Summary: 1) Christ is the cornerstone of God’s temple 2) Christians are living stones in God’s temple
In the late ‘70’s, the rock band, Pink Floyd came out with a hit song that school kids loved. The chorus, which was sung by a school choir, went like this: “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control…Hey teacher! Leave those kids alone...All and all you’re just another brick in the wall.”
There’s some debate concerning the last line of the chorus but I always understood it to mean that if you willingly believe everything your teachers tell you, you’re just another brick in the wall. You’re a conformist who must not be very bright because you’re not willing to think for yourself. No, students shouldn’t just swallow everything that they hear from their teachers. For example I had a teacher in Grade 9 who insisted that God could have created the world through the process of evolution. Sure, God could have done it that way but according to the biblical record, he didn’t. Of course there are many who will accuse you of being just another brick in the wall if you believe everything you read in the Bible – especially the claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven. But Bible-believing Christians are not just another brick in the wall, neither is Christ. Let’s find out what that means as we turn to our sermon text.
According to several house-building websites I checked, foundations are the most difficult and important part of construction. A foundation that might work here in St. Albert where it is relatively dry, probably wouldn’t work in Vancouver because of wet weather and soil conditions. So if you’re intent on building your own home, it’s best to consult the experts before laying your foundation. Get the foundation wrong and the rest of your house is doomed because the walls and roof won’t have the support it needs to stay standing.
The Apostle Peter explains that the same thing is true of our eternal salvation. He wrote in our text: “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.’ 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).
Many people feel that their own goodness can be the foundation of their salvation. But according to the Bible, that’s like building your house on sand. And so Peter reminds us that Jesus is not just another brick in the wall. He’s not just another path up the summit of salvation. Christ is the cornerstone, the only foundation that will lift us up to heaven. Jesus himself made that clear in our Gospel Lesson when he said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Jesus is the only sure foundation of our salvation because he is the only one who measured up to God’s standard of perfection. Trusting in ourselves or another like Buddha is like standing on an empty cardboard box you’ve painted to look like a rock thinking that it will support your weight and help you reach higher heights. That’s a recipe for disaster. In fact Peter reminds us that while all those who trust in Jesus for forgiveness will receive unlimited blessings, all who reject Jesus or simply ignore him will receive unlimited curses. You can’t simply step over Christ the Cornerstone as if he’s a brick that fell off the mason’s wheelbarrow. He’s much bigger than that. If you try stepping over him, you’re going to trip and fall flat on your face. And what’s worse, Jesus himself will come crashing down on you on Judgment Day (Luke 20:18). Don’t treat Jesus like another brick in the wall – like another guru you can choose to listen to or ignore without consequences.
While Christ is the cornerstone of God’s temple, he’s not the whole building. What do you suppose the rest of the temple is made out of? Marble? Gold? Listen to Peter again: “…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” (1 Peter 2:5).
God is building his house out of you and the Christian sitting next to you. It’s no wonder he calls us stones instead of bricks. Bricks are all the same shape, size, and color. No two stones are alike, however, not even stones cut from the same rock. God delights in this variety. He enjoys bringing us together to become a dazzling mosaic for his glory (Mark Jeske).