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?