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Living Stone Church - 1 Peter 2:4-10

As Peter concludes his opening section, he zooms back out to give the elect exiles a big-picture view of their new life in Christ. When zoomed in, Peter talked about the need for obedience to God your Father and love for your brothers. When zooming out, Peter explains why obedience and love are so important: God chose Jesus to be the cornerstone of His new temple, a place where God’s people would serve as holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices to God. Those spiritual sacrifices take the shape of corporate worship and holy lives that proclaim the excellencies of God, which is only possible through obedience to God and love for His people.

This is what God wanted for humanity ever since He put Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, the first sanctuary. But Adam did not obey, and so he was ashamed. After Eden, God accepted sacrifices as a way of coming back into His presence, but Cain’s offering was not accepted, and so he was ashamed. God then called Israel, and the tabernacle and temple became the places where God’s people could offer spiritual sacrifices, and Israel became God’s mouthpiece to declare His glory to the world. But time and again, Israel did not obey the Word, and so they stumbled and fell. The ultimate example of this is of course Israel’s rejection of her Messiah. And so when Jesus left the temple, He prophesied its destruction.

And so once again God embarks on a construction project, building a new spiritual house. But this time, He is using living stones. The resurrected Jesus, the one who never disobeyed the Word, the one who never stumbled, is the chief cornerstone, the first block that determines the position of all the other stones. If you align yourself with Jesus, you’ll be straight, but if through unbelief or sin you are out of line, you will be put to shame. But since this temple has Jesus as the cornerstone, this house is the one that will stand forever, the temple that will never be destroyed. In this spiritual house, the offerings made by Jesus’s priestly people will always be found acceptable to God.

This big picture view helps the elect exiles make sense of their experience in the world: they are being showered with intense shame, dishonor, and rejection. What they need is to have their view of the world and of themselves recalibrated by gospel truth, and that’s exactly what Peter does. He shifts their gaze from what the world thinks of them to what the world thought of Jesus, and then he leads them to focus instead on what God thinks of Jesus, what God thinks of Jesus’s people, and what God thinks of those people who reject Jesus.

Both the world and God are handing out honor and shame. The world’s standard is themselves, and so they honor those who value and pursue the same things they do (sex, money, power, and so on), and they have nothing but scorn for those who are “wasting their lives” on other goals. But the standard by which God hands out honor and shame is Jesus Christ. Is Jesus the cornerstone that determines the course of your life? Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame! If you believe in Him, there is honor for you, but if you do not believe, you will stumble and be humiliated when the stone that you rejected is revealed to be the cornerstone of God’s house. Jesus is either your cornerstone or your stumbling stone. When you encounter Jesus, you will either be built up as part of Living Stone Church, or you will fall as a member of Stumbling Rock Fellowship.

Unbelievers stumble over Christ the Rock, as they were destined to do, but God has a different purpose for believers. God is building all who come to Christ into a spiritual house, where they share a common Father, a common role, a common culture, and a common purpose. God established Living Stone Church on the foundation of Jesus Christ so that in her worship and by the way her people live their lives, the excellencies of God would be proclaimed. God is doing something glorious by choosing those that the world rejects and making them into a beautiful temple that rings out with the praises of the mercy that He has shown through Jesus Christ.

Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2016 by CJ Bowen