Both Old and New Testament Scripture refers to Jesus as the cornerstone. We know that Jesus is the head of the Church, but there is a particular significance to the cornerstone.
1 Peter 2:6 (NIV) 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.”
In a physical building, a cornerstone is the first stone laid for a structure, with every other stone laid in reference to that stone. In relationship to the Church, the cornerstone, Jesus Christ, defines what is straight and true. We find our identity both corporately and individually in the cornerstone. Jesus orients us in a particular direction, and He defines the original foundation and intention of the Church.
Church Movements In Relation To The Cornerstone
Many local churches are part of a movement, and there are numerous different church movements around the globe. Movement speaks of motion, and movement can be measured. There are many things we can measure in movement, including speed, distance, time, and angle. From a physics perspective, we measure from one fixed point towards another point. And for a fixed reference point, we typically use the earth (or something on the earth) as the starting place for measuring movement.
There are natural measurements, but there are also spiritual measurements. When it comes to the correct measurement of churches or church movements, we have to do that from a kingdom perspective, not from logic or natural measurements.
In the kingdom, everything is upside down – or more precisely, right side up! Essentially things are often opposite to what we expect. In the kingdom, rather than using earth as our fixed point, we use Christ as our fixed point. On earth, we measure AWAY from a fixed point – but in the kingdom, we measure TOWARDS the fixed point of the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. We measure from heaven’s perspective, not from earth’s perspective. In the kingdom, our primary measurement is not size or speed – it is whether the church and its members are moving closer to Jesus. From heaven’s perspective, our measurement is not about how impressive our programs are, but whether we are becoming more of a reflection of Jesus both individually and corporately. Faster is not always better – are we moving closer to Jesus, or are we just getting busier with more events?
There is nothing wrong with recording statistics or measuring church growth (after all, on the day of Pentecost it was recorded that 3000 people were added to the Church). However, these measurements in the book of Acts came as a result of having the focus firmly on Jesus. Salvation came to the people because the gospel was preached with power and authority. When we are operating from kingdom priorities, then church movement (towards Jesus) will result in salvations and true church increase, not just transfer growth!
In addition to Christ as the living Cornerstone, the apostle Peter refers to us individually as living stones.
1 Peter 2:4-5 (NIV) As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
As we constantly position ourselves towards Jesus, we are being built into a spiritual house. But it is important to remember that this is not just a personal focus towards Christ – the Church is a Body with many members. This speaks not only of individual members in a local church, but each church around the world being a part of The Church.
There Are No Square Pegs In Round Holes
One of the sayings of the world when people feel like they don’t feel like they fit in is, “I feel like a square peg in a round hole.” But there is no place for this humanistic language in the Church. There are no square pegs in round holes in the Church, only living stones with each member fitly joined together.
A round hole speaks of isolation. And a peg is something that holds on to something else and does not move. These things cannot define being a part of the Church because discipleship is all about movement and relationship – relationship with God, and relationship with others. Isolated believers and isolated churches are unhealthy. A healthy spiritual building consists of living stones, moving consistently towards Jesus. And as we engage in discipleship, we (as living stones) come into contact with other living stones, and we are further refined – in the same way as iron sharpens iron.
When we truly have a revelation of heaven’s perspective, it changes everything. Our focus changes. We stop striving for natural outcomes and we live from an eternal perspective. Instead of being competitive towards other churches or ministries, we celebrate when they have a harvest of souls or build a new building. Instead of being jealous when someone is operating in the gifts of the Spirit, we celebrate that they are being a healthy part of the Body of Christ and growing closer to God, and we learn and receive from them.
Let’s be the Church which truly understands that we are God’s chosen people – His holy nation and His special possession. Let’s continue to move towards Christ as Cornerstone, and be the Church that God intended!