Our Heavenly Architect
What is the basis for healthy Christian growth? Well, you know, don’t you? It's the Word of God, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Doing Alright? Yes, it’s your good friend, Bob Cook. I’m glad to be back with you, Just been praying that God might warm my heart with His love so that it shows up in what I have to say to you. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so” That’s the answer that a great theologian gave on one occasion when someone asked him what is the greatest thought that ever crossed your mind? He pondered for a moment, and then, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” The truth of God and the love of God and the power of God coming through the spoken word; this is what it’s all about, and I pray that that may be so today, beloved.
You and I are looking at the book of Ephesians, we’re now in chapter 2, we’ve come to verse 19. And we just wound up our discussion of 2:18, “Through Christ we have access, both… ” That means both Jew and gentile, “have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Access through Christ. You can come boldly to the throne of grace and obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The Holy Spirit of God dwelling within the believer prays through you, even when you think you’re praying poorly, and that often happens to me. Sometimes I have to break off in my praying and say, “Oh God, I’m messing up my prayer, I’m praying poorly.” Well, God knows that, He knows the stumblings and the murmurings of the human heart. Romans 8 says, “We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Go ahead and pray beloved, the indwelling Holy Spirit interprets it to God. He knows. So we have access to God.
Now, verse 19, he said, “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. In Him, all the building fitly framed together, grows unto a holy temple in the Lord. In Him, ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.” Hey, that’s a great passage. Let’s look at it.
Now, He says, “You’re no more strangers and foreigners.” Stranger is you don’t fit with the family, foreigners means you don’t fit with the country, the civilization that you’re living in; you’re from another country. A stranger is someone from another family; you don’t fit. Now you can be as polite as you wish, but somebody who is not of your family who comes into your home over a period of time, there’s a certain wearing, a certain… Not to say abrasive effect that it goes on there, he’s a stranger. You’re polite, you’re courteous, and you’re kind, and you’re thoughtful, but he’s a stranger; he doesn’t belong. He may be a star boarder, but he doesn’t belong.
Now, he says, “You’re not that any longer because you belong now to the family of God.” And then foreigners, of course, that’s somebody who doesn’t… Who comes from a different country. No longer strangers and paroikoi, people who live beside; in other words, you come from a different side of the tracks, one might say. Now this, you see, is the position of a person who is unsaved: He’s a stranger, he doesn’t belong. “There isn’t any entree there into the presence of God, because without faith it is impossible to please God. So then they there in the flesh cannot… Doesn’t say must not it says, “cannot, please God.” So you don’t have any entree into the very presence of God, until you come by way of the cross. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the way. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” didn’t he? So that’s the condition of a person who has not yet made the Lord Jesus Christ his Lord and thus his Savior. Strangers.
And then foreigners, means you come from the other side of the tracks, you don’t have entree because you’re talking a different language and living by different standards. You’re a foreigner. Now, we think of foreigners in terms of people who come from abroad into our country. But if you’ve traveled a little, you realize that when you land in some other country, you are the foreigner.
I remember a sermon that Dick Hillis preached in Shanghai, and Andrew Gee interpreted it for me as he went on. But Dick Hillis said, “What is a foreigner?” And he began to explain. And then he said, “You look upon us as foreigners because we come from another country.” But then he went on to say, “But actually, you and I both are foreigners when it comes to that heavenly country that God has prepared for us that we call heaven. And you won’t get in there until you come by way of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He went on to preach the Gospel. Foreigners. “Now,” he says, “You’re no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints.” Now, you see, he reverses the order. Stranger means you come from a different family, foreigner you come from a different country. Fellow citizen, you belong to the same country of the household of God, you belong to the same family. He reverses the order there.
But fellow citizens, now this is funny, because we have the word politics, don’t we? Well, in your Greek New Testament, when you get to the word fellow citizens, it’s sumpolitÃ©s; that means you live in the same city, and from it we get our word politics, don’t we? You have the same politics, heavenly politics. Isn’t that an interesting figure of speech there? You’ve got the same politics. Why? Because you belong to the same country and serve the same king, the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And then, of course, he says, “You’re of the household of God.” You belong in the house now. You’re in. You belong to the family. You belong to the family. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God, and such we are. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” That’s found there in John’s first epistle. “As many as received Him,” This is the Gospel of John 1:12. “As many as received Him, to them gave ye power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” Paul takes up much of the Book of Galatians talking about the difference between servants and sons. It says, “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father, Papa, God. Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son, if a son then an heir of God through Christ. Of the household of God, God has put you in a position of sonship, you are God’s child, you belong to His family forever and forever and forever. Hallelujah.” Aren’t you glad that’s so? Of the household of God.
Now, what right does a child have? Well, a child has access, we talked about that the last time or so that we got together, you can come right into the presence of God. “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The Spirit of His Son in our hearts, crying, Abba, Father, Papa.” That word Abba is our word Papa. Papa, God. So you have immediate access to your Heavenly Father.
It’s the picture of the business executive who told the secretary, “Don’t let anybody in, I’m very busy.” And so many important callers came, one after another, and the secretary turned them away and said, “You can’t get in to see him now because he’s busy.” And then there came a little three-year-old girl, and she walked right past the secretary on into the office of the great man, and climbed up in his lap and said, “Daddy.” What’s the difference? She was his child. Ah yes, beloved, and we use the familiar form of speeches, like parents and child, you can come and our Blessed Father will put his arms of love around you, cradle you in His great arms of love. And you can say, “Abba, Father, Papa, God.” Come right in; access the household of God, you belong now, you’re not a stranger any longer, you’re not a foreigner any longer, you are part of the family. Have you ever thanked God for that? Many of us take it for granted. But it is, I suppose, the crowning miracle of all of human history that God takes poor guilty sinners who deserve nothing but hell and judgment, and puts them into his own family. But there we are. Hallelujah. I’m glad it’s so, aren’t you? Ah, yes.
Now he says, you’re built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. Ye are built. “All the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple of God, and ye are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.” Now you’ve got the concept of the foundation; built upon the foundation. You got the concept of the cornerstone, our Lord Jesus Himself. You’ve got the concept of planned progression here, all the building fitly framed together groweth, and then you have the concept of a personal involvement in all of this as part of your experience of the purpose of God. You wanna talk about that for a moment? Time will run out before we get through it, but we can start, can’t we?
Now he says, ye are of the household of God, you belong to the family, and are built, changing the figure of speech now from family to architecture. “Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” That’s a reference, of course, to the Word of God, isn’t it? “Apostles and prophets, what is that? Thus sayeth the Lord.” What is the basis for healthy Christian growth? Well, you know, don’t you, it’s the Word of God. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” You get faith to believe God from reading his word, praying over it, and listening to the indwelling Spirit of God whispering to your heart about it. You’re built on the foundation.
Now, I think it’s worthwhile stopping here to ask ourselves how much of the actual activity of my life and the growth of my personality is based upon the inerrant, inspired Word of God, the Bible. If you want a healthy Christian experience, if you want a consistent Christian life of growth, if you want the experience of being built up by the heavenly architect, then you start with the right foundation, which is the Word of God. “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee,” said the prophet. So that, I think, is where we’ll end our discussion for today. We’ll go on with this the next time we get together. Give some thought, beloved, to your involvement with the Word of God as the basis for growth in your spiritual life, Alright?
Father God, today, oh, may we be built upon thy Word, and in Thy will in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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