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Spirit Empowered Life: A Holy Church

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The introduction to the Spirit's work of sanctification for the Church corporately

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4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:4–10 ESV
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:4–10 ESV
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Over the past several months since I have been given the direct oversight of the Worship and Praise ministries, I have been working and studying all that entails modern trends in worship since it’s been a long time since I actually had direct oversight of this area.
In my studies, much of today’s contemporary worship songs, that are widely used among evangelical churches, actually are affiliated with megachurch movements that are somewhat questionable in their doctrine.
A lot of these megachurches are part of a movement called the New Apostolic movement which has its historical roots in Pentecostalism and is loosely associated, but teaches similar doctrines as the prosperity gospel movement.
Some of the well known churches that has been making headway are churches like Bethe Church in Redding California, International House of Prayer in Kansas, Elevation Church in North Carolina, and Hillsong.
o The New Apostolic movement is usually characterized by a single authority that has the direct authority over the church who is the primary visionary of the church – basically what he says goes.
The New Apostolic movement is usually characterized by a single authority that has the direct authority over the church who is the primary visionary of the church – basically what he says goes.
o This authority is believed to have a New Apostolic authority, and in some cases are said to be a “super apostle.”
This authority is believed to have a New Apostolic authority, and in some cases are said to be a “super apostle.”
In the end, the church is built around his authority and his vision.
o In the end, the church is built around his authority and his vision.
o And the mindset is that if you question this person’s vision and authority and his teaching, you are basically questioning God himself.
And the mindset is that if you question this person’s vision and authority and his teaching, you are basically questioning God himself.
o Example: a coloring sheet from one of the church that they hand out to children (name blocked out)
Example: a coloring sheet from one of the church that they hand out to children (name blocked out)
Not sur if you can see the whole sheet clearly but it says “Unity” and give the verse from about submitting to authorities.
§ Not sur if you can see the whole sheet clearly but it says “Unity” and give the verse from about submitting to authorities.
§ And in the bottom, it states “_____ Church is built on the vision God gave Pastor ______. We will protect our unity in supporting his vision.”
And in the bottom, it states “_____ Church is built on the vision God gave Pastor ______. We will protect our unity in supporting his vision.”
§ Now there’s a lot of things wrong with this sheet theologically which includes the idea of Unity; the misuse of Scripture as it is taken out of context; but that last line reveals much about the doctrine and belief of the church.
Now there’s a lot of things wrong with this sheet theologically which includes the idea of Unity; the misuse of Scripture as it is taken out of context; but that last line reveals much about the doctrine and belief of the church.
· Now why I share this is because I believe that this reality and movement is very contrary to what God intended for the church.
Now why I share this is because I believe that this reality and movement is very contrary to what God intended for the church.
o Many in the church, whether in a megachurch context or in small churches where certain established families or individuals, have this mindset that they “own” the church rather than the understanding that they belong to God’s Church and are only a part of the Body.
Many in the church, whether in a megachurch context or in small churches where certain established families or individuals, have this mindset that they “own” the church rather than the understanding that they belong to God’s Church and are only a part of the Body.
o You see, the Church was never meant to be about the individual or individual groups of a church, but rather it was about being the Corporate Body of Christ.
You see, the Church was never meant to be about the individual or individual groups of a church, but rather it was about being the Corporate Body of Christ.
o The Church was never to be about the fulfilling of individual needs, but rather it was about fulfilling the will of God.
The Church was never to be about the fulfilling of individual needs, but rather it was about fulfilling the will of God.
And the fulfillment of God’s will for the Church was to sanctify it and build it up so that it will display the fullness of God’s glory in this earth and the Gospel message of hope for salvation.
o And the fulfillment of God’s will for the Church was to sanctify it and build it up so that it will display the fullness of God’s glory in this earth and the Gospel message of hope for salvation.
o And this was to be a corporate endeavor for the entire Body of Christ, both the visible Body that is seen in the local churches as well as the invisible Church that is seen in the Unity of all believers all over the world.
And this was to be a corporate endeavor for the entire Body of Christ, both the visible Body that is seen in the local churches as well as the invisible Church that is seen in the Unity of all believers all over the world.
God had it in his plan to sanctify the Church for his purposes and his will, and every individual believer and every individual congregational body belongs to God corporately.
