Derek Prince - Christian Life Is Like The Construction Of A Building
The Bible is a model of good teaching and it follows various principles of teaching. One in particular is that you start from the known to lead people on to the unknown. You never start with the unknown, you start with what is known and you proceed from there to the unknown. One of the ways that the Bible does this is to take very simple, familiar, everyday experiences and activities and to give them a spiritual application. There are various examples. The Bible speaks about a farmer sowing his seed, about a fisherman catching fish in a drag net, it speaks about a soldier putting on his armor. And then in a completely different kind of context it speaks about a bride preparing herself for her wedding.
Those are just a few examples of this principle. But the particular familiar activity that I want to focus on is that of constructing a building. And I think this picture of the Christian life is used at least as many times as any other picture in the Bible. So we’re going to turn, first of all to the epistle of Jude, verse 20 and 21. Which is a word of exhortation to us as believers. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. So there the Scripture says we must build ourselves up in our most holy faith. That’s one of the ways in which this metaphor of building applies. We are responsible to build ourselves up.
And then in Ephesians chapter 2, verses 21 and 22, It speaks about a holy temple in the Lord: in whom you also are being built together for a habitation (or a dwelling place) of God in the Spirit. So that speaks about the collective Christian community that we are to be built together in the Holy Spirit as a place for God to dwell in. And then in 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 4 and 5, speaking about Jesus as a living stone, Peter says this: Coming to him, Jesus, as to a living stone rejected indeed by men but chosen by God and precious, you also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.
So there we are compared, each one of us, to living stones which are being built together into a holy temple which the Lord is going to occupy. And then one final example from Acts chapter 20, The farewell of Paul to the Ephesian elders whom he loved with a special love. Because it was in Ephesus that his ministry had had perhaps the greatest impact of any place. And in this speech in Acts 20 he’s taking farewell and he’s telling them they’ll never see him again in this life. It was a very moving situation for all of them. And this is really the final thing that he wanted to leave with them. In verse 32 of Acts 20. And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
So there Paul says the main means that builds us up is the word of God’s grace: The Bible. And he says it is able to build us up and to give us an inheritance among all those who are set apart for Jesus Christ by faith in Him. Now, I’m not a builder but I know one thing. In any permanent building, whether it’s built of brick or stone or concrete or even timber. The vital area is the foundation. And the Bible deals specifically with this. And here is an issue of great importance for every one of us. It’s having the right foundation. Because the foundation sets limits to the building that can be built above it both in size and in weight. The foundation sets the limits. And this is true in the Christian life.
You cannot build more successful Christian life than your foundation will permit. This is the vital issue: what is your foundation? Have you laid the right foundation? Now, there is only one foundation that is adequate and sufficient, and it’s all-sufficient and it is a person. The person is: Jesus Christ. And Paul, writing to the Corinthian Christians, in 1 Corinthians, chapter 3, uses two metaphors. He uses the agricultural metaphor but then he goes on to the building metaphor.
And he says in verse... nine: For we are God’s fellow workers, (We’re working together with God.) you are God’s field, (That’s the agricultural metaphor.) and you are God’s building. (That’s the construction metaphor.) Then he goes on with the building metaphor. According to the grace of God which was given to me as a wise master builder, (And in Greek that word is architect.) I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
So, Paul says, there’s only one foundation for the Christian life and that is Jesus Himself. And anything that is not built on that foundation will not stand the test of time and of trial. So it’s very important for every one of us to assess what our life is built on. Are we truly built on the Lord Jesus Christ? Do we have a personal relationship and a personal knowledge of Jesus that makes us able to relate personally to Him?