Are You Bitter and Angry?

Are You Bitter and Angry?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

You know there are a whole lot of people out there that are bitter and angry. Can a person like this truly be a Christian? I submit that Peter tells us that if a person is this way then they may not be a Christian! A bold statement I know, but stick with me on these thoughts.

 (1:22) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, (23) having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, (24) because

          “All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
(25)But the word of the LORD endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

(2:1)Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, (2) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
-1 Peter 1:22–2:3 (NKJV)

In verse twenty-two through twenty-five Peter doesn’t just stop at what we call the Gospel message, but goes on to write about how we should respond in the Christian life. Too often we forget the Gospel is about an individual, Jesus, what He did and what our response should be in order to walk the Christian life. Peter starts out by saying that Christians should be obedient to the message that saved them (That message being the good news of the Gospel. i.e. the giving your heart and life over to Jesus by inviting Him into your heart). Now they are to carry that obedience over into life. They are supposed to allow God to help them clean their lives, and walk according to the truth. Far too often this doesn’t happen.

In this passage Peter admonishes us to purify our hearts. How does one go about doing this? Is it something we must work toward? No. You were not saved by works but out of an outpouring of God’s Spirit. We are to reflect the image of God in our actions. If we try to clean our lives up, we fail. We cannot clean our lives up any more than we can fly without the aid of technology. It is about as useless as flapping our wings and hoping that we will someday fly. So how do we reflect God’s image? We do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our actions and motives. This sounds easy, but isn’t. It requires the daily reading of God’s Word, attempting to apply it life and praying until something happens (P.U.S.H). I am not talking about “warm fuzzies” that run up and down your spine. I am talking about the evidence that your life is changing because you are displaying love to others, out of a pure heart. This is the only way we can reflect Jesus accurately in our lives.

Peter reminds us in verse twenty-five that this is the message that has been preached and we should yield to the Holy Spirit to have our lives changed. He does this by reminding us of how quickly we fade away. We are born, live, and die; just like the grass of the field.

Now in Chapter two verse one, Peter starts this with the word we translate “therefore” meaning that what he is about to say references all that came before the following statement. Peter is about to say something that is important. Peter says that we should lay some things aside. This phrase “lay aside” carries the idea of taking off clothing. Peter is saying we should lay aside deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. He says that if we are a Christian, like a newborn baby, we should desire the good milk of God’s Word and grow from it in our spirituality and conduct. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who won’t. They want to hold on to those things because they revel in them. The problem is, are these kinds of people truly Christians? Peter questions them. He says if you have tasted the grace of God, should you be acting like this? In other words, if you are acting like this then are you truly a Christian? This is a question that each one of us must answer as we move along in life.

So what must we do today? First we need to do a true spiritual inventory. We must sit and examine our lives to make sure we are growing and reflecting the image of God. How do we do this? We need to first get away from all distractions and ask God to show us two things (1) Are we truly a Christian because of the evidences in our lives? If not we need to surrender to God (2) Are we truly walking in love, getting rid of all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. If these things are present then you seriously need to ask yourself if you are a Christian. A bitter person has these things on their lips and in their mouth. If any one of these rules your life to the point that you are bitter, you need to seriously ask yourself if you are a Christian. How about you today? Will you surrender to God and get these things out? Or will you just do the same things you have always done, getting the same results. The choice is up to you.

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Most Christians are Illogical & Irrational

Most Christians are Illogical & Irrational
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Yup, that is another provocative title. Why would I make such a statement? What do I mean by this? Well first I make this statement because people in our western society have forgotten (or never knew) how to think logically. Do you realize basic logic is taught very briefly in today’s schools? Some schools don’t even teach it anymore. Because of this Christians have no idea how to think about what they believe in a systematized way. People can now accept two competing arguments as true. For example I know of several “Christians” who will tell you the Word of God is inerrant (no errors) but will say that abortion and homosexuality is alright. This is a travesty! How did we get here? The answer is something called Post-Modernism. Most people don’t know what this is and most people aren’t looking for some talking head to explain it to them. So today, albeit briefly, we will explore what it is, why it is bad, and what our response should look like. As the terminator said, “Come with me if you want to live.” Let us embark on a spiritual journey together.