· God had it in his plan to sanctify the Church for his purposes and his will, and every individual believer and every individual congregational body belongs to God corporately.
And because of this, God works to sanctify the Church corporately.
o And because of this, God works to sanctify the Church corporately.
o And where this corporate work of sanctification begins is by God setting apart his Church as holy.
And where this corporate work of sanctification begins is by God setting apart his Church as holy.
When Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify the Church corporately to be holy, set apart for God and his purposes.
o When Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify the Church corporately to be holy, set apart for God and his purposes.
And this is where we turn to today’s passage.
o And this is where we turn to today’s passage.
· Central to understanding this passage lies in verses 6-7, the various OT prophecies from Isaiah and the Psalms.
Central to understanding this passage lies in verses 6-7, the various OT prophecies from Isaiah and the Psalms.
o : 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
:
1 Peter 2:6–7 ESV
For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
1 Peter 2:6–7 ESV
For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
We need to remember that Peter is talking with the Church, people who are being persecuted because of their faith and are living differently from the cultural norms of the day.
o Christians were unique in the way they lived because if you lived the way Christ commanded, it was so countercultural that many in society would reject them and treat them with cruelty.
Christians were unique in the way they lived because if you lived the way Christ commanded, it was so countercultural that many in society would reject them and treat them with cruelty.
So Peter, writing to Christians scattered throughout a wide area in Asia Minor, is writing to encourage Christians that their sufferings are only temporary and that they were purposed for greater honor in their call as believers and in their persevering obedience.
o So Peter, writing to Christians scattered throughout a wide area in Asia Minor, is writing to encourage Christians that their sufferings are only temporary and that they were purposed for greater honor in their call as believers and in their persevering obedience.
o So in 6-7, Peter sums up the truth that Jesus, was both a cornerstone for the faithful where the Church will be built, but at the same time was a stumbling block for those who reject Truth and the true and living God.
So in 6-7, Peter sums up the truth that Jesus, was both a cornerstone for the faithful where the Church will be built, but at the same time was a stumbling block for those who reject Truth and the true and living God.
o In holiness God set apart the Church for a greater honor – to share in the glory of the Lord.· So what we see is that God calls the church to holiness, not only as individuals, but more so as a corporate Body, and in sending the Holy Spirit, he moves the church towards this holiness.
In holiness God set apart the Church for a greater honor – to share in the glory of the Lord.·
· So what we see is that God calls the church to holiness, not only as individuals, but more so as a corporate Body, and in sending the Holy Spirit, he moves the church towards this holiness.
So what we see is that God calls the church to holiness, not only as individuals, but more so as a corporate Body, and in sending the Holy Spirit, he moves the church towards this holiness.
· Now as we work through today’s passage, we will see how God moves us to be his holy Church.
Now as we work through today’s passage, we will see How God moves us to be his holy Church.
He gathers believers together to build us into a holy house of worship ()

He gathers believers together to build us into a holy house of worship ()

1. He gathers believers together to build us into a holy house of worship ()
1 Peter 2:4–5 ESV
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:4–5 ESV
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
This year, my children started school in a new school.
o Since I pass by the school very often, I was watching the whole process of them building up the school.
Since I pass by the school very often, I was watching the whole process of them building up the school.
When building the school, I watched the workers build the school where they would be literally laying down each of the cinder blocks, “brick by brick”.
o When building the school, I watched the workers build the school where they would be literally laying down each of the cinder blocks, “brick by brick”.
It is in the careful laying of each of these cinder blocks that would establish the general structure of the school and would establish the school to be the dwelling place for the children to keep them protected and facilitate in their education and learning.
o It is in the careful laying of each of these cinder blocks that would establish the general structure of the school and would establish the school to be the dwelling place for the children to keep them protected and facilitate in their education and learning.
And the culmination of these bricks is what establishes the building to be a building.
o And the culmination of these bricks is what establishes the building to be a building.
· This is the picture that Peter writes about here.
This is the picture that Peter writes about here.
o What he is stating is that each individual believer is a living stone that belongs and is part of the spiritual house of God.
What he is stating is that each individual believer is a living stone that belongs and is part of the spiritual house of God.
