Part 2: God is Building Us!
When you think God is amazing for building us into individual temples for Him, He shows us that as His people, we create a larger, cohesive temple for Him to dwell: the church. His presence in us becomes multiplied exponentially as we gather together in His name, The individual anointing in us becomes a corporate anointing, able to magnify the Lord, and able to uplift the body itself.
From “Me” to “Us”
God met individually with Moses in the desert. The cloud of God’s presence would come and He and Moses would speak face to face as friends. When the cloud began to move, however, it was a sign to the whole camp it was time to pack up and move. Then it became “us.” God was leading and working with His chosen people to unify, re-identify, and strengthen them.
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, the pronouns were (and are) in the plural. He was indicating that we ought to pray together as one unit. The Father is addressed as “Our Father.” We ask God to give “us our daily bread.” We ask God to “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” And to “not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
Jesus meant for us to work our faith together, to pray together, and to dwell in unity together. As such, He tells us that the two greatest commandments are to “Love God, and love your neighbor. Upon these commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
The Apostle Peter describes the New Testament church like this: “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) In that context, Jesus is proclaimed the Cornerstone, the foundation of this temple.
We, as spiritual, living stones, are being shaped and molded together to form this spiritual house. That means our rough edges, our pride, and the sinful human nature that weighs us down, must be polished off. In other words, we don’t fit together well if we’re carrying too much “self.” Being in community in conjunction with the Holy Spirit helps polish those edges. “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
The goal that God earnestly has in mind for us is the love and unity that come from being the true body of Christ. Paul uses the analogy of the human body to explain the church in 1 Corinthians 12:12,18, 26-27: “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they be many, are one body; so also is Christ. But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. And if one member suffers, al the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”
For the body to get along in unity and grow, we must change our mindset from human selfishness to selflessness. Paul tells the church at Ephesus, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (Ephesians 6:2) These burdens he’s talking about is our weaknesses, personalities, quirks, and other things in all of us that require grace. In other words, he saying to work together and keep working together with grace and forgiveness.
Paul’s monumental statements concerning the body tell us more about the goal of Christ’s church: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling…
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness and deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the Head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:1-6,11-16)
Yes, God wants and needs you to participate in the body of Christ, wherever He leads you. You are unique, called into His kingdom, and have special gifts to share. He will make a place for you in the body of Christ.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Temple Series: God Cleanses the Temple