By Francis Frangipane
Becoming Wise Master Builders
Paul said, “Like a wise master builder I laid a foundation” (1 Cor. 3:10). The eternal foundation of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ; we rest and then build upon Him. It is wisdom to build the Lord’s house with only Jesus in mind, as conformity to Him is our primary blueprint.
Jesus said, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone” (Luke 20:17). We cannot separate what Jesus says from who Jesus is. Christ and His Word are one. To the degree that we fail to obey and teach what Jesus taught, we are actually rejecting Him as Lord of the church.
Listen to how the Lord associates Himself with His teachings. He said, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). Again He warned, “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory” (Luke 9:26). And again, He exposes our hypocrisy, saying, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).
You see, Christ and His Word are inseparable. Jesus was not a man who became the Word but the eternal Word who became a man. His very core nature is the Word of God. And to reject or ignore what He says is to reject or ignore who He is.
We cannot build the house of the Lord if we do not honor and build upon the full spectrum of Christ’s teachings. Unless we are teaching our converts “all that [He] commanded,” we are not making disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). Instead we will always be trapped in spiritual infancy and religion.
Therefore let us honestly ask ourselves: In the building plan of our churches, how much of an emphasis are we placing upon the words of Jesus? Is there a process in which new converts can become true disciples of Christ?
If you are like most congregations, there is probably little focus given to systematic study and application of Christ’s teaching. You see, if Jesus is truly the designer and builder of this house, then we must come to Him for the architectural plans. The building code of the kingdom must be obedience to the words of Christ.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock” (Matt. 7:24-25).
Beloved, there is a storm coming; even now the sky has darkened and the first drops are falling. If we will endure, we must be built upon the rock. Please hear me: you cannot build your house in a storm. It is through the Spirit and words of Christ that the house of the Lord is built. This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18 KJV).
The Apostolic Foundation
Obviously, I am not in any way against the rest of the Bible outside the Gospels. Each year I seek to read the Bible through, often reading on my knees. I love all of God’s Word. Yet I am convinced that many of us in the church have lost sight of Jesus in the blur of Christianity. He is still the stone the builders have rejected. We must return and make His life and teachings the cornerstone again.
It is not as though I am alone in my view: all the New Testament writers are in absolute agreement with my emphasis upon Christ. Indeed, Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:3-4, “This is the sort of thing you should teach, and if anyone tries to teach some doctrinal novelty which is not compatible with sound teaching (which we base on Christ’s own words and which leads to Christ-like living), then he is a conceited idiot!” (PHILLIPS).
When we seek to build upon a foundation other than Jesus, the results are everything but Jesus! Only Christ can create Christians. If we focus on our “doctrinal novelties,” seeking to be just different enough to attract more people than the church down the street, we have missed the entire purpose of both the Gospel and the ministry of Christ!
Look at what John taught:
“Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God” (2 John 1:8-9). The priority of this hour is for the church to abide in the teachings and Spirit of the Lord Jesus. From this foundation, the house of the Lord will be built.
We have had our pet doctrines and particular emphasis. We have been like Peter speaking to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration: “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles” (Matt. 17:4). We are so ready to offer a plan to God instead of simply hearing and obeying Jesus. I believe the Father Himself has had enough of our ideas and advice. In His love He is interrupting our programs with the same word with which He interrupted Peter: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!” (v.5).
Lord Jesus, help me to return with my whole heart to Your words. Lord, I desire to abide in You. I recommit my life to You that You alone would be the focal point of all Your people.
Adapted from Francis Frangipane’s book, When the Many Are One available at www.arrowbookstore.com.