“BUT IN A GREAT HOUSE THERE ARE NOT ONLY VESSELS OF GOLD AND OF SILVER, BUT ALSO OF WOOD AND OF EARTH; AND SOME TO HONOUR AND SOME TO DISHONOUR.” IF A MAN THEREFORE PURGE HIMSELF FROM THESE, HE SHALL BE A VESSEL UNTO HONOUR, SANCTIFIED AND MEET FOR THE MASTER’S USE, AND PREPARED UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK.” II Timothy 2:20 and 21.
“. . . THAT THOU MAYEST KNOW HOW THOU OUGHTEST TO BEHAVE THYSELF IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, WHICH IS THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH. AND WITHOUT CONTROVERSY GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, JUSTIFIED IN THE SPIRIT, SEEN OF ANGELS, PREACHED UNTO THE GENTILES, BELIEVED ON IN THE WORLD, RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY.” I Timothy 3:15 and 16.
“FOR WE ARE LABOURERS TOGETHER WITH GOD: YE ARE GOD’S HUSBANDRY, YE ARE GOD’S BUILDING. ACCORDING TO THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN UNTO ME, AS A WISE MASTER. BUILDER, I HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION, AND ANOTHER BUILDED THERE. ON. BUT LET EVERY MAN TAKE HEED HOW HE BUILDETH THEREUPON.” I Corinthians 3:9 and 10.
It is very interesting to note that in the Greek the word “house” is “oiko”. The word “build” is “oikodomeo” literally “build a house”. The word “edify” is the same Greek word “oikodomeo”.
In I Corinthians 3:14, Ephesians 2:20, Colossians 2:20 and Acts 20:32, the Greek prefix “epi” is placed before the word; it is “epi oikodomeo”. But in I Corinthians 3:10 note carefully that the prefix “sun” is placed before “oikodomeo”. The word is “sunoikodomeo”. This means “build a house together”.
Now who is the wise masterbuilder with whom Christians must build if they are to please God? How many houses is God building during this economy? We all answer, one. If Christians want to build with God intelligently they must go to Paul’s writings for the blue prints and build together with the wise masterbuilder.
Members of the one true Bible Church, called, in Paul’s Epistles, “the House of God,” are indeed vessels in a great House. Every member should earnestly desire and diligently endeavor to be a vessel of honour, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use. “Vessels in a great House.” Every member of the Body of Christ is a laborer together with God, a builder together with Paul, the wise masterbuilder, and as members of the Body we should heed how we build together.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is building a Great House. He is the Great Architect and Builder. His plan and program, during the period of grace, is to build into, and to build up the Body of Christ. As there is only one God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, there is one and only ONE Body of Christ. This fact must be recognized by all believers who desire to know how to behave in the House of God and to be vessels of honor meet for the Master’s use. Those, who desire and attempt to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called, who really want to take heed how they build together, should diligently, prayerfully and thoroughly study every verse of Scripture that describes the Body of Christ and thus study God’s blue prints. Note the Lord’s gifts and His purpose in giving those gifts unto men:
“BUT UNTO EVERY ONE OF US IS GIVEN GRACE ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF THE GIFT OF CHRIST. WHEREFORE HE SAITH, WHEN HE ASCENDED UP ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN.” “AND HE GAVE SOME APOSTLES; AND SOME, PROPHETS; AND SOME, EVANGELISTS; AND SOME, PASTORS AND TEACHERS; FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST: TILL WE ALL COME IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH, AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, UNTO THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULNESS OF CHRIST: THAT WE HENCEFORTH BE NO MORE CHILDREN, TOSSED TO AND FRO, AND CARRIED ABOUT WITH EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE, BY THE SLEIGHT OF MEN, AND CUNNING CRAFTINESS, WHEREBY THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECEIVE; BUT SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE MAY GROW UP INTO HIM IN ALL THINGS, WHICH IS THE HEAD, EVEN CHRIST: FROM WHOM THE WHOLE BODY FITLY JOINED TOGETHER AND COMPACTED BY THAT WHICH EVERY JOINT SUPPLIETH, ACCORDING TO THE EFFECTUAL WORKING IN THE MEASURE OF EVERY PART, MAKETH INCREASE OF THE BODY UNTO THE EDIFYING OF ITSELF IN LOVE.” Ephesians 4:7, 8, 11 to 16.
