11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 3:11 NKJV
As I was seeking the Lord for direction at the beginning of this year (2023), I heard Him say “build the house.” I asked Him what that meant exactly and slowly He began revealing to me the multi-layered picture that we discussed in the last post.
Building a house of worship is building a place for God to dwell, and this has been God’s intention all along – the restoration of His closeness to His own people.
God’s presence is His proximity.
While we tend to think of this in concrete, physical terms, it is in reality spiritual and therefore the place of rest we are building for the Lord is also spiritual. God’s presence in our lives is directly related to the capacity of our own spirit to host Him. We do not control or command His presence, but rather make a place that is fit for Him to dwell. David prepared a place for the ark to dwell (1 Chronicles 15:1). Like David, we too must prepare a place if we want to experience more of the presence of God in our lives.
At this point, we’ve laid the groundwork. We’ve prepared the soil. We’ve broken up our fallow ground. We’ve torn down old ways of thinking, sought to refresh our affections for Christ as our first love, rejected the demonic deception of religion and fear over worship, and embraced our responsibility for building something God will honor in our lives.
Now we must lay the right foundation, which is Jesus Christ alone.
This is one thing we cannot get wrong. We cannot build on any other foundation. It will affect the rest of the house. Jesus is and must be central. He is everything and without Him, nothing else carries truth and meaning.
Let’s get started.
BUILDING ON THE ROCK
You don’t really learn something until you’ve lived it.
When the Lord showed me that my foundation was faulty, it was unexpected. Shortly after my dad took his own life in early 2010, I fell into a deep depression and became suicidal. I could not understand the depth of pain, rejection, and hopelessness in my own heart. I was swallowed up in the heaviness of tragedy and grief. I was done with life and ready to throw in the towel. It was the worst pain.
I whispered a few words in prayer in the middle of a psychiatric ward.
In those quiet moments, the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit led me to Matthew 7.
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”Matthew 7:24-27
I was the foolish man. The Lord revealed my faulty foundation. It could not withstand the flood of fear, anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, rejection, loss, and so much more that came in the wake of my father’s tragic death.
Jesus showed me that underneath all my choices for living, whether good or bad, He was not the foundation. Of all the things I was pursuing, Jesus wasn’t really at the center of any of it. I was. My past was. My desire for success was. My ideas about relationships were. My need to please people was.
So when the storm rolled through, my house came down, and it came down hard, just like Jesus said it would. In those moments, the Holy Spirit taught me about myself, what I was chasing, and why. He showed me that I was going to have to rebuild my house, but this time on the right foundation.
If your “house of worship” is going to withstand the storms of life, you must build it on the right foundation. Scripture is clear: that foundation is Christ. He is the rock in Matthew 7.
THE TRUE AND ONLY FOUNDATION
Now, Jesus is not just the foundation, but Peter says He is the cornerstone. He is the foundation of the foundation.
“Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,””I Peter 2:7 NKJV
Jesus is the “chief cornerstone.” But the cornerstone of what, exactly? What is being constructed on top of this cornerstone? Let’s back up a few verses:
“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 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.”I Peter 2:4-5 NKJV (emphasis mine)
So there is a spiritual house being built and you are a part of it.
You are chosen by God and precious. You have eternal value and eternal purpose. You are supposed to be a priest and priests offer sacrifices to God in worship. But God doesn’t just want any sacrifice, he wants spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable. The only way our sacrifices become truly acceptable to God is “through Jesus Christ.”
So Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation, and he makes the sacrifices offered in this house acceptable to God. It is the cleansing power of the blood of Christ that makes our sacrifice of worship acceptable to God in the new covenant.
Therefore, both individually and corporately, Jesus must be foundational and central to everything that we do. He is the reason the house exists in the first place. He defines every other aspect of the house. It is all for Him, to Him, and through Him (Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 4:11).
ARE WE BUILDING ON ANOTHER FOUNDATION?
This begs the question: are we truly building upon the right foundation?
In my experience, much of what we do in the church is built around Jesus, but not necessarily upon Him!
What we have often done is made Jesus secondary by building our houses of worship on our own ideas and strategies. Instead of hearing and following His voice alone, carefully laying each brick in alignment with the living Christ as the foundation, we’ve built programs and developed agendas more informed by our own wisdom and craftiness than by His voice.
We are leaning upon our own understanding.
We are trying to attract and please people instead of attracting and pleasing Jesus. We’ve tailored our programs to draw people instead of simply lifting up Jesus so that He can draw them to Himself (John 12:32).
We measure the success of our church services by man’s performance more than by Jesus’ presence. We have settled for congregations full of passive spectators and not active worshipers. We script every moment and constrain the voice of the bride for the bridegroom.
Intimacy with God is a foreign concept in many churches. We, like the religious of Jesus’ day, applaud the Martha’s and balk at the Mary’s. We are leading services that are intended primarily to host men and women, but not to host Jesus. He must be the guest of honor, not just another guest on the list.
We are running our churches like businesses instead of houses of prayer. We are allowing a consumer-driven, entertainment-based mindset to inform our decisions about how we gather instead of inviting people to deny themselves.
We are more concerned about what people like than we are about what Jesus likes. We define our “wins” in the church by how pleased the people are rather than by how transformed they are.
Many are hanging around the cross, but very few are getting on the cross.
Church, if this is the foundation we are building on, we are grossly missing the mark. This house will not withstand the storms that are coming. Jesus deserves more, and He demands more. If we are willing to see this faulty foundation, then we are ready to repent and repair it.
We can rebuild. We must rebuild.
9 For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.Ezra 9:9
REPAIRING OUR FOUNDATION
If this resonates with you, you must understand that you are part of the remnant God has called to rebuild His house.
While the institution of the church has often operated from this wrong foundation in bondage under religion and the fear of man, you and I as individuals are the living stones that make up these organizations. The first responsibility is with us. Instead of asking “does this please me,” let’s ask “does this please the Lord?” Let’s die to our own preferences and defer to one another in all the secondary matters of worship that we have so centralized.
We must unify around Jesus, not around our own way of doing things. And I see this as one of the biggest challenges for the present day Church because we have not learned to be with Him. We can debate all day about the best method for washing the dishes, but when we are truly sitting at Jesus’ feet, His voice leads. I fear we do not know how to hear and follow, and therefore we are stuck arguing about the dishes, elevating our own methods above the others.
Taking personal responsibility for our lives as worshipers means learning how to sit with Him, hear His voice, and follow it. This is how we build upon the right foundation so that the house we build becomes strong, healthy, and spiritually vibrant. This is a life lived in repentance and obedience. A life lived in response to a real encounter with a living God, not just doing things the way someone else told us they should be done.
If we want to see more of God in our churches, we must first seek Him in our personal lives. Don’t wait for the pastor or the worship leader to make worship work for you. As you pursue Jesus first on your own time, the overflow of that intimacy will begin to have impact in the corporate setting.
Let’s again become a people of prayer, devoted to intimate worship, and delighting to encounter the real presence of our Holy God.
We must become the revival we are praying so desperately for.
After all, fire spreads.
THE TIME IS NOW!
Church, the season for getting closer to Jesus is upon us. The hour is late. God is calling out those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. He is raising up a remnant in the land, an army, a powerful bride who knows who she is and why she is here. Is that you? If so, please join me here on the blog and on social media as we seek to build a house of worship that is fit for the Lord.
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