Long ago, the Psalmist wrote, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psm. 127:1). The great lesson is that with the LORD there is strength and security. Away from the LORD, there is vanity. This truth was learned personally by Solomon during his life. Solomon tried to find happiness in everything that this world could offer him. At the end of his “experiment”, Solomon came to the understanding that worldly things are not where contentment and value are found. He wrote, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity” (Eccl. 12:8). It was not until his efforts failed him that he came to the understanding, “…Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13). We need to learn from Solomon’s epiphany. We must endeavor to make sure that we are in the house that the LORD has built. The way to do that is “…Fear God, and keep his commandments…” (Eccl. 12:13).
What is “the house that the LORD built” anyway? If I need to make sure that I am in it, then I need to identify it. Paul mentioned to Timothy, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15; cf. Matt. 16:18-19). That settles the question definitively. The church is “the house that the LORD built”. In other Scriptures, we find similar references. Paul also referred to the church as “the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Likewise, Paul described the church as “God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9).
Even though the church was ultimately built by Christ, Christians have the responsibility to continue in their part to make sure that “the house that the LORD built” remains strong. Paul understood this need. He explained to the church in Corinth, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:10-11). If the church is to continue to grow, then we who are Christians need to make sure that we are like the “wise man” in the parable: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:24- 27). Christians are not allowed to develop a new blueprint for “the house that the LORD built”.
When a physical building is finished, a person wants to look at the finished product with joy and satisfaction. If we are diligent, then there will be some individuals who become Christians due in part to our work. We should want to see their maturation and development in the Lord. If in the end they do not remain faithful, we will experience disappointment. Paul recorded, “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Cor. 3:12- 15). Imagine putting in hours and days to build a beautiful and luxurious mansion to only have the inhabitant of that mansion destroy all of the good that you did!
We need to be busy laying the foundation, continuing to build there upon and doing what we can to ensure that “the house that the LORD built” remains strong. It is good for us to be reminded that the church of Christ is not going to cease, and our labor will not be in vain (Dan. 2:44). ~ Corey Barnette
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