God the Builder

God is in the construction business. It’s a Father and Son affair. But they are not interested in bricks and mortar. Their focus is on people. As a Christian community we don’t meet “in the house of God”. We “are the house of God”. The Spirit of Jesus is building us together as a household or family of God’s people. Our privilege and responsibility is to invite others to join the family and welcome them home. Find out more this Sunday.

Jesus shared our humanity

Jesus shared our humanity, embracing death to free us from the fear of death.

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters…

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fearof death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrew 2:10-18 NIV

God’s final word: his Son

Genuine trust comes from knowing a person. In fact, it is foolish to trust someone who we don’t know. So building our lives on Jesus requires consideration of his character and identity. Some relevant questions to consider are:

Who is this Jesus? What does he reveal about God? Why trust him?

The writer of the book of Hebrews describes Jesus in these words:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” Hebrews 1:1-4 (NIV)

Firstly, he is the co-creator and owner of the universe.

Secondly, he is the “exact representation of God” and the One who sustains everything.

Finally, he is the Saviour and Lord of all things.

When we fully understand and appreciate who Jesus is and what he has done we must then consider our response to him. Will we trust him with our lives and futures or continue to live independently?

Dependence on Jesus

In a world which values individual freedom above everything, how can we build a life which is increasingly dependent on Jesus? Jesus said, “without me you can do nothing. But if we’re honest most of us believe that there are quite a few things which we can do without the help of Jesus or God.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:1-8 (NIV)

So how do we transition to a place of increasing confident and joyful dependence upon God?

To start with, we need to identify and dethrone our idols. These are things which we look to for safety and significance. They are often hard to identify as they can operate subtly and covertly. Examining our motivations can help us to uncover and respond to them. Once identified we need to discover ways of replacing them with attitudes reflective of the presence and character of Jesus.

Firstly, we’ll consider dethroning fear and developing love. Fear and anxiety are epidemic in contemporary society.

Secondly, we’ll look at dethroning pride and developing humility.

Thirdly, we’ll examine unbelief and the nature of trust.

One Foundation

What does it mean to build our lives on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ? How will we live differently if we do so, both personally and as a community of his followers. These are some of the questions which we will be exploring this term. Our opening reflection is based around the following words of the Apostle Paul:

” By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames”

1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Three questions arise from this reading. Firstly, what are we building on? What is the foundation for our lives and our church?

Secondly, what are we building with? Do the materials we are using have eternal value or are they things which will fade away?

Finally, what are we building for? In the verses which follow Paul outlines the purpose of our building as the establishing of “temple in which God’s Spirit lives”. With all its failings and imperfections the purpose of the church is to be a community of people who honour and manifest the presence of God, to each other and the world around us.