Summary: Peter illustrates our identity in the church as living stones and a holy priesthood
A Holy Priesthood
Text: 1 Peter 2:4-10
I watched a show where scientists tried to make a smaller model of the great pyramids to learn how the ancients had accomplished the feat. They measured and cut the giant stone which would serve as the guide and cornerstone, as they levered the other stones on top it became clear that their original calculations were wrong and their pyramid would remain fatally flawed.
In the ancient world precise stone work was crucial to any major building project, it is this metaphor that Peter uses to communicate to us our collective identity in Christ. He speaks of us not only as "living stones" used to build a spiritual temple but also as a Holy Priesthood serving in that same temple which is the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Proposition: Each of you who has put your trust in Him for salvation is a living stone placed on the foundation of Christ, and taking your primary identity from Him.
Interrogative: But if we are to understand who we are in Christ as Peter explains it in this passage we need to know what it means to be "living stones" and a "holy priesthood."
Transition: As we look at this passage today rather than taking it apart verse by verse or even looking at each metaphor in turn, I’d like to look at several themes that run throughout the passage each of them relating to our identity as a People of God. The first thing I’d like you to notice is that we are a people who have been...
This is a theme that echoes back to us from the first time that we looked at First Peter. If you recall we made a special point of the fact that we were selected by God--not that we sought him but that He sought us. That point is made again in our text today as Peter repeatedly refers to us as a "chosen people." But remember now that we as a people take our identity from our King. We as chosen ONES are identified by the chosen ONE. And it is that ONE that our text refers to first...
4. As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him
6. For in Scripture it says:" See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
Christ is the Chosen One, chosen from the beginning of time, chosen as both the fulfillment and the beginning of God’s plan. He is the Cornerstone and we are all built upon Him
ILLUSTRATION: The tower of Pisa had a problem with it’s foundation, it was a source of shame for its builders, but the Scripture says we who are built into Christ’s house will never be put to shame.
Not everyone recognizes Him as the perfect foundation, some chose to reject Him and build on their own foundation or to look for another, but those who choose to yield their lives to Him are themselves Chosen...
9. But you are a chosen people,
This is terminology straight out of the Old Testament. Israel is God’s chosen people. But Peter here is writing to a predominately if not completely gentile church. What is he saying? He is saying that Because of Christ the true foundation all we who are part of His temple are the remnant of Israel, we are spiritual Israel. The People of God through the saving work of Jesus Christ, the chosen one.
Secondly, as the people of God we are...
God doesn’t just choose us and say "eh, they’ll be good enough." As the ultimate stonemason of living stones he makes us right, we are changed to be what is needed for the construction of His Holy temple...
9-10. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Notice the focus here, "you are a holy people" holy because the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin, Yes, but holy also because by His spirit we live holy lives.
Those of you who are astute recognize that this is the point of last week’s sermon, Peter, under the Spirit’s inspiration, urges us to holiness because it is in fact part of our identity: who we are in Christ. We are changed, by the blood of Christ.
Once we had no collective identity--we were not a people--now we have the identity of Christ--we are the people of God, Once we were lost in sin, now we have received His mercy--not only in the fact that our sins are paid for but mercy in the fact that we are set free from sin’s bondage in our day to day lives.