Introduction

The central vision of the Bible is God’s building, which is not made with hands, but with living stones. This is a GPT assisted summary of a video from my Ephesians playlist on the vision of the Bible – the Building of God. I pulled it up by inspirtation because I’m working on my “Christ as sanctification” content hub, and I realized I was stuck in undersatnding the principle of sanctification, which is based our union with Christ and experienced through the enjoyment of Him. But there was surprisingly little material I could generate other than to say that sanctification is not a patchwork of works but is Christ Himself, and to describe the burnt offering, the altar, and the concepts of renewing, and transformation, and the washing we enjoy as we acknowledge Him through the Gospel. I realized that while the principle of sanctification is our union with Christ, the context of sanctification is the building up of the Body of Christ. There is no other context!

Foreshadowing of Christ in the Old Testament

The Garden of Eden serves as a symbol of the enjoyment of Christ and foreshadows the household of God and building of His people as a central theme throughout Scripture. All of the positive elements in the Garden find their consumation in the New Jerusalem, the City with the River, the Tree of Life, the precious stones, the golden street, and of cours,e God in Christ as the center and the people as the living stones to express His glory. The theme of building is central through the rest of the sccripture. For example, Abraham sought a city built by God, while Jacob’s vision of Bethel represented Christ. Moses received the blueprint for the Tabernacle, representing Christ dwelling in man, while David had a zeal for building God’s house. Trough the Davidic covenant, Christ was given the role of the Son of God, “faithful over His House”, to build the house of God. (Genesis 2:8, Heb 3:1-8, Hebrews 11:10, Genesis 28:10-22, Exodus 25:8-9, 1 Chronicles 22:7-10, 2 Samuel 7:12-16)

Christ as the Cornerstone

Christ is the cornerstone of God’s building, the centerpiece of the vision that is transferred into spiritual reality in the New Testament as He comes to make HIs home in our hearts through faith and builds us up to be the habtiation of God in Spirit.. The Old Testament temple represented God’s presence among His people, and the minor prophets focused on rebuilding the temple. Christ is the reality of the temple, His body. And as He prepares a place for His followers in His union with the Father (John 14:1-3,6,20). God’s building was the governing vision of Abraham Moses, Abraham, David, the Apostles and points to the union of God and man in Christ, the tabernacle of God. (John 1:14-16; Ephesians 2:20-22, John 2:19-21, Haggai 1:1-15)

Believers as Living Stones

Believers are living stones for God’s household. Ministry to the believers is for building up the body of Christ and is emphasized in Ephesians. The importance of building in Christian life and service cannot be overstated. In fact, fruit bearing and sanctification both find their context in the ministry which all saints are to be equipped for. This ministry is for the building up of the body of Christ and Christ into the saints. He is the precious, incorruptible material and the foundation of the building. For the building up of the New Jerusalem there are the right materials in building, as only those which remain after being tested by fire will be manifested in glory, proving to be eternal and incorruptible. (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:5, Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

The New Jerusalem

The composition and characteristics of the New Jerusalem are significant, with God as its content and the throne of God and the Lamb at its center. The water and tree of life, the golden street, and the wall of living precious stones all add to the magnificence of this city. Ministry serves to build Christ into man through grace and fellowship, while the vision of God’s building serves as a motivation for believers, reminding them of the hidden and spiritual work that is not of this world. (Revelation 21:1-27). Sanctification is a separation of vessels of honour to be useful in the house for ministry, and it is for minisry that we learn to hold our “Vessel in honour.” Ministry is not becoming a “pastor” or a vocation, it is a life of living Christ in fellowship with fellow-heirs as we enjoy Christ Himself as our portion and our feast! Ministers are sons and stewards that are confident and assured regarding the riches in the Fathers household, available freely and abundentaly in Christ, and share those riches with the fellow heirs, their brothers, and the ones that need the comforts they’ve encountered in Christ. There is no ministry apart from this kind of fellowship, (which is enjoyable!) and there is no sanctification in real terms apart from this ministry unto the building up of hte Body of Christ!