 

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth”
-2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

 

A lot of people will say that they don’t need to know this stuff. Those people are dead wrong. Our scripture says to study to present ourselves to God as one approved by God in order to combat error. So let us do that today.

 

What is Post-Modernism?

We are not looking for just another definition here; we are looking for a working understanding of what post-modernism is about. In order for there to be a “post” there must be something that came before it, which is “Modernism.” Modernism was a prevalent school of thought in the late 19th to early 20th century (some people may disagree with me on this time-frame but I think it is the best time frame seeing as how it was in full swing). Modernism was a time when people looked at the world through the telescope of the scientific method. If it could not be categorized and explained then it did not exist.

Post-modernism is a way of looking at the world without the scientific method and saying that there must be more to this life than what we are able put into the arch of science. So what is wrong with that? Well post-moderns have rejected Christianity as viable. They look to other religions and ways of thinking.

 

What is wrong with Post-Modernism?

Post-modernism has come to the point that the western culture no longer cares about two competing ideas that cannot exist together. No, they have decided that both are right. Why? Because they have adopted the following statement, “All truth is relative.” In other words if it works for you, go for it! The problem with that statement is that it is an absolute truth statement. All truth is relative is an absolute stamen? Yes! It says “all.” Therefore that statement falls apart because it is giving an absolute statement saying that truth is relative. Ridiculous! Folks, there is an absolute right and an absolute wrong.

Today when you talk to people they will agree with you that Jesus is the only way of salvation and then they will agree with the Buddhist who says that Jesus is not the way. So which is right? To the post-modern both are right. Remember they can accept two completely differing world-views under the statement that truth is relative. This is dangerous! This is a warped way of thinking and should be addressed in our churches. The churches need to stand up and do something.

 

What should our Response be?

So what should the churches do? Listen, it is the responsibility of the church to pick up the slack. Teach people how to think for themselves applying logic and reason to the Scripture. (Unfortunately some churches won’t do that, they want to keep the masses oppressed. But that is a topic we aren’t going to explore here.)Without that, what are we doing? We are just spinning our wheels. What can you do personally? You should study in order to understand what you believe and why you believe it. Have a logical and well thought out response when people ask you why you believe. Our faith is not a blind faith. It is built on evidence.  Learn about that evidence. This is called the study of Apologetics. It isn’t hard to read articles and learn about your faith, just start doing it. One great resource is CARM.org.  There are many other resources out there as well. Another great Apologist is Ravi Zacharias, his site RZIM.org. If you want more, e-mail me. The point is that you don’t sit around not doing anything. DO SOMETHING! LEARN!

So what are you going to do today? Will you just sit there and do nothing, or will you do what God has called us to do? Have an answer when people ask you why you believe something, now that you know a little bit of what you are up against. The Choice is yours.

Too Many Christians are Out-of-Order

Too Many Christians are Out-of-Order
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Today we go around being so busy that we tend to compartmentalize everything. We allot so much time to watch TV, so much time to work, so much time for dinner and so much time for God. Did you ever think that maybe God doesn’t want to be put into some kind of allotment of time? Perhaps God wants more than that from you!

11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
-Deuteronomy 8:11-14 (NKJV)

Today Christians have become guilty of this very thing. We are told to beware in verse eleven to not forget God. It means by not living out what we say we believe. How does this happen? We find that in verses twelve and thirteen we find that this happens because people begin to get blessings and are doing well and they feel as though they don’t need Him. So when that happens, in verse fourteen, people become prideful and forget God, who gave them all that they have.

To put this into perspective, in America we have wonderful churches! They are beautiful and clean with power, water, electricity, and (in most cases) computers with internet access. Now go overseas. Most of the churches in Africa, for example, don’t have all these amenities. They are lucky to have buildings with some kind of water. People walk for miles to come to church. If people in America today had to walk for miles, they just wouldn’t go! What does that say about you and I? Perhaps we need to thank God for what we have and give Him a priority in our lives.

