Pastor Ryan Smith
Exodus 35:4-35 Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying: 5 ‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; 6 blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair; 7 ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; 8 oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; 9 onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.
10 ‘All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 12 the ark and its poles, with the mercy seat, and the veil of the covering; 13 the table and its poles, all its utensils, and the showbread; 14 also the lampstand for the light, its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15 the incense altar, its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense, and the screen for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, all its utensils, and the laver and its base; 17 the hangings of the court, its pillars, their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18 the pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords; 19 the garments of ministry, for ministering in the holy place—the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”
20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 21 Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments. 22 They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the Lord. 23 And every man, with whom was found blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair, red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them. 24 Everyone who offered an offering of silver or bronze brought the Lord’s offering. And everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25 All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. 26 And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair. 27 The rulers brought onyx stones, and the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate, 28 and spices and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29 The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.
30 And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, 32 to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.
34 “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.
God gives the instructions to Moses on how to make the tabernacle. The courtyard, the holy place, the Holy of Holies, the furniture, the clothing, the utensils…this is Bible’s version of HGTV. The tabernacle was a place where God and people could dwell together. It was a place to meet with God, it was place of worshiping God, and it was a place of knowing God and drawing near to him. The tabernacle was in the center of the camp. It was symbolic that the presence of God should be central in our life and the presence of God should be central in the church.
Exodus 25:8 Make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among my people.
The pagan nations around them had gods of stone and wood and clay but the God of Israel was a personal God that wanted to be near to His people, a God who wanted to be a part of their daily lives. The Tabernacle was portable and moveable because the people of Israel were on the move, on a journey through the wilderness toward the promise land.
God gives the instructions to Moses on how to make the tabernacle then God uses people to accomplish his purpose. God used people to create this tabernacle. God spoke the tabernacle into existence by giving the people instructions and then the people created it. He uses people with a willing heart to give of their resources to provide material for the tabernacle. Then He uses gifted artisans or craftsmen, skilled workers in a trade, to build the tabernacle. He fills them with his Spirit and he uses their different gifts and skills and wisdom and their resources to accomplish the project of building the tabernacle.
Throughout the Bible God used his people to accomplish His will. In the Genesis story of creation, God creates everything himself, and he does so just by speaking the universe into existence. On the sixth day of creation he creates man, then he creates woman.
After that God then begins to partner with humans and works through them to accomplish his purposes in the world. Noah, Moses, David, and on and on it goes.
The history of our church includes everyone who gives and serves and leads! This church would not be possible without all of those who give and serve and lead.
God gives us instructions through his word and then we carry out his will. We are gifted, skilled, and have wisdom and resources to be used for God’s glory and for His purposes.
The tabernacle is a foreshadowing of Jesus:
John 1:14 The word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us and we beheld His glory.
The tabernacle had one entrance – one way to God. The altar for burnt sacrifices, the bronze laver for purification, the lamp stand, the show bread, the Holy of Holies where the Presence of God dwelled – all these portray Jesus who is our access into the presence of God.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
We are not just to tell people about Jesus – we are here to show people Jesus. As the body of Christ as we live in community and reach out to the world on order to show people Jesus by our by our love for one another and our love for the lost world. To be the body of Christ means that we embody his hands in his feet and his heart. We embody his heart of compassion towards the lost world. To be the body of Christ means that together we display Jesus in this world.
Even though we are a part of the same body, we as individuals are not the same. Unity is not the same thing as uniformity. We are not meant to be Christian clones; we are not the same. If you ever walk into a church where everyone looks the same, talks the same, acts the same, and is dressed the same – run for your life!
God doesn’t want us all to be the same. He created us differently on purpose but it’s important that we function as a unified body even though we are different, and even though we have different roles in that body.
Haley and I are so different from one another. We are opposites, we see things differently, we communicate differently, and we don’t always agree on things. But we have unity because we both love Jesus and we both love each other, so we can work together. That’s key in marriage and it is key in the church. We are different from one another by God’s design. We are different members of the same body. We have different roles and responsibilities, like a sports team or a musical band, each and every different role is vitally important.
We have different spiritual gifts.
1 Peter 4:10-11 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.
Spiritual Gifts (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Peter 4; Ephesians 4)
- Word of wisdom
- Word of knowledge
- Working of miracles
- Discerning of Spirits
- Speaking in Tongues
- Interpretation of Tongues
The main purpose of our gifts is to
- Glorify Jesus
- Build others up
Ephesians 4:15-16 Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
We are all gifted differently so we are all going to bring glory to Jesus differently. We each have different gifts, skills, and resources. We’re blessed to be a blessing to others. There are different personalities, different voices, and different spheres of influence to reach different people in this world. God uses our uniquenesses as the body of Christ for a common cause: to glorify God and show people Jesus.
There may be people in this world that will respond better to you than to me. They might be able to hear your voice better than they can hear mine. Their personality resonates with your personality and their heart resonates with God speaking through you in a unique way. God can use your unique voice and your unique personality to reach different people in this world with His truth and His love. We must appreciate and honor our differences and yet remain unified for the common cause of glorifying God by showing this world Jesus.
In John 17, Jesus prays on the night before his death. He prays several times for his followers to be one.
John 17:20-23 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.
The importance of unity: our unity testifies of who Jesus really is. Our unity also testifies of his love and our unity gets more work done for the glory of God. We are all very different but Jesus prays that we would be united. The Trinity is perfectly one! The Father, Son, and Spirit are tight, inseparable, one. Jesus is praying that we would be one like that.
There is a saying: “If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We get more work done for the Kingdom of God if we work together. Not only that but we show the world God’s love better when we are loving each other.
God has designed it that we are all a part of his mission in this world but we all have different and unique roles. So many problems occur when we compare ourselves to other Christians and think that they should be doing the same thing that we are doing. We as the church may disagree about a lot of things. There are lots of debates in church. There are over 30,000 denominations of churches in the world.
We may have different political views. I don’t care if you’re following the elephant party or the donkey party, but let’s make sure we are following the Lion and the Lamb together.
We are all working on the same project but we have different roles and different God-given personalities, and that’s a good thing. We are all on the same team as believers but we have different responsibilities as we glorify Jesus. If we were all doing the same thing, then a lot of things wouldn’t get done for the glory of God.
How do we have unity when we are all so different from one another? The church is filled with different ethnicities, different genders, and different generations. The answer lies in humility.
Philippians 2:1-8 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Humility is an important key to unity: valuing others above ourselves and looking out for the interests of others. We are to be like Jesus through humbling ourselves, serving others, and laying down our lives. I believe in this day and age where our world is so divided, our country is divided, and our government is divided, that we as the church have an opportunity to shine brightly for Jesus if we will be unified – if we will be one as Jesus prayed we would be one.
The Amazon River is the greatest river in the world, with the greatest volume of water. It is estimated that about one-fifth of all the water that runs off Earth’s surface is carried by the Amazon. Its water originates from ice melt in the Andes Mountains, and from the raindrops that fall in the Amazon jungle. All the little drops of water come together to form to form the great Amazon River.
This is a picture of followers of Jesus when we come together. Alone we are just tiny ineffective drops of water. But when we come together we form a mighty of river of God that flows throughout the world bringing life wherever we go, bringing the presence of God wherever we go, and sweeping others up in our current as we go.