Summary: Truth pertaining to the way that the church should really operate.
THE CHURCH THAT IS ALIVE
Text: I Peter 2:4-17 Pastor W. Max Alderman
Introduction: One of the most profitable studies for the believer is to make a study of the Church. Christ loved the Church, so much so, that He gave His life for it. If the Church is so precious to Him, then we should learn all that we can about it. This passage of Scripture likens the Church to “lively stones”, or as we explained earlier when describing a “lively hope”, it simply meant a living hope. Christ likens Himself to a Lively Stone, and the believers to living stones.
May we look at the Church that is alive!
I. THE CHURCH IS ALIVE BECAUSE OF ITS MAKER. (V.4).
A. The Church Alive Is Described By A Strange Metaphor. (V. 4a.).
The Church is not only described as a stone, but it members as lively stones. Christ Jesus is described as “a living stone”. What a strange metaphor. How can a stone be alive? The mere thought of such screams for the supernatural! That is exactly the intent. God is conveying through the divinely inspired writer that the Church is above and beyond the ordinary. It is the super-ordinary, beginning with Christ.
Peter certainly had special God given insight when he was writing his Epistles. Think back to the Gospel encounter when Christ Jesus said, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18).
Christ told Peter that the Church was to be built upon a rock. The Rock is Christ.
B. The Church Alive Is Disallowed by A Sinful Mankind. (V. 4b.).
Sadly, so many refuse or reject the Church and plug in so many Counterfeit
organizations in its place, or at least right beside it. I have no need for these organizations, and can only applaud the Church. It was the Church that Christ loved and gave Himself for. Besides that, if I put all my energies into serving Christ faithfully, I would have no time for the Moose’s or the Gooses or any other such organization. The Church is an Organism. It is a living organism, with Christ as its only Potentate. I do not promote any para-church organization realizing that God established Himself and His doctrine through the local Church.
Many para-church organizations boast of a semblance to the Church, but again, why be similar when you can be the real thing…
C. The Church Alive Is Determined By A Savior’s Mercy. (V. 4c.).
The implication from our text allows us to say, how merciful it was that Christ Jesus has plugged us into Himself for the purpose of our experiencing His life.
God chose the same Stone that was refused or disallowed by man to be the Chief Corner Stone. Just as His choosing involved His own Son, it also involves us as members of the Church.
II. THE CHURCH IS ALIVE BECAUSE OF ITS MEMBERSHIP. (Vv. 5-8).
A. The Priestly Work Of The Saved In The Church Alive. (Vv. 5,6).
1. The Purpose Of The Work. (V.5).
Christ is referred to as “a living stone”, whereas the believer is referred to “as lively stones”. There seems to be a slight but notable difference in the use of the word living and the word lively. As the originator of life, Christ is referred to as a living stone. The saved members of the church who receive his life are called lively stones. WE ARE LIVELY BECAUSE HE LIVES!
As we live, God wants us to be offering up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to Him. See Romans 12:1,2.
Hebrews 13:15,16 also gives insight to the meaning of sacrificing, By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
2. The Promise to the Worker. (V.6).
“he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” This means that the Church will have no reason to be ashamed for having believed on Christ. Such cannot be said of the world.
B. The Precious Worth Of The Savior To The Church Alive. (Vv. 7,8).
1. That Worth Can Be Seen in the Church Alive’s Singing.
2. That Worth Can Be Seen in the Church Alive’s Shouting.
3. That Worth Can Be Seen in the Church Alive’s Serving.
III. THE CHURCH IS ALIVE BECAUSE OF ITS MISSION. (Vv. 9,10).
A. The Church Alive’s Mission is Described. (V.9).
4. It Is Described Spiritually. (V. 9a.).
“a royal priesthood”.
5. It Is Described Nationally. (V. 9b.)
“an holy nation”
6. It Is Described Socially. (V. 9c.)