Israel became guilty of this time and again. You know what happened? God allowed hardships to come upon them so that they would recognize Him. Do you think that this could not happen in our country today? In our state? In our personal lives? Yes, while God won’t purposely send evil to you, He may just remove His hand of protection to get your attention. If you get rid of God’s hand you can find yourself in a world of hurt!

Now let us turn our attention to something Jesus said.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
– Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

We tend to not only forget God when we are doing well, but we forget that everything we have came from Him and it is temporal, meaning He can allow it to be taken away it is not permanent. We should be like the Apostle Paul. He stated that he had learned in all things to be content. We need to remember that the most important thing in our lives today is not what we have. It is not even what we have in our churches! It is what we have in our Bibles. God’s Word is the only thing that brings true and truly satisfying life to our lives. We must remember to keep Him first, and in so doing we will stop things from being out of order in our lives. What is the proper order for life? (1) Our Personal relationship with God is first. (2) Our relationship to our families is second. (3) Our relationship to our daily work is last. This includes “your ministry.” If you keep this in mind you will find God’s blessing in your life.

How about you today? Have you forgotten God? I can hear it now! People yelling at me, “NO!” Really? Remember that actions speak louder than words! What do your actions say? Perhaps you have forgotten where all good things come from? Perhaps because of your attitudes today your life is out of order. If this is the case then you need to repent! If this is you, ask God for forgiveness today. The choice is yours.

Don’t be MEAN!

Don’t be MEAN!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Christians are supposed to kind hearted and tender toward one another. When someone has done wrong to us we are not supposed to repay them in kind. No, we are supposed to be above that kind of behavior. The Apostle Peter in our passage reminds us of how we are to treat one another, not as the world treats people but as God would have you to treat each other. How? Seeking forgiveness when we are wrong and pursuing peace amongst ourselves (believers).

 

(8) Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[a] 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (10) For

“He who would love life

And see good days,

Let him refrain his tongue from evil,

And his lips from speaking deceit.

(11) Let him turn away from evil and do good;

Let him seek peace and pursue it.

(12) For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

And His ears are open to their prayers;

But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
-1 Peter 3:8-12 (NKJV)

 

In verse eight Peter is tying up everything he has said before (see previous) about submitting to authority. He is bringing his thoughts to a close on the subject of submission so he starts by saying ‘finally’ (depending on your translation, some say ‘in conclusion’ or ‘to sum up’).

He is addressing the whole Christian community. He gives them some commands on how they should behave toward one another. He tells them to be of one mind. This does not mean that they will not disagree on certain things that are not central to the Christian faith (i.e. peripheral issues). That will happen, but how should we treat one another? He says to have compassion and love toward one another and be tenderhearted toward each other. Too often when people disagree they tend to be evil toward one another, God tells us to not behave that way and to act the opposite way.

In verse nine Peter continues this sentiment with reminding them that while they are suffering persecution they should not repay evil with evil, but endure it as Christ endured suffering on our behalf. We are told that Christians are called to behave differently than the world behaves. Even in the midst of trials Christians must continue to behave as Jesus did, in love. We know that at the end of this present time that there is inheritance that awaits us in Christ, in heaven.

Verses ten through twelve is actually a quote from Psalm thirty-four. In this quotation there are three specific behaviors we are told to practice. (1) We must keep ourselves from speaking any kind of evil, which includes lying and gossiping. (2) We must run away from practicing and being a part of anything evil. (3) We must be peacemakers, in Christ. This does not mean peace at any cost, we cannot compromise our Christian faith and witness; but it means to keep ourselves from pointless and fruitless actions and activities that will only enrage and inflame passions that need not be stirred.  Also in these verses there are three reasons as to why a believer should keep the previous three commands. (1) The Lord takes a notice of our actions and is pleased when we honor Him. (2) The Lord hears the Christian and is intimately interested in us. (3) The Lord is against those who are wicked and is our protector.  Just remember that the last three things are conditional on the first three things. Keep in mind that chapter two verse twenty says that is not commendable to receive punishment for some evil that we have committed (been a part of), but only if we are punished unjustly. Therefore, the promises of the last three only apply to those who are practicing the first three.

