Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Best Taste Yet! (1 Pet. 2:1-2)

1. Introduction:
They say that folks these days don’t like negative things to be said in sermons. If that’s true, then Peter blew it! Suppose 1 Peter 2 is a new sermon. Would you believe how he started? Check out the words, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (v. 1). Some of the folks would already be upset that the Pastor had been following them around that week. Oh, well.

Apostle Peter is being his direct self. Remember that his purpose is to shake us up a little and make us uncomfortable with anything that is not holy in our lives. The word “therefore” refers to his discussion of being purified by obeying the truth and loving our brothers. He doesn’t want us to miss the point his by being too ambiguous.

2. We Have Some Things to Get Rid Of:
Aside from the fact that things are plain old sin and need to be gotten rid of anyway, let’s view them from the perspective that, when we are indulging in these things, we lose our appetite for righteous things.

When I was a youngster, I used to spend what money I had on candy bars and chips. In fact, I used to keep a store of them in my hideout, hidden away from the view of my mom. After school I would “pork out” on several candy bars because I was hungry. By the time supper on the table, I wasn’t hungry anymore. When Mom would ask why, I just mumbled something about not feeling good. I think she knew that I wasn’t being truthful, because she always gave me a little lecture on eating the right things and then made me sit at the table until my plate was clean.

Sometimes we Christians aren’t any difference from a child in why and how we deal with our spiritual appetite. We indulge in the things we shouldn’t because we’re “hungry” and then we lie to ourselves and others about why we aren’t eating the good stuff, which is, spiritual food! So let’s take a quick look at these appetite chasers:

2.1. “Malice”:
Malice really has no appetite for good. It is basically a disposition or frame of mind that wants to injure people without cause. We had a bull in the pasture next to ours who had this kind of disposition. You would be surprised how many people there are who don’t need a cause for nastiness other than their own discontent.

2.2. “All Deceit”:
Apostle Peter put force to this by adding the word “all.” Deceit, in its simplest form, is catching or ensnaring something or someone by the use of cheating, trickery, double-dealing, or deception. When you trap animals, you use deceit. You trick them into believing that they are going after legitimate food. A person who uses deceit is a manipulator who tricks you into a certain kind of action or thinking.

2.3. “Hypocrisy”:
It’s simple; a hypocrite is someone who pretends to be something he isn’t. It might be a person who is trying to cover up his malice and deceit, which really makes him bad. It’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing syndrome.

2.4. “Envy”:
Envy always starts with being discontented with who you are or what you have in comparison to someone else.

There is a story that Satan’s agents were failing in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man who lived as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every attempt had met with failure. So Satan, angered with the incompetence of his subordinates, became personally involved in the case.

He said, “The reason you have failed is that your methods are too crude for one such as this. Watch this.” He then approached the holy man with great care and whispered softly in his ear, “Your brother has just been made bishop of Alexandria.” Instantly the holy man’s face showed that Satan had been successful. A great scowl formed over his mouth, and his eyes tightened up. Envy,” said Satan,is often our best weapon against those who seek holiness.”

2.5. “Slander of Every Kind”:
Envy usually brings us to the point of saying things that are not true, or half true with a bent, to harm another person; this is slander. It may be one of the most common sins in the Church. “He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spread slander is a fool” (Prov.10:18). Slander may be more commonly understood as running someone down in our conversations.

These characteristics mix so well with the sinful nature and have such a way of becoming habits. It is not hard to see that if we are hungry for this junk food, our appetite for the “good food” won’t be there. Peter doesn’t simply recommend that we stop these things, he orders us to get rid of them!

3. We Are to Crave the Good Stuff:
As a child, Paul Barber just knew certain foods were poisonous. He was assured by his patient mother that they were good for him for various reasons, but none of those reasons made sense to him. How could an all American little kid like parsnips or those old gray canned lima beans that even the guys in the army wouldn’t eat? He guess he got started wrong, for when he was born, they quickly discovered that he was allergic to every kind of milk, except goat’s milk. Milk is something every baby desires and needs. Above all else, it is nutritious.

Peter equates the Word of God to milk (v. 2, NKJV). In essence he is telling us to crave God’s Word like a newborn baby craves milk, or as a young man craves a glass of cold milk on a hot summer day. Job describes the value of God’s words in our spiritual lives by sharing his intense feelings, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread (Job 23:12).

As milk is exactly what a new baby needs, so God’s Word, the Bible is exactly what the Christian needs. It is God’s perfect food for our spirits. In the same way as a child may not like certain foods that are good for him, so a Christian may come across some spiritual food that is not to his liking. Our Heavenly Parent then admonishes us to eat it anyway because it is good for us.

It is absolutely necessary for growing Christians that we not only get rid of the bad stuff but also eagerly desire all the good spiritual food we can get our hands on. The reason there are so many weak surface Christians today is that we have stopped eating and drinking from the Bible. The growing Christian is one whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1:2).

6. Conclusion:
Apostle Peter knew that without life or growth or both, there would be no chance for maturity in our spiritual lives. Since he leads us toward the “holy life,” the “deeper walk” the “better taste” he is convinced that, if we will taste the Word we will love the life. It is important to Apostle Peter that we be fully alive for in a coming verse he wants to describe us as “living stones… being built into a spiritual house” (1 Pet 2:5).

Before you leave, I want to ask you two questions:

1.    If you are doing anything that lessens your appetite for God’s Word, are you willing to deal with that and get rid of it?

2.      How is your appetite for Spiritual food? Do you eat once a week, once a day, or three times a day?

Are you willing to response by singing “Fill My Cup, Lord…”?


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