Jesus Christ the Cornerstone 7-26-2020
Father in heaven We humbly come into your presence this morning. May your word be a rule your spirit or teacher and your greater glory are Supreme concern through Jesus Christ Our Lord and it is in his name. We pray these things amen. You may be seated.
I'd like to start off by giving 10 reasons you may have heard of why you should come to church number one is a place of Great Fellowship to we have a tremendous Children's Program 3. We have amazing music for you should listen to our Dynamic pastor.
5 I didn't intend it that way now.
5 we've got the hottest teenage youth program in town. 6 where a place where non-christians won't feel judged or put off so they can come to this church seven. You ought to visit our coffee shop. It's the best in town. 8 we have plenty of service projects to the needy 9 we have plenty of service projects to other countries and 10 you will feel great about yourself. And now we know that many of these things churches have but someone can enjoy all of these 10 reasons in a church service and yet never know Christ. They could walk through the doors of the church stumbling upon the very savior. They have rejected because they are satisfied with all of these programs that they have come to church for.
8 was thinking of that Dynamic pastor There was a very Dynamic Pastor one of the most Faithful Men of God's word that I have known and his messages were filled with truth. Is he expository the scripture faithfully and one day he spoke with a prominent businessman who had been coming to his services for number of weeks and the man shared that he didn't come because this pastors messages were so chock-full of scriptures and faithful to the word and encouraging to exhort one to Christ, but he came because the pastor was so Dynamic and excited about the word it. It's such a good job of explaining it but he got excited and pumped up and ready for his next week of business. So he come to church all the while not to come to Christ. But to have his own flesh fed in some particular manner. What is the reason that you come to church on a Sunday morning? Do you come because it meets a personal need? Or do you come because you come to Jesus Christ the lord and savior. We read it this morning in 1st Peter that Christ is the Cornerstone who builds up the church. Christ to those who have rejected him is a stumbling block. And if we're going to come into the church building, I hope that we come stumbling over the burdens of sin that have plagued us throughout the week so that we can entrust that to the mercies of Christ. We come to Christ so that he can lift that burden off of us. Rather than stumble over Christ himself and rejection. That is Holy in perfect name. So this morning I want to just present this question. Why do we come to church? Why do we come to Jesus at all?
And Peter gives a wonderful illustration. That's why we do this wonderful illustration. So he opens up. In the passage will look at this morning. As you come to him. I'm in 1st Peter chapter 2 verse 4 as you come to him speaking of Jesus Christ. Peter is talking to believers. And she is assuming that Believers come to Jesus Christ what this represents is that when one comes to Jesus Christ, they're coming to one who is who is personal who is loving who who is the Lord and Saviour they're coming to him because of the Comfort because of the life because of the encouragement that he provide because of the strength and sustenance that Jesus gives living in a hostile world. We don't want to forget the setting that Peter is writing this letter the setting in which Peter is writing this letter to Christians who are suffering living in a world that hates the Lord Jesus Christ in many ways. We can draw applications and crossover similar to the world that we're living in today. As you come to him as a church, we come to Jesus Christ to love him to know him to worship him. This is our hope. This is our life. This is our our very joy, and then Peter says this of Christ as you come to him the living Stone rejected Chosen and precious in the sight of God and uses this image of a stone. A living stone that is rejected by men. But Chosen and precious in the sight of God now just at first glance we say, yes, we know that of course. Jesus was rejected when he came into the world the world hated him. They sent him to the Cross. He was crucified. They killed him. And yet in the sight of God, he was chosen and precious. We understand that. But then as we begin to to settle down and then why does this statement matter in a in a church that is suffering against the persecutions of the world. Because the rejection of men against Jesus Christ is a wide is a vast and it's a harsh rejection. When you begin to think about the world's rejection of Christ, you might have words like martyrdom persecution. Oppression suffering come to your mind because this is what the world does to those who love Christ is what Jesus warned his disciples with before he went to the Cross. He says to his disciples in John 15, if the world hates, you know that it hated me before it hated you in a few verses letter if they persecuted me. They will also persecute you the world hates the church the world persecute the church The world has rejected Christ and for Christian, it may feel at times like you are a toothpick Stuck In The Stance and trying to withstand the waves of the ocean crashing down upon you.
And yet the next phrase that Peter gives is the living Stone rejected by man is chosen and precious in the sight of God. And what hope and encouragement the church has and knowing that this stone that they are trusting in that the world hates is the very one who is chosen and precious by precious to God. That's what we want to know. That's who we want to serve. The one who is precious to God. Not the one who God will judge.
end to the suffering Christians the easiest thing it may feel like one can do is just let the wave sweep you away.
