Monday, September 7, 2009

The great Builder of the church

"Upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matt. 16:18).

J. C. Ryle says of this passage:
"Great is the wisdom wherewith the Lord Jesus Christ builds His Church! All is done at the right time, and in the right way. Each stone in its turn is put in its right place. Sometimes He chooses great stones, and sometimes He chooses small stones. Sometimes the work goes on fast, and sometimes it goes on slowly. Man is frequently impatient, and thinks that nothing is doing. But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great Builder makes no mistakes. He knows what He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning. He works by a perfect, unalterable and certain plan. The mightiest conceptions of architects, like Michaelangelo and Wren, are mere trifling and child’s play, in comparison with Christ’s wise counsels respecting His Church." (Ryle, Holiness, p. 213)
The great Builder of the church makes no mistakes. None. This quote by Ryle brings me to my knees in repentance. So often, I find myself questioning Jesus' wisdom in how He is building His church. Why is He so slow to bring growth? Why doesn't He save more people? Why doesn't He sanctify us faster? Why does He tolerate so much sin? Why doesn't He raise up more men? Why doesn't He answer more of my prayers? Why are so many ministries short-handed? Why did the "sign" gifts of the Holy Spirit cease? Why is ministry so hard?

But how foolish I am to think I have a better plan than the great Builder. If God were to speak audibly to me today, He would probably say the same thing He asked Job long ago, "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?...Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding!" (Job 38:2, 4).

Like Job, I lay my hand on my mouth (Job 40:4). I humbly bow the knee to Jesus Christ as the great Builder of His church. His plans are always wise and His timing is always perfect. I may not always understand them, but I can rest assured His ways are best. Praise be to Jesus.

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