Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 14, 1957

Building According To The Pattern

Cleon Lyles, Little Rock, Arkansas

In the days when Judges ruled in Israel, it is said, "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes." With such a spirit prevailing today, we need to constantly state old principles, and emphasize building according to the pattern. God said, "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps," and because of this he gave a pattern for every thing he expects man to do.

When Moses was about to build the tabernacle and its furniture, God told him to "see that you make them after their pattern which hath been showed thee in the mount." (Exodus 25:40.) Moses did exactly that. He changed nothing according to what he thought was best. When it was completed the glory of Jehovah filled it, thus demonstrating his pleasure and presence with them.

In the years to follow men became tired of doing things according to the divine pattern, and sought to follow their own. Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire unto God which he had not commanded. They were stricken dead for their presumption. David tried to return the ark of the Covenant from the land of the Philistines upon a "new cart," which was contrary to the Lord's directions. This led Uzzah to touch it and it cost him his life. King Uzziah, becoming proud in his conquests. presumed to enter the Holy Place to offer sacrifices of incense unto God, contrary to the divine pattern, and was smitten with leprosy until his death. Man cannot change God's pattern and do that "which is right in his own eyes." God has given a divine pattern for people of today. Jesus is the express image of the Father and he gave us a pattern of life, obedience, humility and service. This pattern has been preserved for us by the Holy Spirit. It was perfect when given and is today. To change it in the least would make it imperfect. Man must mold his life after it or his life will not be pleasing to God.

In the church of Christ, he has given us a pattern divine of unity and perfection, toward which all of his people must strive. It is a divine pattern after which each congregation must build.

The divine pattern gives perfect directions for membership and for worship. In this worship God expects glory, and he expects the members to be edified. It provides for all organization necessary, which is designed to build up and edify its members, to care for the material needs of its membership, but at the same time providing such discipline as necessary.

Any congregation which is built according to the Lord's divine pattern will become the dwelling place of salvation for every one who may enter and dwell there.

To deviate from God's pattern is to fail. If we seek to change it we reflect on the infinite wisdom of God who made it. We cannot overlook the smallest detail, for in so doing souls will be lost. Regardless of how small they may seem in the beginning the result will always be fatal.

If we are expecting to be saved when we lay aside the body, if we expect God to be satisfied with our actions, if we expect him to say "well done thou good and faithful servant," we must build according to his pattern.