THE STONE TO WHICH WE HAVE COME IS TO MANY A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENCE


PHBC September 7, 1997

Series: First Peter, Ser. #28

Scripture: I Pet. 2:4-8

TEXT: I Pet 2:7-8

INTRO: In this message I am dealing with a side of the message of Christ that is, to a great extent, ignored in this day and time. Many feel somehow that, like the wrath and hatred of God, the idea that Christ is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to many is a blot on the image they wish to present of Christ.

There is a popular image of Christ in this world that he doing all that he possibly can to save every person in the world and is constantly weeping and grieving over those whom he is unable to save. Some are simply unable to think of Christ as a crushing stone, a stumbling stone, and a rock of offense.

If you have that problem you do not have a full picture of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us study together this morning and see that he is, in all his glory and majesty, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

IT WAS THE TESTIMONY OF THE PROPHETS THAT THE CHRIST WOULD BE A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE

Isaiah mentioned this fact. Isaiah 8:14-15 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

It is interesting that in this passage Jesus is first mentioned as a sanctuary, a place of refuge, a dwelling place, and a place of worship.

He then declares that he would be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.

He also declares that Jesus would be a gin and a snare to some.

David also set forth the truth that to some Jesus would be a cause of offence and stumbling.

His second Psalm is dedicated to this fact. Psalm 2:1-12 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

One of the Messianic Psalms, Psalm 69, makes reference to this; in fact, Christís prayer was that this would be true of many of those involved in his crucifixion. Psalm 69:22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

Moses also warned those who stumbled at Christ. Deuteronomy 18:15-19 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

NEW TESTAMENT PREACHERS AND WRITERS REFERRED TO JESUS BEING A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENCE A NUMBER OF TIMES

In our text Peter declares this Old Testament prophet to be correct by quoting him. 1 Peter 2:7-8 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Paul made reference to the same Old Testament prophecy. Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Again, in his first epistle to the Corinthians he alludes to the same thing. 1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.

The same gospel of Christ that is a savor of life to some is a savor of death to others. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

In his prophecy Simeon declared this same great truth concerning Christ. Luke 2:34-35 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

I mention one other New Testament reference that points out this same truth. 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

SOME THINGS AT WHICH MEN STUMBLE AND ARE OFFENDED

Some were offended and stumbled at the manner of his birth. Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Some were offended and stumbled at the his lowly parentageóthey thought him to be the son of the carpenter Joseph and a wayward woman called Mary. John 6:42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

Some were offended and stumbled because of his place of residence during his early years.

One who became his disciple asked a familiar question about this despised city. John 1:46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

He was rejected as a prophet because he resided in Nazareth of Galilee. John 7:52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

Some were offended by his undignified appearance. Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Some were offended by the obscurity of his kingdom; they wanted to see it if he were truly a king.

His kingdom, in its present state, is not seen. Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

His kingdom is not like any other kingdom. John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Paul describes his kingdom in its present state. Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Many were offended at the company Jesus kept.

He was accused of receiving sinners and eating with them. Luke 15:1-2 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

He and his disciples were rebuked for eating and drinking with sinners. Luke 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

The Pharisees could not understand this practice of Christ. Luke 7:36-50 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Even his disciples marveled when they came back to the well in Samaria and found him talking with the woman who had had five husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband. John 4:27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

Jesus gladly received such people into his kingdom. Matthew 21:31-32 Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Consider also the past of some of the members of the church in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The next time you get to thinking you are just a little too good to be around someone who is a sinner, remember that Jesus came to save sinners, even the chief of sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Some were offended by the kind of people who flocked to be in the audience when Jesus preached or taught. Mark 12:37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.

Some were offended by the praise that some gave to Christ. Luke 19:37-40 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Some were offended at his doctrines. John 6:41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. John 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? John 6:60-61 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Some were offended by his miracles. Matthew 12:22-24 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

Some were offended at the terms of salvation which he laid down time and again. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Some are offended at his gospel when it is preached. 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Some were offended at his declaration that he would rise again from the dead. Matthew 27:63-64 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

Some are offended when they hear about Jesus too often as was a man in Illinois of whom I have told you.

CONC: Does the preaching of Christ offend you? Is the preaching of the gospel of Christ offensive to you? Donít stumble over Christ or he will crush you to pieces.

Kiss the Son lest he be angry and ye perish from the way.

To those who believe he is precious. 

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