Living Stones


1 Peter 2:4-6 (ESV)

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,

a cornerstone chosen and precious,

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

 

Today I want to talk further about us being a spiritual building. God is building His building today. In this passage, Peter is not just talking about each individual coming to Jesus, but to our corporate coming to him, His whole church.

 

God is taking living stones, you and I—stones that have life because of the cornerstone Jesus Christ —and He is building a spiritual house. He’s not building houses, but a house. And he wants all of us stones to fit perfectly and snugly into that building.

 

There is a famous story from Sparta. A Spartan king boasted to a visiting monarch about the walls of Sparta. The visiting monarch looked around and he could see no walls. He said to the Spartan king, “Where are these walls about which you speak and boast so much?” The Spartan king pointed at his bodyguard of magnificent Spartan troops. “These,” he said, “are the walls of Sparta, and every man of them a brick.”

 

Today I want to prove to you that you are not a rock, discarded on a scrap heap. No matter your background, you are a living stone, not just another brick in the wall. God will shape you, test you, knock a few rough edges off, because He has a plan and a place in His house where you are shaped to fit, perfectly!

 

THE FIRST LIVING STONE

 

1 Peter 2:4 (ESV)

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,

 

Jesus is the first living stone spoken about by Peter. It is a strange thing to say, it’s what we call an oxymoron.

 

Now I thought an oxymoron was an idiot with a blowtorch, but it is in fact when 2 seemingly contradictory words are put together in conjunction. For example, jumbo shrimp, deafening silence, military intelligence, an open secret, virtual reality or Microsoft works.

 

Jesus is that first living stone, and Peter tells us He is chosen and precious, and the cornerstone.

 

THE CORNER STONE

 

1 Peter 2:6 (ESV)

For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

 

What is a cornerstone?

 

In biblical times a carefully selected stone was laid where two walls of a building were to meet. More than just a foundation, the cornerstone helped align the building horizontally and vertically and held it together.

 

Ephesians 2:20 (ESV)

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

 

While in modern construction we think of the foundation as the most important part of a building, Paul pictures the ancient construction technique of a cornerstone. While the apostle and prophet were the foundation of the church, the Lord Jesus is described as the Cornerstone.

 

The Greek word Akrogoniaios is a compound made of akron, “top” or “tip,” and gonia, “an angle or corner.” The literal idea then is, as one commentator puts it, “at the tip of the angle” and refers to “the stone set at the corner of a wall so that its outer angle becomes important, and all other angles of the building are referenced to this stone.  It governed every line and angle. It provided no more support to the structure than any other stone; rather, its entire value lay in its outer angle.

 

The term cornerstone had for centuries been a prophetic metaphor for the coming Messiah. Isaiah, for example, declared,

 

Isaiah 28:16 (ESV)

therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:

 

In the Messianic Psalm 118:22: “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” It declares that the stone the Jews would reject would be the very stone that God would use to build all His work.

 

That is the picture Paul paints of Christ. In all respects Jesus was the perfect cornerstone – strong, perfect in character, and exact in measurement. We, therefore, are to conform or line up to Him in every detail for we, too, are part of the building.

 

What if we do not conform to the Cornerstone? What if we measure ourself but some other standard?  What if our placement is not according to the absolute of Jesus and His Word, but based, say, on society, or trends, or public opinion? Just think of how noticeable an improperly laid brick or stone sticks out. Any such flaw either weakens, or at the very least, disfigures the building. Likewise, we are to conform to Christ lest we weaken or disfigure the building.

 

WE ARE HIS LIVING STONES

 

You and I were dug out of the quarry of sin to be cemented together by the grace of God, into His building.

 

1 Peter 2:5 (ESV)

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood,

 

These living stones are not left uselessly scattered about, forgotten. God has a grand design for them. This is none other than their being built into a spiritual house. We are not destined to be a pile of rubble, we are designed to rock!

