Summary: Show the awesome - the out of this world, heritage of God’s people. I preached this at a church anniversary in the Philippines.
PRESERVING OUR ROYAL HERITAGE
Sermon Objective: Show the awesome-out-of-this-world heritage God’s people have in order to call them to life of dedication/separation and service.
“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. 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. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (I Peter 2:4-12)
I want to congratulate this church and join you in giving glory to God for His work among you, his work in you, and his awesome work through you. I stand with you this morning with a heart bursting with praise to our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit who is doing a marvelous work in this city through His people in this city individually and corporately. God set you as a witness to His gospel, His grace, and His name in this city.
God’s word for this church family today comes from 1 Peter. As many of you know this letter was written originally to the Diaspora – scattered followers of Christ who were experiencing persecution. Life has become more difficult for them because of their relationship with Jesus. Serving the Lord during their times was dangerous and costly. It was difficult to not join the majority of people who have given their allegiance to the earthly god-emperor, who required everyone to call him god. It was easy to just run away – to be refugee in another place, where it was safer to serve Jesus. The question this letter answers is this: What should people do when their jobs, their resources, even their lives are on the line because of their allegiance to Jesus Christ, the one true king? What should the church do when the witness of Jesus is challenged with hatred, threat, persecution or even death?
We can update the threats: persecutions, threats, rejection, criticism, injustice, then are the threats from false teachers, and what about our own sinfulness and the temptation from the world.
God spoke to the scattered, threatened and persecuted church. His message was simple:
“God made you who you are so you could tell others who He is. We exist to advertise God’s excellence in the world. We are God’s agents on earth. This is our full-time job description as royal priests: to declare the glories of our God and King.”
Here are 3 ways to PreSERVE our royal heritage?
1. CELEBRATE JESUS:
KEEP COMING TO JESUS, YOUR GREAT TREASURE TO BE BUILT UP
JESUS IS OUR GREATEST TREASURE
Peter uses an unusual word about Jesus. He calls him a stone upon which the whole church is built. You can see that in four different places in our text:
In verse 4, he is the “the living Stone.”
In verse 6, he is “the precious cornerstone.”
In verse 7, he is “the capstone.”
In verse 8, he is the “stone that causes men to stumble, and a rock that makes them (those who do not believe) fall.”
But there is even more in our text about Christ the stone:
He is the stone chosen by God (v. 4).
He is the stone the builders rejected (v. 7).
He is the stone that is precious to every believer (v. 7).
We can say it another way:
To God, he is the chosen stone.
To the world, he is the stumbling stone.
To believers, he is the cornerstone.
What are we to do with Jesus? This is quite a exegetical challenge. I SEE TWO TRUTHS: We have a present participle and a verb: we either