Our journey takes us here. Yet though it may not be a place we would normally stop, it is a place where the Lord requires us to come. It is a place where he gives us true refreshment.
That’s because it is a place where we a taught a great lesson: We come to find that our journey is one that is not traveled in our own strength.
We are brought to this construction zone because God wants us to see His sovereign activity in our lives. He wants to remind us that he is the Divine Architect. He is the unseen engineer of this grand project we call the church. And every minute detail of this project is being overseen by his mighty power.
And this morning I want you to delight yourself (perhaps refresh yourself) in that. I want you to consider the sovereign activity of God in your lives. Or, if I might summarize it for you at the outset, I want us to consider the work, way, and wisdom of the Divine Architect.
I. His work 
When you look at verse 5 you take comfort in the fact that God is working. He’s working in your life, and he’s doing the work of a mason. Verse 5 says that you are “living stones” that are “being built up.” This means that God is not sitting back in a corner watching you like some sort of fish in a fish bowl. When God first entered you life, he became active in your life. After the demolition of tearing down the rule of sin in your life he starts working in you to build you up and shape you into just the kind of person he wants.
Kids, have you ever worked with blocks? What did you do with those blocks? You picked them up and you stacked them here and there. Those blocks didn’t stack themselves, did they? No. You had to do it. You had to do the work. The blocks weren’t going to come together by their own power.
And that’s exactly what this verse is saying. You are living stones that are being built up. That’s Scripture’s way of saying that you are not in charge of your sanctification. Last week we talked about the goal of the Christian life. And I laid it on you. It was my job to lay upon you the full weight of God’s law. And I hope you felt it. I hope you walked out of here thinking, boy, that’s going to be tough.
And if that’s the way you felt, then good. You got the message. That’s why you need this one. It’s not being done in your own power, but it is the omnipotent hand of the Holy Spirit that is working. God is the one who is building you up. He is the one who is the contractor doing the work to make you into what he wants you to be.
And what a glorious work he is doing too! Verse 5 goes on to tell you exactly what God is doing. It says he’s making us into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. What does that mean? It means we are becoming a united, spirit filled people who worship and serve the Lord.
We are spirit filled because we are a spiritual house. The spiritual house in the old testament was the temple. That’s where God dwelt. And we the church have had the Spirit fill us so that we are the place God resides.
And not only are we being filled with the spirit, but we are being unified. Think about how all those stones in the temple came together to make one building. And it is interesting that in when the temple was under construction, they were not allowed to chisel the stones on the temple mount. Every one had to be formed while it was down in the quarry. Then they were brought up and fitted right into place. It’s an amazing though, if you think about it. But that’s what God is doing with us! Each of us is a brick, hewn from the quarry of sin and death. And we are being brought together by the skillful craftsmanship of God’s good hand.
I mean, think about it. How else could you get such a rag-tag band of people to come together? Each of us has a completely different background. Some of us have radically different interests and personalities. How else could just this group come together and find unity? I’ll tell you how: It’s by the operation of the Holy Spirit.
On top of that we are becoming more and more holy and dedicated to the service of God. That’s what it means to be a holy priesthood. The priests were men who were expected to be more virtuous than the rest of the nation of Israel. They had special commands, over and above the rest of the nation, by which they were to abide. What’s more is that they were not given any land to cultivate. Their lives were to be dedicated to the service of God and him alone.
That’s what we are to be doing. Our lives are to be exemplary. Our holiness is to exceed the rest of the world’s. And that’s what God is doing in our lives!
Above all, we are to engage in the worship of God! It says here that God is working on us so that we offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. No, its not the bloody sacrifices. Its’ the spiritual sacrifices. It’s the laying aside of our sins and our paying tribute to Christ in worship and in life.
And do you know what the best part of this is? God is doing it all! He’s making it all happen! I don’t want you to forget that. It’s not up to us to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and make it all happen. God is the one who is making us into the priests. God is the one who is making us holy. God is the one making us to offer spiritual sacrifices. The work is his doing. All we have to do is be who God is making us to be.
My friends, let us rejoice that the divine architect is at work. And let us be glad that his work is also being done in his way.
II. His way 
Whenever a building project starts, it always has to follow the blue prints. The building has to be constructed according to the Architects drawings. There isn’t to be any deviation. Everything must be done his way.
And that is exactly what you see in this passage. If you skip back one verse, you see the way God accomplishes his work in your life. The way you are built up is by faith in the person and work of Christ.
Verse 4 starts off by saying, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious you yourselves as living stones are being built up.” Let’s strip away some of the modifiers to get to the nugget of the sentence. It says, “as you come to him…you are being built up.” In other words, the way you get built up by God is by coming to him.
Now when it talks about coming to him, I want you to understand that it is talking about your faith in him. For instance, Jesus says in Matthew, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden.” Are we supposed to literally go to him? No. It’s a metaphor. He wants you to come to him in faith. He’s talking about believing in him. You are to come to him in faith. You are to trust him, fear him and he rest in the fact that he will give us salvation.
