Another Brick in the Wall

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No, this article has nothing to do with Pink Floyd. Rather its focus is on a far more significant Rock Group, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 2:1-10 the apostle, who was nicknamed a “stone” (see Matthew 16:18), writes to some scattered believers who were undergoing severe trials in order to encourage them to persevere in and for Christ. Tbrickthumbhe theme of this letter is suffering to the glory of God. Like rocks, they were to be immovable.

There is some disagreement as to the recipients of this letter. Some believe that, since Peter was the apostle to the Circumcision, this letter had Jewish believers particularly in mind. But due to some particular language and phrases used in the letter (see 1:18 and 4:3), I would concur with many that Peter was writing to all believers, with perhaps a particular focus on non-Jewish believers. This should not surprise us, since it was Peter who was used of the Lord to open the door of faith to the Gentiles (see Acts 10:1—11:18).

Anyway, as Peter writes he is concerned that these believers realise their enormous privileges in Christ; and such an “inheritance” would serve them well as they faced suffering for their faith.

Things were heating up in the early 60s and soon Nero would morph into a madman exerting his arrogant fury on the church. Peter wanted these Christians to know that they should continue to identify with Jesus Christ who, though He was rejected by men, was in fact chosen of God to be the Saviour of the world and the Head of the church (2:1-4). It is in this context that Peter reminds believers that they are significant “living stones” whom God has chosen and personally shaped to fit perfectly into the church He is building. They were significant bricks in this temple of God; a temple that would stand throughout eternity.

This passage (vv. 4-10) would have been particularly meaningful to Gentile Christians, for Peter was making it clear that they were meaningful members of God’s temple. This privilege of being the dwelling place of God was not limited to Jewish believers but was the privilege for all believers. They were “living stones” who, like their Jewish brothers and sisters, mattered.

Every Christian, and therefore every church member (since the New Testament knows nothing of Christians who are not church members), is personally chosen by God as a “living stone” in the temple that Christ is building. And each one uniquely matters. We each have unique gifts that, when “bonded” to other bricks, make for a beautiful temple to the glory of God.

Note that Christians are “living” or “lively” stones. When Titus destroyed the temple in Jerusalem (within a decade of the writing of this letter) the true temple was actually unscathed. The “dead stones” that Herod had used in the building of that historic structure were pulled to the ground never to rise again. But the church of Jesus Christ, the temple of God, was alive and well; and from 70 AD beyond it would continue to be built up by the life-giving gospel through the power of God. This is precisely what Peter is saying in this passage. He is encouraging them that they are a part of a world-impacting structure, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as “living stones,” each believer has the privileged responsibility to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (v. 5).

In continuity with the old covenant temple, our sacrifices are to be acceptable (as defined by God’s Word), but in contrast to the old covenant, our sacrifices are offered through the glorious and perfect High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This passage speaks to several issues, including God’s free and sovereign grace in choosing us to be bricks in the wall. Every time someone is born again, we are witnessing God adding another brick to the wall. Every time we heartily “amen” the embracing of a new member at BBC we are observing God’s grace in adding to another brick to our walls locally. And every brick in the wall has a significant purpose to be lovingly and devotedly fulfilled in our congregation.

But we must ask, what to do bricks do? Well, for one thing they increase the height of the wall, thus giving added protection from enemies without. Further, each brick is essential for holding up the roof, thus giving strength to what is being built. And with the addition of each brick the structure inches closer to completion. So it is with the local church and the “living stones” that God, the Master Architect, so intentionally and deliberately shapes for the building up of His church.

Every “living stone” is placed in the church for the purpose of further strengthening the local church and protecting her from the world, the flesh and the devil. Each new brick in the wall is added by God to bring His work that much nearer to completion. Each new church member is given for the purpose of the church being built up as an increasingly worshipping people. After all, was that not the purpose for the physical temple?

We need to see that every church member is to be a living member—an active one—not a passive spectator. And so ask yourself, “Am I actively participating in the building up of my local church?” Further, ask, “Am I a living stone or merely a dead weight?” That is important to consider.

One of the strengths of BBC over the years has been our commitment to meaningful church membership. This includes, but is not confined to, church members who faithfully attend our Lord’s Day gatherings, morning and evening. It includes meaningful participation in our weekly small group meetings. It also involves the ministering to one another. In other words, as we use God’s Word as our plumb line, we aim to be a church filled with members who are living stones. Such is to be our biblical expectation each time that we see God adding another brick to our walls.

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