Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller


Blockheads or Living Stones?

1Peter 2:1-10

Introduction\r
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My garage was a mess ? I may not have had boxes piled to the ceiling but it was a mess. And it was disorganized. My parents volunteered to come and build new shelves in the garage and re-organize the contents. \r
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I thought this was great ? then my dad said ?Oh, be sure to have everything off the walls when I come.? What ensued was a chore I don?t ever want to repeat. We went through so much junk that we had to haul away loads and loads of stuff I never knew I had.\r
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I never thought I?d get through it all ? but when I was done it was so great ? looking around my garage I could actually find things again ? and there was even room to park the cars.\r
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Sometimes its great to clean house literally ? but its also nice to clean our spiritual houses ? find out what?s really lurking on all those dark shelves, smash the spiders, sweep out the cobwebs, throw away the junk and reorganize our lives.\r
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That?s where we are in 1 Peter. Over the last three weeks we have talked about our place in Christ ? that secure place predestined by the Father ? a place where we are purified.\r
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We talked about how that purification process takes place ? through trials that burn away the old and let our chosen obedience shine through like precious gold that doesn?t fade.\r
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Then last week we prepared our hearts for action ? putting into practice what?s taken place inside us by avoiding the soiling of the world, setting our hope fully on God?s grace ? becoming holy, then letting the natural result of that holiness be a fervent, stretching love for our brothers and sisters.\r
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Vs 1\r
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Now we come to chapter 2. I love how it starts in The Message: ?So Clean House! ? make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.?\r
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It?s like this: even as fervent love is the natural outgrowth of our purification ? so too the natural outgrowth of our love should be to express that love in a pure way.\r
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How can you love and hold malice or ill will toward your brother in your heart at the same time?\r
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Peter identifies five character traits that he wants swept away in the cleanout of your spiritual garage. All involve the way we treat other people ? either trying to get something that?s not ours or hurting someone else on purpose. \r
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Malice: vicious character\r
Deceit: to decoy, a trick\r
Hypocrisy: play-acting (as in the dialogue in a play)\r
Envy: to pine or waste away, jealousy\r
Slander: backbiting, to talk against\r
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Now, if I were to ask for a show of hands, I?m sure none of you would admit to any of these characteristics ? yet they exist to a certain degree in all of us.\r
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Has someone wronged you? Done something to that hurt you? And then what kind of thoughts entered your mind about them? Perhaps you subconsciously prayed for lightning to come down from heaven and strike them down. Maybe you were glad when some other misfortune overcame them. And then we complain about them to others, again subconsciously, running them down so we feel better about ourselves.\r
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That?s malice and slander.\r
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Have you ever played politics with someone ? telling them one thing when something else is the truth in order to get something you want that you don?t think they?ll give you if you are honest? \r
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That?s deceit or hypocrisy.\r
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Do you ever take on a persona in order to become someone you are not in order to impress? Or really really want something that your next door neighbor bought ? a boat or a job or a great vacation? You whine and complain about your lot in life compared to that other person.\r
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That?s Envy.\r
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These character traits interfere with pure fervent love, they subjugate it, make it less effective. \r
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How can you know if you are acting in this way? Motive. Pure love wants the good of others.\r
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Let me share a couple of Scriptures that highlight this:\r
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1 Corinthians 13:4-5 \r
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.\r
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This is not just sugar coated sayings that we hear at weddings ? it is the foundation of a purified, redeemed character. Love is characterized a lot by what it is not, as much as what it is.\r
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Here?s another one:\r
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Phil 2:3-4\r
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.\r
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It?s a very different attitude than the world shouts in our ears ? ?every man for himself? ?I gotta look out for me? etc. But it is the exact kind of love that Jesus has ? and expressed while He was here on earth ? love that means we suffer so that others can find God.\r
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Imagine the effect on someone?s life if you return love for hate, kindness for anger, good for evil. \r
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I would add one caveat. I believe the focus of our behavior in this way should take place so that the other person can benefit in their walk either toward or with God. We are not to be doormats ? doing whatever anyone tells us because that?s what Peter said to do.\r
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For our employers, for example, Peter will lay out some very specific attitudes for us to embrace ? but always selling out your self, and your family for the good of the company is not what Peter?s talking about. But when you can effect an individual?s life for the good ? do that even if it means your hurt.\r
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Vs 2-3\r
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You see, once we?ve tasted how good God?s character is ? as it says in verses 2 and 3 ? then what we crave is more of Him, not more of the world?s selfishness.\r
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A Newborn Craving\r
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He uses the picture of a newborn baby. The urge to drink from a mother?s breast, called the rooting instinct, is one of the first behaviors an infant exhibits after coming out of the womb (after crying, of course). Later, other instinctual behaviors make themselves known, but they want that milk ? milk perfectly formulated for the growth of a baby.\r
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We need to crave spiritual milk in the same way ? in a way spiritual milk represents the pure doctrines and ideas of the gospel. The Bible has not been altered by worldly philosophies ? and so we can drink deeply and fully of what we find there ? learning about Jesus, and what kind of character He wants us to have.\r
