The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like A Polished Stone

livingstones

1 Peter 2:4-5 says

 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.

Around 8 or so years ago I was in a prayer meeting and we all sat before the Lord and listened and I saw a vision in my imagination.

I was standing near the throne, which was at the top of a hill, and I turned towards the multitude of people and declared, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a polished stone.”

I understood what it meant when I said it. Polished stones go through a process called Tumble Finishing. This is where many stones (believers) are put inside a barrel (church) with a lubricant (Holy Spirit) and grit (aggravating things) and as the stones  inside the barrel gets tumbled around (life and correction) and they rub together and the grit removes the rough edges while the lubricant  prevent too much rubbing. I guess I could say as stones polish stones instead of iron sharpening iron in this aspect.

I’m also picturing a stream coming from a mountain and as stone make it into the river they get carried and bounce and follow the stream till they are smooth and find their place on the riverbed. Have you felt out of place? Do you seem to just follow where the river goes and never seem to fit in? It could be either you are still in the smoothing process or just haven’t found your designated spot yet. Be content in the river. Be content in the process. Be content and know your place won’t be filled unless you reject the process to get there.

Living stones. Interesting term isn’t it? No wonder why God says the latter Glory will be greater than the former (see Haggai 2:9). The temple used to be a stationary building which people have to travel to worship at (see John 4:21-24). Now the temple has come to you…if you stay in proper fellowship. We are the temple and are becoming the Temple. There are many lone rangers these days…and I understand why. Some have been hurt, others need more, and still others think they are better than the church (see Luke 18:11). I, for one, love the Church for without the church I would have been subject to every wave of deceit the world has to offer. A drifting stone, thinking I’ve arrived while in reality I’ve never left. I know of online churches, which I’m not against, that become a safe place for those hurt by church, which I also am not against, but a computer screen can never take the place of a brother and sister in fellowship with one another face to face. Some even become Christian hermits receiving their own revelation outside of relationship with the rest of the Body. Contemplating your hand will never teach you to walk and it won’t reveal that you have feet. 1 Corinthians 12:21-25 says

 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

Without a corporate man the Head has no place to rest. Where one refuses face to face fellowship, one refusing the working of the Holy Spirit in His body. Hebrews 10:25 has a somber warning and it says

Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.

Light strengthens by number. One cannot put 10,000 to flight. Living stones as in plural. More than one. Many parts. You wouldn’t expect to build a house with one brick would you? The Lord’s candela or candle power strength must come with unity and not disunity. The building God is building in this hour is from living stones, living together, and preferring one another over themselves. We need to allow the plumb line of God to see where we are in relation to where He is and others are. I am guilty of this and I repent for the way I’ve called some “nominal Christians.” These are my brother and sisters whether I like it or not. Let us not reject these “living stones” which the Builder is not rejecting Himself. Submit to the process of polishing for this is the kingdom of Heaven.

We are living and breathing stones which call out the praises of God and are being fitting together for a Holy Dwelling for the God of the universe to dwell in and we need to submit to the process of being built up where habitation is possible. Habitation is possible only by habitat. Buildings are only possible by multiple stones being built together.

 

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6 comments

  1. By nature and nurture I am an introvert, which means being around people (even online!) drains my energy. This in no way frees me from the command and necessity to gather together with other believers for the reasons you clearly explained. If anything it forces me to rely even more on God to provide His strength and wisdom and direction – always a good position to be in, don’t you think?