How are you today? Have you repaid someone who has been evil to you, with evil? Have you not been living out of a pure heart and tenderness toward those whom you call brothers and sisters? Then you should repent and attempt to make things right. I know I can hear it now, “But Brother Joe you don’t know what they did to me!” Listen I have been around church people for over twenty five years and have been in the ministry, in some kind of way, for ten years. I know how “Christians” can be. I know the church is the only army that shoots its’ wounded (pardon the old analogy that has been in churches for years).  You know what I also know? That God has called us to act and react better. He has called us to make amends where we can and forgive in our hearts. Won’t you do that today? Won’t you do the three things that Peter says and receive the three blessings that God gives? Remember that bitterness can grow and it will turn into a cancer that will harm your soul! The Choice is yours today. Let God work in you anew.

Some People Are Just Too Nosey

Some People Are Just Too Nosey
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

One definition for nosey is” offensively curious or inquisitive.” One individual can do acts that a Christian doesn’t approve of (I am not talking about overt sinful acts, i am talking about those things that are not). However, the question should be asked. Is this individual doing anything overtly sinful, unethical, or immoral? If the answer is NO, then perhaps the problem isn’t with their actions but your perception of their actions.

Today we will be looking at Romans Chapter fourteen in three parts. If we want the church to thrive then we need to mind our own business. We must not judge things that have no eternal value, we should not abuse our Christian freedom, and everything we do must be done in faith.

 

We must not judge things that have no eternal value

Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
-Romans 14:1-9 (NKJV)

Christians are not to act from emotion, but from settled inward convictions that are the result of diligent prayer and study of the Word of God. There would be no serious problems if every Christian acted from conviction. Someone has said that opinions are what we hold, while convictions are what hold us. The stronger Christian is not to despise the weaker one in their immaturity; neither is the weaker Christian to judge the more mature brothers and sisters for their freedom in Christ. In Christ both are Christians, so we should remember that in our dealings with each other. Our lives are to be directed by Jesus, not by people’s ideas or judgments. Mature Christians know why they have acted the way they have acted and have no need for someone to approve or disapprove their actions. All they care about is How God looks at their actions. Why? Because they have put thought, prayer, and conviction behind the action they have performed (for the most part anyway, we do sometimes make snap decisions).

 

“I’m living my own life!” is a statement no Christian ought to make, because we belong to Jesus Christ, whether we live or die. He is the Lord, and we must live to please Him. So often the Christian who has sin in their life, a little white sin or whatever, can’t say they are doing anything “unto the Lord”; because they are truly practicing their so called Christianity from a place of selfishness and not as unto the Lord.

 

We should not abuse our Christian freedom

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:

          “As I live, says the LORD,

          Every knee shall bow to Me,

          And every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
-Romans 14:10-21 (NKJV

We are not judgment seekers, but fruit inspectors. Some people who judge how other people behave or the acts they do will look at that Christian and see good fruit. Why? Because maybe what they are doing isn’t sinful, maybe you are living under the conviction God gave you and they are living under the conviction that God gave them. We have no right to judge our brethren, for we will all have our works tested at the judgment seat of Christ—not the White Throne Judgment, but the testing of the Christian’s works after the church is called home. We do not have to give an account of our brother’s life, so we have no right to condemn him today. Certainly all of us want to live lives that will stand the testing of Christ, lives that will win rewards for His glory.

There is one thing we should judge: we should judge ourselves to see whether we are abusing our Christian freedom and making others stumble. Certainly nothing is unclean of itself, but some practices and habits are considered unclean by others. Therefore, if we deliberately do something that makes our brothers stumble, we’re not living according to love.

