… And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Key point: We are God's living stones, so let's live it! Remember, God is also our Peace. Nothing will destroy a church or ministry quicker than when peace is absent, because strife, competition, dissension, power plays, personal agendas and gossip will take root, all of which eventually lead to divisions in a church (Rom.13: 13; Gal. 5:19-20).
We need to always get to the basics of who we are and why we are as a faith community. If we do not, we are just an annoying club and a place for dissention. And that is, our Lord has made it possible for us to have peace with God, because He is the peace who broke the barriers. Those who could never come to God can now be in right relationship with Him. Jesus Christ did for us and for the Father by being the once and for all sacrifice to pay our debt of sin, satisfying the law. Thus, when we are in Christ, we are no longer hostile in our relationship with God.
What we exemplify and teach is that in Christ, we have the power to build healthy relationships with God and others. So, we are a new humanity because of the cross with access to God. We are even called His citizens and children--people of God, for God--built from the foundation of what Christ has done. This is the Truth and has been preached by the apostles and the prophets who came before them. We are His new holy temple. Christ is our Cornerstone, so we are also His dwelling for the Holy Spirit.
What we exemplify and teach is Jesus is our peace. This means God who is the Author of peace, our encouragement! Even in the face of struggles and hardships, we are to refer to and focus upon God as comfort and know that He is in control, even when we do not see it! If we just live our lives with the attitude of how things affect "me" and not "others," then we are living with the devil, and not with God (Micah 5:5; Rom. 15: 33: 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:11; Gal. 6:18; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23-28; 2 Thess. 3:16; Heb. 13:20)!
What we exemplify and teach is we have been Reconciled. This means that God has paid our penalty, so the severed relationship between humanity and God is repaired and restored! This is the basic Gospel message. We are all sinners and have no worth, merit, or ability to receive salvation. So, in God's mercy, He sent us His Son, whose sacrifice paid our debt of sin. We were once enemies; but, by being reconciled, we are brought back to a perfect relationship. This also refers to order and not just salvation, God reconciles all things and is supreme over all things (Gen. 3; Rom. 3:21-26; 5:10-12; 8:18-21, 37-39; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Eph. 2:2; 6:12; Col. 1:19-23; 2:9-15; 2 Pet. 3:10; 1 John 2:1; Rev. 21:1).
What we exemplify and teach that we are the Holy Spirit's Dwelling. We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit! This is a Greek term meaning where a god chooses to go or a place to live. Jesus being fully God, there is only One God and the Father's interpersonal relationship with the Trinity. Here it refers to God Who dwells in the Temple and now with us, too. The Tabernacle, God's dwelling place prior to the Temple being built, was about God dwelling amongst man, being with them. This was to show the Promised Land was not just about the possession of the land; rather, it was about God possessing our hearts and minds. The Temple was a man's idea so to place God in a permanent location--a God of limitless boundaries. On the contrary, we can't posses God. It is He who desires to possess us. It is about being humble, so we are dependent upon Him and His dwelling amongst us, as we are full in Him (2 Chron. 7:1-18; Eph. 2:16; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 1:8)!
Because of His Love that we receive, we are called, not obligated, to pay it forward. We have the responsibility to act on Christ's work; once God elects us and the Gospel message is proclaimed, we receive this by faith alone. Therefore, our response to His work further fuels our faith and our disposition and character. This is also a call that we can persevere in Christ; nothing can move us from Him when we are in Him. If we have real effectual faith, that faith will stimulate, endure, and carry us through all things. Our faith anchors us to God, sets us upon Him as Lord, and takes our eyes off our circumstances so we see hope and joy. Thus, this real kind of faith is in Christ alone; the world may mimic it, but this is only an imitation to facilitate emptiness and despair. Is your faith real? The answer will signify your hope and confidence in Christ! This is the faith that produces more faith, devotion, obedience, and glory to our Lord (Mark 16:15; Acts 11:23; 14:22; Rom. 8; 1 Cor. 3:11; 7:37; 15:58; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Phil. 1:6; 2:11-13)!
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/