Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#33 1 Peter 2:5

A Holy Priesthood

 

Let’s begin by going back to a significant moment in the life of Peter.  This is Peter, one of the 12, the friend of Jesus who

--gave up fishing to follow the miracle worker of Nazareth.

--was the only other person to walk on water… at least for a bit.

--was ready to die for his Lord, but actually denied him 3 times.

--but, had the right answer to this question…

 

ESV Matthew 16:13-18 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"  And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."  He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

Simon Son of Jonah’s name was changed to Peter.  The name “Peter” means rock.  Listen to the YLT…

 

YLT Matthew 16:18 “And I also say to thee, that thou art a rock, and upon this rock I will build my assembly, and gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

 

This incident in the life of Peter had a major impact.  From that time on his companions called him Peter; the rock.  “Hey, Rocky we need you.  Hey, Rocky, Jesus wants you.  Hey, Rocky let’s get busy.” Every time someone used his new name; Peter, he thought about that moment when Jesus changed his name.  Simon Son-of-Jonah had the right answer… “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”… and upon that answer, that rock of truth, Jesus built his church.  This church has crashed open the gates of hell releasing captives; this church has continued to prevail!  What a moment in the life of Rocky! 

 

It was such a significant memory that, something like 30 years later, when Rocky/Peter was writing the letter we call 1 Peter, he still had that moment in his mind… listen to 1 Peter 2:4-10.  Watch for rocks…

 

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ESV 1 Peter 2:4-9 As you come to him (Jesus), 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."  So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.  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 marvelous light. 

 

 

There is a lot going on in this passage; all kinds of rocks.  First note, Peter brings 3 Old Testament passages together in order to point to Jesus as the stone!  Peter brings 3 OT passages together to make 3 amazing points.  Watch how Peter builds these OT verses…

 

ESV Isaiah 28:16  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.”

 

Jesus is the stone upon which everything is built.  Here is the metaphor.  In the old days when a builder was going to build a stone house, the builder would go to the quarry and pick out the stones.  The builder would choose the best rock, the squarest, a cornerstone to set first so the rest of the house could be squared up to it.  It was the chosen, precious, foundation stone.

 

Flashbacks of Jesus… The wise man built his house upon the… ROCK.  The rock of Jesus.  Peter/Rocky taps into the OT in order to make the point that Jesus is the stone we should build everything upon! The starting point of building our lives needs to be who Jesus is.  As we construct our lives, day by day, choice by choice, relationship by relationship, priority by priority… it is all built upon Jesus!  

 

But that is not the only point Rocky is making.

 

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ESV Psalm 118:22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.

 

This rock is rejected by many. Other builders have gone to the quarry and passed up on this rock. 

--Jesus is not the rock I want in my life.  My life is built upon ME. 

--Jesus is not what I expected.  “Serving Jesus? No thanks”

--Jesus was crucified.  What kind of cornerstone is that?

 

But it is always backwards day in the kingdom.  The house we build is based…

--upon rejection, self-denial,

--it is based in weakness, when I am weak then I am strong

--It is based in sacrifice.  The power of the cross is in giving of one’s self. 

 

#12 2 Corinthians 12:10b For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

The way of the kingdom is sacrifice.  To be strong we must be weak.  But that rock is rejected by most.

 

Peter is not done bringing OT passages together…

 

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ESV Isaiah 8:14 "Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over.”

 

Despite being rejected by most of the Jewish people of his time, Jesus does become the cornerstone which is built into a sanctuary, a temple… Jesus builds his church. 

 

Peter is flashing back to that event.  “Upon this rock I will build my church.”  Jesus becomes the living corner stone.  We who come to him are built as living stones to form his church.

 

#5 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

 

Jesus builds his church one living stone at a time.  Each of us are built into his temple!  That is such a cool concept.  In Peter’s time there were lots of physical stone temples… for the worship of the gods.  But to make that leap that now Jesus is the spiritual house upon which real people form the temple is mind blowing.  We are the temple of God!

 

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Then, Peter’s metaphor morphs… a morphing metaphor.  We are the living stones that form the building but then we morph into the priests who offer sacrifices in the temple.  What?  We form the temple and we are the priests within the temple. 

