We have been using a metaphor -- those who follow Jesus are God's family -- to describe God's people. The people who wrote the Bible used a number of metaphors to describe God's people.
Scripture says God is building a temple. A temple is important, because it is where people go to meet God, to learn about God, to get their lives in line with what God wants, and to learn how to live in a way that pleases him.
This new temple is very different from the old temple. They are both built with stones. But the stones in the old temple are dead. The stones in the new temple are alive. They are "Living Stones."
Scripture says that Jesus is the cornerstone of God's new temple. A cornerstone is a very important part of a building. First, it sets the location of the building. Second, it gives the building its orientation. The cornerstone is. Is it on a mountain? In a valley? On the shore? Just off an expressway? What does it face? The ocean? Woods with a river? A strip mall? A dump? A polluted river?
The cornerstone affects the function, the atmosphere and the esthetics of a building tremendously.
Then, the other stones are put into position. Each stone is placed, so it is in the correct relationship with the cornerstone, and in correct relationship with one another. If the other stones are not in correct relationship, the structure is weakened, the purpose of the building is hindered, and there is a danger of collapse, and people getting hurt.
But the stones used to construct this building are living! What characterizes life? It grows. It matures. It reproduces.
● God's Perspective
Family is not an adequate metaphor for God's church -- to stand by itself. It does express the concepts of love, mutual support and service, unity and commitment that God wants to express.
With this temple metaphor, God is painting a different picture. The temple is constructed out of his people. So, his people have the same purpose a temple does.
Does someone want to meet God? Does someone want to learn about God? Does someone want to step into a relationship with God? Does someone want to conduct their life in a way that pleases God? Find God's people. Be with them.
God has made his people to represent him, to model him, to explain him, and to mediate for him. His people are designed to be a "place" where people can find God.
God's people form a living temple. This temple should grow and mature. This temple should reproduce. This temple should make a positive impact on the community it is in. The community should be safer, more healthy, and more beautiful.
● Living My Life
The temple of God is a living temple. So, it is not the brick and mortar edifice that people see dot the landscape. It is the people. A lot of people meet in these edfices. But there does not need to be an edifice. There needs to be a people.
The people do not represent God singly, by themselves. Although, each person must do his/her part, it is the whole people that represent God. One, the stones are different. They are alive. So their experiences are different. The lessons they learn from God and about God are different. The way they each one represents God is different. So, each one's functions are needed. Each one fills a different niche in the "building."
Two, they are the "temple." They represent God together. The relationships between the stones are important. The relationships communicate God's nature to the world. Jesus told his disciples that love and unity demonstrate the truth about him to the world. If the "temple" does not show love, if the "temple" does not show unity, it does not represent God as he intends, it does not live as he designed, and it does not honor God.