Text: Ephesians 4:11-16
1) An email attachment: A friend of mine sent me an email attachment: a church built with LEGO pieces. It took the designers and builders 18 months to plan and built. It took 75,000 pieces of Lego, large and small, to build the whole thing. It measured 7’x5½’x2½’. The “church” can sit 1,372 Lego people and has 3,976 windows. The structure includes a stage, a baptistery, an altar and a crucifix, a pulpit, a balcony, stairs, restrooms, coat rooms, mosaics and an elaborated pipe organ, hung down church style lighting. The 4 pictures attached look very impressive.
Lessons from a
Lego church: There are so many
lessons all of us may learn from this Lego church: from the designer, the many builders,
the massive number of Lego pieces, the different sizes that need to fit the
special places, the colors, the function of each piece and the position they
were placed, the list goes on and on. It took all of the above and much more to
build that gigantic Lego structure. In a similar way, God has called all
Christians to build His church so that the souls of the world may be saved and
WHAT IS LEGO? The brand name of the plastic building blocks Lego comes from a Greek word which means “to pick with a purpose.” That is the whole idea of the Lego blocks. When you want to build a structure, be it an airplane or a tank, a boat or a farmhouse, you “pick” the right pieces with a specific purpose to complete your design. God has been doing the same thing since He started the building of His church some 2,000 years ago.
1) It begins with a designer: The designers in a Lego manufacturer designed different pieces for different projects. Pieces in an airplane box may not fit to build a car. You can’t use all the pieces intended for a house to build a tank. Before you can build anything with the plastic blocks, you have to have someone designs the project and what is needed to build it. God did that long time ago. In the plan of salvation through His Son Jesus, God had designed each and every one of us to build His church. He knows what is needed for each and every part of the church and He designs each one of us to fit into that particular position. None of us is here by a chance.
2) We are here for His purposes: Just as designers in a Lego factory lab will design different pieces to meet the need of a project, God designs each one of us for a specific need of a church. The fact that Lego pieces were made is to build projects as we are chosen to build God’s projects His church. You don’t pick any piece from a box blindly and put it anywhere if you want to build something meaningful. Anytime you pick a piece, you do it with a purpose to build the project you intended to. God did the same thing when He called each one of us into His church: He wants to place us where He intends us to be. It is by obeying His purpose and functioning properly according to His design, we find the fulfillment and meaning of our life.
3) There are all kinds of pieces: It takes many kinds of pieces in different sizes and shapes of Lego to build a project as it was designed. God places many different kinds of Christians, varied in sizes and temperament, in personality and expressions, in gifts and abilities to build His church. It is important for all of us to recognize the differences as well as the unique ability and function of each person in God’s church. It is also important to value each other the unique contribution each is able to give to the church. It takes all of us, all are different, to fit into His plan to build His church. It is very important that we respect, value and support each other as we work together for God’s glory.
4) No one else may take your place: In each of the Lego design, every piece is useful and no one piece can take the place of the other: each piece has its position. This is true in God’s church. The fact that many churches are weak and not functioning properly is because some of the pieces God has designed are missing. Just imagine how handicap you may become if you only have 4 figures on your right hand or 3 toes on your left foot. No one should ever feel that he/she is not important. Remember, without you filling the slot God has designated for you, the church can’t and won’t do well. If you see some handicaps in your church, think if you have been in the proper place as God has designated you to be to make it stronger and functioning better.
WHAT IS IN HIS PLAN? God is a much better designer than all of the designers in all Lego labs. In fact He is the best designer ever. Just read the passage we have for today from Ephesians 4, we can see:
1) God has many different designs: In , we see many different functions God has designed for His church. There are many more in other passages such as in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-30; 14:1-19 and others. God designs many different positions in His church because there are many different needs in His work. We all have different gifts or abilities God has given us for the different services we can do for His church. No one is saved for nothing.
