1 Peter 2:4-10 (NIV):
“Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honour. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which youâ€™ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.
The Scriptures provide precedent:
Look! Iâ€™m setting a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone in the place of honour.
Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation
will never have cause to regret it.
To you who trust him, heâ€™s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him,
The stone the workmen threw out
is now the chief foundation stone.
For the untrusting itâ€™s
. . . a stone to trip over,
a boulder blocking the way.
They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, Godâ€™s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for youâ€”from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”
The brilliant idea about the family of God is that we all have a place.
We are all able to fit in.
God of the many chances, not last chance.
So today it is really important for us to understand that we are all a vital part of the church. And I hope that I can encourage you and release you into â€˜youâ€™ playing your part in the big picture.
The earlier verses to this passage are saying to the people of God â€˜donâ€™t get stuck at the baby stage, but grow up in your faith.â€™ Time for solids, chewier things and some things harder to digest.
And then what Peter is doing here, is that he is going on to tell us how we actually do that, how we grow up as Christians. Peter is encouraging us and saying that our growth is not just an individual aspect but actually it is a corporate one as well.
No longer as consumers but as participators. Our church should be maturing, the church globally should be maturing.
Pioneer â€“ growing, maturing!
People wanting to be part of something that is alive.
Peter loves mixing his metaphors. But this is fairly easy to understand. That having constant relationship with Jesus who is the living stone, means that we will become like him, the living stones. Itâ€™s a daring metaphor, as stones donâ€™t live or speak for that matter!
He is the living cornerstone/foundation stone and we become the living stones. Or as one commentator says the â€˜livelyâ€™ stones.
The purpose of stones is never to be kept in isolation, but to be joined together to form a building.
Pioneer needs all the bricks connected, built together!
Bricks on their own are just bricks.
What can you do with a brick? Every garden has a random brick on the side. Donâ€™t really want to throw it away, but is it really going to be used? What does it do? Props a gate open occasionally?
Stones, bricks, are meant to be joined together to become a building.
They become purposeful. Godâ€™s plan of bringing bricks together.
We were called, chosen, predestined, in our motherâ€™s womb. To be purposeful.
The world has rejected the living stone, and now we are living stones, to show Jesus off in our lives.
One of the ways that Jesus shows himself to the world is the house, the spiritual house, that he is building, where he is the cornerstone or the foundation stone, the bedrock of that house.
We all know that foundations are the most important part of a house. They are the bit that keep it stable, the bit that keep it upright.
As we engage in issues, serving communities, making good things happen.
Itâ€™s the cornerstone â€˜Jesusâ€™ that keeps it solid, stops it moving, bowing, moving to the left or right with subsidence, when a property can fall down.
We are being built together into a spiritual house.
Breathtaking cathedrals, chapels.
The same thing meant to happen with living stones â€“ gasp!
This is the movement that cares:
about the poor
the trafficked young person
The hope of glory is bursting out of the house, this house is bright, dangerous to be in sometimes, perfume, aroma, smell of Christ that fills the house.
So this house, Godâ€™s spiritual house, is daily being built up.
Every part of it is having a new extension built.
Jesus is the foundation on which the church is built, the key stone on which we all grow from.
Jesus himself quoted from Psalm 118:22-24
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvellous in our eyes.
The LORD has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.”
And this stone is one that you decide to build on or be tripped up by.
We have to make a choice. You are not just a stone, you are a living stone. We need to stand upon the cornerstone, build our life on it.
The house on the rock and not the house on the sand.
Our foundations are on the living cornerstone. He was raised from the dead, he is alive.
And you couldnâ€™t build yourself into anything on your own.
So we need to let ourselves be built, by God, into his spiritual house.
Priesthood is a collective word. We are a â€˜priesthoodâ€™, we are in this together. We are a body of priests. It is a privilege to bring spiritual sacrifice to God.
Together in action and community engagement.
He supports it, unites it, adorns it, watches over it, loves it, is precious about it. Jesus loves his holy house.
He says of you that you are â€˜a chosen generationâ€™.
You are a â€˜royal priesthoodâ€™.
Grace started a movement, the new birth, the new community of the church. Not to be the brick that props the gate open. But to be part of the â€˜livelyâ€™ stones.
Please donâ€™t let me do â€˜gate duty!â€™ says the brick.
Not in arrogance, but that we have been chosen and called.
Maybe for some of us we have experienced difficulty, maybe even hurt in this area, and God maybe wants to release us to be LIVING STONES again.
As we keep coming in prayer, worship, praise, sacrifice, serving, letting go!
You go out fuller and then the house gets extended.
The glory of God, the visible, tangible evidence of his presence.
The Ezekiel promise, the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former.
Malachi 3:1 â€“ “Suddenly out of the blue the leader you have been looking for will enter his temple!”
Ephesians 2:19-22 (Message)
â€œThatâ€™s plain enough, isnâ€™t it? Youâ€™re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. Youâ€™re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home.
Heâ€™s using us allâ€”irrespective of how we got hereâ€”in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation.
Now heâ€™s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together.
We see it taking shape day after dayâ€”a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.â€