The Greatest Tragedy

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, [21] in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. [22] In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Why is God building a temple with you and me?  How about answering a question with a question?  Why has God always acted?  Answer: for His glory!  Notice the phrase “for God.”  We are reminded about the Person for Whom and purpose for which we are being built together.  It is “for God.”  This is not taking place for you; it’s not taking place for me.  God has not raised up pastors to preach and teachers to teach and deacons to serve and musicians to accompany and givers to give and evangelists to evangelize and disciples to disciple and servants to keep church buildings clean and nursery workers to change diapers to make a name for ourselves.

whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To him belong glory and dominion and forever and ever.  Amen (1 Peter 4:10)

So when you go to a pastors and deacons meeting, when you flip a switch on the sound equipment, as you lock the door behind you, and you count the money for the offering, as you work hard to keep the attention of those young people and convey gospel truths, as you scroll to the next slide on your ppt presentation as you teach, as you wipe down changing tables, as you take out the trash, as you hand someone a bulletin, as you stand up and read the Bible, as you put tables and chairs away after a fellowship meal, or make copies, or whatever you do in the context of church life and personal life—it should be all to the glory of God, for Him.

The phrase “for God” orients us like a compass to the northward focus of God in all things!  It is a reminder that the world does not revolve around us or to put it another way: there is a God in the universe and we are not that God.  All this is happening for His renown! Not for me, not for you.  We were created for God.  The Lord says in Isaiah 43:7, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory.” “To Him be glory in the church (Ephesians 3:21).  

The greatest tragedy in our world is not a recession, not unemployment, not the loss of self-esteem, not that we didn’t get that longed for promotion, not that our care broke down, not hunger, not AIDS, not homelessness, not disease.  The greatest tragedy in our world is sin.  Sin has brought idolatry into the world and into each of our hearts.  It has removed the transcendent element from us.  What sin does is deceive us by giving our thirsty souls self-glorifying salt-water to drink.  As we take it in we think it will satisfy us, but it has the opposite effect.  Instead of quenching our thirst, it steals our life that only glorifying our Creator will bring.  Augustine’s famous phrase which opens his spiritual autobiography titled The Confessions of St. Augustine says “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you” (Confessions, Book 1, Chapter 1).  Jesus is the water who nourishes our thirsty souls.  He said “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  Are you ready to satisfy your thirsty soul with the waters Jesus freely offers?  The fifth to the last verse in the Bible says,

The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’  And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’  And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price (Revelation 22:17). 

Drink deeply, by faith, from the waters of forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus offers you.

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