Are You Ready for a Holy Ghost Building Inspection?
We must use the right building materials if we want our ministries to stand in the day of His visitation.
Every state in this country has strict building codes. You can’t
just buy a piece of land and throw up a structure any way you choose.
Local governments have standards for foundations, floors, drywall,
roofs, exhaust systems, water heaters, wiring, lighting and sanitary
drainage. In my neighborhood you can’t even erect a shed in your
backyard without a permit, and an inspector will always drop by
unannounced to make sure you followed the rules.
These codes are important in Florida where I live. You don’t want to
discover during a hurricane that your contractor used shoddy plywood or
defective concrete when he built your house or condo. Bad construction
just might send your roof into a neighbor’s yard!
It’s ironic that our society does not tolerate sloppy building, yet
in the charismatic church we place little emphasis on code enforcement.
In fact, in our freewheeling movement we celebrate the independent
spiritual contractor who uses questionable materials and answers to no
one. Much of our movement during the past 30 years has been built like
this—and today we are discovering that what we thought was sturdy was
actually stuck together with cheap nails, substandard wood, thin glue
and duct tape.
That creaking sound you hear is the sagging of rafters. The Lord has
entered our crooked house with His holy plumb line and a clipboard—and
He is not pleased.
Did you know that God has a building code? I prefer the way The
Message Bible translates the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians
3:10-15: "Take particular care in picking out your building materials.
Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or
inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be
thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work
passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will
be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll
survive—but just barely."
Paul says Jesus will inspect our buildings using the ultimate
test—the fire of His holiness. The New American Standard Bible
translation says: "Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold,
silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become
evident … for the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s
I am challenging Christians today to prepare for a building
inspection. If we ignore God’s codes our churches and ministries will
not stand in the day of visitation. We must especially return to four
basic building materials that have been ignored in this current season:
1. Sexual purity. It should go without saying that
church leaders must live in moral and marital faithfulness. Yet when we
look around today we find that ministries are tolerant of flippant
divorce, hidden adultery and even unspeakable perversion. Some
ministers admit to serious moral failures yet they never step out of
ministry even for a week to get counseling. God has issued His clear
warning. Ministries that tolerate sexual sin are already crumbling. It
does not matter how big your auditorium is, how massive your television
outreach, how many people shout during Sunday sermons or how enduring
your spiritual legacy may seem. You can preach about God’s grace all
you want, but you are trampling on that grace if you continue to
2. Financial integrity. Jesus drove the greedy
moneychangers out of His temple with a whip. He requires faithfulness
of His stewards. Ministries that have committed spiritual extortion
will have a day of reckoning—not necessarily with the IRS but certainly
with the heavenly Auditor. Those who sell prophecies or charge $1,000
to gullible people to make them "spiritual sons" will soon lose their
platforms. Those who misuse God’s money to buy Bentleys, vacation homes
and expensive clothes and shoes will soon experience the Great Repo.
3. Christlike humility. We cannot build God’s house
with pride and carnality. In the early days of our movement God winked
at our immaturity—but we have no excuse today. Mature leaders should
act like servants, not rock stars or mafia bosses. We must trade in our
entourages and high-minded demands and return to the way of the
Master—which includes the manger (humble beginnings), the donkey (a
humble ministry style) and the towel (serving those we are called to
lead). God resists the proud, and any church that embraces the bless-me
gospel of egotistical charlatans will not enjoy His manifest presence.
4. Theological soundness. We can walk in humility,
integrity and purity and still fail if we mix error with truth. We must
preach Christ and Him crucified. We must contend for the faith that was
delivered to the saints. We must guard the flock from deception and
avoid the subtle lies and compromises that creep in from our culture
and from occult influences. In segments of our movement today,
charismatic theology has been diluted with New Age spirituality,
universalism, pop psychology, Gnosticism, false prophecy and just plain
weirdness. We need to reactivate the neglected gift of discernment and
get rid of the theological hay and stubble that has caused our movement
to lose its credibility.
Are you ready for your inspection? May God give us the grace to
renovate the areas of our lives, our churches and our ministries that
have not been built according to His standards.
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. He preached this
message last weekend at Joshua’s Place, a charismatic church in
Jackson, Ga. You can access his speaking schedule at www.themordecaiproject.com/schedule.
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