Nicknames are common in the sports world. Out of the top 25 athletes that held the most nicknames former NBA Star Shaquille O’Neal holds the most nicknames with 25. The top three being, “The Big Shaqtus, The Diesel, Shaq Fu.”

As the church of Jesus Christ we might not be able to beat Shaq one on one. But we could give him a run for his money when it comes to nicknames or titles.

With in this passage alone Peter gives us six names that we bear because of our position in Christ. We are called “Living stones,” “A spiritual house,” “A holy priesthood,” “A chosen generation,” “A royal priesthood,” “A holy nation,” “His own special people.”

As we work through this passage and look at these names we will learn two things. First our names show us the importance of our intimacy with Christ and second we see the implications from our identity in Christ.

First in verse 4 we learn the importance of our intimacy with Christ.

4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,

The basis of the Christian life is coming to Him (Jesus). This was the focus of the message of John the Baptist and Jesus.

This was the message of the Apostles and prophets. This is our message, “Come to Jesus and be saved.”

Yes, we came to Jesus to be saved but we are to keep coming to Jesus. I’m told that the way this verse reads in the Greek language implies a personal, habitual approach to Jesus. We would call this your daily walk.

Jesus saved us so we could have a relationship with Him. We do this simply through prayer and the word of God. This is healthy and essential for our Christian life. It is through daily communion that we are reminded of our hope, strength, joy, wisdom, everything we need for life and godliness.

Notice Peter calls Jesus by another name or title. Jesus actually has all of us bet with hundreds of names. The name that Peter calls Christ is, “A living Stone.”

Christ is living! I love that Peter in this epistles teaches us that Christianity is not a dead religion but a living relationship. Peter talked about our living hope (1:3), God’s living word (1:23) and now daily we are to come to Christ, “The living stone.”

This name implies that Jesus is eternal and that Jesus is Jewish Messiah spoke of in the Old Testament. The Messiah in the Psalms, Isaiah, Daniel and in Matthew is spoken of as the Stone. Every person must make a decision concerning God’s living stone will you except Him or reject Him.

To those who except Him He becomes your foundation on which you can build your life on. Jesus said those who hear His word and obey it are like those who built their house on the rock.

Second those who reject Christ will face Him as the stone that judges and crushes the nations (Daniel 2). Christ is the final judge of all mankind.

While Jesus came and revealed Himself as the Messiah by many infallible proofs He was rejected and He is continued to be rejected today by many. The world turns their back on Jesus and mocks Him and Christians as fools who are wasting their lives.

Peter reminds us to not be discouraged at the fact that Christ was rejected or is being rejected because He is chosen by God and precious.

Jesus in eternity past was chosen by God to come to this earth to die as our substitute and sacrifice. God knew that men would by their wicked hand reject Christ, yet as Peter said in Acts God by His determined purpose and foreknowledge sent Jesus to die on the cross.

Jesus is also precious because He is God the Son second person of the Trinity. For all eternity the Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwelt in perfect unity and relationship. Our evidence that Jesus was chosen by God and precious in His sight is His resurrection and ascension into heaven (Philippians 2:5-10).

Second in verses 5-10 we see the implications of our identity in Christ.

5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Peter now turns his attention from Christ to you and I. “You also,” refers to all who come to Christ the living stone for salvation and fellowship. Like Christ you and I are also a living stones. Through Christ we are made spiritually alive to God (John 1).Also in Christ we find our identity and stability.

Concerning our identity we are in Christ and have a special position and purpose in this world. This is revealed through the two names mentioned here plus the others mentioned in verse 9.

Our stability is Christ the foundation for life and for the church. Notice on Christ our foundation stone Christ is building us as believers in a beautiful building a spiritual house we know as the church.

Here’s how the New Testament says God does this. First it begins by saving people and making them temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). Second Christ is foundation of all believers who come together which is the church. The foundation of the church was laid through the preaching and teaching of the Apostles and prophets in the first century (Ephesians 2:21-22). Third all believers who come to Christ are like unique stones that are used by God to build His house (Hebrews 3:16).

