(A Chosen People – Series in I Peter)
Westgate Chapel 11/5/00 I Peter 2:4-8
PROPOSITION: Coming to Christ you are built into His house, leaning on Him you are never put to shame, and believing on Him you share in His honor.
- IN Genesis 49:24, Jacob is on his deathbed and is blessing his sons. Over his son Joseph he says that in the face of the enemy,
“…his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, (25) because of your father's God, who helps you…”
- IN Deuteronomy 32:4. Moses is at the end of his life, and in the hearing of Israel sings to the Lord,
“I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! (4) He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”
- IN I Samuel 2:2, after the Lord has answered Hannah’s desperate prayer for a son, and Samuel was born to her, she sings,
“There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”
- 2 SAMUEL 22:1 says,
“David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. (2) He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; (3) my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me.”
- SO it is no surprise then that by the time we get to the Psalms, king David is singing songs like,
“For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?” (Psalm 18:31)
- OR Psalm 61:2,
“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
- OR how about this one in Psalm 118:21,
“I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. (22) The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; (23) the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
- BY the time we get to Isaiah 28:16 God says to Jerusalem,
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.”
- AND who of us can forget from Daniel 2 that just when it looked like the empires of the world were in control, the prophet saw…
“… a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.” (Daniel 2:34)
- AND then in verse 35 that rock…
“…became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”
- MANY of the Jewish Christians to whom the apostle Peter was writing his epistle would have been very familiar with these Old Testament passages about the Rock!
- THEY are Christians who are drowning in an acute sense of their insecurity.
- UPROOTED from their homes and families in Israel.
- INSIGNIFICANT against the might and power of the mighty Roman Empire.
- OUT of place in a world where Peter says that they “reside as aliens.” (I Peter 1:1)
- RIDICULED by society and their neighbors for their antiquated beliefs.
- UNCERTAIN about the future and very insecure.
- “SCATTERED,” Peter says about them, in the northwest provinces of Asia Minor.
- THEY are insecure to say the least.
- SO it is no surprise that in the five verses of I Peter 2 we are going to look at this morning Peter uses the imagery of a rock….nine times.
- PETER was there the day Jesus said of Himself,
“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.” (Luke 20:17)
- PETER was there the day Jesus said to the crowd,
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)
- AND who could forget the day Jesus had said to Peter, in anticipation of you and me sitting in Westgate Chapel this morning,
“And I tell you that you are Peter (a small stone), and on this rock (Jesus) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)
- SO in the day of the church’s great insecurity, where does Peter take them? To the Rock.
- DO you think the Holy Spirit is saying something to them that we can benefit from this morning?
- TURN with me please to I Peter 2:4-5 (page 1201)
ii. coming to the rock…YOU are being built into a spiritual house.
- LET’S read verse 4 together.
“As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him.”
- “AS you come to Him….”
- THE only way to any security, any stability in your life begins with coming to Christ.
- BUT I don’t like the way the NIV has rendered it. “As you come to Him” sounds too casual.
- A BETTER English rendering of the Greek in verse 4 is found in the NASB. It says,
“And coming to Him…”
- IT is actually the present continuous participle, and doesn’t mean coming to Christ once, like when you and I were saved. It means a constant coming, a daily coming to Christ.
- ONE commentator said that it is a drawing near with the intention of staying.
- TO whom are we coming?
- THE living Stone.
- AND the word used for stone is “lithos”, which wasn’t an uncut stone, but one shaped, worked on for a very specific fit and purpose….and from Daniel we know who that Stone is and why no human hands had cut or shaped it.
- THAT Rock is Jesus, yes He’s the One.
- AND Peter knew all to well that it wasn’t a dead Stone. It was a living Stone. He has seen the resurrected Christ with his own eyes, had touched Him, had eaten meals with Him after finding the tomb empty on the third day.
- NOT only is Christ the living Stone, but He is also the life-giving Stone (I Corinthians 15:45).
- PETER had also been painfully close on the day in Herod’s courtyard when religious men had rejected that Stone as the Messiah.
- WE are ever coming to the living Stone.
- OTHERS clearly don’t want to have anything to do with Him, so they reject Him to this day.
- BUT God has chosen Him. We learned from I Peter 1 that that word, chosen, means to cast the vote for Him.
- AND verse 4 also says that Jesus, the living Stone, is precious to God. In this context that word precious means “honored, prized, highly esteemed.”
