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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE CHIEF CORNER STONE

Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Hundreds of years before the coming of Christ, and the establishment of His church through which God's message of salvation was to be revealed, the inspired prophet Isaiah foretold this great event. He proclaimed, Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation (Isaiah 28:16). Similar tothis prophesy, the Psalmist wrote, The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner (Psalm 118:22). Jesus, Himself, confirmed these prophesies with this question:Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner (Matt. 22:42, also see Mark 12:10 & Luke 20:17)?In his defense before the Jewish rulers, Peter, being led by God through the Holy Spirit, establishes the fact that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead ...is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner (Acts 4:10b-11). Later, Peter wrote to Christians throughout Asia Minor and confirmed Isaiah's prophesy by saying that Jesus was the stone which the builders disallowed, and that the same is made the head of the corner (1 Pet. 2:7).

As noted in the lesson text, it was these apostles and prophets that laid the foundation on which the church of Christ was established and built, of which Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone. What a wonderful analogy to describe how much Jesus means to the church, by referring to Him as the chief corner stone. Webster describes the corner stone of a structure as the basic, essential, or most important part of a foundation. It is so important that it is often inscribed with the date of construction and memorial names. The corner stone is generally laid at a ceremony that formally begins the erection of the building. It is also very important because the corner stone, when laid, becomes the point from which all other measurements are taken, both vertically and horizontally, to assure all dimensions are correct and comply with the master construction plan.

I have seen church buildings having corner stones with this inscription "church of Christ, built A.D. 33." Although there is no scriptural requirement for such notation, certainly the meaning is significant. In a sense the inscription indicates this sentiment: "within the walls of this building Christians, making up the body of Christ, meet to worship God in the same manner they worshiped Him, since its founding on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 33." It was on this date that the first Christians were added to the church of Christ (See Acts 2:37-47). Paul uses this same analogy in comparing the body of Christ, His church, to a building. He said that God was the wise masterbuilder of the church, and Jesus Christ was its foundation; For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 3:10-11).

Notice that the lesson text limits the foundation on which the church was to be built. The church of Christ is not a physical building. It is the Christians that make it up, but is here compared to a physical building. The church of Christ is the habitation of God. God, through the Holy Spirit, revealed its design by the teaching of the apostles and prophets, and through Jesus Christ Himself. As the wise masterbuilder, God limited the foundation of the church to these teachings as recorded in His word. If not found in the teachings of Christ, His apostles, or the prophets, it is not to be used as the foundation on which the church is to be built.

By His word, God eliminates the traditions and philosophies of men from having any part in the foundational doctrines on which the church is founded. The doctrines of men, their tenants and creeds, edicts or decrees from any "religious" body, synod, or council, are to be disregarded and kept from inclusion in the master plan of the church of Christ. Because of their traditions and philosophies, Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as their Savior. Since the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 33, Jesus has been rejected as The Chief Corner Stone on every occasion, where the traditions and philosophies of men were included in the foundation of the church. How sad when men reject Christ as The Chief Corner Stone!