Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 1 Jesus the Master Builder ..Jesus. the Master Builder

..Jesus. the Master Builder

JESUS. THE MASTER BUILDER

 

Matthew 16:18 (ESV) “18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Introduction.

2012 is the year that marks the birth of Logos Community Church. I would never have thought that I would be involved in a church plant as my previous three pastorates were in established churches. So, I must say that I am filled with fear and trepidation. Many questions arise.  Am I qualified to do so, do I have the gifts and abilities to do so? In some ways it is much easier to go to a church that is already established. At times it is easier to build on foundations already laid, and at other time it is better to lay the foundations.

Now talking about buildings – none of us are ignorant to the corruption taking place in the building industry and other industries at the moment. Many of those who receive the tenders receive it on the basis of bribery, or jobs for brothers and many of those who receive these tenders are not qualified to do the work at all. Others again use inferior material and take shortcuts to save themselves some money. Something else of great concern is that there seems to be no pride in building anymore, because they are building for someone else and not themselves. Who cares how the owner experiences the building as long as they have their money in the bank?

I guess you know that my topic today has nothing to do with physical buildings. Our text already gave it away. We are talking about the church, and we know that the church is also referred to as a building. 1 Peter 2:4-5 (ESV) 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

So I present to you on the 8th of January 2012 a building that is going to be glorious, because we are not the builders, we don’t own it, and it is not built for our glory. My prayer is that we will embrace Logos Community Church and realise that we are caught up in a programme in which we are not the builders but the building as we are ‘being built up into a spiritual house.”

I present to you today the owner of Logos, the builder of Logos, the architect of Logos and the one to whom all glory belongs at Logos and that builder and owner is none other than the Living Logos of whom we read in John 1:1-2 (ESV) “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God”.

My greatest joy is going to be to sit back and watch how the Lord is going to take His word and build a church for His glory. I want to experience what Martin Luther experienced in his life.

Church historians tell us that towards the end of Luther’s life as he has lit a match in 1517 it spread to the continent, it spread across the English Channel into Scotland and England as they were infected with this reformation as people were coming back to the fountain coming back to the Scriptures. They asked Luther this question: How, how did you bring about the reformation, how have you turned Europe upside down.  His answer: “I simply taught, preached and wrote God’s word, otherwise I did nothing. When I slept, the words so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor inflicted so much damage upon it. I did nothing, the Word did it all.”

Now I know that Luther, was referring here to the Word of God, but I also know that He would agree with me that the Word of God is powerless without the enabling power of the God of the Word, who revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ, the living Logos who said “and I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

So with this confidence, there are a few questions that we need to ask as we embrace the future together.

  1. To whom do we look when the church is in a poor condition—Christ or the pastor?
  2. Who knows more about the current needs of the church—Christ or the pastor?
  3. Who can provide better for the church—Christ or the pastor?
  4. From whom did the original idea of the church come—Christ or the pastor?
  5. In whom rests the church’s future hope—Christ or the pastor?
  6. Who built the church up until now—Christ or the pastor?
  7. Whom do we trust for future direction—Christ or the pastor?
  8. Who owns and sustains the church—Christ or the pastor?
  9. For whose glory does the church exist—Christ or the pastor?
  10. Who is the head of the church—Christ or the pastor?


Church family, while it will be a privilege to pastor you for however long the Lord will allow me, we need to realise that because Christ is the answer to each question, none of us are here to receive glory and none of us even as founder members own Logos.

Because ‘Christ’ is the correct answer to each of these questions, we turn to Matthew 16:18 where Jesus gives at least seven pillars on which the church can find its rest.  No one should take on the risk of revitalising the church or participating in its building until the defining truths of this Scripture have gripped our hearts and minds.

1st Pillar. The initial characteristic of the church involves a permanent foundation.

In His promise to build His church, Christ explicitly looked to an everlasting legacy. Jesus did not have in mind the temporary, the faddish, or the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ kind of organisation. All human organisations will end but the church has an everlasting relevance. ‘I also say that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.’ The foundation wasn’t Peter, because Christ here distinguishes between a moveable rock/detached boulder (the basic meaning of Cephas and Peter) and the unshakeable, immovable foundation suitable for the church.  The word Christ used for ‘rock’ means bedrock or mass of rock as used by the wise builder (Matt. 7:24-25).

What or who then is the rock?  The Old Testament pictures God as a rock in whom we find strength and refuge: (1 Sam. 2:2, Ps. 18:2, Ps. 18:31). Paul identifies Christ as the rock in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:4).  Earlier in 1 Corinthians (3:11), the Apostle wrote,  1 Corinthians 3:11 (ESV) 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Interestingly, one verse earlier Paul had claimed, ‘I laid a foundation…’  How did Paul ‘lay’ Christ as the foundation?  Obviously, it had to be in his preaching of Christ. Now, if Paul’s testimony of Christ is the foundation that no one else can lay, then it seems best to understand the ‘bedrock foundation’ of the church to be Peter’s testimony of Christ, Matthew 16:16 (ESV) 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Since it is virtually impossible to separate the testimony of Christ from the reality of Christ, we can identify the ‘rock’ as Christ Himself in the fullness of His deity, His role as redeemer, and His headship in the church. Christ alone is the rock of redemption upon which the church is being built (Acts 4:11-12).  His eternal nature ensures the permanency of the church’s one foundation. Can I challenge you with a question: Do you believe in the permanence of the church, and that you should ensure your commitment to it for the sake of future generations, or are you going to leave it to others to strengthen?

2nd Pillar. Christ promised His personal involvement. I will build My church.

