Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 26, 1969
NUMBER 9, PAGE 12b-13a

Building The Church According To The Pattern

Johnie Edwards

God has never told man to build without first giving him a pattern or blueprint by which to build. The Apostle refers to this when God was ready for the tabernacle to be built. "Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, see, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern skewed to thee in the mount" (Heb. 8:5).

A number of things are associated with building. Let's take a look at some of these things and make some spiritual applications.

1. An Architect — God.

An architect is one who draws the plans for a building. The divine architect in the church is God. The church is not an after thought of God, but was planned from the beginning. Paul said, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. According to the eternal purpose which he proposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. 3:10-11).

II. A Place To Build — Jerusalem:

When you think about building, you think of a location on which to build. God had a place for the church to first be built. The prophets said it would be Jerusalem. "Therefore thus saith the Lord: I am returned to Jerusalem. "Therefore thus saith the Lord: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my home (the church, I Tim. 3:15) shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem" (Zech. 1:16). According to Acts chapter two, Jerusalem was the place where the church was first established. A church which had its beginning some other place than Jerusalem is not and never will be the Lord's church!

III. A Builder — Jesus Christ:

You can't build without a builder. The church has a builder, a divine builder — Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). We are warned, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it . " (Psa. 127:1)

IV. A Foundation On Which To Build — Christ

Every house is built on a foundation. Foundations are important. A house is no better than the foundation on which it is built. The story of the wise and foolish builder teaches the value of the right kind of foundation. (Matt. 7:24-27). The church is built on a sure foundation — Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied it, (Isa. 28:16) and Paul said it was true. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3:11).

V. Purchase Price — The Blood Of Christ

It goes without saying that it costs to build! Those who have built a house know this to be so. The church was not without cost. The church cost God the giving of His only son. (Jno. 3:16). No wonder Paul said, "For ye are bought with a price..." (I Cor. 6:20). The church was purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul told the Ephesian elders that they were to feed the church which they oversaw and he reminded them that Christ "hath purchased" the church with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). If we would keep the purchase price in our minds perhaps we would be more zealous toward the work of the church and more faithful in our duties.

VI. Building Material — Lively Stones

When we think of building, we think of building material. What will the building be built of? Wood brick, stone or etc. The church is a stone church! No, not dead stones, but lively stones. Peter said "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 2:5). The church is built out of living material — men and women, boys and girls who from the heart have obeyed the gospel.

VII. Steps Into The Building — Acts Of Obedience.

If you build a house and pay for it, you can put as many steps leading into it as you please. Now let's let the builder of the church, Jesus Christ tell us how many steps we must take to get into the church he built and paid for! The steps essential to being in the New Testament church are: (1) hearing the word, (Acts 3:22) (2) Faith in Christ (Heb. 11:6). (3) Repentance of sins Acts 17:30.

(4) Confession of faith, (Matt. 10:32) and (5) Immersion, Rom. 6:3-4, I Cor. 12:13). If you expect to get into the Lord's church, you'll have to take the steps he laid down.

VIII. Purpose Of Building — House God's Family

One reason a man builds a house is to house his family. The church houses God's family. In fact, the church is God's family. (I Tim. 3:15, Eph. 3:15). As members of God's family we have the responsibility of "Offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God" (I Pet. 2:5), and steadfastly continuing in all things commanded us of God.

Let's all strive to respect the pattern and the church revealed by the pattern.

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