A Foundation of Jesus
Chisitu, Africa 1996
People… Not Buildings
The Bible teaches that God does not dwell in houses built by men’s hands. Ephesians 2 and many other Bible passages say that we are the dwelling place or the habitation of God by the Spirit—the Church.
We know what a church building looks like, so if God’s house is people and not buildings, what does it look like?
When you walk or drive down the road, you can usually identify a religious building because it looks like a religious building. But since a true Church is made out of people, and is not a building, then what does it really look like? How would you recognize the difference between a true Church and a false one? The following is a description of the Church when it is made out of people and not stones.
When Jesus is looking to and fro to find a real Church, how will He recognize it? First of all, a true Church made of living stones that Jesus looks at and loves must be made of good materials. If any building is built out of faulty materials, you know that it will fall. If the wood that holds up the roof is rotten, it will fall down. Bricks that are soft, improperly made, or made from the wrong materials cannot support weight and will fall down. A true Church that is made by God, not by man’s hands, is made out of living stones—true Christians—as opposed to dead stones, bricks or straw. If the House that God is making out of men and women is going to be able to stand, it must not have bad stones in it (1 Corinthians 3-5).
From the Least to the Greatest, They Will All Know Him
The prophecy about the New Testament said that the Church God builds (Jer. 31, Heb. 8, Heb. 10) is the true Church, and from the least to the greatest, all its members will know the Living God.
In the “church” of the Old Testament, you became a member because of who your parents were (Jews). If you basically believed the right thing and your parents were part of this church, and you “attended church” regularly and tithed, then you were a member of the “church.” In the New Testament Church of Jesus, this is not true—you must give your heart to God. The prophecy about the New Testament said that the Church God builds (Jer. 31, Heb. 8, Heb. 10) is the true Church, and from the least to the greatest ALL its members will know the Living God. If a person does not truly know God, they cannot be a member of Jesus’ Church. That would be like building a house with soft brick or rotten wood. The House that Jesus makes is the best house in the world, and Jesus will only use true and good materials to build His House.
Acts 3 says that Jesus was a prophet and He would build His church, and anyone that would not obey Him would be completely cut off from among the people. This is the same thing that Jesus said in Matthew 18. He said that if a person continues to be hateful, stubborn or selfish and continues to have habits such as drinking, yelling at their wives or children, cheating in their daily business, lying or being lazy, then we must go to them and try to help them. However, if they don’t care about obeying the teachings of Jesus, then we must bring two or three others and talk to that person again. If they still don’t care what Jesus says, and they don’t want to change, then we must talk to the whole church and (we must) ask the person to leave.
1 Corinthians 5 says we must remove leaven from the batch. Jesus commands us to not eat with nor associate with a person who will not change their life according to the teaching of Jesus. There can be no fellowship with them, and they must be expelled from our midst, the Bible says. Jesus is a great builder. He will not build with soft stones or rotten wood. He wants to build a Glorious House to live in—one that’s fitting for the King that He is.
Choosing Building Materials
So the building materials in God’s house must be of the best quality. This does NOT mean that every person is perfect. It does mean that every person wants to love and obey Jesus and doesn’t despise help from others who want to help them love and obey Jesus; they want that help. Good building material for God’s House is when a person “loves the light,” according to Jesus Himself. Bad building material, like rotten wood, is someone who does not want that help. That person says, “Don’t judge me. Mind your own business.” They say defensively, “Get the log out of your own eye.” That is bad building material, which He said is unacceptable in His House. Jesus will not build His house that way. That is rotten wood and will be completely cut off from among the people (Acts 3:23, Matthew 18, 1 Corinthians 5). In a True church, a person that acts that way is not welcome. It doesn’t matter how much money they have or how well they know their Bible. They might even be a leader, but if they don’t respond softly to the teachings of Jesus, then they cannot be a part of Jesus’ true Church that is made in the Spirit. If they resist love and pleading, wisdom, help and patience, then to allow them to continue amongst God’s People would be for us to defy Jesus also by ignoring His commands.
Jesus will only build with good building materials. If we have married Him in Covenant and Oath, turned from all other loves, been Born twice, have soft hearts, love His teachings, truly want to change the things in our lives that need to change, and turn our face to Him in moments of adversity or difficulty, asking Him and our brothers and sisters to help us, then we are beautiful living stones for the House that Jesus dwells in. This is all about the kind of materials that God builds His House with.
A House Built With Wisdom
Now that we have defined what are good building materials for God’s House…consider this: Suppose we take all the good stones, all the good wood, and all the good, suitable building materials that Jesus chooses for His House and heap all those good materials in a pile. Guess what? We still don’t have a house. God’s House requires even more than just good building materials (true Christians). Just because all the materials for a house are heaped in a pile, does not mean you have a house to sleep in. That pile won’t protect you from the storm, no matter how good the materials may be.
There is a way we must build with these good building materials—a way that Jesus wants to build using His living stones. Just as a religious building has a certain look to it, so does a true Church of Jesus; it’s made not of stones, but of people, Living Stones. And it must be built a certain way together in order to be a good House for Jesus to live in.
There is a certain way to build a house so that it is easy to live in and so that it can stand the storms. Jesus is a very wise builder and builds His House that way. We will talk about what Jesus’ House looks like, because if we will not build His way, the house will fall when the storms come. This is also how we must build, with the very best of materials. Bad materials are not welcome in the House, unless they change to become good materials, according to Jesus.
