Summary: Because Christ is the Cornerstone, we are to be living stones that build a spiritual house based on acceptable sacrifices.
Introduction: 1 Peter 2:4-10 "Psalm 122 - I was glad when they said to me, come to the House of the Lord. Where else in this world can you go to hear such a message of hope; You are chosen, You are special, You are the people of God - Opening Prayer
Illustration: I have an interesting item to show you today. I found this stick along the bank of the Clark Fork River, near the Alberton Gorge in Western Montana. Notice how dried up and twisted it now looks. It looks like one of those "magic wands" you see in movies. At one time this was a branch of a large tree. It was part of something that had life. We can only imagine where this tree might have first sprouted, then sent roots diving into the soil to anchor in for the mountain storms. Its first few years would have been spent struggling for good soil, water and sunlight to secure its place among the much older, straighter Lodge Pole Pines that surrounded it. But judging from the size of this one branch, I would say this tree had grown considerably. As these trees grow, the branches often bow toward the ground, having been shaped by the weight of months of snow. The moister that is drawn up through the roots provides nutrients for internal growth. The cool mountain air keeps the branches moist on the outside allowing moss to grow and hang down as much as three or four feet. The moss that hung from this branch housed bugs and spiders for the birds and became a major source of food for Elk in the winter. Wherever it is that this tree and this branch began, I am certain it played a vibrant role in the life cycle of Bitteroot National Forest. At first glance things like this stick draw our interest. We think the twisted lines and deformations give it character, We place things like this in our gardens for looks. We hang them over our mantles. We make walking canes out of them. But the sad reality remains. This is the dried up remains of something that once had life. It became twisted and bent because something separated it from that which gave it life. Many things happened to this branch after it left the tree. Having spent 4 winters in the Montana mountains I can only imagine the extreme conditions this branch suffered during its journey from the base of that tree to the banks of the Clark Fork River. What I want us to see today is our need to stay with our source of life, Jesus. In Chapter 2 of 1 Peter, the Apostle draws a similar analogy for his congregation. Because of the prevalence of wooden and stone idols in his time I believe Peter had them in mind as a clear contrast to the living God we serve.
Textual Idea: Because Christ is the Cornerstone, we are to be living stones that build a spiritual house based on acceptable sacrifices.
Sermon Idea: A Holy House isn’t made of Dead Wood
Division 1: We are to be Living Stones not Dead Wood
Explain: vv 3-4
"if indeed, you have tasted" = your salvation (there is a false salvation people count on that is not what Jesus provides) works, head knowledge not heart knowledge (even the demons believe - yet they tremble because they Him not as their Lord) No only SxG-FnJ; knowing Jesus as Savior without having Him as Lord isn’t possible // if indeed you have tasted = if indeed you have placed your faith in Jesus you have submitted your life to His Lordship because ... the moment you receive Christ you receive the Holy Spirit whose # 1 mission in your life is to enable you to follow Jesus with your heart and then your hands. This is the purpose for which you were created. This is the purpose for which you were recreated. Chris Tomlin - You Are My Treasure: Faithful Lord, fill my cup, with your grace and love, your grace and love. The pleasures that this world’s sure of will never be enough, can never be enough. Cause I’m created, for you alone, bought with a price I’m not my own. Seated in the heavenlies and there’s no place I’d rather be than with You forever Lord. You are my treasure."