Sunday, October 17, 2021

“But Now You Are...” [Matt's Messages]

“But Now You Are...”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
October 17, 2021 :: 1 Peter 2:4-10

Something wonderful has happened to us.

Something wonderful has happened to you and me, and it has changed our status.

It has changed our identity. 

Something wonderful has happened to us that has changed who we really are.

And Peter wants to tell us about it.

Peter is just bursting with the news. He wants us to know what we have become.

In many ways, 1 Peter is full of bad news, or at least difficult news to absorb. Peter often has hard things he needs to tell us, things we don’t necessarily want to hear. He has to tell us about some very hard things that we are called to do. And about some very hard things that we are going to endure.

He’s already told us that we are going to go through fiery trials. That does not sound like fun! And Peter says that they are normal and to be expected. There are more fiery trials on the way. And he’s already told us that we are displaced. That we are not home yet. That we are exiles, aliens, strangers, foreigners not in our true homeland.

He’s going to hit that even harder in verse 11 when we get it to it next time.

But Peter has also told us some glorious wonderful beautiful things about us already, as well.

He’s told us about our inheritance. About that living hope that we’ve been born again into. About how perfectly safe our inheritance is being kept for us in heaven. And about how we are receiving the goal of our faith the very salvation of our souls. Prophets searched intently to understand and angels long to look into these things.

But he’s got even more to say about these wonderful things that have happened to us and how it has changed our very identity.

If you look on the back of your worship bulletin, you’ll see that I’ve entitled this message with four words that are lifted right out of our last verse for today, chapter 2 verse 10. 

“But Now You Are...”

You had been one thing, but now you are something completely different, and it’s completely wonderful!

All because of Jesus Christ.

“But Now You Are...”


In this message, I’ve going to try to summarize verses 4 through 10 in just two big ideas. And the first is from verses 4 through 8 which teaches the wonderful truth that Peter’s readers including you and I are now “living stones.”

Now that is a strange combination of words if I ever heard one!

Living. Stones.

Stones that are alive.

That should make you sit up and think a little bit.

Why living stones?

By the way, it’s a metaphor (or actually a simile). We are not literally made out of stones. We may be living, but we’re not actually stones. We’re like living stones.

I think that Peter wants to bring together the idea of stability and power. Strength and life. A stone is something solid and stable and strong. And life is, well, life! It’s vibrant and animated and powerful. 

And he’s also drawing his imagery from his beloved Old Testament. 

I’ve mentioned several times already this Fall that the Apostle Peter loved his Old Testament. He has just come off of alluding to Psalm 34 in verse 3, “now that you have tasted that Lord is good.”

Now, Peter reaches back into Isaiah 28, Psalm 118, and Isaiah 8 all of which talk about stones. Let’s see what he says. First verse. Chapter 2, verse 4. 

“As you come to him, the living Stone [there is One “the Living Stone!”]–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him–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.” Stop there for a second.

Do you get a picture start to form in your head?

There’s One great big stone that is alive. It’s Personal. It’s a Person. But He’s so solid and stable and strong that He’s also a Rock.

And Peter says that his readers (that we) are coming to Him. And in the previous verse the him was the Lord. He’s the Living Stone.

He was rejected by men (more on that in verse 7), but He was chosen by God and precious to Him.

“This is my Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”

And as we come to Him, which happened at our conversion and happens every time and every day as we move towards Christ in faith, we are living stones ourselves. Our lives have stability and even more than that we are being used in a great spiritual building project!

We’re part of a glorious construction project.

Peter says (v.5), we are “being built into a spiritual house.” I think like a temple.

A house for the Spirit.

Do you think of yourself as building material?

Something you might pick up at Lowes or YBC?

In the ancient world, they didn’t have concrete block. When I preached this same book 20 years ago, we were in the process of building our home in Lanse. And I stole one of the building blocks for the foundation and brought it up here to the pulpit to illustrate the point.

But they didn’t have concrete block. They had stones. The best builders would look for the best, most solid, most strong stones to join together to make the foundation and even the walls of the building they were building.
And they would especially look for one great big strong stone to be the cornerstone.

And build everything off of that. Look at verse 6. Peter is quoting Isaiah chapter 28  when the Lord Himself announced a great building project upon which He was embarking. Verse 6.

“For 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.’”

We know that this building project is the Kingdom of God and we know Who the cornerstone is, as well. Don’t we?

Who is it?

It’s Jesus. Notice that it says that He is “precious.” Same word as verse 4. 

And the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.

Doesn’t that sound good? 

These precious people that Peter was writing to were probably experiencing shame being put them. Foreigners often are. Foreigners are often shamed.

