“As you come to him, a living stone . . . you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:4-5).
When Peter calls Jesus the “living Stone,” he also says that we who believe are like “living stones.” That means that he is the Rock and we are like chips off the Living Block. A living stone sounds strange to our ears because stones are always dead. But when we come into contact with Jesus Christ, we are made alive with him. That tells us that the church is more than a human organization. The true church is a ever-growing collection of living stones, being built one upon another by the head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ. From our perspective, the church often seems weak, confused, uncertain, competitive, divided and ineffective. But our Lord is building a spiritual temple that spans the generations. And he’s building it one living stone at a time. That temple matters much more than the most beautiful sanctuary or the most ornate cathedral built of brick and mortar.
The greatest buildings on earth will one day crumble to the ground. Nothing built by man lasts forever. Because the temple God is building is made of living stones, it will never be destroyed. It will never crumble and it will never need renovation. And we who believe are part of it. Every Christian is part of God’s temple. You can always tell when a new building is being constructed by the massive scaffolding that encircles the new building as it rises from the ground. As long as you see the scaffolding, you know the building isn’t finished. The scaffolding is the last thing to go. But when it is removed, you know the building is finished. Every local church is part of the visible scaffolding around the invisible temple God has been building. When the final living stone has been placed in the temple, the scaffolding will come tumbling down, the trumpet will sound, the archangel will shout, and we will get to see the grand work God has been doing for the last twenty centuries.
This is a revolutionary insight if we will grasp it. I know people get frustrated by how slow the church moves. We have so many meetings and groups and we talk a lot about budgets and buildings and programs. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture if you focus on the ecclesiastical machinery, even though that machinery is necessary for the church to do its work in the world. But God is doing something beyond all of that.
Jesus is building his church with living stones, and the church he is building will last forever.
Lord Jesus, we confess our impatience with the church as we see it today. Forgive us for focusing on what man does instead of what you are doing. O Lord, add some more living stones to your church today! Amen.