Peter mentions that this “spiritual house”, or building, is built to be a “holy priesthood” to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
o Peter mentions that this “spiritual house”, or building, is built to be a “holy priesthood” to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Peter alludes to the OT where the Levites was the a holy tribe of Israel that was to be set apart for the purpose of leading the Israelites in the worship of God.
The Levites were not given an inheritance of land like the other tribes of Israel because of this special assignment and responsibility.
Their main goal and purpose was to prepare the temple with sacrifices and rituals so Israel can be presented as a Holy Nation as they gathered to worship God.
For those who have trouble reading the book of Leviticus, this is what Leviticus is really about – it’s the holy sacrificial laws and requirements to be presented to God in holiness and the law of worship.
So what Peter is stating is that the Church is now this holy priesthood that was to be set apart as holy in Jesus Christ to gather to worship the Lord.
When you look at Scriptures, worship was never meant to be merely a spectator activity or for individual entertainment – fulfilling our individual needs.
Worship has always been a corporate endeavor, where each individual is an active participant of worshipping the Lord, whether we are gathered physically in one location or connected in spirit though we may be apart.
Scripture teaches us that we are the Holy Temple of God.
Ephesians 2:18–22 ESV
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
By being actively participating in worship corporately in our lives, the church becomes built up to be a holy temple of the Lord.
Example: When we gather to worship on Sundays, every single individual in this room makes a difference in the worship of the Lord.
When everyone is singing praises together, there is a greater sense of God’s presence among us, not because God is more or less present, but rather through our voices we are pointing one another to see Christ in who he is as we hear the exaltations of Christ.
When the Word of God is read and spoken and the message is given, you will be able to clearly hear from God and will be able to respond to him in greater worship.
When we pray together in spirit, though one person may be the mouthpiece, as we pray with an Amen in our hearts, it is the whole congregation petitioning to the Lord, and there is greater power in that prayer.
As we share in fellowship after the service is over, there is great encouragement and a sense of God’s presence if we are actively participating in sharing our faith together.
And this is why we should be more mindful to prepare ourselves when we gather corporately for worship.
But this corporate worship extends into our daily lives as we pray for one another, as we go out and are sent into this world to bear witness where God places us – we know we are not alone because we are interconnected as God’s holy house in spirit.
You see, God builds us up as his holy house corporately, whether we are present or absent from one another because we are interconnected together as active participants of worship.
The Christian faith has never been an individual endeavor – it requires us to be built up as a holy house of worship together.
1 Peter 2:4–5 ESV
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
This year, my children started school in a new school.
Since I pass by the school very often, I was watching the whole process of them building up the school.
When building the school, I watched the workers build the school where they would be literally laying down each of the cinder blocks, “brick by brick”.
It is in the careful laying of each of these cinder blocks that would establish the general structure of the school and would establish the school to be the dwelling place for the children to keep them protected and facilitate in their education and learning.
And the culmination of these bricks is what establishes the building to be a building.
This is the picture that Peter writes about here.
What he is stating is that each individual believer is a living stone that belongs and is part of the spiritual house of God.
Peter mentions that this “spiritual house”, or building, is built to be a “holy priesthood” to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Peter alludes to the OT where the Levites was the a holy tribe of Israel that was to be set apart for the purpose of leading the Israelites in the worship of God.
The Levites were not given an inheritance of land like the other tribes of Israel because of this special assignment and responsibility.
Their main goal and purpose was to prepare the temple with sacrifices and rituals so Israel can be presented as a Holy Nation as they gathered to worship God.
For those who have trouble reading the book of Leviticus, this is what Leviticus is really about – it’s the holy sacrificial laws and requirements to be presented to God in holiness and the law of worship.
So what Peter is stating is that the Church is now this holy priesthood that was to be set apart as holy in Jesus Christ to gather to worship the Lord.
When you look at Scriptures, worship was never meant to be merely a spectator activity or for individual entertainment – fulfilling our individual needs.
Worship has always been a corporate endeavor, where each individual is an active participant of worshipping the Lord, whether we are gathered physically in one location or connected in spirit though we may be apart.
Scripture teaches us that we are the Holy Temple of God.
Ephesians 2:18–22 ESV
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
By being actively participating in worship corporately in our lives, the church becomes built up to be a holy temple of the Lord.
