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Bible verses about Living Stones
(From Forerunner Commentary)

1 Kings 5:17-18

Much of the rock chosen was probably the hard white limestone found near Jerusalem, but Solomon's builders found many other beautiful stones, boulders, and pillars from all over the known world.

Blocks of stone, granite, or marble are not hewn out of a rock mass easily. If rocks could speak, they would probably complain bitterly about the harshness of the chisel and saw. We too are required to endure hardships and setbacks. Suffering is part of the process of quarrying, sizing, polishing, and preparing us, the living stones, for our roles in God's Kingdom.

In I Peter 5:10, Peter prays, "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." The hewing, chipping, sizing, and polishing are all vital parts to making each stone fit the Architect's blueprints please the Master Builder, God the Father. The church is His House, the "House of God" (I Timothy 3:15).

Even Jesus experienced "the quarry," as God perfected Him for His dual role as High Priest and King of Kings, by what He suffered:

[Jesus], in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. (Hebrews 5:7-9)

A great deal of sacrifice awaits us once we commit ourselves to the salvation process, which prepares us for our responsibilities in the Temple of God. That process is not all fun! If we do not feel the shaping going on, we will. It must! Many valuable stones lose as much as sixty percent of their initial size and mass before they are considered finished as beautiful jewels. We must sacrifice significant parts of our lives, habits, cultures, reasoning, and values to be transformed into one of God's jewels (Malachi 3:17), a gem fit for our Master, which is His will and desire for each of us (Romans 12:1-2).

Staff
Living Stones in God's House


 

1 Kings 6:7

Josephus adds:

Now the whole structure of the temple was made, with great skill, of polished stones, and those laid together so very harmoniously and smoothly, that there appeared to the spectators no sign of any hammer, or other instrument of architecture, but as if, without any use of them, the entire materials had naturally united themselves together, that the agreement of one part with another seemed rather to have been natural than to have arisen from the force of tools upon them. (ibid.)

What a beautiful picture! This is what will happen when God completes His Temple! Living stones will come from all around the world, from different "quarries." God needs gems, stones, and boulders of different shapes, sizes, materials, and colors to finish His beautiful House. Thus, God is calling people from all personality types, backgrounds, races, and strengths so each can be the precise stone He needs in a specific place in His Temple.

There will be many needs, tasks, jobs, and projects in God's Kingdom. He knows exactly what "stone" He wants and where He needs it. We are those stones, planned for a specific spot for which God is preparing us. Because of His grace, blessings, and gifts, we will be fulfilling a precise role in His holy Temple.

The quarry is wherever we are now, where God is cutting, shaping, and polishing us to fit into the masterpiece He is building. We lose sight of this sometimes because we do not see the whole Temple coming together. How could we? We are still in the quarry where all we can see are a few other stones perhaps similar to ourselves. We cannot see the stones from the other quarries: first-century Christians, patriarchs, prophets, kings, true Christians throughout history, or even all the believers alive today. We do not see the whole picture yet—and will not—until all the stones arrive at the Temple Mount.

Staff
Living Stones in God's House


 

Romans 12:1-2

Sacrificial living in submission to God's will pleases Him. In this case, God is interested neither in Christ's death nor ours but how we live life. Worship is our response to God, and real worship is the offering of our everyday life to Him. Loyal devotion given to please God in every labor of life is the most satisfying and acceptable response we can give God. Peter concurs with Paul, writing in I Peter 2:4-5, "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."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Two): The Burnt Offering


 

Ephesians 2:19-22

In Ephesians 2:19-22, in the Phillips translation, the apostle Paul writes:

So you are no longer outsiders or aliens, but fellow-citizens with every other Christian [the saints, NKJV] - you belong now to the household of God. Firmly beneath you is the foundation, God's messengers and prophets, the corner-stone being Christ Jesus himself. In him each separate piece of building, properly fitting into its neighbor, grows together into a temple consecrated to the Lord. You are all part of this building in which God himself lives by his Spirit.

We stand on the Christian lives of those who have gone before us. Those who have died in the faith, the saints who await their resurrection from the dead, form the foundation on which we stand, along with Christ, the Cornerstone. If we live our lives with integrity, then we too become an integral piece of the Temple.

Paul's main intention in Ephesians 2 is to let Gentile converts know that they have equal privileges with Israelite converts. Whatever his origins, each individual forms a separate piece of the "building," and all fitted together provide a habitation for God. The building metaphor is equally appropriate for us. Each of us comes from a different social and ethnic background, education, life experience, and so on. In order for us to become part of the Temple, a place where God dwells, integrity must reside in our characters.

Continuing the metaphor, each of us is fitted into the proper place. If a building is constructed of solid pieces - no rotted or bowed wood, no rusted metal, no inferior materials of any type - and if it is erected on a solid foundation, the result is a structure with integrity. The apostle Peter also uses the building metaphor in I Peter 2:1-5:

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 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.

A building block or stone, used to construct a spiritual house or a temple, must be sound. It must itself have integrity. If the stone is weak, it will crumble or crack easily, endangering the whole building.

