1 Peter 2:4-8

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”[b]

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”[c]


“A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”[d]

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

morning everybody. Welcome you here in the room here online. Great to have you here. We’re going to be looking at first Peter chapter two this morning, and then we’re going to be moving to the Lord’s table. Uh, the latter part of our service close our time together. First, Peter chapter two, uh, verses four through 10 is where we’re going to be looking this morning.

reading a story number of years ago about a visitor to London, England, uh, in the late 18 hundreds. And he went there, uh, was a Christian was interested to go to a church at that time in London, there were a number of, uh, famous and eloquent preachers, uh, gospel preachers in churches. And so this guy went to a local, uh, Christian.

And he said, uh, where would you recommend? I’ve got a Sunday morning on a Sunday night. Where would you recommend? I go? And he mentioned a number of different people and one particular guy. And I remember one of the people he said was, if you go in here and it might’ve been Joseph Parker, I don’t remember which man it was, but he said, um, if you go there, you will hear a wonderful sermon.

Then he talked about Charles Spurgeon and he said this, if you go in here, Charles Spurgeon, you’ll hear about a wonderful savior. That impacted me. I actually heard that back when I was in seminary. And it was a salient moment for me thinking about what preaching is ultimately about more importantly, what living is ultimately about.

I’ve been reading recently, um, You know, Mike got us to Hester. Mike got us to read through the gospel of John and got a lot of us, uh, writing the gospel of John out and a lot of us in the habit of writing scripture. And I know a number of you continued with other books. Uh, I’ve done a couple since then.

I’ve done. I’m now in the, in the epistle letter to the Philippians. And I have been struck as I’ve read about Paul’s relationship. Now we believe as believers, we all relate to God in his tri unity father, son, holy spirit, but it has stunned me with how central Jesus is in the law and the relationship that Paul has with God.

What he say in verse one, he says I’m a servant of Christ in verse eight. He says I long after all you believers in Philippians with the affection I’ve received. From Christ in chapter 12 in verse 21 of chapter one, he says, life for me is Christ. For me to live is Christ in verse 23. He says, my desire is to depart and be with Christ.

And then he makes this statement in the beginning of chapter two in verse one, he says my motivation to live and think certain ways is the encouragement and love that I feel from Christ. Paul never encountered Jesus physically. He was a violent opposer of the gospel until years after Jesus had died and resurrected and gone back to heaven.

Yet Jesus was so real to him. There’s a book that, uh, actually pastor Ben mentioned it last Sunday. We have it out on our book, display recommended reading and uh, I want to highlight it all. It’s called gentle and lowly. It’s written by Dane Portland. I’m in the middle of it. It’s a fabulous book. You really do commend it to you.

The book is actually, um, his reflections on a book that he read from the 16 hundreds by Thomas Goodman, which is entitled the heart of Christ and that book, which I think we can bring that one up to, uh, the heart of Christ by Thomas Goodman also focuses on Christ, but in a unique sense is focusing on the potential for a believer to have a living relationship with Jesus Christ that not only is similar to what it was like for the apostles to do life with Jesus, but actually can exceed that.

And in the book, here’s what it’s entitled and. Thomas Goodman Goodwin’s book is entitled the heart of Christ, but here’s the full title, the heart of Christ. And this is a typical Puritan thing by the 16 hundreds, the heart of Christ in heaven, towards sinners on earth. It a treatise demonstrating the gracious disposition and tender affection of Christ in his human nature.

Now in glory unto his members under all sorts of infirmities, either of sin or misery for both Dean Cortland and Thomas Goodwin and the apostle Paul Jesus is the center of their day today. Experience with God, for them. The second member of the Trinity has become the face and central reality of spiritual experience.

I’ve found the longer I’ve journeyed in these now decades with Christ. That my relationship has more and more becoming centered in Christ. I think much of my relationship in the early years with God, uh, though it was through Christ because of Christ that I entered the family of God, much of my thinking was about God.

