Whose Dwelling is your Church?

The Living Stone is defined as a dwelling! Dwellings need to be cared for, maintained, preserved, and, of course, used. His dwelling is where we can take rest and comfort out of the “weather” of life, and then regroup, recharge, and go out into the world with His Word in our hearts, attitudes, and minds.

The incredible news of this is we still remain in His dwelling. When we go out, we are still inside His presence and care. His Living Stone is also the mobile Stone; thus, wherever we go, we are still under His shelter and care, no matter where we are or what we face.

When we care for Him, we are being “acceptable to God” (Rom. 15:14-16; 1 Pet. 2:5). God accepts us by His sacrifice for our sins (Heb.13: 15-16). Because of His work, we are complete in Him, we are deeply loved and accepted, and we do not need acceptance by any other person or means to be fulfilled (Col. 1:21-22; 2:13-15; James 1:4; 1 John 4:9-11)! 

The cornerstone in building construction was of the highest quality, and cut in precision to the design. It was either the top cap of an arch or the corner of the foundation, each one critical to design integrity and stability. If we guide our church incorrectly or without the pursuit of excellence and holiness, the structure—the purpose of His Church—will not be built accurately and might fail. The matter of choosing how we see and use our Cornerstone is essential to where we are going in our faith both personally and collectively. Do not go astray; do not compromise to please anyone, or your church will be the Church of Perfidy! 

The propose of the Church is to know Christ, encounter Him, worship Him, grow in Him, and then, when we leave those physical doors, make Him known to others. We cannot let our pride, petty whims, and trends derail us from our core principles distilled from biblical precepts.

The bottom line is that we must be willing and able to get rid of anything that contradicts or compromises the Word of God! It is OK to search and use insights from varying sources. In fact, that is what we do here at Into Thy Word as we research and develop curriculum to help you grow closer to Him personally, and run your church more biblically for His glory. However, it is never too late to repent and turn your church around! I have made many mistakes, personally. I have followed bad trends and have started some. I have been prideful and perhaps broken all of the above precepts from time to time. But, God is a God of grace and forgiveness; He still uses me, and He will use you, too. However, we can be better. Let us be willing to grow in Him and serve Him in love and faithfulness, setting aside our pride and will; then our churches will be healthy and vibrant for His wondrous glory!

 

Moving Away From the Cornerstone

 

The problem is that many churches have fallen so far, they are apostate and others are on the verge of the same betrayal against our Holy Cornerstone. Understanding that He is our Cornerstone gives us a navigational rendering on how to lead and manage our church in a healthy, biblical way. Understanding that He is our chief cornerstone means

Jesus is the Chief, the Head of the corner. It means our Lord is our All in All—we can trust in Him (1 Cor. 15:20-28)! How wonderful and comforting to be able to allow Him to be our haven of rest, our continual comfort.

At the same time, a warning is given in Scripture to those who reject the Living Stone in the Bible. They will stumble and fall. Stumble, meaning disobedient, refers to condemnation and judgment because a person is so “self willed” and prideful, he or she is not willing to acknowledge God as his or her Lord (Mal. 2:8; John 11:9; Rom. 9:33; 14:20; 1 Cor. 10:32; James 3:2; 2 Peter 2:8).

Fall in Romans and Matthew refers to Isaiah (Matt. 21: 33-46; Isa. 8:13-15; 28:16). Peter and Paul both used this image (Rom. 9:33; 11:11; 14: 4, 21; Heb. 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:6-8), that those who reject Jesus as the Messiah will be judged. God’s Kingdom is portrayed as a rock, and we will be cursed by it if we fight against it (Dan. 2: 34-44; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6; Rev 20:12-13; 22:12).

He still gives us His grace—until it is too late and we are called to account. God gives us ample prevision and time to turn from our evil and wayward ways to His True Word, His best Way (Jer. 23:22-23).

He patiently accommodates us (to a point) to give us the time to realize our disobedient conduct, gives us the room to make mistakes, and still calls us back into His arms of love and care. Do not be the one who rejects the Living Stone and causes your church to run askew and away from His call and purpose! We are called to allow our faith to empower our obedience because obedience is what pleases God. Disobedience, from a lack of faith, is detestable to Him and causes us to be lost over dangerous ground. This comes down to “apostasy,” which is the abandonment of one’s religious faith, or skewing it far away from its core precepts.

We are falling away from the Truth and are rebelling against Him when we continue to do this without repentance. We are betraying our Lord and deceiving the ones we are supposed to be leading further into His depths!

The problem with this situation is that most of the leadership in these churches who are failing do not realize that they are, nor do they comprehend that their decisions and the things they chase are moving them away from the Cornerstone and into apostasy. The plumb line from which to gauge where we are is His Word. I am not just talking about moving away from essential Christian doctrine, although this applies. Rather, I am pointing to our not communicating doctrine in love and care and not discipling others so they can know Him more. It is just as bad to have good doctrine and not communicate it as it is to reject good doctrine. The end result is the same玆a Church of Perfidy. Then the person in such a church will not know truth, His will, His call, or recognize opportunities and precepts so he can then act upon them. We become the church of the “pew-sitter” who not only does nothing in a church, but also gets nothing from the church.

