PROPER DIET -- Feeding On the Living and Abiding Word of God Enables Us To Grow In Aggressively Loving Others (2:1-3)
GOD’S FORMULA FOR BABY BOOMERS
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??
(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)