The church is built up in Christ 1 Pet 2:4-6

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Introduction

Here in these verses the Apostle Peter shows the church the importance of being united with Christ. Peter shows in these verses the vital connection between Christ and the church.
Apart from the Lord Jesus Christ the church is nothing. Without Jesus Christ the church is not the church.
In order for the church to remain steadfast and be built up it must stay united to Christ.
This is the main overall point of these verses if we were to sum them up.
Many of you know Don Hinchcliffe, I remember something he said in a sermon that has stayed with me ever since that relates to this theme.
He spoke about when he was a young evangelist and he was given some advice by an older worker. He said to Don that in his ministry he will visit many different churches with many different problems that he will be tempted to solve. But he must not try to do it, rather he must make sure that Jesus Christ was given his rightful place and then everything else would sort itself out.
Obedience, love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ are essential for the life of the church. In these verses Peter explains how.

I. We are built up by Christ

Firstly Peter tells the Christians that the church is built up by coming to Christ.
He says in v.4 -5 “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”
In this verse Peter describes the Lord Jesus Christ as a living stone. This is no doubt referring to the prophecy found in v.6. Jesus described himself as the chief conerstone.
Jesus who is this living stone, is rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious.
Jesus is the elect one, he is the chosen one of God.
BUt what we also learn is that it is in coming to Jesus that believers are built up.
By coming to Jesus Peter does not only mean coming to him in conversion, but it is speaking about an on going coming to him. Yes this starts with repentance and faith, but it continues with worship and prayer, and reading the Word of God.
When believers are coming to Jesus, they are also as lively stones being built up into a spiritual house.
To word it another way by coming to Christ the church is being strenghtened as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
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So what does this mean for us, as the church today? Well it means that if we want to be built up, strong, pleasing to the Lord, we must be coming to Jesus. As a church we must draw our strength from him. We do this by worship, prayer and the preaching and reading of the word of God.
So firstly we see that the Lord Jesus builds up his church, into a spiritual house.
Secondly we see that he makes his church a holy priesthood.

II. We are priests through Christ

V.5 continues “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.”
Here Peter changes the metaphor slightly. Now he pictures the church as a royal priesthood. He reminds the church about the priesthood of every believer.
The point here is still the effects of coming to Jesus, but now we see that its by being united to Christ that believers are able to offer up spiritual sacrifces to God that are accpetable to him.
Peter says that they are acceptable through Christ.
What are these spiritual sacrifces?
Rom 12:1 says we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices that are pleasing to God. So our life is a spiritual sacrifice as we give it to the Lord to use as he pleases. Our prayers, and worship are also spritual sacrifces.
So in v.4-5 we see that the life of the church is found in their union with Jesus Christ. it is by coming to him, in faith, prayer, worship and reading the Bible that the church is built up as a spiritual house, and a royal priesthood, whose spiritual sacrifices are made acceptable to God through Christ.
To put is simply, the church is stenghtened by Christ and its spiritual sacrificies are made acceptable through him.
App- The simple application for us, is that without Jesus Christ we are nothing. The life and usefullness of the church all depend upon their relation to Jesus Christ. The closer we are as a Chruch to Jesus the stronger we will be, the more pleasing the things we do will be to God.
I suppose the question that we must reflect upon is does the church have Jesus in his rightful place, do we as a Chruch come to him as we should.
How can we as a church become closer to Christ? How can we be more obedient and grow in our love for him?
Jesus Christ is the foundation and sutainer of the church, In v.6 we see that God had planned it to be this way all along.
In v.6 Peter says “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.”

Conclusion

So in these verses we see that it is by coming to Christ, in faith, worship, prayer, obedience and in his word, that the church is built up, strengthened and established. It is through Jesus Christ that our service is pleasing to God.
The greatest need of this church, and indeed any church is not new methods, or new ideas, but the old truth that we have here. The Church must have Jesus Christ at the centre of everything we do. This way we will be built up, this way we will be pleasing to God.
I will end with the words of a well known him that sums up this truth so well.
The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord; she is his new creation by water and the Word: from heav'n he came and sought her to be his holy bride; with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.
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