Summary: Let's talk about the builder, the work that has been done and the work that is being done (Material adapted from Bob Tinsky's book, A Christian Is..., Chapter 10, pgs. 145- 157; Outline from David Taylor, a college classmate)
Clinker bricks are bricks that didn’t make it. For some reason or another, they come out of the kiln misshapen or deformed. There is a church building in New York State that is intentionally built of clinker bricks. Apparently, the congregation wanted to send a message, so they build the building of imperfect, rejected bricks. The message is that we are all clinker bricks, we are sinners, we are imperfect people, but through Christ we are living stones in his church.
A Christian Is... A Living Stone. Today’s main Scripture is from 1 Peter 2:4-5.
Thesis: Let’s talk about the builder, the work that has been done and the work that is being done
“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” Hebrews 3:4
God is the builder of the universe. “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” Hebrews 1:10, NIV.
After the flood, God became the builder of the nation of Israel. God had the children of Israel build the tabernacle, set up the Levitical priesthood, and outlined acceptable sacrifices in the tabernacle to Him.
The work that has been done
Expanding on the tabernacle, King Solomon built a temple for God, a more permanent structure. Evidently God was pleased with this because we read about this during the dedication ceremony. “Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14. This temple lasted around 400 years when the Babylonians destroyed it in 587 BC.
A second temple was built under the direction of a man named Zerubbabel and lasted for 500 years. Some years later, King Herod built a third temple, a magnificent structure twice the size of the original temple. It took 44 years to build this temple but it only lasted for 90 years because it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
NT- Thank goodness that the temple of God is no longer a building made up of stones and mortar. Rather it is a spiritual house made up of people who are “living stones.” The Apostle Paul speaks of this spiritual temple several times in his letters. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, NIV. God’s Spirit is not contained in a physical building. Rather God’s Spirit lives in His church and in the heart of each person who is a “living stone.”
Stones are lifeless, inanimate objects. Stone are about as dead as anything can be. We are different. We are “living stones.” Moving, breathing, life filled human beings. Created in the image of God. Possessing the breath of life given us by our Creator.
Some Native Americans believe God loves stones and that He created the earth from one large boulder. According to their native lore God also used a block of stone to create mankind. Their version of creation pictures the Creator working hard chipping pieces of this boulder until he was so pleased with what he created that he stooped down and breathed into it his own Spirit. Now this is not the picture that the Bible paints of creation. But this does illustrate for us that we are not lifeless rocks but created to be “living stones.”
The life Peter talks about here is more than the life given to every person at birth. Talking about the life given us at the “new birth” (1 Peter 1:3). Christians are twice born people who have been regenerated by the washing of baptism.
True, some Christians resemble dead stones. There is no life, no vitality, no energy coming from them. However, this is not God’s plan for our lives. Jesus, who is “The Living Stone,” wants to make us fully alive. He desires for us to become people who are active and vibrant- people who are passionate about life and excited about the hope we have been given.
What makes us “living stones” is Jesus Christ, “The Living Stone.” Without Jesus in our lives we would be just dead, inert, immobile, unmoving, lifeless rocks.
Built into a spiritual house
Notice that Peter speaks about us as “living stones” (plural) rather than as “a living stone” (singular). See the difference? One stone by itself is useless. Put many them together and what do we have? Some kind of structure.
The truth here is God does not plan for us to be “Lone Ranger Christians.” His plan is for Christians to be connected in a community called “the church.”