ALL THINGS BEING FOR THE BUILDING
The building is the ultimate point of all the Epistles written by the apostles. Regrettably, however, most of the seeking Christians today have not seen this. They care for many good things, but they simply do not care for this one matter. Some say that as long as they have soul-winning, bringing people to Christ, that is wonderful. Others say that as long as they teach the Bible, to know the Word of God, that is wonderful. Still others say that as long as they have a number of believers going out to the mission fields in foreign countries to spread the gospel to further the kingdom of God, that is wonderful. Some say that as long as they edify people and help them to grow in life, that is wonderful, while many today say that as long as they help people to speak in tongues and gain the charismatic gifts, that is wonderful. I also say that these things are wonderful.
However, if we speak with many believers about the building of the Body, they may say, “This is a hard matter. Do not talk about this. The Lord Himself will take care of this some day in the by and by.” We should not speak in this way. We are for the gospel preaching, we are for the Bible, we are for the mission work, we are for the inner life, and we are for the proper, genuine charismatic things. However, we need to realize that all these are for the building. God is interested not merely in pieces of stone; His interest is in His house.
What do we have today? Is it a house or only a pile of materials? I would even ask those who meet as a local church: Are you piling up or building up? To pile up is one thing, but to be built up is another. We may pile together all the materials for a house, but it is still not a house. Many Christian free groups are just a pile, not the building. The Bible clearly says that in the building all the materials are fitted together (Eph. 2:21). This is not merely to pile up but to build up. It is easy to tell people where gospel preaching, campaigns, and crusades are. It is easy to say where home Bible studies are, and it is easy to say where mission work in many countries is. Likewise, it is easy to say where speaking in tongues is. However, where is the building today? Someone may have been a Christian for many years, and he may know many Christian things, but can he point out where the building is?
BEING GOOD ONLY FOR THE BUILDING
We may also ask, “With whom have we been built?” Someone may say that he has been related to the people in his mission or Bible study class, but that is only a kind of relationship; it is not the building. When that person feels happy, he will remain in that relationship, but when he feels unhappy, he will pull himself out of it. Can a stone in a building say, “Now I am unhappy; I am going to pull myself out of the building”? The Lord Jesus may say to a built-up believer, “Little stone, I am sorry. You cannot pull yourself out. You have been built in.”
Stones are just right for the building. They are useless for other purposes, but they are very useful for the purpose of building. I am a little man who has been wrecked by the Lord Jesus for the church life for forty years, and I have never regretted it. I cannot pull myself out of the building, and neither can any other built-up member.
NOT BEING “CHURCH TOURISTS” BUT BEING BUILT TOGETHER
Today it is difficult to find built-up believers. It is easy, however, to see many wandering Christians. They are “church tourists.” Such a believer may say, “Three years ago I had a tour and some good sightseeing in the Southern Baptist Church, but after a short while I got fed up with that, so I traveled to the Presbyterian Church and had a tour there. At the beginning it was marvelous, but eventually I was disappointed. Then I found a ‘tour guide,’ and he brought me to some charismatic meetings. There I had some good sightseeing of speaking in tongues and holy rollers, holy jumpers, holy laughers, and holy weepers. Eventually, however, I was also fed up with that. Now I am wondering where I shall have my next tour.” This is an illustration of today’s situation. There are too many church tourists and church travelers. One month a brother may feel happy with a group because it fits his natural disposition and taste, but this kind of natural love cannot last long. After another three months he may become unhappy with that group. Then he will look in the church directory in the newspaper and go traveling again.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)