Build Yourself Up

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Jude 1:20-21 NKJV

The passage says, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith.” Build yourselves up on your most holy faith. We are all building like a builder. What are we building? We are not building our house. For the people of the world, their goal and purpose on earth is to build their own house. Ultimately that is their goal, whether in Korea or elsewhere in the world. What do Americans do all their lives? They pay off their mortgages. Not many people can buy their home with their own money. Most get a home loan to buy a house. If they become unemployed, then after 2 or 3 months, they have no choice but to vacate that home. They become homeless. Once they lose their job, unless they are able to find another job quickly, the house will be taken from them after a certain amount of time. That is why they ask how Koreans have so much cash. For them, they have to pay off the mortgage all their life.

Koreans are much the same in that their dream is to own an apartment. The people who come over to Korea for work, they work very hard. For example, if a person earns 200,000 won, he sends back home all 200,000 won. I do not know how they maintain a living but they send all of their wages back home. They make sure there is enough money for their son if they have one to get married and buy a house. They even buy a car for their son. And when they achieve their goal, they return home. So ultimately the reason they worked so hard was to build and have a house.

I read in the news that in China there are people refusing to move out of their homes because they are not satisfied with the compensation offered by the developers who want to demolish their house and rebuild. The surrounding areas have already been turned into roads. Roads are all around and in the middle of these roads is standing this one house. So the moment they step out of their house, it is a road where cars are racing past. This is in the Jiangsu Province. The Korean newspapers however reported that it was an apartment that refused to sell but it is not an apartment. It is a house, a private property. If you go to Zhejiang and Jiangsu, there are what looks like apartments to Korean reporters. There are hundreds of them. Usually, they are 3 or 4 storeys tall and have about 12 rooms. But they are actually privately owned houses. But how many people live there? Just two or three. If you go inside, there is not much. They do not have a fridge, wardrobe, etc. Yet, they look perfectly fine on the outside. So why do they do that? It is all about competition. I have been around that area and ask about it, and I was told that they do not even need those homes but they just keep building them whoever they get money. If they do not have money, they would take out a loan and build it. They just build them to compete.

In this way, people live all their lives just to build houses. Why do we live? We are living to build. Build what? We are building our temple. A temple. As we read the Scripture yesterday, the Lord said, “I in you.” God has come into us which means we are His temples. Within us is God’s name, the Holy Spirit and the Son of God. Within us is God’s glory. He has made us His temples.

He has made us His temples, but with many people, there are still rooms that are not usable. They did build a room but the room cannot be used. Many of them either have the room tightly shut or the room is incompletely built. Or it might be built but not used yet. One needs to open the door, bring in some furniture, and use them so that there is some warmth in the room in order for the room to be called properly built. We all need to become such builders.

But people find the building process hard and irritating. When the people of Israel returned to Jerusalem from Babylon they did not have any place to stay or sleep. Obviously, a person cannot live without a house. So it would be appropriate to build one’s house first. But God said to them, “Are you going to build your house first?” When those people built their homes, it was not just enough to maintain a basic living but they built a fancy home first and then built the temple. So when God told them to build a temple they were saying it is not the time yet. But God asked, “Are building your own house first while I dwell in a place like this?”Most people live like that. They first attend to their own needs first. But those who build God’s temples are interested in God’s matters first.

When we give a testimony, we tend to have a story. Usually, the story is about how they profited somehow and are serving God. And the testimony is mostly about how they came to earn good money. This is usually the case in China. They testify about how God helped them to earn a lot of money or found a good job. But actually, there are so many other testimonies apart from those kinds. The fact that God abides in us, how He gave us His name and His glory are all testimonies. So sermons are really testimonies. Testimonies. You preach what you experienced not something else. Thus preachers are always testifying. They speak of what they received and rejoice over.

Personally, I find it awkward when I am asked to testify. I tend to preach a sermon instead. People generally think testimonies should be about healing, success and how things have gone well. But I personally do not have much interest in matters such as making money or having a successful life. And when asked to share a testimony, I tend to think of topics like these to share. However a real testimony, the biggest testimony is the fact that God abides within us.

Don’t you know that you are God’s temple? If anyone defiles God’s temple, God will destroy him also. Also, Jesus Christ is the first One to become a temple. Jesus said, “Destroy this temple.” He said to destroy the temple that was built by hands. And He said, “I will raise it again in three days.” So how did we become temples? Because we have gone into Jesus. It is because we are in Jesus that we became temples. We are not temples which are separate from Jesus; Jesus is the temple. It is because we have gone into Jesus and became His parts that we are also temples. We are temples inside Jesus. So who is the temple on earth? It is Jesus. Jesus. And we became the parts of Jesus’ body.

People might find building the temple a laborious and tedious task, but that is because they do not understand its glory. Who gets to build the temple? Who has the right to build the temple? Who is it? It’s a king. How long was the process of building the temple on earth? It took decades. 40-50 years. The one that was built later took 48 years. And a temple could not be built without using all the resources of the kingdom. It was not possible for an individual to do the building alone. It was impossible. That is because an individual cannot mobilize all the materials and resources needed. Perhaps a modern-day multinational corporation could build it. But even that would be hard because they will not be able to cover the cost which requires the whole country’s budget. Thus, it is impossible for a democratic country to build a temple. It must be a country ruled by a monarch. That is why a monarchy is a system necessary for the fulfilment of God’s work. It is necessary to have a king in order to build a temple. Other Gentile countries also had many kings. However, they simply followed this system of government only because of Israel. God’s original purpose in appointing a king was to build the temple.

Also, it was the king who built the temple. From a long time ago, people used to call the king the son of god. God’s son. They probably got the idea from somewhere. The one who could build the temple was the Son of God. Only he who had the right as the Son of God could build the temple. That is what God promised and commanded.

Let’s read 2 Samuel 7:13-14!

“He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

So everything I just said is written here. “He shall build a house for My name.” What does it say afterwards? “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” He says He will establish the throne of his kingdom. Let’s read verse 14.

“I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.”

Yes. “I will be his Father and he shall be My son.” Hence, only the king can build the temple. Only the Son of God, the heir can build it. In other words, the one that God will give His glory can do it. David wanted to but could not. One might want to, but that does not mean he can. The one to whom God shows His favour and calls as His child to have the authority as a king can build the temple, for God is King. That is why we are able to build the temple in the present time.

Thus, while we are on this earth, it is our time to build. Jesus said He will prepare our places in heaven. So while the Lord prepares our places, we prepare on earth the place for the Holy Spirit, that is, God to abide in. We are ultimately preparing the place for the King to dwell in, which is, in turn, the place where we will dwell. Because later we will go there and enjoy the glory with our Father and with Jesus.

Hence, every work we do for the church is ultimately for our own spirit. So let’s keep watch and really give all of our heart, strength and soul. People work so hard to decorate their houses beautifully, don’t they? Nobody asks them to but they know how to look after their houses. They sweep and keep it clean. In the same way, our eyes should be set on the church all the time.

Those who are attentive are already different in their perception. When they look, they notice what needs fixing, what needs changing, and what needs repairing. Their hands are busy in the church, and their hearts are always on the church. We need to be more like that. Not only should we be like that towards our church but also towards the souls we serve. As a shepherd watches over his flock, how his hand is always caring for them and his heart is attentive to them, and how a mother is towards her son, we must do the same. We should have an interest in every church matter. Let’s pray that we can be builders who build up our soul-spirit.

God our Father, thank You for making us Your children and giving us the king’s authority to partake in the construction. Help us to give all of our heart, mind and soul in this precious work of building. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on December 28, 2012
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team