The idea is the same here in Peter’s epistle. The only difference is that we have already come to him that initial time for salvation. Here the idea is that of continuing faith. We are to be constantly relying upon the person and work of Christ and resting in the promises of the gospel. That’s what the rest of the sentence is about: Christ is the living stone, that is, the source of life. The one who has life in and of himself. And He is the redeemer—the one who was rejected by men (and killed), yet was chosen by God and honored by being raised up on the third day as the victor over sin and death.
You have in this one sentence the whole gospel. A Peter stresses that as you come to Christ—as you rest in him as our Savior, and believe the gospel, God changes us and builds us up in the faith.
In sum, what you are to come away with is this: The Bible tells us that you are not only justified by faith in Christ, but you are sanctified by faith in Christ too.
And I tell you, this is one of the revolutionary things about Reformed theology. I know it was for me. And I know many people who have expressed the same idea. As a matter of fact I had opportunity to talk with a fellow about it just this last week.
Each week I have been going to the prison with Joe Magellet. We’re in the process of setting up some college level theology classes for them. This week we were going to interview the candidates for the class. As I sat down with one fellow he began talking about how when he first came to Christ he was caught up in the Word faith movement (the name-it-and-claim it people). After being in those circles for a while he began to become disenchanted because things weren’t coming about like they were supposed to. He would name and claim, but the claims were not coming. Like I said, after a while he became quite disenchanted with it. For all his effort, his life wasn’t changing.
That’s when he started studying more Reformed teachings. And he came to find that it wasn’t up to him and it wasn’t by his power that things would change. It was up to God. And the gospel call to him was simply to rest in what Christ has done and trust Christ’s mighty life-giving power.
It’s so freeing to know that all that is required of us is simple trust in the claims of the gospel. I have often said that Calvin was my second savior. I, of course, don’t mean that in a literal sense. Calvin is nothing. But the concept that is developed in the Calvinistic schema is so freeing. To know that it isn’t by works and that my sanctification is not depended upon my pitiful efforts is so freeing.
You can rest in knowing that it isn’t up to you to make myself more holy. It ought to be a great relief to know that our salvation is all by faith and all by grace.
All God requires us to do is believe the claims of the gospel. That is the way the divine architect has ordained it. As we cleave to the living stone, he builds us up.
But let us not stop there. God is not only doing his work in his way, but he is doing it according to his great wisdom as well
III. His wisdom [6-8]
Verses 6-8 go on to tell us this. In these verses we see the totality of God’s plan. God, in his infinite wisdom and before the world began, ordained exactly how it would all play out.
The first thing we see is that, in his wisdom, He ordained that Christ would come. That’s what verse 6 means when it says that “a stone in Zion would be laid.” Christ is the stone and by his incarnation, he would come to Zion and live among us.
But the wisdom of God also saw fit to have him rejected. The irony of God’s plan of redemption would be that he would display his sovereign power over the free acts of men. They treated Christ with the utmost cruelty. Of their own free will they took him and crucified him. Yet despite their evil intent, God ruled and overruled their actions. Certainly He was not the author of their evil. Nevertheless they were ordained by him and used it for His grand purpose.
This is one of those mysteries of the Bible. How is it that God can sovereignty govern all things and their actions, yet men be free? How is it that the evil acts of men can be ordained of God, yet he is not the author of them? I don’t want you to think that I can explain it. I certainly can’t. I can’t do anything beyond state the mere fact of it. All we can say is that God had most certainly decreed it and his wisdom prevailed.
The wisdom of God is expressed in one other way in this passage. And this might be the hardest concept for us to grapple with. In his wisdom the Lord ordained that some would be left in their sins and eventually go to hell. That’s what verse 8 means when it says, “They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”
Yes, you heard correctly. They were destined to disobey the word. From the beginning of time, God chose to bring some men into a state of salvation. But the flip side of that is that he skipped over a lot of people. And in so doing he chose not to save them. He chose to leave them in a state of sin and damnation.
In theology, this is what we call the doctrine of reprobation. It is the idea that there are some in the world who are destined to go to hell.
Some people think that this is a terrible thing. But I want you to remember what it tells us. It reminds us that God is in complete control. History is not the random occurrence of events. And as Peter speaks to these saints who were on the verge of being cruelly treated for their faith or presently being persecuted, it would have been a great comfort to know that nothing occurred without his say so.
We can do the same. We can take comfort in the fact that the divine architect is glorified both in belief and unbelief. He is soverieng in our obedience or our disobedience.
This doctrine of reprobation might not be too palatable for some people, but it is the truth of Scripture. And it is a doctrine which ought to give us comfort. For it reminds us that God’s wisdom can never be thwarted. And through all ages God prevails in the lives of men.
Dear pilgrims, you’ve come to this construction zone. And hopefully you are refreshed with what you have seen: That your God is soverign over all the affairs of your life. The divine architect is working. He is working in your life. He is working to build you up and make you to be what you ought to be. He is active in all the affairs of men. And all he asks of you is that you rest in the sweetness of his Son and the unfolding wisdom of his plan.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.