It is a serious thing to cause another person to stumble and fall into sin. In Mark 9:33–50, where “offend” means “cause to stumble.” The believer who holds on to his questionable practice and causes another Christian to fall in their walk with God. This person is blind to the price Jesus paid on the cross. Our good should not cause evil talk. The Christian life is not a matter of eating or drinking (or any other practice), but one of righteousness and peace and joy, all of which come from the Spirit. Our aim should be not to please ourselves, but to build up other Christians in love. 1 Corinthians 10:23 states that all things are lawful for the believer, but not everything builds us up or helps to build up others. How selfish for a Christian to tear down another believer’s spiritual life because of his own selfish living (or prideful arrogance). Their practices may be lawful, but they do not come under the law of love.

 

We must do everything by faith

Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
-Romans 14:22-23 (NKJV)

The Greek word for “faith” in v. 22 means almost the same as “conviction,” for our convictions are born of faith in God’s Word. These two verses lay down the principle that the Christian life is between the believer and the Lord, and that the believer must always be sure they are right with the Lord. If there are doubts about some of their practices, they can’t have joy and peace. Verse twenty three reads that the Christian is condemned. That is, the Christian who engages in practices with a doubtful mind is condemning himself and those practices by his very attitude. Whatever we do that is not of faith is sin, for the Christian lives by faith. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by Word of God.” Anything I do that I can’t back up by the Word of God is sin. If it isn’t in the Word I can’t possibly do it in faith, therefore it is sin, plain and simple.

Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future!

Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Far too often people don’t own up to their own actions about a given situation. Far too often they let people and happenings from their past dictate their future! Will you be one of those? Or will you move on with YOUR LIFE.

 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
– 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV)

You know Christians often complain about the circumstances they find themselves in and we have all been guilty of it at some point. The problem is that with this culture we forget that it is not the circumstances that brought us here but how we respond in them as to how we will be judged by God.

Too often Christians want to be liked so much (by their peers/other Christians) that they compromise and play the political games of their circle of influence. A lot of them end up being puppets for whoever the “alpha-dog” is in the group. They are too scared to stand up for what they know is right, honest, and true, even though the Bible tells them to focus on those things. Why are they scared? Because they are afraid they will lose what little influence they currently have within the group (Note: By group I mean any group or click. It could even be where you work, if they claim to be a Christian place of employment)! The sad part is that this is the mentality and actions of the unbeliever, the un-churched! This is transplanted in a place where love should reign supreme, Christianity.

Now there is a catch with this! Some people think they are standing for truth when they aren’t. They don’t follow scripture, because they don’t know scripture! A Christian should stand for what is explicitly written as right and wrong in the Word of God, not fringe/peripheral issues. A Christian should call a spade a spade from God’s Word. If there is no repentance and the politics get played, let the chips fall where they may. Remember to stand up means that a lot of times you are going to get bitten by the “alpha-dog.” When that happens you are supposed to trust in God and no one else.

Look at Elijah. He did wonderful acts for God and called down fire from heaven! But where did he end up? He found himself in a cave all by himself. Why? Because he was running for his life, and when God protected him did he thank God? No! He whined and complained about being in that cave and that he was the only one left in Israel who truly worships God! So God reminds him of all that He has brought Elijah through and tells him there are seven thousand people in Israel who have not abandoned God. Far too often Christians who have been wronged by God’s “people” end up blaming God, even though they stood up for what is right. You know what? God has not forgotten you Christian He is right there and if you listen He will tell you that you need to get busy serving Him no matter what situation you find yourself. Remember God is bigger than you circumstances.

God knows where you have been and where you are going. Just let Him work all things out for you. Also remember to take responsibility for your own actions in any given situation, because more than likely you have some blame in the situation as well. God cares more about how you act than about how you were acted against.

How about you today? Are you blaming someone else entirely for some kind of situation in your life? Then stop and REPENT! Are you looking up and whining about a situation to God? Then stop and REPENT! It is time to move on in God and get your hands to the plow and start working for Him again! Will you be dragged down and turned bitter against someone? Or will you REPENT of your actions before a loving God and let Him deal with the past, while you move on with what God has for you? The Choice is yours.

Is the Church Really Necessary?

