Listen to this Sermon: 05272012FirstPe2.4-10DonRuhl

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Beautiful Stones Before God

See what God thinks are beautiful stones

First Peter 2.4–10

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 27, ad 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Lake – First Peter 2.1–3


  1. Do you think you have made a mistake as you are building a house, 
    1. if you reject a certain stone as being worthless,
    2. something that you do not want in your house, but then
      1. God, the Master Builder, picks up that stone and
      2. uses it as the chief cornerstone for the whole structure?
  2. That, my friends, is the story of Jesus of Nazareth, 
    1. who is a stone,
    2. a living stone that became the chief cornerstone.
  3. Let us listen to Peter, a stone, write about stones. 


  1. First Peter 2.4, 5 – The Living Stone and the Living Stones

    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 (1Pe 2.4, 5).

    1. We go to Jesus as a Living Stone.
      1. Men, not just the Jewish leaders, rejected Him,
      2. which fulfilled Scripture,

        22 The stone which the builders rejected
        Has become the chief cornerstone.
        (Psa 118.22)
      3. However, God accepted Jesus.
        1. God chose Him, for
          1. Jesus was by the side of God.
        2. To God, Jesus is precious.
          1. In 1.19, Peter wrote of the preciousness of the blood of Jesus.
          2. Peter will continue to show the preciousness of Jesus.
      4. What Jesus said, as recorded in Luke 16, reminds me of First Peter 2.4,

        15b “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16.15b), and

        1. what is highly esteemed with God
        2. is an abomination in the sight of men.
          1. God accepts what man rejects, and
          2. man accepts what God rejects.
    2. Even as Jesus is the Living Stone,
      1. so we are like Him,
      2. becoming living stones, which
        1. He uses to build up a spiritual house.
        2. Even as the builders of Solomon’s temple
          1. shaped and cut the stones for that temple,
          2. so the Lord cuts and shapes us for His living temple.
    3. That makes us a holy priesthood,
      1. who offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,
      2. including
        1. prayer,
        2. praise,
        3. our weekly contribution,
        4. our time,
        5. our effort,
        6. repentance,
        7. confession of sin,
          1. which God considers as precious in His sight
          2. as those animal sacrifices in the Law of Moses, or
            1. He considers even more precious.
  2. First Peter 2.6–8 – The Cornerstone

    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.”

    7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

    “The stone which the builders rejected
    Has become the chief cornerstone,”

    8 and

    “A stone of stumbling
    And a rock of offense.”

    They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed (1Pe 2.6–8).

    1. Scripture affirms these truths about Jesus, hence about us.
      1. The Scripture, and by that Peter means the Old Testament, Isaiah 28.16,
        1. prophesied of what we have as living stones,
        2. as the saints of God in the church.
      2. In verse 6, Peter said the Scripture, Isaiah 28.16, affirmed three things:
        1. First, the Lord God, the Lord Yahweh, declared His intention.
        2. Second, He would lay a chief cornerstone in Zion, that is, Jerusalem.
          1. At Zion,
            1. Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected,
            2. there He nailed the Law to the cross,
            3. there He started the church.
          2. This is one from which the whole building is aligned.
          3. This chief cornerstone would be two things to God:
            1. Elect
            2. Precious
        3. Third, whoever believes on that Chief Cornerstone will by no means be put to shame.
      3. Therefore, He is the only foundation to lay down in your life.

        11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1Co 3.11).

        1. Peter, the alleged foundation of the church, referred to Jesus as the chief cornerstone!
        2. In Acts 4, Peter showed his boldness and
          1. used this passage he quotes in the letter before us and
          2. quoted it to the Jewish leaders,

            11 “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone’” (Acts 4.11).
    2. The thing, Peter says, to conclude from that is this:
      1. To you who believe, Jesus is precious.
      2. To those who are disobedient,
        1. Peter quotes first from Psalm 118.22
          1. that the Scripture foresaw the rejection of men, but
          2. that God took what men rejected and
          3. made Him the Chief Cornerstone.
        2. Peter quotes second from Isaiah 8.14
          1. that the stone the builders rejected became
            1. a stone of stumbling and
            2. a rock of offense.
          2. What men rejected, God accepted.
          3. What God accepted, men rejected.
            1. Over what men stumbled, God gave as a steppingstone.
            2. What God gave as a steppingstone, men stumbled over.
              1. What offended the disobedient, God gave as a gift.
              2. What God gave as a gift, offended the disobedient.
      3. Listen to the world, even in the once-friendly American government, and
        1. you will hear the same thing going on today
          1. as with the secular and sacred governments
          2. that rejected Christ as the stone and killed Him.
        2. The winds of persecution have begun to blow against the church, and
          1. Peter will address the problem of persecution later in this letter.
    3. Think of what Peter says the disobedient did or do to Jesus.
      1. If they persecuted Him, why would they not persecute His followers?

