Printable PDF: 5-10-2020 Easter 5 Sermon
Vicar Jason Lindemann ~ 1 Peter 2:4-10 ~ May 10, 2020 ~ Easter 5
CHRIST IS OUR CORNERSTONE
4As you come to him, the living Stone-rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For 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.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for.
9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
JESUS IS THE LIVING STONE
When you are writing, do you prefer a pen or a pencil? I always needed a pencil because pencils have erasers, and I was constantly making corrections. When you want your writing to be permanent, then you can use the pen (and if you make a mistake, you can still scribble out what you wrote). From a carpenter I learned the phrase “Measure twice, cut once.” You can measure over and over, but what you cut off is off for good. You can always cut off a little more, but what you cut is permanent. The most permanent thing I can think of is setting something in stone. When something is set in stone, it’s not changing. It takes jack hammers and intense work to change what is set in stone. Peter reveals something even more permanent than stone. Jesus is the Living Stone. He is permanent and reliable. That Stone fits in only one place and that stone builds something special.
- The Stone fits in only one place. (verses 4-8)
In Peter’s time, they didn’t have big construction equipment to build houses with steel and concrete. The ancient builders built with stones. Peter used this picture of building with stones to teach us the only place where the Living Stone fits. He shows us where Jesus fits in our lives. The cornerstone is the most important stone of the whole project. The cornerstone needed to be perfect. The cornerstone was the foundation. The cornerstone made the wall strong. The whole building had to rely on the cornerstone. Ancient builders carefully selected the cornerstone. They had to reject any stone that wasn’t perfect. Peter also described God as a builder. God had an incredible project in mind, and God had the perfect Cornerstone. Jesus is the Living Stone, the Cornerstone that God chose. Jesus fits perfectly there. No other cornerstone would work.
Some builders don’t want Jesus as their cornerstone. They don’t think that the Stone that God chose is the right stone for their cornerstone. Those builders are the unbelievers. They could be like the religious leaders who had Jesus crucified, or they could be like anyone who trusts in someone other than Jesus. Those builders reject the Cornerstone. They don’t like the way God’s Cornerstone looks, they think they have a better idea, or they just don’t want to be told what to do. Unbelievers reject Jesus. They don’t believe in him or rely on him. Since they reject Jesus as their Cornerstone, they only trip and fall. People are full of sin. Anything they replace God’s select Cornerstone with is full of sin. Anyone that doesn’t rely on Jesus falls apart.
Jesus is our precious Cornerstone because of what he does. Jesus has made those who believe in him and rely on him acceptable to God because he covers all their sins. Those who rely only on Jesus will live. When the storms come and everything else falls apart, those who are built on Jesus will still stand. Jesus is the holiness that people need. God loves believers built on Jesus.
The Living Stone fits in only one place. How will you builders build your lives? Is there a temptation to reject him like the unbelievers do? Many people look at Jesus and think, “I just don’t like the way that looks,” when they see that Jesus needs to have the number one spot in their hearts and they can’t just live according to their own rules. They might think they have a better idea than relying on Jesus, like relying on human wisdom or their own power or on what others rely. They might see Jesus, the Living Stone, placed as the Cornerstone and think, “No one is going to tell me what to do; I’ll figure this out for myself.” Some try to fit Jesus in their lives somewhere as an afterthought. But when they rely on anything besides the Living Stone, they will crumble.
The Living Stone fits in only one place in your lives. Rely on Jesus. God has given you the precious, living Stone. He hasn’t given you an afterthought. God has given you his own Son. He loved you so much that even though your sins will make you stumble and crumble, he gave you Jesus, so that you will live. Jesus is holy; Jesus is sinless. God has carefully placed his precious Jesus as your Cornerstone so that you are holy, sinless, and precious to God.
God has made him precious to you, too. Jesus paid for your sins. Jesus took your fall so that you never will. And Jesus rose from the dead and lives so that you will also live. You don’t rely on a dead stone, but a Living Stone. So what will you do with him? Reject him? Far from it. “The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” You have everything when Jesus is your Cornerstone. When temptations come, especially temptations to reject him, don’t rely on yourself to defeat them, but even then rely on Jesus. Jesus will remain strong for you. He will take care of you forever.
Your Cornerstone is Jesus – your living and reliable Savior. God carefully chose your Cornerstone and has given you what is most precious to him, and now Jesus is there for you. So what has God built on this Cornerstone? He’s built you on the Cornerstone.
- The Stone builds something special. (verses 9-10)
That precious Living Stone has built something quite special. Peter calls it God’s special possession. The building on the Living Cornerstone is not something made with hands – not a house or even a church building. It’s much better than that. It’s “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” It’s a spiritual house – the people of the Church. God has placed his Cornerstone for them all. The Cornerstone is for you and for everyone. There’s a whole nation of people that rely on him! Not a nation based on location or race, but a nation of hearts that rely on him. This nation shares the same name – Christians – and relies on the same Cornerstone – Jesus.
Christians are a treasure to God. At one time, they were not his treasure. At one time, we separated ourselves from God because of our sin. We were not his people, we were in the darkness of sin. But now, through Jesus Christ and faith in him, we are God’s people. We have the wonderful light of his mercy. His spiritual house is “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” Not a tagalong, but specifically chosen. Not disgraceful people, but royal. Not sinful, but holy. Christians have Jesus’ perfect sinless status before God, so they are his treasure.
By his mercy, you are his. At one time you were not his. You were lost in sin, separated from God, giving into temptation after temptation and relying on yourself. But he chose you. He showed you mercy. He gave you Jesus and built you into his spiritual house. Your location and the status of your family does not matter, because he built you together with other Christians to be his precious family. God has made you into something special to him through Jesus Christ.
Often times, it may not feel like you’re precious to God when the world rejects you. Like the world rejected Jesus as its Cornerstone, it rejects those who follow Jesus, too. They may treat you like a disgrace and try to make you feel worthless. The devil wants you to feel rejected and alone. But even though everyone – the world, your friends, maybe even your family may reject you, God will not. God cannot, because you rely on the Living Stone who cannot fail. You are precious to him because you are built on Jesus. Through Jesus, God has things in store for you because you are chosen by him, royal and holy in his sight. Jesus rose from the dead, and you who rely on him will also rise from the dead. He has mercy on those who are built on him.
You are set in Jesus, the Living Stone. He fits in only one place in your life and in your church. He is the Cornerstone. He is the one upon whom we rely. God makes something special out of the ones who are built on the Living Stone. He has made an everlasting family who believe in Jesus and who will live with him forever in heaven. That’s not written in pencil or ink; it’s set in Living Stone. Amen.