Christ’s Followers are Called to an Eternal Building Project

Great Passage today, the focus is on some of my ‘Obsessions’: Christ’s Centrality in Life / Discipleship / Unity / Scripture / Identity ‘IN Christ”. This is kind of a recruitment letter for ‘The eternal building project’

Peter, ‘The Stone’ is going to talk about buildings made of living stones that are all being built on the perfect foundation / cornerstone. Key idea is that we are always to be building, the structure is never completed. Christ’s Kingdom (God can mean anything in our world) is always being built. That building is the transforming of lives. Every day people are transformed by God. He makes us into suitable materials. Strong, yet malleable.

You are the building material that God is building the structure of HIS kingdom with. Do you see your self as a Kingdom builder? I believe every believer is called to build. It is much easier to maintain than to build. Jesus never said: maintain my kingdom. In this letter Peter says: build, because christ told him the HE was going to build. Peter is describing this building project. What he is going to call Christ’s followers to:

We are called to live apart from evil behavior, and instead we are to passionately pursue a lifestyle of spiritual growth. God wants to build us into a sacrificial community, a temple of ‘Living Stones’ AKA Christ’s Body! We are to live in obedience to the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ, recognizing Him as ‘Lord of All’. We are to be transformed into God’s own possession and make that our identity. In this transformed life we are outsiders in this world, we don’t embracing it’s values because this is not our home

Where we left off… Ch 1:23-25

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living Word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the Word of the Lord remains forever.” And that Word is the Good News that was preached to you.

Ch 2:1-12
1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

  • We have eternal life in Christ, SO… We live differently…
  • What this looks like is the intentional, active rejection of all such behavior
  • This large group of evil behaviors has the same source: Rebellion against God!
  • We all participate in one or more of these behaviors (behavior modification)
  • Getting rid of evil behavior is an ongoing process (attitude adjustment)

2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

  • THIS is how you get rid of the sin: FOCUS ON DISCIPLESHIP
  • Newborns are single minded: THEY WANT MILK!
  • We have to grow into what God wants us to be, we need fuel (discipleship)
  • Spiritual Milk is the application of scripture
  • When you grow spiritually it makes you want to grow more

4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honor. 5 And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple.

  • Are coming…being built on.
  • When we come to Christ HE is what our life is built on
  • Mankind rejected Jesus while He was on earth, God instead exalted Him!
  • Each believer is part of the structure God is building (YOU are essential)
  • TOGETHER We become a Temple / Body… Only happens in unity

What’s more, you are His holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

  • God is building us into ‘Set Apart Servants’
  • Empowered by Christ to live sacrificially in ways that please God (scripture led)

6 As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

  • Peter quoting Isaiah 28:16 from the greek O.T. (Septuagint Version)

See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” NIV

  • Peter here is building on the authority of previous revelation / scripture
  • In Jerusalem is where Christ died (Christ dying for sin: a foundation of our faith)
  • When a foundation is trusted you build upon it. The cornerstone is key
  • Biblical Salvation is trusting Christ to build your entire life upon
  • If we do this we are rightly related to God (as HE has commanded)

7 Yes, you who trust Him… (You) recognize the honor God has given Him.

  • To know Christ is to trust Christ…to trust Christ is to know Christ
  • He is saying: ‘You get it!” (God enabled faith = Biblical Faith)
  • True Christians recognize Jesus as God by how they live!

But for those who reject Him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”

Psalm 118:19-23 Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the Lord. These gates lead to the presence of the Lord, and the godly enter there. I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.

  • Peter is guiding us to understand who Christ is (rejected death was planned)
  • The builders rejected the the very foundation of what was being built
  • You have to build on the cornerstone! HIS Kingdom built on HIS cornerstone

‘But for those who reject Him’: 2nd scripture reference (tying OT & Christ together)
8 And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

  • Isaiah 8:14 God’s warning to HIS people to recognize God and not go along with ‘this people’
  • The incarnation of Yahweh would not be recognized by the ‘ruling authorities’
  • Same as then; it applies to each person who is confronted with Christ
  • Obeying God’s Word = Believing in the Messiah who is Jesus, who is God
  • Disobeying Christ call to surrender your life to Him is ‘The Ultimate Stumble’
  • It is a stumble into an eternal separation of the ONE SOURCE of all good
  • The fate: eternal separation from The Creator of everything

