Summary: If we want to influence our friends and family members to follow Jesus, then we must KNOW who we are and BE who we are in Christ. We are God's holy temple and God's special people, designed to be living displays of His greatness, so let's live that way.
Howard Hendricks, one of my professors at Dallas Theological Seminary, sometimes talked about his days when he was a student at the same seminary. In one of those stories, he tells about the time he was invited to preach in west Texas. “You’ve all heard of Nowhere? Well,” Hendricks says, “this was 25 miles beyond that.” The teeming crowds were gathering – all 17 of them, but Hendricks preached with all the fervor and passion of his heart. When he got through, a tall Texan came up to him and said, “You were wrong.”
“Well, sir,” Hendricks said. “I've been wrong on many occasions. Give me the information.”
The Texan replied, “In your sermon you made a moronic statement. You said you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. And that ain't true, ‘cause you can feed him salt.” (Howard Hendricks, “Beyond the Bottom Line,” Preaching Today, Tape No.101; www.PreachingToday.com)
Many of us desire for our friends and family members to drink the Living Water of salvation that Jesus offers, but they don’t seem to want to drink. They don’t seem to be the least bit interested in spiritual things, so they often brush off our attempts to tell them about what Jesus did for us.
The question is: How can we feed them the kind of salt that will make them thirsty for Jesus? How can we present Jesus in such a way that they will want to get to know Him personally?
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to 1 Peter 2, 1 Peter 2, where the Bible tells us how we can influence even those who are hostile to Christ, much less those who are indifferent.
1 Peter 2:4-5 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 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. (NIV)
God is building a spiritual house, not with bricks and mortar, but with living stones, with people who come to Christ like you and me. That means…
TOGETHER, WE ARE A HOLY TEMPLE!
Together, we are a magnificent cathedral designed to reflect the glory of Christ, especially to those who reject Him.
You see, Jesus is the cornerstone of this temple. He is the foundation piece that gives direction to the whole edifice, even though He is rejected by so many.
1 Peter 2:6-8 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.” 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,” and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. (NIV)
Those who refuse to be persuaded by the word are destined to stumble over Christ. That’s literally the meaning of the word, “disobey.” It describes someone who refuses to believe or someone who refuses to be persuaded.
You see, people DO not believe in Jesus not because they CAN not believe. They DO not believe in Jesus because they WILL not believe. Faith is a choice, and those who choose not to believe in Jesus stumble and fall over Him. He is scandalous to them. He is offensive. But for those of us who choose to believe in Him, we find Him to be precious (vs.8), literally, to be honored or valued. That’s because He is the foundation stone, the cornerstone that gives stability and direction to all of us who trust Him.
When the Jews built the temple in Jerusalem, they did not want to desecrate that holy site with the ugly sounds of the breaking and splitting of rock. The building site was to be as quiet as possible. It was holy ground. So they required that all the stones for the temple be cut at another location. It required a tremendous amount of skill and precise measurements by the stone masons, but they did their job well and all the cut rock they sent to the temple site fit perfectly together with one exception. That exception was an odd-sized rock that didn’t seem to fit anywhere. The builders on the temple site rejected it first, but then they discovered that the odd-sized rock was the cornerstone to the whole structure. It was the foundation piece that gave stability and direction to the whole building.
That’s who Jesus is for all of us who trust in Him. In the Gospels, Jesus had said to Peter, “On this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Well here, Peter identifies that Rock as Jesus. He is the cornerstone that gives stability and direction to the church. He is the cornerstone that gives stability and direction to all His people together who depend on Him.