The death of a righteous man(Luke 23:44-56)

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“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. 47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”
— Luke 23:46-47

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Jesus, the Living Stone(1 Peter 1:1-5:14)

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Summary of Sunday message on September 4, 2016
(Summer Bible Conference from LA UBF)

Key Verse 2:4

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him”

As I have prayed to find one key theme of the whole book of 1 Peter, I believe the Lord helped me to find it. It is Jesus, the living Stone.

What does it mean by ‘living’? What is the difference between ‘the living Stone’ and ‘just mere stone’? “The living Stone” is ‘living’ and the other stone is ‘dead’.

What does it mean that he is ‘the living’? What does it mean that he is living? It means he is alive. What does it mean to us that he is ‘living’ and ‘alive’?

It means we can communicate with him as a person. We can talk to him, and he can talk to us. He can listen to us, and we can listen to him. We can even complain to him, and sometimes, we can pour out anger to him. In addition, we can ask his help for all things. We can ask him to give us strength, wisdom, power, comfort, encouragement, and all other necessary things we need in life.

What does it mean that he is the living “Stone”? Why doesn’t God use ‘gold’ or ‘steal’ or ‘diamond’ or ‘something else’ but ‘stone’? I don’t know. But we can all know that ‘stone’ is ‘not easily broken’. It is not easily breakable.’ It is comparably strong.

We know that some of arm wrestlers can break something in their arms. Jeff Zeilinger can break potatoes and others in his arms. But I don’t think he would dare try to break a stone. Surely ‘stone’ is not easily broken. It is relatively strong compared to human strength.

Now when did Jesus become ‘the living Stone’? (Some of audience answered while he was here on earth.) “No”. “Sorry”, he was not living Stone when he was here on earth. He had a body. So he had to die. He was not eternally ‘living’. He was also limited so much in his body. He was hungry, tired, sorrowful, and angry. He was not ‘stone’. But Jesus became ‘the living Stone’ through his resurrection from the dead.

“When did Jesus become the living Stone?” “Yes, after his resurrection from the dead.” Then he can make us into ‘the living stones’, and we can become a part of huge house where we can bring our spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Now what does ‘Jesus became the living Stone’ after his resurrection from the dead? It means two things. Complete justice and the existence of the kingdom of Jesus.

God established the complete justice through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Jesus was innocent. But he suffered and was crucified. By raising Jesus from the dead, God demonstrated that he is the God of justice, and he will establishs complete justice.

What does ‘complete justice’ to us? It means we will never lose our reward as we give our whole hearts to serve the Lord. “Our labor in the Lord” will be completely rewarded.

Let’s read
1 Corinthians 15:58
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Do you want to live a selfish life? Go ahead and do it. You may be rich and become successful in your career. But you will never be joyful. Joy will be missing in your life.

It is true that “our labor in the Lord” is not in vain. Jesus becoming the living Stone through his resurrection from the dead is ‘the very proof and evidence’ that there will be complete justice and reward for all men who serve the Lord.

So we should not be afraid of losing our reward as we devote ourselves for the Lord. We should not suffer from sense of loss as we serve the Lord. Indeed ‘our labor in the Lord’ will not be in vain. Again, ‘Jesus becoming the living Stone through his resurrection from the dead’ is the very proof that there will be complete justice and reward for all men who labor for the Lord.

Now the whole book of 1 Peter also can be summarized as one theme, that is, ‘suffering for doing good.’

Let’s read. 1Pe 2:20-24 responsibly. I will go first.
1 Peter 2:20b-24
But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

When Jesus was insulted, he did not retaliate. He did not repay evil with evil. He did not repay insult with insult. Rather he repaid insult with blessing. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Let’s also read 1Pe 3:17-18a
1 Peter 3:17-18a
17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

Christ suffered for doing good, which is to bring people to God. As we also follow the example of Christ, we can also suffer for doing good.

Now how can we suffer for doing good?
The secret is ‘as you come to him, the living Stone’ in 1 Peter 2:4. “As you come to him, the living Stone”. We need to come to Jesus, the living Stone. As we come to him we can ask his help. When we ask his help, he will provide us with all our needs such as strength, wisdom, power, comfort, encouragement and everything else. Indeed ‘as we come to him, the living Stone’, he will make us ‘living stones’ who can offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Let’s read1 Peter 2:4 once more.
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him”

One word: Jesus, the living Stone

The Lord looked straight at him(Luke 22:54-62)

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“The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
— Luke 22:61

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