Sanctification and the Body of Christ

In the context of building up the body of Christ, sanctification finds its context. The reality of sanctification, as spoken of in the Bible, is not focused on the individual but on a fellowship unto the building up of the body of Christ. All of the admonitions of the apostles in the letters to the Churches are focused, not on the individual but on the corporate fellowship. The yare related to the living of the body of Christ. When we divorce the admonishments, beseeching and charges from the apostles from the context of fellowship and attempt to apply them individually, we turn them into law. Sanctification, in our union with Christ, is not for the individual to be “holy” as an end unto itself. We were made one with Him and raised together with Him to be members of His body, and our “reasonable service of worship” is to present ourselves to Him, alive from the dead, and be transformed to see that we are members one of another. Without genuine New Testament fellowship, this context simply doesn’t exist. (Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Peter 2:4-5, Romans 12:4-5)

Conclusion

In conclusion, the central vision of the Bible is God’s building, with Christ as its cornerstone and believers as living stones. The Old Testament temple and its rebuilding serve as a foreshadowing of Christ, who is the reality of the temple. The New Jerusalem is the ultimate goal of God’s building, and its composition and characteristics add to its magnificence. Believers must focus on building the New Jerusalem and use the right materials in building, and sanctification is essential in fulfilling the purpose of God’s building. (Hebrews 11:10, Ephesians 2:20-22, Revelation 21:1-27, 1 Peter 2:5, Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, Romans 12:4-5)

Outline:

I. The Central Vision of the Bible: God’s Building

A. Building not made with hands, but with living stones (1 Peter 2:5)

B. Garden of Eden as a symbol of Christ (Genesis 2:12)

C. The household of God and building of God’s people as a central theme

1. Abraham sought a city built by God (Hebrews 11:10)

2. Jacob’s vision of Bethel, representing Christ (Genesis 28:12-19)

3. Moses received the blueprint for the Tabernacle, representing Christ dwelling in man (Exodus 25:9)

4. David’s zeal for building God’s house (2 Samuel 7:1-2)

a. The Davidic covenant and Christ (2 Samuel 7:12-16)

D. Christ as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20)

E. The vision transferred into spiritual reality in the New Testament

II. The Old Testament Temple and Christ as the Reality

A. The temple representing God’s presence among his people

B. The minor prophets focused on rebuilding the temple

C. Christ as the reality of the temple, his body (John 2:19-21)

D. Christ preparing a place for his followers in his Father’s house (John 14:2-3)

E. God’s building as the vision of Moses, Abraham, David, the Apostles, and Christ

III. The New Jerusalem and the Church

A. The New Jerusalem as the bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9-10)

B. Christ in us and built up in Christ (Colossians 2:7)

C. The ministry for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)

D. Ephesians and the building theme (Ephesians 2:21-22)

IV. The Importance of Building in Christian Life and Service

A. Fruit-bearing as building Christ into the saints (John 15:5)

B. Focusing on building the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2)

C. Using the right materials in building (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

D. The New Jerusalem’s composition and characteristics

1. God as content, the bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:2)

2. The throne of God and the Lamb (Revelation 22:1)

3. The water of life and the tree of life (Revelation 22:2)

4. The golden street and the wall of living precious stones (Revelation 21:18-21)

E. Ministry as building Christ into man through grace and fellowship (2 Peter 1:2)

V. The Vision of God’s Building as a Motivation for Believers

A. The building work being hidden and spiritual, not of this world (Hebrews 11:13-16)

B. Abraham’s choice to dwell in tents, signifying pilgrimage (Hebrews 11:9)

C. Focusing on God’s vision and what’s in his heart (Psalm 27:4)

VI. Sanctification and its Purpose in God’s Building

A. The reason for separation and sanctification (1 Peter 1:15-16)

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