Revival Memo: Your Building Program

Here's a synopsis of my sermon last night in Richmond.
Sir Christopher Wren was the famous 17th century English architect who rebuilt much of London after the Great fire of 1666. The epitaph on his tomb in St Paul's Cathedral reads: "If you seek his monument, look around you." Not just at that cathedral, but at so many other structures, too.

If you had asked me when I was 12 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said: "an architect.” I often spent rainy Saturdays sketching floor plans of houses (usually of the ones I saw on television, as I imagined the rooms I couldn't see) and large churches.

Well, I obviously took another career path. But in some ways, I am a builder, nonetheless. In 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 Paul the apostle said that he was a "wise builder," and the fact is that we are all in the same business. We have been building an actual structure at FBCA (and we'll use it for the first time on October 25!)-- but we are all building our families, our nation, and certainly our individual lives-- perhaps simultaneously.

1. Start with a secure foundation, v.10-11.
You learn that by playing "Jenga."

The only solid one must be Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:2, Ephesians 2:20) and His Word. That's how He ended the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:24-27. He said the wise man always digs to find solid rock before he starts to build a structure. Foolish folks, on the other hand, will quickly build on anything-- even shifting sand.

A personal relationship with Christ is absolutely essential. "I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him...", says Paul in 2 Timothy 1:12.

2. Then, don't skimp on building materials and supplies, v. 12-13.
You can do it cheap, or you can do it right. Paul doesn't develop the metaphor he's using, but it obviously shows a difference between the cheap and the expensive, the flimsy and the solid, the temporary and the permanent.

Having experienced salvation through God's grace, be careful not to now construct a chicken coop on that marvelous foundation. Not even faux stone siding instead of real stone. Sure, they look similar, but they are not the same.

In 2 Peter 1:5-8 we have a list of some of these important add-ons--things like "goodness, knowledge, self- control, perseverance, godliness, and love."

3. There will be a final inspection of what we have built, v.13-15.
That will take place at the Judgement Seat of Christ, of course (2 Corinthians 5:10), when we each will stand before the LORD. There we will give an account of how we lived our lives as believers, how faithful we were with the resources He entrusted to us.

But the judgement may well come before our death. The "fire" might be a personal crisis that comes suddenly and unexpectedly. Jesus concluded His famous sermon by talking about that day when rain and wind and rising rivers come and destroy the house built on sand.

How tragic it would be to have such a trial reveal that we were not really the Christian we appeared to be. Hurricanes have a way of showing when substandard materials were used rather than the very best.

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