5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
The Bible calls us lively stones, but it does not say that we are all the same size or shape. If you look at a rock wall, you’ll notice the mortar around them, making up for the difference in the shape and sizes of the stones. Some areas need more mortar than others. A wall can be sturdy, even though it is different.
If we are all the stones of the Spiritual building, what is the mortar that holds us together? According to the encyclopedia, mortar is an aggregate, or a combination of materials. It is made up of crushed stone, gravel, sand, slag, or even recycled crushed concrete. These natural items give us an insight to the spiritual components that unite us.
First we have to understand how to connect with the other pieces of the building. Once you know the how, you can learn from the process. Just as mortar is an aggregate, so is the connecting tissue of the Church.
The primary substance in mortar is crushed Stone. The word mortar is Latin for crushed. Christians are connected to others through the crushing. The crushing of our own pride yes, the crushing of our own agendas yes, but more importantly, the crushing pattern of Christ.
In this same chapter, in telling our story, Simon Peters tells Christ’s story. He yielded His will to drinking the bitter cup, representing an emotional crushing in the garden, and was crushed physically on the cross. His life, His will, and His blood crushed, to purchase our salvation.
The Spirit of Christ and His sacrifice are the first binder in the aggregate of our soul. I’m not a construction guy, I’m a cook, but I know that to make a cake, you need a binder. If you leave out the eggs in a cake, you’re in trouble. His love is the prerequisite to every part of our lives, and our unity. The Spirit Of Christ not only rescues us, He equips us.
When we love Him, His love produces a love for our brothers and sisters, and those that are currently without the Faith. The closer we draw to Him, the easier unity becomes. Either those around us will seem sweeter, or we’ll be more tolerable when we they are sour. They will do the same for us, all of us need some mortar in the gaps.
The second mortar substance is gravel. Simon Peter’s name meant a stone, or a smaller rock. He wasn’t the rock that we build on, but he had a backbone, he just needed the strength to use it. Tenacity, determination, and a never give up outlook is a mindset. Once Peter had God’s strength, then he could say I’m not moving. It takes God’s power in this Christian walk, but it also takes a willingness to fight. The scripture says that The Kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Our experiences should strengthen our resolve. Our knowledge that this world is on the fast track to Eternity should clue us in on what kind of Christians we need to be. We must stand for our beliefs, and He will do the rest.
However understand this about the day and time we are in. The Bible says that God will decide when He returns, and no one else. That’s one reason why John said the spirit of anti-Christ, notice the little a, does already work. The Bible says only God knows the day of His return, meaning the devil cannot act until God does.
I believe that the enemy has had candidates in place in every generation, because he has no more idea when than we do. The devil guesses, but that’s all it is. In other words, the enemy may have a plan, but he can’t even pick his main general, until God makes His move. The references in Isaiah 26, II Thessalonians, and in Matthew 25 reflect God’s sovereignty concerning the timing of the last days.
The point is, don’t worry about the closeness of the end, instead, simply get closer to Jesus. It is great to study Prophecy. We don’t need to be ignorant of the times that we are in. Yet Christians don’t look for the beast in the sea, we look for the Savior In The Clouds!
Our experiences should tell us to look to Jesus most of all! A young man I know came to me with questions recently, and I was able to share with him. We don’t have to fear about the future, we know Who is holding it!
Next, the mortar is made of sand. Sand isn’t what you build on, it represents our infirmities, our humanness, our frailties. Let the weak say I am strong. As we realize how lacking we are, it should draw us closer, first to Jesus, and then to each other. If I’m reminded that I have faults, and need my Savior, even after 20 years in the Ministry, then surely I can be patient with my brother, or my sister.
Yes, Jesus built on the rock, but He walked along the sand of the seashore. He, The Rock, walked among the sand blown men and women of this world. God said of Abraham’s seed, I’ll make them as the sand by the seashore. Why, because sand touches sand. He makes us new in an imperfect world, so that we can touch those around us.
Slag is a glass like by product left after a metal is separated from it’s ore. When water hits it, it helps form concrete. Over time, it can make the concrete stronger. When we both reflect on Jesus, and reflect Jesus, it makes the whole Church stronger.
Do you have problems, do you have trials, do you have sickness? Instead of reflecting on those very real and very painful things, let me challenge you, to ignore all of that for a little while and reflect on Jesus. I admit I don’t know what you’re going through, but He does. I’ve never seen anyone that reflected on Jesus leave any way but better!
The mortar is important, but it takes the trowel to shape it. The word trowel, has a similar sounding word in Old English meaning think or believe. Even though it’s a different word, it’s an apt description. Our faith will shape us, and cause us to hold our ground in every battle.
There are different trowels for different purposes. A float trowel or finishing trowel textures the top layer of hardening concrete. A flooring trowel has one rectangular end and one pointed end, and is made to fit corners. The wise builder will use different tools for different circumstances.
When we apply both God’s Word to our lives, and to our witness or outreach, we must pray and plan. A Strong Christian is a Strategic Christian. Strategic Christians make up a Strategic Church, and Strategic Churches revolutionize Communities.
To go where you have not yet gone, according to the text is to build up the wall. God said you are built up a Spiritual building, then immediately says something else. He follows with, we are a Holy Priesthood. Walls build up, Priests extend their hearts and hands. To build up, you’ve got to reach out in a purposeful way.
The Church is one spiritual building, one priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God. It’s a process, it is a progression. We begin by working on ourselves, the lively stones.
If something doesn’t fit, I must start with me. I cannot change anyone else, but I can examine myself. Are my motives right, is my spirit right? Things are too close to the end to allow pride or stubbornness to halt the work on the entire wall.
Second, I must look around to the needs I can minister in for others. I heard someone doing this just last night. A friend asked, is anyone mowing her yard?
When you care for others, you strengthen the wall. When the wall is strong, it displays Jesus for everyone to see. When we are one, as one man, we can present Christ’s Message to the world.
The Church was built on years of sacrifice. Where you are is an amazing accomplishment, but with Jesus, your greatest days are always ahead. Isaiah said “Of the increase of His government there shall be no end.”
The world is filled with souls who need a Savior. The most important thing I can say to you is this, don’t measure your future by your past. Expand your outreach, God will lead you into new opportunities.
Your future is brighter than where you’ve been. If pain, or fear has robbed you of hope, it’s time to dream again. In Nehemiah it uses the term arise and build. Arise means to continue, build means to obtain children. Christ has bound us together, mortared by His love, to bring in a harvest for The Glory Of God.