BUILDING UP THE CHURCH AS LIVING STONES

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Submitted Date 07/20/2019
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"Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (‭I Peter‬ ‭2:4-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

(https://www.bible.com/bible/114/1pe.2.4-5.nkjv)

Every time I see this scripture I'm reminded of the difficulty our ensemble had picking a name for our brief tour back in 1974. It's a silly story, but I'd like to share it, nonetheless.

Three of the six ensemble members were on the Bible Quiz team, with I Peter having been among the books we had just studied that competition season. The vocal group had won the vocal ensemble division of the Assemblies of God National Teen Talent competition, so our Bible Quiz coach set up a tour that following spring break for us to minister in churches in Pennsylvania, New York City and upstate New York.

If you have ever gone through the process of naming a group, especially with only teenagers involved in the discussion, you can imagine some of the crazy names we threw out there. We wanted something different and catchy, but with some spiritual significance. Since half of us had just quizzed using the King James Version, we even bandied about, "Peculiar People," from this same chapter but it had connotations with which we were not comfortable.

Eventually we settled on the moniker, "Living Stones," pulled from this passage. It seemed to fit our criteria and also had a sneaky double entendre possibility which entertained us. "What," one may ask, "is the spiritual significance of such a name?"

The Church is not a church (or a building); it is a living organism, made up of us, the believers, with Jesus at its head. Paul uses the analogy of a body to great effect in I Corinthians 12, following it up with the great love chapter (13) to emphasize that all that he just said is of little use if not motivated by love. For this reason, we are often referred to as the Body of Christ; He is the head; we are the arms, legs, fingers, toes, eyes, ears, etc.

Peter's analogy here is the Church as a living structure, using stonemasonry terms. In this case, Christ is the Chief Cornerstone and we, the individual believers, are all living stones. We are all held together by the masonry of love, care and concern for one another, forming a sturdy structure built on the foundation of faith. In the Related Scriptures below, you can see many instances in both Old and New Testament where Jesus is referred to in this context.

A much more involved study could be undertaken based on this line of thinking. Suffice it to say, the trials we go through help make us more sturdy building materials as part of the church. James wrote about trials in this regard in his letter (James 1:2-8, 12-20) and Peter had previously referenced it earlier in this first epistle (I Peter 1:6-9). Paul talks about edifying (or building up) the church in multiple places, another construction-related term.

What we have to ask ourselves is, "What kind of building material am I? Am I wood, hay and stubble, which will not last when put to the test, or a well-formed, well-fired brick, or perhaps a stolid stone shaped in the crucible of pressure, which can withstand the most stout of tests?

All of us are living stones; let us be worthy of our place in the structure. He will place us where He most needs us and He best knows we will succeed.

(https://pappawpyle.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/building-up-the-church-as-living-stones/)

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