BY REV. BRAD WALLACE - FAITH PENTECOSTAL CHURCH
I've visited houses where the walls are painted fun colors; cheery pictures hung. Carefree and whimsical fun-loving souls reside here. Some houses have shutters falling off, windows boarded up and gates chained and padlocked. These home dwellers are shut up and locked down. Well maintained yards, perfect trees and complementary architecture show these people are ordered and structured.
The personality of the house is often derived from the house's occupants and visa-versa. There are some homes that the occupants have been very creative to hide their inner person behind an outer facade.
Kids have the unique ability to think that they can "clean their room" just by shutting the door. Creative yes, but under the bed there is still toast crust, pop cans and potato chip bags. Effective? No!
Adults become more sophisticated about the way they hide their personality behind curtains and walls. We don't want others to think less of us, so we work hard to impress them. These people hide behind perfectionism.
The opposite extremes say, "I don't really care what others think of me." They allow themselves (their houses and their testimony) to lack any sense of order, structure or decorum. As if to say chaos is God's crowning blessing.
I enjoy architecture. I love the building of homes and buildings. The last time I preached about "building" and loving to watch "work progress" I got serious heat from those who actually live in my home. As if they were saying, "practice what you preach." So rather than preach about me, I'm following 2 Corinthians 4:5 and preaching not myself, but Christ Jesus the Lord.
Let's look at a house that God will bless! Who built it? Why was it blessed so much? What would cause it to lose the blessing and fall into disrepair and ruin?
We're talking about natural things to help us understand spiritual things. Our natural body is the spiritual house that the prophet Isaiah said God designed, formed and made — in his image, according to his likeness. Our body is the house. If I poke you in the eye … you would understand pain! You can better understand a physical world because we understand pain and troubles.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, "I believed in God, so I spoke."
We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God's grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That (my dear friends) is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-16 New Living Translation, Verse 18 says ... we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: For the things which are seen are temporal; (houses and bodies) but the things which are not seen are eternal (salvation).
As it relates to gratitude, consider yourself as being a house. You are a house of eternal life.
Making a house God will bless requires following his will (way and word) his plans and his design. You have no opportunity to deviate from his plan. You have no blueprint that says, "well, because I like you, you are my friend, you have money, you are a good guy … you can skip the foundation and start building the walls." No. You must have a foundation in order to build a house of gratitude.
What is your foundation? We call them steps of Apostolic Doctrine! Salvific and practical! Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3) you were born into sin the first time, you need to be born again, the second time. Be born of water according to my blueprint: baptism in Jesus' name — do all in the name of Jesus. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, (do) all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:17).
And then he said you must be born of the Spirit: Baptism in/by his Spirit. We see every time this experience was recorded in the book of Acts they spoke with other tongues. This isn't to be feared, it is simply his plan and we are to build according to his plans. Jesus builds the house! Jesus has a plan for building your house. Psalm 127:1 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
In Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, repent, and in Luke 13:3 Jesus said … I tell you … except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. When plans or hopes feel smashed against a wall, we choose to be thankful, this is the house that God blesses. As we celebrate this season of "prayer and thanksgiving," will you express some thanksgiving to God? You have precedent. You have motive. You have Bible and You have the desire ... let's give thanks for the house that God is building in you and me.