Mature Class Study, teacher Alyce Crain.

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers out there. Let’s take a look at “pillars in the church of God!” The song makes us think of beautiful white pillars amongst God‘s glorious shining presence. These are the Saints in the Church of God, gleaming bright and beautiful with God’s holiness written on our hearts and shining from our souls. Can you see how many pillars there are? Sometimes it can feel like there aren’t many of us but in reality we have come to the city of God and an innumerable company of angels and saints.

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

There are many similarities between physical pillars and us as pillars in the Church of God. Let’s look at physical pillars and see what they tell us about being a spiritual pillar. When someone says the word “pillar” many different images can pop in your head. Some may think of beautiful ornate pillars supporting an old colonial home porch. Another may think of weathered pillars supporting a pier going far out into the ocean. Someone else may think of pillars in an ancient Greek ruins still standing after all these years. Physical pillars, also called columns, are used as structural and architectural elements. They are an integral part of a building that allows it to stand and be safely functional for people. They can also provide architectural interest to the appearance of the building through design, color, and carvings. They can be made of metal, wood, stones, or concrete and short or very high. Likewise God’s people are in all shapes and sizes: short, tall, white, brown, young, old, introvert or extrovert. God made each one uniquely beautiful. We should appreciate how God made us and let his beauty shine in our heart.

Song, verse 1: If you would be a pillar in the Church of God, You must overcome the world, You must overcome the world; Die to fame and reputation, take the path that Jesus trod, If you would be a pillar in the Church of God.

Refrain: He that overcometh shall be clothed in white, And shall eat the hidden manna in the realms of light; Reign on earth as king with Jesus, in the Word we’re told, And in heaven shall forever walk the streets of gold.

For a pillar to stand the stresses and strains put on it, it first needs to be set in a firm foundation. It needs to withstand the loads put on it by the structure and the people, and to be strong enough to withstand  winds and rain. Think of the wise man that built his house upon a rock, and when the rains came and the flood waters rose his house stood firm. Saints, our firm foundation is Jesus Christ. If we build our lives on him, God says nothing will separate us from His love.

Some pillars stand alone but a lot of pillars are connected to a structure. The connection needs to be firm for that pillar to lend support to the structure. If there’s a flaw that pillar becomes a deadly liability. We are connected to the Church of God and each other, not only in our local congregation but worldwide. We are also connected to our communities and our families. When one saint is going through a heavy trial, we all feel the burden. When a new soul is added to the kingdom of God, we all rejoice. Let’s be respectful to carefully cultivate and strengthen our connection to each other. Pillars are designed to add support and strength to a structure. The structure would not be able to function safely without the pillars. Saints are all important parts of the Church Of God. It’s God‘s plan that we support and strengthen each other. If our pillar fails then the Church of God will continue on, but that isn’t God’s desire. He provides us with an over abundant amount of grace and strength to continue to stand throughout the years.

Some pillars are visible outside the building but others are invisible, set deep in the walls of the building. Likewise God calls some saints to be very visible in his work. He calls other saints to work in the background, seemingly invisible, but still a very integral part of the Church Of God. As we get older, the more active and visible duties are passed to younger saints. But our work isn’t done. God needs us to stand supporting the Church of God through prayers, guidance, and help where we can.

Pillars are often ornate and can add beauty and meaning to a structure. God wrote his name in the pillars of the temple of God described in Revelation 3:12. He wrote the name of the city of God in those pillars. We’re sanctified and set apart specifically for God‘s purpose. God also wrote our new names in those pillars. Brother Sam McConaughea said when we get saved we’re adopted into the family of God and get a new last name, which is “God.” Spiritually speaking, Diana Licon became Diana Licon God, Luis Sanchez became Luis Sanchez God, and so on.

We’re going to talk about two dwelling places of God described in the Old Testament: the wilderness tabernacle built by Moses and the temple at Jerusalem built by king Solomon. In the wilderness tabernacle there were three areas that used pillars. There were 60 pillars along the perimeter of the  courtyard that held the curtains bordering it. There were five pillars used to support the curtains leading from the court into the holy place. And four pillars supported the veil leading from the holy place to the most holy were the ark of the covenant was kept. All these pillars were made of shittim wood. Shittim is the Hebrew word for the species of acacia tree that grows throughout Israel and the Sinai peninsula. The wood has beautiful grain lines throughout and is a harder wood good for building objects. This wood was not only used in the pillars but throughout the tabernacle. Tabernacle pillars were decorated with metals. Pillars surrounding the court were decorated with silver and set in brass sockets in the ground. Pillars leading to the holy place were decorated with gold and set in brass sockets. The pillars leading into the most holy were decorated with gold set in silver sockets.

Exodus 27:10 And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver.

Exodus 26:37 And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.

Exodus 26:32 And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.

There are many different spiritual meanings associated with these metals and three beautifully describe aspects of the Saints as pillars of God: 1) Being decorated with gold means you have been tried in the fire of life. Your dross has been burned off and you are left as pure gold . You are referred to as golden pillars! 2) Being decorated with brass can mean you have been refined in the work of the Lord.  In Revelations the Apostle John describes the appearance of Jesus‘s feet as fine brass that has been burned in the furnace. 3) Being decorated with silver means you use God’s wisdom when you speak. Think of the Psalmist who referred to words fitly spoken as apples of gold in pictures of silver.

