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THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED
By Francis FrangipaneThe goal of God in this new anointing is to return the church to the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. The correct foundation is not just what Jesus did in redemption, but what He commands as Lord. Once the foundation is properly laid within us, the house of the Lord can be built.
Becoming Wise Master Builders
Paul said, "as a wise master builder I laid a foundation" (I Cor 3:10). The eternal foundation of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ; we rest and build upon Him. It is wisdom to build the Lord's house with only Jesus in mind, for He must be the central figure of every effort; He must abide as the living source of all our virtue.
Yet, there is a tendency to unconsciously avoid the teachings of Christ in favour of some other emphasis from the Scriptures. We make our favourite teaching the cornerstone of our church rather than the life and power of Christ Himself. Inevitably, we find ourselves attempting to make disciples in our image instead of His.
Jesus said, "The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone" (Lk 20:17). We cannot separate what Jesus says from who Jesus is. Christ and His word are one. To the degree that we fail to teach what Jesus taught, we are actually rejecting Him as Lord and unconsciously redefining the dimensions of the cornerstone of the church.
Listen, beloved, to how the Lord associates Himself with His teachings. He said, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day" (Jn 12:48). He warned, "Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory" (Lk 9:26). He exposes our hypocrisy, saying, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Lk 6:46)
You see, Christ and His word are inseparable. Jesus was not a man who became the Word, but the eternal Word who became a man. His very core nature is the Word of God. And to reject or ignore what He says is to reject or ignore who He is.
We cannot build the house of the Lord if we do not honour and build upon the full spectrum of Christ’s teachings. Unless we are teaching our converts "...all that [He] commanded," we are not making disciples (Matt 28:18); we, in our church society, will always be trapped in spiritual infancy and religion.
Therefore, let us honestly ask ourselves: In the building plan of our churches, how much of an emphasis are we placing upon the words of Jesus? Is there a process in which new converts can become disciples of Christ?
If you are like most congregations, there is probably little focus given to systematic study and application of Christ's teaching. You see, if Jesus is truly the designer and builder of this house, then we must come to Him for the architectural plans. The building code of the kingdom must be obedience to the words of Christ.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall; for it had been founded upon the rock" (Matt 7:24-25).
Beloved, there is a storm coming; even now the sky has darkened and the first drops are falling. If we will endure, we must be built upon the rock. Please hear me, you cannot build your house in a storm. It is through the Spirit and words of Christ that the house of the Lord is built. This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, "I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matt 16:14).
The Apostolic Foundation
Multitudes of Christians today know what Jesus did, yet remain stunted in their spiritual growth. Why? Without realizing it, we made the teachings of Paul the "cornerstone" of the church. The apostle's emphasis centered upon salvation, faithfully bringing us to Jesus. With great wisdom, Paul presents God's plan of redemption in Christ. Paul's message revealed what Christ did; but Paul himself was built upon what Christ said. Paul did not become apostle Paul apart from the words of Christ dwelling in him richly.
But it is Jesus, not Paul, who reveals "the Father." Christ's Spirit and His word, like no one else in history, has the power to restructure our souls, conforming us inwardly in true accessibility to God.
Obviously, my dear friends, we are not in anyway against the rest of the Bible. Each year I read the Bible through, often reading on my knees. I love all of God's word. Yet, I one time spent three years just reading and studying the gospels over and over again. I am convinced we, as the church, have lost sight of Jesus in the blur of Christianity. He must be to us the very cornerstone and foundation of our lives. Indeed, it was upon this foundation of His Spirit and words that the Lord has built and empowered the ministry in my life.
It is not as though I am alone in my view: all the New Testament writers are in absolute agreement with my emphasis upon Christ. Indeed, Paul writes in I Tim 6:3-6, "This is the sort of thing you should teach, and if anyone tries to teach some doctrinal novelty which is not compatible with sound teaching (which we base on Christ's own words and which leads to Christ-like living), then he is a conceited idiot! (Phillips).
When we seek to build upon a foundation other than Jesus, the results are everything but Jesus! Only Christ can create Christians. If we focus on our "doctrinal novelties," seeking to be just different enough to attract more people than the church down the street, we have missed the entire purpose of both the gospel and the ministry of Christ!
Paul based his teaching "on Christ's own words." Look at what John taught, "Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God" (2 John 1:8-9). The priority of this hour is for the church to abide in the teachings and Spirit of the Lord Jesus. From this foundation, the house of the Lord will be built.
We have had our pet doctrines and particular emphasis. We have been like Peter speaking to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles" (Matt 17:4). We are so ready to offer a plan to God instead of simply hearing and obeying Jesus. I believe the Father Himself has had enough of our ideas and advice. In His love He is interrupting our programs with the same word with which He interrupted Peter: "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased: hear Him!
Lord Jesus, forgive me for following
winds of doctrines instead of picking up my cross and following You. Help me
now to return with my whole heart to Your words.
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