Stacking Stones

1 Peter 2:5—“…you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.”

1 Peter 2:9—“…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”

1 Peter 2:12—“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”

Joshua 1-4 tells the story of the Israelites needing to cross the Jordan River. Twelve men were chosen to carry the Ark of the Covenant on this journey. God caused “the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall” and everyone was able to cross the Jordan safely. God then instructed them to collect twelve stones and stack them in their campsite.

Joshua 4:21-24 says, “Then Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘In the future your children will ask, “What do these stones mean?” Then you can tell them, “This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.” For the LORD your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the LORD’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the LORD your God forever.’”

In 1 Peter 2, the people of the Church are called living stones, a chosen people. Joshua, through the stones he collected from a time when God provided for the Israelites, created a legacy that caused people to ask questions. The Church is also supposed to cause people to wonder and ask, “Who are you people and why do you act the way you do?”

But we can’t leave a legacy or stir up questions by just saying we believe in what Christ has done for us. When you trust Christ, the miracle of God’s presence and power comes into your life, your attitudes, and your actions. We have to demonstrate through our actions that we really do trust God in all circumstances, that He really has transformed us into a new creation. Belief expressed through a changed life is what changes the world.

Nonbelievers are watching the Church, whether we know it or not. That is why Peter tells us to live properly and honorably; we are representatives of our God to the world in both our words and our actions. That is why Paul said in Romans “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.” And that is why Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 to “…let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” The stones that Joshua stacked created questions, and our lives, as living stones, should also create questions. “…you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15)

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