The fire will test what sort of work each one has done. (1 Corinthians 3:13 ESV)
There are many things to which the name of the Lord is being affixed which are being constructed, and which appear fine and great and like “the Church,” but the twofold reality is neither in the builders or the buildings. They are destined to collapse when God’s hurricane and fire test every man’s work. Good works: philanthropy, hospitality, reform, education, religion, relief, etc. may be the products, or by-products, of what is called “Christian civilization,” and things for which to be profoundly grateful, but let us not confuse these with “a new creation,” regeneration, a being “born from above.” The Church is nothing which man can build by any resource in himself personally or collectively.
The Church is an organism, not an organization. “Behold, I show you a mystery, we are members of His flesh and of His bones.” Build that, if you can! Launch that; organize that; “run” that! It cannot be done. It is the spontaneous outworking of spiritual forces released, in the acceptance by faith of tremendous facts concerning Christ; which facts are proclaimed out of experience in the power of the Holy Ghost. Not the theological Christ; not the doctrinal Christ; not the Christ of the letter, much less the Jesus of history; but the Christ of eternity in all the meaning of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into the Throne of God revealed in the heart by the Holy Spirit. This alone is authority to preach, to serve, to occupy position, to “build” in relation to the house of God. It is folly to spend time and strength otherwise. It is wisdom to labor on this foundation.
By T. Austin-Sparks from: “The Servant of the Lord” - Chapter 3
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