Sermon:  God's Sanctuary

Summary:  To draw near his people and to draw them near to himself, God has 
typically used a sanctuary.  Today, we are God's sanctuary to fulfill this purpose.

1.  Idea of sanctuary in both Old Testament and New Testament
	a.  At one point, it is the tabernacle
	b.  Later, it was the temple
	c. This is God's house, where he meets with his people
	d.  Built by Solomon, then later by Zerubabel, expanded by Herod
2.  First Temple was destroyed in 586/7
	a.  (Haggai 2:1-9) - Speaks of the "glory" of the temple
		-  First temple built, glory, (shekinah) of the Lord filled it - Ex 40:34f
		- This glory was visibly absent from Zerrubabbel’s temple
		- v.9 - So what is this talking about?
	b.  Heb 12:26-28 - We received “spiritual” kingdom, not earthly one which 
	     can be shaken (Haggai prophesied of this)
	c.  Paul said Acts 17:24 - God not dwell in temples made with hands
		- So what glorious building is Haggain talking about?
		-  It’s about US!   We are the “nations”
		-  God dwells in us, the church today.
	d.  This is the point of the analogy in the passage we are about to look at
3.  (1 Pet 2:4-12)
	a.  Previous passage said that we needed to grow in respect to salvation
	b.  Not just about staying out of Hell, we have a purpose here
	c.  Coming to Jesus we have been given a new identity 
		- Living stones in God's house
		- Learn several things about selves from house/temple analogy

I.  We need to be built on Christ
	A.  Calls him the cornerstone
	B.  Sometimes translations have "capstone" or "keystone"
		1.  Same word used for cornerstone and capstone
			a.  This is understandable
			b.  Either way, the stone is in a corner like position
		2.  As I reflected on this, I like image of keystone
			a.  Think of an archway
				- Has to be a "choice" stone
				- Has to have the right, perfect shape to work
			b.  An arch over a door cannot exist without a keystone
			c.  There can be no doorway to God without Jesus
			d.  Jn 14:6 - Jesus is way, truth, and life
		3.  Similar reflection with cornerstone
			a.  Once again, needs to be a choice stone, perfect
			b.  Building is build on and around cornerstone
	C.  Idea - Jesus holds it all together, everything proceeds from him
		1.  Being the capstone means faith in Christ
			a.  We know faith is more than mental assent
			b.  Faith involves action, faithfulness
			c.  Jesus needs to occupy the center of our life
		2.  For those who do not believe and do not obey
			a.  Stone of stumbling, Rock of offense
			b.  Cannot build a house without the cornerstone
			c.  Cannot be a door without the keystone
			d.  All you will have is a pile of rubble to stumble over
	D.  So, we need to be built on Christ

II.  We are part of something bigger than ourselves
	A.  We all are living stones, being built up together
	B.  The imagery suggests that we are not merely "individuals" in the house
		1.  We live in a culture that prizes individualism
			a.  Individual more important than the community
			b.  It is about me, I am most important
			c.  Life all about "personal" fulfillment, "personal" happiness
		2.  Language even invaded religion 
			a.  Some speak of accepting Jesus as "Personal Savior"
			b.  That sounds terribly individualistic
		3.  Image here is that you become part of God's house
			a.  You are a living stone, part of the house
			b.  You are part of something bigger than yourself
			c.  Being built up TOGETHER with all the other living stones
		4.  Underlying idea here is unity of purpose
			a.  1 Cor 1:10 - Says we need to be united
			b.  This is not my house, this is God's house
	C.  ILL:  Ever walk by a construction site?
		1.  See all the building materials laying in the grass
		2.  Huge pile of bricks - Do they serve any purpose in the pile?  No
		3.  Individual bricks serve no purpose until they are built
		4.  Joined, fitted, cemented together to serve larger purpose
	D.  Each of us are living stones in God's house

III.  Offer up spiritual sacrifices
	A.  Switches to a related image - A holy priesthood
	B.  Old Testament helps us to understand
		1.  What a priest?  -  One sanctified, set apart to serve at temple
		2.  They officiated at the altar
		3.  Would offer up the daily offerings, and other kinds of offerings
	C.  v.5, 9 - Says now we ALL are priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices
		1.  We no longer need a priesthood, we are the priesthood
		2.  Jesus himself is our "High Priest" ,  Heb 4:14
	D.  Part of our purpose as God's priesthood is to worship God

IV.  Proclaim his excellencies
	A.  Sounds like evangelism, usually don't associate evangelism with 
	B.  (Ex 19:6) - God calls the entire nation of Israel a kingdom of priests
		1.  Think about purpose of priesthood
			a.  Mediate the presence of God
			b.  Priest bring the people and God together
			c.  Was the nation to do this?
		2.  What was God's desire for his people?
			a.  (Ex 6:7; 7:5; 14:4) - Israel & Egypt will know I am YHWH
			b.  (Ex 9:15-16) - Name to resound through all the earth
			c.  Ezek 20:9, 14, 22; 26:31 - Acted for the sake of his name  
			d.  (Ezek 36:21-27) - God's name to be great among nations
		3.  Greatness of God among Israel
			a.  Began with God's mighty acts
			b.  Demonstrated his power, righteousness, character
			c.  Also to be demonstrated in how Israel lived according to 
			d.  God's greatness demonstrated in how they treated each 
			      other, which was to reflect the character of their God 
		4.  Result?  --  1 Kng 8:41-43
			a.  God's name great, foreigners hear it
			b.  Temple built, even foreigners could come pray at temple
	C.  This is how they were to be a nation of priests
	D.  Now, we ourselves are a nation of priests, God's house
		1.  Purpose is not just for ourselves, but for the whole world
		2.  God's glory was in the temple among his people
		3.  God's glory is now in us, the church, the people
		4.  Evangelism is not an option, it is part of our central purpose

1.  God's heart desire is to live among and within those he created in his image
2.  He builds a sanctuary to fulfill that purpose
3.  We are his sanctuary