Built Into a Spiritual House (Won’t You Be My Neighbor? series #2)
Jason White



As we continue our series, we see the communal nature of our Life in Christ. We see how God is building us into a spiritual house and how each believer plays an important role in the church. Check out more at https://colonialhills.com/wont-you-be-my-neighbor






*This transcript was auto-generated by a transcription service and may differ from the originally spoken content*

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I hope that you've been enjoying those videos online. If you've been off of social media or don't have social media and you have no idea what we're talking about, borrow someone else's get online, you can get caught up as to why they were here this morning and doing what it is that they were doing. But obviously last week, as they referenced, we started this series called, won't you be my neighbor. And we looked at the parable of the Good Samaritan. And we learned how really Jesus through that parable taught us that anyone who is in need is our neighbor, that people all throughout the community are our neighbors, they don't have to be a geographical location, or they don't have to be like us or look like us that anyone who's in need can be our neighbor. And we learned from the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus will work in us and through us to use our time and our energy and our resources to bless and love and serve our neighbors who are in need. And they've referenced a few of those things this week. But it has been so fun, to be able to hear the stories of what God has been doing in you and through you all week long. As you have been sensitive to the Spirit and His leading I mean, we have heard stories of people taking meals to different people getting a bunch of pizzas and delivering them to people who they knew were in need. We've heard stories of people building care packages for their their mail carriers and putting them out by the mail blog box with with kindness cards attached to them. We've had people that have taken food to fire stations bought gas for needy families by grocery for needy families left nice tips for people for who are waiters or waitresses with encouraging notes on them paid for other people in the drive thru, and a number of other things. And so we celebrate and we give God all the glory and honor and praise for what he's been doing in us and through us this week. And I think we should give him a round of applause for those things. It's just been so encouraging. And I obviously this isn't the kind of thing that we just do once a week. This is the kind of thing that we want to be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit is leading us each and every single day. And so even though we were focusing on this as a church family, and being really intentional about how God wanted to work in us and through us and to share those stories, this is the kind of thing that will go on, right. And so we want to continue to encourage you to be sensitive how the Spirit wants to use you to do acts of kindness as you see people in need. But today as we continue this series, we are shifting gears slightly, we're gonna continue to be sensitive to how the Lord leads us in those areas. But today, we're going to be looking at how the spirit doesn't just work in us individually, to do acts of kindness and to be neighborly, but how he works in us collectively, even as a church together, we see this in a number of places taught in God's word, but the one we're going to look at today is found in First Peter chapter two. So if you have your Bible, you want to follow along with me or device or the Bible app on it, you can pull that out. Now, you know, First Peter that's in the New Testament of your Bibles, we'll be looking at chapter two, verses four through nine. And all the Scripture references will come up on the screen, if you just want to follow along that way. 2000 years ago, the apostle Peter was writing this inspired by the Holy Spirit. And here's what he wrote beginning in verse four of chapter two. He says as you come to him, the living stone, rejected by humans, but chosen by God and precious to him. Okay, so let's just stop here. And make sure that we're on the same page before we get too far into this. But Peter is giving some descriptions of this person that he calls a living stone and Well, based on what we can see here, it's no doubt that he's talking about Jesus, Jesus, if you've even read part of the Gospels, you would know that he was rejected by mankind by many of those who were alive during His earthly ministry people rejected his teaching people rejected who it was that he associated with people rejected his claim of being God. He was ultimately eventually of course, arrested and spit on and and beaten and mocked and eventually nailed to a cross naked and left there to die. Right. So So Jesus was rejected by many during His earthly ministry, and unfortunately, he's still being rejected as Christie referenced by many today. But even though he's rejected by minivan and instill some today, Peter makes sure that we know that he certainly wasn't rejected by God that you could get that sense if you read about how he was so rejected and all of these things happen to him that, you know, maybe I didn't come in for him in some way. But that certainly wasn't the case he wasn't rejected by God, He tells us that he was precious to him he's of extreme value and worth that he was chosen by him to, to actually go through what he went through, with intentionality with purpose in order to provide salvation for us the forgiveness of all of our sins, and so that we could have eternal life with Him. Now, when he references him as a stone, this is imagery from the Old Testament. And we'll we'll see this all throughout this text that we're going to look at today. It's just, it's littered with references and imagery from the Old Testament, because even though it's divided into two parts, this is really just one big story. It's the story of what the how the world was created, and what went wrong with the world, what God has done to fix what went wrong with the world and how it's all going to end one day. And so there's a lot