Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (NIV)
The Bible in the Book of Ephesians gives us "six" perspective views" of how God sees her (The Church) in His overall providential scheme. The "organism" Church (you and me) has been illustrated by 6 different examples or pictures. Those “pictures” are:
A. A New Nation
According to verse 19, all believers who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord make up the formation of a “new nation”. The believers are no longer strangers or foreigners in their relation to God, but God has considered all believers as fellow citizens having the “spirit of God”. In Romans 10: 12, the Apostle Paul tells us that this is the reason that God said that there is no difference between the Jew nor the Greek, but the same Lord unto all is rich unto all that call on him. This means that God treats us all the same as far as our personal relationship with him is concerned. As a “new nation”, we make up a “royal priesthood”, a “peculiar people” and “holy” as a new nation. Our new relationship with God replaces the relationship status we had as estranged heathens and considered foreigners. We are now fellow citizens with the rest of the saints.
B. Members of God’s Family
The Church is pictured as the family of God, and we have been adopted into his family because of our salvation in Jesus Christ. We are classified as “sons and daughters” of God. Jesus told us in John 14 that he was preparing a place for us and one day he will come back to “receive” us to spend eternity with him. It means that we have a home in the “New Jerusalem”. Being members of God’s family, we now have access to all of the “fruits and gifts” of the Holy Spirit, (Galatians 5:22) along with the “personal” care of God himself.
C. God’s building
Within the church, according to verse 20 each believer is viewed as an individual building stone. When each member is cooperating with each other and does their part in building the structure of God’s program for this world, the church as a whole can do “greater works” for the Lord. The “key” to the success of the church building up the saints and the execution of God’s assignments is Jesus Christ must be the “chief cornerstone” of every assignment. Rightly fitted together with Jesus, there’s nothing that we can’t do for God. Rightly fitted together, we know that according to Philippians 4: 13, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Also, we know that according to Philippians 4: 19, God will supply all of our needs according to all of his riches in glory that come through Jesus Christ. Jesus, being the chief cornerstone is the first stone that is laid. He is sought first because he is the first stone in God’s movement. Afterwards, we as individual building stones are to “follow suit” in obedience. We are to look to Jesus for guidance, support and direction. As Jesus is the chief cornerstone, Jesus is undergirding us. We are to completely “rest” upon him Jesus said to us in Mathew 11: 28 “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”.
We depend on Jesus alone for salvation and should depend on him for everything else. In truth, Jesus is the only firm foundation that we can build on that alone should be compelling enough for us to surrender all to him. He is the kind of firm foundation that we all can build our lives on. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody can approach God unless they do it through me”. If we as servants of God chose to follow anyone else but Jesus, God will replace us with someone else who will follow him and do his will. In essence, we as the servants of this present age, we must follow the foundation laid out by Jesus and all of the apostle and prophets before us in history.
D. A Growing Organism
The "church" is more than a mere Christian organization. It can’t be compared in the same light as say the Y.M.C.A., no, the church is a living and growing organism. The church is founded on the principle of “one get one”. This means that as an organism, we as servants and Christians are to witness to others who don’t know Jesus in the free pardon of their sins. God is constantly adding to the church on a daily basis those who wish to be saved and accepts Jesus as their personal savior. God will continue to do so until the end of this dispensation (Time of the Gentiles). Each new convert represents not only a “living stone”, but also as a “growing organism” that must be attached to the “Living Stone”, Jesus Christ. By attaching himself to the “Living Stone”, the convert’s spiritual sacrifice is accepted and honored by God. The Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 2: 4- 5 that we are "living stones” and are also built up to be a “spiritual house” and a “holy priesthood”. We are to offer up “sacrifices” that are truly accepted by God through Jesus Christ. The church as a “living organism” has two awesome responsibilities. First of all, the church must grow spiritually and she must carry out the mission of evangelism by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, offering salvation by faith in Jesus to everyone who will believe it and accept it. Secondly, every member must have an evangelistic mindset and be willing to go out and make disciples for Jesus. In short, the church members individually and collectively must preach (witness), teach, reach out to the unsaved and as a living testimony live the Gospel out in their lives. This is the way that God adds members to the institutional church (the building). We are all expected to be public witnesses for Christ.
E. A World Wide Temple
From a larger scope or perspective, all believers make up the Holy Temple of God. Each and every believer make up what is called the “Universal Church”. Since the church comprises people from all generations, all of them make up the worldwide temple in the “New Heaven” and the “New Earth”. The “Worldwide Temple of God” is still accepting members worldwide and is increasing on a daily basis. Every time a person accepts Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord, the church increases by one more convert. The “doors” of this church will remain open to the unsaved public until the rapture of the church and the end of the Gentile reign in world leadership.
F. A Local Temple
This temple is represented by the local assembly and the place or building that houses that assembly of believers. Every member of their local church is essential stones that have been placed and fitted into that building. The stability of the assembly of believers in that local church hinges upon their “professed faith” being rooted and grounded in the Lord Jesus Christ for everything and need. The Local Church exists to provide a habitat for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer to help the believer deal with their individual troubles. From a corporate perspective, the church as an institution needs the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to carry out the principles of Gods mission here on earth and to project the “true image” of what God want the church to portray concerning what God is really about.