To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1Peter 2:4-5).
AFTER DWELLING ON CHRISTMAS and the Babe in the manger, we come to what the Babe has become: The Stone. The Bible sometimes uses figures of speech to increase our understanding of a subject. We must be careful in discerning if it is a figure of speech or a literal statement. Jesus said He was the door of the sheep (John 10:7,9). He did not mean that he was a wooden door with hinges and a door knob. He meant that He was the one means of access.
HE CALLED US HIS SHEEP AND CALLED HIMSELF A SHEPHERD. This does not mean that saved people are all covered with wool and equipped with sheep-looking ears. It means that we are sheep-like in how dumb we are at times and how dependent we are on a caring and all-wise shepherd to take care of us These figures of speech are obvious.
TO BE A ROUGH, SMELLY FISHERMAN WITH NO PEDIGREE OR DIPLOMA of higher learning, Peter suddenly becomes an architect of the highest order. He’s a master of the Hebrew and Greek and a solemn authority. I suspect it’s because God is sitting close behind him and whispering to him what to say.
IN OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HIM, we have been called sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatiansl 4:6-7)
THIS IS NOT A FIGURE OF SPEECH. We ARE the sons of God and the Spirit of God has cried through us to the Father, calling Him, Abba (Daddy!).
IN TODAY'S TEXT WE ARE COMING TO AN UNUSUAL STONE, a metaphor (figure of speech). It is a living (lively) stone. The living stone is Christ. It is in the context of a stone building. Christ is a stone and then the writer says: “ye also.” Christ is a living stone. We (also) are stones, built into a spiritual house. Jesus is flesh and blood, (Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:39) And Jesus is a stone. We are flesh and blood, and we are stones. Our flesh and blood are literal. Our being stones and a living house is a figure of speech.
I DON'T WANT TO GO OVERBOARD ON EXPLAINING THIS, however, I have observed much confusion among Christians who have not sorted out the use of figures of speech in the Bible. For example, the rich man in Hell (Luke 16) is considered by some as being a parable and not literal. You can get him out of Hell and keep from going to Hell yourself by making that into a parable instead of a literal reference to Hell. (That is not my subject today.)
THE BIBLE BURDENS ITSELF TO SHOW US THE STRENGH, security, and permanence of who God is and our relationship to Him, now and in eternity. It is characteristic of the Bible to explain it one way and in case we missed the point, to explain it in different terms so we are sure to get it. God wants us to know things. We find this purposeful practice scattered throughout the Bible.
“A LIVING STONE- The allusion in this passage is to: Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16) That is, the stone is so solid and secure that the one standing upon it will feel no dread or fear and no inward impulse to run someplace else for safety in the time of trouble. A prophecy of the coming Jewish Messiah.
WE ARE ALSO DRAWN TO: “The stone which the builders disallowed is become the headstone of the corner.” Psalm 118:22 “The reference is to Christ as the foundation on which the church is reared. He occupies the same place as a foundation-stone does to the edifice that is reared upon it.” (Barnes) (It appears that the presence and properties of the foundation stone and the corner stone are run together, here.)
JESUS CONTINUES THE REFERENCE TO THE STONE: Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. (Matthew 7:24-25)
PAUL PICKS UP THE STONE LANGUAGE: As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed (Romans 9:33).
HE CONTINUES IN EPHESIANS: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians. 2:19-22).
A DIFFERENT KIND OF TEMPLE: This is not a temple made of stone, overlaid with gold, enhanced with expensive timbers and impressive doors. It is a temple of redeemed people that is built to be inhabited by the Spirit of God. “…a habitation of God through the Spirit.”
It is awesome that the Spirit of God should dwell in our bodies! But that is exactly what these verses say.
NOT ONLY SO, BUT WE ARE TOLD THAT HE GIVES US “living water” (John 4:10). Christ is the foundation stone, we are the upper stone structure of God’s Temple, and Christ imparts life to the whole spiritual temple. (The commentaries are word-rich about these verses because the Word of God is word-rich about the stone and the cornerstone rejected of men.) Are you part of God’s Temple?
THIS OLD HYMN IS APPROPRIATE HERE: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but firmly lean on Jesus’ name. (Chorus) On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.” (Edward Mote – 1834) Please play it below. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JANUARY 3, 2018 - THURSDAY
A.M. Genesis 6-8 P.M. Matthew 3
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Song for Today:
The Solid Rock (4:04) (United Meth. Ch. Winfield, Iowa)
Note: After going through several versions of this song, this is the best version.
(You may have to adjust the volume and delete an ad.