Summary: Peter gives us a new recipe for living--now he tells us what to do with the "leftovers" of our old life.
I Peter 2:1-3 “Leftovers”
Intro—As we’ve looked at the first chapter of First Peter over the last several weeks, you might say that Peter has been giving us a recipe for spiritual growth...In Chapter 1, verses 3-12, he’s told us to remember what God has given to each of us that has accepted Jesus Christ as our savior—a living hope, a spiritual inheritance and genuine faith—then in verses 13-21 he’s told us that because we have a spiritual inheritance and genuine faith in God, we need to live holy lives in the presence of those who don’t know Jesus...and not only do we need to live holy lives before the unsaved, in verses 22-25 we’re told that we also need to love those in the family; we need to show sincere, fervent love to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Now you may have come to your own conclusion about which sounds more difficult...living a holy life or being a fervently loving person...the important thing to remember, however, is that neither is possible without the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and both are possible if you are filled with the Spirit.
Now as we come to Chapter 2, Peter is telling us that, now that we have a new recipe for living, it’s time to clean out the old leftovers that we’ve been keeping around...You all know what I’m talking about, right?...When I talk about cleaning the leftovers out of the fridge, I don’t mean the one-day leftovers, like last night’s mashed potatoes—I mean the leftovers that we let build up in the back of the refrigerator if we’re not careful—the stuff that you’re no longer sure what it used to be, but now it looks like it’s taken on a life of its own...Peter says, if you want to have room for this new way of living, you have to clean out all of the old stuff, no matter how nasty it is.
So this morning, we want to look at five leftovers Peter says we need to throw out of our lives, and one vital ingredient of the recipe for living that he’s given us that he says can replace those leftovers.
I. Let’s start with the five leftovers...the reason I call these leftovers, by the way, is not just because they are nasty stuff we need to get rid of...I call them leftovers because, just like the old nasty leftovers in the fridge, these are things in our lives that at one time we may have liked, we may have used, we may even have cultivated in our lives to give us an advantage over others or to protect ourselves...in other words, these are things that we might have a tendency to cling to and keep in the back of the fridge because you never know when they might come in handy…
A. They are all found in chapter 2, verse 1…”laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking…” Let’s begin with malice...malice is a the desire to see something bad happen to someone else...malice isn’t really an action we have to get rid of in our lives, it’s a state of mind or a condition of our heart. What Peter is saying is that, before we get to specifics of what you should get rid of in terms of your actions, we need to deal with the thought process…
Let me give you an example...John Walker Lind is the name of the young man most of you have heard of that went to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban...now, this week, Mr. Walker applied to get bail and be released from jail, arguing that he was neither a flight risk nor a danger to society. The judge denied Mr. Walker’s request and kept him in jail pending his trial. This led several radio and television commentators to observe that it was too bad Mr. Walker wasn’t released, since he probably wouldn’t have lived 5 minutes after being released. That’s malice...did those commentators intend to hurt Mr. Walker themselves? No. But would they have taken pleasure or felt satisfaction at the injury or death of another person? Yes, probably. As Christians, Peter is telling us that we are called on to live at a higher level than that. We need to recognize John Walker’s responsibility for his crimes, but we also need to recognize that our responsibility is not to feel malice toward Walker and others like him, but to seek their salvation by what ever means are available to us.
B. The second leftover Peter comes to is guile—guile means to be cunning, but more than just cunning, it implies trickery and misleading others to get what we want...when a child of God uses trickery, it shows that he or she has no confidence in God and wants control things through his or her own actions. (Jacob and Esau, stealing of the blessing in Genesis 27, result—Jacob runs away). If we have confidence in God, we have no need of trickery.