Summary: When we know what have in Christ, we'll live what we love.
The Privileges of God’s People
Rev. Brian Bill
November 1-2, 2014
An oxymoron is a rhetorical device in which two seemingly contradictory words are used together for effect. Here are some examples.
An Actual Reenactment
Excruciatingly Joyful – that’s how I felt when I walked our daughter Lydia down the aisle.
Accidentally on Purpose
Chicago Bears Defense
Lone Ranger Christian
A Living Stone - In 1 Peter 2:4, the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as a “living stone” and in verse 5 Christ-followers are called, “living stones.” How can a stone be living? These phrases seem contradictory at first glance.
We’ll dive in shortly but first let’s summarize last week’s message from the opening verses of chapter 2: We won’t grow unless we get into the Word. We were challenged to remember our salvation, to remove sin from our lives, and to refocus on the graciousness of God. As a way to get the Word into us we must read, feed, need and heed the Bible.
Verse 4 begins with Peter continuing his exhortation for us to be intentional and determined in our daily devotion: “Coming to Him…” To “come” was used of drawing near to God in worship in the Old Testament. Peter assumes that we will come near to Christ. It’s in the present tense, meaning that we’re to come personally and repeatedly. I love that Jesus invites us to approach Him when we’re burdened and bummed out in Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Portrait of Christ
When we understood who Christ is, we’ll better understand who we are in Him. Peter first paints a portrait of Christ and then he spells out the privileges of those who follow Christ. We’ll conclude with some priorities.
1. The Savior is a Stone. In the first century a stone was one of the most stable things around. Actually, we see three types of stones listed. Interestingly, Peter quotes from three Old Testament passages.
• “Living stone” in verses 4-5. This literally means, “a stone that gives life and provides sustenance” like the rock smitten in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4). We don’t perform a bunch of dead rituals for a dead Savior, do we?
• “Chief cornerstone” in verses 6-7. Jesus referred to Himself as the chief cornerstone in Luke 20:17.
• “Stone of stumbling” in verse 8.
2. The Savior was selected by God. Look at verse 4: “chosen by God.” In verse 6 He is referred to as “elect.” It’s the idea of being picked out as excellent.
3. The Savior is precious. Three different times in this passage (verses 4, 6 and 7) Jesus is referred to as “precious.” This word means “honored, esteemed and valuable.”
Privileges of Christ Followers
We must always start with who Christ is before we can understand who we are. Let me point out that while Christianity is deeply personal it’s not meant to stay private. God calls us individually but He’s designed for us to live in community with others. We’re made to do life together, to love one another and to lean on each other.
Did you know that almost all the ‘you’ exhortations in the New Testament are in the plural and not in the singular? If we lived in the south we would translate them as “ya’ll.” While it’s certainly appropriate to apply the promises of God personally, remember that much of what we’re told to do can only be fleshed out in community, as we live out the gospel together. We’re not to be independent but interdependent.
Just this week I talked to a long-time Edgewood member who is experiencing some health challenges. As she told me her story she said, “Everyone in our family is gone. All we have left is our church family.” To which I replied, “That’s all you need, right?” To which she said, “Absolutely.”
As I read verses 5-8, remember that these first century believers were suffering and had been scattered. Imagine how these words must have encouraged them: “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’ and ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”