Summary: Part 2 of Jesus promising to build His Church. We are dead dirt what tools does Jesus use to make us living stones?
Intro: A little bit of review. The big thing we were told last week is that Jesus made a promise. We already know that Jesus is a promise keeper. Our God is a promise keeping God. He promised in the moment that you chose to rebel and sin you will die. Every single day almost every minute that promise is kept.
So the promise we are focusing on is found in Matthew 16:13-18 is that He would build His church. There is something that we must see and understand from this promise.
1) It is not my church and it is not your church. Jesus said I will build my church. We must be delivered from the idea that this is our building, our stuff or even our breath. We will never do what Jesus wants us to do if we are upset about what happens to things!
When we believe that any of it belongs to us it will make us selfish and inward focused.
2) Church is never about making you happy!
If I or we seek to make you happy then the only people we will ever reach be the one or two we make happy. There will be things we do that don’t make you happy. So I will tell you up front the person I am seeking to make Happy is 1 Jesus and 2 my wife (lol)
Church is about the promise that Jesus made. I will build my church. Last week we learned that Jesus builds His church out of living stones. He reaches into the pit of sin and scoops out dead dirt and makes living stone. Did you know that you are made out of dirt?
Genesis 3:19 “You will eat bread[f] by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”
Truth: Jesus is the only one that can take dead dirt and make living stones!
Truth: You will one day return back to the dust from which you were made – Your spirit/soul will return to God!
Truth: Jesus took you out of the pit of dirty sin t to make you a living stone, a holy priest working together with other believers to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.
Truth: When all the outward trappings of the church are gone the only way church remains is if Jesus was allowed to place living stones in place so they could play their part.
What is my desire for Immanuel Baptist Church? My desire is for us to be a Biblically functioning community of believers who are offering spiritual sacrifices to God. Prayer, praise, missions, ministry, self-sacrifice these are just some of the sacrifices that come from a contrite heart, a humble heart that is acceptable to God.
Jesus places living stones into together in order to make a community that is a dwelling place for Himself. What is a biblically functional community? It is a unity of believers in communion with God and each other! We learned last week about one of the tools that Jesus uses to build His church or place living stones in community. It was submission. The second tool is cooperation.
II. Jesus uses cooperation to build His church (Peter wants us to see the point is strength in unity)
There is a famous story that comes from Sparta. The king of Sparta was bragging about the great walls of Sparta to another king who was visiting there. The visiting king looked around and said, "What walls? I don't see any great walls." The Spartan king then pointed to his vast army: "These are the walls of Sparta. Every man is a brick." [Barclay, Daily Study Bible,195-96]
The point is very clear. A lone stone or brick is useless by itself. If we are called living stones so too are Christians. We were created in Christ Jesus to become part of a household, a temple that is eternal in the heavens not made with hands.
When you read about the early church you discover a community of believers that had everything in common. Peter is painting a picture for us. It powerfully displays to us what can be in the church. It is a picture of stability, growth and activity in a unified church.
There are places in Europe (I forget where) with walls of stone–giant walls that go on for yard after yard if not mile after mile–that were quarried and built by hand. The walls have no mortar; the stones are so perfectly cut and placed that you can't get a credit card between them. Their strength is in their unity. As a result they have lasted through the centuries and yet stand as firm and strong as the day they were set in place. God cuts and quarries us by His hand. He places us in the body so that we can stand together in strength. We do this apart from any earthly mortar, only the mortar of His love and grace, a love and grace we minister to one another. [Tony Bartolucci]