Paul spoke of the church as a community of people who are being “built together” as a home for God to live in. But he was not being vague and unspecific when he penned these words. Paul knew the church as a local body of believers whose members shared their lives together in pursuit of Christ on a daily basis. It is very simple, yet wonderful. This is what the gospel is intended to produce.
Personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no experience more precious than being built together with other brothers and sisters in the Lord. If you were to ask me what I feel my calling in life is, I would answer, “this is it.” In the words of the psalmist I would say: “Only one thing do I desire from the Lord, and this I will seek, to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” (Psalm 27:4). To me there is nothing greater.
I once spent three years with some brothers and sisters with whom the Lord was pleased to build me together. Never have I gained so much of Christ as I did during that season. It was during that time I began to know the Lord Jesus as more than just my Savior, but as my All. It was also during that time I got my first real glimpse of the church as she exists in the sight of God, and how a company of believers might find better, more effective ways of expressing their life together as the body of Christ than I had ever experienced in traditional Christianity. When I finally had to part with these brothers and sisters it was like I was leaving part of myself behind. Or that I was losing my right arm, a part of my own body, for instance. That’s what I mean when I say “built together.” To this day I can call up one of these friends on the phone, and even if we haven’t spoken in months, or years, our fellowship picks up right where it left off. And often it’s deeper and richer than anything I can find with other people I know, some of whom I’ve known all my life. The difference lies in our experience of Christ, in the fact that we have shared life together in pursuit of Him and known the mutual joys and agonies that come from such an adventure. In other words, we have been “built together.”
Not only do we ourselves get so much from this experience (both personally and collectively), but ultimately it is for God’s sake that we are built together, for He gains a dwelling place among us through which He can express Himself in all the fullness of His riches. The church, locally expressed and functioning, becomes the expression of Christ to the world. Just as the Father sought a body through which He could express Himself, and found that expression in the Man Jesus of Nazareth, so now Christ is only made visible when He finds expression through the church which is His body. So God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth-a people free from all ecclessiastical entanglements who will cease denominating themselves from other believers and begin to gather in the unity of the Spirit, on the basis of Christ alone as their only and utter foundation, who will not go their separate ways at the first sight of doctrinal differences or personality clashes. These He will build together to make up His house upon the earth.
Ok, enough said. We’ll keep this short, and hopefully sweet.
And all God’s people said…