Who are the pillars in the church?

As a young man, I was told I was a pillar in the church. It made me feel good to hear the pastor say this, and I could hardly disagree.

Of course I was a pillar. I was a good boy. I didn’t drink or smoke or do burnouts in the church car park. I arrived early on Sundays to put out chairs and I stayed back to pack up the AV equipment. I served on the worship team and got to share the Word on occasion. I was not only a pillar; I was a rocket going places. Watch me soar!

I cringe to write about this now. I cringe to think how the label “pillar” separated me from those Jesus loves. Yet in the church, we divide people like this all the time:

• We have the reliable pillars and the nonpillars who show up late and bleary-eyed bearing the unmistakable smell of cigarette smoke

• We have those worthy to take communion and those who are not

• We have the happily-marrieds and the shamefully divorceds

• We have the mums-with-bubs fulfilling God’s call to be fruitful and the childless women who can compensate for their deficiencies by serving in other ways

• We have the well-groomed and definitely anointed folk up the front and the unkempt I’m-not-sure-if-they’re-even-saved wrecks down the back

This sort of division is the antithesis of what Jesus wants to build, yet nearly every church divides people to some degree. In the church I led I would boast that there was no clergy/laity distinction, for we are all priests in God’s kingdom. Then in the very next breath I would ask the “core group” to stay behind for a special lunch meeting. I invited people to partake of communion while at the same time encouraging some to hold back. And I definitely valued the workers more than the slackers. For years I prayed for the “missing pillars” to show up, by which I meant the good hard-working Christians, rather than the bad and broken ones.

To paraphrase George Orwell, we are all equal in Christ, but some are more equal than others.

Who is a pillar?

Did you know there is only one scripture in the Bible that talks about being made a pillar in God’s temple? It’s this one:

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will not go out from it anymore (Rev. 3:12)

If we must talk about pillars in the church, let us talk about them the same way Jesus did. A pillar is an overcomer and an overcomer is anyone who believes in Jesus.

This promise from the Lord should make you leap for joy. We are weak and prone to falling, but Jesus makes us strong as pillars. The perception that only influential Christians are pillars is unbiblical. In Christ we are ALL pillars. You are not a pillar because you perform and produce. You are a pillar because Jesus has made you so. Do you believe in Jesus? Then you are a pillar in the temple of God.

What is the temple of God?

We are; the body of believers, the household of faith. Jesus raises his temple one pillar at a time. Once upon a time, the presence of God inhabited a manmade temple, but now the dwelling place of the Lord is his church. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

What does it mean to go out no more?

The last part of the promise is good news for the fearful and anxious. Jesus does not promise to end the tremors that shake our lives, but he does offer his rock-solid word to help us endure. He says, “I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God.” The faithless are restless, but those who are grounded on the Rock of Calvary have peace during times of upheaval. Their world might shake and collapse, but they stand firm on the word of the Lord.

We are all pillars in God’s temple, but we will not act like pillars if we think we have to perform to become pillars. We stand by grace alone, so let us put aside the old habit of judging people for how well they hold up. Instead, let us praise God for his powerful promises that turn the puny, the poor, and the piddling into pillars.

We stand by grace, hold fast by grace, and endure by grace. We are all monuments to the grace of God.

___________

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29 Comments on Who are the pillars in the church?

  1. What you are saying is true but the exact opposite of what we are being taught. So much pressure to do more, give more, be more, be better. Then the goal posts are constantly being moved, builds a frustration that cannot be satisfied. I serve, I give, but never feel fully satisfied that it’s enough. Not gonna quit serving and giving, but tired of the feeling like it’s not enough. It’ll probably never be good enough .

  2. This is really good – thank you 🌻

    • Hi Paul, Spiritually, we are all family. We all breathe the same air. Just like a family, we will have our differences, yet we can be different and still be a family. We need to learn to honor our differences. The more we see each other through our spiritual eyes, the differences won’t matter. Great post!