Cuz being a Christian can be hard with all the persecution. The world can be convincing. The world can make a sound argument The Sounds you know that maybe that sounds right. It's easy to get swept away. But we don't want to get Swept Away by the ones who have rejected God but we want to stand firm and stand fast in the one who is precious to God and that is Christ Jesus and it's Christ Jesus then who is going to build the church. He's going to build it out of stone. We go back to the to the to the words and and we read in 1st Peter chapter 1 just words of strength unfading unfailing imperishable. And that's this picture of a strong house that cannot be broken. that's a strong house that Christ builds that's a strong house that the church receive so much strength and encouragement in
the Christian is the minority in an evil world. and yet we serve the creator of world who is Sovereign over all things who will protect the church who will build the church will never let the church die.
That's what we're building. Something that the world cannot break down they can restrict meetings. They can restrict Fellowship. They can burn down and tear down buildings. But when this happens, what do we find an underground Church? The God continues to build this is the hope that we have. Hebrews 13:6 says so we can confidently say the Lord is my helper. I will not fear what can man do to me cuz I hope you having Christ. What can man do to us. This is the hope we have as a family of Believers is it Christ will build us? This is what many men and women throughout history have died for. Have died for having suffered nothing because they have received the full Glory of Christ. That's the hope we have that's the strength we have that that we come together upon.
Jesus Christ is the exalted one.
We want to fear God and not men. Paul declared this in Galatians the Frog am I now seeking the approval of man or God or am I trying to please man if I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. QVC his all out Devotion to serve Christ. The Proverbs says that the fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is today. Lester Holt our flesh may die. But I saw a safe and secure in the hands of God. But he will bring us safely into his Heavenly Kingdom. God in these first few verses exalts Jesus Christ the Cornerstone of Life. Why do we come to Jesus? Because Christ is exalted Christ is the Cornerstone of Life of eternal life goes on to say this in verse 5 for you yourselves. Like living homes are being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ Jesus first and scripture behold. I am laying in Zion a stone Cornerstone Chosen and precious and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame so the honor is for you who believe For those who have believed in Christ, they are the ones who will receive honor for those who have rejected Christ. They will be put to shame and there is this metaphor this picture of a building a spiritual house that the Lord is building up.
The heat stone is being specifically carved and honed into the likeness of Christ. But in the end it will be a building perfect. founded and put together by the Lord Jesus Christ Hebrews 12:2, the author of this book says that Jesus is the founder and the Perfecter of our faith in Ephesians Paul uses another metaphor another illustration of what Christ will do at the church when he presents the church is the bride of Christ that Christ will present without spot or wrinkle you will present it is Holy and blameless without blemish. Christ is is building up the church. Says holy priesthood. And we are a priesthood not of the Old Testament where they offered physical sacrifices, but but we are a priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices a holy priesthood set apart for God service to serve him to worship him to love him. Paul says in Romans 12:1, I appeal to you therefore Brothers by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a Living Sacrifice. Holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. We offer praise we come to God with with adoration. We set our minds on the Lord. And we learn to love his Commandments. You said before that these two things are inseparable the love of God and the love of his Commandments. That we would in all that we do. Serve to glorify him seek to glorify him. This is why. We want to to think upon the words of scripture think upon the truth that God has given us because we want to set our minds to glorify God and all times throughout the week. Not just on a particular moment on a particular day. But that we can constantly be going over the goodness of God going over his Commandments to understand who he is and walk strong in this world. That would be so glad to do away with us all together.
Using this picture of a building. We'll just kind of move over here for a minute when a building is put together stones are built upon each other. Christ is the Cornerstone be unmovable Stone the stone that sets the course for the rest of the building that is being built. But the church then are those stones that are built upon Christ. Now, we know that if you put stones that are fragile and crumbly and breakable within a building that that section of the wall my Lac that an Integrity to to hold up against the storms or the weather.
in the Christian who dies or taken off of Christ will begin to disfigure will begin to be deformed.
It all Christians.
Have an impact of other Christians. All Christians are being built upon and have other Christians around them and his church. We want our eyes to be set on Christ so that we can be shaped and conformed because his is so hurtful to see. Where one? Stone has become cracked or fractured is taking their eyes off of Christ. And when that stone breaks, we see a part of a wall crumpled.
