Summary: Foreigners in a Foreign Land God Builds His Church, the Temple of God
Foreigners in a Foreign Land
God Builds His Church, the Temple of God
We are finishing the first of three mini series in 1 Peter, “Foreigners in a Foreign Land” (1.1-2.10) where we have been looking at what Peter writes to Christians suffering persecution. When finished, we will begin the second mini series, “Living on Mission in a Foreign Land” (2.11-4.11). Today's message is “God Builds His Church, The True Temple of God.”
Big Idea – God is establishing a spiritual house, with the people of God, those who put their faith in Christ.
We have seen in chapter one Peter encouraging those suffering by emphasizing that salvation is the work of God – God set his affection on them in eternity past, God caused them to be born again, and God is keeping them through their suffering. Now in chapter two he begins describe God's people as those being shaped by God's word and how the church is the new people of God.
Overview of passage: Peter describes those who long for the goodness of God come to Christ, the living stone rejected by men but chosen and precious to God. By faith in Christ we become living stones, who God using to establish a spiritual house, a new temple not built by hands but by God's Spirit with priests who offer spiritual sacrifices which are only acceptable to God because the work of Christ on our behalf.
Those who Long for Him Come to Jesus
Last week we saw that Peter commands us to get desire for the word. The bad news is that generating this desire is impossible; the good news is that what God commands, God provides. So we ask God for strong desires for the word and trust that he will give it. Now Peter describes people who desire the word as those who come to him. Those who long for the goodness of God in the word of God will come to him for spiritual resources. We come to him because he is precious. He is precious because through him we come to know God and experience the presence of God, and not his wrath. Without Christ everything is unacceptable, dark, and wrath. We come to him because he is alive and gives life to those who look to him for spiritual resources for life. We come to him because his word softens callous hearts and supplies grace to needy hearts.
We are Shaped into Living Stones
We are living stones because we are connected to Jesus, the living stone, by faith. By faith we partake of his life and his divine moral nature. Coming to him, having regular contact with Jesus, makes us fit to be shaped into stones to build a spiritual house.
We are Built into a Spiritual House
Christ builds his church. He builds individual Christ followers into a spiritual temple. It is spiritual because it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit animates every aspect of it. Peter moves from speaking about individuals, living stones, to speaking about the corporate church, the spiritual house. As stones we are organically related to each other and are necessary parts of the spiritual house God is building. Peter is writing about the church because the church is central to God's purposes. He did not want them to be so distracted with life that they neglected God's spiritual house. Are you neglecting God's spiritual house?
We are Built Through Jesus Christ.
We are a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable through Jesus Christ. All that we do in this life is only acceptable through the gospel. Under the Old Covenant, there was a special class of people, priests, who mediated on behalf of Gods people, but with the coming of Jesus, all of God's people are priests who play a role in God's spiritual house. There is no special category of priest that mediates between God and us.
We are built as God's People
For Peter to call Gentiles priests offering spiritual sacrifices was a shocking statement to his readers. Let me give you a very brief history lesson to help you see why it was so shocking. Biblical history is called redemptive history, which describes the study of God's acts of redemption from creation to consummation. Listen carefully to my train of thought because it may be foreign to many of you. The tent of meeting went with Israel wherever they traveled. It was the place where Israel heard God's voice, experienced God's presence, where they met with God, and where provision was made for the forgiveness of sins. Then in the tenth century B.C. Solomon built this magnificent temple. When it was consecrated, God's presence and glory was so intense that the priest could not stand. This temple was at the center of life for Israel as God's people. It was the place where God showed up, where God spoke to his people, where provision for the forgiveness of sins was made. So you can begin to see why his readers would be jolted with Peter's words. But what does it mean?