Taken from the intimation sheet: 27 April 2014
1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
This is the passage, God-willing, we’ll be looking at tonight. I doubt you’ll be surprised that my attention has turned to 1 Peter 2:2 of late! The first of the new church babies has just been born as I write (congratulations to James Claire and Rory!) and we wait for all the rest to follow. New birth is a time of great joy. That’s true spiritually as well as physically. When we become Christians, we are born again spiritually. God adopts us as his children, we have spiritual brothers and sisters, and we are called to grow and develop from our spiritual childhood into spiritual maturity. Paul’s desire for the believers he ministered to was that he could present them mature in Christ:
“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)”
That’s the goal of my ministry, and the ministry of our church in general. How are you doing? Are you maturing in love for the Lord and his people? Are you growing up spiritually? Are you further ahead now than you were a couple of years ago?
Peter gives us a couple of tips, as to how we can grow spiritually. Firstly he tells us the things we need to get rid of. Then he tells us the thing we need to embrace:
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk”
Rid yourself of malice. We serve the Lord who cried ‘father forgive’ as he looked at his murderers in agony. How can we justify harbouring ill-will in our hearts against another person? Rid yourself of malice – desire the best for others.
Rid yourself of all deceit. We serve the Lord who never, ever, ever told a lie. He spoke the truth, and he IS the truth, there is no falsehood in him. Rid yourself of all deceit.
Rid yourself of hypocrisy. We serve the Lord who hated hypocrisy. As we will hear from Edwin this morning- Jesus reserved his fiercest criticism for the Pharisees- because of their hypocrisy. Rid yourself of it.
Rid yourself of envy. We serve the Lord who by his death has given us an utterly undeserved inheritance that will never perish spoil or fade. We have eternity with God, surrounded and protected by his love. What cause do we have to envy anyone, when we are so rich and secure in his love? Rid yourself of envy.
Rid yourself of slander. We serve the Lord who says that people will know that we are his disciples, by our love for one another. How tragic that many many Christians and churches have been torn apart by the destructive power of the tongue. Rid yourself of slander.
Now that we’re getting rid of the rubbish, what do we replace it with? Not emptiness, but pure, spiritual, milk. Sustenance for the soul. Do you CRAVE an encounter with the Word of God? Are you thankful that today you have the opportunity to listen to the Word of God read and proclaimed in the presence of your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you thankful that you have the chance to take some of those biblical words and truths and sing them to praise the name of your God- to ‘declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’?
Infancy is a joyful time, but we are not called to stay in immaturity. Child of God, you have all that you need to grow- His Spirit, his Word, his people, his ordinances. Grow into greater health and strength and faithfulness and fruitfulness. Grow into greater maturity- for your joy and for his glory.
In His service