In a previous post, “Why Worship Is a Personal Matter (But Not a Private One),” I pointed out that Paul uses the words, or a variation of them,“build up” seven times in 1 Corinthians 14. What’s with the fuss? Why does he make such a big deal in this chapter about building others up? Well, for one, it seems the building up of others was the one thing that wasn’t happening when the Corinthian believers gathered.
For me, a question that begs to be answered is, to what end are we to build each other up? Or to put it another way, are we actually being built up into something? Or is this building up simply spiritual routine maintenance that ensures we all survive another day before gathering again?
I believe the answers to these questions are, “yes” and “ yes.” In no way do I want to minimize the kind of building up that enables us to make it another day. God knows I need this. And regularly. However, Scripture teaches us that there is something bigger that is happening. Something that is easily missed if we’re only focused on the day-to-day.
God is building something. He is building us into something. This “something” is far more beautiful than the mind could imagine. Something so inconceivable that it requires supernatural revalation to grasp.
In the following words to the Ephesian believers, Paul reveals what this “something” is:
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 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 a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
Did you catch it? Did you pick up the on the same “building” theme we see in 1 Corinthians 14? Indeed, we are being built up into something. We are being built up into a “holy temple in the Lord.” In case Paul’s readers were to miss this, he puts it another way, “a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
He’s making us a dwelling place! Not just a house but a home. A place where He dwells in His glory (i.e. manifest presence.) God has determined not only to live with His people but to live in His people. This is where everything is heading.
Paul tells the believers at Colossae that God’s big plan (i.e. “mystery”) from the beginning, hidden until now, is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Jesus Himself dwelling in us! We have this now in part but there is coming a glorious day when this hidden glory within will explode outward and our broken outer man will be transformed into new glorious bodies! (I think the magnitude of this truth calls for that run-on sentence.)
Every time we gather, God, in His grace, is building us up. Yes, He strengthens us for that day but there’s something bigger He has in mind. There are blueprints in His hand and on these blueprints is a home, a resting place for Himself.
Worship leaders, God wants to use you to build His people into His “dream home.” He doesn’t want to just dwell in a meeting, but in a people. What an incredible privilege, and purpose, we have.