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Monday: The Church “Building” — 18 Comments

  1. As members of the body of Christ, we must be careful in how we represent Him. Our lifestyle, moral and ethical choices do have a significant impact on the "health" of the church whether we know it or not. If God "bestows His supreme regard" on something, then it must mean a lot to Him that He would go out of His way to jealously guard, defend and protect it. No wonder then, that He is so hurt when the Bride of Christ is violated by idolatrous, adulterous relationships with other gods.

    Even through times of Israel's grave apostasy against Him,God has never completely abandoned His people but has allowed her, in His wisdom and great love, to suffer the dire consequences of her wrong choices so the lessons would be learned. (Heb. 12:5-6, Prov. 3:12). But God also allows us to pass through severe testing and trial or even persecution so that we may grow in faith and learn to submit to His will completely. Notice that during the times of the worst kind of persecution of the church in the past that the gospel seed multiplied greatly, bringing thousands more to join the cause of Christ and become members of His body. This resulting from the faithful witness of God's messengers.

    Remember God will fulfill His promise in (Gen. 3:15) to crush the head of the serpent, who has relentlessly sought to destroy His church from the garden of Eden to this present time. All who join with the evil one to do harm to God's church will also be destroyed with him at that day for Christ has paid a great price for her redemption, by giving up His own life.

    Though in the future God's people will pass through the worst tribulation yet, He who has promised will be with her through fire, flood and every foe she may have to face. (Is. 43:2). God's church will not fail because the church militant will become the church triumphant under the banner of King Jesus, her Commander and Chief.



  2. Our stand in the great controversy is to be judged by our works, which reveal either faith or unbelief.

    "How can we be certain that, in all that we say and do, we are building up, not tearing down, the church?"

    Are we yoked with Jesus? This is our only certainty.

  3. 1Peter 2:5- You also, like Living Stones, are being built into a Spiritual House to be a Holy Priesthood, offering Spiritual Sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Our job is to Build each other up not Tear each other down. " God has called us to a Life of Building not Destroying. AMEN!

  4. We are the temple of God and I think God doesnt like to worship in a filthy place therefore everything that we do to the body as the temple should be neat and holy to accomodate the dwelling of God in the temple. Therefore what do you do to scare the holyspirit and God from entering the temple? We should check our lifestyle and behaviour that destroy the temple of christ.

    • Elvis, the point in this passage of Scripture (1 Cor 3:1-23) that we *together* are the temple of God. According to this passage we destroy this temple by creating factions in the church, with each considering themselves holier or more "right" than the rest.

      We do much greater dishonor to the temple of God by being unloving and unkind than we could possibly do by failing in other areas of life, because Christ said that love for one another would be *the* distinguishing mark of His disciples. (See John 13:35)

      • Isn't warning your brethren of the wrong they are doing an example of kindness? Isn't it kindness when Elijah warned God's people of their apostasy?

        • Yes (and it probably applies to sisters as well). However, sometimes the warning we give is, in fact, boasting that we are standing on the high moral ground. It is a good idea, before sounding any warning, to read:

          And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Mat 7:3-5

          When you have prayerfully acted on that advice, perhaps, if you have skill and understanding, you may be able to sound a warning to others.

        • Mark, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the way you put your question when you write about "the wrong they are doing." Jesus spent His time on this planet showing people how to do *right,* not telling them of "the wrong they are doing." Yes, just before His death, he uttered some scathing rebukes of the leaders of the church at the time - people who thought they were righteous and in need of nothing. Up until that time, He had appealed to them in love, and it was still love when He rebuked them clearly, after they had not listened to His entreaties. Sometimes shock treatment is needed.

          Before we warn people "of the wrong they are doing," perhaps we should be sure that we imitate the example of Jesus by demonstrating the *right* way in our own lives. Then we can *share* our joy in the Lord with them, and the Holy Spirit can convict them of "the wrong they are doing" without our telling them specifically. And if they listen, they will turn around and do right without our specifically mentioning "the wrong."

          As in the example of Jesus, there are occasions we may have to warn explicitly against "the wrong they are doing." But it will do no good at all unless they know that we love them, and that means we will have to first follow the steps I outlined above.

          As Maurice suggested, too many instances of warning others against "the wrong they are doing" are mainly a matter of making the one person feel more righteous than the other. That is not kindness.

  5. Taking the word of God for what it says, in what way may anyone destroy God’s temple, and how does God destroy that same one? (1 Corinthians 3:17). The passage makes clear the temple is a reference to people, not the physical building structure (1 Corinthians 3:17).

    Jesus did refer to His own body as a temple (John 2:19-22). Particularly concerning believers the individual physical body is the residence of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Believers, corporately also form a single temple, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 2:5). Both individually and collectively believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    If the gates of hell (evil powers) shall not prevail against the church then it seems the caution about destroying the temple is directed elsewhere (Matthew 16:18). It is the saints who may do most damage to the temple. The temple is defiled when believers misrepresent Christ in the life and lifestyle, including stewardship of the physical body (Philippians 3:18-19; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20).

    The destruction pledged by God is not generally immediate, for He is in no haste, but bears long with the transgressor, providing generous opportunity for recognition and repentance (turning around) of all (Ezekiel 33:11). However there is a time when God acts and the ultimate destruction occurs at the end, the same which is reserved for the outright rebellious (Matthew 25:41).

    The faithful honor God’s temple and He honors them (1 Samuel 2:30).

