10/4/1998 11:00 AM
Jesus built his church upon a sure foundation - the foundation being that he was the son of God. There are many foundations people are choosing to build on today: Mohammed, Buddha, Mr. Moon. Christ was more than just a wonderful man, great prophet, good leader; he was the Son of God and the founder of his church. The church is not built on any one that has come since Christ.
Christ is the head of the body - the church. Christ is the one to direct, guide and control the body. He doesn't have any intention of giving it over to anyone else. Men may claim to be the head but they are not. God ordained Christ and placed him in the position. He is there by election of God. We can't vote him in or out. He made it possible for us to be partakers and to be added to the body of Christ. Christ has the preeminence. He'll be lifted up. The problem today is that men are being honored instead of God. We don't want to take from Christ's honor either individually or collectively.
The church is blood-bought. It is the property of God. It is not ours to handle, to manage, or to run. It is his. We need to respect it as being God's. He told them that men would come and lead off after themselves. As far as Christ is concerned, he still owns his church. Our efforts should not be expended that others would follow us, but Christ. The church is Christ's. Paul didn't try to establish his own flock.
God adds to his church. He's out and he's buying and he's adding to that which is already there. He still keeps the membership - he maintains the roll. There are many people who would like to keep the roll - who is and who isn't in God's church. Because God hasn't delegated this responsibility to any human, we don't know who all is in or out of his church. The church is visible in the lives that we live. The church will be hard to distinguish when men take up a profession with out being bought. There are people that claim to be children of God when they aren't, and since we see only the outward, it is best that God keeps the roll. For if man keeps the roll we're in trouble. God sees the hearts. He's qualified to keep the roll. Man isn't because he can't. If God has added you to his church you're in; if he hasn't - you're not. God has had a people all down through the ages. If some man adds you to their roll it doesn't take you out of God's church if he has put you in it (though we are not advocating the joining of a church). We need to keep a consistent measure when we talk about what God's church is and isn't. When we say that God has always had a church (though no doubt it was hard to distinguish who was and who wasn't at some points in time) down through the ages, and then, we turn around and say "God doesn't have a church at this place anymore"... we are being inconsistent. God knows who is and who is not. God is still in the adding business... he's keeping the roll. When a soul comes to the place of repentance and is justified by God, it is then added to God's church... not when we accept them. We might, through the inability to see the heart, accept someone when God doesn't. Let God be in charge of the roll.
"Whosoever shall do the will of my Father in heaven" is the brethren. This is a description of who the family of God is. It takes in all that are doing the will of God. If they are doing that, they are accepted of God. We need to be sure we're doing the will of the Father. (Parable of the 2 sons who were asked of the Father to work... one says... I will and didnt... one says... I will not... and did... which one did the will of the father?) It is not how we speak, but, are we doing the will of God? It's not what we say, but what we do.
I John 3:10
The child of the devil - he who does not righteousness or loveth not his brother. The child of God is the opposite of this. We must have the love of God, not just rules and regulations. You must love your brother. This is an "either-or" conditional. If you miss it either way here, you are not of God. (Righteousness without love - or - Love without righteousness) You must have both together. It is important that our record be clear on the roll of God's keeping.
II Corinthians 12:19, 20
Paul was concerned about how things were. He was doing what he could to help, edify and build up. He was afraid things wouldn't measure up and he would have to speak up. He didn't want these things mentioned in this reading to be prevalent. We need to hold firm the truth in the love of God. We are out to help and encourage and to edify where we can. We don't want to get a twisted view of what is right. Find the will of God and be faithful to it. The church is only visible by how we live and what we do. Do the will of God; make his presence known. If we aren't living right individually, we won't be right as the church. Build up all the church of God.