Not only are we a beautiful temple that brings glory to God, we are also the holy priesthood that serves God.There is no teaching in the New Testament that says that there are is an elite group of priests, rather the New Testament teaches that all believers are priests who serve under the great High Priest Jesus (Revelation 5:10).

One of our functions as holy priests are to offer up sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament the two things that made offerings and sacrifices acceptable to God wad position and the offering.

Anyone in the Old Testament could offer a sacrifice to God but if you are not in the right position and offer the right offering it is not acceptable to Him. Just ask Cain, Nadab, Abihu, Saul and Uzziah.

God excepts our sacrifices because we are in Christ, we have a position in the High priest therefore we can boldly approach His throne of grace with worship.

Second God accepts our worship if we follow His word and offer those things which He has prescribed.

We are given five sacrifices in the New Testament that we can offer as God’s Holy priests. They are:

• The offering of our body daily by living a holy life (Romans 12:1). • The fruit of our lips in prayer and praise (Hebrews 13:15).
• Good works unto God Hebrews 13:16.
• Giving financially to the work of God (Philippines 4:17-18).
• Preaching the gospel and winning souls for God (Romans 15:16).

6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHIEF CORNERSTONE, ELECT, PRECIOUS, AND HE WHO BELIEVES ON HIM WILL BY NO MEANS BE PUT TO SHAME.”

After Peter gives us the application of our position in Christ He gives scripture to back up what he is saying. The scripture that Peter quotes here is Isaiah 28:16. The context of this passage was God was speaking through Isaiah to the leaders of Jerusalem about their political alliances. God said in contrast to their weak alliances He Himself was to be trusted and depended on because what He was doing would be sure and true.

In the same way you and I as believers can have confidence that because we are in Christ we will not be put to shame. While the world might mock us and reject us for being Christians, we will be blessed because our lives are built on Christ the cornerstone.

First Jesus is called, “A living stone,” now He is called,“The cornerstone.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary says concerning this term “A cornerstone is the visible support on which the rest of the building relies for strength and stability.”

Because our lives are built on the elect and precious Son of God, we can rejoice and that God promises us strength and stability.

7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE,”
8 and “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

Peter quotes from Psalm 118 and presents a contrast between the outcome of those who receive Christ and those who reject Him.

First Peter addresses those who believe Jesus is precious. To believe is an action word, it means to daily submit your life. Jesus is precious means that we believe who He is and what He came to do. Those to whom this describes will not be disappointed.

Second those who reject Jesus will be disappointed. First they will come to realize that He was the chief corner stone that they should of built their life on. Also they will stumble to which they were appointed. The phrase to be appointed does not mean that God has determined some to go to hell. What this verse means is that those who reject Jesus will be determined to stumble, that is receive the judgment that they deserve. Every knee will bow and declare Jesus is Lord. After they stand in front o the great white throne they will be cast alive in the lake of fire.

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Peter turns his attention back to believers in these two verses. Peter speaks of the blessed position both Jew and Gentile have through Jesus Christ.

God in Exodus 19:5-6 told Israel, 5Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’

Sounds familiar? This does not mean God is done with ethnic Israel or that we are now spiritual Israel. No God for a time has set Israel aside and turned His attention to the church of Jesus Christ. Because of our faith in Jesus we are a member of the church and therefore have a special place in the plan and purpose of God.

You and I as Gentiles were once not in a special place, but we have been grafted into the promises of God through the New Covenant.

From these names and the ones that we have seen so far I want to close with some implications that we can apply.

First our response to our position is to be used by God and faithful. God has a special work for each believer in the church. The church is called in other places a body, you are a unique member with a special purpose.

The second implication we can glean from our identity is unity. If we are to be a beautiful structure for God, we must dwell in unity with one another. This brings us back to verse 1 of this chapter. We must put away all evil thinking and speaking and love one another fervently from a pure heart.

Third we are to live a holy life for God’s glory. We are called to shine as lights in this dark world. Let your light shine so people can see your good works and glorify God who is in heaven.

In closing you and I have been given special titles and names through our faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s live up to these titles so Christ we can shine the light of God’s grace and love on this dark world.