Summary: We are chosen to: come to Him; to be linving stones in His Holy Temple; to offer sacrifices of worship. we have become His special people; a holy nation; with a specific purpose, to declare the praises of God. The invitation is given; will you come?
Have you been invited? Have you accepted the invitation? (1 Peter 2.4-12)
I remember sending out invitations for our wedding, how difficult it was to cut people out. We had a budget, we couldn’t afford to have everyone we loved there, we had to pick a few.
How wonderful it is to be invited. An Invitation reveals a lot of things:
You are welcome;
You are loved;
Your are important;
You have access;
You have rights;
You are chosen;
The Gospel is the invitation that God has given to us, he has sent His only Son to earth to die on the place of sinners, he was buried, and that he was raised from the dead, all according the what God has spoken through the prophets.
Now, Jesus has many times extended invitations to His people: Come to me… Follow me... I’m the door, if you enter... I am the way... He revealed himself to be the bread of life, and those who feed from him will never go hungry... Those who drink from Him will never go thirsty.
There is a verse that says: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This gives us a picture of some sort of divine selection. Let me put this in a simple way: “While it is God’s will for all to be saved, not everyone submits to God’s will”. But once we have submitted to God, we become His chosen.
I. What are we chosen for?
a) To come to Him; (v4);
This coming is a constant coming. It does not refer to a initial Salvation “coming”, it is a constant drawing near into His presence. You may think this too much of a privilege, and it is true, we can come at any time, we are invited to come all the time.
b) to be living Stones in His Holy temple; (v5)
Many of the names give to Christ are a characteristic of God’s people.
i.e. – Son / sons; High Priest/priests, King/kings, Lamb/lambs, Living Stone/living stones.
These are stones cut into shape for building materials, not just boulders or fieldstone randomly gathered. We must each ask, “Am I willing to be shaped and used as a living stone for God’s purposes?” Too many Christians seem to want to be the whole temple or to take Christ’s place as the cornerstone.
And “are being built” meaning that God is doing the building. The “house” that God builds is the church, and so Peter was seeing Jesus’ words fulfilled in the churches to whom he was writing to.
Believers are not left alone in the world; God lives among them in the spiritual home that he is building, only to be completed when Christ Jesus returns.
c) to offer sacrifices of worship;
Not only we are living stones, as we form the spiritual temple on which God lives in, we are also priests which serve God and offer Him spiritual sacrifices.
The Old Testament priests offered animal sacrifices in the temple; God’s people offer sacrifices too, but these are “spiritual sacrifices.”
What comprises these spiritual sacrifices? The answer is found in other New Testament letters:
• “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1). We offer ourselves and our wills to God’s control.
• “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). We offer love, to God and to others.
• “[The gifts the believers had sent to Paul] are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18). We offer our money and possessions freely to help spread the gospel.
• “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15). We center our lives around continual praise to God.
• “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). We do good and share freely with others.
We see from Scripture that every part of our lives—our jobs, activities, recreation, attitudes, giving, outlook, goals—should be given as a spiritual sacrifice to God. When we learn to please God and follow his directions and guidance, all we do delights him.
The sacrifice of ourselves is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. We are imperfect and sinful, yet we are made acceptable to God because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of himself on our behalf. Only because of Christ have believers received this high and holy calling to be living stones and a holy priesthood in the spiritual house of God.
A BEAUTIFUL HOUSE
Peter portrays the church as a living, spiritual house, with Christ as the foundation and cornerstone and each believer as a valuable element.