The Pattern – Part Four

When Jesus said, “I will build My Church,” He went on to say, “the gates of Hades (Hell) shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The Church Jesus is building is an overcoming, triumphant Church. His statement implies that if a local church does not conform to His pattern, then He is not building it and the gates of hell will prevail against it.

The apostle Paul warned the Church leaders to take heed how they build. Jesus is the foundation, but Paul said not everything built on the foundation will last.

1 Corinthians 3:12 “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw…”

A house of gold, silver, and precious stones will endure, while a house of wood, hay, and straw will not last. For that reason every local church or “house of God” will be tested. Fiery trials reveal the true qualities of each house.

1 Corinthians 3:13 “… each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”

A house built according to the pattern will last.

1 Corinthians 3:14-15 “If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

The Builder (Jesus) wants His co-labourers to use eternal building materials and to follow the pattern He has revealed. All who study God’s pattern must commit themselves to use it. True leaders long for the Church to reflect God’s pattern and purpose. Every leader who is following Jesus and loves the Church wants the dynamics of the Church to be ordered by the Lord. No one has the right or freedom to build the Church in his or her own way. No one has the right to decide what it should be like, how it should operate, its mission and lifestyle. Moses had no choice how he was to build and neither do we.

Programs do not always – in fact, seldom – build a house of gold, silver, and precious stones. They might be important and may benefit the members of the local church but they are not the essence, dynamic, or purpose of the Church. They certainly do not make the Church come alive. They are often additions to the house. They are rooms in the house at best.

Adjustments will be necessary, and everyone has to be willing to make adjustments to build according to the pattern. Throughout their lives, individual Christinas have to make adjustments. As they do, their vision of what God’s Church should look like gets clearer. They see God’s pattern for their lives and for the Church more fully before them. If they are wise, they will make whatever adjustments might be called for by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, the Bible.

If believers are not teachable, they will not see and understand the Lord’s pattern for the Church. If they do not grasp the pattern, they surely will not implement it. An unteachable person says, “I have done it this way for 30 years, and I will continue to do it this way until mI die.” That is the way of death. Seeking the heart of God for His Church, receiving revelation of what the blueprint looks like, and constant change and adjustment to build according to that pattern, will be part of the daily life of any believer who has decided to glorify the Lord and do what He has called us to be and do.