1 Peter 2:4-5
To whom coming, as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
I. First, all those who are coming to Christ, daily coming nearer and nearer to Him, are as living stones built up into A TEMPLE.
1. They are called a spiritual house in opposition to the old material house in which the emblem of the Divine presence shone forth in the midst of Israel, that temple in which the Jew delighted, counting it to be beautiful for situation and the joy of the whole earth. When we become holy, as we should be, we shall count all places and all hours to be the Lord's, and we shall always dwell in His temple because God is everywhere.
2. We are a spiritual temple, but not the less real. The Lord has a people scattered abroad everywhere, whose lives are hid with Him in God, and these make up the real temple of God in which the Lord dwelleth. Men of every name and clime and age are quickened into life, made living stones, and then laid upon Christ, and these constitute the true temple, which God hath built and not man, for He dwelleth not in temples made with hands; that is to say, of man's building, but He dwelleth in a temple which He Himself hath builded for His habitation forever, saying, "This is My rest forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it."
3. This temple is spiritual, and therefore it is living. A material temple is dead, a spiritual temple must be alive; and so the text tells us, "Ye also as living stones."
4. We are a spiritual house, and therefore spiritually built up. Peter says, "Ye are built up" — built up by spiritual means. The Spirit of God quarries out of the pit of nature the stones which are as yet dead, separating them from the mass to which they adhered; He gives them life, and then He fashions, squares, polishes them, and they, without sound of axe or hammer, are brought each one to its appointed place, and built up into Christ Jesus.
5. We are a spiritual house, and therefore the more fit for the indwelling of God who is a Spirit. It is in the Church that God reveals Himself. If you would know the Lord's love and power and grace you must get among His people, hear their experiences, learn from them how God dealeth with them, and let them tell you, if ye have grace to understand them, the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, for He manifesteth Himself to them as He doth not to the world. Hath He not said, "I will dwell in them and walk in them"?
II. In addition to being a temple, God's people are said to be A PRIESTHOOD. Observe that they are spoken of together, and not merely as individuals: they make up one indivisible priesthood: each one is a priest, but all standing together they are a priesthood, by virtue of their being one with Christ.
1. This stands in opposition to the nominal and worldly priesthood.
2. This priesthood is most real, although it be not of the outward and visible order; for God's priests become priests after a true and notable fashion.
3. We are priests in the aspect of priesthood towards God. You are to speak with God on man's behalf, and bring down, each of you, according to the measure of your faith, the blessing upon the sons of men among whom you dwell.
4. And you are priests towards men also, for the priest was selected from among men to exercise necessary offices for man's good. The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and if ye be as ye should be, ye hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints.
5. This is to be your function and ministry always and in every place. You are a holy priesthood; not alone on the Lord's day when ye come into this house, but at all times.
III. Consider the SACRIFICES which we offer — "spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
1. We offer spiritual sacrifices as opposed to the literal.
2. This sacrificing takes various forms. "I beseech you, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice." You are to present yourselves, spirit, soul, and body, as a sacrifice unto God. You are also to "do good and to communicate, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." To Him also you are to "offer the sacrifice of praise continually, the fruit of your lips giving glory to God." To the Lord also you must present the incense of holy prayer; but all these are comprehended, I think, in the expression, "I delight to do Thy will, O God."
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,