Summary: When life is difficult, think about the amazing blessings that are yours because of Christ and thank Him.
Remember: The original readers of 1 Peter were facing persecution.
The Big Idea: When life is difficult, THINK about the amazing blessings that are yours because of Christ and THANK Him.
1. There is nothing more important that our RESPONSE to Jesus.
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him” (v. 4).
The “living Stone” = JESUS CHRIST.
Peter quotes three Old Testament “stone” prophecies and applies them to Christ:
• “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed” (Isaiah 28:16; quoted in v. 6).
• “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone” (Psalm 118:22; quoted in v. 7).
• “And he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall” (Isaiah 8:14a; quoted in v. 8).
Jesus is described as the “cornerstone.” In ancient times, a cornerstone was the first stone set in the construction of a building. It was extremely important since all the other stones were set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire building. (Today, a cornerstone is a ceremonial stone set in a prominent location on the outside of a building, with an inscription indicating the construction date, etc.)
ILLUSTRATION: Before I became a pastor, I worked for a construction company that built houses. I did a lot of work on foundations. Once I asked my boss if I could be in charge of laying the foundation, but he wisely said no. Good foundations are essential.
The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ. Peter (then known as Simon) was once asked by Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). And Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter [rock], and on this rock [faith in Christ] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (vv. 17-18).
God wants us to make Jesus the foundation of our lives.
a. We can ACCEPT Christ and enjoy the blessings of God.
“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.’ Now to you who believe, this stone is precious” (vv. 6-7a).
“Will never be put to shame” is a deliberate understatement. It could be expressed by “will find great glory.”
b. We can REJECT Christ and miss out on the blessings of God.
But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for” (vv. 7b-8).