God's Word Faithfully Preached from the Pulpit

A Living Stone and God’s People (Isaiah 8:11-15 and 1 Peter 2:4-10)


  • Brief recap of previous sermon (“milk” used as metaphor for spiritual nourishment from the Word of God)
  • Structure and approach to the text (1 Peter 2:4-10)
    • There is one whole point in the passage (vv. 4-10)
      • Key unifying point: The identity of believers in relation to Christ, the living stone. The state of believers as members of God’s people, in contrast to unbelievers.
    • Structure
      • vv. 4-5 – Peter stating a fact about believers who come to Christ in faith
      • vv. 6-8 – Peter affirming this fact through OT quotations, concerning the 2 different response of people to Christ, ending with the destruction of unbelievers
      • vv. 9-10 – Peter stating a fact about believers again in contrast with the unbelievers. Conjunction “but.” While this is what happens to unbelievers (v. 8b), you were chosen to be God’s people.
    • Quotations and allusions to the OT
      • “Allusions” — More or less disguised reference
      • Peter has been using them since chapter 1, then recently in v. 3 “Tasted that the Lord is good.”
      • 3 quotations (vv. 6-8), multiple allusions especially vv. 9-10
      • How could have the readers understood the significance of those quotations and allusions applied to them? Peter’s audience is mixed Jews and Gentiles. More Gentiles also had familiarity with OT Scriptures through Septuagint and the Dispersion of Jews during the Greek & Roman empire (i.e., Hellenization)
      • Hence, also important for us to understand the context of these quotations and allusions to better appreciate how Peter’s applied its message to his readers.
  • Sermon points:
    • Christ, the Living Stone, and the Divided People
    • The Identity and Membership of God’s People


  • TEXT: vv. 4-5
    • “As you come to him” — Faith
    • Peter using the metaphor “stone” for Christ, in preparation for the quotations in vv. 6-8
    • “chosen and precious” (possessing honor, highly esteemed)
      • Though rejected by men, Christ is God’s chosen one, the one God chose and established to be given honor
    • “like living stones” — Suggests union with the living stone (Christ). 
    • “to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices…” — Speaks of holiness as believers’ act of worship to God.
    • Peter picks up again this “priesthood” and the identity of believers again in vv. 9-10, and what we need to see from here onward is this:
      • Christ is the stone, chosen and given honor by God—and there are those who come to him in faith (becoming God’s temple and priests) and there are those who reject him.
    • Peter affirms and established this point in vv. 6-8 (divided for believers and unbelievers):

TEXT: vv. 6 (From Isaiah 28:16)

  • Read: Isaiah 28:14-15
  • “Agreement with Sheol” — Context: God pronounced judgment against wicked Judah (through rising powers: Assyria and Babylon [the “overwhelming whip/scourge”]), but the wicked rulers made an alliance with Egypt thinking they will be safe and secure.
  • The provision of God however, is not Egypt, but a “stone in Zion” (READ v. 16). “Will not be in haste” or in fleeing away from danger. In the New Testament rendition (based on the Septuagint), puts it, “will not be put to shame” (i.e., secured).
  • In contrast, to the wicked rulers who reject God, READ verse 18.
  • We’ll consider the theme of the punishment for the unbelievers later on, but from this context Peter uses Isaiah 28:16 to believers who put their faith in Christ. 
  • ***The OT texts simply states “whoever trusts/believes” (no “him”). Of course, the apostles are using the OT texts as inspired writers. (Similar with Paul in Romans 9:33 and 10:11 – “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
  • Hence, Peter is speaking about the security of these believers in Christ. At the end of the day, because you are in Christ, you won’t be in haste, you won’t be in shame. That’s why…

TEXT: v. 7 — So the honor is for you who believe. “You possess honor (now and in the future) since you are in Christ.”

… “but for those who do not believe” (i.e., contrast)

  • Quotations: Psalm 118:22
    • Context: Thanksgiving for God’s steadfast love and salvation. And the psalmist relates the stone with salvation.
    • Some translate it as “cornerstone” or “capstone.” … But the ultimate point is that the very stone that these builders rejected and judged to be insignificant/useless is actually the most important stone.

      They made a wrong judgment about this one particular stone.
    • And Peter is saying that this is actually what unbelievers do to Christ. Even Christ applies this Psalm to himself in Matthew 21:42-44. 
    • Background: Through the parable of the vineyard owner, Christ confronts the Jewish leaders that God has been sending his prophets and servants, yet they rejected God. And when God finally sends his Son, they still rejected him. They still rejected the kingdom and rule of God in Jesus Christ.
    • Then he quotes the Psalm (v. 42). Regardless of their rejection of Christ, his kingdom will stand. God will vindicate him. Ipagtatanggol at papatunayan ng Diyos Ama na si Cristo ang Kanyang Anak na Kanyang hinirang na maging Hari at Panginoon ng lahat.
    • As Christ continues in verse 43, the kingdom of God will be taken away from them. But worse than that, it will destroy them (v. 44).
    • And it is not just that the one whom they rejected is vindicated by God. This stone actually becomes a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” against them.

