Summary: We have a wonderful identity in Christ.
A. The story is told of a baby rabbit who was orphaned.
1. Fortunately, a family of squirrels took it in and raised it as if it were one of their own.
2. This adoption led to some peculiar behaviors on the part of the rabbit, including a tendency for it to scurry around like its step-siblings instead of jumping around like a rabbit.
3. When the rabbit grew up, it went through a bit of an identity crisis (don't we all).
4. So the rabbit went to his squirrel step-parents to discuss the problem.
5. The rabbit confessed how he felt different from his squirrel step-siblings and wasn’t sure he should be a squirrel or a rabbit; he was just so confused and forlorn.
6. His step-parents response was: “Don't scurry, be hoppy.”
B. I know that’s pretty corny, but I want us to spend a few minutes thinking about our identity.
1. What is our self-concept? Do we know who we really are?
2. Do any of us suffer from an identity crisis, or low self-esteem?
3. Today’s section of First Peter has a lot to say about our identity.
4. What Peter tells us should be a cure for anyone’s identity crisis.
C. Let’s look at the text and mine some powerful truths about who we really are in Christ.
I. We are Living Stones
A. Peter began this section, saying: 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him - 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
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.”
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. (1 Peter 2:4-8)
B. Peter points us to some amazing and life-changing truths in this section.
1. Peter declares that there is only one Savior - Jesus Christ, and there is only one spiritual building - the church.
2. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the church – and as the cornerstone He is the perfect stone on which the whole church rests and takes its shape.
3. Peter declares that He is the Living Stone because He was raised from the dead and lives with God in heaven.
4. Peter also called Jesus the chosen stone and precious stone of the Father.
5. Nevertheless, in spite of His chosen and precious status before God, He was rejected by men.
C. Jesus was not the kind of Messiah the Jews were desiring and expecting, so they stumbled over him.
1. The real cause of this Jewish stumbling was their refusal to submit to the Word of God.
2. Had they believed and obeyed the Word, they would have received their Messiah and been saved through Him.
3. Of course, people today still stumble over Christ and His cross.
4. But regardless of people’s reaction to Christ, He is who He is – He is the Living Stone, Chosen and Precious to God.
D. And here’s the wonderful news for us – if we do believe in the Living Stone then we become living stones who are being built into God’s spiritual house.
1. Every time someone becomes a Christian, another stone is quarried out and put in place.
2. It may look to us that the church on earth is a pile of ruble and ruins, but God sees the total structure as it grows – God is the architect and builder.
3. What a privilege it is for us to be part of God’s building that ultimately houses God’s spirit.
E. Peter wrote this letter to believers living in five different provinces, yet he said that they belong to one “spiritual house.”
1. There is a unity of God’s people that transcends all local and individual assemblies in both time and space.
2. What God is doing is so much bigger than any individual person or congregation at any point in history.
3. And you and I are privileged to be added to God’s glorious, spiritual building.
4. Paul said it so well in Ephesians 2:19-22: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.