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  2. The drumbeat constantly beaten and the refrain sung to ad nauseum is that those of us who have left the church system have left “because we were hurt”. In our case and I’m sure in the lives of many others, we have spent 40 literal years working on relationships, dealing effectively with not only hurts but major cataclysmic events that would make your head spin. Yet, instead of running away, we would time after time return Sunday after Sunday because this is what you do. You work on relationships. You do church. You “don’t forsake the assembling”. Then Jesus spoke. He had been speaking the same thing for years but we couldn’t hear it. Now He spoke definitively. “Come out of her, My people”. We who have left have not left the Body of Christ, we have left a corrupt system. We have way more interaction with members of the Body of Christ than we ever had while in the System of Church. Way more edification, growth, and realized sonship. Way more opportunity for stones rubbing stones as you have very beautifully described above. There are one million of us leaving the institution of church each year and when surveyed, we overwhelmingly answer, “we are not leaving because we are losing our faith but instead we are leaving to preserve it”. I challenge you to consider your concern that those of us who have left the institution of church but not the Body of Christ (which we love) are committing the sin of “forsaking the assembly”. I know, Jordan, that you are a student of the Word and a man who knows the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Tell me then, who is “assembling”? The one who attends a church meeting whose agenda is planned ahead by a few individuals or maybe scripted by one church leader instead of by the Lord of the Ekklesia Himself. Jesus is not directing church services in their entirely like He wants to. The church program is doing the directing. Instead of actively assembling and manifesting 1 Cor 14:26 with all of the parts of the Body assembled and contributing, church attendees stare at the back of the head in front of them for two hours with very little variance to that rule as professionals orate a prepared sermon and lead the group in the singing of songs that they feel are appropriate that morning. This is not assembling. This is an affront to the Lord of Glory Who bought not the “church” but the Ekklesia with His own blood so that He alone could be Lord of it, including its own assemblies, maturing its members as they minister in freedom as led by His Holy Spirit’s dancing hand – one on this one’s head and then the next. So all can share. All can bring the entire pie of what Holy Spirit wanted to bring that morning instead of one piece of pie coming from a platform. This is not assembly. It is not assembling. Actually, this is a counterfeit system that has surplanted the true assembly for centuries, even millennia. And yes, we are forsaking that. We are forsaking that for true Ekklesia. Read the history. Get curious and see for yourself how this traces back past Luther, past the Dark Ages, past even Constantine to shortly after the original apostles passed away. The precious Body of Christ has been sold a bill of goods packaged as “church”. Please understand, we love the Body of Christ and its members but not the Church System. There is a huge difference between the two. “Church”, a word insisted on by English translators since the KJV, but not in the original language, has a built in reference to a building, a prescribed time to gather, a hierarchical system, a professional minister, etc. Ekklesia means the polar opposite. It is the term that Jesus used to indicate what He would build and that the gates of hell would not be able to stand against it. It is a word for the calling out of an assembly of citizens of a Greek city for the purpose of open forum and deciding on issues that affect the city. Jesus could have used the term “synagogue” with its implications of structure, building, and hierarchy, but He didn’t. He certainly didn’t use the word “church”. This is not about semantics. “Ekklesia” has come to mean for us who have escaped the system, the following:
    A gathering where the Spirit of Jesus is allowed to have full freedom to be Conductor and Orchestrator of all that occurs. He chooses who will speak, sing, etc and the content thereof. The end result is a harmonious serendipity of koinonea that yields an expression of all of the facets of the diamond that Jesus intended for the assembly to receive instead of just a couple of facets. All have opportunity to share. All mature more readily as sons because they are doing the ministry and exercising their gifts (1Cor 12,14. Eph 4). Ekklesia for us means community. It’s not a hi and bye relationship that time restraints of a church program demand. It’s not a shake your neighbors’ hand during the transition time of the church service. It’s not even a prescribed time and location to meet each week. Instead, it’s a wonderful 24/7 relationship through the week where members of the Body do life together. It’s not a “come into these four walls and vegetate” but instead “let’s be a brotherhood or fellowship on the move to take the kingdom out into the neighborhoods”. Ekklesia is an obedience to Jesus words to not have hierarchy and layers of authority ruling over lower strata like the Gentiles but to be brothers on the same level. It’s obeying His command to not bestow titles like rabbi or pastor. It’s obedience to His command – “freely you have received, freely give”. No one gets paid to do the ministry. We all do it because we love to and can’t help ourselves. There are no hierlings amongst us. No church ladders of success to climb. No positions to protect. No territorial spirit that demands that sheep attend a certain church and report each week to put their money in the plate to support the professional’s lifestyle and be a butt in a seat to count toward attendance records. They are free to go from location to location. Subsets comprised of members from various fellowships can gather without church leadership fearing “sheep stealing” or some kind of church coup is going down. There are no walls. No divisions. No labels. No denominations. No buildings, no staff salary packages, no overhead – all the giving can go to the poor and missions. Everyone is free to speak what is on their minds, explore theologically, question the status quo without fear of subtle reprisals like loss of a church position or sullied relationship with a pastor, etc. Best of all, the Holy Spirit can show up unhindered for as long as He wants to and flow unfettered by restraints of a program or order of service that says, for example, it’s now time to transition from worship to announcements to sermon or to whatever the platform dictates when the Lord of the Body is not even through doing what He is doing yet. So no, we are not leaving and forsaking the assembly. We are leaving so that we can have true assembly. True community. Be a real family. Why don’t you come out and join us? Dive in, the water’s fine.

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    1. Thanks for the comment…I must have struck a nerve. I have spoken more so on the Ekklesia here: https://1john417.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/what-does-the-term-church-mean/ .

      I 100% understand what you are talking about and I’m not against that at all however I think you misunderstand the reason for the post. Iron sharpening iron. For some all they have is the local church…others have house fellowships available and that’s great. I was thinking more so about lone rangers. Those who don’t ever interact within a fellowship. For me, if I want to see change I must be the change. Instead of biting and devouring we can beckon others into a real relationship with God and each other whether in a building or coffee shop or outside park. It’s about relationship and getting polished.

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