Unless the Lord Builds

Monday, January 12, 2015, 3:30 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Myopic.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 126-128 (selected verses ESV).

The Fruit of Labor

A Song of Ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
~ Ps. 126​

Zion today is the church - spiritual Israel, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. Much of today’s church, particularly here in America, is living in captivity to Babylon, i.e. to the world’s system. Today’s modern church operates more like human businesses than like the Biblical role model for us as to what church is and how it should function. Instead of the church going out into the world to take the gospel of Jesus Christ, to shine God’s love and grace to the world, while remaining separate from the world in thought, word, and deed, today’s modern church has invited the world into the church and has adopted much of its ways in order to attract the world to its meetings. Immersing ourselves in our culture is encouraged as a means of identifying with the people in the world, and so much of today’s modern church is not a light to the world, because they have become one with the world.

Yet, the true church is a living organism, not an organization of human origin. The true church is the body of Christ, not a human corporation under the authority (headship) of the US (or other) government. The true church is guided by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts and assigns body parts to its members. It is not directed by human philosophy and books written by humans on how to grow your church via using business marketing schemes. Although the true church may exist within these human institutions, we must make the distinction between Christ’s church and what is often called church today. The church is not a building, an organization, a denomination or a corporation. It is the people of God, who have been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, died with Christ to sin, been born of the Spirit of God, and are now living in Christ’s righteousness and holiness.

Because so much of today’s modern church is living in spiritual adultery and idolatry, and has become one with the world instead of being set apart (unlike; different) from the world because becoming like Christ (holy), it is in great need of a mighty spiritual awakening like we have not known for a very long time. I believe that time will come when God will revive his church, but that it will probably come through a time of great suffering. Yet, when the church is revived, restored and renewed spiritually, there will be great rejoicing. It will be like a dream come true. In revival, especially if it comes as a result of God’s divine discipline on his adulterous church, there will be much weeping, because of the suffering and/or because of the people of God repenting of their sins, and yet their weeping will turn to joy.

In addition, I believe there are many now who are calling out to God to revive his church. Some of those have been called, as well, to call the church to repentance, similarly as the prophets did of old. They not only pray for revival and for the salvation of souls, but they are committed to teaching or preaching the Word of Truth, to sharing the full gospel message, to pointing out sin and spiritual adultery within the church, to warn of wolves in sheep’s clothing, to warn of divine discipline (judgment), and to promise hope, healing and restoration for the repentant. They sow in tears, but will reap with shouts of joy. They are among the persecuted, hated, rejected, and despised followers of Christ, which is also a reason for their tears, and yet they know that one day, if not now, they will see the fruit of their labor. The church will be revived, the full gospel will go forth from the revived church, and many will flock to Jesus Christ and be saved (See Isaiah 1-2).

Unless the Lord Builds

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
~ Ps. 127:1-2​

We, who are followers of Jesus Christ, are the children of God, the body of Christ - God’s household. Christ’s church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). The cornerstone is the keystone, foundation, or basis for God’s building, i.e. it is the most essential element, the most critical component, and the origin, source and core (heart) for all that we do as his church. In Christ we “also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). And, we “are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).

If the church is not being built on the correct foundation, and if the Lord is not the one building his house, but it is humans instead, then it is bound to fail. In other words, if we are following “how to” books written by mere humans (not God-breathed) on how to grow our churches, and if what is being taught is not in line with scripture, and if the Holy Spirit is not the one directing and leading, but it is humans, instead, then the laborers labor in vain. Instead of the laborers sowing in tears and coming “home with shouts of joy, bringing” their “sheaves with” them, all their labors are in vain. They amount to nothing. They will bear no or little fruit for God’s eternal kingdom and for the glory of God, because their work is of the flesh and not of the Spirit. It will all be burned up in the end.

Yet, this applies not only to the whole of the body of Christ, collectively, but to us individually. If Christ is not the one directing our lives, but we are, then we are just spinning our wheels and we are wasting our efforts. We will bear no fruit in keeping with repentance, but our works will all burn up in the end. We need to stop wasting time and follow Jesus!

Walk in His Ways

A Song of Ascents.

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
~ Ps. 128:1-2​

We are happy, joyful and fulfilled (satisfied; complete) when we are walking in the fear of the Lord and in his ways. To walk in the fear of the Lord means to show him honor, respect, value, love, obedience, submission and surrender to his will and purposes for our lives. It means to not take God for granted or to treat him as though he is a doting grandfather in the sky there to grant our every request while we live to please ourselves and we continue to go our own way. Jesus died, not just so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven. He died so we would die with him to our sin and so we would be resurrected with him to new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:17-24). In fact, He died so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). This is walking in the fear of the Lord.

Yet, this is not taught much at all these days. And, that is a huge problem! So many have gotten the idea that coming to Christ is merely praying a prayer but that nothing is required of them at all – no repentance, no obedience, and no submission, etc. So, they end up believing they have the hope of heaven and yet they have never been regenerated of the Spirit of God. They do not know God, because they do not submit to him. They continue living in willful sin and rebellion against God thinking they have their tickets into heaven and that no one can take that away from them. They have been given a false hope. They need to be “born again.”

Others have come to true faith in Christ, but have since fallen back into sin’s deceitfulness, and are in need of genuine revival. All need to walk in the Spirit and to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to God, empowered by the Spirit of God and by Jesus Christ, who has given us all we need to live for him and to forsake living by our flesh.

Myopic / An Original Work / August 19, 2013

Based off 2 Peter 1:3-11

Jesus has given ev’rything
Needed for life and godliness.
His great and precious promises
Free us from our sin and distress.

Add to your faith His goodness;
Knowledge; patience; godliness;
Brotherly love and mutu’l affection;
Kindness and unselfishness.

If you possess these qualities,
Growing in your maturity,
They will keep you from vanity.
You will bear fruit effectually.

Nonetheless, if you lack them;
Forget you’ve been cleansed from sin,
Nearsighted are you; you can’t see Jesus.
You have closed your heart to Him.

Therefore, beloved, confirm, then,
Your calling and your election.
Do this by showing diligence:
Obey your Lord; be repentant.

Practice all these qualities
God provided on a tree.
He died for our sins so we’d be given
Life with Him eternally.