So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Today we toured the ruins of two ancient cities. Actually I went to one city and Dale went to another (he had already been to the other site on a vacation a few years ago). Both cities were the sites of significant influence in the life of the church at one point. Both cities once had church buildings dedicated to the worship of the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Both cities now lie fallen to pieces. These once great places are, today, just rubble – interesting rubble, to be certain, but rubble nonetheless. It is a bit humbling to consider as you walk through something like this. The grass growing up between the gaps in the foundations, the columns lying on the ground, and the tumbled stones that once were unified as walls all proclaim their failure.
If our hope were merely in what was built by human hands then it would indeed be a failure, a colossal one at that. All our best efforts to build something eternal, with our own strength, fall like so many towers of Babel. But we do not put our trust in brick and mortar. We put our trust in the one who once declared, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it!” (John 2:19). We place our hope in He who forms and fashions us, the living stones, into the dwelling place of God (Ephesians 2:22; see also Revelation 21:3, 22).
I made a comment at one point during the day to my brother in Christ, who was with me, that what looked like destruction could rise if the Spirit were to come. (We had been discussing this subject a great deal throughout the day.) He looked at me, with a grin, and said, “Like the dry bones,” (see Ezekiel 37). Exactly! Like the dry bones. He got me thinking about all of the dry bones in our own community. How many people in Lake Wales need to hear the Gospel from me and from you? How many need to be shown that they are living in the ruins of their own making when the New Jerusalem could be theirs by grace through faith in Jesus Christ?