Here again we learn God’s plan and program in this age: “THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.” Yes, God is in the House-building business. We are labourers together with God. I Corinthians 3:9.
The whole Body is fitly joined together making increase of the Body unto the EDIFYING of itself in love.
The word “EDIFYING” is literally “building up.” Believers who labor intelligently with God. and please God with the use of the given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, preach the evangel of grace to sinners, the gospel by which they are saved. And then follows the “perfecting of the saints” “for the work of the ministry.” Thus sinners saved by grace are added to Christ, added to His Church, and then they are built up.
All of this means that God’s intelligent co-laborers must know what is meant by “the dispensation o£ the grace of God” and “the dispensation of the mystery” as presented in Ephesians 3:1 to 11 and must know what it means to grow up into Christ in all things. The Body is edified, or built up, by edifying individual members of the Body, “which is the fulness of Him that FILLETH ALL IN ALL.” Ephesians 1:23.
This is to continue
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13.
Let us carefully study the Lord’s messages through the Apostle Paul concerning the “Church of the ‘Mystery’” that we may know how to behave in the House of God and know how to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in obedience to Ephesians 4:3 to 6:
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one Body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Sectarianism has played havoc with the members of the Body of Christ, and with them thrown the outsiders into utter confusion. God will surely hold every one of the members of Christ’s Body responsible for their contribution to this confusion.
In his farewell message, the greatest of all Christians. the Apostle Paul, wrote these words
“BUT IN A GREAT HOUSE THERE ARE NOT ONLY VESSELS OF GOLD AND SILVER, BUT ALSO OF WOOD AND OF EARTH; AND SOME TO HONOUR AND SOME TO DISHONOUR. IF A MAN THEREFORE PURGE HIMSELF FROM THESE, HE SHALL BE A VESSEL UNTO HONOUR, SANCTIFIED, AND MEET FOR THE MASTER’S USE, AND PREPARED UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK.”
“STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD, A WORKMAN THAT NEEDETH NOT TO BE ASHAMED, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH.” II Timothy 2:20, 21 and 15.
These last words from this wonderful man of God vitally concern every present-day Christian and should interest and fascinate every member of the Body of Christ, for the Great House is the Body of Christ, and every member of that Body should desire to be a vessel of honor meet for the Master’s use and a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.
In this first Epistle to Timothy, Paul wrote:
“BUT IF I TARRY LONG, THAT THOU MAYEST KNOW HOW THOU OUGHTEST TO BEHAVE THYSELF IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, WHICH IS THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH. AND WITHOUT CONTROVERSY GREAT IS THE MYSTERY.”
Every Christian should want to know how to behave in the House of God.
The Bible has much to say concerning the house of God. In I Timothy 3:15 the House of God is called “the Church of the living God.” In the second chapter of Ephesians we are informed that the Church of the living God is composed of sinners saved by grace: “By grace are ye saved through faith.” “Ye are of the Household of God.” Ephesians 2:19. “Ye are God’s Building.” I Corinthians 3:9. God’s Building. God is the Builder. God at the present time is building a House
“In Whom all the Building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy Temple in the Lord: In Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:21 and 22. “Ye are builded together.” “Builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Now let us carefully note II Timothy 2:20 and 21: “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use and prepared unto every good work.”
God’s spiritual House is a human structure. The members of God’s House are called “Christians” “saints” and “believers”. They are called “vessels”. It is their privilege to be “vessels of honour” sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, prepared unto every good work. In the same second chapter of II Timothy they are instructed to be workmen who need not to be ashamed. “Vessels” and “workmen” in a great House, the House of God the Church of the living God. The vessels of honour and workmen that need not to be ashamed are labourers together with God.” I Corinthians 3:9.
Let us note several verses in this third chapter of I Corinthians:
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s Building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another builded thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon he shall receive a reward.” “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” I Corinthians 3:9 to 11, 14 and 16.
Labourers together with God are instructed to take heed how they build. The Greek word means “build together” “sunoikodomeo.” Note the word “sun” together, “oiko” – house, “domeo” build. The Greek “oikodome” is “a structure,” “a building.” The verb “oikeodomeo”, to build, to edify.
