Introduction Albu van Eeden
We greet you in the name of our Lord and welcome you. This is a blessed day because we can listen to the Lord’s voice and experience the sweet fellowship of God’s Holy Spirit. I trust that we have an open heart for that which God has on His heart for us and that we are willing to accept what He says. Brethren, put everything on the altar as you listen to the service. Do not keep any part of your life or heart out of God’s reach. Do not hide anything from God. Allow Him to shine into every corner of your heart with His heavenly light. Have the attitude of Paul and be willing for whatever God wants you to do. Paul was sold out for God. When God sent him to Rome, to his death, he was willing.
We thank the Lord that He has kept us all this time, not because of our wisdom or understanding, everything is God’s will. May each of us have a heart that desires the Lord. May there not be one who is pulling back. May there not be a single young person or adult who falls by the wayside and turns back. Each person should have this goal: Lord, I want to serve you. There is nothing as wonderful as serving the Lord when you are young. You may have idols such as money or cars – that is where your heart is found, but do you have a burning heart for the Lord? What are you busy with? What are you yearning for? What is your heart attached to? You cannot serve two masters.
Things happen very fast in the times we live in. There could be people who do not see the light and do not understand what is going on around them. Others think that nothing has changed. Open your eyes and see how things have changed. But in everything that happens – may we be drawn closer to the Lord Jesus.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 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. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:1 – 6
I have been deeply touched by these words, when I consider who spoke them and what Peter had experienced at the time of writing this text. Recall how he had spoken in the past, the doubt he had, his lack of strength and courage and eventually how he denied his Lord – he did not even go to Calvary with His Lord – something the Lord had told him to do. But we are so thankful that his story never ended there. It ended in victory. His works were powered by the Holy Spirit. He had the courage to speak about His Lord and Saviour - which was amazing considering what had happened before. When the Lord works in a person’s life, his life changes. When the Holy Spirit works in the life of a child of God, the courage h/she has is different to that of the past. The courage is the power of God displayed.
Today we find the key - how the person who experienced the Holy Spirit and worked among the brethren to make them what they became, brought the church back to the right foundation.
We also need to find the key. Are things as they should be in my life? Where did I go astray? When I see the Lord at work through those who are Spirit filled, I need to ask myself, what is wrong? Why does the Holy Spirit not work in the same way through my life? Things will not work if we mix our filth with the Lord. That is why Peter said put away all malice and all deceit… Some brethren are deceitful. They try to get out of a situation through deceit. They are in sin and do not want to come out of it. It is important that we test ourselves to make sure that if things are not going the way they should, we ask what is wrong? Sin grieves the Holy Spirit and prevents Him from working in the life of a child of God. Peter says that we must put away these idols so that we can serve the Lord. Some notice that God does not work in their lives, but they want to serve God through idols they have. I will use the Zulu nation as an example, (although different nations have their things and the Lord is unable to work as He wants to, because people mix Him with their idols). People love to see things they can touch with their hands. They want gods they can hold with their hands. You may have something in your room in a corner, which you conceal and say that you are serving the Lord, but you are serving your idol. Although people have electricity, they use different coloured candles for various purposes they know exactly the significance of each colour. If you serve those things and you think that you will serve the Lord, things will not work out. If we want God’s power to work in our lives, there will be things we have to get rid of. For some, cattle are their gods. Some worship the sun or the stars. They study newspapers to find out what the stars predict for them that day.
Peter says So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 1 Peter 2:1 If you have these things, you will not please God. If we want to see God working powerfully through our lives, we must put these things aside. God says that we must give Him everything, give Him our hearts. What is it like in your life?
Having put aside these things that do not bring glory to God’s name, what must we then do? He introduces the one whom we should go to with the things we have read.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious… 1 Peter 2:4
We are introduced to Jesus. He has many names: Son of God, Advocate, High Priest, the corner stone, the foundation of the church. Our example. Our life. Our light. He cares for us. He is our place of refuge. He is everything to us. He is a living stone. Nothing can move forward if the living stone is not there. There are many stones, but they are not all the same. Some seem so big, but they cannot stand. Some are rock hard and yet you can crush them. A stone can be hard and unreceptive, lying in a river for years but when it is broken with a hammer, it is bone dry inside. How is such a thing possible?
