Summary: Its impossible to grow in your relationship with God without growing in your relationship with God’s Word.
Rev. Brian Bill
God Tube Video: “Week in the Life of a Neglected Bible”
Note: I began the service with this video and then went right into preaching. Then praising through song followed.
If you and I are not reading the Bible on a regular basis, we will never know its truth and we won’t grow in truth. According to a Barna Research Group survey, less than 50% of Americans open the Bible in a given week. 82% think that “God helps those who help themselves” is directly from the Bible; 63% cannot name the four Gospels; 58% do not know that Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount; and over half do not know the book of Jonah is in the Bible.
That reminds me of a story I heard about a woman who had to do a lot of flying for her work. Air travel made her extremely nervous (I can relate to that), so she always took her Bible along with her to read since it helped her relax on long flights. On one flight, she found herself sitting next to a man who chuckled and then smirked when she pulled out her Bible.
After awhile, he turned to her and asked, “You don’t really believe all that stuff in there, do you?” The lady replied, “Of course I do. It is the Bible.” “Well, what about the guy who was swallowed by the whale?” he asked. She replied, “Oh, Jonah. Yes, I believe that. It is in the Bible.” Still smirking, the man asked, “Well, how do you suppose he survived all that time inside the whale? The lady replied, “Well, I don’t really know. I guess when I get to heaven, I’ll ask him.” “What if he didn’t make it to heaven?” the man asked sarcastically. To which the lady answered, “Then you can ask him.”
Last week we learned that spiritual growth is intentional, not automatic. This week I want to borrow one of my pastor friend’s core beliefs as our sermon summary statement: It is impossible to grow in your relationship with God without growing in your relationship with God’s Word.
Longing for the Word of the Lord
Our passage today is found in 1 Peter 2:2: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” If we want to grow we must get the Word of God in us. And we must crave it. Just like a newborn craves milk, we must long for the Word of the Lord. I love what Job said in Job 23:12: “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” The word “crave” is a command from a root word which means, “to burn” and is expressed in eager activity. Similar to what we learned last week, you and I must take decisive action to intensely crave the Word of God. We must be intentional because it won’t happen automatically. Too many Christians are spiritually malnourished. We must know the Word of the Lord if we want to grow in the Lord of the Word. And like newborns, we’re to go after God’s Word fervently and frequently.
It is impossible to grow in your relationship with God without growing in your relationship with God’s Word. Ok, that’s what we’re supposed to do. But for many of us that’s a struggle. We know the “what” but we struggle with the “how.”
Before you just check out and start feeling guilty because you don’t really crave God’s Word, I want to spend the rest of our time together on the how question. I received an email from a church member this week with some very honest questions: “How does one make oneself ‘crave’ pure spiritual milk? I come away from every sermon determined to do better and I do desire to read and pray, and then I don’t do it…Is craving a gift from Him? How do I learn how to crave?”
This passage gives us three ways to start craving the Word. We started in verse two and now we’re going to go back to verse one and then we’ll go forward to verse three Since the entire service has a different order, I figured the preaching could as well.
1. Remember your salvation. 1 Peter 2:1 starts with the word “Therefore.” That means we need to go back a few more verses to see what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:23-25: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you.” God uses His Word to save us. We need to remember that. Three times in these verses we read of the primacy of the Word.