“As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 2:4, NIV
The Christmas season may be over, but the Christ whose birth we celebrated on Christmas day is ever-present in the lives of those who know and love Him. The experience of Christmas is a living daily reality every day of the year for believers, who are likened, in our Scripture for today, to living stones – stones who are built up into a spiritual house, into which people who do not know the Lord can run from the surrounding darkness, discover that Jesus is the Light of the World and be introduced to Him as their Saviour. This is the role of the Church, to be a home where sinners can be made welcome and receive salvation, healing and deliverance.
It’s so easy to think of the Church as a building, or an enjoyable club, a place where we have fellowship with other Christians or to which we go for teaching so that we may grow in our faith – all of which are true – but if we forget that God intends His Church, first and foremost, to be the place where those who do not know Him will be welcomed into the Kingdom of God, then we have ceased to fulfil the primary purpose for which Jesus came – that the lost may be found and that sinners may be saved.
To some, that may sound terribly old-fashioned – maybe – but that doesn’t mean to say it isn’t true. It’s still what Jesus did on that “old wooden cross” that transforms lives. Praise God it is AN OLD FASHIONED MESSAGE – 2000 years old to be precise – but truth cannot be changed – and what was true then is true now. There may be different ways of presenting the Gospel, but Jesus is still in the business of saving sinners and if we fail to give sinners the opportunity to discover Jesus for themselves, and build their lives afresh on the One who is the Rock of all our lives, we fail to fulfil our destiny as the Church.
Today is the first day of a New Year. My prayer for you at the beginning of 2016 is that you will take time out of the day to thank Jesus for dying on that old wooden cross, and resolve to be a living and credible witness to the One who redeemed you throughout the coming year.
The times we have lived through in recent months, from the terrorism of ISIS to the ravages of unprecedented floods, are prompting more and more people, of all religions and none, to ask what is happening. Our only security in time and eternity is the unshakeable Rock. We may not have all the answers to today’s questions – but in Jesus we are in relationship with the One who is THE ultimate answer to every question mankind can ever ask.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, in the midst of the turmoil of the world to both trust You, whatever happens, in this New Year and to look for every opportunity to share Jesus with those who cross my paths. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.