Yeah, because God is faithful even if a part of the wall crumples, he will continue to Build That Wall of stone that cracks. Can be healed and mended together.
but in this time There's such an important for the church to Keep Their Eyes On Christ because we're going to see is persecution comes a fracturing. We're going to see his persecution, pruning. We might say within the church. I was talking with one of the men and they were sharing about their team of Elders and their team of Elders. He said had always for as long as he had served voted unanimously. With all that's going on in the world. They said there might be the first time that our church is not unanimous in this decision. I talked with another Pastor who said, you know, I'm seeing these these Elders who have always been such Faithful Men. Now we're becoming angry. They're becoming short. They're letting the stress and the pain of the world get to them.
That's exactly what the stress of the world can do if we take our eyes off of Christ. And get consumed by the by the pain and suffering and anxieties of the world. Christ when we set our eyes on him will honas will shape us will conform us will make us strong.
So that we will be able to stand and not just stand but be a source of strength to the Christians who are around us to be a source of encouragement to help those stones that are that are crumbling that are fracturing.
And the stone that is that healing stone that life-giving Cornerstone is a blessing to honor all those who believe in Christ. But the stone serves another purpose.
So one, why do we come to Christ because he exalted and precious to God. Number to why do we come to Christ?
because for one who rejects him Christ is a stumbling block.
Dixell exultation of Christ is a stumbling block to the wicked. Let's read what Peter says here. in verses 6 and following
for Stanton 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 those who believe but for those who do not believe the stone that the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense they stumble because they disobey the word as they were destined to do.
At Cornerstone becomes a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense for those who have rejected the gospel for those who have rejected the good news of Jesus Christ. Now we we read these passages and we're following along. Okay a stone of stumbling a rock of offense we get that they stumble because we they disobey we understand that and then if you're like me and you read this last part of verse 8 and it says and they stumble as they were destined to do. You might say what in the world is being said here Peter. This was all going well until you threw in this little phrase right here that what is this mean? If they were destined to do I'm reading from the ESV and I asked what did they translate it correctly there? I'm going to read to you from a number of other Bible translations. The ESV says that they were destined to do the nasb. Another popular translation says to this Doom. They were appointed the Holman Christian Standard Bible says they were destined for this the NIV says which is also what they were destined for the nlv New Living Translation says they meet the Fate that was planned for them. The new King James says to which they were also appointed the King James whereunto also there. So which one translates in this same way that this Disobedience to the word is something they were appointed for something they were destined for and they all use the same language. These are the major Bible translations that we're going to be seeing red. We asked how do we how do we look at this? How do we understand this? end the best way that I could think to do that is to answer the question. Why why would God do such a thing is this?
And I think we have to go all the way back to the very beginning. Where Adam and Eve ate from the tree and send? Why because of the fall of Man this was the very righteous and just decision of a holy God. That when men fell from that point on they were appointed to Disobedience to the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in him. Paul said it this way in Ephesians 2 3 we all once lived in the passions of our flesh carrying out the desires of the body and of the mind and War by children of Wrath like the rest of mankind this appointment was from the very beginning. This appointment was a judgment on all mankind for Disobedience to God. An appointment in which man's heart were so hardened. But there was nothing they could do themselves. Tawana desire Christ the heart of man would want nothing more than to be Wicked and to do what was right in his own eyes that rebelled against God.
And yet in that we see picture Peter portray and paint such a beautiful picture of God's choosing. If you read through these verses count how many times you see Peter talk about the chosen Christ. The Cornerstone was chosen the church the holy priesthood. Holy nation was chosen the church was for known by God before eternity Christ was for known by God before eternity.
That is the very object of the Believers praise. And also we ask again, how is this a source of comfort this this wasn't the point of contention or confusion in this initial audience is their reading these words their understanding than these words are inspired by the Holy. Holy Spirit is Peter wrote them down. And this is to know nothing is out hot side The Sovereign hand of God nothing. No, man could say in the end. I rejected God. I forwarded God's plan.
They will only find out this is what they were destined to do what they were pointed toward because of their hardened Hearts toward God. Why because of that fall of Man?
this also answers the question that many might say man is naturally born good to choose what he may or may not will to do and yet to see that this appointment because of the Fall was to such a degree that no, man. I choose God. No, man.
God is sovereign. And the Christians needed to know this because Christ was building them Christ was holding them together and nothing that the world could do could for that process or could thwart that plan?
And then we look down 2 verse 9. What is the response from this if they were destined to do? What is the response verse 9 says this that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of Darkness Into His Marvelous Light. That's the picture men are appointed to fall. Why do we praise because God and His Wonderful Mercy called us out of that.
Why are these Believers rejoicing because of what God has called them out of out of that Darkness Into His Marvelous Light and they rejoice.
And yet those many will stumble. How does one stumble?
I mentioned at the beginning of the service reasons why people might come to church.
