The Plumb Line

Amos 7:7-8 (KJV) Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumbline in his hand. 8 And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:

The plumb line or plumb bob is one of the most ancient of tools. No one knows who invented the plumb line, but it can be traced back to ancient Egypt where it was used to insure that vertical walls were perpendicular or straight. The plumb line consisted of two parts – a supple line and a weight tied to its end. The plumb line relied on God’s Law of Gravity, as the weight (which later was a lead pointed “bob”) . With God’s Law drawing the weight to the earth, the line would be vertical to the ground. Later on in human history the plumb line was improved on by the spirit level, where an air bubble in a vicious spirit helped find the “vertical” and the “level”.

Without the plumb line or the level you cannot make a straight 90 degree wall.

I found this out several many years ago as a young but foolish man. I tried building a wall in my back yard – I actually wanted the add a room on to our home – and figured I could build that wall straight with just my five senses. When I was done I saw how senseless that was. Building a wall on what we think is right will surely turn out wrong. That’s what’s wrong with our world today. Too many are trying to build their lives on what they think or feel is right – and the wall is crooked.

You’ve got to use a plumb line!

1 The Plumb Line Must Be Used In Construction. We read:

Amos 7:7-8 (KJV) Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand.

The Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb line”. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: Any wall made must be made – if it’s going to be upright – with a plumb line. No builder slaps walls together then stands them up without relying upon measuring tools like the plumb line, the level, and the ruler.

That which makes the plumb line work is the Law of God. If there were no gravity – which is a Law of God – then the plumb line would be absolutely useless. God’s Law is always true. God’s Law is always righteous. God’s plumb line is always right.

The Lord stood upon a wall made with a plumb line”. What was the plumb line that made that wall? What was it? In our world today we determine “upright” by a variety of weights. For instance,

  • We Too Often Rely On The Plumb Line Of “Feeling”. Rather than take a string and a weight and allow it to drop according to God’s Law, we tie “feeling” to the end of the string. We “feel” that this is right or “feel” that that is right. Yet the problem with “feeling” is that this “feeling” can lead us into a spot far away from righteousness and God.

Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The heart left to itself is self seeking. It is not upright, but deceitful. How did man fall into sin in the first place? Rather than relying on God’s Word the Bible says:

Genesis 3:6 (KJV) …. the woman SAW that the tree was good for food, and that it was PLEASANT TO THE EYES, and a tree to be DESIRED TO MAKE ONE WISE, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Rather than use the Law of God and His Holy Word the weight on the plumb line is tied to the heart of man, a fallen and sinful thing. The Bible says:

Proverbs 28:26 (KJV) He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

Proverbs 14:12 (KJV) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

  • Then There Is The Plumb Line Of Popularity And Public Opinion. Man’s opinions and fads change from year to year – but God’s ways are always right. He is the Master Architect, the Master of Space and Time. He never makes mistakes in His calculations. The Sun is where it is in relationship to the earth because God made it so. The moon is where it is because God holds the plumb line in His hands. The gravitational force on the earth is just the right size to keep the right amount of gases in our atmosphere while allowing those that are not beneficial to life to release into space. It is God Who knows what is best. God is the Master Builder.
  • And God Stands Upon The Wall Built With A Plumb Line, With A Plumb Line In His Hand. It is God Who determines whether the wall is straight or not. There are some who say “I am upright. I am right with God. I know I will go to God’s Heaven when I die”. They often base this on the plumb line of feeling, or the plumb line of self righteousness, or the plumb line of comparison. They look about and compare the life of another with the plumb line of their hand. They are like the parable that Jesus spoke of:

Luke 18:10-14 (KJV) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The PHARISEE stood and prayed thus WITH HIMSELF, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house JUSTIFIED rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Pharisee stood and prayed WITH HIMSELF. He was a congregation of one – and even God was not listening to him! He measured himself by himself. He measured his uprightness by the plumb line of WORKS and RITUALS and NOT BEING LIKE OVERT SINNERS. He held this plumb line up not reliant upon God’s Word or God’s Law but on his own FEELINGS and SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS. But the Publican, he was a different matter.