What a joy to know this. Logos will not be built by Nicki; Christ said He will do it. Now I know that we are fellow workers. Paul reminds us of this fact in 1 Cor. 3:9. Just a few verses back in verse 6 he reminds that the one sows, the other one waters, but Christ personally gives the growth. If you think that any of us are going to grow Logos, you are making a terrible mistake. But what a privilege to be partners with Christ in building His church. How comforting to know He built the church before we arrived and He will continue to build long after we’re gone.

So the building of the church is not out to tender, but we are invited to join Christ in the church He is building. Let me ask you another question: how good is your personal involvement as a fellow worker under Christ going to be?

3rd Pillar Christ’s confident declaration guarantees that the church has a positive expectation I will build My church.

Church family, if this was not true, I would give up on the ministry now. If it was left up to me and my abilities, my weaknesses and my flesh I resign now. This is no idle dream about what might be. In times like these when the future of the church looks bleak and its condition uncertain, this powerful promise should encourage and motivate us. The church with all it's imperfections will be triumphant because Christ began building the church with every intention to complete her (Ephesians 5:26-27). His sovereignty over all gaurantees the outcome. There is no tender corruption here. The job will be completed until that day when men and women of all cultures stand before the throne crying: "Holy, Holy if the Lord, God almighty."

Let me ask you another question, have you looked at the world around you and lost heart. Have you lost confidence in His ability to build His church? Then take courage today my friend….He will…….”

4th Pillar: Jesus claimed that His church will have a powerful advance. I will build My church.

The church experienced an explosive beginning with 3,000 members being added on the first day (Acts 2:41).  ‘And the Lord was adding to their numbers day by day those who were being saved’ (Acts 2:47).  What is contained in one mere sentence in Matthew 16 mushrooms into an expansive reality by the time of John’s Revelation. Before the New Testament ends, churches existed across the face of the Roman Empire.  They included locations like Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, Colossae, Laodicea, Ephesus, Galatia, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, Jerusalem, Crete, Cyprus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Caesarea, Berea, and Joppa. His building efforts continue to this very hour, even in the founding of Logos Community Church, just as He intended (Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47).

What is your part going to be in this, are you at least praying for it, giving towards it?

5th Pillar Christ possesses the exclusive paid-in-full ownership of the church I will build My church.

Acts 20:28 (ESV) “28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

Make no mistake; Logos is not our Church, neither corporately or individually. Therefore Logos will not be exposed to the following statements, “I want, I demand, I feel, I believe.” We are not going to toy-toy when things do not go our way, because the church is not ours. It is not mine, no matter my participation; it will not belong to the elders or the rich or anybody else.  Christ is Lord, and He is Lord of Logos, all we are is His servants. Paul writes to the believers in Rome, ‘All the churches of Christ greet you’ (Rom. 16:16). We can build and own the buildings, but we have no ownership claim over the church.

Another question to you, do you desire to own the church. Do you feel that Christ cannot build it without your opinion, criticism or vote? While none will argue the validity of our participation even in levels of decision making, can I invite us all to relax and enjoy the ministry knowing it did not start with me and does not end with me and does not belong to me?

6th Pillar For Christ, the church has a people-centered priority‘I will build My church.

The church comprises an assembly of people who have believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life (Acts 4:32). Jesus uses living stones—individual people—to build His church (1 Pet. 2:5).  That is why the mandate of evangelization is to take the gospel to all the nations (Luke 24:47).  Even the goal of edification is to present everyone complete in Christ (Col. 1:28). The Greek word ‘ekklysia’ translated ‘church’ literally means the congregation which has been called out. The New Testament pictures the church as made up of those who have been delivered out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13).  The Thessalonians had turned from idols to serve a true and living God (1 Thess. 1:9).  The church has been called into fellowship with Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9).  Christ has called His redeemed out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Pet. 2:9).

Have you lost the true meaning of the church? Has it become a club to you, or just a circle of friends, or maybe a convenience where you can see your children  hatched, matched and dispatched? How does this affect your commitment to faithfulness?

7th Pillar Jesus has promised success to the church.

‘I will build My church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

How is this success to be understood?  In the Old Testament ‘gates of hell’ is associated with Sheol (Isa. 38:10) and death (Job 38:17; Ps. 9:13; 107:18), both referring to physical death.  ‘Death’ is really the only enemy that could ‘potentially’ overpower and defeat the church since she is comprised of people who shall live, even if they die (John 11:25). The writer of Hebrews encourages us to know that through death Christ rendered powerless him who had the power of death, which is the devil (2:14).  Paul wrote this Christian victory song to the Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (ESV) 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”  55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

For the New Testament believer there is a new confidence based on the death and resurrection of Christ, where the finality of the brevity of life, does not scare us but fills us with joy because on the cross, Christ conquered sin, Satan and death.

My question to you on this point: “Do you know for sure that when you die you will go to heaven; are your truly part of the church that Christ is building? Then and then alone you can know and have confidence in Him alone.

So when Christ builds the church these seven pillars or features will be identifiable:

  1. Christ is the permanent foundation.
  2. Christ’s is personally involved.
  3. Christ’s sees the church as having a positive expectation.
  4. Christ’s promises a powerful advance.
  5. Christ’s owns the church with a “paid-in-full ownership”.
  6. Christ’s church had a people-centred priority.
  7. Christ’s promise success over sin, Satan and death.

Who could possibly want to build the church any other way?

Let me close with the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV) “14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

Nothing will bring Christ greater pleasure than the building of His church. So, aim your life at the bull’s-eye mark of His pleasure and you will never miss the spiritual target.  You’ll not be disappointed, and neither will Christ.  Your heart will be filled with a great sense of commitment by being part of Christ building His church His way for His glory. So in a world of corruption, it is a privilege to know that there is at least a real deal that will never fail: “Christ will build His church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”


Amen!

Logos Community Church. 8 January 2012