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In his first epistle to Jewish Christians in Asia Minor, the apostle Peter says we are “living stones” being built up as a “spiritual house” (2:5).

As Peter noted, the chief cornerstone is Jesus Christ, whom also the apostle Paul refers to as the foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10-13), the great Rock, upon whom the Church is built. And we are the precious gems that make up the walls of this New Jerusalem (Revelation 21).

Upon Jesus the Rock will the unregenerate and reprobate fall and break.

But what does it mean for us to be a “spiritual house”? Contrary to common modern usage, the word “spiritual” does not mean ethereal or insubstantial. Spiritual means to be spirit-filled, to be breathed in by the Holy Spirit.

And what do biblical figures do when filled with the Spirit, when they are spiritual? They play music and pull down pagan temples and slay hundreds of God-haters.

Be spiritual, be spirit-filled. Be a living stone that builds up God’s house. Be a living stone that crushes those who despise God.

What the famous 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon, told his congregation about the Gospel:

The Gospel is either a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death, to every one of you who hears it. If it be not a stone of help, it will become a stone of stumbling.

You will either fall upon it and be broken, or it will fall upon you and grind you to powder.

Beware, you that hear the Gospel and trifle with it, lest it be said unto you, “Behold, you despisers, and wonder, and perish.”

I believe that throughout eternity the punishment of the guilty will be aggravated forever by the privileges against which they have per- sisted in sinning.

To sink into perdition from under the shadow of the Gospel is pos- sible, to go down with warnings of judgment and wooing of mercy sounding in one’s ears is suicidal, to leap into the pit headlong, and to find out the deepest depths of dire despair is dreadful beyond de- scription.

To think of it conjures up thoughts from which we recoil.

Oh, call it not a fatal mistake, for it is a foul crime. The heathen, who never heard of Christ, cannot accuse themselves of having wast- ed Sabbaths and rejected a Savior.

But Sabbath after Sabbath you who have had the Gospel delivered in your hearing—you will have to bear a reproach like this, “you knew the Gospel, but loved it not.” This shall be the perpetual worm that shall never die. 

There was a time when God called. He himself says it, “I called, but you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no man regarded it; therefore, I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh.” 

In like manner Jesus says, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin; woe unto thee, Bethsaida; it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for you.” 

The privilege in each instance clenches the responsibility. 

There are sins which God’s people, His real people, true and genuine saints, may be charged with—nay, of which they may accuse themselves, as exclusively their own. 

Possibly the very mention of them may lead us to repent, and bring us back again humbly and penitently to the foot of the cross, that we may accept with the more gratitude the full atonement which our Savior made. 

You and I are, dear friends, the children of God in a sense in which other men are not, we are part of His great family. 

Being regenerated and adopted, we have received the nature of children, and been put into their status. 

Other men are but subjects under His law, we are sons. No servant can sin as a son can. A servant and a son may both be guilty of the same offense, but there is a difference in the degree of guilt because of the relationship. 

A father may well say, “My servant ought not to have done this—he has offended me, but as for you, my own child, my beloved, you have grieved me to my heart, for you have sinned against a father’s love, as well as against a father’s authority. You are bound to me by ties so close that you ought to have been more scrupulous. I can understand a servant injuring my property or my reputation, but to my child both of these should be very dear.” 

There seems to me to be a baseness about the ingratitude of a child with which the unkindness of a friend will not compare. Sharper than an adder’s tooth is the conduct of a thankless child, because he is a child. 

I do not think it is possible for anyone not related to break and wound a mother’s heart as her own child can. 

This is my last word—Believe and live. Amen. 

Sermon edited with preface by Zach Parker, news editor at The Ouachita Citizen. The excerpt is from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, “Jerusalem the guilty,” delivered July 13, 1916 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

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