By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes Him the chief cornerstone and foundation of the church. When Jesus speaks of those who are wise, he refers to them as being builders who built a home that can withstand the storms of life. These storms will cause immense rain, wind and flooding. If we have not fastened ourselves on a solid foundation, our faith will crumble.
Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV): “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul speaks of his faith being built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. While visiting the church in Corinth, Paul sees the church is divided over who baptized them. Paul wants everyone to understand if they did not die on the cross for the remission of sin, then they are not the focus. It can nice to remember the person who baptized us, but it is wise to remember these differences can cause divisions and have no bearing on our soul.
1 Corinthians 3:10-13 (ESV): According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
Similar to Jesus, Paul suggests there will be trials that will separate those who built their house on the right foundation from those who have not. In Paul’s depiction, a fire will reveal those who have Jesus Christ as their chief cornerstone. Any other foundation will be discovered inefficient and will not survive. Jesus Christ offers a strength that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). He requires us to love Him with all of heart, mind, and soul (Luke 10:27). He expects us to be faithful until death (Revelations 2:10); forgoing the traditions of men and focusing on the kingdom He established (Matthew 6:33). In short, Jesus only requires the obedience necessary for His will to produce fruit in our life. Only by building the house as He designed it can we ensure it will endure the trials and temptations of life.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
As well as our intentions may be, we can only serve one being at a time. The Apostle Paul wants us to understand the most gracious and helpful person in our life cannot compare to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and as we a result, we owe our life and salvation to Him. The benefit of devoting our life to Jesus is it benefits us more than it benefits Him. Christ expects us to forgive, show love, compassion, as well as respect for others. We are to share the Gospel when the opportunity presents itself, and we are to grow in our knowledge of the faith.
1 Corinthians 7:23 (ESV): You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.
When we allow ourselves to be burdened by the desires of others, they tend to want things that benefit them more than us. They may need financial assistance, help moving, or want to borrow something that belongs to us. None of these requests are issues within themselves; it is only if they require us to choose between God and man. If someone tries to make us choose between attending a Bible Study or helping them move, it is essential we choose the Bible Study. It is not to say we cannot request they change the day or time, but our priority is Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:20 (ESV): For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Our dedication to Christ should be above our relationships with our coworkers, friends or family. If there is a relationship where we are discouraged about sharing our faith, we need to consider ending that relationship. We cannot allow the burden of maintaining a relationship that is contrary to our faith to affect us. When we set expectations, the relationships worth maintaining will encourage and honor our commitment to Christ. If we have friends that only play sports on Sunday morning, we have to be okay with not participating in those activities. If we have coworkers who only hang out in exotic establishments, we have to be okay not associating with them outside of work. We were bought with blood of Jesus Christ, and our debt is to live our life as an example of Him and His glory. Be proud whenever the opportunity presents itself to share our convictions with others. We need to be the shining light in a world of darkness; and we should desire to be obedient until death so we can receive the crown of life.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Think back to the last time you helped someone who was unable to give you anything but a thank you in return. Imagine the appreciation in their face and the joy you felt because you knew you made a difference in their life. The ability to provide a positive impact on someone’s life is not something we should take for granted. Who knows what that experience may have done for that person going forward. And because we gave the glory to God, they may return to church. They could have felt lost, and we found them. Or they felt alone, and we offered friendship. These are the types of experiences that will impact us for the rest of our lives.
Acts 20:35 (ESV): In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Sometimes we are swept away by the idea of receiving a gift, but we don’t actually remember the gifts we receive as well as those we give. While receiving a gift may provide instant gratification, it does not last long. How many Christmas presents do you remember from your childhood? I cannot remember many: a bike here, a gaming system there. What I remember most is my family driving around every Christmas looking at the best Christmas lights in the neighborhood. It is the human interaction that we remember much more than the material ones.
2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV): Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
While our actions are how we exhibit our faith, we should remember we cannot earn our way to heaven through our works. If we give to the needy for any reason other than love, God is going to judge us as if we did not give. It is important to make sure when we give to others, we enjoy it and we give God the glory. If we are giving because our friends or our parents compelled us, while it is a nice gesture, God is not pleased. God is looking for us to be humble and caring enough to want to give to others as God gave us. By Jehovah sending His only begotten son to die on the cross in our place, we have an opportunity at eternal life. By having such a large debt forgiven, we should feel compelled to give to others whenever we have an opportunity. By us wanting to share the joy Christ gave us through the gift of eternal life, we also have an opportunity to make a lasting impact.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When it comes to pleasing God, He expects us to utilize all of our abilities to further His kingdom. Among many in the church today, there is the perception that woman cannot or should not work outside of the home. There is also the thought that men should not perform any of the work within the home.
Matthew 25:24-27 (ESV): He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
The idea we can sit on any blessing, whether financial or physical is contrary to the teachings in the Bible. God expects us to utilize everything He has blessed us with, without exception. In the parable of the talent, the person who received one talent, returned one talent and God was not pleased. As a point of reference, a talent typically weighed 33 kg (75 lbs.) and gold finished the week at a value of $1,212.90 per ounce. We should always remember the immense value of a gift from God and show our appreciation by using our blessing for His glory.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV): So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Whether the woman is working outside of the home or the man is working within the home, all things should be done for God’s glory. When we focus too much on the physical, we overlook the importance of the Spiritual. Ultimately, our work to further God’s kingdom is what pleases Him. Putting physical restrictions on the use of our blessings to keep one commandment at the expense of another is not. Both parents should make it a priority to raise faithful children. Whether they are working inside the home, outside of the home, or both does not guarantee this fact. Only by making it a priority to dedicate all of our blessings to furthering God’s kingdom can we guarantee our actions are pleasing to God.
When looking for the church found in the Bible, what criteria should we use? Which congregational shortcomings are something we should persevere through and which ones are doctrine issues we should avoid? First and foremost, when looking for the church we should make sure it is built on the right foundation.
Ephesians 2:20-22 (ESV): 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.
The church needs to be teaching the principles found in the Bible. The Bible is the only place we can find the inspired word of God, His teachings, His will, and His expectations. This is important because it is the word of God found in the Bible that will judge us on the last day (John 12:48). The apostles and prophets under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit shared the word of God. They risked their lives and gave everything they knew to be obedient to His will and we should be willing to do the same. There is only one church and it is up to us to find that church using Scripture.
Colossians 3:16 (ESV): Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
The church should not only be worshiping in truth, but also in Spirit. We will know we are residing in the church when we are consistently and enthusiastically sharing the word of God with each other. When we are humble in correction and willing to listen to the doctrinal concerns of others. We should engage each other in Bible studies instead of readily agreeing to disagree. In church we will sing spiritual songs that are accurate and consistent with Scripture. The church is not a place to sing any song we please, but songs that are edifying the congregation through the word of God. Last and often overlooked, the church is full of people with a heart of thanksgiving. Those in the church do not necessarily have everything they want, but they know everything they have is from God. They understand that all good things come from heaven and if now is not the right time, now is not the right time (James 1:17). Christians within the body of Christ will not covet what others have for any reason, they will be content in their blessing. When looking for the church, these are matters we should not compromise on. This does not mean every congregation we attend will implement these teachings the same way. It does not even mean they will fulfill these principles in agreement with how we believe they should be executed. But it does mean we should find these principles whenever we are looking for the church that will endure through the end of times (Matthew 16:18).