 

We should love with this morphing metaphor.  Our heritage is in the priesthood of all believers.  We have no clergy or laity.  None of us wear special clothes or robes or have titles or expect more or less holiness.  We are all priests…

 

#3 Galatians 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

And not only one, but one priesthood!

 

I told you there is a lot going on in this paragraph…

--Jesus is the cornerstone

--Jesus was rejected by many

--Jesus became the sanctuary, anyway

--When we come to Jesus we become living stones forming the temple

--Morphing into the priests

 

I’m liking it! I think we need a memory verse out of this paragraph… how about the first part of verse 5?

 

Memory Verse #33

 

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#33 1 Peter 2:5a You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.

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Two weeks ago I gave you a challenge to think about worship… 

 

 

#31 Hebrews 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

 

In that sermon I made 2 points about what our assemble time should do.

 

1) Create a Thin Place of worship

When the body gathers to form the temple with the Spirit within, we can create a thin place where we are close to the presence of the Lord.  Church is a place where heaven and earth intersect.  We are a place where connecting our heart to the heart of God is possible.  I like this thought.  Coming together is important because of this thin place.

 

But #31 also says we are to….

 

2) Encourage Each Other

Our time together connects to God in the thin place, but it also creates an atmosphere where we encourage each other.  Your presence here this morning is a positive thing for me!  I may not actually talk to each of you but…

--your face paying attention,

--your voice raised in song,

--our sharing of the bread and juice

--our joint prayers

All this encourages me.  Each week we count how many are here… today there are ____. That is ____ many encouragements.  I wish it were more…

 

These are the first two principles of worship.  Let’s bring the principles of 1 Peter 2 into this discussion.

 

 

3) The Priesthood of All Believers

When we talk about making our worship together more connecting, we must include the theology of the priesthood of all believers.  I don’t think worship is best when it is a show we attend.  For us, our worship needs to include all of us.  Both up front and in our seats the more we involve all of us the better.  Each of us brings something special to the table to share with others!   The entire body together, connecting, sharing, worshipping, being priests who offering sacrifice together in the temple.  We are the priests in our thin place connecting to God!

 

When we think about how to shape our time together… plug in the priesthood of all believers.

 

This leads to the next principle…

 

4) Pick the Rejected Stones

When the builders of the world go to select their stones, they pick the prettiest, the spectacular, the slickest.  In the backward kingdom of God… we don’t.  When I am weak… then I am strong. We want to offer our best to God, but that doesn’t mean only the best can offer to God.

 

There is a powerful message spoken when the not so gifted, the not so talented, the not so experienced, share from their heart. 

--When we all join in song…even when we are not gifted singers

--When someone reads from Scripture who is does not have the James Earl Jones voice…

--When the communion talk comes from the heart, not from eloquence

--When we confess our weaknesses, share our struggles, are not all perfect…

--When we are loving each other, more than the show…

There is power!

 

The rejected stone is the one God chose to be the center stone!

 

One more principle of worship…

 

5) Proclaim His Excellencies

 

ESV 1 Peter 2:9  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 marvelous light.

 

We are chosen.  We are priesthood.  We form the nation of God’s people for a reason… to proclaim his excellencies. We are here, fundamentally, to proclaim His excellencies!

--We were in darkness – but now there is marvelous light because of his love! Proclaim his excellencies!

--We were rejected - but he chose us! Proclaim his excellencies!

--We were dead stones - but we have been given life.  Proclaim his excellencies!

-- We are livings stones!  Proclaim his excellencies!

--We were on the outside. But now we are all priests!  Proclaim his excellencies!

 

This is a wonderful job.  This is why I am a preacher.  This should be why we are all preachers.  We offer the sacrifice of praise from our lips to give him the glory! 

 

In all of our thinking of creating a great worship, let’s never forget that our main job as priests, within the temple, is offer praise for his excellencies! 

 

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So, continue with your assignment of pondering our time together.  Here are the 5 principles of our worship time… so far…

1) Create a Thin Place

2) Encourage each other

3) Priesthood of all believers

4) Pick the Rejected Stones

5) Proclaim his Excellencies

 

Think on these as you memorize…

 

#33 1 Peter 2:5 You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.

 

Tim Stidham

September 6, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