Building up the spiritual church

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By Rev. Wayne D. Hannah

One of the questions Jesus asked of His followers was: “Whom say ye that I am?” Peter’s response was “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” (Matthew 16:16) Then, Jesus said “…and on this rock I will build my church ….” (Matthew 16:18)

Jesus made it clear that His church is built upon those who accept Him as the only born Son of God; by that confession that He is Lord.

It is natural then that Peter – in writing to those who had made that same confession of faith – that God would build His church on living stones. The church is not the building in which Christians worship, but it is the people who worship Him.

This is why the Scripture in I Peter 2:5 states: “You also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house; a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Therefore, the place we worship is not the church, but rather the place where the church — “the living stones” — gather to proclaim their commitment to Christ.

When we come to realize this truth, then we must ask ourselves “what kind of church am I building for the Lord?”

Every church has a large number of persons on their membership roll who are not present for worship, and are often not known to many of the active members.

Apparently, the “inactives” on the membership roll have missed the fact that they are to be building up a spiritual house which is the church. The Scripture states: “they are the living stones that build the church.” Therefore, many of our churches are just piles of rubble, because in most cases less than half of the names on the membership lists are not helping build the spiritual house that God expects it to be. This means regularly active members must ask themselves – “What kind of spiritual house am I striving to build?”

Is it the spiritual house where the “love of God” through Jesus Christ is being lived out in my life? Is it the kind of spiritual house where the spiritually sick can find healing and help? Notice that the spiritual “House of God” is supposed to be a “hospital” for sin-sick individuals.

Notice the meaning is not that we are building a house where “I control”  or “have my way,” but we are to be building a spiritual house where the love of God, His mercy, forgiveness, salvation and eternal life can be experienced.

The spiritual house we are to be building is to honor and glorify God. The Bible teaches us that it is God’s church and that Christ is the chief cornerstone. It is Christ who is the head of the church. It is His house that we are building.

Everything the church seeks to do must be in keeping with the will and purpose of Jesus Christ. Everything the church does must be for the carrying out of the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. If we are to be building a spiritual house, it must be for the honor and glory of Christ our Lord and for the glory of our Heavenly Father.

If we build for any other reason we are not building a “spiritual house.” If we build for any other reason, we are building for our own glory and not for the glory of God.

As Jesus responded to Peter’s confession – “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, so He responds to our confession, that upon this rock, I will build my church.”

As one who has confessed Jesus is the Son of the Living God, are you building up a “spiritual house” that is alive and living for the glory of God? This is the kind of spiritual house our nation very much needs today. As a living stone, are you helping to build God’s church?