But Peter says that Isaiah says that God says that if you put your trust in Jesus (The Living Stone!) you will never be put to shame before Him.

However, you will be put shame if you refuse to put your trust in Him. V.7

“Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’” 

There he’s quoting Psalm 118 and Isaiah 8.

Jesus Himself used Psalm 118 to describe Himself. Peter probably heard Him say it Himself many times.

The builders looked around for a cornerstone, looked for a capstone, and they found Jesus! But then they threw Him out. They crucified Him on the Cross. They rejected that Living Stone.

But Jesus was Chosen by God and precious to Him.

The stone at the tomb was rolled away, and this Stone lived again.

And became the capstone!

Notice how consequential those decisions are. 

If you reject Jesus, you stumble and fall. 

But if you trust in Him, then you will never be put to shame. 

Have you come to trust in Jesus?

I invite you to do so right here and right now.

He’s the Living Stone!

He’s what you want to build you life upon.

And even more than that, He transforms you and me into a wonderful part of His glorious building project.

Here’s what you are if you are trusting in Christ:

Living Stones. V.5 again.

“[Y]ou 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.”

This is wonderful.

It’s a little foreign to our ears, but just think about it a little bit.

I think he’s saying that you and I are each a stone in a great big temple being built.

A place filled with the Spirit, filled with the worship of God.

Paul talks in a very similar way in Ephesians chapter 2. You might want to read it this afternoon.

And one of the things I love about that is that you and I are not in the temple, but we are the temple. We are the living stones that make up the spiritual house.

Turn to the person next to you and say, “We are living stones.”

See we don’t need a building. Buildings are nice to have. This is a great building. But this isn’t the church. This is the church. The folks out there are the church. The folks in here are the church.”

“We are living stones.”

We are a part of something supernatural and wonderful.

And we are in this together.

These people may have been foreigners but they were foreigners together, right?

Last week, “love one another deeply from the heart.” Because we are in this together.

We are like bricks being placed right up next to each other. Or those stones out front of our building. As we come to Him, He is taking each one of us and building something beautiful out of us. Together!

And then in verse 5, he mixes the metaphor. He says that we are being built into a spiritual house “to be a holy priesthood.”

So it’s a house that is also a group of priests. 

It’s not one or the other. It’s both/and. We’re both the temple and the priests inside of it kind of I guess. 

Do you think of yourself as part of a holy priesthood? You better! Because that’s what Peter says your being included into.

Priests represent God to humans and humans to God. And so do we.

I’m not a priest any more than you are, but we both together are! 

And here’s what we supposed to do. Application. V.5

- Offer Spiritual Sacrifices Acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

That’s what we get to do! We get to offer spiritual sacrifices (not physical ones, not bulls and goats and lambs and all of that Old Testament stuff but spiritual sacrifices) pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.

Like what?

Like our bodies. Romans 12:1“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Or like our money. Philippians 4:18-19, “I have received ... [the monetary] gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Or like our praises. Hebrews 13:15-16, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

See, we get to make those sacrifices now. We get to offer those sacrifices.

Because we are living stones TO BE a holy priesthood.

What sacrifices are you offering today?

What sacrifices are you to offer this week?

Not to impress God! Not to earn anything. These sacrifices are “through Jesus Christ.” He’s the One who has already impressed God! He’s already made the propitiating sacrifice. We just add ours as grateful worship through Him. 

Because we are living stones. 

Unless you aren’t. Some people hear all of this, and they reject Jesus. V.8 

“They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for. [But not Peter’s readers and hopefully not you and me. V.9] But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once 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.”


“But now you are the people of God.”

Not just living stones, but God’s own chosen, royal, priestly, holy, special, people upon whom He has bestowed His sweet mercy.

I love these verses!

I told Heather Joy yesterday that I didn’t want to preach this message because I love these words so much and I know that I can’t begin to do them justice.

Something wonderful has happened to us.

This is who we are.

It’s important to know who you are.

If you don’t know who you are, somebody will slap a label on you and tell you who they want you to be.

This is who we are. Look down at verses 9 and 10. This is who we are.

Together. This is a corporate reality. This is the whole Church, not just us each of us as individuals. V.9 again.

“But you are a chosen people...” 

Some of you have “chosen race” there. The Greek word is “genos,” and it is sometimes translated, “family, race, nation, people, offspring, descendants, sort, or kind.”

Remember, the Christians were not all of one racial or ethnic group. They were from all over. Maybe originally from Judea. Maybe originally from Rome.

But they were scattered throughout Asia Minor. “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia...”

But Peter says that they are all one people in Christ, whatever their race.