Is the Church Really Necessary?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Not only is this a good question, but one that at this juncture must be asked! The church (universally speaking) has a ton of faults and failures. We must ask, is the church what God really wants? You may say the church has a lot of excesses. I will concede that point (see previous articles which talk about some of the problems with the church)! That being said, is it really necessary to God’s plans? Find out in today’s article.

4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

“Behold, I lay in Zion

A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,

And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

“The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief cornerstone,”

8 and

“A stone of stumbling

And a rock of offense.”

They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:4–10 (NKJV)

 

 

This section of scripture is all about being a living building. The mindset of the Jew was on the temple where they would worship God, but God was done with temple in Jerusalem. God was and is building something new. He is building a people who will be the temple. Not only are we (individually) His temple, but the group of people (the Church) is the place of His dwelling. The place where is presence and glory dwells. No longer is it in buildings built by men, but men have become the place where His glory will now dwell.

In verse four it states that Jesus, the chief cornerstone, has been rejected by man. Indeed He was rejected by man, primarily the Jews at this time and subsequently by many today.  The Jews continued to reject Jesus and hardened their hearts toward God. The continued rejection of Jesus today causes spiritual blindness amongst those that are rejecting Him. The rejection today is not just among Jews, but among many people from many nationalities.

Peter then makes the contrast between those that have rejected Jesus and the people he is writing. He is writing to Christians and states that they have not rejected Christ and therefore their hearts are open to God and are a part of the Spiritual temple that is being built.

Now in verse five Peter talks about this spiritual house that is being built.  He is talking about the Church. The Bible uses many metaphors to describe the church. Among them are a body, a family, and a city. Continuing his metaphor of a temple, Peter relates the church to each of us by saying that we are a holy priesthood, solely dedicated to God.  The job of a priest is to stand between God and needy individuals. This is what a priesthood was designed by God to do in the Old Testament. While it is true that we have no need for someone to go to God for us, this metaphor was not used for this meaning. This metaphor means that Christians are supposed to stand between God and the unsaved in the world and bring them to God. That is the intent of the metaphor as it is used in this passage.

Now in verse six there is a quote from Isaiah chapter twenty-eight verse sixteen. Notice that Jesus is called a cornerstone. Without going into too much detail, a cornerstone is the primary stone of a building. This stone must be laid as perfect as possible so that as things are built on top of it the building stays sturdy and does not collapse. Jesus is our perfect and Holy Cornerstone. This verse also says that the individual who believes in Christ will not be put to shame. Notice that this is an open invitation to everyone, not to the Jews only but to everyone.

In verses seven and eight it says that to the Christians (those that have accepted Him) He is precious to them, but to the ones who rejected Him he has become a stumbling block to their faith. This was undoubtedly a reference to the Jews of Peter’s day because of what they had done to Jesus. To come to Christ they had to admit that their action is what lead to His crucifixion and because of that many continued to reject Him. At the end of verse eight Peter writes that they, the Jews, were disobedient to the Word, but they were also appointed to the word. What does this mean? It means that the Jews were given the promise of the Messiah (Christ) and were to be the ones that He was coming to bless, but having the Holy Word (Old Testament Scriptures) they still rejected Him! How ironic that the ones that were the keepers of the Word of God, would end up rejecting Him!

With verses nine and ten Peter ties his thoughts together. In verse nine, Peter is moving on from those that rejected Christ and he does this with one phrase, “but you.” He says that Christians are chosen people. They are called to do ministry and are called to be the informers of God’s Word and proclaim the good news of Christ.  In verse ten we find that Christians were not always God’s people, but they are now His people through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus has taken many people from all nations who had no affiliation with each other and builds a spiritual church on the earth to proclaim who He is and what He has done for the world. These people will be His witnesses throughout the world. It is because of this marvelous transcendent organization that people will be brought to salvation and cleansing so that they can be put right with a Holy God.

So in this text we have seen that the church is not only necessary but the primary way in which God has decided that the world should come to know about His marvelous plan, even with all if its’ faults and failures. So the question is what are you doing right now in your church? Are you one who is causing some of these failures? Or are you one who is going to co-labor with Christ to try to spread the good news of what God has done for us? The choice is yours.