There is that stone which is the stone you need to build on. This stone is the foundation of the Church. This is a very important stone, the foundation stone. There is nothing we can build in our walk of faith if this stone is absent. Is there nothing happening to you spiritually? If we have this as our foundation, the good fruit will show it. Take note of where you have built and the materials which you have used. Have you built on this stone, the living stone? If you have built on this living stone, nothing you do can be broken down.
Peter tells us to build on it, to draw nigh to it, to do whatever we do on this stone.
If your faith is not growing, it is standing firm, ask yourself on which stone have you built. We have been given a promise: He who builds on this stone will not be disappointed. If you build on this stone, you will not be put to shame, you will not be a coward and run away. How many have run away and forsaken the faith whom you know? How many have forsaken their faith because they did not build on this stone? How many young people have forsaken their faith because they have not built on the true stone but on another foundation? This stone is important – it is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. The word says there is no foundation other than the foundation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you think there is another stone that is better, a better foundation? There is no better foundation than that of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a living stone. He who believes in Him shall never be disappointed.
There are so many things in this world that will disappoint you. Look at the destruction that COVID has caused in the church? What has happened through COVID? Opportunities to serve the Lord and have communion together were not there. Another thing that has resulted from COVID is that it has isolated people – people live in their corners, pray there and no longer mix with others. Social distancing, no fellowship (I do not say that the rules are bad) but think about it and understand. COVID has resulted in lukewarmness. Ask whether you are on fire for God as you were before. Do you still have opportunities to pray? Do you search for opportunities to serve God? Do you take time to read God’s word? You are surprised that God does not speak to you, but you do not do the things that bring you closer to the Lord. You do not read God’s word. You do not meet and pray with other children of God. Even though it is possible to come to God’s house again to listen to God’s word now, you are too lazy and just listen on the radio. People make excuses not to attend a service and say that they will ‘catch up’ later on livestream. Child of God, you have been consumed by the devil. If this has happened in your life, you have parted from what is truly important. If you have lost that love of meeting together with the brethren, you have fallen. The devil has already consumed you; he is in control of your life.
What Peter wrote is so relevant for us today and the whole world. God’s children should be united and as close as possible in this time. There should be no event that will bring us as much joy as meeting together to serve the Lord. We should search for this living stone so we can build on that foundation. There are different stones, as I have said, but this is a living stone, you cannot mistake it. He who believes in this stone will not be a coward, he will not run away, but will have the receive power and courage to serve God more than before.
When skyscrapers are built in cities, the taller the building gets, the surer one needs to be that the foundation is very deep. This auditorium has secure foundations. It has endured strong wind and even fire but its foundations, those concrete blocks, are so deep that they securely hold the steel beams built into them.
The wonderful thing is we do not need to look for stones and foundations. We know it is here. All we need to do is build on it. When you build you cannot use just any material, you need to build with that which will fit the foundation, there need to works with faith so that we do not disappoint God. He who believes shall not disappoint God. He who builds on the true foundation, that is Jesus Christ, will not be disappointed. If we serve the Lord and uphold God’s children, we need to search our lives. Are we building on the true foundation?
What material do we need to build with? Our materials should be quality materials. We are called to a higher calling than we realise and we should understand what the Lord requires of us to build on this firm rock so that the holy work that God’s Son did will be accomplished. You are a tool, a brick, you need to have that life in you because you are on the living foundation. Why is our faith so wishy-washy? Why, young child, are you so different on various days? One day you are a child of God and suddenly, a child of Satan.
If we are to be built on this foundation, we need to be alive. We need to build on this foundation every single day. Those who build on this living stone are at work, every single day. Everyone, young or old, must understand that we are building daily and the material must be checked.
