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September 4, 2016

"GOD'S PURPOSE AND OUR PRIVILEGE"

TEXT: 1 Peter 2: 4-10 (Reading vv. 1-10
READING:
 Psalm 34: 1-22

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SUBJ: The nature of Christ expressed in His strong and unchangeable being (the Stone) and the purpose of God (to build a spiritual house) and their duty and delight in serving Him.

AIM: That we might be fully in tune with the purpose of God and aligned with Christ in all we do that we be able to offer that which is acceptable to God through Christ.

INTR: The first three verses of this passage give a directive aimed at a qualified people – they which have “tasted that the Lord is good” and so looks to ground prepared to received that which follows.
1. As a true preacher, Peter bore his message to a people for whom he cared deeply in that he knew them to be precious possessions of the Lord and in whom he had a vested interest.
2. He would further desire that they know themselves to be a work of God in His Grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord and for a specific purpose – to offer acceptable sacrifices.
3. It is well then that we be examined as to our relationship with Him, our connection to Him and the devotional we hold towards Him – He is precious.

THESIS: As it is in the matter of preeminence, Christ is declared to be precious and chosen (in His human nature) in the sight of the Father to be the ultimate standard by which all shall be tested and proven and it only follows that those built thereon would esteem Him as precious above all else.

I. The Stone to Whom we have come (v. 4)
1. No house will stand without a proper foundation and such was the illustration of Christ with reference to the house built on sand.
2. Where Christ is the foundation and the standard to which all dimensions are followed, that house cannot fall and so He is described as chosen of God:
3. There is an unmistakable reference here to the Temple to which all would be familiar but
4. Peter uses the thought of “coming” in the sense of that which is experienced of self-presentation without hope except in Him who is the standard.
1) Chosen of God above all other alternatives proposed by men in that He is infinitely superior, durable and unchangeable in person and work!
2) Consider this by John Gill: “…this phrase denotes the superior excellency of Christ to angels and men in the account of God; being the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person, the Son of His love, in whom he was always well pleased, and in Whom He took infinite delight, considered both as His Son and the surety of His people…
5. Disallowed of men, even those who had made diligent search of the scriptures but in the absence of faith – He was seen as such by men such as Abraham and Moses!

II. His purpose for us (vv. 5-6)
1. Is first detected in the graphic description as lively or “living” stones and so the relationship is stated – we are of the same material and:
1) As a spiritual house and so is the nature of the people of God in the world and as they shall be through all eternity.
2) Holy priesthood – note well the sanctification and function of the O. T. priests and the continued reference to the Temple and its associated services.
3) And that acceptance is found in and by Jesus Christ.
2. This is one of many times a reference is made to: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Isaiah 28:16.
1) Paul in 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 9:32-33 and
2) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Ephesians 2:20.
3. The idea of not being confounded is likewise derived from here with For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 as an example.

III. What He is to us (vv. 7-8)
1. Precious in the sense of being held in the highest esteem as compared to the valuation given Him of God in being of perfection in quality and standard.
2. To the believer He is more than a mere means to an end – the one who will get us into heaven.
1) He is the end Himself and having this treasure no other is desired.
2) It is to Him we are fully given and delighted to be accepted of Him.
3) Two questions to be answered:
i. Do you believe? If the answer is yes then,
ii. Is He precious above all else?
3. By comparison He is in whole or in part rejected and there is really no difference there.
4. Could He be a “stone of stumbling?”
1) We consider the offerings emanating from the pride of men and note: And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Isaiah 8:14.
2) Compare the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and their frustration
3) Consider the frustration of the world as they reject the various aspects of the presentation of Christ to us and the world.
4) Consider the stumbling at His Word and especially the message of the cross.

IV. Who we are and why (vv. 9-10)
1. The functional characteristics and privileges of God’s people:
1) A chosen generation – a people of similar qualities and interest after the divine design; they are one family.
2) A Royal Priesthood – Royal in their relation to God and Christ and consecrated to Him for spiritual service and sacrifice!
3) A Holy nation – having one head, agreeing in manners and customs, governed by the same laws and the instilled principles of Christ in us.
4) A peculiar people – The people of His acquisition and are made His as: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14.
2. That we should show forth the praises of our redeemer as one who has called us into the light of His presence with full awareness of all He has done in effecting this so great salvation.