A Blueprint for Brotherhood: Surveying God’s Plan of Salvation

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

Introduction

When it comes to construction, maybe you are like “Tim-the-Toolman-Taylor” (making the job worse), or “Bob the Builder” (forever starting new projects without completing the old) or “Mr. Fix It” (who gets it right every single time).  Whether you are a master builder or severely challenged in this area, this message is for you.

If you want to construct a building, you need a set of “blueprints”.  Blueprints are detailed scaled drawings that describe how the building should look when it is completed.  Blueprints are guidelines to instruct the builders from the foundation to the finishing touches.

We read a lot about building codes living on the Gulf Coast.  Buildings need to be able to withstand high winds due to hurricanes.

The Retirement Systems of Alabama’s Battle House Tower adjacent to the historic Battle House Hotel in Mobile, Alabama, celebrated its grand opening on May 11, 2007.  It is the tallest building in the state and one of the tallest along the Gulf Coast.  At 745 feet, its lighted crown is visible from 30 miles away along Mobile Bay.

Five hurricanes hit near Mobile causing delays in the construction of the RSA Battle House Tower, namely Frances and Ivan in 2004 and Cindy, Dennis and Katrina in 2005.

The key to withstanding high winds due to hurricanes is the foundation.  Pete Faulkner, senior project manager for the RSA Battle House Tower, said, “In Atlanta, you can put in a caisson and go to the bedrock, but not here,” referring to Mobile.¹

The foundation slab for this skyscraper is over 7 feet thick has slightly over 5 feet of it resting below the natural water table of downtown Mobile.  “The Big Pour” of the foundation took place during the weekend of November 7, 2003.²

According to the history of The Battle House Hotel, “8,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured within 24 hours for the new foundation of the hotel expansion and tower.  This is equivalent to 30 miles of 4-foot-wide sidewalk.  The foundation mat is 7 feet 6 inches thick and took 60 cement trucks per hour for 24 hours to complete.”³

“In a sermon titled, ‘Roads, Trees and Buildings,’ based on Matthew 7:13-27, Luke Tattersall shares an account of the devastating effect produced by severe storms in California a few years ago.  As a television reporter gave the story about the destruction, he stood with two houses in the background.  One house was absolutely leveled and the other house appeared to be untouched.  The reporter concluded, ‘the only difference between the two houses was that one had drilled down and made sure that the house was built on a firm foundation.’”

Our Lord concluded His Sermon on the Mount with these words:
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell.  And great was the fall of it, (Matthew 7:24-27).

The point of Matthew 7:24-27 is that a life must be built on the firm foundation of the Word of God.  We must go down to solid rock to begin to build our life and ministry. We will be counted as a wise man if we desire to discover what the Bible has to say and follow its instruction explicitly.  This will enable us to weather the fiercest storms that we may encounter in life. . . .”  4

Paul the apostle refers to himself as “a wise master builder” in 1 Corinthians 3:9-11.  In 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 Paul the apostle draws up a divinely inspired set of blueprints for brotherhood:  “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Grace of God

First, we find the grace of God in the following statement: “God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13b).

Grace is the unmerited favor of God.  Some would tell us that salvation is by the merit of Man when in reality it is by the grace of God.  Ephesians 2:8-10 reveals that salvation is “by grace . . . through faith . . . unto good works” (KJV).

In the account of Cain and Abel recorded in Genesis 4, it is as if Cain says, “Do your best.  Do it yourself.” and Abel says, “Trust and obey God.”
Cain had a religion of works while Abel had a relationship of grace.

Romans 6:23 reveals “the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

William R. Newell expresses a tremendous truth in the great hymn “At Calvary”: “Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!  / Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!  / Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!”

In the same hymn, Newell also writes, “Mercy there was great, and grace was free; / Pardon there was multiplied to me; / There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.”

Someone perceptively states, “Grace humbles a man without degrading him.” and “Grace exalts a man without inflating him.”

The Gospel of God

Furthermore, we read about the gospel of God in 2 Thessalonians 2:14a, “to which He called you by our gospel. . .”

Also in 2 Corinthians 4:3 we find the words “our gospel” but in 2 Timothy 2:8 we find the phrase “according to my gospel”.  From these passages we should conclude that the gospel must be “our gospel” which speaks of the fixed corporate element of the gospel we are part of a body of believers and when Paul writes about “my gospel” he refers to the personal aspect of the gospel.  We must individually believe the gospel which he clearly delineates in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 when he writes, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Paul the apostle writes to those in Galatia: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-10).
From the Isle of Patmos John refers to “the everlasting gospel” in Revelation 14:6.

Is the gospel inclusive or exclusive?  The answer is yes it is both.  It includes “whosoever” but there is only one way.  “Jesus said to [Thomas], “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).  Simon Peter affirms this fact in his sermon recorded in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The Glory of God

Finally, we see the glory of God as a part of the blueprint for brotherhood:  “for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14b).

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Irenaeus made the following statement in the 2nd century: “The Glory of God is a human being who is fully alive!”

Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”  Notice in Romans 8:30 “justified . . . glorified.”

In Galatians 5:26 Paul exhorts believers:  “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”  The word rendered “conceited” could be translated “vainglorious”.  “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Conclusion

Some insist that we should all get together and get along to build a “utopian society”.  It sounds wonderful to live in peace and harmony.

At a place called “Babel” they conducted the following experiment as recorded in the Bible.  In Genesis 11:1-9 we read, “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.  And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.  Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’  They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.  And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’  But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.  And the LORD said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.  Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’  So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.  Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”

God expressed His extreme displeasure and disapproval.  However, on another occasion people said, “let us rise up and build” (Nehemiah 2:18) and God blessed it with His approval.  In fact, under the leadership of the Lord through Nehemiah the Jews repaired the walls of Jerusalem in a record 52 days.  This account is encourages believers to follow the Lord’s leadership and serves as an illustration of how God blesses trust and obedience.

Please note that a major difference between these two building projects is the initiator.  Man initiated the project at Babel, and God initiated the building project in Jerusalem.  In our attempt to build brotherhood we must remember that although we are all brothers in creation but we are not all brothers by salvation.  It has been wisely said, “If you are born once you will die twice, but if you are born twice you only die once.”  Jesus says, “You must be born again” literally “you must be born from above” (John 3:7b).

1 Corinthians 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Edward Mote (1797-1874) penned these powerful words of confession: “My hope is built on nothing less / than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  / I dare not trust the sweetest frame, / But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.  / [Refrain] On Christ the solid Rock I stand, / All other ground is sinking sand; /All other ground is sinking sand.”

May we follow the blueprint for brotherhood as we find it in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14:  “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


¹Available from: http://southcentral.construction.com/features/archive/2004/0411_feature3.asp Accessed: 06/21/07

²Available from: http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=102429 Accessed: 06/21/07
³Available from: http://marriott.brulant.com/Portals/25/pdfs/battlehouse/Battle%20House%20History.pdf Accessed: 06/21/07
4Franklin L. Kirksey, Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice (Charleston, South Carolina: BookSurge: An Amazon.com Company, 2004),p. 7.

Franklin L. Kirksey

Pastor at First Baptist Church, Spanish Fort, AL
Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey is pastor of First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama where he has served since 2004. Kirksey was called to the ministry after high school graduation in 1979 and has been a pastor for over twenty five years. He has served churches in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina.
Franklin L. Kirksey

Latest posts by Franklin L. Kirksey (see all)