We have been talking about Christianity verses churchianity. Unfortunately the church has gone the way of churchianity by turning away from the word of God. When this happened the church lost the power available to them. This happened a long time ago as Paul even said, Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” He also said Colossians 1:23 “if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Since churchianity is following another gospel we no longer have God shining his face upon us nor are we clothed with power.
Unfortunately while most think they are building the church, they are not. It is only by what their hands have made. Moses said Deuteronomy 31:29 “For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.” The church became about buildings even though we were told Ephesians 2:19 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” We are now the place where God wants to dwell, not a building. By building things it appears that the church is doing the work of the Lord. Oddly people follow whom they think is most successful according to the worldly standards of building. People in the church follow these men and woman yet there is no power therefore not the gospel. So they have built on the wrong foundation. Sure on the outside it looks solid but the structure has only been built on sand. Matthew 7:24 “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. 25 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. 26 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. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Remember not only did Jesus say these words but right before this he said, “21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” For many the rains have not fallen but they will but for some as you see in the news they have such as Willow Creek. This is what happens when the church makes a man the cornerstone instead of Jesus.
Unfortunately many will not know that the beautiful buildings and all they have to offer are only flimsy walls and white-walled sepulchers until it is too late. Ezekiel 13:1 “The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken? 8 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. 10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?” 13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord. 15 So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Jesus said Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Churchianity says look what my hands have made. Look at this amazing sand castle that I just built. Christianity says 1 Samuel 2:2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” Psalm 66:5 “Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! 6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot— come, let us rejoice in him. 7 He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations— let not the rebellious rise up against him.” Numbers 23:23 “It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!” The power that is available to all those who believe is not built out of stone and concrete but on “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Therefore the church must look like scripture says it should otherwise it is another gospel. As we spoke about previously, people in the church want to see something so that is why water baptism became prominent and the baptism of the Spirit did not. Since the baptism of the Spirit was not happening, they could still see the water sparkle. The church became satisfied by man-made results and not world changing power to defeat satan. That is why people who see a structure and programs and entertainment think that is the church yet what they do not see is the results of what happens when the true gospel, “this gospel” as Paul said is preached. We will see power. We will see the gifts of the Spirit once again. The antichrist tells you there is no power available, it has ceased for you but God says Psalm 81:13 “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!” Matthew 13:14 “In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”
Most people don’t check the foundation, as at first look it is hard to see but if you look closely you will see the results of a solid foundation verses a poor foundation. If you are buying a home you can look for cracks in walls, doors and windows not closing, sagging floors, settling or sinking, upheaval, leaks. So at today’s housing costs you will want to spend the time, bring an expert and make sure this house you are buying is built on a solid foundation. In our town I have seen projects started but not finished for whatever reason. Remember there is a cost to being a disciple. Jesus said Luke 14:28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” The foundation was poured but it just sat there for years. This is not good for the foundation and it had to be demolished. So now you see them with backhoes with jackhammers, breaking up the concrete and starting over. The foundation was useless to build on because it had been in the elements to long. You would not want a house built on this kind of foundation yet in the church most are not checking to see what foundation this particular church is built on. They just look at it and think this is nice and start attending totally oblivious it is a flimsy wall about to fall on them. I am amazed at how many people in the church today have no idea of the true gospel. They just go with what they have been told and do not test the spirits. Just as in buying a home, this is crucial to make sure the foundation is correct. If the foundation is solid then you can say, “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” If His Spirit lives there then you will see all the gifts of the Spirit in operation. This is why we repent and wait because we are not seeing this. God said 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”
What needs to happen in the church is to bring in a wrecking ball and start over. So just as King Josiah did in 2 Kings 23, we to must demolish, tear down and destroy. Nehemiah said Nehemiah 2:17 “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.” In Haggai the people are reprimanded for taking care of themselves before the house of the Lord. Here is a description of the church today. Haggai 1:2 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” 3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” Yes the house we are to build is not a building, but we are still building. For a long time now we have been tearing down, demolishing and destroying. Yes all along there has been opposition because people like what their hands have built. There is much opposition to rebuilding the church to how it should be.
The church has been deceived into thinking they have built the Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, Reformed, Brethren, Methodist etc. church, but they have only built what there hands have made. Jesus Christ is not the cornerstone of something manmade. It could be compared to worshipping an idol. Psalm 115:2 “Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. 4 But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. 5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. 6 They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. 7 They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. 8 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” But we on the other hand having built on a solid foundation have God. 9 All you Israelites, trust in the LORD— he is their help and shield. 10 House of Aaron, trust in the LORD— he is their help and shield. 11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD— he is their help and shield. 12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, 13 he will bless those who fear the LORD— small and great alike. 14 May the LORD cause you to flourish, both you and your children. 15 May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Picture worshiping a Buddha statue, which you see all over the place. What exactly is that going to do for you yet so many have given their lives to it.
The good news for us is that the foundation has been rebuilt. That by the way is a figure of speech as the remnant always will have the foundation it has just been hidden like our teachers have been. Isaiah 30:20 “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:19 “God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” What this means is once again we can go to the ends of the earth in the power of the Holy Spirit and build the church. When Israel turned their back on God’s word, the temple was destroyed and it needed to be rebuilt when they returned to the land. We too have turned our backs on God’s word and the church lies in desolation because of it. Isaiah said Isaiah 44:24 “This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’ 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” Cyrus himself said 2 Chronicles 36:23 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’” Ezra 5:11 “This is the answer they gave us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished.”
So they went and began to rebuild. They rebuilt the altar, the temple and the wall. Ezra 3:11 “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” Yes the foundation wasn’t as awesome as the first. “12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.” Can you imagine the remorse because they had sinned and just as God said they would be destroyed but also imagine the great joy as God’s presence was dwelling with them again. When they were told to rebuild the temple in Haggai God said, Haggai 2:3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ 6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
So we too have a great hope, as God wants to dwell within us. A great king came and his name was Jesus yet his own people rejected him and still do. Now today the Gentiles also reject him and have turned away to follow others gods just as we were warned not to do. 2 Kings 22:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” Those who have gone before us have not remained steadfast and have turned away to follow other gospels. Nehemiah 9:16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. 26 “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. 27 So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them.” This is why we are desolate and have no power to face our enemies. But unlike our fathers, we have turned and God has heard our cry. But because we have turned 1 Kings 20:13 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 2 Chronicles 20:12 “Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” He will uphold his promise and dwell among us once again and defeat our enemies.
So as we move forward do not be afraid because our God is with us. We are building on a firm foundation and God will be with us. Nehemiah said Nehemiah 6:9 “They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” Solomon was told 1 Chronicles 28:20 “David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” Building on the foundation of the apostles and prophets is basing all we do on the word of God. We turned and repented and we wait. As David said in Psalm 27:13 “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” When we do this, God turns his face to shine on us. Psalm 80:19 “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” His power then flows through us once again and we then do as Jesus did and destroy the work of the devil.”