1 PETER: Part Four

Jesus the Cornerstone

1 Peter 2:4-12 - 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. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 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.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” 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. 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. “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.” Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 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. 

INTRODUCTION

When the infant Jesus was being presented to the Lord at the temple, an interesting statement was made concerning Him by Simeon:

Luke 2:34 - Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise.
  • In other words, Jesus was destined to have different effects on different people...
  • To some, He would be the cause of their rising. For others, He would be their down fall

>>> What's the difference? What does it mean that Jesus is the cornerstone to some and at the same time the stumbling stone to others?

I. TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE, JESUS IS A "CORNERSTONE"

In ancient building practices, the cornerstone was the principal stone placed at the corner of the edifice. The cornerstone was usually one of the largest, the most solid, and the most carefully constructed of any in the edifice. It carried the weight. It was square and plumb. It was the reference for the rest of the building.

A. Jesus is the "LIVING CORNERSTONE" 

v4 - 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.
  • Which was rejected by men
John 1:10-11 - He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.
  • He was chosen by God, considered to be precious, for great honor
  • As foretold 
Psalm 118:22-24 - The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
  • We should rejoice every day because God’s mercy is at hand.

>>> The cornerstone of what?

B. THE "CORNERSTONE" OF A GREAT SPIRITUAL HOUSE OR TEMPLE

v5-6 - And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 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.”
  • We are living stones. We are part of the constructions.
  • We are not the builder… We are the building…
  • The same thought or illustration is used by the apostle Paul [1 Co 3:9-11, 16-17; Ep 2:19-22]
  • As this spiritual house built upon Christ, we fulfill certain responsibilities/duties
    • We serve as a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices to God.
      • 1) Our bodies – 
        Romans 12:1-2 - And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
      • 2) Our praise – 
        Hebrews 13:15 - Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.
      • 3) Our doing good and sharing – 
        Hebrews 13:16 - And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
      • 4) Even our deaths – 
        2 Timothy 4:6-8 - As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
    • b. We therefore serve as God's chosen people (9-10)
      v9-10 - 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. “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.”

C. JESUS IS ALSO THE STONE UPON WHICH WE AS INDIVIDUALS BUILD OUR LIVES

Matthew 7:24-27 - “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
  • By following His teachings, we are able to establish our lives on solid ground

>>>So in more ways than one, Jesus is truly a "cornerstone" to those who
believe in Him and follow Him. He is the living Stone. The level, the plumb of our lives who uses us to build a great temple, and we are its priest to testify of His mercy and grace. He is the one we build our lives on, and we can have confidence our lives will stand. But what about those who do not believe in Jesus? Those who do not make Him the "cornerstone" of their lives?

II. TO THOSE WHO DISBELIEVE, JESUS IS A "STUMBLING STONE"

A. THERE IS NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE

  • Either Jesus is the cornerstone, upon which we are being built as stones in His temple... 
  • Or He will be the "stumbling stone" over which we will meet our judgement.
  • Even Jesus saw Himself as this stumbling stone 
Matthew 21:42-44 - Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’ I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”

B. SADLY, JESUS HAS BECOME A STUMBLING STONE TO ISRAEL...

Romans 9:30-33; 1 Corinthians 1:23

  • Jesus was a stumbling block to many of the Jews because they thought that they could attain righteousness by keeping the Law.

C. In the same way, JESUS IS A STUMBLING STONE FOR MANY PEOPLE TODAY...

  • Pride prevents them from accepting Jesus on His terms! They think they can decide what is acceptable or not.

D. THE SAD PART IS THIS: TO THOSE WHO STUMBLE BY BEING DISOBEDIENT, JUDGEMENT AWAITS.

  • For such judgement has been appointed by God - 1 Peter 2:8
    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.
  • For without Christ... We will die in our own sins.
    John 8:24 - "That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
  • Righteous judgement can only follow – 
    Revelation 20:11-15 - And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
  • But remember Peter quotes God’s great promise in Isaiah. 
    v6 - 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.”
  • Believing on the Stone: You Can't Lose.
  • The point here is that if you trust Christ, God's corner stone, you will not be disappointed. 
  • This stone will not prove faulty. 
  • If you build your life on this stone, your life will not crumble in the storm. If you hide behind this stone, you will be safe. 
  • If you stand on the truth of this stone, you will not be ashamed. 

CONCLUSION

Jesus is the Living cornerstone. He is the only way to New Life here and the New Life to come. You cannot have new life without Him. You cannot have new life your way. This is why He makes so many stumble. It has to be His way. His way is to admit you are a sinner and only Christ can save you. Believe that He is who He says He is and confess Him as Lord of all. Then, He will use you as a stone in His great temple. He will use you as a royal priesthood to proclaim God’s goodness because He brought you out of darkness into His wonderful light.