I wanted to remind us all of a couple of things that we can easily lose perspective over in situations of building. The first is attack. The second is walls.
First, in Nehemiah one of the prevailing themes is the opposition, lies and hostility that met the Israelites when they returned to Jerusalem. The surrounding pagan nations attempted to halt the rebuilding of Jerusalem by trying to make the Israelites afraid that they were under impending attack. They tried to discredit them with reports to the king that Israel was planning a revolt and was setting up a new kingdom. They even sent in infiltrators to try to dishearten the Israelites by making them think that there was danger from people within the walls.
But in all of these schemes, the book of Nehemiah opens and closes with Nehemiah asking for favor from the Lord. And it is obvious that this was granted from the illogical success of the rebuilding. The end of Nehemiah closes with the people reading the law and rededicating themselves to love the Lord their God and to follow the commandments.
We are a healthy, blessed and alive body of believers that are united in preaching the word and spreading His gospel. When the Lord advances His kingdom here on earth, you can bet that it won’t go unnoticed by the enemy. I am reminding y’all that it is exactly in times like these that we need to build with “swords on our hips” as the workmen did in Nehemiah. These are exactly the times to remain vigilant for attack and abide in our savior and redeemer for protection and blessing. These are exactly the times when the wildest forms of opposition can rise up and try to oppose the work God is doing at Cedar Springs. But that’s exactly where our hope and trust lies. They are trying to oppose the work of God. We are protected and reminded that it is not our work that will be opposed and that those who oppose the work of God will never succeed.
Second, the walls. As we’ve been studying in Mark the past few weeks, the temple, the religious activities and all the surrounding mess that had developed in Jerusalem was judged by Christ as lacking, fruitless and ultimately over. These things we are doing, these walls we building, are not the church. The building, the pictures, the paint, the kitchen; these are not the church. These are devices to invite, comfort and aid the true church. I want us to remember that this building, past, present and future is not the church. The church is now the people you see in the pictures, the people working so hard last weekend, and the people that will be drawn by the gospel to join us in the future. We don’t ever want to discount the blessings we are receiving from our Lord. Yet, at the same time, we want to remember that no matter how big or small, magnificent or humble, sophisticated or simple this building is, it is not the church. It is simply the shelter under which the body of Christ meets.
And, man, am I happy to be part of this body with y’all
Soli Deo Gloria,