MATERIALS FOR BUILDING
The Apostle Paul also speaks about a building with stones. “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s farm, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Cor. 3:9-13).
Paul says that the apostles are God’s co-workers working with God. Their purpose is to build. And we are God’s building. On one hand we are the materials for the building, and on the other hand we are the co-builders with God. This is why Paul says that we must all be careful with what material we build. We can build with gold, silver, and precious stone, or wood, hay, and stubble. There are two categories of materials. The first category is fireproof, while the second is the best material for burning. If we were to construct a building of gold, silver, and precious stones, the fire department would immediately approve it; it would be one hundred percent fireproof.
COVERED AND VEILED
In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us clearly that we are the building of God. We are not destined to be this or that. We are destined to be stones built up in God’s house.
Before we came to the church life, we seldom heard of our being stones for the building. Most Christians completely miss God’s central purpose. May the Lord have mercy upon us that we may see something deeper, higher, and richer. We should not care for wood, hay, and stubble. We are here to be precious stones for the building. For us to see this requires the Lord’s mercy.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3 that he is the master-builder who has laid the foundation, and that the Corinthians are the building as well as the co-builders. Therefore, they must be the proper building with the proper materials. The matter of building is so clear in this book, yet most Christians today will not see it. They can read this book many times, but they see nothing of the building. Instead, they pick up the negative things and argue for them. I have never met one Christian in Christianity who asked about the building in 1 Corinthians 3. It is because most of the Christians today have been distracted and veiled. Tongue-speaking, divine healing, and many other things have become layer upon layer of veils to them. Tongue-speaking is one layer, divine healing is another, even spirituality is another. We must get through all these layers! We should not care merely for spirituality; we should not care merely for being holy. We should care for God’s building!
STONES, STONES, STONES
Many scriptural things have been used by the enemy to distract and to veil the Lord’s children. We need the unveiling that we may see the light. Then our eyes will be enlarged to be like pools. Look at all these verses. John 1:42 has the word “stone.” Matthew 16:18 has “stone.” First Corinthians 3:12 has “stones.” First Peter 2:5 has “stones.” And Revelation 21:19 has “stones.” All we have in these verses are stones, stones, and more stones. Matthew is the first book of the New Testament, and Revelation is the last. From the beginning to the end of the New Testament, we see stones. It is a book of stones! The Lord Jesus mentions stones, Peter mentions stones, Paul mentions stones, and John mentions stones. Peter, Paul, and John are the main writers in the composition of the New Testament, and all their writings speak of stones for the building.
At the very beginning of the New Testament age, when Simon came to Jesus, the Lord immediately changed his name to Peter, a stone. After Peter stayed with the Lord for two or three years, he recognized Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God. Then the Lord told him that there is also something else. “You are a stone,” He said, “for the building up of My church.” Then later Peter told the saints that they were all living stones to be built up a spiritual house. Paul also spoke the same thing, and eventually the Apostle John gave the conclusion to the whole New Testament and even to the entire Bible. He said that the wall of the New Jerusalem is jasper, a precious stone, and the foundations of the wall are garnished with all manner of precious stones. So at the end of the entire Bible we see a building which has been built up with precious stones, with Peter as one of the twelve foundation stones, for the foundation stones bear the names of the twelve Apostles.
This is not my teaching, message, or opinion. This is the Lord’s recovery. It has been buried in the Bible for centuries, but now the Lord has been merciful to us and has removed the covering. Now we see that we are all stones to be built up for God’s building. The enemy is so subtle. He does his best to make the situation foggy and cloudy. We must pray, “Lord, take away all the fog and the clouds. Grant us a clear sky to see Your eternal purpose.” For the church to go on, we all need a clear sky without any fog or cloud.
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)