Temple Builders Prophetic Web Book: Be a Temple Builder
by John Robert Lucas
Temple Builder Ministries

Be a Temple Builder: Avoiding Wood, Hay, and Stubble

Chapter 19
The Natural Labors

As we learn how to be a minister or to be a temple builder, in the church… we can get caught in the trap of WORK. We must work with “labors abundantly” as Paul declares, but we must also “cease from our own works” as Hebrews warns us. What does this seemingly contradiction mean? Our work must be only the labors of Jesus Christ. It is easy to do things that pertain to the church and Christian activity but many times these things are nothing more than a thing of our own pride. How can it be a thing of pride?

Ps 127:1

Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. (NAS)

Work is designed to be “building the house”. When you minister to others, when you labor in the church, it has to be Jesus that is doing the building. Any building that you can do is in vain, any building that you can do will not remain, and any building that you can do will be a thing of pride. It must be Jesus building with you and in you, for the work to be fruitful.

Please understand this, when Jesus is building WITH you and IN you there is no such thing as “burnout”, a term used to describe TOO MUCH WORKING. Jesus Himself told us that if we are doing His will it is meat to us. If the building we are doing today is with Jesus, it will feed our inner man. Now here is a principle of God’s plan that makes no natural sense; when you build with Jesus then REST is the result. God has a great plan for you to abide in His Son in this life, and enjoy and share Jesus' inheritance, an inheritance that provides rest as we work. There is a REST and a peace in Christ in this life that confounds the natural. In the midst of hardships that we share with Jesus, He gives us Rest, because by His grace we labored and entered into a rest that was promised and we entered into it by faith in Him Who made the promise.

Heb 4:3

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest:

Heb 4:10-11

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Our labors therefore are simple - to enter into His rest. Where is that rest? Wherever Jesus Christ is! If I am doing a labor that is found in Christ then in that labor I find rest that does not exhaust me mentally, emotionally or spiritually. How can I work hard and not be exhausted? Because if the labor that is allotted to you in your life is in Christ then GRACE is sufficient to give REST in your weakness. Then it becomes a work that you cannot boast, because it was “by grace” that you had ability to do the work and it was “by grace” that you were sustained from emotional and mental exhaustion. The hours you labor in Christ will be meat to you, giving you strength in the inner man. If your boast has been in days that have past, a boast of how tired you are, how hard you have worked, how many things you are doing for the sake of Christ – IT MIGHT BE YOUR OWN WORK OF WOOD, HAY AND STUBBLE! If you are burned out then you have not done His will that receives His meat. Did Paul’s body get tired? Yes it did, but he was dead to what his body dictated to him because he was not subjected to his body. He was physically weak yet God always provides enough strength in our bodies to DO HIS LABORS that He has called us to do. God is JUST and would never call you to a labor that you cannot perform physically.

Know this – every time that you have felt burned out in your Christian activity, it was a falling short of His Glory and was not a thing you could ever boast about because God never tires in performing in you the ministry of reconciliation towards others. Instead you receive the fruit of that labor even the fruit of the Spirit, instead you receive rest as a result of your labors with Jesus. Surely I get physically tired in my labors in the Spirit but the difference is when it is done “in Christ” it is never beyond that which I can endure. The difference is, it provides a rest on the inside that gives strength to do the work and to enjoy the physical rest afterwards.

What about Christian retreats and vacations? There is a time for “withdrawing from the crowds” as Jesus did. Withdrawing should come BEFORE entering into your own labors not AFTER you have exhausted yourself from your own labors. The message in Hebrews is clear – CEASE from your own labors and "enter into the labors" which have their source from “being led of the Spirit” lest you follow after the same UNBELIEF of the people of Israel who wandered in the wilderness. Giants will always overcome those that operate in their own abilities. Giants will always cause fear and a lack of faith to those that have not ceased from their own works. Those that have trusted in their own abilities “desire not” the rest that comes from God. This is a rest that requires a complete trust in Jesus. It is a trust that can only be found by putting away natural reasonings and accepting Him Who labors for you and delivers you from the giants – overcoming them all. The promise land is a place of REST as God wars for you. Retreats allow a communion with God to CONTINUE laboring in Jesus Christ and they give you quiet time to reflect on the labors in your life that you still need to “cease from”. The “victory of Jericho” can only manifest in your life when you let God labor and you simply follow His instructions that make no natural sense.

Natural Elements for Building

Wood, hay, and stubble, are materials use to build NATURAL houses:

Hag 1:4                  WOOD

Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?

