Sermon Study - 1 Peter 2:4-8
Sermon for “The Living Stone and God’s New People” from 1 Peter 2:4-8. You can listen to the sermon here.
In this passage, we see Peter’s heart as a pastor-shepherd, as he works hard to encourage his readers with the precious truth of the gospel. We see him wrestle with a very important question – how do we reconcile what God says is true about us as Christians with our experience in the fallen world? That’s an a difficult question.
God says some staggering truths about those who are in Christ. God says we are heirs of all things. Christ is the heir and authority over all things, and because we are in him, we are also heirs of all things. God says that we are sons and daughters of God. Because we are in Christ, we have been adopted as God’s children. Those are some amazing truths.
But how do we reconcile those truths with the reality that in this fallen world, Christians are often rejected, opposed, and reviled? We may be heirs of all things, but often times, in this life, we risk the loss of all things because we belong to Christ. If we are heirs, then why the opposition? You see what I mean about reconciling the two. How do we put God’s truth together with our experience, when our experience actually seems to go against those very truths?
In order to address this difficult question, Peter pursues two goals. First, he affirms and describes what is true about Christians – that they are God’s new covenant people. Then, after affirming that truth, he goes on to explain how that fits with our experience of rejection and opposition. See what he does – he affirms the truth that God has revealed, and then he applies the truth to their experience. He reconciles those two realities, and he does so by pointing us to Jesus Christ himself.
For Further Study
In our passage, Peter quotes from Psalm 118, specifically verse 22. This was an important psalm in the life and ministry of Jesus. It would have been the last psalm Jesus and his disciples sang together at Jesus’ final Passover. And it was Psalm 118 that the crowds sang out as Jesus entered Jerusalem (cf. Matthew 21:9). Read Psalm 118, and answer the following questions:
- What connections do you see between the psalm and Jesus’ ministry?
- How does the psalm help you better understand our passage in 1 Peter?
When Peter says that Jesus was rejected by men, he likely has in mind Jesus’ rejection at the hands of the religious leaders. Read Matthew 21:23-46, and answer the following questions:
- Does Jesus seem to be caught off guard by the rejection he receives from the religious leaders?
- What does this tell us about Jesus’ understanding of his ministry as the Messiah?
- How does this connect with our passage in 1 Peter?
For Personal Reflection
In our message, we said that the spiritual sacrifices of 1 Peter 2 were lives completely devoted to pleasing the Lord. We also said that the way we offer these spiritual sacrifices is by continuing to come to Christ in faith (cf. 1 Peter 2:4, “As you come to him…”).
With that in mind, what are some areas in your life where you would like to see increased faith in Christ? Maybe it is finances, children, job, or something else entirely. Whatever the case, identify those areas and spend some focused time this week in prayer, asking God to help you trust Christ more in that particular area. Maybe identify some specific Scripture passages that would encourage faith in those areas, and commit those passages to memory.
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