Summary: Are you going to help build the kingdom of God up or tear it down?
What does it take to build a building? Materials.
What does it take to build a church? PEOPLE! 1 PETER 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Peter tells us that we are living stones. In the passage that we will look at today, we will see that we can be one of two types of stones, a building block or a stumbling block.
BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE.
Let us read Matthew 16:21-28. As we look at this passage today, let us examine ourselves to see if we are building blocks in God’s church or stumbling blocks.
In the conversation that Jesus has with his disciples, we will find a contrast between a stumbling block and a building block.
Deny self verses living for self. Verse 24.
1. Building Block.
a. Deny self
READ PHILIPPIANS 2:5-8.
GAL 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Denying self is not starving yourself, or living in a rat hole, but it is an attitude that is demonstrated in Gal 2:20. We live for Jesus and we look to fulfill His purposes.
2. Stumbling block
a. Live for yourself.
READ LUKE 12:16-21
Living for self is an attitude of seeking yourself first. Jesus warned many times about the folly of living for self, In Matthew 6 , Jesus says to seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and you will have what you need to live!
Take up your cross verses ignoring the cross. Verse 24
1. Building Block
a. Take up your cross. Luke adds daily.
A cross symbolized death. The condemned man carried it to his death. The trip was a one way trip, it was not a ride that you could jump off of when you wanted to!
Carrying our cross means that we are willing to accept hardship for Christ.
It is an attitude that says that I am going to serve Jesus everywhere and always, no matter what the cost to me is.
Must carry the correct cross.
2. Stumbling Block
a. Ignore the cross.
Satan offered Jesus a crown without the cross and He would not accept it. In verses 21-24, Peter tried to do the same thing, a crown without a cross.
People today want a crown from God without going through the cross. Christians want to be blessed by God without carrying there cross.
If we live in such a way as to ignore the cross, then we are a stumbling block in God’s kingdom.
Following Christ verses following the world. Verse 24
1. Building block.
a. Following Jesus.
Who you follow matters.
Come after me implies effort.
Following Jesus is not just doing things, but it is having the correct attitude while doing them. USE EXAMPLE.
2. Stumbling block.
a. Following the world.
READ 1 JOHN 2:15-17
COL. 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
When we let the world control what we do and how we think, we become a stumbling block.
Lose your life for His sake, verses saving you life for yourself. 25
1. Building Block
a. Lose your life for Him.
READ JOHN 12:25-26
This goes back to an attitude of service for Christ.
2. Stumbling Block
a. Save you life for self.
Our life is a gift that was given to us to spend. If we are not careful, we can end up hoarding our lives like we would money.
One of the reason’s I went to College was that I was afraid of exhausting my life and then realizing that I spent my energy in the wrong way.
Our lives are a gift from God, to be used for God.
Shirley MacLaine, the award-winning actress granted an interview to the Washington Post back in 1977. In that interview she tipped her hand:
The most pleasurable journey you take is through yourself -- the only sustaining love is with yourself. When you look back on your life and try to figure out where you’ve been and where you’re going, when you look at your work, your love affairs, your marriages, your children, your pain, your happiness -- when you examine all that closely, what you really find out is that the only person you really go to bed with is yourself. The only thing you have is working to the consummation of your own identity. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do all my life.