Building on the Foundation
I want to talk with you this morning about the construction of this church.
I have been thinking a lot recently about the construction of the church.
Não fico pensando sobre a construção dessa igreja só.
Mas, fico pensando.
Quando digo que fico pensando sobre a construção dessa igreja, não falo sobre a fundação físico, ou as paredes ou as grades.
I'm talking about the spiritual foundation.
Maybe you are here and you are thinking, "bem, I know what the spiritual foundation of this church is.
This church has never changed its doctrinal statement.
We are the same as we have always been."
But you know, spiritual foundations are not like physical foundations.
We cannot take our spiritual foundations for granted.
We need to always be paying attention to them.
That means we as a church need to be very intentional in every aspect of our church.
says that the church has "been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."
In the Ancient Near East houses were built - and the temple was built - by cutting large pieces of rock into cubes.
These rocks would be laid down as a foundation, with one rock in particular functioning to give direction to the rest of the foundation.
This rock is what was called the "cornerstone."
If it was moved, or if it was weak, the whole building would have problems.
Paul says that Jesus is that cornerstone for the church.
He is the one who orients the whole church.
And the foundation is the "apostles and prophets."
God gave special revelation to the Apostles and prophets.
We call the written record of that revelation, "Scripture."
So that means Christ is building His church on the foundation of the Scriptures, with Jesus Himself as the first stone that establishes and gives direction to the church.
Paul continued this illustration in .
Speaking as a missionary or pastor he tells the church in Corinth what his role is in the church.
In this passage he says,
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.
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.
Paul is here talking about the work of a pastor.
As a church-planting missionary Paul says he laid the foundation of Jesus Christ.
And now there is a pastor in this church.
And the pastor is building on the foundation.
And one day that pastor will give an account for how he builds.
You see, it matters to Jesus how we build our church.
It matters that our church stays on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
It is our desire to build this church in a way that pleases Jesus.
Because this church doesn't belong to you, or to me, but to Jesus.
So let's spend a few minutes and think about what our church looks like.
Let me ask a question which will help orient us.
Why are we here?
What is the point of gathering together as a church?
There are various answers given to this question.
But the answer we give is important to understanding who we are and what God expects of us.
To maintain a Gospel witness in the neighborhood.
Continue ministries begun by those before us.
To worship God in the services.
To sing songs
To celebrate the Lord's Supper
To hear preaching
To have fellowship with one another
Because that is what is expected of me.
God expects me to be here.
It is my duty.
But these answers are all inadequate.
While they might be part of the main reason, in themselves each of these answers is insufficient.
In reality, the only reason to gather together as a church is to glorify God.
Every part of the church, every ministry, every service, everything must have as its goal to glorify God.
But what does that mean?
That sounds like a very easy, simple answer, doesn't it?
So if it's so important, what does it mean?
This morning I want us to study two verses from 2 Corinthians.
This is what Paul says:
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ…But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
That was and 3:18.
And in these two verses we get a picture of what it means for the church to have as its purpose to glorify God.
I want to take a few minutes and make some observations about this text, and how it applies to us as a church.
Notice how the church glorifies God.
Paul says God revealed His glory to us "in the face of Jesus Christ."
So let's start with this thought: we glorify God by looking into the face of Jesus, because God revealed His glory in the face of Jesus.
God glorifies Himself in us by shining light into our hearts.
Let me start where Paul starts, and ask a question.
Can you, by trying really really hard, believe?
Do you shine light in your own dark heart?
Look at this verse again.
"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts."
Paul compares our ability to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus with the act of creation.
At the story of creation, did the sun first shine of its own will, by trying really hard?
No, it was God who said, "let there be light."
In the same way God shines light in our hearts.
So we glorify God by seeing His glory in the face of Jesus.
But God first glorifies Himself in us by shining His light into our hearts.
Don't forget, we are talking about why we are here together as a church.
And the point is that we are not here because of ourselves.
There are many churches that gather together and worship their own way.
Paul calls this "culto de si mesmo."
But if we are a genuine church, we are here because God called us together.
We are here because God shone His light in our hearts.
God glorifies Himself in us.
Our glorifying God begins with Him.
Without His work in shining the Gospel in our hearts, we are lost.
We Glorify God by Looking into the Face of Jesus