And I was looking, but, and, and certainly God is the father, son, holy spirit. But I’m talking about the specific member of the tri unity more and more. It is Jesus. I think that’s exactly what it was for Peter. When he went, I wrote this letter, he was so full of the wonders of Christ. So with all that, let’s look at what he says here in first, Peter chapter two, don’t let that long introduction scare you.

This is not reflective of the rest of the day. First Peter chapter two, verse four. He says, as you have 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. So the honor is for you who believe, but those who do not believe that stone, that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. And he’s quoting from Psalms now and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. And thirdly, they stumbled because they disobey the word as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race. A Royal priesthood, a holy nation of people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you are not a people, but now you are God’s people once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Let’s pray as we dive in for a few minutes on this passage, Lord,

we come to you as our father, that you have deigned to call yourself and be that to us as your, your spiritual children, your kids,

but Lord, you have chosen to most of all, make yourself known through Jesus.

Just like Paul said, his passion in life was to know Christ. Lord, teach us a little bit more this morning about the precious. Of your son through whom we know you through whom we see you and to whom now we come with gratitude for the joy of being able to do life with you. So guide us into truth father and Jesus name.

Amen. There’s two things I want to look at simply, but I want to focus on, uh, on the phrase in verse four, as you have come to know him, a living stone rejected by men, but in the sight of God chosen and precious, he’s going to say later on in this passage in verse six, quote from Psalms behold, I am laying in Zion, a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious.

This term precious is a monetary term, actually in the original. It meant it has a lot of value. It’s something deeply valued. It has become precious to the industry. And I want to think this morning for a few moments about what it means that Jesus is precious. The reality that Jesus is precious is found here in verses four through eight.

And first of all, we find out he’s precious to the father. Verse one verse four says, but in the sight of God, Jesus is chosen and precious

to God. The father Jesus has infinite extraordinary value. He is precious to him. He’s proud of him. He delights in him. We would expect that, but he also tells us of another group of individuals and he says he is not precious to the world. Verse four. He says, he’s the living stone rejected by men in verse seven and eight.

But for those who don’t believe. The stone talking about Jesus, that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. They rejected him in verse eight, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble because they disobey the word and they are, as they were destined to do most people in our world do not embrace Jesus as the center of their lives.

To most people in the world. He is not their cornerstone. As we’ll read about in a moment, they’ve heard about it. People in churches do not necessarily embrace Jesus as precious as the most valuable commodity in their lives. The most valuable reality.

Certainly the hardest thing in many of our lives is people that we deeply, deeply love and do life. To whom Jesus is not precious because to us, he is the most precious person, the most precious reality in our lives, which leads us to the third grouping. He is precious to all who believe verse seven says in verse seven, it says, so the honor is for you who believe.

And literally he’s saying for you who believe you have the honor of experience, his preciousness NIV actually translates it this way now to you who believe the stone is precious saying you, the honor is he is precious to you. He’s precious to you. Like he is to God. The father you’re separate from those who don’t believe in that you have been given the gift of knowing the viciousness of Christ

I’ve been married for over 40 years and the beautiful part of, of Jesus being precious. As soon as we enter into the family of God, we are already on that journey of growing in the enjoyment of the people of Jesus. It is one of the ultimate marks of a person who has passed as the Bible describes from death to life is that Jesus is precious to us central to us, but it’s a growing thing, right?

I’ve been married for 40 years and way over half of my life now has been spent with my wife. It’s hard for me to even envision a time of my life when I did not love Marianne. She is precious to me is no one I pray with, like, I pray with Marin. There’s no one that understands me or that I understand, like Marianne, there’s no other human being as important to me as my wife.

She is sincerely more precious to me than I would have been dreamed possible. But I remember days in the past, I remember when I was watching from my fourth floor. Dorm Sammy Morris dorm at Taylor university. And I was looking out the windows and I had had become aware of this girl. And I dated her a little bit and, and I was watching her and she had a mail route.

She would be actually had a carriage and she was delivering mail to the professors. Her dad was a professor, and I remember watching it on the sidewalk is she would pass my dorm. She didn’t know I was watching, but I was looking out there at her. And I was thinking, man, I had girls precious to me. I remember the day of our wedding.

