Peter is writing to Christians in Asia Minor which is modern day Turkey. These Christians are undergoing trials in their faith - see 1 Peter 1:6. They are most likely being ostracised because of their faith. Peter’s approach in dealing with the trials which these Christians encounter is to remind them of their identity in Christ. In 1 Peter 2:4-10 Peter explains our identity as the church. In v4 Jesus is identified as the living stone who is God’s chosen instrument to be the foundation of the church. Jesus is the centre of the church as the corner stone v6-7 who brings us salvation. It is the Gospel of Jesus and the proclamation of Him which both establishes the church and sustains the church - 1:23. It is very easy for churches to drift away from Jesus as the centre. To ensure that Jesus is the centre of the church we need to continually encourage the teaching of the Bible and encourage our people to hear and obey God’s Word as they gather on Sundays and in Bible study groups meeting during the week and individually in our homes.
The teaching of God’s Word is more than just receiving information. In this passage the Lord calls us to come to Him v4. The church is a living organism in which Jesus dwells - Matthew 18:20. We are also encouraged in v5 that God is at work in His church in building us into His family. These verses assume that the normal way to know and serve Lord is within the context of a gathered community. It also assumes that we have a role to perform as God’s people as he fits us into His church. Peter teaches that in the life of the church we are a holy priesthood living in a spiritual household which is the church 1:5. In the OT worship in the temple was undertaken by priests with the ordinary person not allowed to perform the acts of sacrifice but now worship and service is the responsibility of the whole church to offer spiritual sacrifices. These sacrifices take the form of giving our whole life to Jesus in service Romans 12:1-2 as well praise and thanksgiving Psalm 1:1, 51:17, 107:22. As God’s people we are called to declare the praises of Jesus to other people 1:9. Today one of our church members - Laura Miles is being baptised. God is building her into the life of this church. The baptism is a reminder of what God has done in dying on the Cross for Laura’s sin and cleansing her and giving her the Holy Spirit. It is going to be exciting how God will develop Laura to serve within the context of HIs people the church and in the community. She is already doing this and God has given us the role of supporting Laura and strengthening her. Jesus is very precious to us be-cause He loved us by dying for us and He is what our life is all about. It is a true saying that if we have Christ we have life and if we don’t have Jesus we have no real life. This life in Christ is focused on being a people together. The Christian faith is not about individualism but about being a family or God’s people together. To know Christ is to be part of His people the church. God builds a people not individuals. Praise God for His church which is His people gathered and is precious. May we love the church. God’s Blessing.
Rev David O’Mara