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People with Purpose



“We all want to be part of a community that loves us and have a cause that is worthy of our life.”

Ben Stuart is back this week as we continue in our Take Heart series through 1 Peter! Life is difficult, and while suffering it can be hard to have hope. But Peter reminds us that we can find hope in our God-given identity: we are part of a community that is built on Christ with a shared cause.

Key Takeaway

We are a community built on Christ that has a cause. We are meant to belong and to matter. Jesus is the cornerstone that is using us to build His House so that more can come to know Him and be brought into that belonging.

1) We are a community

The "you" in 1 Peter 2:4 is plural, like "y'all". Peter is acknowledging that they are in it together. They have been rejected by men, yet they are chosen, loved, and honored by God. Our rejection is consistent with Our King. He went through it too. Rejection by humanity does not mean rejection by the Almighty.

Jesus is the living stone, we are little living stones. God uses us individually and communally to build us together. Sometimes, we feel like fighting that, but behind the resistance to obligation is a deep desire for association. We're meant to belong. Jesus is knitting together formally hostile parties. See Ephesians 2:14-22. He's a cornerstone of a house for the Spirit of God. It's not just me and my, it's us. The desire for community is strong in us and points to the fact that we were made to know God and He is building a house.

God is building you up to be something and to do something. We are all to be priests, meant to connect people to God and God to people. We do that by offering spiritual sacrifices; we gather together and have something to offer the world. Peter goes back to the firm foundation of God's House. Building our lives on Jesus won't embarrass or harm you. We're asking things to hold the weight of what we need when it's not strong enough or meant to maintain that burden. God has established a Rock, you're either going to build your life on Him or trip over Him.

2) Built on Christ

We are a community built on Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone. When Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem, which was a proclamation that He is King, the religious leaders got upset. So Jesus told them a parable about tenants and a vineyard. Jesus grabbed Old Testament imagery; they were supposed to be caretakers of God's vineyard, but they had blown God off. He sent them prophets and teachers, but they dismissed and mocked them. They beat some and murdered others. So God now had to send His Son. Jesus says to them that if they reject Him and kill Him, "the stone that the builders rejected will become a cornerstone".

Jesus is the fork in the path of humanity. You choose to build your life on Him or you choose to reject Him and He becomes a stumbling block.

Psalm 118 was the last song during Passover. Therefore, the last song that Jesus sang was about the stone the builder rejected (vs 22), blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (vs 26) and binds the sacrifice with cords up to the horns of the altar (vs 27). Jesus is singing about Himself.

Acts 4:10-12, the stone being rejected was seared in Peter's mind from the teaching of Jesus. It is the same analogy Peter used against the religious rulers. They continue to reject Jesus, even after His death and resurrection, but He has become the cornerstone. Peter proclaims there is no other name under heaven by which you can be saved...which sounds so narrow, and narrow means judgemental and wrong...except when it means true. For example, it's narrow to say if you jump off a building you won't fly, but it's loving if it's true. It's narrow to say you have to have this surgery to save your life, but it's loving if it's true. It's narrow to say Jesus is the way to the Father, but it's loving if it's true.

Jesus forces a choice. You either build on Him or trip over Him. God is building a community with Jesus as the cornerstone, where God doesn't just reign over us, but sacrifices for us. He's the King who lived His life and poured out His blood for us. The Gospel is going out. You are beautiful in the image of God, but you're broken because of sin. God has sent a solution, someone who can pull you back out of slavery and domination. He can form you into a community through Jesus. He is the cornerstone. Do you believe Him?

Those that disobey this message, those that mock Him, reject Him, say no thanks to Him: they trip over Him.

3) That has a cause

Our cause is to shout that God's grace is for all and that Jesus came for everyone. Peter calls them a chosen race, though they had messed up repeatedly, God was doing something new. Most religions only had one or two humans, usually leaders, that could connect with God. Christianity dared to say anyone can know God. It was a scandal to say women, slaves, different cultures and races, children, anyone can know God. Anyone! Over time, the Romans slowly came to know Jesus because of the way Christians treated others and lived their lives. Rome is no more, but the Kingdom of God stands.

The way we worship, love, forgive, and show kindness to each other is our best argument for the cause of Christ. People should come around us and say that if God is real and Jesus is true, this community makes sense. We proclaim it through our holy conduct: how we treat people in our homes, at our jobs, and in government. God touching our lives changes how we touch others' lives. How we serve our community is a huge way we proclaim Jesus. Jesus serves us, so we serve others. We have been touched by the mercy of God, so we extend that mercy.


"We're a bunch of nobodies telling everybody about somebody who'll save anybody."

Jim Elliot

Discussion Questions

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Scripture References

  • 1 Peter 2:4-10
  • Ephesians 2:14-22
  • Psalm 118
  • Mark 12:1-12
  • Acts 4:10-12
  • Hosea 2:14
  • Hosea 2:23
  • Isaiah 28:16
  • Isaiah 8:14
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.