        18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me” (John 15.18–21).

        1. Today, they are removing the name of God
          1. from every segment of American and European societies, and
          2. they publicly mock Christianity,
        2. then you know that persecution is not too far away.
      2. Paul also addressed how the world views what you and I believe,

        18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1Co 1.18).

        23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1Co 1.23, 24).

    4. So then, at the end of First Peter 2.8,
      1. the apostle declares why people stumble over Jesus, why He offends them,
      2. they have no desire to obey Him.
        1. The Lord has appointed that all who disobey Jesus,
        2. shall stumble and suffer for their disobedience.
  3. First Peter 2.9, 10 – The Precious Stone

    9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1Pe 2.4–10).

    1. Peter paints a much different picture of obedient believers.
    2. Peter calls us four things:
      1. A chosen generation
      2. A royal priesthood
      3. A holy nation
      4. God’s own special people
    3. These are all things that God called natural Israel, but
      1. the ancient nation of Israel was a shadow of spiritual Israel.
      2. Compare also the things that Peter had called the church in verse 5:
        1. You are living stones in the spiritual house.
        2. You are the spiritual house.
        3. You are the holy priesthood.
    4. Why do we say Israel or Jews are the favored people of God?
      1. It is partly because of what He said to them in Exodus 19,

        5 “‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Exo 19.5, 6).

        6 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth” (Deu 7.6).

        16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,
        And the LORD listened and heard them;
        So a book of remembrance was written before Him
        For those who fear the LORD
        And who meditate on His name.
        17 “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts,
        “On the day that I make them My jewels.
        And I will spare them
        As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
        (Mal 3.16, 17)

        1. What did Peter do
          1. by taking these very special passages to Israel of the flesh and
          2. apply them to the church?
        2. He declared that the Israel of God is the church.
      2. Peter, a Jew, declares that what was once said about biological Israel
        1. is now said about the church!
        2. That does not mean God cares nothing for natural Israel, but
          1. even as Moses and David prefigured the Christ,
          2. so Israel prefigured the church.
      3. That is why the Levitical and Aaronic priesthoods no longer exist, for
        1. now we are the priests, and Jesus is the high priest, because
        2. we are spiritual Israel.
      4. God used Israel to save the world.
    5. We are the generation or family God has chosen.
    6. We are a royal priesthood, because Jesus is both our King and High Priest.
    7. We are the holy nation,
      1. which is why in a sermon in January 2010,
      2. I preached, “The Third, Second, and Greatest Nations,”
        1. meaning that America is or was, number three,
        2. Israel under her good kings was number two, and
        3. the church is number one, the greatest nation ever.
    8. We are these things that we might proclaim
      1. the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light,
      2. which fulfills Isaiah 43,

        20 The beast of the field will honor Me,
        The jackals and the ostriches,
        Because I give waters in the wilderness
        And rivers in the desert,
        To give drink to My people, My chosen.
        21 This people I have formed for Myself;
        They shall declare My praise.
        (Isa 43.20, 21)

        1. We were not the people of God, but the people of Satan.
        2. In the past, we had not received mercy, but now we have.
    9. First Peter 2.10 is a reference to Hosea 2,

      23 “Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,
      And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
      Then I will say to those who were not My people,
      ‘You are My people!‘
      And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’”
      (Hos 2.23)


  1. Listen again to the closing verse of our text. 
    1. God wants to include everyone as His people, and
    2. He does that by showing mercy.
      1. We need mercy because we have sinned.
      2. Without that mercy,
        1. we are not the people of God, and
        2. not being part of the people of God means
          1. we have no part in the inheritance awaiting the people of God only.
          2. The difference is how you react to Jesus the Chief Cornerstone.
  2. Do you accept Him or reject Him? 
    1. If you reject Him,
    2. you will stumble and fall.
      1. If you accept Him,
      2. He will use you as a stone for His spiritual house.
  3. The difference between acceptance and rejection is obedience. 
    1. Peter showed us that
      1. believing or accepting Him is to obey Him, and
      2. not believing Him or rejecting Him is to disobey Him.
    2. Obey Him now while you have the chance.