Summary: A sermon with an evangelistic edge
Precious Cornerstone Is 28:14-22. (esp v16-17)WBC 15/7/01
The lie (17b)
The land was under threat from the Assyrians
= “we’ll be okay. We’ve made a deal with death/grave v15
- either the Assyrians, or necromancy
- some ‘talisman’ to protect: “It’ll pass us by”. V15 “it cannot touch us”
but it’s a lie (v17)
- none of us will cheat death. They wouldn’t avoid the Assyrians. Running to something else as refuge wouldn’t help as they are false
- lies. And lies will let you down
Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placing
a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy
machine. The message "He’s lying" was placed in the copier, and police
pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn’t telling the truth. Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed
They are clutching at straws… cobwebs
USA. ’Human fly’. man who would climb up buildings etc. Eventually fell and was killed- found in his hand a wodge of cobwebs. He had grasped at something not real, solid.
…and their refuge will be swept away. Their hiding hole filled with water
- because God is the only refuge- particularly w.r.t life/death
- particularly as that’s what He’s trying to teach them!
The plum-line (v17)
The classic reason for thinking one can cheat death is:
- “God and I have this thing going”
- “I’m a good person. It will be okay”
- by the human measuring-line I am okay. Not a bad person
or, to the Jews: “I keep the law”
- that was their refuge/security/hiding place
(but, interestingly, here = shown to be a childish understanding v10
- it’s ‘baby-talk’.
- Rules are for the immature
- Instead- god wants a change from inside that writes it on the heart
But v17-18 make it clear what the measuring line will be… is, by God’s standards… the plumb-line by which something is measured as being acceptable before God or not
- And it’s a bit shocking! Because it’s not about being ‘nice’… good enough… better than others
- In fact it’s very shocking! V19b says:
- Understanding it brings terror!
- “The bed is to short to stretch out on..”
- “blanket to narrow”
- what you’ve thought would cover you doesn’t. It’s not adequate
- and it’s of primary importance!
- (hence imagery of bed + covers!)
- you can’t cheat death… & the measuring line is not niceness, being good
- IT’S PERFECTION
If you want to be acceptable to God on your terms you have to be perfect
- anyone perfect, here?
“righteousness will be the plumb-line”
Oh, God help us! What are we to do? WE’re all gonna die… and we’re all gonna die wanting in this area.
- “sinners”, if you like
- even the proud “I’m a good person” people will
God does help us! He comes to our rescue. To our ‘redemption’ (from the penalty of sin). To our salvation
- to save us, because we can’t save ourselves… be perfect
- “all have sinned & fall short of the glory of God”
- God’s standard of perfection
- “the wages of sin are death”
- but the gift of God is eternal life
- to save us- from all the
- lies we would want to build on
- keeping of rules, ‘manners’, we would hope would justify us
- rubbish we would… have… built on that can only let us down
What have you… are you… building your life… hope on?
- is the foundation flawed? Cobwebs?
- It’ll fail you.
BUT-“See, I lay a stone in Zion! The one who trusts in Him will not be dismayed”!
- this is God’s way!
- know what that is? It’s the most important stone in a building. A keystone (capstone)
- the one on which the whole building depends. If that’s good, all that trusts on that… is built on that will stand and never fall
- here = “will never be dismayed”
- = lit ‘disturbed’. In the sense of ‘shaken’. Lit ‘panicked’
- hence some translations: “rushed/hurried” (because you hurry when you panic- but hurry is not primary meaning)
- = ‘put to shame’
- ie lies… building your life on falsehood… law… earning God’s favour will put you to shame
- but not ‘building on the cornerstone’
This cornerstone is:
- tested. C f building of the temple. No sound of hammer and chisel. Every stone pre-measured + examined before taken to the site. Shaped beautifully so when it arrived would fit perfectly
- this stone is tested. Perfect
- precious. Of value. Not just because it’s the keystone of the whole shebang- but because there is something unique, priceless, beautiful about it