And they are chosen. They are elect. They are wanted. They are accepted. They are beloved. 

If you are in Christ, you are in the chosen people of God. Feel that!

But there’s more. Peter says, “But you are” “a royal priesthood.”

Verse 5 said that we are a holy priesthood. Verse 9 says that we are royal.

The language here is drawn from Exodus chapter 19, verses 5 and 6.

The people of Israel were supposed to be a holy priesthood that had a holy priesthood.

And now the Church is living up to all that Israel was supposed to be.

We are a royal priesthood.

Try those words on for size. What an honor! Do you know that you are royalty? You are a Son of the King of the Universe. You are a Daughter of the King of the Universe. You are in the royal family.

And you’re not just royal. You are priestly. You represent God to other humans.

We do. Together! All of us. “The priesthood of all believers.”

This is who we are!

Think about the honor this is. Think about the privilege. Think about the status of this.

I know it doesn’t feel like it. Let me tell you: It did not feel like it to the people whom Peter was writing to.

They were getting kicked around for being Christians. And Peter said that more of that was on the way.

And he doesn’t say to fight back. To stand on your rights.

But he does say to hold up your head high. You are a part of a royal priesthood.

You may be a foreigner with very little status here. But in your homeland? You are royalty! 

There’s more. Next phrase, “But you are...a holy nation.”

That’s the word “ethnos” in the Greek. From which we get ethnic groups. Nationalities. Cultural collections of people.

It’s the same word in the Great Commission that we’re supposed to reach with the gospel and make disciples of all “ethnay” for Jesus Christ.

Well, when you become a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are placed in a new “ethnay” a holy one. 

There he goes again. Peter wants us to be holy in all that we do. Be holy as the Lord is holy. Why? Because we are holy.

In fact we are (v.9) “a people belonging to God.”

That’s it right there. We are His special possession.

We belong to God.

That’s who we are.

Those whose we are.

Even more fundamental than knowing who you are is to know whose you are.

And we became that ay because of God’s mercy. Look at verse 10.

“Once 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.”

Does that sound familiar?

Peter is quoting the Old Testament again. This time it’s the prophecy of Hosea (chapter 2).

Hosea told wayward Israel that they were no longer considered God’s people because of their spiritual adultery in idolatry.

But he prophesied of a day when God’s mercy would rest on them and bring them back.

And the New Testament tells us that that prophecy was fully fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

And not just for ethnic Israel, but for Jew and Gentile together in the Church!

For us.

Something wonderful has happened to us.

We used to be “not a people.” We used to be not have mercy.

But now we are God’s own people!

Because of Jesus Christ, we have received mercy.

Isn’t that wonderful?!

We are God’s own people.

Turn to the person next to you and say, "We are God's own people!"

What do you do with that?

Well, Peter tells us that, too. He says there’s a reason, a purpose to our being God’s own special possession. Look again at verse 9.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”


Declare the praises of Jesus Christ.

Praise Jesus for saving you. Calling you out of darkness and into HIS WONDERFUL LIGHT. Doesn’t that just sound beautiful??!

Declare the praises of Jesus Christ.

Not just here. 

But out there.

And don’t mean under the tent or in the parking lot.

I mean out there in the big bad world.

Peter says that we have been included in God’s own people so that we will declare the praises of Jesus Christ for bringing us out of darkness and into His wonderful light.

Are we going to do that?

I feel like I’ve agreed with everything I’ve heard and said today, but then at the very end, I’m not sure I’m really willing to do that.

I mean, I’m doing it up here.  But out there?

Who could you declare the praises of Jesus to this afternoon?

Who could you declare how great Jesus is for calling you out of darkness and into His wonderful light tomorrow or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday or Friday?

Have you been shown mercy?

Are you a living stone?

Have you gone from darkness to light?

Tell somebody. 

Declare it to somebody, in fact.

Get on social media this afternoon and declare how great Jesus is for saving you.
Get on the phone.
Tell somebody over the neighboring fence.
Tell somebody at the water cooler.
Tell somebody at their locker.
Tell somebody on the street.

Something wonderful has happened to us. 

And it’s all because of Jesus. 

Offer spiritual sacrifices through Jesus and declare the praises of Jesus.


Previous Messages in This Series

01. "Elect Exiles" 1 Peter 1:1-2
02. "A Living Hope" 1 Peter 1:3-7
03. "Angels Long To Look Into These Things" 1 Peter 1:8-12
04. "Be Holy In All You Do" 1 Peter 1:13-16
05. "Live Your Lives As Strangers Here In Reverent Fear" 1 Peter 1:17-21