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Summary: Peter tells us three keys we need to build a strong church family: 1 - Put off sinful ways; 2 - Prioritize every member in ministry; 3 - Praise God continually

What does it take to build a strong church family that is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ?

Peter is going to let us know there are three keys to building a strong church life where Jesus Christ is praised and people are growing into mature believers.

To have a strong church family, each follower of Christ must:

1 – Put off sinful ways

Because of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, in that He has:

Redeemed us from our old sinful life by the blood of the cross

Given us 24/7 access to the throne of grace

Made us His dearly loved, Spirit-filled children

Buried our old life without Him and raised us to a new life in Christ

We now have a new mission in life. In our old life before Christ we served self, sin, Satan, but now we have died to that old life and we’ve been raised to walk in the newness of life in Christ.

Instead of running to sin and away from God we are now running away from sin and running to God.

2:1 – Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander…

Before we put on a strong life in Christ Jesus, we must put off the sin that is going to keep us from reaching the goal of spiritual maturity in Christ.

We can’t go around saying we are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might if our lives are characterized by the sin that kept us in bondage before we received Christ.

What are the sinful ways that each believer in Christ must put off? Peter lists the following:

Malice – ill will toward others

Deceit – trickery that comes from selfish motives.

Psalm 32:2 - How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!

1 Thessalonians 2:3 - For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;

Hypocrisy – “play acting.” In Greek theatre, the actors would use masks to act like they were someone they really weren’t.

Matthew 23:28 - “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

You can fool everyone, including yourself, but you can never fool God about who you truly are.

Envy – jealousy, always wanting what another person has.

Envy is the begrudging of other’s possessions or accomplishments and wishing for their misfortune while selfishly seeking self advancement. Lifeway, ETB, Living in a New Household, pg. 35

Slander – evil speaking, negatively putting down others

We are called to build people up, not tear people down.

Romans 1:30 - slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents…

Leviticus 19:16 - You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD.

What would happen if each Christian in our church took this seriously?

What if we quit excusing ourselves from our old sinful ways?

What if we asked God to forgive us for living out of His will and we began to desire to grow up into mature and ministry minded Christians?

We if we turned from our sin, turned to the Savior, and started turning more to the Scriptures for our daily strength?

1 Peter 2:2-3 – “ like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

What’s going to help us grow into a strong Christian more than anything is spending time daily in the Word of God and in prayer.

What would happen if a newborn babe went without its daily milk?

Just like a baby craves the milk so that it may grow and become strong, so that believer needs to crave the pure milk of the Word of God so that he may grow into a mature follower of Christ.

Sometimes people say they are okay with Jesus, but they don’t want to join a church. God calls us to walk out the Christian life together (Eph. 4:1-16).

Question: Can I be a Christian without joining the church?

Answer: Yes, it is possible. It is something like being:

A student who will not go to school.

A soldier who will not join an army.

A citizen who does not pay taxes or vote.

A salesman with no customers.

An explorer with no base camp.

A seaman on a ship without a crew.

A businessman on a deserted island.

An author without readers.

A tuba player without an orchestra.

A parent without a family.

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