This past Sunday morning, Billy used an illustration in his sermon, calling God our “Great Stonemason in the Sky.” While the title is a bit of a humorous one and got a large laugh out of the congregation, there is a lot of truth in the concept. I am by no means an expert in the field of stonemasonry, but I do appreciate and value the art of building and constructing. And there are three pieces in structural building that Scripture highlights and relates to our spiritual lives: the foundation, the cornerstone, and the building stones.
The foundation is what we often do not see. But while we may not see it, it is what sets the stage for what we do see above ground. Setting the proper foundation gives you a subsurface that has the ability to bear a great load. It also gets compacted so that what is built on the foundation won’t shake, shift, or settle out of alignment.
Scripture tells us in many places that God or Jesus offer the proper foundation for our lives spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.
Luke 6:46-49 NLT
Once a foundation is set, the building above ground can begin. This is where we see the importance of the cornerstone. There was a time when building was done with such precision and with an emphasis placed heavily on the corners of the building. Cornerstones would be the point at which the rest of the building would grow and expand.
Conveniently, Scripture also has something to say about cornerstones.
“Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.””
1 Peter 2:7 NLT
“So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22 NLT
Wait just a minute, the previous verse not only mentions the foundation which was crafted through God and the Holy Spirit (along with the prophets who went ahead of Christ) AND the cornerstone (mentioned as Christ Jesus himself), but it does not stop there. It includes you and I, the Gentiles, as being made a part of the dwelling where God lives by his Spirit!
“We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”
Ephesians 2:21 NLT
We are each a stone in this holy temple that can only be built on the solid foundation of God the Father, oriented with the Cornerstone of Jesus Christ, and through our belief in Him becoming a place where the Holy Spirit lives, moves, and breathes!
As the kingdom of God grows, and each stone is added to the temple, we get something much more splendid than Solomon or David would have ever experienced. We get more than a place where we can go to be near God. We have God himself in us! We get to be the body of Christ, the visible hands and feet of an invisible God. As we work together let our lives be a living sacrifice (Roman’s 12:1) and pleasing aroma (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1 NLT
“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.”
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NLT
This includes every one of us. As a church, we are ourselves a representation of the house of the Lord. At an individual level, your experiences, knowledge, preferences, and story are just a few of the aspects of your life that the “Great Stonemason in the Sky” uses to form you into an irreplaceable part of the church’s foundation. Looking at a more broad vantage point, Christ has placed every partner, every guest, every volunteer here, in Chester County, at this specific place and time. And when we all come with an All In mentality, bringing our unique placement, gifts, knowledge, and experience to the table, Christ is better magnified and joy is brought within His house.
“There’s joy in the house of the Lord Our God is surely in this place And we won’t be quiet We shout out your praise" House of the Lord - Phil Wickham