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

  • This letter written to ‘God’s Chose People’ 1st Peter 1:1 God’s Sovereignty
  • We have been invited into an active building project; we have a role to play!
  • (Royal Priests) This is a one of a kind fellowship of making sacrifices
  • (Holy Nation) A people group God sets apart as HIS
  • (God’s Own) Inclusion into something that is beyond our understanding
  • And because we are HIS we get the privilege of reflecting Christ’s goodness
  • Our testimony, what we wittiness to is HIS calling us to come from death to life
  • We all come from darkness, if you don’t acknowledge that you are still there…

10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

  • Quoting the Book of Hosea 1: 9-2:23 (Peter is obsessed with Scripture)
  • With Christ as the Cornerstone of your life God declares you as HIS
  • You are who He says you are: HIS CHILD!
  • Hosea 2:23 End of story God: called Israel ‘Not my People’ because of sin…
  • The ultimate mercy is God’s mercy, there is nothing better in all creation!

11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.

  • In light of THIS MERCY… How shall we live?
  • It begins with the attitude of ‘This is not my Home’ so I don’t embrace ‘the world’
  • We are to fight against desires to consume & embrace the things of this world!
  • Various souls are at stake!

12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

  • What is live properly? (many examples in this letter)
  • To ‘Live Properly’ for Christ’s followers has always meant: Based on Scripture

What Jesus Christ’s Church is to do…

We are to reject evil behavior and instead pursue a lifestyle of spiritual growth!

We are being built into a sacrificial community, a living monument: Christ’s Body!

We are to continue in obedience to Christ’s Lordship based on Scripture!

We are to live out the identity of being God’s own possession and let it transform us!

We are to live without embracing the desires of this world, this is not our home!

Application Questions:

What are some changes you can make to your lifestyle to promote spiritual growth?
Are you part of your church like a stone is part of a wall? How can you change that?
What’s the relationship between obedience to God’s Word & your identity in Christ?
How do you live like this world is your home?

How do you live like Heaven is your home?

The call to live ‘Set Apart’ by Christ

Peter began this God Breathed letter with priority #1: Salvation In Christ Jesus… Last week we heard the basics of the Gospel cited as the crucial thing all followers of Christ need to make central in their lives. It’s a massive, colossal deal!

Christ’s Body is called to live everyday in light of that Amazing Grace, the Good News of God’s mercy through Christ’s sacrifice. Living daily in light of what Jesus has done means that we are to pursue holiness. I am defining this as the Biblical record of standards God has put forth for His people since Moses. Things we are called to do and things we are called not to do.

Christ calls those who trust Him for eternity to live by HIS absolute standards. He is Holy, pure, set apart, without sin… we are called to imitate God! Part of surrendering your life to Christ is a surrender to live as God calls us to live. He has made us holy by giving Himself for us and indwelling us with God’s Holy Spirit. By HIS Spirit we are able to pursue the holiness he calls us to in HIS Word.

The challenge is to yield to God’s Spirit based on what you have put your faith in. The Father, Son & Holy Spirit want to teach us the why and the how of Holiness.

The ‘WHY’ is step one because if you don’t have a good enough reason to do something there is no sense in talking about how you might do it. For example: I have no desire to be a dog catcher, so I spend zero time thinking about how to catch dogs. If you do not have a reason to pursue Holiness you will have no desire to execute a lifestyle that reflects holiness…The ‘HOW’ is a combination of training, discipline, self control and loving others, as we follow Christ’s example of sacrifice.

The end of last week’s message: 1st Peter 1:12b

And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

Ch. 1:13-25

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

  • Discipline, training, and yielding to God’s Spirit inside you for self control
  • ALL hope in God’s mercy means putting ZERO hope in the things of this world
  • We are to hope entirely in something we have to wait for (delayed gratification)

14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

  • The call on every believer is to ‘live’, not just agree intellectually (big difference)
  • Obedient Children are humble & unquestioning
  • True obedience is immediate and complete
  • Going back to old ways must have been a problem…it is a problem for us
  • But now…now that Christ has given you His Spirit… Be Holy like God!
  • Peter quotes Leviticus 11, 19 & 20 (This is Foundational Doctrine)

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”

  • This is a reminder that God treats us all the same, His standards apply to all
  • The judgement is based on one thing: Did you surrender your life to Christ?
  • If you truly did ,then live this life in awe of that mercy, because this is temporary
  • What we do with this life determines our eternity

18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days He has been revealed for your sake.