of Old Testament imagery in here. But but as you saw, when he referenced him as a stone, he didn't just references any stone, he referenced him as a living stone. That's kind of weird to think about, right. But the reason he would say that, of course, is because even though he was rejected, and ultimately nailed to that cross that we talked about earlier, and did die, he didn't stay dead. God raised him from the grave, and he's still alive today. And he's defeated the power of sin and death for ever. And so he references him here as a living stone. Now, Peter has paused what he started to say, to make a few comments about the living stone that He referenced. And now he's going to pick back up in verse five, with what he started to say. But you may have remembered that he said at the beginning of verse four, as you come to him, so even though he paused to make some comments, what he was trying to say is, as you come to him, there's some things that are going to happen as a result of coming to him. And now he gets back to saying that, so he says, As you come to Him in verse five, you 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. Some of you have been wondering why we moved this table here and the black tablecloth. And for those of you who like to tend to doze off and get that nap in pretty quickly, hopefully, it's kept your attention going, I wonder what's under there. All right. And so I'm going to show you, alright, so Jesus, or Peter says here, that as we come to Jesus, the living stone, right, as we, as we see our need for him, because we see, and we notice that, well, we're sinners. And as sinners, we really are in a bad place before a holy and a perfect God, because there's really nothing that you can do to impress a holy and a perfect God, right. And so as we realize our sin problem, our sin nature that we have, and that there's absolutely nothing that you and I can do about that particular sin problem, and therefore we need a savior than as we come to Him. We're told that he not only forgives our sins, but He makes us into living stones, right? We were spiritually dead. But now we are spiritually alive, because not only are we forgiven, but the Holy Spirit gets deposited into us. And so we to become living stones. Now, we're not the capital S, living stone, but we become lowercase living stones. And Peter says here that not only do we become living stones, though, but he says that we are actually one by one, as we come to Him, are being built into a spiritual house. Each one of these bricks, one of these stones represents you. So as you come to Jesus, you become a living stone, but you don't just become a living stone, you become part of the spiritual house that he is building. And so you can see that there is an interconnectedness between Jesus we have this union now with him. We're alive and living because he's the living stone in him, but we're also connected to others. You can draw several things from this. I mean, first and foremost, you can note that you're a valuable piece of this building. Right? If you're a valuable piece of this building. I'm gonna do it right now because I just spent the last three minutes building this beautiful spiritual house before you right now and it would all come tumbling down. But if I pulled that out, you would notice that something would happen to it, it would begin to crumble. And so you're you're a valuable piece of this spiritual house here. But but really what Paul's really mate getting us to see here is the corporate nature, how we're really connected in and united together. And the image that we see here is, as I said earlier, from the Old Testament, there's a lot of Old Testament imagery here. In the Old Testament, there's a lot of discussion about the temple, the temple being the the place that God dwelled among his people, right. And so what Peter is saying is that it used to be where God would come and in dwell the temple and meet with his people. But now you as the church, as you each come to Jesus, you are the new temple, you are the dwelling place of God, you are this spiritual house, right? And he says the reason he begins to talk about the reason that he does all of this, he says, the reason that you're being built into a spiritual house like this, is to become a holy priesthood. Now, in the Old Testament, when we were talking about the temple, you had to be male, and you had to be from the tribe of Levi, to be able to have access to God and to be a priest. But according to the New Testament, what we see communicated and through what Jesus said, we all have access to God, according to Peter, here, we all become priest, the moment we say yes to Jesus, did you know that the moment you said yes to Jesus, you became a priest. You're part of a holy priesthood, this Peter is who you are, this is a part of your identity. Now, in this spiritual house, in this temple, in the Old Testament, there were animal sacrifices that were made, there were sacrifices that had to be made for sin. But in this new spiritual house, we don't offer animal sacrifices in this house any longer we offer, as Peter said, spiritual sacrifices, we don't have to offer those sacrifices for sin, because we're told in the book of Hebrews, that Jesus made a once for all sacrifice for us. Somebody say that's good news. Right? I mean, so I mean, this is good news that once for all, Jesus said, down, we don't have to worry about that it's been completely taken care of. And so we don't offer those kinds of sacrifices, we offer spiritual sacrifices. And really, Peter is not the first one that talks about this idea. Paul did in the book of Romans, when he was writing the book of Romans For 11 chapters, he's trying to tell them, look at all the things that have happened to you when you said yes to Jesus. And then he gets to chapter 12. And he says, Therefore, based on all of these things that are so new about you, here's what I urge you to do offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, because you are holy, and you are pleasing to God now in Christ. And so he says, Therefore, offer your bodies to him. And he says, this is your spiritual act of worship. And so we make our bodies available to him. And he leads us and He