TEXT: v. 8

  • Quotation from Isaiah 8:11-15
    • “Conspiracy” — Most likely the alliance of Ephraim (northern kingdom) and Syria to fight the Assyrian empire (Isa. 7:2). Judah is threatened if he doesn’t join the alliance.
    • But king Ahaz is encouraged by God to just trust the Lord.
    • Again, those who will trust God will find him to be a sanctuary. But those who reject him will find him to be a stone where they stumble and fall.
  • Going back to Peter’s words (in vv. 6-8), he’s showing the two different responses of people to Christ, the living stone, and the two different outcomes.
    • To those who believe in Christ, the one whom God honored as Savior and Lord—they will have honor. They will be find refuge in God.
    • But to those who do not believe in Christ, they will stumble and be destroyed.
    • And “they stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”
      • They will be destroyed as a consequence of their disobedience. They are responsible for it.
      • “As they were destined to do” — We are not to think that this means God really intended that these unbelievers will disobey his Word. As if they had no choice, or they really want to obey, but God forces and destines them to reject Christ and the gospel.
      • We are all sinners by nature. And unless God shows mercy to us, we are all bound to willfully disobey and reject the gospel. That’s our default. That’s the destiny of all sinful mankind… And in the sovereignty and justice of God, those who reject Christ will receive punishment.

Now before we move forward, we could ask: Why would Peter use all these quotations and apply it to his readers?

  • Peter must be encouraging the believers that while they are also rejected and persecuted by unbelievers around them—the way they also rejected Christ—they (believers) are not rejected by God.

    In fact, you are God’s temple, you are God’s people. As he soon explains in vv. 9-10, “You belong to him.”
  • At the same time, Peter encourages the believers that while they are under threat of persecution, they will receive honor while the unbelievers and those who persecute them will face destruction.

    The outcome of your lives are completely different.


1. Christ is rejected, but vindicated by the Father

  • The centrality of Christ’s rejection and suffering in the gospel
    • OT: Isaiah 53:3 — “despised and rejected by men”
    • NT: He is rejected by both Jews and Gentiles
  • But the very person people rejected, even until today, is the very person that God the Father vindicated.
    • EXAMPLE: Paul persecuting Christians, believing that Christ is not the Messiah and and Christianity is false compared to Jews. But then on the road to Damascus, he stumbled at the presence of the Lord of lords.
    • EXAMPLE: Peter’s address to the Jews in Acts 2: “The one you killed is actually the Son of God, the Messiah”
    • The one people reject… is the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the only way to salvation.
    • The one people reject…is the one who after dying on the cross for the purification of sins, sat down at the right hand of Majesty and became superior over all (Hebrews 1:3-4)
    • The one people reject… is the one who conquered sin and death by his resurrection and is also the King who will return to judge the living and the dead.
  • And being the only mediator and the Judge of all…

2. Christ is divisive

  • The whole human race and history stands or falls in Christ.
  • Everyone is affected by Christ, either positively or negatively. When God reveals himself, people respond differently—but only in two ways. In that encounter with the gospel, each person is changed: one for salvation, another for destruction.
  • So, based on these truths, you either believe in Christ and he becomes your sanctuary, or you reject Christ and he makes you fall. You cannot escape Christ. 

1. For unbelievers

EXAMPLE: Fireproof movie, Caleb saying, “I’m glad your faith is working for you and mom. But that’s not for me.”

But friends, You can’t think that Christ is significant only to religious people (or your parents), but not to you.

Christ is not someone you can skip over, pass by, move on, and build your future.

You reject Christ now, then you will end up being destroyed by him.

Regardless of what you think about Christ, he is the only mediator. He is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. God has highly exalted him and every knee will bow before him (Philippians 2:9-10).

In the end, Christ is all that matters. It is not your parent, not your teacher, not your boss whom you will face in judgment day. It is Christ. And it is only whether you believe in him or you rejected him. He is all that matters.

That’s why we always preach the gospel every Lord’s Day.

Acts 4:11-12

Though he was rejected, it was in the will of God so that he will carry our sins on his shoulders—so we can be forgiven and saved from the wrath of God.

And now that Christ already fulfilled all righteousness and satisfied God’s justice, he’s calling you to repent and believe in him.

Promise in v. 6 (Grk. οὐ μὴ, “no not”) — “those who believe in him will never be put to shame” (NKJV)… (cf. John 10:11, 28)

2. For believers 

Like the early believers who were rejected and persecuted by unbelievers… Likewise, it’s our comfort when we are rejected and hurt by others in our life.

But though others reject Christ and even reject us, we are being built up in him.

At the same time, it should give us confidence in the Lord that although we see around us unbelievers and wicked men who seem to be ‘okay’ with their lives and they would mock us for being “godly” and “too serious about faith”… We know the outcome.

Psalm 73

  • After envying the wicked in their prosperity, he finally “discerned their end” (v. 17). “Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!”
  • While unbelievers and wicked men will soon be destroyed, we believers get honor from God—both in this life and in the next.

Of course, this is not to be a ground for boasting, but to be thankful that we know Christ, and were chosen by God.

TEXT: vv. 9-10 — (After vv. 7-8, about the destruction of believers) ”But… you are a chosen race…”

We are likewise “not a people” before who once rejected Christ or considered him insignificant.

When we look at unbelievers, we know that they are responsible for rejecting Christ. But we also realize that we would also remain like them were it not for the grace and mercy of God in choosing us for himself.

It makes us humble.

And now that we are God’s people, we are to proclaim the excellencies of God. How? By living a life of gratitude.

Peter will discuss more about living as members of God’s people throughout the rest of his letter. But let it suffice for us now, that if we are now members of God’s people—by his grace, by his mercy—let us never stop giving all the thanks, praises, and glory to him.

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