 

Each believer is being fashioned to fit into a predetermined and unique place in the overall divine blueprint. Thus each is being built into and made part of God’s house. Remember Jesus rebuking the Pharisees,

 

Matthew 3:9 (ESV)

And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

 

We are those stones. And this house is to be no ordinary dwelling but a temple, for it exists for the sole purpose of worshiping God. In it a holy priesthood is to be constantly offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 

What does this involve?

 

1.       INDIVIDUAL GROWTH

 

When we come to Christ, we don’t join a church or and organisation, we join the greatest family of earth.  We are taken off the scrap heap and figuratively placed into His building, His temple. Coming to Christ and not knitting in to a church is like being one of these living stones left on the scrap heap.

 

2.       FASHIONED TO FIT

 

But God doesn’t leave you like He found you. He shapes you to fit. God with infinite wisdom and care shapes you to fit perfectly into His spiritual house.

 

As every craftsman knows, there’s something amazing about building, taking many small parts of totally different shapes, sizes, and material, and making them fit together perfectly, step by step. It’s a marvel to see how it all comes together to make up the structure.

 

Ephesians 2:20-21 (ESV)

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

 

The Greek word for joined together is SUN-ARMO-LOGEO, meaning fitly framed, and it is an architectural term that pictures the intricate process in masonry of fashioning and fitting stones together to form a structure.

 

It’s actually comprised of three words. The key word is the noun harmos (719), which means “a joint.” The prefix SUN (4862) means “together with,” and it intensifies HARMOS, meaning it is not just a joint but a  “a together-joint.” Then this word is further intensified by the word LOGEO, which means “to speak intelligently, to choose your words carefully”.

 

Putting it all together, we have “together-joint-spoken or chosen carefully.”

 

The picture is vivid. We can see the stonemason diligently and carefully choosing the right stone, but he doesn’t leave is as he found it. No, he is carefully chipping away a corner here, an imperfection there, trying it in the wall for fit, and then repeating the process as many times as is needed until it fits exactly. This not only makes a beautiful and strong wall, but one in which every stone compliments the others, and the wall as a whole.

 

Consider also that not one stone is exactly like another – each one is unique, but they are fashioned and shaped together to achieve an overall purpose.

 

What a beautiful picture of true unity in the church! Every believer is unique, but to function properly every believer needs to “fit.” The building of the church is an ongoing process where every believer is being properly and uniquely cut and trimmed to be useful to the building, to compliment the whole.

 

A beautiful bay window is no more important to the building than a single nail in a architrave, or a hallway tile, or a roof truss. All are different, all are necessary, and all form part of God’s great plan.

 

LET ME ASK YOU, ARE YOU LINED UP?

 

But each stone is placed according to the creator’s design, and all of it, the entire house lines up with what? …  The cornerstone, Jesus Christ. If the builder does not align with this single stone, the building will be out. Nothing will fit quite right.

 

Some of you here have felt like that. I know I have in the past. I’ve attended church, even been involved, but struggled to find a place where I fit. And perhaps I needed some shaping and fashioning to be able to fit snugly where God intended me to fit.

 

When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you need to realise that He is the stone on which God’s household aligns, not some man made idea. We are to live our lives with reference to him, and then we will never be put to shame.

 

1 Peter 2:6 (ESV)

For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

 

But for those who reject him, he is a stone to stumble over; thus, they will trip over him right into judgment (1 Peter 2:7-8).

 

I WANT YOU TO BE A ROCKSTAR!

 

Not that kind of rock star. And you could question if those rolling stones were living.

 

My desire for you is that you find your place, that you let God shape you and that you fit where you are destined to be. To be a rock star, to be a living stone.

 

GOD WANTS YOU TO BE A ROCK STAR LIVING STONE

 

God has a plan, and He has a place for you. It all starts when you give your life to Him, all the broken pieces, all your sharp angles and faults, but then He fashions you to fit perfectly where you belong, serving His Kingdom doing what you love.