Is Christ Your Church’s Living Stone?

 

The idea is that the cornerstone represents Christ as the Chosen Stone (Acts 4:11; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:6-8). The idea that Jesus Christ is our Living Stone has significant ramifications of His Lordship over our lives and church. These themes refer to Him as our temple, the One who gives us grace, reconciliation, empowerment, and comfort, and He does not disappoint. Living stone means the foundation, the source of something, such as of a building or a family (Psalm 118:22; Isa. 8:14; 28:16; 2 Peter 2:4-10).

This means Jesus is the Spiritual Temple, not just in theory or in liturgy, but in actual practice, living in our day-to-day leadership and management. He is the place and focus of worship and counsel.

The church or temple is no longer a building; it is a community in relationship to Christ. Think of these images from the reality that Jesus was a carpenter in His human occupation, and perhaps frequently worked with stonemasons or did masonry himself. He was personally familiar with building both in practice and in Lordship, and we must submit to His Lordship in order to be a healthy, vibrant church. Make no mistake. This image from the Gospels is not a mere tale or metaphor; He is to be Christ the Stone, our Giver of life, our Source and Foundation. We must manage His Church from the mindset and practice that He is our LORD for all we are and do (Matt. 21:42; John 1:4; 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 15:45)!  

Living stones in 2 Peter 2:5 is plural, denoting that they are the people of the Church. In the context of our spiritual house, it means a living organism, a sacred temple empowered by God to worship God. This idea implies that our union in Him is our dependence on Christ, as He is the One who supports us, lifts us up, and houses us in His presence (Ex. 19:6; Mark 12:10-11).

This should cause us to think and be in the wonders and fears of “awe!” This means Christian community and fellowship is a “spiritual house,” established, organized, and led in Him. We are all one in Christ and we derive our life from Him. Our identity in Him must affect us personally and publicly, synergizing us as a community so our church is managed in His “reckoning” (Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 15:45) that is formed, indwelt, and empowered by the Spirit (Acts 2:33).

We are all precious, important, and have a job to do as a moving, living temple, reflecting His love and holiness (John 2:19; Ro 12:1; 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:19-22; Heb 7:26; 10:10).  The fact of what our Lord has done for us shows us that we are to be as a corporate collaboration of people in Him. The call is to come to Christ because He is the Living Stone, as He called in Matthew 11:28-30. This is an image of how our Lord is our direction and foundation in all we do, personally and in church, and how we, as a church, should function, as we are all interlocked and plumbed with purpose to one another by our calls, gifts, and abilities—all in Him (Eph. 4). Christ is constructing a building of faith and eminence to be His Church, made up of the stones of “us” lain upon the foundation of Him. Thus, our faith needs to grow from us personally and then move into our community so we can interlock with one another, fastened by the mortar of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).  

In Second Peter 2, Peter tells of the incredible transition from the Temple and the priesthood to the Church—foretold, but still inconceivable to the Jewish mindset. The actuality is that Christ is our stone bridge. He gives us continuity and purpose. Jesus is the Foundation, Pillar, and the Purpose of the Church, which means our church, even your church. To facilitate worship, we as His people as gathered are the Church no matter when and where we are at. We are not cold stones that are stationary and that decay; rather, we are living and movable, cemented together as a corporate identity in Him. 

Yet, as perfect and precious as our Living Stone is, we, the people leading His Church, tend not to want to understand Him and therefore refuse to follow His principles out of fear of losing people, not being culturally relevant, or perhaps a fear of conviction, too. His way gets in the way of their way (my way) of leadership, because they have a skewed understanding of the Cornerstone as LORD.

This idea is much like that of the first century Jews who wanted a warrior Messiah, not a Savior and One who convicted their souls. However, when we are in Him, we have no need to fear a loss of relevancy because we more than make up for it with authenticity, which is far more contagious for the faith to those who do not yet know Him. Authenticity means we are encountering and becoming close to Him. Christ alone gives us the comfort, protection, and the deep love we need. Therefore, we can lead His way and not compromise or lose our footing when we are on His footer. Keep in mind that we, too, are precious in God’s sight!  

Our identification as a “corporate” church does not imply a building; rather, it is a relationship of community where we are His priests! The entire sacrificial and priestly system, as God directed Moses to set up, is now obsolete. It has been replaced. Its purpose was to point to Christ and get people ready; now, He is here. He is the Sacrifice, the Altar, and the Temple, and we are the priests (Ex. 19:1-9; Eph. 2:17-18; Heb. 7:27; 8:6; 9:12-28; 10:12-19; 13:15-16; Rev. 1:6). The key is that we have to listen to His Word; we must relinquish our self-absorbed mindsets and focus on Christ as Lord over all. We are called a Spiritual House referring to the O.T. Temple as God’s dwelling place. Now, that house is more than a building; it is also a legacy, a large family, or a dynasty such as the “House of Israel.” Thus, the Church is God’s dwelling place and legacy (2 Sam. 7:5-7, 12-16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22; Heb. 3:6).

