Building a Living Church

Nov. 20, 2016      Elder Yi-Leng Chen

1. VISION

Seeing the need with a plan and taking it into action.   Need repentance, prayers seeking the guidance from our Lord and thorough discussions with sisters and brothers of the church.

Proverbs 29:18

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

a. Introduction

Nehemiah 1:1-3 : The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa.  Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

Nehemiah 1:4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

b. Historical Background, Prophecy and Promises:

Jeremiah 31:16 This is what the LORD says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD. “They will return from the land of the enemy. 17 So there is hope for your descendants,” declares the LORD. “Your children will return to their own land.

Jeremiah 32:36 “You are saying about this city, ‘By the sword, famine and plague it will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon’; but this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God.

c. Nehemiah’s Vision

Nehemiah 1:8-9 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

Nehemiah 2:17-18 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”  I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.”

2.  FOUNDATION

Example 1:

A resort featured in the 1961 Elvis Presley movie “Blue Hawaii” was destroyed in a 1992 hurricane.  Greene and his business partner Chad Waters started work on the demolition project in 2012. The demolition is expected to be done by the end of this year (2016), with construction possibly starting as soon as January 2017. The resort is expected to reopen in 2018 as one of the Hyatt brand’s upscale luxury properties.

Why was it completely destroyed by 1992 hurricane Iniki?

It was built along the beach with a very poor foundation and built on beach sand.

In Hawaii, many old houses were built without a foundation and with only footings including many ocean view houses on the slopes.   Does that look scary to you?

Example 2:

Feb 6, 2016, in Tainan, Taiwan, the Weiguan Jinlong high-rise building collapsed in a magnitude-6.4 earthquake that rocked the region on Saturday.  The building was built on a former fish pond.  Now in Hawaii, before you build a new house or addition, it is required to hire a civil engineer to conduct a soil survey to analyze the soil properties.

a. The Wise and Foolish Builders

Mathew 7:24-27: Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

b. Foundation of a church

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ

The Church’s One Foundation (Hymn #165):

The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord,

She is His new creation by water and the Word.

From heaven He came and sought her to be His holy bride;

With His own blood He bought her and for her life He died (by Samuel John Stone 1839-1900)

1 Corinthians 12:12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

Mathew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hadeswill not overcome it.

Here then is our grave responsibility as members of the Church of Christ; but here also is our unspeakable privilege, our glory, our strength, our health, our life. We are sons of a family, students of a school, soldiers of an army, citizens of a kingdom, such as never has been and never will be besides. This family, this church, this country, is the Church of Christ, is the body of Christ, is Christ—He in us, and we in Him.

3. HOW TO BUILD A LIVING CHURCH

Need good quality material.  Do not use materials that are rusted, defected, or poisonous.

Feb 6, 2016, in Tainan, Taiwan, the Weiguan Jinlong high-rise building collapsed in a magnitude-6.4 earthquake Rescuers found tin cans packed into the collapsed walls of a high-rise.

Materials that are not the best: popcorn ceiling, lead paint, plywood kitchen cabinet and etc.

a. Confession of Sins and Repentance

Nehemiah 9:1-2  Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.

Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into la holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

b. Rebuilding the Altar to Worship God

Ezra 3:2 Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel with his kinsmen, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.

Nehemiah 8:5-6: And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. 6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

c. The Obligations of the Covenant

Nehemiah 10: 28-29: The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, 29 join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord and his rules and his statutes.

d. Love One and Others with Different Roles for building up the Body of Christ

Ephesians 4:11-12 And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:15-16 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

以弗所書四章1-3節
1.我為主被囚的勸你們:既然蒙召,行事為人就當與蒙召的恩相稱。
2.凡事謙虛、溫柔、忍耐,用愛心互相寬容,
3.用和平彼此聯絡,竭力保守聖靈所賜合而為一的心。

以弗所書四章1-3

若要在生命中成就什麼,必須設定目標,傾全力和時間來達成。人若不明白上帝對他們的生命已有目標,便會無目的地飄蕩。上帝不僅對每一個個人有特殊的目標,祂還對所有信徒有普世皆適用的目標,例如不間斷地終生追求謙卑。

謙卑不僅是一種美德,還是一個僕人的態度,承認完全倚靠上帝。很少人嚮往追求謙卑,因為它被視為軟弱。然而,我們若明白上帝的觀點,就會了解謙卑是一個極重要的品性。腓立比書二章3節:「凡事不可結黨,不可貪圖虛浮的榮耀,只要存心謙卑,各人看別人比自己強。」在優先順序上,耶穌第一、別人第二,我們最後。

我們總是強調愛別人、無條件地饒恕,以及恩慈相待,但這些行為的根源是謙卑。若要能夠愛和饒恕別人,就必須承認他們在上帝眼中極有價值,也願意承認祂對人類有極大的憐憫和饒恕。以弗所書四章32節:「並要以恩慈相待,存憐憫的心,彼此饒恕,正如上帝在基督裡饒恕了你們一樣。」

我們若只想到自己的感受,怎樣對自己才方便,或是想從一個情況得利,就不能彰顯耶穌的愛。當謙卑成為我們的目標時,愛、饒恕和恩慈會隨之產生。

Mark 12:29-31

Jesus answered, “The most important is,Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

 

發表迴響

你的電子郵件位址並不會被公開。 必要欄位標記為 *