We think about someone in the way we first met them.
Have you ever bumped into someone that you haven’t seen for years? Hey! It’s you! How are you? Are you still working at…? I sold carpet to pay my way through college. That was years ago. Once in a while I will bump into an old client and they immediately associate me with flooring. Worse yet I bump into one of my childhood school teachers and have to apologize for being a pain in school. They always seem relieved to see that I “turned out alright”.
When you meet someone, again after years apart, it takes a while to adjust to who they have now become. If it’s a niece or nephew, and the last time you saw them was when they were a toddler, it’s great to see who they have grown up to be.
If you’re reunited with someone who was a mess as a teenager and they are now a responsible parent you have more to learn about them. You can’t freeze frame them…meaning you can’t assume that they still are the way they were at age 16.
How did you first come into contact with Jesus Christ?
Where did you meet Him? How does that define Jesus to you? Who do you say that He is?
Is He the stuff of stained glass and a crucifix to you? Is He a cartoon drawing from childhood Sunday School books? Is He someone you make fun of?
Maybe He’s more meaningful than that to you. Maybe you came to a point of believing that He forgave your sins. That’s amazing isn’t it!?!
Did you stop learning about Him? Is there more about Him to consider?
Jesus is the:
Prince of peace, Son of God, Breaker, Warrior, King, Priest, Intercessor, Deliverer, Redeemer, Friend, Mediator, Healer, Lifter of your head, God with us, etc.
Have we limited Jesus Christ by the context in which we first met Him?
Jesus the Builder – Do you see Jesus as a builder?
1. Mt 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build my church!”
Jesus says “I will build”. Jesus, son of the carpenter, would have been familiar with construction. He chooses this word picture carefully. He knew that this meant work. He knew that this meant an expensive long term project. He knew that this meant working toward a goal in the future. What does this say to you about Jesus?
Take a minute to think about your perception of Jesus. Does this fit for you?
He also says “my church”. This is a transition point to speaking in the “possessive”. Sounds like Jesus takes this personally.
2. Ps 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the House they labor in vain that build it.
We don’t build it. We don’t take credit when it goes well, and we can’t take the blame when it goes bad. We take responsibility for our part and defer to the Builder.
That’s not to say that we can’t mess it up. Certainly we can.
One of our goals has to be staying out of His way, and instead working according to His plan.
There’s a freedom in realizing this. It’s His project. He has the plan. We don’t have to show up to work, but we can be involved. We get to be a part of the project.
3. 1 Corinthians 3:7-11 Jesus is the foundation:
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
During ancient times, they would dig until they hit rock before they would lay the foundation. One author visited a house in Nazareth where they had dug down 30 feet to reach rock and them built walls, using arches, up from that point.
Who Jesus is, how He came to earth, how He lived, how He died, and how He lives again speaks to us about Him.
He is the starting point.
4. Jesus’ words as the foundation:
Matthew 7: 24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
So much of what Jesus said, during His time on earth, is useful as a foundation to build your life. It is life. It is relevant to what we experience everyday no matter what state we are in.
The same is true when we set out to work for Him. He has a plan. We have to remember that if it’s not built right it will fall apart.
5. What are we supposed to do? How are we, as believers, involved?
A. Great Commandment: Love God and Love People.
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Jesus taught us about balancing everyday real life. He taught us about a daily relationship with Father God. He taught us about pursuing a relationship with God that grows. He taught us about balancing our work with serving other people. If you pay attention, when you read the books of Matthew/Mark/Luke/John, you will see Jesus managing responsibilities with taking time to help people. During the year I work to read those books over and over again to help me learn from how Jesus lived and what He said.
B. Great Commission:
Go, with people focus, connect with people, bring them to Christ, lead them to next steps in Christ, baptize them, teach them that which is from Christ and remember that He is with you always!
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus gave us a mission. It’s for every believer. He knew it would be a challenge for us. That’s why He drew up the plans. That’s why He’s still the One who is building.
Jesus knows how to work. He is not asking us to do anything that He didn’t do Himself.
With us, it’s a work in progress.
We now have a responsibility to share our faith with others. When people respond, we grow in faith together and follow the steps that Jesus laid out for us.
C. Building with living stones.
1 Peter 2:4 “As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Jesus brings the materials into order (strength by structure). As a carpenter, Jesus would have learned about structures that were strong and those that fell apart. He would have known that carefully selecting your building materials matters. He knew that bringing those materials into order could provide the strength to help that structure stand for a long time. It’s the same today. You don’t build a structure to stay for the weekend. You build to have a place to call home for a lifetime. Jesus knew that if He could bring together chosen materials (you and me) and cause them to work together a spiritual home could be built.
So many people today do not know what it is like to live in a good home, a home with a family that loves each other. Millions long to know the peace from being a home like that. We can build a spiritual home where people can find peace in Jesus!
D. Follow the Jesus pattern.
He called them together.
Takes one step at a time: He does you watch, then you do He watches.
Mark 6:6-13 Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Rebecca and I have long felt called to build a soul winning church in a city on the water. We have dreamed of being in a city where we could interact with both the “under privileged” and the “over privileged” in a place where we could serve both the “under educated” and the “over educated”. We believe that we are called to and uniquely positioned to be able to help people come into faith in Christ, equip them, and then send them to serve their context – to become a “city within a city”.
What if we could serve God’s vision to build a church that served the city? What if the church had both spiritual depth and cultural relevance? What if it attracted people in because it trained believers to live a missional life out in the community? What if the church had passionate presence driven worship with the power of the Holy Spirit, connected with the mind of the guest by the power of the Scripture?
What can God do? What happens when we see Jesus as the Builder?