How is your Churches Alignment?

Psalm 118:18-27; Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20 

The church is more than a building. In fact, a church is not a building at all. Rather, it originates with the people being supported on the footer of our Lord and Savior. If we are off in our alignment with Christ, then we are off in all other things, too. Thus, we become a Church of Perfidy. This puts our church in a really perilous position in Him, with one another, and in the community. The perfidy of a church means a betrayal of a trust of who Christ is and what He calls us to do. If our church is not lined up to Him and in His Word, and is not practicing His call and precepts, we will start to fall off the “plumb line” of His foundation and cornerstone. Remember, even a small fraction of an inch off center or off level will cause a building to be ruined. So it is with how we run our churches. When we stray from Him, everything that comes from our church will stray, too. We are called to be “plumb” in Christ. A plumb line is a length of rope from which a metal weight is suspended on the bottom end. This allows the earth’s center of gravity to hold the rope in a perpendicular, vertical line to make sure the building that is being erected is “straight” and “plumb.” This simple device has been used for thousands of years and is still a valuable tool today. If you place studs or stones upon a foundation that is not perfectly level or if you do not use a plumb line, then the walls will not be straight and will not join up with the other walls and be a safe haven. Can you see the parallels here from construction to the practice of our faith and how we lead a church?  

Being off a small fraction will cause a much greater loss down the road. If we start to follow trends, ideas, teachings that are not from God’s Word or are not clearly distilled from His precepts, then the running of our church will be skewed because our “direction-finding” is skewed. 

In navigation, if you are off a fraction of a degree from your course heading at your start, then a few hundred miles away you will be many miles off your mark. This type of error brought down the passenger jet, Korean Air 007 in 1983, when the then Soviets shot the 747 airliner down as it mistakenly veered over their airspace. Conspiracy theories aside, it was concluded that the 747 pilots put the wrong heading in the autopilot. They were off a very small degree that slowly ventured the airliner off its course and the instrument guiding system, ending the lives of the 240 passengers and 29 crewmen and crewwomen aboard. When our churches start to veer off His path even a fraction, down the road it can escalate to heresies or complacency that will lead the people with whom God entrusted us astray. This 747, after flying over sensitive areas, was shot out of the sky by MIG fighters. Take heed. When we veer off God’s path, we too will be held accountable (Matt. 16:27; Acts 2:22-24, 36; 3:13-15; 5:30-32; 7:51-53; Rom. 2:6; 14:12-13; Gal. 6:1-5; Eph. 6:21; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Rev 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).

What Type of Foundation Does Your Church Have?

What Type of Foundation Does Your Church Have?  

1 Kings 5:1 to 9:9; 2 Chronicles 3:3 to 5:1; 6:1-7:22; Psalm 118:18-27; 127:1; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-10 

The foundation of your church will set up the attitude and theme of your church. Thus we need to ask, is our church lined up properly to its foundation? Do you realize that if it is not, your church building will fall off of it? Your church building, if not properly erected on good foundation “footers,” will fail and perhaps collapse upon the congregation, literally. In constituting a building  whether it be a church, an office, or a home–it is absolutely essential that the footers of the foundation are perfectly level and plumb. Footer is a very large block of concrete that is placed in the soil below a building that is being erected. This footer is part of the building’s foundation, which supports the load-bearing portion of the building. Its prime purpose is to prevent the structure from moving or sinking. Footers also provide a stable base upon which the rest of the building is built. If these footers are not lined up correctly, off even as much as a fraction of an inch, then each piece of the building to come afterward will not fit or line up with the other. If we are not personally lined up to Christ, then everything we do will be skewed and will not fit, including relationships, activities, outreach, and the day-to-day activities of a church. All will be off-center and flawed because our alignment is off from Christ who is our Foundation. 

How is your Churches Foundation?  

Is it made from the precepts of the will of man or from God’s Word and Will?

There is something much more important than the foundation materials and placement in constructing a church or in navigational procedures, and that is the understanding of who and what the “cornerstone” is. A cornerstone was a large stone laid at the foundation of stone buildings prior to the 1950s to be a “footer” and to “plumb” the rest of the building so it was square and secure. This cornerstone was the first stone, usually an exceptionally large one, placed above ground on top of stones placed underground at the beginning of the northeast corner of the building. This was essential to the structure of the building. These buildings were laid with cut stones, interlocked by gravity and force and without mortar. They were stacked stone on top of stone, all relying and leaning on one another. Many such structures have lasted for many millennia. Without proper stone placement, buildings in the ancient world would not have lasted long or would have fallen during construction. Here, we have an image of how our Lord is our Cornerstone (Psalm 118:18-27; Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20).