You cannot be neutral with Jesus; He is either your Savior or someday, He will be your judge.
After Jesus had just given the Parable of the Tenants, “the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet” (Matt 21:45-46). And they were right. It was about them, but also about anyone else who rejects the cornerstone, which is Jesus Christ Himself (Matt 21:42). He told the Jews “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits” (Matt 21:43), and it was in a little over a decade after the church began its missionary work for the Gentiles. Much fruit was borne, mainly through the Apostle Paul who was the chief apostle to the Gentiles. The Jews thought they had a birthright to the kingdom because they were the children of Abraham, but it is not about race; it’s about grace. They needed to be born again or born from above (John 3:3-7), so whoever rejects this cornerstone, will also be rejected by Christ on Judgment Day. Jesus said that “the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him” (Matt 21:44).
Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone of the church. The Apostle Paul wrote that “no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11). And if you’ve trusted in Christ, then “you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:20). For the last 2,000 years, the church has been “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Eph 2:21), but we are also part of this building because “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:22). The Apostle Peter recognizes that the church is also part of the building, being built stone by stone, as he says, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5). A stone by itself is nothing. It can be moved, it can be tossed around, or even buried, but when you join stone upon stone, and lay that upon the foundation that’s already been laid, it’s not so easy to move it. In fact, it resists change or moving from one place to another. The church that Jesus said that He would build is still prevailing today, and not even death has prevailed against her. Any saints that die for their faith are ushered into the kingdom, so not death can prevent us from being with the Lord (Rom 8:38-39).
Rock of Offense
Isaiah the Prophet wrote about Christ that “He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured” (Isaiah 8:14-15), and great was the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD when the Roman armies destroyed much of Jerusalem. Josephus writes that about 1.1 million non-combatants died in and around Jerusalem, many dying of hunger. It’s not like they hadn’t been warned thought. In referring to the magnificent temple, Jesus shocked the disciples by telling them that “there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Matt 24:2), and that did come to pass (70 AD). God knew that this Rock would cause many to stumble, because they see the cross as foolishness, so when Jesus referred to Isaiah’s quote, He said, “And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him” (Matt 21:44). What Christ said 2,000 years ago is still relevant today. There is no neutrality with Christ. You are either for Him or against Him. You either rest upon the Rock of Ages, or the Rock falls upon you someday (Heb 9:27; Rev 20:12-15).
The Chief Cornerstone
Today, people are still rejecting Jesus Christ, and so nothing has changed since the Apostle Peter wrote, that “the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (1 Pet 2:7). When John the Baptist saw the Sadducees and the Pharisees, he told them to “not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham” (Matt 3:9). As it turned out, God did raise up many “living stones” (1 Pet 2:5) as part of the church that Jesus has been building for the last 2,000 years. In a prophecy recorded in the Book of Psalms, it was foretold that “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (Psalm118:22), and so He has. He is the Chief Cornerstone for us who believe, but Paul writes that Jesus Christ is “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense” (Rom 9:33a). Thankfully, whoever it is who “believes in him will not be put to shame” (Rom 9:33b).
One church that was shrinking and dying may have been dying because they did not evangelize. They were as one man said, “The Frozen Chosen.” He said, evangelize or fossilize, and he’s right. Since God has chosen us from before the foundation or the creation of the world (Eph 1), it is our duty to seek out others who may also be chosen. We may not know who they are, but God will use us as a means to reach them. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Heb 1:1-2), and today, He speaks to us and tells us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.