I remember standing there at the aisle where you guys have stood that are married and looking up and seeing my Bri coming in with her dad and then saying these words that were my written vows, where I actually state made this statement. I gratefully receive you as the most precious earthly gift God has ever given.

She’s always been precious to me, but not like she is now

for every child of God, for every believer in Jesus Christ who has entered the family of God. He’s precious. The beauty is he becomes more precious. We know his heart more. We grow in the sense of this, but very early in your walk with Jesus, he has become precious to you. It’s what marks us as his people.

Jesus has become precious to us more precious than our job. Even our families, our positions, our relationships, why? Well, that’s what Paul tells us in the next couple of verses. The reason Jesus is precious in verse seven. Is, we have embraced him as our corner stone. We have made him the cornerstone of her lives, Chrissy familiar with building it all, you know, especially in the past, cornerstone was the first thing they placed.

They made sure that, that it was completely square because it was going to set the angle for that long. It was going to set the angle for that wall. It was going to set the angles for the, the, the, the vertical walls. Everything came off stone, it centered everything. And the degree, which the cornerstone was messed up, your building would be screwed up.

Everything was aligned around the cornerstone. Every person on earth has a cornerstone. There’s something we’re building our lives around. Now that can fluctuate sometimes, maybe your job at some times when you start having kids and maybe it be starting your kids and everything’s preoccupying, you want it to be a good life for them.

You want to do well for them. You want to make money for them. It can be a variety of things, can be things that change over time, but we’re all living towards something. There is something that when it is threatened, we find that it is the thing that we depended on. That was that which gave us value in personhood significance.

Yeah. Scripture is saying to us, Jesus is that cornerstone. That is, we’ve embraced him as our savior and Lord, as we grow more and more centering our lives around him, he becomes more and more precious to us. The reason for that is he has proven to be the cornerstone we need. There are lots of other cornerstones.

We can build our lives around Ecclesiastes. These talks have been about a bunch. It says you can build your life around money or position or relationships or pleasures or accomplishments. But Solomon said, I’ve had them all. I’ve tried them all. And he did an astonishingly successful way. And he says, what I found is one after another, we’re just a chasing after the wind.

I thought this, I just need this. If I just get this, but it just kept blown away. I thought I had it. It was meaningless. It didn’t satisfy in most of our lives. It is not until we see our competing cornerstones fail us. And we really cast ourselves on Christ as our cornerstone. But what we find is he is not a cornerstone that fills us.

He does bring rest to our souls. We don’t find anywhere else. If we were asked to describe him, I’ll say it this way. If you were asked to describe the person that you feel you are closest to, and most loves you. And we said, would you describe him or her for us? And you could start giving their qualities and attributes, but it would be when we asked this question, would you describe his heart towards you?

That the way we would describe them would be different. This is what it is about Christ. We feel his love. We feel his concern. We feel his protection. We feel his, his discipline and realize looking back, oh my goodness. He saved me from so much though. I hated what he was doing at the time, but I see how trustworthy has become.

He’s a cornerstone worth building my life on and aligning my life with he’s precious to me. He’s of infinite value. It’s interesting. Paul Peter starts this section, but this statement in verse four, as you come to him,

the more you come to him, the more you cast your cares on him, the more you draw near to him, the more you turn to him in trouble, the more precious he grows, the more valuable he’s seen. I’ve shared this quote from a book by burning Manning in the past, but I’d like to share it again. Brennan Manning, um, flawed man, as we are all flawed people, he was just more transparent about it than most of us are free to be.

But he was talking about in his book, a glimpse of Jesus about going to his high school reunion. Uh, 50th high school reunion. Here’s what he wrote in the book. Never have been attending by high school reunion in the 49 years since graduation in February, 1952 and motivated by guilt, nostalgia and curiosity, I returned to Xaverian high school, Brooklyn, New York in April, 2002 for the celebration of our golden Jubilee.

