Online Worship for Trinity Twelve, Sunday September 4, 2022
Sermon for Trinity Twelve – Sunday September 4, 2022
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
God’s Grace, mercy and peace are yours in abundance, for you have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 Peter 2:1–6 (EHV)
Therefore rid yourselves of all evil, all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all slander. 2Like newborn babies, crave the pure milk of the word so that by it you may grow up with the result being salvation. 3Certainly you have tasted that the Lord is good!
4As you come to him, the Living Stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious, 5you also, like living stones, are being built as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, in order to bring spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it says in Scripture: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who believes in him will certainly not be put to shame.
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who provides the nourishment we need,
Who is making us into something special,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Precious Blood –
In God’s Word our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier – Our Triune God -- teaches us many things we couldn’t otherwise know. For example...
Creation -- God tells us how the earth and the universe came to be. It was not some lucky explosion, but came to be when the Almighty God spoke and it was created. God created humankind to be without sin and in tune with His perfect will. He didn’t make them mindless, thoughtless, ‘worker-bees’ but gave them the ability to choose good or evil.
Redemption -- God tells us how and when everything fell apart and was changed. The first human beings chose to do evil, and as a result they and their descendants came to be subject to death. But God had mercy upon them and promised and sent a Savior, His own Son to be the perfect substitute and sacrifice. Those who trust in that perfect sacrifice also receive the perfect life of Christ credited to their account by faith.
Sanctification – God still works in us through His Word. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to keep us in faith until we reach its ultimate goal, eternal life with Christ.
God’s Word also compares those who believe to things with which we are familiar. Believers are described as the ‘sheep’ of the Good Shepherd, Jesus. Believers are compared to the branches on a grapevine, which only bear fruit when drawing necessary nutrients from the Vine...Jesus.
We continue our study of the First Letter of Peter this morning. In this Word of God, we are compared to infants and reminded of our dependency upon the nutrition of God’s Word. We are called ‘living stones’ being built into a spiritual house, destined to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
May God the Holy Spirit continue the building process of our faith through these words. We therefore pray: “Sanctify us by your truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth.” Amen.
We can sometimes forget...when studying God’s Word...that everything is interconnected. The Words that we study this morning are not like an island to themselves, but are connected to what precedes them. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. This is only one piece of the puzzle, but this piece is joined to another part, to make up the whole.
Just two verses ago the Apostle Peter reminded us that we were ‘born again’ through the living and enduring Word of God. For many of us that took place shortly after we were physically born into this world.
When we were born into this world, we didn’t exit our mother’s bodies fully mature. We were born helpless infants and as such we were in need of individual care. We needed to be protected, fed and clothed, for without these things we would surely die. We needed to be protected and fed by our mothers. We needed to be cleaned up by our parents because bad things come from inside of us. If you’ve recently seen a child’s diaper...you know what I mean.
We may not be infants any longer, but bad things still reside in us and come out of us. They are sinful attitudes that we are urged as newborn children of God to take off like filthy clothing. It’s like changing our dirty diapers and it’s something we need to do each and every day.
Therefore rid yourselves of all evil,
all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all slander.
If you look at the words used here, you will notice that they are grouped into three kinds by the word ‘all.’ All evil, All deceit, hypocrisy and jealousy, All slander or evil-speaking.
Wickedness – as in a meanness, taking delight in someone’s suffering rather than seeking to comfort them. This meanness may show itself in disobedience to parents, in hurting another human being, in lusting after someone’s wife, or in setting our sights on things that God has given to others. These types of wickedness are in everyone of us and will from time to time come out of us (in our diapers).
Deceit, Hypocrisy and Jealousy. Deceit is to set out by craft and cunning to mislead other people. Interestingly the word Peter uses here for ‘deceit’ is a word that refers to the bait used to attract and catch fish! Hypocrisy is to put on a mask, to try and hide who we really in an effort to deceive. Jealousy or envy is ill-will toward someone in part because of the blessings given to them.
Slander – is every wicked word that runs down or tears down the good name and reputation of another. Let’s face it, this wickedness doesn’t show up in our diapers because it comes out of our mouths...but it smells the same.
Whether we are new to Christianity or old veterans, these things come out of us because of our rotten natures. The fact that we are familiar with them doesn’t make them any less wicked! As newborn children of God, we are to get rid of these things, to shed them and throw them into the laundry of Christ’s Blood.
If we would be rid of these sinful attitudes, we are to daily confront them. We recognize them for what they are – not mere mistakes – but a stinking mess of sin. We trust that they are cleansed in Jesus’ shed blood. It’s called daily repentance. Call it taking out the trash.
If anything is going to change, then its important that we be nourished. There is but one thing that strengthens faith and leads to maturity it’s the Word of God.
2Like newborn babies, crave the pure milk of the word so that by it you may grow up with the result being salvation. 3Certainly you have tasted that the Lord is good!
