Have you ever wondered why you feel so good after spending time with other people who know Jesus? What causes that sweet fellowship, that bond of love and joy that you feel around other sincere Christians? Why do you like coming to NRCA so much, especially those of you in sixth and seventh grade, where God’s been transforming so many hearts in the past six months? (Eighth graders, we are praying that even THIS WEEK, God will do a great work in your class, too!) What is it about a church worship service, Bible study, service project, or shared meal that lifts you up so much? The answer is simple: When you gather with other Christians, you’re spending time with your people, the family of God. Through the connecting power of the Holy Spirit living in us, we are the people of God. And as God’s people, together we are also God’s own holy house.
Our God lives among His people. That’s what Peter tells us in this passage. In the Old Testament, the Lord gave His people a traveling center of worship, a fancy tent called the “tabernacle.” Later, it was replaced with a temple built by Solomon, which was then destroyed by the Babylonians and had to be rebuilt after the Jews returned from 70 years in exile. But these were just symbols and shadows of what was to come. When Jesus Christ came to this earth, He became the everlasting center of worship for God’s people. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus dwelt or “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14) in the flesh by coming as our Savior. Once He died and rose again, Jesus became the foundation of a new, spiritual temple in which God would live.
When you accepted Jesus Christ, God came to live in you by placing His Holy Spirit in you. That made you a Christian, and one of many “living stones” that are being built upon the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, the cornerstone. While Jesus was rejected by the world as a whole and even by most of the Jewish nation, He was chosen and precious to His Father in heaven. And Jesus became precious to you when you received Him as Lord. Now you are part of the true church of Jesus Christ, the invisible, eternal body of believers in whom our God lives. By simply putting all of your faith and trust in Him, you became part of the temple of the Lord. As Christians, we are God’s spiritual house!
The Text (1 Peter 2:4-6)
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
Background and Observations
• The tense of the words “coming” and “being built” implies action that has already happened but is also continuing to happen. The idea is that we first came to Christ and became part of God’s house when we got saved and were born again by the Holy Spirit. However, we also keep coming to Jesus each day for fellowship and so we are “living stones” that continue to grow in Christ.
• Peter also calls all Christians part of a priesthood of believers who can now offer sacrifices that please God. Jesus is our great High Priest who made the great sacrifice for our sins when He died on the cross. By placing faith in Jesus, we receive the benefits of that sacrifice through God’s mercy and now we can offer acceptable spiritual sacrifices by living our lives for the One who died for us. This concept was discussed by our SEW speaker when he preached Romans 12:1 last Tuesday night: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Questions to Think About
1. How might thinking of yourself as part of God’s temple affect the way you think about your own holiness and sin?
2. How might this passage influence the way you think about your choice of friends and with whom you spend your time?
3. How might this passage encourage Christians to faithfully attend weekly worship services at a local church?