The true church can be built only by those who, like Jesus, are willing to give up everything for it.
"Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it" ( Eph.5:25 ). Everyone who wants to build the church today must pay the same price - the total sacrifice of one's self-life every day. There is no easier way to build the Body of Christ. We see this principle from the beginning of man's history.
Cain brought just "an offering" to God - and God rejected it. Abel however brought " the very best of his flock" - and God accepted it ( Gen.4:3-5 ). Cain symbolises religious Christians who bring offerings to God that cost them very little or nothing. Abel however, symbolisesspiritual believers who bring offerings to God that cost them everything.
When Abraham offered Isaac on the altar on Mount Moriah, at God's call, it was the most costly sacrifice that he could ever have offered. He was following in Abel's footsteps (Gen.22).
A thousand years later, David offered a sacrifice at the very same spot on Mount Moriah (at the threshing floor of Araunah) and said these words of total commitment, "I will never offer to God that which costs me nothing" ( 2 Sam.24:24 ).
God saw the costly sacrifices that Abraham and David had offered and told Solomon to build His temple at the exact spot where these two men had offered their costly sacrifices - the threshing floor of Araunah on Mount Moriah (See 2 Chron.3:1 ).
God was thereby showing that His house can be built only by people who have this spirit of total sacrifice. They alone will build the Bride of Christ - Jerusalem ( Rev.21:2 ). All other Christians will build Babylon the harlot (Rev.17 and 18 ).
Cain and Abel started these two streams - of religious people and spiritual people. These two streams were seen later in the false prophets and the true prophets in Israel's history; and in the Pharisees and Jesus; and will finally end in Babylon and Jerusalem ( Rev.17 , 18 and 21 ).
Many believers are eager to see visions of angels and of the physical Person of Jesus. Our passion, however, must be to see the glory of Jesus' life - in the way He lived on earth. This is the Example for us to follow.
Paul said: "In my flesh dwells nothing good........ O wretched man that I am " ( Rom.7:18 , 24 ).This is what gave him a burning passion to cleanse himself thoroughly. This revelation of the corruption of our flesh is what we need too. Only then will we seek to " cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and perfect holiness in the fear of God " - and thus preserve the church in purity ( 2 Cor.7:1 ).
The pure doctrines we believe and preach can easily degenerate into a form of godliness, without the power, if we think of them merely as doctrines. They must be far more than mere doctrines to us. They must become revelation to us - a revelation that keeps increasing in our life. The more faithfully we face and fight against temptation in the different areas in our life, the more we shall receive the revelation of the Spirit on many areas of un-Christlikeness in our inner life - that we need to cleanse ourselves from.
Without such a continuing revelation, it will be impossible to build the church - the body of Christ. The 'holiness' that we acquire without this revelation of the corruption in our flesh, will only be like that of the Old Testament saints (at best) - the external righteousness of the Law. This may get us a reputation with our fellow-believers, but it will not be "perfect in the sight of God" ( Rev.3:1 , 2 ).
If we are not 'seeing' Jesus as our Example in the moments of temptation, we must reckon that we are backsliders.