guides us and He empowers us and works through us, in order to bring God glory and honor and praise in this. And even before we quickly move on, I just want to reference what we talked about in our last sermon series, when we mentioned this idea of next steps and how the Holy Spirit lives in us and the spirit guided activity, we can expect him to lead us to next steps, right. And so we talked about Jesus being the Livingstone, and how we each come to him to find that life to become a living stone. And so one of the things if that's true, we could expect in taking next steps with the spirit is that he will lead us as we talked about to discover life in Christ, if we become living stones based on the living stone, we can expect them to lead us to know more about and discover that life in Christ. We said that we could also expect him to lead us to connect us to other family members through doing life with each other. can you see by just looking at this image, why we could expect him to lead us to spend time with each other and invest in each other. I mean, if this is who we are, and we're all interconnected to each other, then we could expect him to lead us to be actually involved with our family since this is who we are. We talked about how we could expect him to lead us to invest in the body. If each and every one of us if you're a valuable piece, then he's going to lead you to play your role in the body and you could see what kind of damage it would do if you don't step into it. and allow him to use you in the role that he has for you. It's not going to be as effective as it was before. And then, of course, we talked about how the Lord will lead us to express himself through us into the world. And Peter is going to get to that in just a moment. But the whole thing that Peters at After saying this is now, as he's described it, he really wants to make sure that that they understand and that we understand that all of this is true. Because of the capital S living stone, and so he dives into that a little bit more by referencing a few things that were said about Jesus in this stone imagery in the Old Testament. So look what he says as he goes on in verse six. He says, For in Scripture, it says, See, I lay a stone in XyO, on a chosen and precious corner stone, and the one who trusted him, he says, will never be put to shame. This passage comes from Isaiah chapter 28, verse 16, if you want to go back and look that up later, but in the immediate context, this was a message of judgment. This was imagined a message of judgment on Ephraim for their disobedience and for their their unbelief, their lack of trust in the Lord. And even though Isaiah was saying, partly to them at that particular time, that if they trust in the Lord, even though judgment is coming, they will not ultimately perish, but they would tie up in him. But even though he had something to say to them in their immediate context, what Peter is saying is that the ultimate fulfillment of this verse for all of us is found in Jesus, that He is the cornerstone. And if you trust in Him, He says, You will not be put to shame, you will not be disappointed at the in one day, because you now have a firm foundation and a secure future in him. Now, you may know this already, but he referenced Jesus as the cornerstone. And in this particular day and age, when there was masonry construction and foundation work that was being done. A cornerstone was hugely was vastly important. I mean, it was the Keystone it was the very first stone that was laid down, oftentimes it was a little bigger than all the other stones and it was laid down in the precise location that it was, because it was the reference point for all other stones that would be laid after it. Everything found its definition, in this one piece, the cornerstone, it all got lined up with it, it's how you would find out if the building was going to be straight and true. And so with Peter now, pulling this Old Testament imagery, in quoting this verse here, and talking about how Jesus is the fulfillment of this, he is the cornerstone. What he's trying to tell us, though, is that everything hinges on Jesus. He is that foundation, he is the one that as you come to him, he's the reference point for all the other stones laid after it. So we're living stones, because we're in union with the living stones. We're built into a spiritual house, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we have a secure foundation, because we are united in him. And so these are true only because of him. But now Peter says, Okay, I brought this up. And this is good news for those of you who have said yes to Jesus, because this is what's true about you, but don't expect everyone to buy into it, because it can be a stumbling block. And so he quotes two more old passages, Old Testament passages about that, as he goes on, and verse seven, and eight. He says, Now, to you who believe this stone is precious, valuable of worth, it's everything to you. But to those who do not believe the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stone that causes people to stumble in a rock that makes them fall, they stumble, because they disobey the message, which is what they were destined for. Peter says, Not everyone who sees the living stone even though the Cornerstone is here and available to to anyone and everyone to have a secure foundation and be straight and true and have all of this stuff being found in him, some will stumble over this message. These are direct quotes from the Old Testament, Psalm 118 22, as a 14 and again, it's got an immediate context with a warning to those who would be tripping over and stumbling over the Lord and trusting in Him in that day. But again, Peter is saying that this is true even of people today, even though this is good news that applies to all people, unfortunately, some will reject this good news. And ultimately, they will suffer for it, even though they didn't have to, even though Jesus has provided a way out. And so he makes this statement. And now he's quick, though, to point out that this won't happen to those of you who are in the church. And he comes back in verse nine, and talks about their identity and their secure foundation that they have in him. So look at what he begins to say now about the church again, but you, right, so what I just said, doesn't apply to you. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God's special possession. This is what Peter was writing to them as the church. This is what is true about you. If you've said yes to Jesus, then you too, are God's chosen people. You are his royal priesthood, you are a holy nation, and you are God's special possession. This is who you are. Now, this too, is rich with Old Testament imagery and language that some of you may have picked up on. Obviously, when he says chosen people, he's referring to the Israelites. And from the Old Testament, we know that they were referred to as God's chosen people that he came to them and said, You are my chosen instrument to who I am going to reveal myself to and who I'm going to reveal myself through to the rest of the world. And Peter takes that and says, Guess what, now on the other side of the cross, this is true about you, you are God's chosen people to put Jesus on display for the rest of the world to see what privilege it is to be chosen by God to be used in this way. It's true of who you are. But not only are you a chosen possession, he said are people you're a royal priesthood, this term comes from Exodus 19, verse six, where it says this, God says this to the Israelites, you will be for me, a kingdom of priests. So he says this to Israel, in the Old Testament, you will be from a kingdom of priests. And now Peter says, well, actually, anyone who has said yes to Jesus, on the other side of the cross, becomes a kingdom of priests, a royal priesthood, once again, did you know that when you said yes to Jesus, that you became part of a kingdom of priests? This is who you are. This is your new identity in Christ. In Exodus 19, six, he went on to say, after that you will be a kingdom for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. And so now Peter uses that language to it says on the other side of the cross, the Israelites were a holy nation, you are a holy nation, not in and of yourself, because Jesus is holy, and now you're in union with Him. So you two are a holy nation and set apart for Him. And then finally, he says, God's special possession which comes straight from Deuteronomy, chapter seven, verse six, right there. This is what is said to the Israelites or of the Israelites. The Lord your God, listen is the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people to be his treasured, possession? The moment you said yes to Jesus, you became God's treasured, possession. Treasure God's big God guide that sits over everything. You are his treasured possession. Now, this is certainly true of all of us on an individual basis as each one of us we are an individual living stone comes to the living stone. These are things that happen to us. But the thing that we really need to notice about this and not miss is that Peter is not using individual language here. He is talking about the church he is talking about. You are a chosen what not person. You're a chosen people. You're a kingdom of priests. You're a nation that is holy you together are God's special possession, his treasured possession so many times, and we've talked about this before, because of where we live and our culture and how highly individualized everything and everyone is that we miss the corporate aspect of our identity. The who we really are all together, we are living stones. We are a spiritual house. We, this is who we are together. The question becomes why? Why was God make us into His chosen people in royal priesthood and holy nation and special possession and he doesn't leave us hanging, he tells us in the rest of the verse after he says these things are true about you, he says, here's why I've made you a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, a holy are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and got special possession. So that here's why. So that you may declare the praises of Him, who called you out of the darkness and into his wonderful light. God has put you and I, together as living stones, connected to the living stone, in order to use us to showcase Jesus to the rest of the world, who lives in darkness. This is why he's made you made us into who we are, right to bring Him glory and honor to work through us to draw people still in the darkness out of the darkness. And so this is the image that I want you to get a hold of in C is true of who we are together. And now as we apply it to this series that we're in, won't you be my neighbor, and we talked about how Jesus is leading us to love and serve our neighbors. What we want to take from this is that he's not just going to work in and through us in an individual way. But he's going to work in and through us as the church as the royal priesthood as a kingdom of priests as a holy nation together. Now I get that, in a sense, of course, there's a spiritual union with all of this, and even all week long as we were doing individual acts of kindness as the Spirit led, that there was a sense that we were doing that together, right. I mean, we're all connected, and we went our different ways. But we're all still a part of it. And we were gathering the stories, we were celebrating them together on social media, I was sending you emails, and so there was a way that that still applies to those things. But I just think that we miss too many times that when we see this language talked about being who we are, the corporate pneus of the, the the togetherness of who we are the union, that we experienced together the way that that even practically led the early church to do so much life together, to serve together, that maybe we miss way too often how the Holy Spirit wants to work in us in that way, too. And so as we talk this week, and focus on neighboring and serving our neighbors, we're going to be talking about serving as a group, how the Holy Spirit wants to use us together as the spiritual house that he has made us into. And so next Saturday, we're gonna gather together, up here at 130 in the afternoon, that's about the time that all of the upward soccer games get finished up, and all the volunteers finished there. And that way they can participate