  3. Moses Kawuma // March 21, 2019 at 1:35 am // Reply

    Brilliant Paul.

  4. I’m not sure if I was a pillar or a doormat. Haha 🙂

  5. ibejoyful@aol.com // March 21, 2019 at 2:50 am // Reply

    Yay Jesus. Paul, I’m so thankful for you and your teachings! Always encouraging and uplifting.

  6. Good post. Scripture certainly points to our equal value to the Lord, and claims to titles can lead to pride. There are distinctions in roles, however, and a call to exemplary living among believers. Paul’s expectations of deacons and elders are an example. I’m sure there are times appropriate to recognize those leadership roles, and even meet separately with those who hold those roles, within an otherwise egalitarian community.

  7. Thank you Paul, keep up the good work of telling the REAL Good News of what Christ did for us”. Free to love and free to be loved”. God Bless my Brother”…

  8. Truth! Thank you, Paul. As another “good boy” who exchanged that man-made image for the God’s Pillar of Grace, all I need do is Jesus’ words with those like myself, the spiritually poor, crippled, blind, lame.

  9. Brian Nisbet // March 21, 2019 at 7:13 am // Reply

    This is soooooo good, really struggle against this mentality, so easy to fall into this, would like to see you comment on, Elders,Deacons ,teachers, and these positions and what should church really look like ?

  10. I think all the rebukes, Jesus gave to the Pharisee’s, is reality even today, So I ask to be aware wise as a serpent, remaining harmless as a dove. learning not to speak, trust for Father and Son in the Holy Spirit, as I do not always do it.
    Trusting God’s judgment, being accountable to me as one that constantly need Father and Son. to guide me. So I got suffering and shame to teach me how to stand in belief faith alone. Taking baby steps still
    That was a real view of truth in us each a having pride to get us off the mercy path
    Thanks Paul, I need that

  11. Most of today’s churches is about producing servants rather than sons and daughters of the most high.I have been in big ministries where you are lauded for your effort and zeal for the Church’s vision (usually the vision of a selected few in the higher echelon of the ministry). In a nutshell, the underlying message is the harder you serve = the better christian or more transformed like Christ you are. Works directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit is always fruitful while works done in human strength and lead by humanistic zeal always leads to burnout.

    • I just got to say, Jesus was kicked out of the buildings, the religious not accepting him.
      Amazing as he went to and for and made friends with the winners? Even Matthew was a tax collector
      The Disciples were of no reputation. So just love in mercy and truth given you by Father thanks to Son’s done work first for us to just love as are loved first. We are known by our actions and reactions to others, regardless whether another deserves to be praised or not. I only know God deserves praise and thanksgiving for taking away all sin at his death once for us all to get new life in belief to Father, Son is risen where new life is at and given from Father to each and all that are serious, not who use it to get stuff here and now.
      There is a difference as Father reaches everyone in Spirit and Truth that began on Pentecost
      Thanks be wise as Father teaches you to be and me too. As well as all in belief see truth over error. Because Father in Spirit and Truth lets us know, to hold on and stand clear of arguing and fighting. Pro 15

      Hope I am not interfering, just read and see this what you say too. How it can eat on us, seeing what is wrong in others and forgetting about my own misbehaviors as told to me in 2 Cor 10:5-6
      When my obedience is completed, then I can judge others
      I do not see me being able to ever do that, seeing how I have sinned prior, even though am forgiven. I am not perfect Father and Son are as Won (One) for us to be new in Spirit and Truth, not of flesh and blood

  12. Thank you Paul, that reminded me of a vision/dream I had quite a few years ago now, at a time when I was feeling depressed and worn down with wrong teaching. In the vision Jesus appeared with three of our four fathers of the Faith, Abraham, Isacc, and Jacob, (I just knew who they were for some reason,) Jesus stood behind them with arms outstretched and spoke these words, He was taller than they were. “you are as equally loved as these, all are equally loved in my kingdom not one more than another”
    the next morning I had scriptures running through my head, The vine yard, the prodigal son,
    And couple others, which clarified my understanding. It certainly changed my life.