Mike Ford
Building With Integrity


 

1 Peter 2:4-5

Solomon's Temple was only a type of the true House of God, the real Temple, the church of God (I Corinthians 3:17; II Corinthians 6:16). Solomon's building was the "Temple of God" because of God's presence, and so it is today. God now lives in us by His Holy Spirit, just as His shekinah glory hovered above the golden Mercy Seat covering the Ark in the Holy of Holies. If God is active and present in us, we are living stones and part of His spiritual Temple.

Just as the Temple had many types of stones, rocks. and boulders making up the foundation, flooring, walls, roof, and pillars, so will God's spiritual Temple. The spiritual Temple of God is a work in progress. Undoubtedly, God is excited to see its different elements taking shape. He is building us, as living stones in a living Temple, "on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19-20).

Jesus Himself says that a well-constructed house is built on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25). The foundation of the spiritual Temple has been laid and cannot be changed (I Corinthians 3:11); Jesus Christ is the Rock upon which He builds His church (Matthew 16:18). The eminent Jewish historian Josephus says about the foundation of Solomon's Temple: "Now, therefore, the king laid the foundations of the temple very deep in the ground, and the materials were strong stones, and such as would resist the force of time" (Antiquities of the Jews, 8.3.2). Impressive, certainly, but the spiritual Temple's foundations are even deeper!

Staff
Living Stones in God's House


 

1 Peter 2:5

Notice the phrase "being built up." It is active and dynamic, indicating that the building is being done by somebody else.

Peter calls us living stones. Step away from the idea of human beings and imagine stones out in a field or a pile of bricks. Peter's illustration is of a construction job. In his mind's eye, as he was writing this, he saw a literal building being built by a stone mason, God, with His Son Jesus Christ.

We are "being built up." The stones are not taking themselves out of the field, shaping themselves, and fitting themselves into the building. Somebody else is picking up the stones, knocking off the rough edges, and fitting them exactly into the place where the Builder wants them to go. Peter is describing a building that is not being constructed haphazardly but according to an intelligent plan, as if the Builder is working according to a blueprint drawn far in advance of construction.

"Chief cornerstone" is mentioned in verse 6, and like the chief cornerstone, each of us, as living stones, are being individually set apart from all of the other rocks in the field, then prepared and fitted into what is called "a spiritual house." The word "house" simply means a dwelling place, and since this is a spiritual house, it implies "a dwelling place for God." The picture Peter wants us to imagine is that each one of these stones is chosen individually and pulled out of the field, fitted and shaped, and put into the building.

We see sanctification at work in this. In Peter's illustration, the stone mason looks over a selection of stones in a field, but only chooses certain ones, which he then crafts to His specifications for its place in the building. It shows Christians being transformed into a suitable dwelling place for God—individually and as an institution, as a church. This begins to place responsibilities on each of the living stones that are set apart and made a part of the dwelling place for God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sanctification and Holiness (Part 1)


 

Revelation 3:2

God first addresses their "works." While they may still have the truth, their dead works indicate a lack of living faith (James 2:17-20). This indicates a people who perceive themselves to be alive, but who apparently are basically standing still, spiritually catatonic, and comatose. They may exist as stones in the Temple, but not as "living stones" (I Peter 2:5). Perhaps this is why Christ says "not one stone will be left upon another" (Matthew 24:2)!

Staff
The Seven Churches: Sardis


 

Revelation 5:9-10

The issue in the vision of Revelation 5 is finding One who is qualified to open a certain scroll that contains a listing of events that will occur beyond the present time, both before and after Christ's return. The issue is resolved because Christ, the Lamb, is qualified to open it because of what He has already accomplished. He is our Redeemer and thus qualified. His qualification sets an example for us to follow in our Christian lives.

Verse 10 concerns us most. It helps to know that the term “kings and priests” is better translated as “kingdom of priests,” as numerous modern translations render it. Christ has appointed the redeemed (verse 9) as a kingdom of priests to serve our God and to bear a measure of rulership (“we shall reign on the earth”). They are appointed to a responsibility by Christ because they, like Him, have been prepared to render these services in God's behalf.

Beyond the priestly functions, rulership is clearly in view for the redeemed. Christ will appoint only those already prepared for these positions. Both rulership and priestly functions contain shepherding responsibilities. A priest is an individual especially consecrated to the service of a deity as a mediator between the deity and his worshippers.

Note two passages of Scripture that confirm what we are being prepared for:

» 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. . . . But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (I Peter 2:5, 9)

» They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. (Revelation 14:3-4)

Both of these future positions help us focus on what we are to do within our calling now before the events of Revelation 5 and 14 occur. We must prepare to lead in the Kingdom of God. The world's approach to salvation focuses almost exclusively on being saved by confessing Jesus Christ as Savior. As important as that is, it pays little attention to any other purpose and responsibility attached to it.

However, this period prior to our ultimate admission into the Kingdom of God has a major purpose: to be prepared to continue serving God at a remarkably higher level of responsibility after Christ returns. We are being created into Jesus Christ's image, and leadership is what God is looking for in us. He does not need to see us leading vast numbers of people, but He wants to see leadership in spiritual growth as we overcome our carnal natures.

How? We are to be living sacrifices, deliberately choosing to allow ourselves to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ through obediently following His way of life. If we lead others in this life, it is primarily by example, as we are not forcing God's way on others.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Four)


 

 




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