In celebration of my wife’s heritage, she has sewn garments for our children like those of her ancestors from Czechoslovakia. Each puffy sleeved blouse or ruffly skirt starts with a pattern, or a set of patterns designed to create all the individual parts of the garment that are eventually sewn together.
Those patterns are just pieces of paper you lay on whatever fabric you are using so you can cut out that exact same shape. There is no pattern for an entire garment, but rather separate patterns used to make the individual pieces of the garment. Each piece cut to the pattern will then come together to make the complete garment.
The ancient tabernacle was like that. You may recall that the Good Lord admonished Moses, “According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it”, Exodus 25:9. He then reminded him and us as well of the importance of following the pattern as he made each part, 25:4026:30, 27:8, 39:32, 42-43, 40:16, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, & 32
The Lord’s church is also like that. He said he would build it, and he did, and his New Testament is the pattern for the church. We can build that church today if we simply stick to the pattern he has provided us.
There is a pattern for salvation that is seen multiple times. Folks hear the gospel, they believe it, confess their faith and are baptized in Jesus’ name.
There is a pattern for the behavior of each of Jesus’ disciples, all based in him, his holiness, his purity and his love and the “weightier things of the law”.
There is a pattern for the organization of his church, as it shows us shepherds, deacons, evangelists and teachers.
There is also a pattern for the function of the church when it teaches us about worship, ministry, missions and benevolence.
My hope is for us to spend some time looking into God’s patterns together over the next few weeks. So, bring your New Testaments and let’s look into his plan together!