in what it is that we're doing as well. And what we're going to do is we're going to divide you each up into groups of three, four, or five, and we're going to go serve the neighborhood that's directly behind the church, God allowed us to build this building that we gather in as the church each and every Sunday, right here on this property in this specific location, to serve the people in our community. And he built us right into a neighborhood of homes, there are families who live in homes all around us, we have neighbors. So we're going to divide up into groups of three, four, or five, and we're going to send you out into the neighborhood that we are a part of, and here's what we're going to do. It's hard to love and serve our neighbors if we don't even know who they are. So we're going to try to get to know our neighbors. And we're gonna encourage you to just have a section and we're going to map it all out and try to be as organized as we can be with this and we're gonna send you to a certain part of the neighborhood back here. And we're gonna ask that you go knock on a door. And whenever they answer the door, we're gonna ask that you introduce yourself, hey, we're so and so. And we're your neighbors from colonial hills and we just wanted to introduce ourselves and in meet you today, and we're not really selling anything, so don't worry about that. And we're not gonna be here long. We just simply wanted to know. Could we pray for you about anything? saying today, anything that you're going through that we could lift up for you or your family, if they say yes, then one person out of the group is going to bow and we're all going to pray. That person is going to pray out loud for them based on what it is that they said right there in that moment, and we're gonna say, hey, it's so great to meet you, we're going to continue to be thinking about you and praying for you. And we're just right over here in the neighborhood. And so if you need anything, you come find us and you let us know. And that's it. Just as a way to get to know some people and and get to meet them and and serve them in some way. Now, later on, we're going to look for ways that God continues to wants to use us to do even more than that. And we've already got plans to maybe go back when the leaves start to fall and practically serve some people, hopefully, that will open up the door to see that we're not here just to pray. But we're here to actually help really invest in you and use our energy and resources to bless you in some way. Quite honestly, we've even been talking as a staff about the future and how we love and serve our neighbors based on being a part of this neighborhood that we built into. And we've been dreaming and thinking about how we could potentially be a blessing to all of the families that live in our neighborhood. Right? How can we use the property and the resources that God has blessed us with to be a benefit, not for us. But to those who live in our neighborhood. There's a bunch of young families that are moving into this neighborhood back here, there's no Park, there's no place for them to play, and gather together and do anything. What if we used our property that the Lord blessed us with to build something where they had a playground, and they had a place that was their neighborhood playground that the young families could bring their kids to, and maybe a walking track or something around it where it was safe and secure. And, and they knew that we built it for them, it wasn't for us, we're just your neighbors. And we decided to offer this for you to be a benefit and a blessing to you as your neighbors, that maybe the Lord would use that to be not only a blessing to them, but open up their hearts to draw them out of the darkness to see Jesus in a different light than they saw before. And be willing to be open to receiving Him and taking a step of faith and having their lives changed forever. I don't know if that'll happen. I don't know if that's where the Lord's leading, we're just dreaming. And we're talking about that. If God wants to lead us to be good neighbors, to the neighbors that he's put us around, then let's be sensitive to how the Spirit wants to lead us to be good neighbors. And so we want you to be a part of this next Saturday, you'll find some information coming out soon about how you can sign up to be a part of that. So we can be a little bit more organized. And we'll have an idea of how many people are coming. But I want you to strongly consider being a part of this. Because as we said earlier, you are a valuable part of this building. You're a valuable piece of this spiritual house. And I think way too often we think, oh, somebody else will show up and do it. I don't really need to be a part of that. Yeah, they'll show up and be over there. Oh, yeah, this person, they can show up and do it over there, I don't really need to worry about being a part of that. And you are a valuable piece of this spiritual house. He wants to work in and through you to make an us so that we can love and serve our neighbors together and see what I don't want you to underestimate the value and worth that you have the role that you really do play as an us as a spiritual house. So I hope and pray you'll be a part of this at 130. And let's be praying ahead of time about how the Lord wants to use us in these conversations as we meet people and pray over them on that particular Saturday. Let's pray. Father, thank you for the opportunity to be used by you to be a blessing to our neighbors. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your chosen instruments, to put Jesus on display, to be a part of a kingdom of priests. To be a part of a holy nation, to be a part of your treasured family and possessions. Thank you for making us living stones. Thank you for building us into a spiritual house. If we're making each one of us a valuable part, a valuable piece of this house. We make ourselves available to you We pray that you would work in us and through us to love and serve our neighbors well, and that you would begin to open up their hearts and minds to see his acts of kindness as an expression of your love for them. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.