A benefit concert for a free medical clinic inspired me to write a new song for the event. The heart of the person who put it all together really touched me as one of few genuine church building efforts I’ve seen in years.
For the concert, the Lord impressed me with a message about Church building. Most of us have heard that the “Church” is a people, not a building. Yet it seems whenever church building is discussed, the conversation always turns to a house of wood. Concerning the things of this world we work so hard to build and maintain, Paul tells us that the Lord will test the quality of our work by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13).
Accordingly, we really need to ask ourselves whether what we are working on will survive the fire, for only that which remains is worthy of our labors. We can be certain that our church buildings, camp and conference grounds, church buses and the like will be burned up. When the ‘things of this world’ are gone, I think we will see that our only enduring work is the investments we have made in others (Matthew 25:31-46).
Far too often, we have built with perishable materials when the true church is built with people. The keys to Church building are in the foundation and the materials. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:11 that God has already laid the one and only foundation upon which to build and that foundation is Jesus Christ. Upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, the apostle Peter says the Lord is assembling us, as living stones, into a spiritual temple (1 Peter 2:5). Only the spiritual temple that the Lord has built will withstand His test of fire!
To bring the point home, let’s take a look at a familiar story about “Church building.”
A man was traveling along the road to Jericho. He fell among thieves who beat and robbed him, and threw him in a ditch. Along came a Pharisee, on his way to church. He heard the man moan, but said to himself “I don’t have time for that man, I’m needed at the church to present myself before sinners as an example of righteous living.” Moments later, a Teacher of the Law saw the man in the ditch. He too walked quickly by as he thought to himself “I’m needed at the church to read scripture”. Finally, a Samaritan spotted the man in the ditch, and his heart went out to him. The Samaritan cried out “look, a living stone in the Lord’s Temple has been injured.” The Samaritan cleaned and bandaged the man’s wounds, gave him a drink, helped him to his feet, and got him to a place where someone could nurse him back to health. The Samaritan even paid for the man’s medical bills (Luke 10:30-37).
So who was the REAL Church builder in that story?
Please check out the song “Pharisee, Like Me”, which the Lord gave me for that benefit concert.
Strutting in my Sunday suit
Leather Bible – matching shoes
Know the words – play the part
Won’t find darkness in this heart
Read my Bible every day
Black and white – ain’t no gray
Live by all the sacred rules
I’m not like these sinful fools
Search for men lost in sin
Hook them deep and reel them in
Clean them up – teach them well
Just like me – a son of hell
On my way to Jericho
Lay a man beside the road
Heard him moan and turned away
Kept on walking while I prayed
Farther down that busy road
Blinding light – bared my soul
I heard a voice above me
“Helping them is loving Me”
Through His eyes I did see
An empty man who looked like me
Tried in vain to earn my way
Trusted works – needed grace
Could God love a man like me
A bible-thumping pharisee
Is there hope for hearts of stone
White-washed tombs – dead men’s bones