The purpose of the pillars in the tabernacle was to support the curtains and the veil. Passing through the curtains from the holy place through the veil into the most holy is symbolic of the works of salvation and sanctification by Jesus in our hearts. Are we honoring our salvation and sanctification by how we live our lives? Or are we letting the curtains and veil sag a little here or there. God wants us to keep our hearts with all diligence. After years of worshiping God in the tabernacle, king David wanted to build a more permanent home for the ark of the covenant. God told David that he wasn’t going to build it, but Solomon his son. There were two pillars at Solomons temple at the entrance of the porch. They were made entirely out of brass. The top of the pillars were adorned with pomegranates symbolizing the bounty of the Lord. The top of the pomegranates had decorations of lilies. Consider the lilies of the field, how they toil not nor spin, but even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. We are special to God!

II Chronicles 3:15-17 Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits. And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made an hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains. And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right…the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.

Solomon gave these two pillars specific names: Jachin and Boaz. Jachin means: he will establish. Serving God is definitely the most important decision we have made. Where our lives were once in shambles because of sin, he has established our lives through his love and holiness. Boaz means: in Him is strength. We had no ability to get free from sin but found salvation through the mighty hand of God. Boaz was also Ruth’s husband, Solomon‘s great great grandfather. When Solomon named the pillar Boaz maybe he had Boaz in mind. If so, Boaz must have had a profound effect on his family and by being a pillar to them. Solomon realized that the beautiful temple in all its splendor was not God‘s ultimate plan for his connection to mankind.

II Chronicles 6:18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!

Song, verse 2: If you would be a pillar in the Church of God, You must triumph over sin, You must triumph over sin; And be cleansed from every evil through the Savior’s precious blood,  If you would be a pillar in the Church of God.

In the New Testament the pillars in the Church of God were known as the apostles. In the Old Testament men constructed physical buildings to house their worship of God. But this was not God‘s intention from the beginning. The Jews were furious when Jesus prophesied the destruction of the physical temple. But Jesus came to fulfill the Scriptures and establish the Church of God come from Heaven. God didn’t intend to dwell in a building but to dwell in man and his laws to be written in man’s heart.

Galatians 2:9…when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Jesus taught the apostles and disciples how to be pillars in the Church of God. He helped them understand the difference between temple worship and true worship. He tried to help them to see how the temple of God was not made with hands but was composed of all the saved. He taught the apostles how to support the Church of God through healing hearts and bodies, preaching the gospel, and helping people get free from sin. Jesus wanted the apostles as pillars of the early church to extend the right hand of fellowship every blood washed one. They understood that God‘s work extended far beyond what they could do by themselves. They recognized God was moving on hearts in places they didn’t known of. We need to support and work together with our brethren across the United States and the world to build the Church of God.

Song, verse 3: If you would be a pillar in the church of God, You must conquer in His name, You must conquer in His name; Take the holy Bible way, and live beneath the cleansing flood, If you would be a pillar in the church of God.

In honor of Father’s Day, we’re going to look at role fathers and grandfathers as pillars of their families. Your life and actions have a profound impact on your family. This is your responsibility ordained by God. There are six areas where you should continue working to improve the lives of your children and grandchildren. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Fathers and grandfathers can play a vital role in helping your children or grandchildren develop their character because they look up to you, so you have a great influence on their lives. Your life and encouragement can help them develop perseverance, work ethic, and godliness. For example, you can give them tasks and encourage them to complete them. You can provide valuable mentoring to your children and grandchildren. You can teach them skills in a trade or hobby, and provide insight into the world that they aren’t able to form themselves. You can discuss current events that are so often confusing to young people, and you can help put things in perspective for them.

Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

You can develop strong bonds with your children and grandchildren by just playing with them. Dedicating your time and attention you will show them how much you love them. You will develop a beautiful connection to them now, and give them wonderful memories of your lives together. So many young people nowadays struggle to understand where they fit in this world. Do things with your children and grandchildren that reflect your family’s culture or ethnicity, and your service to God. This will give them a sense of meaning in their lives and give a basis from which to see the world. Share memories and stories about your ancestors with your children and grandchildren, and look at pictures with them. This will help them to see where they have come from and their shared purpose with their family. Feeling grounded to something bigger than themselves, they will have confidence to strike out in life in a good direction.

Most importantly, fathers and grandfathers, point your young ones to God! Introduce them to the one who created them and the whole universe. Point out the beauty of God‘s creation on the earth. Tell them God so loved the world that he sent his only son! Tell them about the place God created in their heart for himself and that your God wants to be their God too. Listen to their questions, doubts, and fears, like your heavenly Father listens to yours. Love them like He loves you.

How are we doing as pillars in the Church of God? Are we offering support for God’s work through our prayers, our tithes, by volunteering our time? Are we supporting our brethren worldwide through our prayers, through opening our homes during fellowship, or by making the effort to visit them for their meetings? Are we a light in our communities and willing to sacrifice a little bit of our comfort for the good of others? Are we a light and support to our families by loving them like God loves us? The world is in great spiritual darkness and needs God! Stand firm and true as pillars in the Church of God!