  13. I am blessed and always excited to see your article on my mail. Thank you for sharing and buildings people like me to grow in faith and in turn help others.

  14. Jenny Beauchamp // March 22, 2019 at 3:38 am // Reply

    Thank you Paul. I too would like to see you comment on, Elders,Deacons ,teachers, and these positions and what should church really look like? Were they to be modeled after or did Paul just address it because it’s what they modeled themselves after (Judaism)? And, what about a priest, pastor, reverend, etc. getting a free house and paid (obviously lots of money in some cases), and not working like the rest of us? I have never and could not ever accept money to share God’s word (money for me personally, I do know buildings, etc. cost money). I really struggle with things like this- just google one of those pastor’s houses and see where they are living and how many houses they have.

  15. The church itself is a pillar of truth (1 Timothy 3:15) which includes all members. Yet, Colossians 2:9 indicates that James, Peter and John were reputed to be pillars. Makes sense. Especially if you take names of Peter, Jacob and John symbolically (the stone (law) replaced by grace, as Joseph Prince says). And we are all to be living stones, built upon The Only Corner stone and such pillars! I have my doubts about Revelation, since all controversy about its inclusion in the biblical canon, and because there is practically NO indication of Paul’s teaching (grace, liberty to eat whatever as long as you do not hurt other’s consciousness etc.), just works and jewishness all over , from symbols to theology- AS IF ap. Paul never existed!

    • Au contraire! The letters from Jesus drip with the same grace we find in Paul’s epistles. If we don’t see it, it’s because we have been conditioned by tradition to read our Lord’s beautiful words through the carnal lens of DIY religiosity.

      • Asking what is DIY religion stand for? Just curious. May my eyes see the grace and not the literal commands made in interpretations by mankind. When Love is the fulfillment of the Law, Thanks

      • DIY = do-it-yourself, as in the religion of self-improvement. “You have to clean yourself, save yourself, sanctify yourself to become pleasing to God.” The Bible simply calls it works.

      • Wow, thank you, been there done that in religion and oh boy what a bumpy ride that was, as I watched what I hated become worse in me than I ever knew could be.
        By being aware of sin that I hated in me and wanted it out, I got worse at it as told all about it in Romans 7.
        It took a while to gather that deception that was going on in me, and not that “I” got it now, “I” do not but God does and there I stand now. Every day learning how to walk in Faith alone with Father and Son leading not me.
        Thank you for expressing truth about what freedom really is to choice wisely in by being loved so wide, high and deep by Father of Son for us.

        As noticed, I think it was you that said this, Father was never known as Father before the second Testament, when Jesus as the Son announced Father. So Father of Son is the one, and I stand in the risen Son, to stand in the new me living life new where Father opened the gate to go free and be.

        Living life as someone left the gate open. his be Father and Son together as won (One) for us to go free as society wants to corral us, not let us love, Which we would do when freed, but not when not freed, even though want to love all as are loved first by God

      • Really? What about Revelation 21:14, is Paul included among 12 foundational apostles or not? Paul was actually the 13 th apostle. The 12th was chosen by dice after Juda’s death.. I know numbers are simbolic, but still. And WHY angelic apparitions with messages for now and the future when Holy Spirit talks to and leads sons from the Pentecost on? Holy Spirit was guiding Paul, not angels! Why “7 spirits”, and not one mention of The Holy Spirit (one and only)?? One faith, one baptism, one spirit… not 7. Higly jewish simbolism… at the time of inclusion of gentiles, hmmmmm….

    • But Apostle Paul did exist, for those of the reputation shook hands with Paul perceived he understood the grace given them nd said go the Gentile. As they continue with the first Chosen.