The rich young ruler was considered to be a pretty good man. But he was not welcome at that time to be part of Jesus’ House because he held greed in his heart. He depended on his money rather than on God. It made him too sorrowful to give away his money. So Jesus said, “You cannot be a part of the Church that way. Until you change your heart, you are not welcome to be a Living stone in My House.” That is still how Jesus builds His House. He looks at us and loves us as He did that man, but He also calls us to change. And if we will not change, in spite of all of His love and all of His promises, He will not be able to use us as a Living stone. He will set us aside until we soften our heart.
The Design of the House
But if we have good materials to build the House, its design still must be good. Jesus has chosen for His House a design that looks the same in every country, no matter what the language or the culture. The design is that all of God’s people lay down their lives to love and serve each other every single day, as Family, together. The true church of Jesus, designed His way to be strong, must be a Family every day. They eat together from house to house, they serve each other and help each other in many ways every day. They speak God’s word to each other daily to help them become more like Jesus. When they see sin, they go for a walk and talk about it together. They don’t wait for “Sunday” to hear someone preach a sermon about it. God’s Intent (Eph. 3:10, 1 Peter 2) is that we are all daily priests and ambassadors of God to one another and the world “as we rise up, sit down, and walk along the way.”
We are all called to be priests for Jesus. We are all called to bear the word of God and help one another. This means that if you see your neighbor being selfish or angry, or if you see drinking, or pride that breaks Jesus’ heart, then each of us will take responsibility to help each other change. This is for every day. It has nothing to do with Sundays. The true Church of Jesus is made of Living Stones, and the design of the House is everyday Family. It’s not something that we “attend,” but it’s something that we are every day. If we will build this way—changing our selfish or lazy lives, and truly learning how to love each other like family every single day, taking responsibility to serve and help each other with the word of God—then it will be a House that Jesus can live in and can love. It will be a House of good design that will be easy for Jesus and for all of us to live in and make our home in.
It will be a very, very strong House of good Design. When the storms come and batter on the House, it will stand because it has only good materials, and because the design is good. There will be very little damage to this wonderful House, and we will all be safe. Just as Father was very specific about what materials and design Noah should use to build the Ark, so also Jesus has a plan for materials and design of His House. And His Plan is not , in the New Agreement, a holy man giving a speech to an “attendance based” organization of disconnected people. It is NOW “a hundred mothers, brothers, sisters”—deep daily intertwined intimate “from the least to the greatest” relationships of Light-lovers.
This is the good news of the Kingdom of Jesus. He said, “My Father has much zeal for the house being built.” The Father strongly desires that we build His house His way. In many countries and cities very seldom is the house built the way Jesus wants it built. In almost every “church” in almost every country, there are people that come together with rituals and traditions and then go their separate ways living their lives however they please. Maybe they sin freely, or maybe they try not to. But it’s not a house, because they are not a family, every day, together.
Sticking Together as One
It is only when all the stones are stuck together, by the glue of practical love and vulnerability, and built by God’s design, that it becomes a place that He can call home. Even if you are a pretty good living stone and try to live a holy life, you are still just one stone. If I put that stone on the ground, it still would not be a home for Jesus. He doesn’t want just individual good stones to sit out in a field. We must make ourselves, even force ourselves, to stick together to other stones. Every day we must demand of ourselves that we be stuck together with the other stones, daily in God’s design for a House… as we “rise up, as we sit down, as we walk along the road” together. Washing the clothes together, and going to market together. As we work in the fields, make the bricks, cut firewood, or fix meals, let us do it together so that we will be one Family instead of many individuals or many families. It is in these “trivial” issues of daily life that we bond our Faith, Hope, and Love together. These daily tasks, lived out together as a Family, are the “windows of the soul” that allow us to truly wash each other in the water of the Word, rather than the make-believe religion of “attending” religious ceremonies and sing-alongs and holy man speeches. Jesus is not building anything but family.
A Hundred Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters
Jesus said if you truly obey My will, you will have a hundred fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters—not a hundred neighbors, but a hundred very close family members. This is the will of God. These are the teachings of Jesus Christ—that He builds His house with good materials. Bad materials are not welcome if they won’t change when they hear Jesus’ words. Jesus’ House is built by His design, not ours. And His design is a “hundred fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.” His design is that we would “confess our sins one to another” and be healed. His design is that we would “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” His design is that we would be “one together, as He and the Father are one”—so united that when you’ve seen Tim, you’ve seen David. When you’ve seen the Son, you’ve seen the Father. Jesus said we would be one just as they are one, so we must also be one that way. God’s desire is not for separate stones that come together on Sunday to “attend” a speech or ceremony, but His desire is a family that is built together every day, intertwined in all areas of daily life, as Family.
This is a design of God. The storms will come and this house will stand. Jesus will come and inhabit it, and it will bring Him pleasure. This is God’s will for His people in every country, and we invite you to take this very seriously.
Bringing Great Pleasure to Jesus
If there are any changes that need to be made, Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” So please make the changes that Jesus is calling you to make. Don’t be afraid. Some people do not love the Truth and will be angry about these things because they have things to hide in their own life; the true ways of God are always opposed by satan, the enemy.
So have courage, endurance and patience in these things. Show your love to Jesus by doing everything you can to obey these teachings of Jesus. Find brothers and sisters that you can be with, pray with, and talk with every single day. Break down the barriers between your brothers and sisters—barriers of fear and of pride, barriers of laziness or of embarrassment, barriers of shyness, and barriers of judgment. Take all of those barriers and wash them away for Jesus’ sake. Learn how to love each other every day. This will not only bring great pleasure to Jesus, because it is the right design for His church, but it will radically change your life also. Put the Lord to the test; these things are true.
To you genuine Christians, those of you who have the Holy Spirit living inside—one day, we will have no more language barrier. The curse of the tower of Babel will be broken; all true living stones will be able to have true, full communication and fellowship with each other.