    • Hugh, please consider that Paul writes that God will "destroy" anyone who "destroys" the temple of God. Although God's church will finally triumph, we can all see that individual congregations can be and sometimes have been destroyed by just the sort of infighting that Paul references in his remarks. And even the world-wide church stands under constant threat of destruction by rival groups within the church who each think they "own" the truth.

      The bottom line is that in this passage Paul is clearly referring to the "temple" of the body of believers, not to individual physical bodies of believers.

  6. What are the two things that reveal whose side in the great controversy we really are on?

    The lesson authors question reminds me of the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matt 25:1-13. ---

    “... illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His (Jesus Christ) second coming.”{COL 406.2}

    “The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the word of God ...The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit ...” {COL 406.3}

    “In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.” {COL 408.2}

    “Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan.” {COL 408.3}

    “The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up. This class are represented also by the stony-ground hearers. They receive the word with readiness, but they fail of assimilating its principles. Its influence is not abiding. The Spirit works upon man’s heart, according to his desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates into a form. “They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” Ezekiel 33:31. The apostle Paul points out that this will be the special characteristic of those who live just before Christ’s second coming. He says, “In the last days perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves; ... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5”

    These quotes are excerpts from the book “Christ Object Lessons” by Ellen G. White/Chapter 29—“To Meet the Bridegroom”

    I humbly implore those reading the lesson this week to incorporate the rest of this chapter into your

    • Yes indeed, a very important chapter, the last in COL. I just finished that book this morning and found this last chapter to be filled with solemn and timely counsel from the Lord to His people.

    • Thanks Molly, for bringing attention to these powerful E.G. White quotes. These are very sobering and pertinent to our lives right now. May God help us to incline our hearts unto wisdom.

  7. It seems to me that the lesson author wants us to recognize that the church on earth is the temple of God in this world. The focus is on the *corporate* church, not the individuals - which is very much like the way God dealt with Israel in the OT Scriptures. He addressed His people as a body, rather than individually.

    In western society we are so used to emphasizing individualism that a focus on the church as a *body* seems quite foreign to us, and I notice that a number of comments pull us right back to a focus on *individual* responsibility for our physical bodies.

    But that is *not* what Paul is dealing with in 1 Cor 13 NLT. Please read the whole chapter and notice how he addresses rivalry and competition in the church.

    I believe the translators of the New Living Translation got it right in 1 Cor 3 :16-17 NLT

    Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in* you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

    The spirit of rivalry or comparing oneself with others originated in the courts of heaven with Lucifer himself, and this is what led to the sorry history of sin. That's what Paul is dealing with here, and we still need the counsel that we are to look after the body of Christ aka "temple of God" rather than destroying it by fragmenting into factions that promote various aspects of truth as though it were the whole.

    It is in the unity of love that Christ is revealed. It is possible to have that unity without necessarily agreeing on every detail of doctrine. We are not saved by correct doctrine, after all. If we would think less of our own opinions and more of "the temple of God" or body of Christ, people would be drawn into the body of Christ. This is not an option, because Jesus said, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 NKJV

  8. We as believers know that the church is God's appointed agency for the salvation of men. The church is tasked with the mission to bring salvation message to a lost world. When we unite as a body in Christ, the mission is realized in souls being won to the kingdom of God. When the hand of the body hurts the whole body feels the pain. God's people have to exercise the same solidarity among each other so the gospel can be promulgated to the world. We're not perfect. We will have disagreement among us, because the great controversy will never stop until our risen Savior returns to this earth. We shall not fear for the future if we allow God to take full precedence in His church.

  9. am glad by all the comments this has helped me to better understand the topic.May God continue to give us the strength to learn more about him.

  10. To build or construct is ‘to form by combining materials or parts’. The question is what kind of material are you building in this construction. Do not worry about the foundation for the foundation is Jesus Himself (1Corinthians 3:11).Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25).Whatever that you love you cherish, you take care of it, you maintain it so in the building of the Church we do not do it anyhow. We ought to do it with a spirit of excellence for we serve a God of excellence (Psalm 8:1).Where there is love, there is unity. As we are building the Church we need to have one mind and be focused on the same thing. We do not have selfish or ulterior motives. When believers are in one heart and mind (Acts 4:32) the Church grows, not only in number but spiritually as well. Each one of us has a role to play in Church building. Our daily living counts , are we becoming more like Christ? As we let Him be the foundation of the Church the Spirit of Truth will teach us the way we need to build the Church.

  11. Taking the lesson-writer's approach, yes, I can see that the building materials listed (i.e. gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble (1Cor 3:12)) can apply to the building up of the CHURCH. (I've generally applied the lesson to character-building, but am interested to look at it from this other perspective.)


    When the "ministry" brings sentiment into the work, and the "builders" start to depend on eloquence, and emotion (to bring a laugh or a cry), - to me this is the kind of building material that constitutes wood, hay, and stubble. It will not stand the test. The church might be stirred and entertained by such things, but it is not strengthened.

    But on the other hand, if the "builders" bring humility, compassion, eternal Bible principle, and gravity into the work, then those are the kind of things (i.e. the "building materials") that correspond to the gold, silver and precious stones.

    And yet the thing is, if the foundation is securely laid (i.e. if Christ is truly in the member's hearts), then when the final test does come, then all the man-made, inferior, materials will be burned away, and only the good, solid, materials will be left.


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