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Posted on Sep 25, 2013 in Content |

The Rock of Offense

“Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become…a rock of offense” 1 Peter 2:8

“Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become…a rock of offense” 1 Peter 2:8

Jesus defines the word skandalon, translated in 1 Peter 2:8 as offense, in Matthew 16:23: “But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance (skandalon) to Me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’” Peter did not understand the heavenly mission of the Messiah. His mind was grounded here on earth, and he could not understand why the Savior had to die in order to bless the whole world. Perhaps years later, Peter was thinking back to this incident while writing his first epistle. He could see that both the Jews and Gentiles found Jesus a Rock of Offense because their eyes were not on the things of God.

Jesus Offended in His Time on Earth

Throughout the life of Christ we see that every aspect of His incarnation — His birth, ministry, and especially His death — was offensive to those around Him. They gossiped about His questionable parentage. Some of His own disciples initially expressed disgust when they heard the ‘zip code’ where the Messiah was raised. During His ministry, we see that people tried to kill Him many times. What type of Savior was this, sharing meals with sinners and prostitutes? His message was so offensive that it led two conflicting people groups to be tripped up (skandalon) and to eventually conspire in His execution. The Jews, through barred teeth, proclaimed that their only king was Caesar, and the Gentiles hung the Lord on a shameful tree. What message could cause self-righteous, law-keeping Jews, and science- and knowledge-driven Gentiles to come together and plot the murder of the Messiah? It is, in fact, the same message that offends and trips up the world today; a message that didn’t stand a chance of success unless it was supernatural.

Playing Offense

Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me” (Mt. 11:6). As believers, we are reminded to keep our minds on the things of God. Too often we find ourselves caught up in our careers, our favorite TV show, or any other trivial thing that Satan will use to ground our minds down here on earth. But oh, the wonderful truth that we are a heavenly people, a building made of living stones, which will survive when all other things of men are destroyed. Let our focus remain on winning souls for that day and always endeavor to keep our minds on the things of God.

The Final Rock of Offense

One day the final Rock of Offense will loom out of the earth like a great mountain. There will be no way around or over Him. Every eye will see Him and every tongue confess that He is Lord. The Rock of Offense will be on display once more, not for execution but for exaltation. Not to be vilified but to be glorified. How will you live in light of that day?

Sharon Sax

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Posted on Sep 18, 2013 in Content | 1 comment

The Precious Stone

 “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious…” 1 Peter 2:4

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious…”
1 Peter 2:4

The Building Program

Why is Christ this precious stone? Scripture calls Jesus the precious cornerstone. The cornerstone is the first stone to be set in a foundation, and it determines the position of the entire structure. We are like living stones, growing and being built up. Jesus is central to this construction and our growth, so we come to Him. As William McDonald says, “Our only suitability to be building materials is derived from our identification with Him.” He is the unique, precious stone, central to God’s plans.

Tried and True

Christ was rejected by men His whole life. When He was born, there was no room in the inn. There were many times in His ministry when no one would believe Him. They arrested Him, beat Him, and put Him to death. Even today, men and women can find no room for Him in their lives and reject Him. He truly is a tried Stone. Proven true. He went through every form of suffering, yet He proved Himself worthy. He never forced His will on those who rejected Him, and He gave Himself up for those who hated Him.

Precious in God’s Sight

In the end, though, man’s opinions don’t really matter. They rejected Him, but in God’s sight Jesus is precious beyond calculation. Any attempt would fail to describe the love in the relationship between the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit). But Jesus is also precious because He brings us to the Father, Whose love for us is so great. Through Christ we are made right in God’s eyes. Through Christ we have reconciliation with the Father. And to see this pleases the Father. Christ is chosen, and precious to God. May He occupy such a place in our hearts as well!

-Chase Boone

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Posted on Sep 9, 2013 in Content |

The Living Stone

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“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious.”
1 Peter 2:4

 

In Jesus Christ, we have the ultimate resting place that cannot be shaken or broken. He is the living Stone. He is not a dead stone, powerless to help us. He is living stone, strong and powerful. He is the stone that will be alive forevermore, our sure and strong foundation!

Though He was rejected by men, Jesus was chosen by God and made precious to Him. In Christ, we have life. In Christ, we have eternal treasures. Allow this Living Stone, Jesus Christ, to be your foundation; He will uphold you wherever you are.

-Ian Szeto

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Posted on Sep 4, 2013 in Content |

The Foundation Stone

"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock." Matthew 7:24

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
Matthew 7:24

A Famous Neglected Sermon

Nothing like the Sermon on the Mount has produced so much interest in study and apathy in practice. There we find famous sayings like, “blessed are the poor in spirit”, “you are the salt of the earth”, “love your enemies”, “you cannot serve two masters”, “consider the lilies of the field”, & “judge not, that you be not judged” to name a few. These sayings are rightfully famous.

Yet though they are lofted as noble ideals, they are so often explained away. In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.

As the listeners heard this extremist’s radical sermon, they were astonished. “It sounds good,” they must have thought, “but does it work?” People today continue to doubt the sermon by questioning its practicality. Turn the other cheek? Give to him who asks of you? Take no thought for tomorrow? Really? What will happen if I actually do that? To address these hesitations, the Lord Jesus forcefully closes His sermon with the parable of building on a rock.

An Answer By Parable

While the rock metaphor often refers to the Lord Jesus Himself, here it refers to His teachings. Just as a foundation of rock ensures stability and permanence, so too this sermon comes with a performance guarantee. Building on the rock symbolizes obeying it – “He who hears these sayings of Mine and does them”. Although difficult, the wise will live by this sermon because it alone provides real stability.

The fool, on the other hand, “hears these sayings of mine and does not do them”. When a disciple fails to be the salt of the earth, to love his enemies, to pray for God’s kingdom, to trust God with tomorrow, to not judge, and so on, this neglect is both stupid and dangerous. The floods will come. The winds will blow. While so many rationalize their disobedience, the Lord Jesus couldn’t be clearer about the inevitable outcome of their actions – “and great was its fall”. As He said earlier, we will be like salt “good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men”. Our testimony will be shot and our significance forfeited.

An Answer By Practice

But we have more than this solemn warning to assure us of the importance of actually obeying the sermon. We can look back and see the result of the One who laid down this foundation. Jesus Christ practiced what He preached. He always lived in accordance with these principles – being the light of the world, loving His enemies, not laying up treasure on earth. For almost two millennia the storms of criticism and opposition have beat against the house of His life. “But the house on the rock stood firm.”

-Bruce Henning

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