Hi Viva community,
Looking forward to doing our first fast together this Wednesday. If you missed the talk, go here.
Here are the notes, including the prayer focus for our fast.
1 Peter 2: 4-10 (JB Phillips)
4-6 To change the metaphor, you come to him, as living stones to the immensely valuable living stone (which men rejected but God chose), to be built up into a spiritual House of God, in which you, like holy priests, can offer those spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. There is a passage to this effect in scripture, and it runs like this: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on him will by no means be put to shame’.
7 It is you who believe in him that he is “precious”, but to those who disobey God, it is true that: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’. 8a And he is, to them, ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence’.
8b-10 Yes, they stumble at the Word of God for in their hearts they are unwilling to obey it—which makes stumbling a foregone conclusion. But you are God’s “chosen generation”, his “royal priesthood”, his “holy nation”, his “peculiar people”—all the old titles of God’s people now belong to you. It is for you now to demonstrate the goodness of him who has called you out of darkness into his amazing light. In the past you were not “a people” at all: now you are the people of God. In the past you had no experience of his mercy, but now it is intimately yours.
The Voice translation
4 Come to Him—the living stone—who was rejected by people but accepted by God as chosen and precious. 5 Like living stones, let yourselves be assembled into a spiritual house, a holy order of priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices that will be acceptable to God through Jesus the Anointed. 6 For it says in the words of the prophet Isaiah,
See here—I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone, chosen and precious;Whoever depends upon Him will never be disgraced.[a]
7 To you who believe and depend on Him, He is precious; but to you who don’t, remember the words of the psalmist: The stone that the builders rejected has been laid as the cornerstone—the very stone that holds together the entire foundation,[b] 8 and of Isaiah:
A stone that blocks their way, a rock that trips them.[c]
They stumble because they don’t follow the word of God, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen people, set aside to be a royal order of priests, a holy nation, God’s own; so that you may proclaim the wondrous acts of the One who called you out of inky darkness into shimmering light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received it.
-That as a community we would come to the Living Stone – to Jesus – to then be built up together into a house – a dwelling place where God himself can be with us and lead us.
– That we would own our corporate identity more deeply as a royal priesthood – royal- part of the King’s family; priesthood – a people set apart to bless and serve the Lord and bless and serve the people by demonstrating the goodness of the King himself.
Some questions to ask – God is there anything that’s getting in the way of me coming to you or preventing me from being joined together into your house? Is there anything I keep stumbling over or that I’ve been unwilling to obey? What are the things that are holding me back from demonstrating your goodness?
Remember, God doesn’t come like an angry man or a harsh master – he comes tenderly – wanting to bring light and to restore what has been lost and make it new.
“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibblings at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14: 18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simples pleasures of the earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognisable, and almost incurable.
Jesus said some people hear the word of God, and a desire for God is awakened in their hearts. But then, “as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life”. In another place he said, “The desire for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful”. The pleasures of life, and the desires for other things are not evil in themselves. These are not vices. These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and travelling and investing and TV watching and interest surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God.” John Piper
Claire Esgate, 21 November 2021