Lesson 2 - Building the Church (1)

The Lord Jesus, in speaking of His redeemed people, called them "MY CHURCH!" We found in our first lesson, that in choosing this word, our Lord was referring to something which had distinctive meaning for His disciples. He also used another word which they would have no difficulty in understanding. The word was "BUILD". His people were to be HIS CALLED OUT CONGREGATION OR ASSEMBLY. They were also going to be His "BUILDING". This "Building" was going to be built "UPON HIS ROCK". In this study we are going to consider the Church as His "BUILDING".

A. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT THE FOUNDATION OF THIS "BUILDING"?

1. THE FOUNDATION STONE IN PROPHECY AND FULFILLMENT

Isa. 28:16 - So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic."

1 Pet. 2:6 -For in Scripture it says:“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

2. ISRAEL'S REJECTION OF THE STONE PROPHESIED AND FULFILLED

Psa. 118:22 - The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

Matt. 21:42 - Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Acts 4:10,11 - then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone."

1 Pet. 2:4 - As you come to him, the living Stonerejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—

3 OUR LORD'S DECLARATION (Matt. 16:13-18)

Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Jesus then pronounced Peter blessed and declared this answer was "revealed to you ...... by my Father in heaven".
Then, addressing Peter, He said a strange thing. He said, "... you are Peter ..." Did Peter not know that he was Peter? But Jesus had a purpose in speaking in this way. In the beginning, when Andrew introduced his brother Simon to Jesus, Jesus had said to him, "You are Simon son of John: You will be called Cephas, which when translated is Peter". Both Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) mean a rock. (John 1:41,42)
Now many months later, on the occasion of Peter‘s great inspired confession, Jesus reminds him of the name He had given him. He refers to the disciple's name, which means "a stone", because HE is about to make an announcement about a BUILDING. He is going to talk about the building's foundation, so He refers to Peter‘s name (Petros - 'a piece of rock') and then goes on to speak of "this rock" ('petra' -,‘a huge rock') upon which He will build His church.

4. THE APOSTLE PETER AND THE FOUNDATION STONE

1 Pet. 2:4,6-8 (Amp.) - "Come to Him (then, to that) Living Stone which men tried and threw away, but which is chosen (and) precious in God's sight .... For thus it stands in Scripture: Behold, I am laying in Zion a chosen (honored), precious Chief Cornerstone; and he who believes in Him - who adheres to, trusts in and relies on Him shall never be disappointed or put to shame, To you then who believe is the preciousness; but for those who disbelieve (it is true). The (very) Stone which the builders rejected has become the main Cornerstone, and a stone that will cause stumbling and a Rock that will give (men) offense; they stumble because they disobey and disbelieve (God"s) Word, as those (who reject Him) were destined (appointed) to do."

a. THE STONE IDENTIFIED

1 Pet. 2:4a - "Come to HIM (then, to that) LIVING STONE..."

b. THE STONE REJECTED

1 Pet. 2:4b — "Which men tried AND THREW AWAY - disallowed/rejected." The word "disallowed" is the translation of a word which refers to the act of putting someone or something to the test for the purpose of putting one's approval upon that person and thus receiving Him, this act of testing being carried to the point where no further testing is needed, with the result that one comes to the settled conclusion that the one tested does not meet the requirements of the test and is therefore disapproved, repudiated and rejected. This Living Stone in the person of the Son became incarnate, lived for thirty-three years in the midst of Israel, offered Himself as its Messiah, and was examined by official Israel for the purpose of approving Him as Messiah, and then repudiated because He was not what official Israel wanted in a Messiah. What a commentary on the totally depraved condition of man's heart.

c. THE STONE CHOSEN AND PRECIOUS

1 Pet. 2:4c — "CHOSEN (and) PRECIOUS in God's sight"

Man evaluated Jesus and "disallowed" Him. This same Jesus is God‘s "Chosen-out one" and is "precious" to God in terms of divine values. what a contrast!

d. THE STONE PROPHESIED

1 Pet. 2:6a - "For thus IT STANDS IN SCRIPTURE: Behold, I am laying in Zion a chosen (honored) precious chief Cornerstone."

e. THE STONE TO BE TRUSTED

1 Pet. 2:6b — "He who BELIEVES IN HIM...shall never be disappointed or put to shame.“

f. THE STONE'S VALUE SHARED BY THE BELIEVER

1 Pet. 2:7a - "To you then who BELIEVE...is the PRECIOUSNESS."
Who can evaluate the "preciousness" of our Lord Jesus? we have no adequate and conclusive rule of measurement. He is precious to God. This "preciousness" is ours who "believe". "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." (1 Cor. 1:30).

g. THE STONE WILL BE CONTINUALLY REFUSED BY MANY

1 Pet. 2:7b,8 — "The very Stone which the builders rejected has become the main Cornerstone, and a Stone that WILL CAUSE STUMBLING and a Rock that will GIVE (MEN) OFFENSE; they stumble because they DISOBEY AND DISBELIEVE (GOD'S) WORD, as those (who reject Him) were destined (appointed) to do."
Just as the "official builders" of Israel "disallowed" Jesus in the days of His flesh, so will men continue to refuse Him His proper place because they "disobey and disbelieve God‘s Word."

5. THE APOSTLE PAUL AND THE FOUNDATION STONE

1 Cor. 3:11 - "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Eph. 2:20 - "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone."

6. THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS

Eph. 2:20 - "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." The apostles and prophets were those God chosen and ordained men who were commissioned to found the first churches, establishing them in Christ and formulating "... the apostles’ teaching ..." (Acts 2:42), which was the basis for the faith and conduct of the churches for all time.

STUDY QUESTIONS FOR LESSON #2

  1. Does the Oid Testament speak of "foundations"? Give two references.
  2. what did national Israel do with the headstone of the foundation?
  3. what is the stone upon which Christ is buiiding His church?
  4. what does the Apostle Peter tell us about the foundation stone?