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Sunday, July 26, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “In Faithfulness He Leads Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 2:4-8 (NASB).

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,

“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,”

“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

Coming to Christ

This coming to Christ being spoken of here is not a one-time event in our lives. It is present tense, and it is ongoing. This speaks of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ on a day-to-day basis, which began at that moment that we initially believed in Jesus, when the Holy Spirit gave us new birth in Christ Jesus, and when he came into our lives. This coming to Christ is ongoing for all who believe (present tense) in Jesus Christ, who have been saved (and are being saved and will be saved) by his blood. Coming to Christ means to draw near to him, to approach him, but also to connect ourselves to him, to agree with him, and to participate with him in his death and resurrection via death to sin and living to righteousness. It is fellowship with him, and worship of him, and submission and obedience to him. It is praying to him and studying his word, and witnessing for him and for his gospel. It is walking in the light as He is in the light, and it is conducting our lives according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It is living to please him, growing to maturity, being conformed to the image of Christ and being made holy. And, it is loving others with Christ’s love.

Although there were many who believed in Jesus Christ, many more rejected him. They rejected him because he didn’t do what they thought he ought to do. He didn’t follow their man-made religious system, and this irritated the religious leaders of his day. He also did things they thought he ought NOT to do, such as healing people on the Sabbath. This infuriated them. As well, he publicly chided them for their hypocrisy and their wickedness, and they hated him for that. They were also jealous of his popularity and feared him, thinking his favor with the people would serve as a threat to their own positions of power, rule and influence over the people. And, they also hated him because he told them the truth about who he is, that he is God, and so they hung him on a cross to die, although he had done no wrong.

Yet, it was God’s will that he should die for the sins of the world. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him, and when he was resurrected, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. By his stripes we are healed!

Living Stones

Jesus Christ is described here as a “living stone.” He is the Rock (the foundation, the basis) on which the church (and our individual lives) is built. And he is living, not dead, because the Father resurrected him from the dead. Jesus taught denial of self, death to sin and living to righteousness. He taught repentance (turning from sin) for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life. He also taught obedience and holy living. Coming to Christ means we are crucified with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected to new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). We no longer conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit (Ro. 8:1-14). For those of us who believe in him, he is precious (valued, loved, and treasured). This means we honor him, respect, revere and obey him. Yet, for those who don’t believe in him, they stumble over him, because they disobey the message of the gospel (his Word).

We, who are in Christ Jesus by faith, are also like living stones, as each one of us is part of God’s building, his true church. This church, though, is not a building built by human hands nor is it an institution, corporation or organization of human origin and design. We, the people of God, are his church. We are his body, his temple, for he dwells within us. And, he is the head over his church. He is building us into a spiritual house. He does this through teaching us, counseling us and leading and guiding us in the direction we should go. He is building us to be a holy priesthood. Holy means to be set apart from (different, unlike) the world, because we are being transformed into the image of Christ. A priest is one who, before Jesus died for our sins, would serve as an intermediary between man and God, and would offer sacrifices to God on our behalf because of our sins. They were the only ones who could enter into God’s holy presence. When Jesus died, the veil which stood between us and the presence of God was torn in two, symbolizing that Jesus Christ now made the way for us to have direct access to God, so now we, like priests, no longer need human intermediaries, for we can approach the throne of grace with confidence because of Jesus.

Spiritual Sacrifices

We are also being built up to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. So, what is a spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God? This word “sacrifice” means “an official sacrifice prescribed by God; hence an offering the Lord accepts because offered on His terms” (biblehub.com). This is critical that we understand this. God is not interested in what we want to do or what we are willing to do for him of our own choosing. He wants us dead to sin, living to righteousness, walking in his holiness, living our lives in agreement with the Spirit of God, obedient to his teachings, and no longer conducting our lives according to our sinful flesh. Yet, much of the church is not teaching this anymore. More and more the church is teaching a gospel which conforms to our human will and ways, which is pleasing to us, which is patterned after our sinful flesh and worldly desires, and which does not put our flesh to death, but which entertains it and placates (pacifies, appeases) it. And, they excuse all that away by calling it “love” and “grace.”

I believe Romans 12:1-2 says it well. We are to offer our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, NOT pleasing to our flesh. This is our spiritual act of worship of him. This is true worship. So many people get this idea that worship of God is merely singing songs of praise to him at a church service, but true worship of God is total surrender of our lives to him, to be lived out according to his will and his purposes for our lives. We are to not conform our lives any longer according to the pattern (ways) of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This means we have to be different from (unlike) the world, not blend in with the world as many do. We can’t be consuming daily what is adulterous, lying, cheating, stealing, and deceptive, and expect to be living holy lives pleasing to God. We need to rid our minds of all that is ungodly and unholy and instead fill our minds with what is righteous, pure, and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). Then we will be able to discern and know God’s will, and will be able to do the will of God – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Then, we can follow him wherever he leads us.

In Faithfulness He Leads Me / An Original Work / March 20, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
(Ps. 26:3; 86:11; 91:4-5; 111:7-8; 119:73-76;
Is. 25:1,4&9; 42:6-7; Hos. 2:16-20)

Teach me Your ways, Lord, and I’ll walk in them.
Give me a pure heart. I’ll fear Your name.
Your love is always, ever before me.
Continually I’ll walk in Your truth.
You will cover me with feathers.
Under Your wings I’ll find refuge.
My Lord’s faithfulness will be my
Comfort and my shield.
The works of His hands are faithful and just.
Trustworthy are all of His precepts.

Your hands have made me, and they have formed me.
Give understanding of Your commands.
I have put my hope, O Lord, in Your word.
Your teachings, O Lord, are righteousness.
Lord, in faithfulness You have
Afflicted me so I may learn of
Your unfailing love and comfort
And Your truthfulness.
You are my husband; You have betrothed me
In love, compassion and faithfulness.

O Lord, You are my God, I’ll exalt You.
In faithfulness You’ve done wondrous things.
You’ve been a refuge for those who’re needy;
A shelter in storms; shade from the heat.
This is the Lord, we trusted in Him,
Let us be glad and rejoice
In His salvation which He
Provided through the Lamb.
Open the blind eyes; free all the captives.
Tell them of Jesus: “Be born again!”