Yesterday I was describing how we are God’s bricks. But we have never been put into place in His building. But I told you how Paul wasn’t afraid to be a model for us. He told the Philippians, “Practice what you’ve learned and received from me, what you heard and saw me do. Then the God who gives this peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). And although it is not very democratic, it does lead to the construction of a strong building.
But you see, the reason it works is because it is based on multiplication. Take a parent of four children. They in turn have four children of their own; who have four children of their own; who then have four of their own; etc., etc. How in the world could the original parents take care of such a large family? They can’t. Each of the children take care of their own four, right? In fact, if my parents tried to step in take control of raising our kids, I think there would have been big problems.
Well, we don’t have such a multiplication system in the church. The poor pastor has to take care of everybody, and that is the problem. In order to grow, expand, and build bricks into a building, we have to do something about that. We must make disciples out of people so they can make disciples of more people. We must become fathers, not orphanage directors.
Even Jesus did it this way. He took care of only twelve. Matthew 9:36 says, “When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were troubled and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.”
Now wait a minute. Wasn’t He the “good Shepherd?” Yes, He was. However, a shepherd cannot take care of an unlimited number of sheep—not even Jesus. If he couldn’t make more than twelve disciples at a time, how can I?
Well, because Jesus was able to place them in the building as He saw fit. When He left, they knew what to do: Go and make disciples of others just as Jesus had done with them. So, following His lead, they went and began teaching and sharing from house to house in small units. We don’t do that anymore in the modern church. We get everybody together on Sundays in the orphanage dining hall and say, “Alright — everybody open your mouth! Here comes the food.” Then we dismiss them until next week.
That is no way to feed children. We have to take each one in our arms, one by one, and put the bottle in his mouth. As he grows he will be able to handle it more for himself, and eventually he will be able to help us prepare food for the younger ones—he has a growing place in the family. That is the ministry of edifying, building up—not care-taking.
Think of Ephesians 4:16. Speaking of Christ it says, “He makes the whole body fit together and unites it through the support of every joint. As each and every part does its job, he makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Very simply, if the members are not fitted and held together, they are not a body. They are simply an assortment of limbs. Ouch!
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.