Wednesday, March 4, 2009

So, you want to build a church?

Today was an encouraging day in a much different way than I was expecting.
Tom Pennington talked about building the Church, that is, Christ's Church and the requirement to build the right foundation, use the right materials and remember the rightful owner.

1 Cor. 3:10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

There is great responsibility in being a builder on the building that was started 2000 years ago by the apostles, with Christ as the Cornerstone. We wouldn't let just anyone come in and help us build our physical house, and we should not take lightly the responsibility of building Christ's Church. He requires master craftsmanship, following His blueprint and building with materials that are "non combustible". If our spiritual "house" were to catch on fire would there be anything of value left over after the fire? Or would all our efforts be in vain because we built with inferior materials?

John MacArthur followed that up with a recap of his first 40 years at GCC. 40 years of faithful ministry in one place, teaching the same people and using the same Book. What a testament to the faithful of God to use one man to change so many lives. Here are the main points to his message on building a ministry God's way.

1.The Absolute authority of Scripture. God is absolutely consistent with Himself. The interpretation of Scripture never changes. No human brings any new interpretation of Scripture. Scripture is an unchanging authority.
2.The Church is primarily a congregation of worshipers. We are called to worship Christ, to bow to Him as Lord, to practice self denial, to give Him the honor and obedience that is due Him. We are going to worship in Heaven forever. We need to understand what it means to worship. In order to worship rightly, we need to know Him. Word informed worship is right worship. Knowledge expands worship.
3.Doctrinal Clarity. We need answers and the answers are in the Word. Clarity translates into conviction. Interpret Scripture and get the principle from the text. It is clear, supportable, believable and if they believe it then they will live it out. In the end they will fight for it. Conviction becomes affection. The Scripture is both clear and convicting.
4.Spiritual Discernment. 1 Thes. 5:20-22. we must search the Scriptures to find out what we are to do. If we don’t understand it how can we defend it? How can we fight with a weapon we don’t know how to use?
5.The Church is to pursue Holiness. Legalism is not holiness. Fundamentalism turns quickly into hypocrisy. This is not going to come easily but it is right. Matt. 18, 1 Cor. 5 Church discipline. How can we say that we aren’t to practice it if it’s in the Bible?
6.The Need to develop Godly Leaders. If we’re not producing the future leaders, who is? 2 Tim. 2:2.
7.Be devoted to discipleship.
8.Teach them critical unity. Romans 12, 1 Cor. 12. The “one another commands”.
9.Marked by faithful prayer.
10.Sacrificial Giving.
11.Evangelism. This is our key reason for being here on earth. We are making the Gospel believable as we live out Christianity.

This is a lot to digest, especially from notes rather than from listening to the message in person. I hope you can glean something from this. The main thing I took away from today was that God is faithful to bless His Church and to grow His Church when we are faithful to teach the Word in season and out of season. He blesses His faithful ones here on earth with blessed ministries when we are faithful to follow His commands and do them rightly. God really has blessed John MacArthur over the 40 years he has been at GCC.

We are to be faithful, not creative, in what He has called us to do and leave the rest up to Him. He will handle all the details if we are just faithful. This is true of every part of our lives.

1 comment:

~Kim (and family) said...

"Conviction become affection"....so true!