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.
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).
By: Undre Griggs, Jr
Members of the church should look at each other as family, and as such, we should be willing to devote our time and resources to each other. Sometimes that is as simple as picking someone up from the airport, but other times it may require months of work helping someone overcome an addiction. The world is full of temptation and any one of us could succumb to its influence. That is why it is so important that we support and encourage each other through difficult times.
Galatians 6:1-2 (NKJV): Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
It is important we retain the understanding we help each other; not because we think we are better than anyone, but because we know we all need help. We are all sinners and we have all fallen short of the glory of God, and it is up to the church to help restore the world. We restore each other by sharing the love that the Father has shared with us.
1 Peter 4:8 (NIV): Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
This mission is not an easy task for any member of the church. Restoring someone with love still requires the honest action of telling someone they need to make a change for the better. Ideally, love will shine through and our friends and family will appreciate our willingness to help them better themselves; but that is not always the case. The good news is if we are willing to sacrifice a little comfort for the sake of someone’s soul, we will have our ultimate reward.
Galatians 6:8-9 (NKJV): For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
While the Apostle Paul started with spiritually restoring members of the church, he also wants to make sure we treat all people with the same love. While it is good to love and cherish your loved ones, it is more beneficial to love and cherish a stranger (Matthew 5:46-48). Whether knowingly or not, Christians are always representing Christ in all they do and their actions could motivate or deter someone from the church. Christ came to earth and died for all of us, so it only makes sense for the church to value each person as well.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Christians are to be a holy nation and find joy outside of the joys of the world. This is largely due to the fact that the world is full of evil and darkness. We see so much evil, crime, and mistreatment that it can deter us from doing good. We are confused and bewildered when we see righteousness considered evil and evil considered righteousness. Often times, many consider the commandment to be spotless in the world a difficult task; but we should consider it a necessary task. We should look at it like the task of eating and staying hydrated. A person who abstains from the joys of the world is going to be a healthier person (mentally and physically) than someone who is a part of the world.
1 Peter 2:9 (ESV): But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
When we remain in the light of Christ, we are able to cut through the darkness of the world and every action we take contrary to the world will be an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. People are looking for change and people understand the warmth that light creates. Unfortunately, that does not change the difficulty that we will face as we attempt to shine our light.
1 John 2:15-16 (NIV): Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
That is why we need to frequently spend time with likeminded Christians. We need to congregate together in the assembly of God whenever we have an opportunity to attend. It is necessary because we need to recharge and strengthen our spiritual body from continuous persecution (Romans 12:2). The church is that refuge built on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:14 (NKJV): who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
His love for us is evident when we look at the safe haven He built for us. He built us a place to learn, laugh, sing, and praise His holy and beloved name. It is His sacrifice that strengthens us to do good works while we are being persecuted and it is His sacrifice that purifies us in a world of full of hate.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Throughout the Bible, Jesus is referred to as the cornerstone and foundation of the church. There are multiple reasons for this, with the first being His death and resurrection is the premise the church is built on.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (NKJV): Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
Another reason to consider is fact that Jehovah relinquished His authority over heaven and earth to Jesus. As such, Jesus is the head designer and architect of the church.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV): And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
We also find the confession that Jesus is the son of God is a foundational piece of the church. As a reference, the same Greek word used here for “rock” is also used in Matthew 21:42 for “stone”. These two verses also share the fact that Jesus is the foundation (cornerstone) and that Jehovah is in control.
Matthew 16:16-18 (ESV): Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 21:42 (NIV): Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord as done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
While the Apostle Peter had a vital role in the growth of the early church, he was not the rock or foundation of the church. He did not have the ability to modify scripture; nor was he provided any additional revelation or insight. The Apostle Peter was an obedient follower of Christ who laid the foundation as it was taught to him.
1 Corinthians 3:11 (NIV): For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.