The Church’s One Foundation by Samuel J. Stone, 1866.
The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is his new creation by water and the Word:
from heav’n he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.
Observe: S.J. Stone’s hymn describes the Christian church as being built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. A foundation starts with a cornerstone. The cornerstone for the church, laid by God, is seen in both the Old and New Testaments.
The prophet Isaiah writes, Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation” (Isaiah 28:16, ESV). In a vision, the prophet Daniel saw an image representing the world powers throughout history being destroyed by, a stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:35).
The great mountain is the church made up of Jews and Gentiles as fellow citizens. Paul writes that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, (and it) grows into a holy temple in the Lord…a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:20–22).
Founded on Jesus Christ to be God’s dwelling place on earth in the present, the people are living stones, strong and straight, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. These living stones are a “new creation by water and the Word.” Jesus, the eternal “Word” made this clear when he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). The cleansing water, according to Ezekiel, is from God for righteousness and is brought by the Spirit to bring the new birth to dead hearts, which makes them living stones that become the church of Jesus Christ (Ezekiel 36:25).
Verse 2 tells of the church extends throughout the earth in fellowship together because of Christ.
Elect from ev’ry nation, yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses, with ev’ry grace endued.
Verses 3 and 4 remind us that persecution is always with us, yet the church stands firm because her Lord is always there “to defend, to guide, sustain, and cherish her to the end.” The last verse we sing in our church from Stone’s hymn is verse 5.
Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation of peace forevermore;
till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.
We look forward today to this promise of victory and rest, but work remains. In this age, we do the work of evangelists because you never know when the next “living stone” is standing in front of you, waiting to hear the gospel.
I look forward to seeing many of you on our YouTube channel on Sunday. The link is on our website. The Song for Today will return on Monday, April 20. Until then,
Blessings, Pastor Don.