The Publican looked at his life, and saw the Lord holding the plumb line in his hand. The Publican realized when he saw the Upright and Holy God of Heaven holding that plumb line that:

Romans 3:10-12 (KJV) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

God stands upon the wall of human justification and – holding the plumb line in His hand – declares it to be untrue. Who is righteous within themselves? NO ONE! Whose wall is true and straight of it’s own accord? NO ONES! The Publican seeing that his wall is bent and twisted would not so much as look up unto Heaven but SMOTE HIS BREAST and cried out “LORD, be merciful to ME – a SINNER!”

Jesus said that this man went down to his house JUSTIFIED rather than the other. Do you know what the word “JUSTIFIED” actually means? It means “to be made UPRIGHT – to be made VERTICAL – to be declared RIGHT with God”

The first work of God is the destruction of the crooked before He builds the upright. God casts out every crooked stone from His works. If a person is to be saved, then human merit and human righteousness must be thrown out. All human pride and self righteousness is thrown out in the salvation of a soul.

The Person and the Church that God works in is torn down in pride …

…. and then the Cornerstone is laid.

The Cornerstone is the principle stone placed when the wall is first built. The Cornerstone is large, true, and solid – and all the wall is attached to it. God said in Isaiah:

Isaiah 28:16-17 (ESV) therefore 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: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ 17 And I will make justice the line,

and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”

What Is The Cornerstone That God Lays In Zion, In His Kingdom?
That Cornerstone Is Christ!

In the Old Testament all men gathered together and sought to build a tower that reached up to Heaven. When God saw this He confused their language, scattering people all over the earth. Our works cannot bring us to a right relationship with God. The Bible says that:

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

My efforts cannot make me saved in the eyes of God. Salvation is all of faith in what Christ did on that Cross of Calvary. Jesus Christ is the Plumb Line in the hand of God. We are told in James (2:10) For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. There is no justification apart from absolute surrender and reliance upon Christ. The Scripture declares that …

Ephesians 2:14-22 (KJV) {Jesus Christ} is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

When a person comes to God with their own plumb line God says “I cannot build My Kingdom with these crooked stones. I stand upon the wall and use My Plumb Line. The Crooked shall not be part of My Kingdom. His Kingdom is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone.

There is no entrance into Heaven unless the life pass the Lord’s Test. The Plumb Line is in His Hand. Are you in Christ?

2 The Plumb Line Is Used For Testing The Construction. We cannot judge with our eyes nor use our feeble senses to determine whether the wall is justified or not. There have been many times when I have been traveling down the highway thinking I was doing the right speed when I look down and see the Speedometer and realize – to my dismay – that I am well above the posted speed. I thought I was RIGHT but I was WRONG. I thought I was IN THE LAW but I was a LAWBREAKER. I brake, and measure by the plumb line. Now I am right.

Oh how often we are tempted to get away from the plumb line. We must continually look to the Plumb Line in God’s Hand. We must continually look to God’s Word. The Bible says:

Christ is all (Colossians 3:11)

To me, to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21)

I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me (Galatians 2:20)

Saved by faith in Christ, we continually look to His Word. We are not just HEARERS of his Word, but we are DOERS of His Word. If you hear His Word but do not DO it then your house will not be perpendicular. Your walls will be out of true. Jesus calls every Child to salvation through “Repent” then “Come Follow Me”. Those who are saved are those who follow. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:21-27 (KJV) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

If you are only a hearer and not a doer of His Word then the walls may seem perpendicular and strong but when trials come you will realize that God is not in it because it will not stand. The faith that does not both HEAR and DO what Christ has said is the weak and pitiful faith. The Bible exhorts every professor of Christ to self examination.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

God is the builder of His Church. Do not begin judging one another by our eyes or by our own standards. The Plumb Line is in the Lord’s Hand. We must continually judge ourselves and what we do by the Word of God. The Bible says:

Psalm 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

God holds the Plumb Line in His hand. God stands upon the wall. Christ is the Builder of His Church, and His Word is that by which we measure our accomplishments. It is His Word that saved us, and His Word that keeps us plumb. God holds the plumb line in His hand. C. H. Spurgeon wrote:

God will use the plumb line at the Last Great Day to test everything. How many of

us could hear, without a tremor, the intimation that God had summoned us to appear before His bar? O my Brothers and Sisters, if the great scales of Divine Justice were swinging from this ceiling right now and the Judge of All said to you, “Step in and let me see what is your weight,” is there one of us who could solemnly and sincerely rise and say, “Lord, I am ready for the weighing”? Yes, I trust that many could say, each one for himself or herself, “There is not anything good in me, but my hope is fixed on Christ alone. And though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I want to be, nor what I shall be, yet ‘by the Grace of God I am what I am.’ ”

To God be the glory! His Word is our plumb line, and we are in His hands. Anything that does not glorify God will eventually decay and rust and rot. Anything not according to the Plumb Line of God will fail. The Plumb Line is IN HIS HAND.

When Christ formed His Church in the Book of Acts there were many RELIGIOUS people who stood against it and many RELIGIOUS PRETENDERS that were hiding amongst the sheep. Ananias and Sapphira were mentioned in Acts chapter 5 as two pretenders who lied unto God. God held the plumb line in His hand. They did not measure up, and died because of it.

The Word of God increased.

Peter and the Apostles were imprisoned, and told not to preach the Word of God. Peter looked to the Plumb Line of God, saying:

Acts 5:29-32 (KJV) …. We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

The Pharisees plotted to kill them – but a Master Teacher of Israel named Gamaliel spoke up. He told them:

Acts 5:35-39 (KJV) …. Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. 36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. 37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

Any work that is a work in agreement with the Plumb Line in God’s Hand will come to pass. But that which is against God – that which is crooked and worldly – it will fail.

The Church stands if it looks to the plumb line of God.

3 The Plumb Line Is Used In The Work Of Destruction. When God goes to save a repentant sinner He goes with wings on His feet. But when God goes to destroy the unrepentant He goes very slowly. God warns, and warns, and warns again and again. God has said in His Word:

Ezekiel 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God does not rejoice in the death of the wicked. We often sadly rejoice at the failure of our enemies, but God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son. God’s love is an ocean, and His mercy every sea. God wants no one to die in their sins without Christ.

But God has the Plumb Line in His hand.

Those who reject Christ in this life will find themselves measured by the Plumb Line of God’s righteousness. And every work shall come short. God will judge the sinner who died without Christ according to His standard of righteousness. And the verdict will be:

Revelation 22:10-11 (KJV) … the time is at hand. 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

Those who stand before God without Christ shall go to hell because they deserve to be there. I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God. What is His Plumb Line? What is that in His hand? And the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. Then I see the horrible words.

And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS

You lived justified according to your works. You lived with feelings and rituals and traditions and good works and morality and good citizenship and political correctness and tolerance and many other things as your Plumb Line. You compared yourself to others, and your works to what others did. And measuring yourself by yourself you said “the wall is vertical. The anchor sure. The Plumb Line is right. I will default to Heaven as I go”. So God says “Let’s measure you by the Plumb Line in MY Hand”. And the books of works are opened. And the works are not sufficient.

And they were judged every person according to their works.

And so God looks one more time. He knows the answer before He looks. He is, after all, GOD. He looks in the Book of Life.

And whosoever – WHOSOEVER – WHOSOEVER – WHOSOEVER
was not found written in the Book of Life
was cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15)

And I am sure the angels wept. I am sure that the Church wept. And I am sure that YOU, dear friend, if you have rejected the gospel of Christ, shall weep. You will meet the Devil face to face in that place. You will see the Rich Man who mocked Lazarus. You will see old Herod there who thought himself to be a god but who died corrupted, filled with worms. You will that almost Apostle Judas there who hung himself, his guts spilling out. He was sorry for his sin, but would not repent. You will see Hitler, and many hireling televangelists, and child molesters, and tyrants who murdered people. But if you have rejected Christ no matter how moral you are you will not see Heaven. Oh friends, turn your eyes upon Jesus. He is God’s Plumb Line. He is the Savior of all who believe. Look unto Him, and call on Him. Be the good WHOSOEVER WILL.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. I am looking for the Church. Most of what I see today is not the Church, but clubs, where members sit in padded pews and drink deeply of self. I am looking for a people willing to be righteous not self righteous, serving not served, In short, I am looking and praying for a people who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. I hope I find this people before it's too late.
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