Listen. Jesus is the Living Stone. He was rejected and nailed to a cross, but God raised him from the dead, making him the precious and chosen cornerstone of a new temple that God is building in the world. If Jesus is the Living Stone, then we are the living stones of this temple, built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, the temple was a building, today we are the new temple. The church is people, not a building and not a worship service. We are the church (see 1 Peter 2:4-12).
Why is God building us to be his new temple? So that we can be his priests. The priests of the Old Testament offered animal and grain sacrifices to God. Today we offer “spiritual sacrifices”, not by offering animals, but by “declaring the praises of [God], who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
So what is the church? The church is a temple made of people. The church is also a community of priests who offer spiritual sacrifices by telling the world how great our Savior God is, who took us, while we were shut out of God’s mercy and made us his people.
Discussion. What difference does it make that the church is people, and not a building nor a set of religious services? How can we, the church, live up to our calling to be God’s new temple (God’s presence in the world)? How can we be priests together, declaring God’s praises to the world? We worship (declare God’s praises) on Sundays. How can we worship God together all week?
Set Goals. How will you connect to a church on a regular basis?How will you use your gifts to help our church to be a temple (God’s presence in the world) and to be priests declaring God’s praises to the world? With whom will you share this lesson?