Rise Daily: April 25
THIS WEEK’S THEME & PASSAGE
A Movement – 1 Peter 2:4-12
This week’s sermon from the series “Where We are Going: The City and the Mission“
THIS WEEK’S MEMORY VERSE
Memorizing scripture is a way to keep God’s word close to our hearts. Each week we will select one verse of scripture to remember as a community.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Each day’s devotion will focus on one part of the week’s passage.
1 Peter 2:4-8
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
MEDITATION ON THE WORD
In our busyness and distraction, it is easy to skim through our reading rather than taking it in. Yet we believe this is the inspired word of God. Take a moment to pause, thank God for the scriptures and ask him to speak to you through them today.
As we come to the final week of our Rise season, we turn for wisdom to the the Apostle Peter, the chief leader in the earliest days of the Christian movement. In the letter from which our passage comes, Peter addresses Christians who are spreading out from the Church’s  birthplace in Jerusalem into all the world. He unites them in their identity and their mission.
The first thing he tells the Church is that they are one, by using the metaphor of a building made of stone. The image involves something that is solid, secure, and built to withstand the forces of nature.
The juxtaposition is interesting. Peter is describing people who are moving out into all the world by the image of a great stationary object. Buildings don’t move. Why does he do this?
Clearly their identity is an anchor—a stabilizing force. Peter wanted Christians who had the courage to uproot their lives and carry the message of Christ into unknown places to know that they were part of something solid, something permanent. Peter himself was encouraged this way by Christ: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). Peter, in turn, tells each individual Christian that just as he had been identified by Jesus as a stone in this building, so were they, with Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone.
But Peter also recognizes that Jesus was a “stone of offense” to those who would oppose him, and so his followers would be. But how was Jesus an offense? By being light in darkness (John 1:4-9). Jesus brings transforming light to the darkness of the human heart, and he redirects the way we relate to each other, the way we work, the way we do everything. To those who use power unjustly, those who have learned to work the system to their own advantage, Christ presents a threat.
The gospel of Jesus Christ seeks flourishing for everyone. The Church today is spread out in many ways, not just geographically. She takes the light of Christ across all kinds of borders: ethnic, economic, vocational, political, etc. In order to withstand the opposition she will surely encounter, she may draw on the strength of her identity. She is strong, secure, and permanent, in Christ.
1. “The Church” as used here, refers to the entire body of Christians, not to any one particular congregation.
2. A cornerstone, serves as both the foundation of a building and the guide by which all other stones will be positioned.
THIS WEEK’S RISE REFLECTION
Far more than a campaign about money, this season is an invitation to be part of what we believe God longs to do in bringing flourishing to all–starting with you and stretching across the city. How will you answer this call? Will you take this opportunity to invest yourself more meaningfully in this vision for gospel renewal for New York City?
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8
For your Heart: Take a moment to reflect on Christ as an anchor and a stabilizing force for you. Pray that the community of believers and seekers would be an anchor and stabilizing force as well.
For your Church: Praise God for our present day gospel movement and its presence in New York. Pray for God to use us collectively to anchor the continuation of the gospel movement on Christ.
For our City: Pray for all the churches in our city, that we’d be united as one to continue a movement of gospel-teaching churches working together to bring the light of Christ.
Our vision is a city renewed by the gospel. This vision needs all of us.
We are calling on everyone at Redeemer to rise and say “I’m in” to pray, engage, and give as part of a gospel movement for the good of the city. Are you in?