Living Building-Stones Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
All Believers are
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:4--12 (The Living Bible)
4 Come to Christ, who is the living Foundation of Rock upon which God builds; though men have spurned him, he is very precious to God who has chosen him above all others.
5 And now you have become living building-stones for God's use in building his house. What's more, you are his holy priests; so come to him--you who are acceptable to him because of Jesus Christ--and offer to God those things that please him.
6 As the Scriptures express it, "See, I am sending Christ to be the carefully chosen, precious Cornerstone of my church, and I will never disappoint those who trust in him."
7 Yes, he is very precious to you who believe; and to those who reject him, well--"The same Stone that was rejected by the builders has become the Cornerstone, the most honored and important part of the building."
8 And the Scriptures also say, "He is the Stone that some will stumble over, and the Rock that will make them fall." They will stumble because they will not listen to God's Word nor obey it, and so this punishment must follow--that they will fall.
9 But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself--you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God's very own--all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were less than nothing; now you are God's own. Once you knew very little of God's kindness; now your very lives have been changed by it.
11 Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls.
12 Be careful how you behave among your unsaved neighbors; for then, even if they are suspicious of you and talk against you, they will end up praising God for your good works when Christ returns.
Is anyone here wearing jewelry?
Any rubies or emeralds?
Any precious stones?
We wouldn't normally think of using that word "precious" to describe a rock or a stone, yet we've all heard the phrase "precious stones."
Well, three times in this passage, verses 4, 6, and 7, Peter uses the word "precious" to describe our Lord Jesus and surprisingly, he portrays Christ as a precious stone.
There're a number of titles which have been applied to Jesus Christ which are linked to either his person or His ministry.
As the Messiah, He's been called the Aforepromised; the Anointed One; the Messiah; the Son of God; King of the Jews; the Lion of Judah; the Comforter; the Counselor; the Prophet; the Suffering Servant; the Lamb of God; the High Priest; the Dayspring and Day-star.
In terms of his sovereignty and authority, he is called Lord; Head; Prince; Chief Shepherd; Chief Cornerstone; the Word of God; the Firstborn; the Firstfruits; the Forerunner.
In His work of salvation, he is Jesus; Savior; the Surety and Mediator of the new covenant; the rock and the Author of life.
In the "I am" sayings of John's Gospel, he is the Bread of Life; the Door; the Light; the True Vine; the Way and the Truth, and his disciples frequently called him their Master, Rabbi; Rabboni, and Teacher.
And in this passage, He is the Precious Stone and the Cornerstone.
Precious stones are frequently mentioned in the Bible, and they were very highly valued in Peter's day.
Precious stones are used in Scripture in a symbolic way, to imply value, beauty, and durability.
Then in verses 6 and 7, He is depicted as the Cornerstone, and--
As We Come to Christ, He Becomes Our Cornerstone (vv.4 --7).
Peter begins with the assumption that we have come to Christ for salvation.
He says in verse 4: "Come to Christ, who is the living Foundation of Rock..."
The word "come" is a word of obedience.
This is one of the first commands taught in dog obedience school.
The word "come" appears in the Bible 1,706 times.
When Jesus says, "Come", it's an invitation, but it's also a command.
We can turn toward Him and run into His embrace, or we can turn on our heels and run in the other direction.
Jesus has been saying, "Come!" to people of every generation, and He's calling out the same invitation to you and me today.
As we come to Christ, He becomes our Cornerstone.
Verse 7 tells us He is a cornerstone that others have missed: "The same Stone that was rejected by the builders has become the Cornerstone."
Yes, he is very precious to you
who believe; and to those who reject him, well--"The same Stone that was rejected by the builders has become the Cornerstone, the most honored and important part of the building."
This quote is from Psalm 118:22-23, and it's repeated five times in the New Testament, three times by Jesus and two times by Peter, and each time it is referring to Christ.
German theologian, Johann David Michaelis felt this was referring to an event that reportedly took place during the building of Solomon's temple.
It's said there was no sound of hammers or pounding; the temple was being erected in relative silence.
The plans were so exact that each stone was perfectly shaped at the quarry.
When the stones arrived at the site, each one fit perfectly into place.
But one huge stone didn't seem to fit anywhere, and the builders placed it to the side.
Eventually, it got in the way, and workmen pushed it over the bank and it rolled into the Kidron Valley.
After the foundation had been laid, the time came to hoist the cornerstone into place.
Word was sent to the quarry, but the masons replied that it had already been delivered.
It was that rejected stone!
When it was retrieved, it slid perfectly into place, serving as the stone that held all the others in position.
When we come to Christ, He becomes the Cornerstone for our lives and for our church.
It seems incredible that He is rejected by men.
In their stupid, selfish, incompetent blueprints for life, insignificant, short sighted men can find no place for their Creator and Redeemer.
Just as there was no room for Him in the inn, so there is no place for Him in the plan of their lives!
But it's not man's opinion that counts.
In God's sight the Lord Jesus is chosen ... and precious.
He is chosen as the Suitable Stone, and the Indispensable Stone.
And His value to God is incalculable; He is precious beyond computation.
If we are going to be used in God's building program we must come to Christ.
The only way we can be suitable building materials is through our relationship with Him.
We are only important as we contribute to His glory.
That leads to the second part of the equation:
If He Is Our Cornerstone, We Are His Construction Project (vv.4--5).
Ever heard the phrase: "Please be patient; God is not finished with me yet"?
We're all under construction.
The Lord is building "a spiritual house;" and the emphasis isn't just on His work in us as individuals but as a church.
Notice how Peter described the church: Living stones being built into a Spiritual house, a holy priesthood, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, aliens, and strangers in the world.
The spiritual house is built up of all believers in Christ, and therefore, it is the same as the church.
The church has this in common with the temple of the OT; that it is the dwelling place of God on earth.
But it's different from the Temple, which is a physical, tangible building made of beautiful but lifeless, perishable materials.
The church, on the other hand, is a structure built of living stones.
Now the picture changes swiftly from a spiritual house to the holy priesthood that functions in connection with the house.
Believers are not only living building blocks in the house; they are holy priests as well.
Under the Mosaic Law, the priesthood was limited to the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron.
And even those who were priests were forbidden to approach the Presence of God.
Only the high priest could do that on one day of the year (Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement), and he had to follow the precisely ordained procedure outlined for the occasion by the Lord.
Today, we live in the new dispensation we call the age of grace, where all believers are priests with instant access to the Throne Room of God, anytime day or night.
As priests, we are to offer up spiritual sacrifices, which are in contrast to the animal, bird, and meal offerings of the Mosaic Law.
There are five spiritual sacrifices for the NT priest:
1. The presentation of the body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.
This is an act of spiritual worship (Rom. 12:1).
2. The sacrifice of praise.
"That is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15).
3. The sacrifice of good works.
"Don't forget to do good. ... "
This sacrifice is pleasing to God (Heb. 13:16).
4. The sacrifice of possessions, or pocketbook.
"Don't forget ... to share."
This sacrifice also is pleasing to the Lord (Heb. 13:16).
5. The sacrifice of service.