If you’re a Christian, you already know that you needed to be made alive again by Christ. You also know that happened because He came to live inside of you (Col. 1:27) and you are in Him (I Cor. 1:30). But did you know that’s not all He wants?
What God wants
God wants something more. This portion of Jesus’ final prayer is pretty straightforward about it…
“…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that you sent Me.” John 17:21
This was just the culmination of God expressing this desire. Throughout God’s history of dealing with His people, He has always made it about one thing. It’s always been about His desire and purpose to dwell within man so the human race would be included in His community life.
The Ark, the Tabernacle and the Temple were all just foreshadowing pictures of what He really wanted. He wanted the human race to be His dwelling place. That is the goal of everything. Everything He does is toward this end.
And He’s accomplished what He set out to accomplish. We are in Him. He is in us. For all who believe, we are all one in Christ. It is finished.
What happens now
But there’s still a matter to deal with. It’s only expressed fully when something happens to His people.
When a man named Simon answered the Lord’s question “Who am I?” he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Simon’s revelation in this moment was that the Person he was standing in front of was one part of the community of God.
The Lord responded by saying “on this rock I will build my church.” He then changed Simon’s name to Peter, which means “stone.”
The rock was the relationship between the Persons within God. The Spirit, Son and Father are all contained within his statement. Peter was pointing out that Jesus was one part of the community relationship that is God. The type of relationship the Persons within God have is the foundation of His Church.
The word used there literally means bedrock, or a large rock that you would build something on. He’s saying relationships that mimic the relationships within God Himself is the only thing a healthy church can be built on.
What is built on that foundation? Check out what Peter would later write…
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:4-5)
Stones that are pieces that came from the bedrock are then built together into the walls of a house. They are living stones. They are those alive in Christ.
Now of course this doesn’t mean a church can perfectly mirror the relationship the Persons of God have with one another. We don’t walk out our new identity perfectly.
But there’s a process that progresses us to more closely mirror it over time. Living stones need to be built together. If they’re not, they’re just a pile.
If this building together doesn’t happen, the house doesn’t get built. The foundation is sand. The relationships easily crumble. That’s the #1 sign of the foundation a church is built on.
This is the hardest challenge every church faces. Will it be built together or not?
Milt Rodriguez provides some insight into this in his book The Community Life of God…
There is a choice involved here. We can allow ourselves to be built together or not. Most believers never even get the chance to experience that building together. Most of us are sitting in a “rock quarry.” We are just sitting there with a bunch of other “rocks.”
God wants to shape and mold each one of us so that we fit perfectly into one another to form those walls of the temple. This takes some chipping away of our rough edges so that we fit into one another. We can allow Him to chip us away until He gets the perfect fit together with our brothers and sisters.
How we are built together
Being built together goes beyond teachings, doctrines, principles, practices or concepts. While these are a part of the process of being built together, these are sandy foundations.
The foundation must be people expressing Jesus Christ Himself to one another. It’s allowing the same behavior that has been happening within God for all eternity to be expressed through your human body.
As Paul put it to one of the churches he worked with when they were grappling with each other over childish issues…
For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3:11)
God didn’t execute His rescue plan for us to be a pile of living stones. He cut you and me out of the bedrock before anything was created so that we might be built together into His house for Him to dwell in.