Christians are in business with God. God is building a House. In the building of this particular House of God, Paul called himself a wise masterbuilder who laid a foundation. Unless we take heed to this statement, we certainly cannot take heed how we build on the foundation. Remember, one foundation and one “House “.
We learned in I Timothy 3:15, that the House of God is called “the Church of the living God.” In Ephesians 1:19 to 23, we read that the Lord Jesus Christ is far above in heaven and is the Head of the Church: “Which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:23.
So here we have two more names for the House of God; namely, “the Body of Christ” kind “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”
Now let us observe that this House is called by several other names in the second chapter of Ephesians:
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain One New Man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one Body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner Stone: In Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy Temple in the Lord: In Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:13 to 22.
“One New Man,” “One Body,” “the Household of God.” “the Building,” “an Holy Temple in the Lord,” “a habitation of God through the Spirit.” Then we learn in Ephesians 4:4 to 6, as there is one and only one God, one and only one Christ, one and only one Spirit, there is one and only one Body. God then is building one and only one House, the Church of the living God, which is the pillar and ground of the Truth. I Timothy 3:15. Note these words carefully: “But if I tarry long that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the House of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy, great is the mystery.” I Timothy 3:15 and 16.
God wants every member of His spiritual Household to know how to behave in that House. He wants them to know that His Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth. “How to behave.” This behavior is to be spiritual and scriptural. Note how this Truth is stated in Ephesians 4:1 to 3: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
It is God’s will that members of His Household should walk worthy of the calling wherewith they are called. We should all be agreed that the very first thing necessary for such a walk is to know what is the calling wherewith they are called. If they do not know this, they will be workmen that need to be ashamed. Note II Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”
We have learned God’s will concerning members of His Household:
1. They should be vessels of honor.
2. They should be meet for the Master’s use.
3. They should be workmen who need not to be ashamed.
4. They should take heed how they build together on the wise masterbuilder’s foundation.
5. They are builders together with God.
6. They should know how to behave in the House of God.
7. They should walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called.
8. They should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.
Then in Ephesians 4:14, we learn that these vessels, these workmen, these labourers together with God, these who help God to build His House, should cease to be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.
Note how this verse reads with its context:
“And He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: From Whom the whole Body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the Body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11 to 16.
Here we learn that spiritual men are the Lord’s gift to the Church for the edifying or building. The sinner who hears the evangelist preach the grace of God and believes the gospel is added to the Edifice. And every member of God’s Household, every member of the Body of Christ, is to be edified and to help edify every other fellow-member; and each member is to grow up “into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ.” This is to continue “Till we, all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13.
Here we read the future, the ultimate “a perfect man,” “the stature of the fulness of Christ.” God, the Builder, will complete the Building, the House of God, the One New Man, the Temple, the Body of Christ, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all, the Church of the living God, the Perfect Man.
All of this may seem so strange to many Christians who have been more concerned about being loyal denominationalists than about studying Ephesians, Colossians and II Timothy, to learn God’s Truth concerning the One Bible Church. The average Church-member cherishes history and traditions of his or her denomination more than the knowledge of God’s one Church, the one Body of Christ, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. They use some sectarian creed to interpret, or appropriate, or apply what Scriptures they do study. Most of them pay no more attention to the instruction of II Timothy 2:15 than if such instructions were not in the Bible. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” The words “rightly dividing” are from the Greek “ortho tomeo” which means “to cut aright.”
WHEN DID THE HOUSE OF GOD BEGIN?
In cutting aright the Word of Truth, one of the very first things the workman should learn is, when the House of God began. When the workman has learned this first thing, then he should find the Divine principle for the interpretation, appropriation, and application of all the Scriptures that were written before the House of God, the Body of Christ, had its historical beginning: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
All the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Not all of the Scriptures are written concerning the Body of Christ, or to members of the Body of Christ, but they are all for the members of the Church to study and rightly divide. The workman who misinterprets, misappropriates or misapplies any part of the Holy Scriptures will be a workman that needeth to be ashamed.
We cannot build together intelligently with God if we confuse the House of God with the House of Israel. This particular House of God began when the House of Israel fell.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.