You are welcome to the second part of this message. Before I rounded off last week, I said God does not change but He changes people. I added that God’s programme here on earth remains the same but He can change the personalities, the human agents that He uses. I want to continue from where I stopped and go deeper into the body of this message. I pray that the Lord will speak to you, you will hear his voice and you will not allow the stones to cry out in your place.
Is God asking you to do something and you are failing to do it? You are still bargaining with God? You had better obey before the stones cry out. I speak of stones not in the literal sense but in the metaphor.
Stones in this sense are alternative people that God can raise up to occupy your present position if you don’t keep your place; they are people you may not even give a dog’s chance but who God will count worthy and use in your place if you become proud. They are the “foolish things of this world” that the Lord will use to confound you, the wise. It has happened before and it is still happening. Once God sees that such ‘stones’ have the right heart and they make themselves available, He gives them the ability.
Jesus as Stone
The Bible is so clear on the issue of Jesus Christ being a stone - not a literal stone. Ephesians 2:20 calls Jesus the cornerstone. The Bible also calls him the stone which the builder rejected, which became the chief cornerstone, a Scripture first seen in Psalm 118:22 and later referred to in the New Testament. “Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” (1Peter 2:6-8 NKJV). The phrase ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ is a reference to Isa 8:13-14: “The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (NKJV) Isaiah again makes reference to the cornerstone in Isa 28:16: “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.” (NKJV)
Jesus is our cornerstone; he is our sure foundation. And if our lives are built on him, we will never be shaken. Jesus also made reference to the Old Testament prophecy pointing to him as the cornerstone. “Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? ‘Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.’” (Matt 21:42-44 NKJV) Mark 12:10-11 and Luke 20:17-18 record the same statement.
Believers as Stones
Just as the Bible refers to Jesus as stone, indeed our cornerstone and chief cornerstone, it also refers to believers as stones. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”(Eph. 2:19-22 NKJV) .In this passage, Jesus is clearly referred to as the chief cornerstone and believers as “having been built” and “the whole building, being fitted together” – there is no mention of stone with reference to believers here. But 1 Peter 2:4-5 makes this very clear. “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.” (NKJV)
In the two passages, Jesus Christ is referred to first as the chief cornerstone and later as a living stone. A temple in the Bible is a tabernacle of worship and in the Old Testament, it is so clear that physical temples are built with stones among other things. This is very explicit in the account of the temple built by Solomon in 1 Kings 5:17-18.
When the Book of Ephesians talks of being built together for dwelling place of God in the Spirit, it is talking of spiritual or “Holy temple” built with stones – spiritual stones just as you use physical stones in the case of a physical temple.
There has never existed a temple built with one single stone. Many stones are used. Same is true of the “whole building” spoken of in Ephesians 2:21. “In whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (NKJV) Any stone that will not do what the builder expects it to do will always be removed because, no stone can hold the builder to ransom. No stone will determine what the builder should do with it or where it should be placed. The builder determines what he does with each stone. He knows what he wants.
Since we are stones – living stones (1 Peter 4-5) – we should learn from the attitude of the physical stones and the builder’s authority over them. No stone argues with the builder. Any stone that is found unsuitable is dropped for another.
All believers are stones, in the household of God. It is significant that Jesus specifically called Peter a stone. “Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are
Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, a Stone)” (John 1:42 NKJV). But, it is not only Peter who is qualified to be referred to as stone. All believers are stones. Where one stone refuses to do what the builder (God) who has the building plan would want done, he has no choice ultimately than to drop that stone and allow another stone to cry out (to do what the former is supposed to do). Remember God does not change; He changes people. Never think there is no substitute for you. Be alive to your responsibility and your Kingdom service before the stones cry out. God created you an original, of a truth, but if you fail him, there is always a replacement.
A man must see his conversion and his call to service as a privilege. When a man fails in his responsibilities towards God, he is giving an opportunity for stones (other Christians) to take his place. There is nobody who doesn’t have a substitute, No man is indispensable. I repeat: God cannot be held to ransom by your gifts, talents, riches, accomplishments, office or title.
I encourage you to obey whatever the Spirit of God has been speaking to you since you started reading this message. I will stop here and continue next week. Don’t let the stones cry out!