As You Come to Christ

I Peter 2:4-5 ESV

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The church is the body of Christ comprised of those of us who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin and who have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness. Therefore, sin is not to reign anymore in our bodies, to make us obey its passions (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

The church is not a physical building, although the body of Christ may meet in a building. But the building is not the church, and God does not dwell in that building, but he dwells in human hearts. So, the church is a spiritual building, not made with human hands. Thus, it is not built with brick and mortar, but with us as living stones and with Jesus Christ as our cornerstone (vv. 5-8). So that saying, “Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people” is not true to who the real church is.

So, when a preacher tells you that you are in “the house of God” when you attend a gathering in a building called “church,” that is not true unless the gathering itself is of true followers of Jesus and he is referring to the gathering of Christ’s followers as “the house of God” and not the physical building. Or when a preacher tells you that you enter into God’s holy presence just by entering a building, that is also not true. We enter into God’s holy presence by genuine faith in surrender to Jesus Christ.

So, “the church” is not a building and it is not a church denomination and it is not incorporated under the state as a non-profit corporation and it is not a business or a civic center or a social club, which is what many people today in America have turned it into, in practice. And thus, it is not to be marketed to the world as any other business or product for human consumption. And its gatherings are not to be patterned after the ways of the world in order to attract large crowds of people to the gatherings of the church.

For when that happens, the gatherings themselves cease to be the church, but they become businesses being marketed to the world and thus conformed to the pattern of the world. And they are guided and directed by marketing books and books written by mere mortals not under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but under the inspiration of people who are marketing the church to the world and thus are leading the church in how to draw in large crowds of people from the world to their gatherings.

So, let’s go back to the beginning. The church is the people of God comprised of those of us who have died with Christ to sin and who are living to God and to his righteousness. And the purpose of our gatherings is to be for mutual encouragement and edification and for spiritual training and discipline and for fellowship in the Spirit (not in the flesh) and for the teachings in the truth of the Scriptures and for prayer and for us to minister to one another using the spiritual gifts we have been given.

And we, the people of God, are to be those who have come to Jesus Christ in death to sin and in living to him and to his righteousness, in denial of self, in humility, in repentance, and in walks of obedience to our Lord. And we are to be being built up (edified, exhorted, encouraged) as a spiritual house – meaning that we ourselves and our gatherings are to be for the honor and praise and glory of God and in surrender and in submission to him as Lord – to be a holy priesthood, for we are now the temple of God/of Christ.

And to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, and so we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. But we are to be transformed of the Spirit of God in death to sin and in being made alive in Christ Jesus to live godly, pure, upright and self-controlled lives, no longer as slaves to sin, but as slaves to God and to his righteousness for the glory and praise of God.

For we are to offer up to our Lord spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, which is what it talks about in Romans 12:1-2. We are to present our bodies to Christ as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God which is our spiritual worship of God. So this involves us daily dying with Christ to sin and to self and us following our Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways and to his commands (New Covenant). And it means we are not conformed to the ways of this sinful world any longer.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 5:32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 10:1-22; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 1:22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-30; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:18; Col 2:19; Col 3:16; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 5:9; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Pet 1:1-2; 1 Pet 2:4-6; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6]

I Peter 2:9-10 ESV

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

And as our Lord’s holy people, who are dying with him daily to sin and to self, and who are walking in practice in obedience to his commands, we are also to be those who are proclaiming (preaching, teaching, sharing) the excellencies of God who called us out of darkness (sin, wickedness) into his wonderful light (Christ, truth, righteousness, obedience). For Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness and in order to deliver us from our slavery to sin.

First we need to be living what we speak, and then we need to be speaking the truth of the gospel of our salvation, where able, to all people. And the internet is still pretty wide open now in America for us to share the gospel with people. And that window is not going to be open forever. So please be sharing Christ and his true gospel which teaches we must die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and which teaches that if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin that we do not have eternal life.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Only Hope

By Jonathan Foreman

I give you my destiny
I’m giving you all of me
I want your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it my all

So, I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope
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