By Pat Russell
Considering the sermon by Bruce Spear on May 3, 2020
Going Deeper is based upon the sermon from the day before. It is a spiritual tool for you to do more study or meditation using the sermon and scripture from our service. It helps to have seen the sermon because, in Going Deeper, I refer to what Pastor Bruce has given us as a jumping-off point for extra contemplation. So with that explanation, let's begin.
Scripture for the day: 1 Peter 2:4-10
As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans 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. 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."
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
"The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,"
"A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall."
They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, 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.
Pastor Bruce recalled that we have a "living hope" from the previous 1 Peter passage. This Sunday we have explored "living Stone" and "living stones." Our living identity, as was true of the new Jewish identity, is not based on the land (where we live) or the Torah (doing everything correctly) or Temple (place of meeting God) but in Jesus, the "living Stone."
Take a few moments to imagine what it must have been like for Peter, who wrote this book, to take Jesus' identity into his own being, versus his identity being that he lived in the Promised Land, how he obeyed the Torah, or meeting God only in the Temple. It must have been quite a paradigm shift for him. It happened over time; it happened as he spent time with Jesus; it happened through his failure. He came to him, the Living Stone. How might you be like Peter?
"The Church has left the building." Pastor Bruce pointed out that we are a "spiritual house." It is a house that is created and sustained by the Holy Spirit. This is no more evident than it is today as we cannot meet in our church. He used the words "in," "from," and "by" the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Use your knowledge of these three prepositions to meditate upon how you "are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood."
Example: "I am IN the Holy Spirit. I dwell within his presence like I dwell in my home. Holy Spirit is IN me. He is not just something I believe in." You take it from here with your own thoughts on these three words. It might be a good exercise to write down your thoughts.
Lastly, we are part of a "living structure" with Jesus Christ as our "chosen and precious cornerstone." Take a piece of paper and draw a large cornerstone with Jesus' name on it. Then, add other stones to your drawing as you construct a "living structure." Make each stone big enough so you can write the names of people in our church on those stones, one person – one stone. As you write their names, pray for each one. Don't forget your name! Your prayer might contain the two challenges that Paul gives us as living stones: to declare praises for Jesus and to be "priests" who live for Jesus.
Blessing THIS day,
If you would like to connect with me about "Going Deeper" or about living in these days, feel free to email me at email@example.com.