His Blueprint

When someone plans a house, the architect develops the plans and blueprints. The architect can envision the whole project before the hole is even dug for the basement. Then those from the various trades who actually build the house need to follow the blueprints as they not only provide the broad overview, they also provide the details. I will share an example.

When we first got married my wife and I had a house built. The blueprints were in place for a purpose. I would drop in to see how things were progressing. One day I showed up and went into the master bedroom to look at the wiring. A young man, that I assume was an apprentice electrician, was installing the electrical boxes for the outlets. When I looked at what he was doing I asked him if he was aware that he was installing the plug ins in the closet – he wasn’t because he wasn’t following the blueprints.  

We had a couple of additional issues. We designed the lighting in the kitchen to have one light near the sink and one over the table at the eating area. Someone decided the room wasn’t that big so put one light in the centre of the room. They had to change it because they chose not to follow the blueprints. We had also designed a small storage area at the back door and arrived one day to find it had not been put in, there was wall there. Someone decided we didn’t need it because there was a small closet back there. Another change was required because, you guessed it, they weren’t following the blueprints!  

            Scripturally, the Father is the architect and Jesus is the overseer of the project called the church, which He said He would build (Matthew 16:18). We are each a part of the building; Peter refers to us as ‘living stones’ being built into a ‘spiritual house’ (1 Peter 2:5).

In 1 Corinthians Paul described himself as a wise master builder. In fact, the Greek word for ‘master builder’ is architektōn. I am sure you recognize the word architect in it. Paul is obviously not the architect in the same sense as the Father, but he is a junior architect building the church. In this capacity he provided blueprints he received from Jesus that we are expected to follow.

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (NKJV)

An architect or master builder designs proper structures. Based on the things revealed to him by Jesus, Paul laid Jesus as the foundation in the lives of the Corinthian converts. Now he exhorts them, and by extension us, to be careful with what we build on this foundation.  

            Knowing the what is important, we know we need to build something, the how is another matter. If we are to build on Christ, we need some idea of how, which Paul provided. One place is Ephesians 4:17-32. Paul told us the behaviours we are to demonstrate and says it is accomplished by ‘putting off’ the old man and ‘putting on’ the new man.

22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22–24 (NKJV)

Paul says that the way we accomplish this lifestyle change is by being ‘renewed in the spirit of your mind.’ This renewing of our mind is the fruit of intimacy with Jesus, not the fruit of gritting our teeth and exercising our willpower. When we spend time in His presence we are changed by Him. Paul presents this reality in Philippians.

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, Philippians 3:10 (NKJV)

10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] Philippians 3:10 (AMP)

I added the Amplified bible as it brings out the nuances. If we pursue a deep intimate relationship with Jesus’ we will find that we are following the blueprint provided by the architect and others will see the fruit of it in our lives. Let’s follow the blueprint and if we put the lights or plugins in the wrong place, He will let us know as we sit with Him, and we can go back to the blueprint.

Being Found Faithful

            1 Corinthians 4:2 has been significant in my life for nearly three decades. It is a verse the Spirit impressed upon my heart, the need to be ‘found faithful.’ Here we will look at it in context along with the broader implications.

1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:1–2 (NKJV)

My focus has been on the faithful aspect. However, there is also the issue of what we are to be faithful with. To delve into that we will look at three words, servant, steward and mysteries. The Greek word that we translate as servant refers to an underling or attendant. That is, the servant doesn’t carry authority over the one they serve. They are there to follow directions. The Greek word we translate as steward refers to someone in charge of a household. They have authority over the affairs of the household, as they have been entrusted with this responsibility by the master or owner of the household. A mystery is something mysterious or secret.

            Now as ‘servants of Christ’ it is obvious that we are called to serve Him and under Him. For Paul, in this context he referred to himself as serving Jesus by stewarding mysteries, one of which is Jesus household. Just a few verses back we find Paul referencing God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1 Corinthians 3:10 – 17 (NKJV)

Paul saw one aspect of the mystery he was stewarding was that in his apostolic role he had laid the foundation of Christ in the lives of the Corinthian converts. Each one of them, or as we move forward, us, is responsible for what we build on the foundation. We are stewards of our own household, a stewardship entrusted to us by Yahweh. The judgment seat will be an accounting of our stewardship and will determine what remains of our house.

            In fact, our house, the one we are building each day by our choices, is our part in His temple. It is our assigned area of responsibility. This is where the idea of mystery comes in. For Paul the mysteries were things hidden in the Father’s heart that had been revealed to him. The same is true for each of us (see 1 Corinthians 2:9-13). We build our house through correct moral choices, through how we interact with and love others and through discerning and walking in our calling as we pursue the spiritual revelation and understanding the Spirit desires to unveil to us. Mysteries He has hidden for us, not from us.

2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV)

There we have it, each of us called to be a servant of Jesus and a faithful steward of whatever mysteries He has revealed as we have sought His heart.