The Church’s One Foundation
Read Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
What is the “tie that binds” the true Christian church regardless of geographical location or denomination?
Every organization, club, or group of people has something that they share that brought them together and keeps them together. For many organizations, they share a common cause that they are passionate about such as feeding the hungry or funding cancer research. Other clubs exist for more of a recreational purpose. For example, a soccer club, a book club, or a sewing circle are just groups of people who have similar hobbies. Other groups of people have location in common. For instance, they all live in the same neighborhood, so they go to the same school.
But is the church just a collection of people who like learning about God, like to hang out and sing together, and all live in the same relative area? Or is there a more significant tie that binds us together? What is the foundation of the church?
Today’s passage has an answer for us. We are not just members of the “God club.” Paul said that we are “fellow citizens” of His kingdom and we are members of God’s family.
It is significant that Paul said we are “no longer strangers and aliens.” That means at one time we were strangers and aliens. We did not belong in His kingdom or family. We were outsiders. Even worse than that, in Colossians 1:21, Paul called us enemies of God: “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds….”
So what changed? How did we go from being His enemies to being His church, citizens of His kingdom, and called children of God? The answer is who Paul calls our “cornerstone”—Jesus Christ. How did Jesus take us from His enemies to His people? In Colossians 1:22, Paul wrote: “...he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
What brings us all together is that we have all placed our faith in our cornerstone—Jesus Christ and the hope of His Gospel that was proclaimed by the apostles and recorded in Scripture. All of us were once enemies of God but through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we have been reconciled to God and brought near to Him.
A cornerstone is the most important stone in the building's foundation because it ensures that the rest of the foundation and the rest of the building is built up stable and square. We were all brought together because we have faith in Him as our Savior in common and we have been joined together and built up on the unshakeable foundation of His Word. But what have we been built up to make? Paul said together we form a “holy temple” and a “dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” The church of Christ is not a building. We are His Church!
In 1886, S.J. Stone wrote the familiar hymn “The Church’s One Foundation.” The first verse sums up how we went from strangers and aliens to being the holy temple where His Spirit dwells: “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord; she is his new creation by water and the Word. From heav’n he came and sought her to be his holy bride; with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.”
Friends, we are His church because He sought us and He bought us with His own blood. We didn’t do anything to earn this incredible gift. But through Him, we have been united to form a dwelling place for His Spirit. Despite all of our differences, we share the same cornerstone. We are built on Jesus Christ. He is Who unites us.
Lord, thank You for being the Cornerstone. Only You could unite us like this and keep us stable and strong. Thank You for loving us so much that You were willing to sacrifice Your life to reconcile us to God so that we could be built up to be Your bride. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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