In our recent sermon series on Sunday Morning, in Ephesians 2, we have been looking at the images that Paul paints of the universal and local church. One of these images in particular has grasped me, a building or specifically a holy temple for His presence. Also in 1 Peter 2:5-9 we are called ‘living stones’ being built up by the great Builder Himself. The imagery is unmistakable, God is about the process of building Himself a spiritual building consisting of the saints of old and now, so that we become the manifested pinnacle of His glory to a chaotic and sinful world.
‘Living stones’. Have we ever considered ourselves as that? Parts of a larger structure, not drawing attention to ourselves but to the whole. When the workers were completing Solomon’s temple, the stones were actually cut to shape and size at the quarry and then taken to the temple and placed into position so as not to have noise of the stones and the iron tools at the temple itself. The stones weren’t making any noise, drawing attention away from the structure. ‘Living Stones’, each unique in it’s size and shape, being chiseled by the Great Builder and having been placed in position by Him. The stone doesn’t tell the builder where to place it. The stone is precisely placed in position beside, under, or above other stones for the purpose of completing the structure. ‘Living Stones’, shaped and formed to be in exact conformity to the Cornerstone. The cornerstone of any building is not only the integral part of the foundation but also the basis of all measurements and calculations of every part of the structure; walls, arches, roofs, and doorways. Without a perfect cornerstone, every angle or cut is wrong, effecting the entire structure adversely. Ephesians is clear, our Cornerstone is Christ. We are shaped and conformed to His image.
God has chosen in times past to manifest His glory in different ways. Aside from the manifestation of His eternal power and divine nature in creation (Romans 1), He has chosen His church to be the pinnacle of His glory today. We are to work out our salvation with trembling and fear and this can only be done in the continual ongoing interaction of His people with one another and with the lost. How we fit together, how we treat one another, how we draw attention to the Builder and His glory may be the only testimony that many will see of the greatness and supremacy of our God. How are we doing as a spiritual structure being built by God to display His attributes of grace, mercy, love and truth?
Our look at images of the church continues this week as we see the church as a ‘body’. Won’t you be in prayer for this series and your church, as a reflection of God’s glory to a fallen world?