Ps 129:6                                HAY

Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:
Exod 5:12              STUBBLE

So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw.

Wood House Building:

1 Cor 3:12

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

Whenever you communicate the word, you are building. We saw that gold represented building with God's authority and with God's nature; therefore wood is building on your authority and with your own nature – the nature of Adam. Wood always represents man or humanity in the scriptures and as a building material it will only build a natural house for man to abide in. Whenever you teach the word, you are using building materials. Whether you are building the temple of God or a natural house for man to live in, the word is used. In both cases building is occurring. This is why James gives us a strong admonishment:

James 3:1

Let not many {of you} become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.

      How do you handle the Word of God, in fear of God?

      How do the ministers you listen to, handle the Word, in fear of God?

2 Cor 4:2

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (NIV)

Whether the gift of apostle, the gift of prophet, the gift of evangelist, the gift of pastor (shepherd), or the gift of teacher, you are manifesting Jesus in those roles. If you are an apostle, you are only exemplifying Jesus who is the greatest apostle. Jesus was the prophet of all prophets. He preached the gospel better than any of us and has the heart of the shepherd more than any pastor could. He is the great teacher - Rabbi. The point is this, Jesus IS the 5 fold ministry; Jesus is the very gift we receive that ministers to others. If any of us are used of Him in this capacity, then it is only “us manifesting” that part of Jesus. I have nothing to offer you except that He gives it to me, to give to you. My part is to make sure it is Him giving it and not another spirit. My part is to take no glory or be inflated with pride after he uses me. The minister is just as dumb as the one he ministers to because we are ALL dumb sheep who have gone astray. It is Christ's Wisdom that we minister with and not our own wisdom.

We must also remember that these five gifts can be blended as God wills within each believer. The church has made these gifts – CHURCH GOVERNMENT. The context of Ephesians is gifts not church government. There is authority with each gift but it is not a church government authority. Eldership is church government and not these five gifts listed in Ephesians. The elder may have a blend of b eing an apostle foremost. This is evident in the original twelve apostles. All twelve are elders in church government and gifted as apostles in ministry. God can blend an elder with the gift of a shepherd (pastor) as the foremost gift instead of the gift of an apostle. God can blend these five gifts within any member of the body of Christ as He wills and yet that same member may have no church government role. We have made the gift of a shepherd (pastor) into a church government position and according to the scriptures it is a term for a gift that “feeds God’s flock”. This teaching becomes a book in itself but I will lay some foundational truths that relate to it.

Some ministers are handling the word of God improperly because of the foundations they have built. I read one minister that teaches a book on the philosophy of ministry and is used as a handbook for ministers in his sphere of influence. His foundation relied heavy on church history instead of scriptures revealed to him by the Spirit of Truth that Jesus promised all of us. The minister taught in his book that the Catholic tradition is a foundation that we must not discard, but we should build on it, and “we should embrace it”. He continued to say that our foundation should consist of accepting the “Catholic tradition that emphasizes liturgy and sacraments”, the “Protestant tradition that emphasizes the centrality of scriptures and preaching”, and the “Pentecostal tradition that emphasizes the gifts of the Holy Spirit”. The problem comes swiftly whenever we build our ministry on a false foundation such as this. Only the traditions of God found in scriptures are to be adopted as our foundation. For instance, a ritual or ministerial function that require any type of apparel to be worn is a tradition - not found in scripture and therefore must be abandoned to prevent a ministry to be a “wood builder” ministry. The protestant movement that is recorded in church history abandoned the Catholic Church because they were NOT BORN AGAIN; their foundation was not Jesus. They were dead traditions of men that taught that they were justified by works, by their rituals, and by their traditions. This is opposite of the true Gospel.

The recorded “church history” from the days of “justification by faith” to our present day has always been a mixture. We simply do not build on previous church history; we only build and hold fast to the “revelation of scriptures” that these previous church moves have handed down to us. Even then we must only receive them as the Holy Spirit guides us in these same truths. The benefit of church history is that we witness the restoration of truth and the consequential obedience to that truth. We learn by the Spirit “that which they received that was true” and by “that which was not true”. We hold fast to the good and reject the traditions of men, we make Jesus our foundation and we build upon that foundation by receiving from the Holy Spirit - new unveilings of the scriptures for each new day. “TRADITIONS OF MEN” IS SIMPLY “WOOD BUILDING MATERIAL” THAT RESULTS IN YOUR HOUSE LOOKING LIKE “MAN” INSTEAD OF LIKE GOD’S HOLY HOUSE.