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The point is for us to grow up in our salvation. God doesn?t give us spiritual milk to have grow up like the world.\r
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Vs 4-8\r
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In the next 5 verses Peter draws a different analogy about what is happening to us who have been pre-destined by the Father to become like him in purity. \r
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Not new babes but new buildings is the picture.\r
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Tom the Builder\r
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I must admit I am not a builder. A few years ago my wife and I felt like we needed more room in our house. We researched buying a bigger home but it didn?t pencil out, so we looked into adding on.\r
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Trying to be frugal we hired a builder to take off the roof of our garage, frame up a second story, then put the roof back on. I then decided, being the Tim ?The Tool Man? Taylor kind-of guy that I am, that I would do all the electrical, plumbing, insulation and finish work.\r
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I will never make that mistake again. I had seven, count ?em seven electrical inspections ? I put staples through my fingers, I got my face doused again and again with powerful streams of water while crawling amongst the black widow spiders under my house ? in short I was the object of this saying: He builds for himself has a fool for a contractor.\r
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God The Master Builder\r
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Well, God is a master builder ? and He is constructing a building that won?t fall down, and he?s building it with us. That?s right, you are God?s two-by-fours, the Lord?s sixteen penny nails, Jesus? hardyplank siding.\r
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Peter uses the analogy of stones because that is what they build with over there. But not dead stones, Peter says we are living stones that God is placing one by one into a very special building ? a building of worship.\r
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It?s an interesting juxtaposition ? a stone by definition is dead ? inorganic. But we are living. The difference between a non-living and a living stone is that we provide structure for the building, but also use the building. We are like the family and the house.\r
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In fact, one commentator went back to root words in the Hebrew and discovered that the words: house, he built, son, and daughter all come from the same root word.\r
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We are the family of God ? we are the church ? we make up the structure and also fill the place with life, with family.\r
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Stones of Praise\r
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Our purpose as living stones becomes evident down in verse 9. All this is being done so that we can ?declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.?\r
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Why should I care? You say.\r
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You should care because many people don?t feel like living stones ? they are devoid of life, depressed, lonely, hurt, just taking up space. But in Jesus you are something special ? and each of you has a distinct and important purpose in holding up and making up the structure of the church.\r
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If one of you is missing then the wind and rain comes through or the door falls over. With Jesus as the capstone or cornerstone holding us all together.\r
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And the purpose of all of us together is to praise ? that is why worship is so fundamental to this body. It is why it?s one of our tri-fold vision of going deep into God?s Word, deep into fellowship, and deep into worship.\r
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Chosen, Royal, Holy\r
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And we have much to praise about ? look at verse 9 again ? look what God calls us ? a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation ? belonging to God.\r
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Chosen ? it means ?favorite?\r
Royal ? means ?kingly?\r
Holy ? ?pure?\r
Belonging ? ?an acquisition?\r
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We are God?s favorites ? a possession or acquisition He wanted to make ? not only that but we?re like kings ? royalty in God?s house ? pure, holy.\r
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That ought to make you feel pretty good ? especially if you?ve experienced lots of trials and problems in your life ? if you feel less than perfect, less than valuable ? more like something to be thrown on the burn pile than used in a house of God.\r
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Be encouraged ? you make up a vital part of the praise building.\r
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Vs 10\r
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If you thought you didn?t belong ? now you do belong. We?ve transferred our citizenship from earth to heaven.\r
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Vs 7-8\r
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I want to back up for a moment to verses 7 and 8. Even as the establishment of the day rejected Jesus ? throwing Him like an unfit stone into the reject pile ? people who come across Him now don?t see the life ? they see a dead rock ? not only that, a rock that?s standing in their way ? they trip over Jesus and it causes them to stumble.\r
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That?s because anyone who disobeys the word of Christ ? the message of the good news ? can?t just move around it, can?t just avoid it. Either you embrace the stone or you trip over it. Either you accept the message of Jesus ? that you have sinned and need a savior ? or you reject it.\r
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This idea of Jesus as a stone goes way way back ? to Exodus 17 and the Israelites journey to the Promised Land. They got water from a rock at Horeb ? life giving water from a dead object. \r
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So too, the idea of Jesus as a stone to stumble over for the unbeliever was not new to Peter, nor the audience to whom he wrote. Jesus Himself used the same quote from Isaiah the prophet that we find here in verses 5 ? 8.\r
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Luke 20:17-18\r
17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, ?Then what is the meaning of that which is written: \r
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??The stone the builders rejected \r
has become the capstone?? \r
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18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.? \r
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So the next time someone calls you a blockhead, just thank them and remember that we are all living blockheads.\r
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Conclusion\r
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In conclusion I want to make 3 statements.\r
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1- To build a solid structure you have to have solid materials ? God has made you ready to be part of His church, whether you feel like it or not ? so live like it.\r
2- Without a good foundation, even the best looking house will eventually fall down ? make sure your foundation is the rock of Christ.\r
3- To hold together well, the blocks of a building must be cemented together ? we are connected to each other, so we should love each other like we love ourselves ? even if that other block is much less worthy than you are. So don?t be a blockhead ? but love purely.