  • Ransom = Christ dying on the cross 4 U!
  • The empty life of living for our own desires and trying to appease some deity
  • The price of the ransom was as high as possible: the life of God Himself
  • The Holy Spirit declares the predestined nature of Christ’s role as Savior
  • The reality of our salvation in Christ has now been fully revealed
  • The revelation of our salvation is a cause for jubilation…and habitual action!
  • What is the value of Christ’s sacrifice in your life?

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because He raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory. 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

  • Christ made it happen, not you or I…we trust Him because He enables us to
  • We respond to God’s call by placing all hope and trust in HIM because of Christ
  • Christ’s resurrection is crucial… God made clear His power over life & death
  • Christ’s glorification is crucial… God made clear Jesus is God Incarnate
  • When we obey the truth (that Jesus is worthy of surrendering our life to)
  • We are forgiven our sin at that point; so now we have to pay it forward
  • We do that by living in ways that display deep love & care (Holiness)
  • Our response to being forgiven our sin is to love others this same way
  • Holiness is about what you do (love), not just about what you don’t do

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living Word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the Word of the Lord remains forever.” And that Word is the Good News that was preached to you.

  • Peter uses Jesus’ term ‘born again’
  • Eternal life begin here and now… and it goes on forever
  • The Living Word of God is The Biblical Jesus Christ (why it must be defined)
  • The only source of eternal life is the Biblical message about Christ (OT & NT)
  • This life is finite, God’s eternal Word leads us to infinite life in Christ
  • We have all been blessed to have it presented to us, thank you God!


The Biblical Gospel includes an intentional pursuit of holiness requiring obedience and discipline.

Christ’s followers make choices that flows from our faith. Christ provides the Why & the How. This includes things we do as well as things we don’t do.

This is not legalism, this is shared accountability to Biblical standards with large amounts of grace and love.

This Body will always pursue holiness based on God’s Word, by The Spirit’s power, to Christ’s glory!

If talk of holiness, accountability, obedience, absolute standards and discipline resonates with you regarding following Christ…. you are in the right church.


Are you convinced that as a Biblical follower of Jesus Christ you are to pursue holiness?
In what ways does the reality of Christ’s sacrificial ransom impact your pursuit of holiness? (Living in light of the Gospel, daily reality of relationship)
Can you see the effect of lifestyle choices regarding holiness on your relationship with God?(HE stays the same… you either move away or draw near)
Ask God to lead you by HIS Word & HIS Spirit to making lifestyle choices that reflect God’s holiness.

Intentionally research the standards The God of Scripture calls HIS people to live by. What they do and what they do not do.
Ask those you look up to AND your peers their views on Biblical Holiness.

The Amazing Wonder of This Salvation!

1st & 2nd Peter are foundational books for the new testament church. Peter’s Story gives His letters great weight and authority. God used Peter for important reasons, his complexity helps us understand faith.

Who was Peter? We have few trusted sources, basically Scripture. In Scripture, Peter is depicted as hasty & violent and also as kind and caring. He could be resolute at times and in the case of the church at Antioch, vacillating. He is pictured as gentle yet firm, he speaks clearly about who Jesus is. Peter was unschooled, yet he is always depicted as the leader of the 12.

Peter presents a broad study of human nature, all by himself. He was complex man of passion & weakness who was transformed by ‘The Christ’. One moment he’s doing the right things, and then his flesh and sin would take over. Peter experienced the wonder of walking on water…and then overthought it and sank. Peter insisted, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (not so much). Peter was deeply ashamed of his betrayal of Jesus…’he wept bitterly’

Then after the Resurrection we start to see the transformation. 1st we see the restoring of Peter…do you love me? Then the Pentecost sermon. Then his vision & mission to the non Jews. Then his leadership of the Jerusalem Church and ultimately the Roman Church.

Peter was flawed & poor bad decisions but through that God made him a new creation. He grew in humility, he was faithful, and he was obedient. He was able to admit when he was wrong, and he was able to change. Peter’s absolute surrender to Christ was used by God to make Peter a servant leader of the early Church.