Even the passing on of truth can be a problem. Jesus asked Peter “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered correctly but it was not the “correctness” of the answer that was important but it is the SOURCE of where the answer came from that Jesus found importance.

Matt 16:17

And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal {this} to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (NAS)

The source of this revelation was not from Earth, it was from heaven. The scriptures agreed that Jesus was the Christ but Peter had to have revelation from heaven. We can have Peter’s revelation handed down to us on a silver platter saying “Jesus is the Christ” but every believer had to receive and experience this revelation from heaven. All believers receive the same revelation that Peter received or they cannot be believers; but when it comes to “maturing in the Christ that is revealed” we deviate from the importance of revelation. All of us as believers have received doctrine that we have held fast to and yet there was no revelation from heaven. We simply received because we trusted the messenger’s revelation. That would be like not receiving the revelation that “Jesus was the Christ” because we trust Peter’s revelation, but in reality we never experience the light that Peter experienced. Why do we believe what we believe? Is it because the Spirit of Truth guided us, brought light, and unveiled that scripture to us or do we believe it based on someone else that had it revealed to him or her? To add to our improper receiving we believe many things that are simply a false interpretation of scripture. False interpretation of scriptures come because men are willing to believe BEFORE the Holy Spirit is willing to show. This is called PRESUMPTION. Most of the time presumption comes because we lean on our own understanding instead of God’s understanding.

To illustrate where we tend to make this mistake I will present case and point. There is a lady that I was talking to that believes that the “Mystery Babylon (harlot)” of Revelation is a prophecy that the Catholic Church will fulfill. She was taught the revelation of the scripture through men that teach the subject of end time prophecy. Remember that the harlot of Revelation is one that murders the saints. To say that a group or organization is going to fulfill this prophecy - is a strong statement that REQUIRES you to be right. GOD DOES NOT TOLERATE SPECULATION! My approach is to get someone to say that the reason that they believe is because the Spirit of Truth has led them into this truth concerning this scripture passage; or He didn’t. Instead the Lady’s response was that “so and so” taught it or she would say that “it makes sense based on historical observations”. I pressed her to admit that either she has had this revealed by the Holy Spirit or that indeed she does not know the SOURCE of her revelation. Scriptures can be twisted to say whatever one wants them to say so it remains pointless to argue with believers on some of these issues. It is however a good lesson to teach believers to check their sources. Do you believe that the harlot is the Catholic Church because the Holy Spirit told you? If they say yes, the conversation is over most of the time. If it is an issue of heresy and yet they say “God told me” then the minister must bring them to an area that can cause then to “hear correctly” instead of the surface issue of heretical doctrine. Even if you were successful in correcting their doctrine, it does not help them in HEARING CORRECTLY on the next occasion. The importance is on the hearing, the importance is the receiving the gift that Jesus promised “the Spirit of Truth will lead you into all Truth”. In 1John we see a continuation of this promise.

I Jn 2:26-27

26     These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.

27     And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (NAS)

Men will try to deceive us. So God gives us a gift and that gift is a Person called the Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, and the Anointing. As He abides He teaches us the scriptures and that abiding is the deposit of our future inheritance. When we say that the Harlot of Revelation is a certain group of people when scriptures do not make it plain it can only be known through this Holy Spirit or else our conclusion will simply be “wood ministry”. Any plan, any formula, any tradition that you can come up with, even based on the Bible, will be for nothing, useless, idle if the Spirit of Truth is NOT SAYING and NOT SPEAKING. Who among us is intelligent enough to see into the heart of a man to give the appropriate word? Psychologist of this world try and fail after years of study because only God knows what word a person needs to change their life, for His glory. Only God breathed words ministered to a person for that hour can change lives. Only the words out of His mouth will not return void. If you are a minister, then God requires of you to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you, to deliver to the people.

Ministers are required of the Lord to sound the trumpet. We are to watch and hear God, so blow the horn with a distinct sound. There were sounds of celebration, of gatherings together for particular purposes, for war. However God may want to tell the people about an attack on the enemy and we have already drawn up a different trumpet sound and the people never get warned. God may be sounding a trumpet of celebration, but we do not believe that way, and the people of God stay in mourning.

      Every choice you make is either IN ADAM or IN CHRIST.

      Every choice you make is either IN WOOD or IN GOLD.

      After every choice, the result will be what you speak!

Luke 6:45

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

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