Laying the Foundation

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever toward Israel.” Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

—Ezra 3:10–11

It has been said that new believers are the lifeblood of any church and that the church that does not evangelize will fossilize! This passage bears out that thought.

The laying of the temple foundation was great cause for celebration in Israel. The people had come out of seventy years of Babylonian captivity and returned to a city that had lain in ruin that entire time. There was no temple, there were no walls—the city was a heap of rubble. Yet now, a foundation had been laid.

The temple in Jerusalem contained the inner sanctuary known as the Holy of Holies. Here the ark of the covenant stood as the symbol of God’s presence on the earth. But ever since New Testament times, the saints themselves are called the temple of the Holy Spirit, and from Ezra we can well understand that every time a life is delivered from ruin and a foundation laid for the Holy Spirit inside a person’s heart, there is great cause for celebration. Someone has been delivered from Babylon (the world) and has become a temple of the Holy Spirit!

The great part about this is that each individual Christian has the opportunity to lay this foundation in someone else by sharing their faith in Jesus Christ. I do believe it is true that the church that does not evangelize will fossilize, but I think we can apply this as an individual truth as well, not just a corporate one. I have spent years watching literally tens of thousands of people get saved, and I can say with all confidence that I never tire of it. It is as exhilarating today as it was the first time I led someone to the Lord or participated in large-scale evangelism.

If you want a Christian life filled with shouts of joy and praise, keep laying the foundation of the church by leading people to Christ. Then your life will be a continual time of praise, even when times are hard.

Tell someone about Jesus today. Their eternal destiny could be changed, and your day could be too!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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