Summary: The Bible is full of stories about stones. Peter the rock uses the images of stones to teach truths about Jesus and our relationship to him.
I Peter 2: 2 – 10 Stones
Intro: The story is told of a young British soldier during the Revolutionary War who found himself separated from his unit, cold and hungry. He went from door to door begging for food and a warm fire only to be turned away. He searched until he found a large black kettle that he filled with snow, gathered wood and built a fire under it. Soon the snow melted and the soldier took 3 small smooth stones and slowly dropped them in the water. With a spoon from his pouch he stirred the water, dip a bit and acted as if it were the best soup he had ever tasted. Curiosity led the townspeople to the pot. He told the people a few onions would make the soup even better, a few minutes later he did the same with carrots and then potatoes. Soon all the towns people were enjoying the stone soup. (from Living Stone Soup by D. Greg Ebie, SermonCentral.com)
I. The Bible is full of stories about stones: Jacob used a stone as a pillow, Joshua set up memorial stones, David chose 5 smooth stones to fight Goliath, Elijah took 12 stones to build an altar and many, many more. Today, I have 4 stones with me that I want to talk about.
A. The first stone represents “the living stone” VS. 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 Christ Jesus.”
B. If you go to Home Depot of Lowe’s and buy a hundred bricks, they are all going to be basically the same: same weight, shape, and same height.
C. I hired a man to build a wall in my back yard. It is built of large brick-like blocks. Building went fast with those blocks. But the wall is faced with stone and I watched as the man chiseled and shaped each individual stone to fit just in the right place within that wall. Each stone is different yet, together they make a beautiful wall; just like each of us is different; but, together we make a beautiful church made of living stones, precious to God.
II. The second stone represents “the cornerstone.” In fact, most churches have a cornerstone into which individuals place things of importance to the church when it was built.
A. Ancient cornerstones were the 1st stones of a building laid. It had to be cut and placed to absolute perfection because all the walls of the building would get their angles from that one stone. It had to be a great, strong stone because a great portion of the building would rest on it.
B. V. 6 – “See I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trust in him will never be put to shame. (Isaiah 28:16)
C. Many believe the church exists to make to be the cornerstone of our world, wiping out hatred and building bridges of understanding, to feeding the hungry and housing the homeless. But the chief cornerstone of the church is forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus, the good news to be shared by all.
III. The 3rd stone represents “the capstone.” In some circles the capstone is also known as the “keystone”. It is the stone in the center of an arch that holds the arch in place by withstanding the pressure from both sides.
A. Peter quotes in V. 7 - Psalm 118:22 – “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.”
B. If a capstone is too large, the two sides of the arch will fall outwards. If it is too small, the arch would cause the stone to be crushed by the pressure and the arch would fall in on itself.
C. God has made us each unique, like stones; but it is Jesus, the capstone, the keystone that hold us all together building relationships, beginning ministries, growing a church. If we have no one willing to work with children and youth, we will have none. If we have no place for families with children, we won’t reach them. The arch of our church needs every stone, uniquely shaped to fit into its place in the arch with Christ at the center.
Conclu: But I have one stone left. This 4th stone represents “the stumbling block.” In ancient times the hallways of castles had stumbling blocks placed in them at random places. These stumbling blocks were raise stones put in the hallways so that invaders in their suits of armor would trip and fall as they chased those defending the king and castle. Those who lived in the castle knew where the stumbling blocks were; but the invaders didn’t; therefore, the defending army and king could attack those who fell when they were down. VS. 8 – 10 Isaiah 8:14 – “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 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.
Are you the 4th stone for others?