We have been called to be holy priesthood. The life of a priest is a high calling. A priest brings people closer to God. He brings their offerings to God. A priest does an amazing work every day.
A wife may want to serve the Lord, but she is hindered by her husband. A child may want to serve the Lord, but he/she is hindered by the father. If you hinder the work of God in your child or anyone, you will be cursed. A priest is called to bring people together, connect them with God, but you say that that is the work of the preachers. No, it is up to you as well, you have a part to play. If your husband is called to God’s work, what should the wife do? The wife should carry her husband in prayer. If a child is born into a family, the parents must support the child through prayer because God speaks to small children. Fathers may block the way and stop the work continuing. Fathers may have authority, but they need to realise there is an authority that is way above their authority. You may stand in someone’s way but there is Someone higher than you. We need to realise that one day we will stand before God who will ask why we were a hindrance to someone? You would be a fool to stand in the way of what God has ordained to happen. Some priests did not do the work in the way they were supposed to do.
The Lord’s word tells us that this living stone has been rejected by men. Some regard it as a hindrance that will stop what they are doing. From the beginning there has always been opposition where God wanted to work. Do not be surprised if it comes your way too. As Noah built the ark, he was called a fool. People told him to use his common sense – where’s the water? What are you doing? But Noah knew that God had spoken to him and said, “You will build an ark here.”
If you feel that the Lord is calling you and giving you work, be faithful to that. Do not look at the circumstances. We have been called to lead people to the Lord through the Gospel and woe to you if you are sitting back and relaxing. You will stand before God one day. We should ask ourselves: Am I a tool in God’s hand? Am I building God’s kingdom or breaking it down?
Is there strife and disunity where you are working in God’s work? This attitude breaks down God’s work and He is unable to work.
We need the right stone to build the spiritual house of God. It must be evident to all that there are God’s servants in His work. His work is on their minds every moment of every day. If your heart is not in serving the Lord, you will be a stumbling block to those who want to serve Him. You will be a hindrance to those who want to move forward and serve the Lord.
This living stone is the One chosen by God, and He is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He did not choose that; He was put there by God Himself to save the world. If you oppose Him, you fight God. Who do you think you are to fight God and go against Him?
If you have become lukewarm, get up and fire up. Do not oppose God but walk with God. Run to the stone. Run to this foundation because God’s word tells us anyone who believes in this foundation will not be disappointed. The holy priesthood is sanctified so that they can do that work.
May God be gracious to us that at any time we will be found to be on this foundation and building on the stone that they Lord has put there. If you have tripped, do not trip others. If you have failed, do not make others fail as well. If you do not serve the Lord anymore do not hinder those who want to serve the Lord.
Conclusion D Joosten
We thank the Lord for His living word. He says he makes everything new, build on me.
Peter said, ‘Stop with this and this, get rid of it.’ I would like to add pride to that list. Because when you build on this rock and think you know better, and you are better educated, and I come from a European nation where we have got a very good education, pride enters very quickly. I said to a young person these days, “My boy, your big problem is that you know everything. You know better than your parents. Pride is your downfall. That is what your education has taught you.” And the Bible says that He resists the proud. This is one of the foundations of this revival. We continue with our pride because we think we are something. We think we know. You do not know a thing until you start building on this rock.
Especially wives know better. They contradict their husbands because they think they are more spiritual than their husbands. If you are like this, you cannot build on this stone.
Peter said clean out and then he says build. The most important thing is to have a relationship with this stone. When the stone says something, you reject it. It is your own pride, your own head and intellect. Build with that gift which God has given you to build with. That relationship is the most important thing in your life then you can become a living stone. Listen to the builder, to this stone and then you will be able to overcome and stand.
Build on this Stone. It is the foundation of your life. Listen to that small voice that tells you how to build. If you do that, you will be building God’s kingdom. Build on this stone. He is the key to your life. Listen to Him.