Call to Worship:
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28-29)
Heavenly Father, though we ourselves live in uncertain times, though we ourselves live in a world that shakes and teeters, though we live in volatile, unstable days, we thank you and praise you that through faith in Jesus Christ we have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We thank you that you have firmly planted us on the solid ground, the rock of Jesus Christ. Father we ask that your grace and peace would continue to permeate this unsettled world and that it would continue to expand your kingdom of light. Yet, today, as we draw near to you in worship, we pray that you would encourage our hearts and you would accept our praise through Jesus, for you alone are worthy. Amen.
“Build Your Kingdom Here” – Rend Collective
“O Praise the Name” – Hillsong Worship
Call to Confession:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2)
Heavenly Father, we thank you that we do not live this Christian life alone, we do not run the race set before us alone, but you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses – those men and women of the faith who went before us, and those who continue this day alongside us. Father, may we remember that in our times of need this day and in these challenging cultural moments. Father, we confess and ask your forgiveness for the times where we stumble and falter and fail to run as we have been commissioned to do. We confess and ask your forgiveness for the times where we do not cast aside the weight of sin and diligently run after you, but allow ourselves to be bogged down and detoured instead. Father, would you remind us of Jesus, we pray, who ran and followed perfectly, who endured infinitely more difficulty and trial than we ever will, and who authored, and perfected our faith. Help us to continue to fix our eyes on him, more and more each day, in Jesus name, amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
‘This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,’
then he adds,
‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:11-18)
“King of Kings”
Heavenly Father, thank you for your word which continues to speak with power today. Father, thank you that you have not left us alone but have surrounded us with that great cloud of witnesses, and also have given us the gift of your word which remains forever. As we consider it now, we ask for your blessing. We pray this in Jesus name, amen.
1 Peter 2:6-10
6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Last week we noticed the imagery Peter uses in chapter 2 of stones to describe believers. He said that we are “living stones” who through faith are being built into a spiritual house or temple, laid upon the foundation or cornerstone, which is Jesus Christ. This talk of “stones” by Peter, whose own name means “rock” thanks to Jesus’ commissioning of him, reminds us that the Christian faith begins with Jesus – as he is the Alpha, the starting point, the originator, the cornerstone of our faith, and he is the Omega, the end goal of what we are to be about, who we are to put on display to the world as his spiritual house, his living temple. This again, gives us great dignity, worth, and purpose. Through faith, we are not faceless nobodies, we are not just bodies in the pew, but as we mentioned last week and continue to see this morning – we have been built into a new kind of temple (the church universal) where Jesus and his ways should be put on grand display and we have been commissioned as a new kind of priesthood (2:5) that offers to God a sacrifice of praise, because the sacrifice for sin has been made fully and finally by Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest who passed through the Heavens (Heb. 4:14).
In verses 6-8 of todays passage, Peter elaborates a bit more on the Living Stone that is Jesus Christ who was “rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious” (2:4) by identifying him with the Cornerstone language in places like Isaiah and the Psalms from which he quotes. This is important for several reasons. First, notice that both Jesus earlier in the chapter (2:4) is called “the” living stone and we are also “living stones.” This is a reminder that all we are is derivative from God. When we are saved, when we are regenerated, we are connected to Christ in whom we “live, move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). We are members of the body, of which he is the head (1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 4:15). Christ is our all in all. As living stones connected to and derivative of “the” Living Stone, we are to image him here on earth, be his ambassadors. As the songs says, “I am his, he is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.”
Secondly, in these verses, Peter continues the apostolic tradition in the New Testament of deliberately detailing that the arrival of Jesus and the work of God for all mankind in the New Covenant was not a detour or fork in the road of God’s plan, but was foreshadowed and sprang from a foundation that had been laid in the Old Testament and was always intended to be built upon (think again of the living stone image), finally and fully, in the arrival of Jesus and the institution of the Church. This is where we think again, even, of the words of Jesus to Peter whereby Jesus promises he will build his church upon the “rock” of Peter’s faith and all who follow after him (Matt. 16:18). How comforting, assuring, empowering, and encouraging it is to know that when we are a part of the church of Christ, we are members of so much more than the local congregation we attend on Sundays. We are a part of the New Covenant edifice that God has built on the cornerstone first laid in Zion, a cornerstone that one either unites their lives to in faith, or stumbles over in unbelief (1 Cor. 1:23), but an edifice that grew out of Zion to include men and women from every tongue, tribe, and nation, and threads its way through every period in history. This edifice may suffer harm, this edifice may at times fall into disrepair, or even be thought to shuttering its doors, but it will always persevere and stand the test of time, for it is built on a sure foundation, that of Christ, and it is an unshakeable kingdom (Heb. 12:28) whose builder and architect are God (Heb. 11:10).
Lastly, in this passage Peter continues the trend he started from the beginning of the letter of employing beautiful, meaningful imagery as he applies it to our identity in Christ. Not only are we living stones, but he tells us we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” This is as incredible today as it was when Peter wrote it. Recall, he is writing to a mixed congregation of Jewish converts, Gentile converts, and everything in between. So it continues today, that the church of Christ is a melting pot, a beautiful mosaic, and it is this very living, breathing, organism that Peter says is a chosen race, chosen solely by God’s grace. We are a royal priesthood, as was noted in last week’s passage and again today, commissioned for the work of offering to God a sacrifice of praise through Jesus. We are a holy nation, made up of every skin color, ethnicity, and demographic, all bearing the image of God, and so it is that the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ (as I said two weeks ago) remains the only hope for the world and the only true source of reconciliation and equality that we seek. We are a people for God’s own possession, meaning we belong to him and he to us, we are part of the divine family which is an amazing and humbling reality, but that identity is granted to us that we might then, “proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.” This remains our function and calling today. God’s grace has transformed us. God’s grace has transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of marvelous light. Now, we are called to be agents of transformation to the world, proclaiming that grace to others. We are called to be agents of light in dark world, extending the kingdom of Christ, far as the curse of sin is found. May God grant us the power to do just that, through his Holy Spirit, amen.
(This is a familiar song, but Anna sent this different video of it being played in the quarantine of homes, which Hillsong called the “Church Online Version” and I agreed with her that it is special and meaningful. It shows that worship continues, no matter the location or context! Thanks be to our God.)
Please remember to support your local church during this time.
You can give online by clicking here or
through sending tithes and offerings by check, through mail to the church address:
Lake Osborne Presbyterian Church
2101 Sixth Avenue South
Lake Worth, FL 33461