Example: When we gather to worship on Sundays, every single individual in this room makes a difference in the worship of the Lord.
When everyone is singing praises together, there is a greater sense of God’s presence among us, not because God is more or less present, but rather through our voices we are pointing one another to see Christ in who he is as we hear the exaltations of Christ.
When the Word of God is read and spoken and the message is given, you will be able to clearly hear from God and will be able to respond to him in greater worship.
He makes us to be his holy chosen nation ()
When we pray together in spirit, though one person may be the mouthpiece, as we pray with an Amen in our hearts, it is the whole congregation petitioning to the Lord, and there is greater power in that prayer.
As we share in fellowship after the service is over, there is great encouragement and a sense of God’s presence if we are actively participating in sharing our faith together.
And this is why we should be more mindful to prepare ourselves when we gather corporately for worship.
But this corporate worship extends into our daily lives as we pray for one another, as we go out and are sent into this world to bear witness where God places us – we know we are not alone because we are interconnected as God’s holy house in spirit.
You see, God builds us up as his holy house corporately, whether we are present or absent from one another because we are interconnected together as active participants of worship.
The Christian faith has never been an individual endeavor – it requires us to be built up as a holy house of worship together.

He makes us to be his holy chosen nation ()

1 Peter 2:9–10 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
2. He makes us to be his holy chosen nation ()
One of the most transformational theological developments in my life came from the understanding that as believers we are part of God’s kingdom.
1 Peter 2:9–10 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:8–10 ESV
and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
In other words our identity is rooted in our “nationality” as citizens of the holy nation of Christ.
When Peter talks about being a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and people for his own possession, Peter is pointing back to the Abrahamic covenant.
Genesis 17:4–8 ESV
“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
But this was not merely meant for the Israelites, but this covenant was extended to all by faith.
Romans 5:1–2 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
You see, when Jesus came, he proclaimed the kingdom of God, he invited all to enter through faith in him.
What this means is that we are no longer identified as citizens of this world, nor is our identity rooted in this world, but it is now rooted in Christ and his kingdom
This is why we long for the coming of Christ, because our home is not in this world, but we long to go to the home of our hearts – and that is the Kingdom of God where we will dwell with God for all eternity.
Illustration: A couple of weeks ago, our family got on the conversation of travelling.
If you know me, I don’t have such a strong desire to travel and explore this world.
A lot of it doesn’t have to do with my personality, but much of it has to do with the fact that I have been to enough places throughout the world where nothing really gets me that excited.
It’s not that I’ve seen the entire world, but enough of it to know where my heart really lies.
But it got me thinking – where is my most favorite place in this entire world?
And you know what my conclusion was – Minnesota.
Now some of you may be thinking – Minnesota?
If it was up to me, and I had no other call, responsibility, or concern, I would love to be in MN and I would be completely content there.
The reason is simple – that is the place where my heart was founded.
Yes, I grew up in Chicago, and I still visit where I grew up in my childhood to see where I first established some roots, but the time I lived in MN and every time I visit, there is a great sense of joy and peace that I have there because it’s where my heart is.
You know the phrase – home is where the heart is.
But this is what it means to be a citizen of God’s kingdom.
In the end, as a holy nation of God, our home is God’s kingdom because that is where our hearts should be.
If we understand that we are citizens of God’s kingdom then we will know that we are merely aliens in this world, and our home is not here.
Our longing will be to be home with God in his presence because that is where our hearts are.
Growing up in the church, I remember a Gospel Song we used to sing:
“This world is not my home I'm just a passing through My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue The angels beckon me from heaven's open door And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
Oh lord you know I have no friend like you If heaven's not my home then lord what will I do The angels beckon me from heaven's open door And I can't feel at home in this world anymore”
Oh lord you know I have no friend like you If heaven's not my home then lord what will I do The angels beckon me from heaven's open door And I can't feel at home in this world anymore”
As his chosen nation, this is our longing and this is our heart.
We know that this world is only a brief layover, but we were set apart for more.
This is the movement of God in the Church.
He is sanctifying us corporately to be a Holy Church: A church that is built up to be a holy house of worship and a holy nation that longs for God’s kingdom come.
We are not in this alone, but we are moving on this path of holiness together
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