SBTS chapel live blog: David Prince – 1 Peter 2:4-10

Communications Staff — October 29, 2009

Preacher: David Prince, pastor of preaching and vision of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky.

Text/title: 1 Peter 2:4-10 – “Crying Stones or Whining Rocks? The Living Stone and the living stones.”

Prince began by sharing the story of a middle school athlete. This athlete worked hard in practice, very hard, but never got to play in games. This student’s mother sent a message to David Prince on Facebook: “Is it worth it for him play? He never gets to play: Is it worth it?”

Prince’s answer: Team sports exist because everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

What is the goal? To win the game within the confines of the rules. And everyone has a unique role on the team trying to win the game within the confines of the rules. Thus: it is okay to sit the bench; so long as you are doing everything you can to maximize your ability.

Most of us are role players. Most of us are not in the spotlight. It is okay to be a role player if you are part of something bigger than yourself.

Setting of 1 Peter: Adopt a telescope view of suffering

Peter is writing to those undergoing suffering and persecution. It is not physical persecution yet, but they can feel it coming. They are known as traitors, as oddballs and they can sense that this thing is headed toward physical persecution. They are discouraged, confused, mocked, scorned and passed over. Many of them have lost their jobs. Many of them have families who have turned their backs on them. They are living lives of suffering and persecution scattered throughout Asia Minor.

Peter writes to these people, to these elect exiles, in the midst of this situation. Peter wants his audience to take a telescope and look at their lives and locate it in the midst of God’s plan of redemption in the world.

In chapter 1, Peter speaks of sovereign grace. Peter speaks of an unfading inheritance. Peter reminds his audience that their suffering fits into the purposes of God. The prophets of God longed to experience the day you are experiencing, Peter said. Peter reminds them that their lives are attached to the Word of the Gospel.

Then Peter comes to chapter 2, and he reminds his audience that all of these blessings take place in the context of the believing community, of the church. You are part of something bigger than yourself.

Living stones (2:4-5)

Peter is picking up stone language (Is. 28:16, other texts) and applying it to Jesus. Peter does something interesting, calling Jesus a living stone. A stone in and of itself is cold, hard and of little value. The reference to a living stone, should remind us of 1 Peter 1:3, which speaks of a living hope. We have a living hope because Jesus has risen from the dead. Jesus is a living stone because He is resurrected from the dead.

As the Living Stone, Jesus was rejected. He was mocked, spat upon, ridiculed, rejected by men and killed. But He rose from the dead, bodily, because He was chosen by God, the Precious One, the Treasured One. He was the Living Stone that was promised of old.

This picture is painted for this purpose in v. 5: you yourselves, like living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.

Believers will undergo the same type of suffering that Jesus experienced. We are chosen and precious in Christ. We are not rejected by God, but precious to God. There is corporate imagery: we are living stones, not individual stones. You have to dismiss your idea of rugged individuality.

Notice also that Peter uses different imagery, different pictures (spiritual house, holy priesthood, living stones). Why does he do this? Because Christ fulfills all these realities and we are being built up into Christlikeness. Temple, priesthood, sacrificial system. God is doing all kinds of things into the world in Christ and you are connected to Him. You are connected to the sweep of redemptive history. Don’t you dare think that God has forsaken you. He has connected you to redemptive history from beginning to end.

As I look out, I see a group of people who are going to be scattered throughout the whole world. And I wonder where you are going to get your sense of identity? You must find your identity in the unfolding plan and purposes of God or you will be swept away and destroyed. We must find our identity in the plan, privileges and purposes of God to be sustained.

You may not be applauded by men, but as long as you are obeying the Lord Jesus Christ, you can be a role player wherever He places you.

The Cornerstone (2:6-8)

Peter reminds his audience that they only way they will be safe is if they are protected by the Cornerstone, if they stand on the Cornerstone.

Peter will not relent in reminding his audience of the sovereignty of God. There is one verse in the Bible that tries to comfort people in light of the weakness of God. God is in control. He is unfolding His redemptive plan in history in the world. Everything ultimately is about Jesus Christ. Everything is in line or out of line in relation to Jesus Christ. Everything in the world and everything in the church.

Ministry is all about our lives and ministries lining up with the Cornerstone. We are not just those out doing good deeds, we are those who are out aligning our lives with the Cornerstone. And when we do that, there is an element of invincibility to our ministry.

Crying stones (2:10-11)

We are stones who cry out, proclaiming the greatness and mercies of God. We are stones who are God’s own people, chosen by God, who proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

These are people who are suffering. They are outcasts. How does Peter counsel them? He tells them to look at their privileges and cry out in praise to God. He calls them, exhorts them, to consider what they are a part of.

The danger is that when we are out there serving and we do not get the church we want, or do not get our way on a particular issue in the church, we say, “This just isn’t worth it anymore.” When we do that, we turn our lives and ministries into something that is no bigger than us. We don’t take into account the vast ministry of God in the cosmos through Christ. And when we do that we are less mature than the middle school football player who wants to stay on the team even though he doesn’t get to play.

Whining, grumbling and complaining is not a bad habit, it is evil and satanic. It is anti-gospel. It is a repudiation of the privileges of the Gospel. When you grumble and complain, you are saying, “The Gospel isn’t a privilege when I don’t get my way.” We are living stones, crying stones, not whining rocks.

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