Speaking Defiance

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The apostle Paul tells Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith.” He tells him in the next breath to “lay hold on eternal life.” In Ephesians, we are told that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. The language of Scripture concerning our pilgrimage here on earth is frequently martial language. It is agonistic.

Our sanctuary, when built, is a sanctuary to be used by the church militant. We are not yet in glory, although we ascend to glory every week to worship with the church universal. Nevertheless, we are bi-locational. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, which was, obviously, in Ephesus. But they were also in Christ, in the heavenlies. They were located both on earth and in heaven.

This fact is not a respite from our warfare. It is why we are at war. If we were of earth completely, the world would not hate us. The world would own us. But because we represent another kingdom, a kingdom that is coming, and a kingdom that they would all rather have not come, we are outcasts.

The sanctuary is therefore an embassy, an embassy of a rival king and kingdom. As we know, embassies are sometimes honored and respected, although with tension in the air, and other times embassies are assaulted and attacked.

So when we build this sanctuary, we are not trying to create a little meditative chamber, like the kind of prayer room you might find in a airport. This is a building that should speak defiance. There is a certain peacefulness to it, certainly, but in a world full of turmoil, to speak peace is to speak defiance. This is because we are speaking peace on God’s terms, which means that rebels in arms must lay down their weapons. We do not speak a carnal peace, which can be achieved by dimming the lights and putting a few guttering candles around. We are not playing with the atmospherics; we are building yet another embassy for the kingdom that Jesus is bringing. So let the stones cry out.

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10 years ago

From someone of the long-armed bruised-knuckle genre, would a metaphoric FOB (instead of an embassy) also work?