The reunion was both happy and sad. Seven in our class of 44 had died in the unavoidably intimate setting of a relatively small class. My introvert self longing to spend the night in a shoe was summoned to socialize. As the cocktails multiplied and tongues were lubricated formalities disappeared ties got shucked coats were tossed aside.

Laughter exploded and conviviality reign the disdain for the Brooklyn Dodgers departure for Los Angeles and the treachery of the teams, president Walter O’Malley wailed. It was a calamity of biblical proportion. Several illusions were made to the unforgivable sin against the holy spirit, which he had done.

I’m just glad my old friend Sal said solidly that Abraham Lincoln wasn’t alive to see it. As the evening progressed, I was asked in Brooklyn dialect, the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard. What the hell you been doing? What yourself? The last 50 years without a second’s hesitation. I answered, it’s been a half century of sin and grace with a twinkle in his eyes.

Jack asked, would you share a little about the foist part? Yes. I’ve been a drunk and I’ve been divorced. I’ve been sexually promiscuous faithful during my marriage, but unfaithful to celibacy a liar envious of the gifts of others, the priest who was insufferably arrogant, a people pleaser and a braggart, which I’m probably being right now to give you the impression that I’m humbling on it.

The twinkle from Jack’s eyes vanished and part two by sheer undeserved, grace, I’ve been able to abandon myself in unshaken trust to the compassion and mercy of Jesus Christ.

I need to talk with you Jack whispered. Can we step outside?

Brennan Manning is just talking about someone who had become precious to him.

Someone he had learned. Was it a person that was for him that was gracious toward him? The way Peter looked at him, the way Paul looked at him, Thomas Goodwin and Dana Portland, the way the Psalmist David looked at him when he said. Apart from you. I have no good thing. Well, David had good things, but he said it doesn’t matter.

Nothing’s really good without you, as the cornerstone of it all, you was the center of it. All Samuel Rutherford in the 17 hundreds made this remarkable statement. He journaled this Lord. I would rather be in hell with you than in heaven without you for if I were in heaven without you, it would be held to me.

And if I were in hell with you, it would be a heaven to me.

I don’t know where you are this morning. Maybe you hear and think, wow, you know, I’ve heard about Christ and Christianity, and maybe you’ve even grown up in some Christian backgrounds, but you say. I have no concept of that sense of doing life with Jesus, where he’s that personally engaged in my life. Well, and maybe your response as well.

I, I wouldn’t, I would need to do a lot more cleaning up in my life. I need to be a lot more worthy of that kind of relationship with Jesus. There’s not anything you need to do, but there is something you need to face and that’s this, you must face the fact that you will never be worthy of Christ, that he is not waiting until that time that you become worthy.

He comes to you. He offers you forgiveness and a new life. He offers to become the one you can align your life with to become your cornerstone. And he stands at the door of your heart and says, this, I have come for center. I’ve come for the unworthy. I’ve come for people who have tried to center their lives on many other things who have made other things, their cornerstone,

but who are coming to realize that those cornerstones have failed them. He comes to you and offers to be your cornerstone. He does it by becoming your savior by providing you with forgiveness for you sins. And he says to you this morning, will you not accept his forgiveness and embrace him as your savior as your Lord, as the cornerstone of your life.

And this morning as we come to this table, if you’re there and you’re out there and you’re saying, I couldn’t thus, yeah, I’ve tried this and this and it yet. The chasing after the wind, I get it still torn up inside, empty inside, but I’m not worthy. I mean, I see the sins I’ve done. I said, Man this, this service, this worship experience is designed by God for you, for him to say to you, will you not come to Christ?

Will you not embrace the one who loves you enough to die for you? The one who offers to provide forgiveness for you, the one that offers to be the cornerstone for the remaining building of your life. You may also be here as a believer in Jesus, and you have embraced him as your savior, but as we all know, the chaos and clutter and fast lane of life can cause us to

not be aligning ourselves with Jesus. The way we could. Remember how Peter started this passage. He says this as you come to him some morning as we go to the Lord’s table and actually you stay where you are and we do these things. The song is going to be played, come to Jesus, come to Jesus, let him in thrall you again.