      So Paul did after receiving the right hand of fellowship. Yet he did not go to them, flesh and blood for actual approval. For he spent 2 years inn the Arabian desert, studying and learning, as was 14 years that went by before he went to the Apostles in Israel.
      So they perceived his knowledge ad gave him that right hand of fellowship. How could they not?
      Then some went to Galatia to spy out this liberty, not quite yet understanding this. As Peter was there and when these came he hid himself from them, afraid still.
      Anyway the flesh that I am in that I reckon dead, still haunts me to this day, wanting Law to follow to keep in line. Yet truth is no flesh can obey, which is why Son, The Messiah Yashsuah Ha ‘Mashiach to first reconcile us all into Father, Yeh for new life to be given from him not anyone else

      John 6:44

      “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
      Notice this too: Every Epistle, has Father and Son in it from the start of the letters to us all
      Thanks, exclude anyone, Father doers not unless one decides not to believe him consciously so.
      Aware of their choice, so hear, listen, and take all to Father in prayer to hear truth over error, as that can take awhile to get the answer, just ask and move on, in trust to be answered when it is time to be answered
      That be just what I see, as man has this problem if I do not have others under Law, then I cannot control them!
      We are called to freedom, to just trust God just love us, when one does this, then one sees new and is excited too, but not of their own flesh and blood, in Spirit and Truth
      John 4:23-24

      Thank you, hope this helps to settle it all in yourself, as I view Luke 21:14-15 to be settled in trust fund of Father and Son

  16. Grace Kibe // March 25, 2019 at 6:09 pm // Reply

    I attended a womens meeting and the facilitator said we are the building blocks in the house of God being used to lay the foundations. Please comment about this

  17. Don’t the letters to the churches in Revelation often say “To the church [this], but to him who overcomes [this]”. They didn’t have a set building as a church, but spoke of all believers in the city as that church. So didn’t those letters from God distinguished a believer vs one who overcomes?

    • No, for that would be to contradict what the scriptures say elsewhere. The error comes in thinking that church = 100% believers. The word for church is ekklesia, which is usually translated as church but not always. Sometimes it can refer to a group or assembly of people meeting together (see Acts 19:32, 39, 41). Like the crowds who followed Jesus, these seven assemblies contained a mix of people; some saved, some still dead in their sins. In his letter to Sardis, for instance, we see Jesus delivering two very different messages to two groups within the same assembly.

      • Thank you great explanation to Ecclesia. I though and still do think that means the called out ones. From what I understand is Stephan told the religious leaders then God does not live in buildings, as they interpreted Ecclesia as Church. When Church means building not anything else, yet is so commonly used today, we are taught to go to Church a building for to get what we want. Not, when God by Son already gave, and has called us out to do after being taught by him to do in faith belief trust to his love and mercy given all by Son for us…

        Church the word connotates building as that is exactly what it means in Greek and Ecclesia means the called out one’s. And God calls us out, for not one comes to the Lord Jesus but Father draws them. As he continues you reach out in his love and mercy supplied by Son the only one ever to walk this earth perfect. I so appreciate you and all for their views too, as we each grow up into maturity as we are told this in Heb 5:12 through chapter 6

    • Me I see watch out for works to get in the way, over this verses that, even though that be true, pride waits at the door for those that think they have overcome

      Satan, evil, okays twister very well, really good at it, so I see to take everything to Father and Son in prayer, trusting to hear truth over error, and wait for the answer till I get it in humility, not pride or guilt anymore as that I see now is what Satan uses even our own flesh natures
      That are now dead to God thanks to Son’s one time done work for us to walk new in and not of self, me still learning this to be always, so I have not gained but Father and Son have

      Not just for me, but for all to choose to believe or not believe and move forward, not denying God any longer, even whenever in adversities John 16:33

  18. I see you as grown, growing up, the same as all that believe God, that God knows, grow up into God’s perfect love and mercy given us, not able to condemn anyone anymore. Reach out as Galatians 6 talks about to us
    Thanks not that I have gained, I have not but God has as you know this too in you and all that have chosen to believe and whenever the next one does too

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