Summary: Live Like A Rock Star (Not like a Rolling Stone, but like the Living Stone.)
Screaming fans. Fat paychecks. Private jets. Caribbean villas. Roadies and personal assistants ready to serve you hand and foot. That’s my impression of what life must be like for a rock star. It sounds glamorous to be surrounded by people who keep telling you that you’re the greatest and that you can do whatever you want, but it’s dangerous - especially when you have the money to do whatever you want. That’s why rock star biographies with titles like “Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger” are the norm rather than the exception. So would you be surprised to hear me urge you this morning to live like a rock star? Yes, that’s the theme of our sermon today: Live Like A Rock Star. No, not like a Rolling Stone, but like the Living Stone, Jesus.
Jesus had a rock star following for the first half of his ministry. The people of Israel couldn’t get enough of his miracles. They followed him wherever he went and crowded into the houses he stayed in hoping to benefit from his healing power. They even enjoyed his teaching to a certain extent. But when Jesus made the exclusive claim that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14) – that without him sinners cannot see heaven, many turned away from him. This rejection had been prophesied explains our text from 1 Peter 2. “‘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 capstone,’ 8 and, ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall…’” (1 Peter 2:6-8a).
Jesus is described as the cornerstone. This would have been the first stone masons would place in position when building. It was the stone that would govern the angles of all the other stones. And so if the masons didn’t choose wisely, the whole building was apt to fall down. In eternity God chose his Son to be the foundation for our salvation. Anyone who wants to survive death and live in the eternal happiness of heaven must build their life on Jesus.
Instead of building on Jesus, however, many tripped over him while trying to walk around or step over Jesus because they didn’t want to admit that they needed him. Some of these people like the Pharisees even started to lash out at Jesus and actively plot his death. But you don’t have to take a kick at Jesus to be guilty of rejecting him. When a mason is looking for the right stone on which to build, he doesn’t kick with disgust the stones he doesn’t think are worth using; he simply turns away from them. And yet that act of turning away from a particular stone is an act of rejection. Might we be guilty of that more seemingly mild form of rejection in our relationship with Jesus? We may not curse Jesus. We may not scoff when we hear about the miracles he performed as do many atheists. But if we think that just because we like singing Amazing Grace and are willing to confess that Jesus was one of the greatest men to ever live, this does not mean that we have built our lives on Jesus. To build on the Living Stone means to listen to and obey his Word. That’s the point Peter was making when he said of those who stumble over Jesus: “They stumble because they disobey the message…” (1 Peter 2:8b).
Is there any part of God’s message that you are disobeying? In the verses before out text Peter urged his readers to rid themselves of all deceit (1 Peter 2:1). So when you sell something on Kijiji are you up front about all its deficiencies or do you withhold information to make the sale? When your parents or your teacher ask why you didn’t complete your homework, do you explain that you were too busy with other homework while the truth is that you were too busy texting or otherwise fooling around instead of applying yourself? When you have failed again to be a patient parent and a thoughtful spouse, do you blame others rather than acknowledge your own lazy self-centeredness in the matter? God says that we should get rid of all deceit, but we’re like the child who thinks that getting rid of a toy at the supper table means putting it in his lap where he hopes no one will see him play with it later during the meal.
I have just mentioned one small part of God’s message to us, and yet it’s clear, at least in my own life, that I have not obeyed God when it comes to getting rid of all deceit. Have you? If not, I hope you’re squirming in your seat, for this is the effect that God’s commands should have on us. Jesus illustrated that point when he spoke of himself as the cornerstone and said: “He who falls on this stone (Jesus) will be broken to pieces…” (Matthew 21:44a). Wait. What? I thought Jesus our Savior, our Good Shepherd, was supposed to gently catch us when we fall into sin. That’s true. And so what Jesus is describing here is what first happens when people come to believe in him as their Savior. They first acknowledge, by the Holy Spirit’s prompting, that they are not the good person they once thought themselves to be. They acknowledge, as God’s Law has lead them to do with its commands and threats, that they are in big trouble for they have not lived lives of truth and love, but instead have been deceitful and conniving.