Let him fill you again with that reminder. Of course, yes, he’s precious to me, but I’m not living that way. I’m living as if my job is precious or my, or my energy is precious on my yard is precious. So I’m my, my family’s precious. All those things can be secondarily valuable, but they will not be something to align your cornerstone as your cornerstone.

We come to the Lord’s table this morning because it’s a place we’re invited. To realign ourselves with Christ

in a moment I’m going to pray in a song is going to be played. And I’m just going to give you an opportunity to quiet your hearts. Before I lead you through the elements as we close our service,

if Jesus is prompting your heart right now, and you have never personally embraced Jesus Christ as your savior, man, I would love the opportunity ed, as would any of the members of our church staff to talk to you afterwards or this week about how to embrace Jesus as your savior. I want to give directions then, uh, it’ll be done.

It, you should have gotten one of these as you came in. Are there people here that didn’t get one of these that would like, okay, there are a few, can I just, whose who’s it? Barry, can I impose on you? Would you okay. Thanks. If you can just have a few and, uh, they will make those available to you basically for hygienic purposes in a post pandemic, pandemic, or pandemic world.

Um, we’re going to partake of these and I’m going to lead us through. And also you’re going to have to do is tear off the top and take it. I’m trying to get through the logistics of this. So I’m out of logistic world and back to spiritual thinking, uh, in a moment. Um, and then we’re going to do the same with the cup.

We’re going to start with the, the bread and the bottom. Let’s pray. And then, um, and even though I’m praying, if you are here without these, just slip up your hand and the guys will bring you some let’s pray, Lord, we come to you today. Lord Jesus, you are precious.

We love you that you came here. It’s astonishing to think that you walked around and bodies just like ours, that you’re still seated with the body at like hours though. Glorified and Lord. It is so compelling to think that

we can now know you as intimately S closely. Yeah. And love you as passionately as those that actually walk day by day through the streets of Nazareth did that. You are not a far off that through your spirit. You are actually within us. Lord, we’re coming to you this morning. Fill our gaze Jesus. We worship you are precious friends.

Savior and Lord in Jesus name, amen. In the quietness of where you are, what I’d like you to do. God maybe has spoken to you through the last 20, 25 minutes. I’d like you to talk back to God about what he’s talked to you about as a way of coming to Jesus. And then I’ll lead us through the elements. The song’s going to be quietly prayed.

Talk to God about what he’s talked to you about today.

We can move lost and left to die. Raise your head.

Come to Jesus. Come to Jesus, come to Jesus.

Now you’re a burden in care and farro precious blood is washed away.

So seeing the GS, seeing the genes, uh, seeing the

like a newborn baby, don’t be afraid to Crow. And remember when you walk.

So fall on

sometimes their way is lonely steep. And so if you sky’s dark and cried at GS cried at GS cried at

love spills over.

When you can contain your joy

then go in peace, laugh foam glory, sir.

the apostle Paul said for, I received from the Lord. What I also delivered to you that the Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed, took bread when he had given. Thanks. He broke it. This is my body, which is for you do this in remembrance of me. You haven’t done this already. Go ahead and take the way for out.

This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

in the same way. Also, he took the cup after supper saying this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this. As often as you drink it in remembrance of me,

This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this in remembrance of me.

Lord we’ve,

we’re grateful to gather together. It’s such an amazing thing to come together with people. Many of whom have made Jesus their cornerstone and would declare he is precious to gather corporately. And just by singing together by participating in worship together, we’re saying to each other, it’s true. He’s real.

He’s changing my life.

Lord. I pray for those that are here with us. And you’re watching online today to whom you have not yet become the cornerstone of their life, their savior, their Lord, Lord. Do the work on the, you can do show them truth, draw their hearts. Lord, my prayer this morning is they might find how precious Jesus is for themselves

in Jesus’ name. Amen. We are dismissed. Go in peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord.