The Church Building Matt 16:16-18 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Jesus said, “I will build my church,” [Matt 16:18]. It’s built on a rock [Matt 16:16]. That rock is Jesus Christ, and the gates of hell were not able to prevail against it between his burial and resurrection [Acts 2:27, 31]. Notice that Jesus said, “I will ‘build.’”
Eph 2:19-22 says that we are the “household of God,” that we are “built,” a “building fitly framed together,” “an holy temple,” and that we are “builded together for an habitation of God.” 1 Cor 3:16 says, “ye are the temple of God.” In Eph 2:21 this building “groweth.”
1 Pet 2:5-6 shows us that this building is “built” of “lively stones” [that is we who are newborn babes in Christ, 1 Pet 2:2]. We are a “spiritual house” and Jesus Christ is the “chief cornerstone.” So, Jesus is the one who has to build it because he is the only one who can make the “lively stones.”
This sheds interesting light on Jn 4:20-24. We are a spiritual house and we offer spiritual sacrifices to our God who is a Spirit. So, we worship him in spirit and in truth, not in a physical temple.
This spiritual house is “God’s building,” [1 Cor 3:9] and we who are saved make up this building. 2 Cor 5:1 shows us that this is a building of God, eternal in the heavens.
In 1 Cor 3:9-17, Paul was a wise master builder. He laid the foundation. Every building must be built on a foundation. The foundation of this building is Jesus Christ [the rock]. So, Paul laid the foundation and “another buildeth thereupon.” Hence, there are others involved in the construction. These builders are comprised of “every man.”
In 1 Cor 3:12, when Paul says, “if any man,” he is indicating that not every man who ‘should’ build is building, and not every man who ‘does’ build is building on the foundation of Jesus Christ [compare Matt 7:24, 26]. The Catholic Church, for instance, is built on Peter and the popes.
Also in 1 Cor 3:12, those who are building on the foundation of Jesus have a choice of building materials: gold, silver and precious stones OR wood, hay and stubble.
Wood, hay stubble – In Egypt the children of Israel made bricks from hay [straw, Ex 5:7-8] and from stubble [Ex 5:10-11]. Egypt is a type of the world and these building materials are temporal for a worldly, earthly temple. These are man’s building materials. These are the wood, hay, and stubble of man’s wisdom and knowledge, man’s riches, perverted Bibles, salvation without the blood, and building by adding lost people. These are not God’s building materials [1 Pet 2:7].
Gold, silver, precious stones – these are eternal building materials for an eternal, growing, spiritual house. These materials include:
- Gold – the unsearchable riches of Christ are gold [Eph 3:8; Rev 3:18]. His riches include:
- The “riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” [Rom 11:33]. Paul said he was a “wise” master builder [see Prov 3:19-20; 24:3-4]. We build with wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
- The “riches of his grace,” [Eph 1:7]. Paul said, “according to the grace of God,” [1 Cor 3:10]. Paul worked by God’s grace [1 Cor 15:10].
- Silver – silver includes:
- The words of the Lord [Ps 12:6-7]. King James Bible. In Acts 20:32 it builds you up.
- The blood of Christ [1 Pet 1:18-19; Ex 30:12-13, 15; 38:25-26], our atonement.
- Precious Stones – saved souls [1 Pet 2:5; Zech 9:16].
It’s obvious that these building materials of gold and silver and these crews of precious stones would have to be God’s people, materials and provisions because Jesus said, “I will build my church,” [Matt 16:18]. In Heb 3:3-4, we see that every house is builded by some man. Jesus is building and we are “laborers together with God,” [1 Cor 3:9].
When the building is finished, fire will try every man’s work “of what sort it is.” That is, fire will reveal whether the work was done with gold, silver and precious stones or wood, hay and stubble. “Every man’s work” is manifest; the “fire shall try every man’s work.” Those who tried to build this temple with man’s materials of wood, hay and stubble will see their work burned up in the fire. Those who built with God’s building materials will see their work come through the fire. Thus, it is absolutely worthless to build with man’s materials… they might look good to others down here but they will burn up in the fire.
What are you doing to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ? What are you doing to “grow” the building [Jn 2:19-21 which is also a body, Eph 4:15-16]. What are you supplying to the effort? What means and materials are you using, man’s or God’s?
Do you remember how large the crews were when Solomon’s temple was built? Get on one of God’s crews and help. God’s building isn’t finished yet.