 

That’s what 201 is all about. We want you to discover who you are in Christ, what He has empowered you to do, what gifts you have, then plug in and become part of His building, His temple, His church. If you every wanted to do something significant for Jesus, this is a good part of the wall to be built into.

 

God said to the prophet Jeremiah,

 

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

 

That’s right, before you were born, God had you earmarked, He had a unique destiny for you all planned out. You may have walked away, you might look at your life and say I messed it up. You might feel like you are a brick discarded on a heap of rubble somewhere, but right now Jesus Christ, the one who loves you and died for you, can take the broken pieces of your discarded life and make it new.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

And the new is being built into God’s special building. You’re not just destined to be a rock, or to be stoned, you are a rock star, living stones in God’s dwelling.

 

But you have to be prepared living stones to have a few edges knocked off, to be willing to be shaped, to be fashioned so that you can be placed perfectly into the destiny God has for you.

 

YOU ARE ROYALTY

 

In the first passage, where Peter talks about us being the living stones, shaped and fashioned to fit perfectly into God’s holy house, Peter then mixes his metaphors… he then says…

 

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

 

When you give your heart fully to Jesus, when you yield to the Holy Spirit, He fashions living stones and shapes you, and places you but there’s something else… You become His royal priesthood. In the OT, priests could only come from one family line, Levi.

 

But now in the New Covenant, we are all called to be priests. All of us can connect directly to God, to pray, to worship and have a close relationship with Him.

 

And what’s even more incredible, as living stones we are grafted into His family, making us royalty!

 

Galatians 4:5-7 (ESV)

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

 

When you come to Jesus, you are adopted into His family. He is the King of Kings, making you a prince or a princess. Some of us need to be reminded of that today. You’re royalty, you need to act not like a royal pain, but like the royalty you are, living stones.

 

You are royalty, you are a priest and you are a living stone fashioned into who God wants you to be, and placed where He wants living stones placed.

 

It’s no accident that you are here today, or that you have gifts and skills, because God predestined all this, because He always had a plan. Ignite is part of the plan, but maybe it’s part of His plan for you too.

 

So today, if you have never done 201, join us in a few weeks and take part, because with this church at this time you are in for the greatest ride of your life. God is doing so much in this part of His royal family, and we humbly ask you to share the journey with us.

 

It’s time to let God fashion you, it’s time to align to the cornerstone.

 

If you have never asked Jesus into your heart, or if you are not sure, I want to lead you in a prayer right now.

 

If you have a dream of some ministry in your heart, something you want to do for the Lord, however crazy or out there, I want you to stand, because I am going to pray for you.

 

 

 

 

 

HOW HAS GOD KNOCKED SOME ROUGH EDGES OFF YOU? XDO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU FIT AT IGNITE? HOW CAN YOU BE SHAPED TO FIT?

 

WHAT DREAM OF MINISTRY DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR HEART? HOW DO YOU FEEL GOD CAN USSE YOU FOR HIS GLORY?

 

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK TO MAKE YOUR MINISTRY DREAM COME A STEP CLOSER?

 

 

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Don’t be fearful

 

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

fear not, for I am with you;

be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Isaiah 12:2 (ESV)

“Behold, God is my salvation;

I will trust, and will not be afraid;

for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,

and he has become my salvation.”

 

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (ESV)

Habakkuk Rejoices in the LORD

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold

and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD;

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

 

 

Don’t be facetious

 

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 

 

Don’t be frivolous

 

2 Timothy 2:16 (ESV)

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

 

 

Don’t be Fatalistic

 

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines fatalism as “the view that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do.”

 

 

It is what it is!

 

This implies prayer doesn’t really make a difference.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make straight your paths.

 

 

Be Focused on Being Living Stones

 

Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

What we focus on determines what we become. Remember Pater walking on water?

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

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