A few weeks ago, we were blessed to have in our home our newest grandchildren – Thomas, Brighton and Marigold. They are growing up quickly but are still utterly dependent upon their parents. They can’t tell their parents what they want or what’s ailing them. They can’t say, “Dirty Diaper.”
It’s also obvious that my infant grandchildren crave their mother’s milk. It’s almost like they can’t get enough of it.
In a similar way, we are to crave the pure milk that is the Word of God. It’s the best thing for us and in fact, there is no replacement for it. It’s the only thing that can be described as pure, without additive. There is nothing added to it, no supplement for it. It’s the only thing that enables us to grow up, to mature until we reach salvation.
We are like newborn infants who have once tasted this pure milk. We are to make it part of our spiritual menu every single day. We are dependent upon God’s Word.
So, we are urged to come...not to our mothers...but to one called the Living Stone. The Apostle Peter moves on from calling us infants...to living stones.
4As you come to him, the Living Stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious, 5you also, like living stones, are being built as a spiritual house....
Have you ever watched an experienced bricklayer do his job? I find it fascinating to watch. A trowel and mortar and thousands of bricks. Apply mortar, add brick, tamp it down, clean off the excess, move on. In short order a pile of bricks becomes a brick wall.
The Apostle Peter – a fisherman – says that as we come to the Living Stone – we are begin made into something bigger than anyone of us. What is a living stone? Stones aren’t living beings. They are stone cold, without life...dead. Still, there is a Living Stone...that isn’t a thing...but a person.
The Living Stone is someone that has been and still is rejected by human beings. When this Living Stone came to his own people, those who fancied themselves the builders rejected Him as worthless. It wasn’t a surprise because the Spirit of God foretold that He would be rejected (cf. Psalm 118:22).
Still, humankind should take care in following the crowd to reject this Living Stone...because God chose Him and considers Him precious.
The Living Stone to whom we come in faith...is not an it, but a Him. For it is written in Isaiah 28:16 --
6For it says in Scripture: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who believes in him will certainly not be put to shame.
Jesus is called the Living Stone. He is also called the cornerstone, chosen and precious. In our day the cornerstone is almost entirely ornamental. It bears witness to the time the building was built. Sometimes a time capsule will be placed within the cornerstone with items to remind of the time.
In the 1st Century the Cornerstone was the most important block in the building. If it wasn’t square or set crooked then the walls built off of it would be crooked and fail. Once the cornerstone was set, then block after block would be set in relation to it until the building was complete. Is it any wonder that Jesus is called the Cornerstone? In fact, without him the building that is the Holy Christian Church...would fall.
In this Scripture individual believers are called living stones being built up into a spiritual house. It’s interesting that we aren’t called bricks, which are uniform, each one the same as the other...but living stones. Once again, we are reminded that we formerly stone-cold dead stones are given life because we are united to Jesus, The Living Stone.
God has a purpose for us – we are being united to Jesus and to one another – built up into a ‘spiritual house’ for the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. This ‘spiritual house’ is a picture of the Holy Christian Church, the sum total of all believers, who live because they are united to Christ, the Living Stone.
We are also – by faith – given a job to do. We live to serve God.
4As you come to him, the Living Stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious, 5you also, like living stones, are being built as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, in order to bring spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
There is a comparison here that Peter’s Jewish readers could readily identify with...but which is likely lost on 21st Century Christians. In order that we may better understand these words let’s think about the work of the OT Priests.
Sacrifice -- The main work of the OT Priests was to offer up sacrifices to God. It was a dirty, bloody job. They offered up all manner of animals as prescribed by God for sins. These sacrifices all pictured the once for all sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. We are not to offer up animals, but our offerings are spiritual offerings – our prayers, our praise and our thanks to God for His Son.
Intercession – The OT Priests served as go-betweens with God. They brought the sacrifices and prayers of the people to God. Now we have been reconciled to God through the Sacrifice of Jesus and come to God our Father through Him.
Temple – The OT Priests had a tabernacle and a temple...built of dead stones. We are being built up into a spiritual house of living stones and the Holy Spirit dwells within us!
How blessed we are to be part of God’s building project! What a blessing to be able to gather here and offer up spiritual sacrifices to God in our prayers, praises and thanks. How blessed we are that God hears and accepts these offerings because of Jesus perfect sacrifice.
Earlier during worship we offered up this spiritual sacrifice...
Surely in temples made with hands, God, the Most High, is not dwelling; High above earth His temple stands, All earthly temples excelling. Yet He whom heaven’s cannot contain Chose to abide on earth with men, Built in our bodies His temple.
We are God’s house of living stones, Builded for His habitation; He through baptismal grace us owns Heirs of His wondrous salvation. Were we but two his name to tell, Yet He would deign with us to dwell, with all His grace and his favor (TLH 467:2-3). Amen.