- THEN look at verse 5 with me,
“… you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
- COMING to Christ through faith in salvation makes you and me living stones also...because we are in Christ. We are joined to Christ.
- AND the daily process of ever coming to Christ is the process whereby we are daily being built into a spiritual house.
- “BEING built” is the continuous passive tense. It is something being done to us on a continuous basis.
- AND it is not a physical building, or budgets, or By-laws, or our ministry activities. Those are all servants in the hands of the Holy Spirit to the goal that we are being built into a spiritual house….the temple of the Holy Spirit.
- AND what are the activities of this spiritual house?
- OFFERING spiritual sacrifices because we are all now the priests of this new covenant.
- IN the Old Testament the sacrifices were the animals offered at the Temple for the forgiveness of sin by a special family of priests…the Levites.
- WHAT are these spiritual sacrifices now that we all can offer? There are three types of sacrifices taught in the New Testament.
1. A life of obedience unto God.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
2. Praise and thanksgiving.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-- the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
3. Ministry to the needs of others.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)
- AND unlike many of the Old Testament sacrifices that were not completely effective, since Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and I am in Him…my spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God “through Jesus Christ.”
- SO, when you come to the Rock, you become a living stone yourself, being built into a spiritual house.
iii. leaning on the rock…YOU will never be put to shame.
- LET’S find out more about the Rock. Read with me verse 6.
“For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’” (I Peter 2:6)
- PETER quotes here from Isaiah 28:16.
- IN the Old Testament Zion was the literal city of David, the city of God where God’s presence rested in the Holy of Holies.
- WHERE is Zion in the New Testament?
- THE Church of the Firstborn, the Church of Jesus.
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, (23) to the church of the firstborn…” (Hebrews 12:22)
- AND in Zion, in the Church of Jesus, God has laid a “chosen” cornerstone.
- THAT word, cornerstone, means “main, unifying stone” by which the whole building is measured and established in its place.
- THAT cornerstone is the person of Jesus.
- AND once again the word precious is used to describe Him and means “honored, prized, highly esteemed.”
- AND when you trust in Him, literally, when you lean your stone on Him, you will never be let down.
iv. believing on the rock…YOU will share in His honor.
- SO, when you come to the Rock, you are built into a spiritual house.
- WHEN you lean on the Rock, you will never be let down.
- NOW, let’s read verses 7-8 together.
“Now to you who believe, this stone is precious.”
- STOP right there.
- THERE is something very interesting about this now third use of the word, precious.
- IT is a different Greek word than the previous two times the word precious has been used.
- THIS time it is the word that is closer to honored.
- AND in the Greek the object of the honor has shifted…and the NIV doesn’t catch it.
- IN verse 4 Jesus is the object of the honor, being the living Stone. He is “honored, prized, highly esteemed by the Father.”
- IN verse 6, again, Jesus is the object of the honor of the Father.
- WHAT the NIV misses in verse 7 is that the object of the honor has changed.
- YOUR faith and trust in Jesus has placed you WITH CHRIST in the place of the Father’s honor.
- THROUGH faith and your position in Christ, the Rock, now in verse, “to you who believe….comes the honor of the Father.”
- YOU are “honored, prized, highly esteemed by the Father.”
- BUT we have to read on. There is a serious warning in the rest of 7 and 8,
“But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,’
- CAPSTONE is the same as the “main, unifying stone” from verse 6, only here it is up high. It is at the highest point of the building.
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church…” (Ephesians 1:22)
- BACK to I Peter 2:8. Jesus is…
“…‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for.”
- THE ROCK is a place for our spiritual building.
- HE is the place that we can lean, and never be let down.
- BUT He is also the Rock that stands directly in the path of those who choose a life of willful disobedience….directly in the path.
- SO they stumble and fall.
- IN fact, Jesus said, in Matthew 21:44,
“He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
- AND they will never be able to blame God. They will be without excuse, because it was their disobedience that caused their fall, not the Rock.
- AND when you are on that path of disobedience, you all know down deep in your heart that you are headed for that fall…that is what you are destined for if you keep on the path of disobedience to God.
- SO where are you in relation to the Rock?
1. Being built into a spiritual house, offering spiritual sacrifices?
2. Leaning on the main, unifying cornerstone, so that you will never be ashamed at the end of your life?
3. Receiving honor from God, because you believing on His Son.
4. OR are you on the pathway of disobedience, heading right for the Rock of destruction?