Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Ultimate Building Project

At Redeemer, we have been through four different building projects, now we are in the midst of the fifth and more complicated one. After a five year long planning and design process, our new sanctuary is on the way to being completed by late Summer. I'm no engineer or construction expert, but having witnessed four of our construction projects, I can testify the building process is unpredictable and pretty stressful at times. Designs have to be submitted to the city, permits have to be granted, alterations made to the original blueprints, funds to raise, and multiple bills to be paid. There is also the small matter of actually erecting the building. Pouring basement walls for the foundation, building upon that foundation, and finishing the structure.

The Apostle Peter describes the Church of God with construction imagery:

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2:4-5

The Church of Jesus Christ is described as a building. The forming of the Church is a supernatural work of God Himself- the master builder. This passage, among others, refers to the very hand of God taking sinful, fallen, people and turning them in to this spiritual building. I need to be constantly reminded:

God is building a spiritual house (the Church) for the purpose of bringing glory to himself.

My desire to see our church and other churches grow cannot be for any other reason than the advancement of the glory of God on the earth. This is our purpose. This is our chief end. God is building His church so that we might offer spiritual sacrifices to Him through Christ.

What Peter says next gives me further confidence:

Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” - Peter 2:6-7

In order to begin the construction of any stable building in antiquity, one would start by laying the cornerstone. To make something line up right, to make something square, you would have to depend on the precision and strength of the cornerstone. Stones were hewn and carved by skilled craftsmen. Exacting detail was used in the making of each building stone. Still, even with all this attention, no two stones were exactly right. They were not poured in to a mold so they often differed in size and weight. This was acceptable for the building stones, but the cornerstone demanded more attention. The best of the stone smiths would be assigned the task of honing the cornerstone. It had to be perfectly square and just the right size.

Peter paints the picture of God, the master craftsman, laying the cornerstone which will dictate the rest of the building process. Of course, to our joy, that cornerstone is Jesus Christ.

Building projects can be intimidating, stressful, and a bit worrisome. One building project that is surely different is the Church. God is doing it. Christ is directing it. God is building the ultimate building- a tribute to Himself! We are being built in to it through Christ. the project will not fail.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. -1 Peter 2:8-10


Frontier Forest said...

Reading Pastor T's deeply probing thoughts about buildings and cornerstones, quickly took my mind to Psalms 127:1. "Unless the Lord build the house, those who labor, do so in vain."
I love the way this verse is expressed in "The Message" by Eugene H. Peterson.
"If God doesn’t build the house, the builder is only building shacks."

rsswetnam said...

It has been a blessing to see the vision and dreams of the leadership and people of Redeemer become a reality. It is, certainly, a credit to the laying of a Scriptural foundation. I trust and know that this is only the beginning. Our prayers and support continue to be with you as Redeemer becomes a great example of biblical excellence for the Kansas City area. God knows; we need it!