2. PROPER DIET — Feeding On the Living and Abiding Word of God
Enables Us To Grow In Aggressively Loving Others (2:1-3
Spiritual Growth is very simple: Requires the Proper Exercise and the Proper Diet — just like Physical Growth
1) Mr. Bloatburger — Bad Diet (spends all day at McDonalds); No Exercise
this guy can’t even move
2) Mr Couch Potato — Diet might be OK — but no exercise
(doesn’t do any good to just lie on the couch and read your Bible all day without ever putting anything into practice)
3) Mr. Worked to the Bone — Works hard all day long; loads of time in church and in various Christian ministries; but no nourishment; never spends any quiet time feeding on the Word
4) Mr. Spiritually Fit
Peter is talking about the need for Proper Exercise and Proper Diet in order to grow properly in our spiritual lives
What type of Exercise have we been called to??
1) Love one another 1:22
2) Spiritual Worship 2:5
3) Testimony 2:9 “proclaim the excellencies …”
These are 3 very important activities that require a lot of spiritual muscle and strength — What type of energy are we giving to loving one another and to worshipping God??
Should involve planning, making these things a priority, giving commitment of time and energy
In between 1:22 and 2:5-9 we have a key section about the Word of God 1:22 – 2:3
We have experienced the power of the Word of God in Regeneration — causing us to be born again
1) that Word is living — it has brought us into new life
2) that Word is abiding — it is eternal and imperishable
its glory won’t ever fade away like the flowers of spring time
I. 5 GROWTH STOPPERS (or at least GROWTH STUNTERS) vs.1
In business, we talk about “Show Stoppers” = things that will stop you from closing a deal; if you can’t solve the problem, you can’t continue on; it stops you dead in your tracks
There are many things that are show stoppers in our Christian growth
“putting aside” — a participle used with the force of a command; this is the necessary preparation for proper digestion of the Word of God; get rid of all this nastiness;
You can’t try to cover up dirty, smelly clothes by just putting on an extra layer of clean, fresh clothing over top
What are these Growth Stoppers??
A. Malice — most general word; then he will get more specific; all evil (kakia) = Meanness here
KNIFE in the back — anything harmful, hurtful directed against others (because of context)
general, all-inclusive term for active ill-will; the vicious nature bent on doing harm to others; opposite of godliness; of goodness
B. Guile — “to catch with bait” deceit, cunning, treachery — Tricky
FISHHOOK WITH BAIT
trying to trick and mislead others to their disadvantage and our advantage;
our ministry is not one of deception; or how we package things up; or manipulation
no confidence in the sovereignty of God; the will of God; the providence of God; we want to take things into our own hands and control things by hook or by crook
C. Hypocrisy — pretending to be someone or something that you are not
we should be transparent = who we really are; this is how God sees us anyway
Why do we want to appear more righteous than we really are?? Cf. the Pharisees looking for the praise of men and whatever other benefits would come along with it
A concentration on externals vs. Internal character
D. Envy — ill will stirred up at the sight of the good fortune of others; kids understand this concept
“I want what you have”
How do you feel when your brother gets something special and you don’t???
Our natural response is one of envy — Why him; Why not me?? It’s not fair– I deserve that; This is another simple test of our spiritual maturity
E. Slander — evil speakings; speaking against someone; backbiting
FIERY TONGUE (James 3)
constant occurrence in the workplace; at school; should not be the case in our family or in the family of God
“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” = not always true; sometimes words hurt a lot
A good practical test of our spiritual maturity: To what extent do we have to battle with feelings of ill will towards others?? [cf, my FLAMINGO approach]
Paul’s ministry of communicating the gospel demonstrated that he had successfully put off these growth stoppers: 1 Thess. 2:1-12 totally transparent and honest in his dealings with them
that’s what people should say about our ministry — What you see is what you get;
No hidden meanness, no trickery or hidden agenda, no hypocrisy, no envy or selfish ambition, no slander
Transition: We put off these things so that we can gow in a sincere love for the brethren, fervently loving one another from the heart
II. GROWTH COMES FROM FEEDING ON THE WORD OF GOD vs.2
WE MUST HAVE A DESPERATE APPETITE FOR THE WORD OF GOD LIKE NURSING NEWBORNS
God’s Formula for Baby Boomers:
A. The Demonstrators = Newborn babes
What are babies good for demonstrating??
How did we suck up the Word when we were first saved??
Rate of growth is incredible
Transition: as the weeks go by, they get more easily distracted
B. The Desire = longing for
Can’t be distracted by anything;
How important is the Word of God in our lives? In our priorities?
Think of all the other influences in our culture that are constantly trying to impact us in a negative sense
C. The Diet = the pure milk of the Word
look how careful we are that the infants get proper nourishment; after that we become more careless
Not trying to distinguish the milk of the Word from the Meat of the Word here
I don’t want 2% ; I don’t want skimmed milk; I want pure, whole milk
Don’t mess it up by adding anything else:
1) Don’t add the traditions of men — you make the word powerless
Traditions will make you a great legalist, but will not help you grow spiritually
2) Don’t add philosophy — all the wisdom of Plato and Aristotle; or how about the wisdom of this management
expert; or this self-help expert — I don’t want it
I’m not looking for a seminar on management by objective; etc.
Col. 2:8 ” See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ”
Are we willing to go to the Word for answers to our most complex and confusing questions??
Have we forsaken the simplicity of the message of the Cross — the death and resurrection of Christ — for the wisdom of this world
Philosophy will get you a lot of advanced degrees, but won’t answer any real questions
3) Don’t add psychology — Don’t gum it up with a bunch of confusing and contradictory perspectives
Do we really believe that spiritual leaders in the church are Competent to Counsel?? Does that counsel have any content to it?? Any power to it??
Psychology will get you a wide audience of itching ears, but a leopard can’t change its own spots — there’s no power in psychology
D. The Destination = what’s the objective; what’s the goal; where do we want to head? Where do we want to end up??
“that by it you may grow in respect to salvation”
Everything hinges on the 1 given = IF YOU HAVE TASTED THE KINDNESS OF THE LORD
goodness in action; the capacity to show kindness to everyone
Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”
Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”