course when opposition dampens enthusiasm and we are tempted to become discouraged in the work. It reflects sincerity of effort in the pursuit of excellence, not merely going through the motions. Faithfulness doesn’t ask, “Am I good at what I do? But is the LORD glorified in all that I do?”
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20). To the degree that our lives glorify the LORD, is to the degree that our lives have value – gold, silver, precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:12-17). We should live each moment as if we are to give an account of those moments because as Christians we will (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward (2 John 8).