As many of you know, I have been building an addition on the backside of my house for my widowed mother, who eventually will move in this fall. Throughout the time of construction, beginning in the early stages of design and planning with the architect, I have repeatedly been struck by the numerous parallels of a concrete and wood construction to that of constructing the church of Jesus Christ. While it's fresh on my mind, I thought to share some of these with you.
The first and most obvious parallel is that before any actual work begins, a plan must be made. The architect I hired also had a building crew, but he didn't lock my plan into his team, so I chose him for this flexibility. It was always interesting to watch, for as I adjusted the floor plan, those changes would ripple throughout the multiple pages of the schematic drawings. For instance, a 1-foot room increase might necessitate thicker lumber in the floor joists (support beams), which in turn called for a foundation footer.
We had challenges in terms of where to build, because the only place allowed by the county lay within two narrow strips hugging the northeast side of my house, as dictated by my boundary setback zones. Unfortunately, that was exactly where all utilities came into the house, so those intended-to-be permanent fixtures might need to move. This would be a costly proposition. The architect, however, knew how to work around these to achieve the same goal.
Likewise, in salvation, God Almighty has planned from eternity past all that is necessary for entire future generations of Christians to properly be built together into a dwelling place suitable for the Godhead Himself. It can never be said that with the addition of one Christian, or a whole nation of Christians (as in the case of Jonah preaching at the Assyrian capital of Nineveh), the entire structure could not bear their presence, nor find a meaningful function for them. There are no bolt-on Christians! All were planned for, and all were accounted for, in God's house.
Think about it for a moment. I planned to use material harvested or pre-formed into standard shapes suitable for modern construction. Their properties were known, and I could count on them bearing those properties, such as load strength per linear foot, without conducting onsite testing. However, God uses raw materials from generations of broken people. He personally manages to form each of us into a fit vessel, pillar, or stone in His house! Furthermore, He clears out all obstacles, at whatever cost, to ensure His people are neatly fitted together. All too often, I would lay awake at night, wondering and worrying about the next stage of the project; as it weighed heavily on my mind, I considered that my God also is fully consumed with building His living church. It is His abiding concern, night and day.
Do not think that your God takes lightly your redemption, sanctification, growth, knowledge, and love of the brethren as we are joined together for His glorious purposes. It is His one and only current major undertaking. The verses below reveal His eternal plans.
(Ps 33:11) The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.
(Prov. 20:18a) Every purpose is established by counsel:
(Jer 51:12b) ° the LORD hath both devised and done that which He spake °
(Eph 1:5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will
(Eph 1:11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:
(Eph 3:10a-11) To the intent that now [it] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
(Acts 17:24a) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth ° (26) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation
(Rom 9:21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
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