And there are a lot of reasons someone could come to church and get never know Christ people stumble by unbelief by Disobedience and having no regard for the law of God and his Commandments. They would ignore the word. Maybe only choose the bits and pieces that they like They would think they don't need the word be callous to his commands. the tripping over Christ in these ways
And if the recipients are reading this letter. Those who have trusted and believe there is a sense of joy of the mercies of God having brought them out of Darkness for those who read this letter and have not believed. I hope that they would see in the spirit would work in them so that they would say I don't want to trip over the Cornerstone of life, but then I would see the Cornerstone for who he is God Almighty the only source of salvation.
There was a minor. Who went out to prospect for gold and found a location that he thought was going to be? The place where he would find all of his gold and he built up his house and made a pathway out to where he was going to go mine for gold and walked out and tripped over a stone Excel and his nose and hurt himself and became so angry with this lump in the ground that he sought to remove it. And is he uncovered this the stone that he had He had tripped over it just got bigger and bigger and bigger and his anger. Got more and more and more as he uncovered this Stone never knowing that it was a gold nugget of infinite size.
That would have given him all the wealth of the world. But because of his hatred and anger to the stone that he had suffered and stumbled upon he could never see the infinite value.
And when people stumble over Christ because of disbelief the more they see of him. The more hatred they have towards him. Until God does that work of regeneration within their heart?
Jesus is a stumbling block to the wicked, but he is a Cornerstone of life for the righteous. So we come to Jesus. Because he is the Cornerstone for the righteous verse 9 reads this but you are a chosen race a royal priesthood a holy nation a people for his own possession. But you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of Darkness Into His Marvelous Light once you are not a people, but now you are God's people once you had not received Mercy, but now you have received Mercy.
Why are the Spinners rejoicing cuz God has chosen them called them out of the darkness by his incredible mercies to be a royal priesthood to be a holy nation to be God's people God's people who have received Mercy. This is the hope. This is the joy. This is why church we pursue Christ even in the midst. Tribulation and persecution or seen it happen in the world around us.
Racine churches for getting to the point where they're going to have to take a stand to honor Christ and not Caesar. Where the church is going to have to say? We will obey the voice of God.
And we can do that because we are a royal priesthood a holy nation God's people because of the Wonderful Mercy that he has provided.
And we plead in our hearts because we see the Lost we see the lost all around us. And if it's God's mercy that saved us. A prayer is for those who are lost that God's mercy would be upon them and we plead with God. And we see amazing things happen. the wicked heard us the wicked seek to destroy the church and get those are all. Men and women who have been created in the image of God so as much as our hearts would be angered and frustrated. Let us pray that God's mercies would be rich upon them. Then we might see the Lost come to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. The well we can know. Is that as a church because God is Sovereign over all things. No evil can undo conforte. What God has set in place God will build his church and nothing will destroy it. We need that reminder. We need to know the foundation upon which we are being built. We need to know the brothers and sisters around us who will encourage us to walk in faith.
We need to be humbled. By God's mercies that are soaked in the cleansing blood of Christ his cleansing blood. Not ours. Is Christ to live that righteous life? Became the substitutionary sacrifice. dyed the atoning death
I was raised in a bodily Resurrection.
He took the penalty that we deserved. So we Rejoice that's why we come to him. When we come to church to come to Christ the center Minds on him to step away for a minute from all the anxieties of the world so that we can get a grasp again. What God has done for us?
Jesus said these words in Matthew 11.
As I'm sure they're comforting and familiar to many of your hearts. Come to me. Aqua labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest in your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. CX rotation today come to him come to Christ set your eyes on the grace of Christ. But Peter said false It Is by Grace you have been saved recognized the Holiness the exaltation of Christ fear the lord love one another put away all the malice intent malice intent hypocrisies. Those things that are in the heart. This is what Peter said do these things believer because you have been set apart unto God come. To him and if you've not believed in this room.
Come in face come and believe and you will be set free in Christ Jesus. Who is a Cornerstone? The unshakable rock that will build his church to Perfection. Let's pray. Lord we are so grateful for this reminder of Peter. Indeed you have called us.
to be your people May we serve you wholeheartedly.
May we offer up our bodies as a spiritual sacrifice.
Then we might glorify you and all we do.
We need your strength to do this. We need your endurance and your perseverance. We need your gentle reminders. And let us remember Lord, but even through the fires of persecution. You purify. You make us stronger. And you helped us to see with greater Clarity your son Jesus Christ. So for those of us who were in those fires of persecution or fires of Tryon, give us the strength to endure them well to walk through them Faithfully so that we might know that refining that Purity on the other end. In Jesus name we pray these things amen.