2) God provides training camps: The Apostle Paul used “equipping” to show us that God did not call or place anyone in any position without proper training: All the ministries in the church are training programs: worship service, Bible study, Discipleship, music, children ministry, kitchen and ground care, etc. they are all good places to learn HOW you may be equipped to do His work. No one is a spectator in any of the church ministries. We are here to receive training from His word, from how others serve Him and from how to work with others together for the good of His church.
3) The many aspects of equipping:
a) The meaning of the word “equip”, katartismon, in Greek, means to repair or to make perfect. It carried the idea that we were NOT fit to serve Him until God repairs us or makes us perfect. There are holes in our lives that are not fit to serve Him. Prides, selfish concerns, laziness, worldly minded, fear, unclean or unfit attitude, etc. they all need to be cleansed and repaired.
b) The reason for quipping or perfecting, also carries the idea of insufficient or inadequate. We are not good enough to do His work to the best He wants us to be. Through church participation, not just being guests or spectators, we receive knowledge, learn principles and ways of doing things in different ministries. It is through all these equipping process, we grow stronger and better to fulfill our calls of duty.
c) The form of the word Katartismon is in participle form which carries the idea of an ongoing process, a continuous program. There is NO such thing as “I know enough” or “I have done enough” in terms of serving the Lord in His church. We will continue to serve God through His church until the end of our lives or when He comes back to take us to Him. No one has learned enough or done enough that he/she may stop learning or serving.
d) The purpose of equipping, learning, growing or perfecting is to serve in His ministry. We come to church not just to learn and to grow but to work in His ministry. All the learning and growing may render useless if all we care is increasing knowledge. As Jesus came to earth to fulfill His service to His Father even to die on the cross, we are here to serve Him in His church. Get involved. Do something for the church or someone. It is through serving we practice what we learn and grow.
WHAT CAN WE DO? We have the best designer and the best plan on earth. It is up to us to put the plan to work. Here are some steps God has given us to follow:
1) Make a commitment to build His church: (4:12c) God, through Paul, was talking to all Christians through history: edify, or build up, His church. It is the responsibility and the privilege of ALL Christians to get into the business of building God’s church. No church will be built to her best until all members get involved and participate.
2) Make a commitment to maturity: (4:13) To receive the born again life is the work of God through the Holy Spirit, but to grow and mature that new life is the work of the believers. Paul suggested 2 areas for this purpose: to mature in our knowledge in the Son Jesus and to mature to the full stature of Christ. We are to grow to know Him and to be like Him. In our thoughts and words, life and job, family and business, church and community, we are to act like Jesus. Make Him our model, example and guide in all that we do.
3) Make a commitment to the Head: () Paul used the analogy of a human body and the relationship between the head and other parts of the body. No part of the body may function properly if it is not properly connected to the head. No part of the body may do any good if it is not obeying the signals given by the head. Too often, we see parts of the body, the church, act on their own and causing malfunction or damage to the body. When we are saved, we are freed from sin but not free from Jesus. He is always our Head.
4) Make a commitment to teamwork: We not only need to join with the head, we also need to join with other parts of the body to maximize our potential. Learn to join and work with other parts of the body of Christ is a call of God. We all have our unique personality, values and ways of doing things we tend to do things our way. But that is not the Bible way. God wants us to join fitly together, give and take whatever it takes to function our best. To insist on “my way or no way” will not build God’s work.
1) No souls may be saved by a Lego church: I am impressed by the good intend and hard work of those who built that gigantic Lego church. But that church could not save a single soul. If you want to invest your time, energy and resources into something worthy and meaningful with lasting value, put them in God’s church. This is the plan God has for the world.
2) There is a place for you in this church: Here is a church God has placed in your hands. To some extend her well being and future depends on your attitude, commitment and participation. You are an important part of this body of Christ. No one else may take the place God has designed only for you. If you are missing, the church will get hurt.
3) Jesus builds the church to save souls: God has a purpose that you are here today: to hear this important message that Jesus loves you and wants to offer you eternal life through your faith in Him. Make that commitment now and become part of this church to learn and to grow. Others may be blessed because of your decision today.