He became a prophet of God = writer of Scripture (speaking for God). He is believed to have written the Gospel of Mark (dictated it to Mark). In writing this letter to the scatted Jews in Asia Minor he starts with the basics

The original Audience. How does that relate to this body as the audience? We do well to read this letter as a refresher course in the fundamentals of our faith. We do well to approach this letter with childlike humility, not thinking this is too basic

CHAPTER 1:1-12

1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

  • Peter, not ‘Simeon Peter’
  • Apostle = ‘A Sent One’…’One Sent on Behalf of Someone with their message’
  • God’s Chosen = Jewish by ethnicity (mission to Jews / transition to church)
  • Jewish Christians fled from the area surrounding Jerusalem 35-40 AD

2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and His Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.

  • Clear communication of Biblical doctrines of ‘Election’ and ‘Predestination’
  • We are known and chosen as Jesus’s Christ’s Body (set apart = Holy)
  • Obeyed = surrendered to His Lordship / Cleansed by His Sacrificial death
  • THIS IS AMAZING GRACE… yet Peter asks God to give us more

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

  • The Biblical doctrine of God being the sole focus of ALL our worship & praise
  • Expression of HIS mercy / WE get Resurrection life because God raised Christ
  • Now Jesus Christ’s Church gets to live expecting an eternity of priceless value
  • ‘Non-Fungible Eternity’

5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

  • Peter assumes his readers have ‘faith’… (their lives have displayed it)
  • Our faith is how God’s power acts as protection for the rest of this life…
  • When we are in heaven we will no longer need protection!
  • On the last day God will reveal to everyone that eternal salvation is in Him

6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

  • The basis for Christ’s church to be truly glad is our inheritance
  • What is coming is worth whatever you may have to endure to get there
  • The struggles are going to reveal true faith & purify it, increasing it’s value
  • Nothing is as important as faith in Christ (It should be the center of our lives)

So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

  • There is an emphases on our faith remaining strong in the midst of trials
  • How we live during the hard stuff says everything about what we have faith in

(No matter what I go though nothing changes my faith in Christ for eternity)

  • Trusting in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate reward in itself

8 You love him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.

  • We can know and love Christ without seeing Him (Scripture)
  • Trusting in what you cannot see is difficult
  • God gives us assurance by His Spirit living in us
  • This is how that ‘Faith’ thing works (Peter knows what faith is)
  • When we know we are bound for eternity with Christ is is a source of great joy
  • The joy comes from know that our faith will be rewarded with Heaven

10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

  • Biblical Salvation is the point of all God’s revelation, all through the OT
  • God works through ‘Progressive Revelation’…information on information
  • Prophets were given bits of info & told more would be revealed in the future
  • This is how our faith walk works, (learn & apply…repeat)

12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

  • God’s people (prophets) have always been asked to live for others…by God
  • God’s Spirit is the author of all Scripture, of the Gospel message
  • Angelic beings are watching to see how us human respond to God’s love

How amazing this salvation!

How we need to be reminded and encouraged to focus on it!

How we can live in ways that honors what God has done for us!

Might we live each day, each moment in light of the eternity Christ gives us!

He died for us, let’s live for HIM!

A Preview Of The Gospels

“The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi (My messenger)” (1:1)

“I have loved you, says the LORD. But you say, how have you loved us?” (1:2a)

“Where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, how have we despised your name?” (1:6a)

“By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, how have we polluted you? By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts.” (1:7-8)

“For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.But you profane it…” (1:11b-12a)

-They contradicted everything their LORD told them.

-They argued with Him.

-They hated His way of salvation (by sacrifice).

-They set aside His word and set themselves up as critics of His word.

“For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth….but you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi…” (2:7-8)

“the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless” (2:14)

“You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, how have we wearied him? By saying, everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” (2:17)

“I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.” (3:5)

“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, how have we robbed you? in your tithes and contributions. (3:8)

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.” (4:4)

“….lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction (curse). (4:6)

Summary Points:

-In a mad, mad, mad, mad world, do not set aside your Bible.

-Submit to the Word and experience its wisdom. Don’t become its critic.

-Cling to God’s way of redemption (Christ’s sacrifice by His blood). Proclaim it. Defend it

-Salvation by sincerity is a false doctrine. Sincerely, eternally wrong.

-In your work, witness, companions, generosity, beware the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

-Never ask or demand God to leave you alone.