Summary: “The Growing Christian” series is an appropriate theme based on the need for every disciple’s continuing growth to spiritual maturity.
The Growing Christian
“The Growing Christian” series is an appropriate theme based on the need for every disciple’s continuing growth to spiritual maturity.
Provision for Spiritual Growth
1 Peter 2:1 – 2
A false idea held by many is that the child of God is born full grown. They believe that once a person becomes a convert, instantaneously and automatically he becomes a mature Christian. Consequently, mature Christian conduct is expected from those who are in reality mere babes in the family of God. But spiritual birth does not automatically produce spiritual maturity. In the words of our text, Peter speaks to new converts concerning their continuing need to put off and lay aside attitudes and actions that are contradictory to the spirit and teachings of Christ. He af-firms that they will be able to put off these harmful attitudes as they grow spiritually.
Many new converts have been greatly distressed by their failure to measure up to what they believe they should be as followers of Jesus Christ. They have mistakenly labored under the im-pression that once you become a child of God, Christian character and maturity will naturally follow. Some have been terribly distressed to discover that in spite of the fact that they have a new nature within their heart, evil continues to plague them.
As children of God, each of us needs to recognize that spiritual growth is both a responsibil-ity and a continuing opportunity. We also need to face up to our responsibility toward younger Christians, those who are but babes in Christ, and do all that we can to help them in their pro-gress toward spiritual maturity.
All people are creatures of God, but only those who are born again are children of God. If the children of God would become the servants of God, they must grow. Our text speaks of the pro-visions for our growth. It speaks of our Father, our food, and our future as the children of God.
I. Our Father.
A. We are God’s little ones — babes in Christ. We may be old in sin, but we are young in Christ at the time of our spiritual birth.
B. This text should teach us humility. Ours is the privilege of being the children of the eternal God. John rejoiced in the assurance of sonship: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:1 – 2).
C. This text should impart hope to each of us. We are not what we ought to be. Neither are we now what we can be. The heavenly Father has made provisions for our growth. As time passes by, it will be possible for us to resemble both the heavenly Father and our older Brother.
D. This text reveals to us the attitude that we should have toward the heavenly Father.
1. As his children we should love him.
2. As his children we should trust him implicitly.
3. As his children we should obey him.
II. Our food.
A. The Father has made provisions for his children.
1. In the church he has provided for us a family in which to grow toward spiritual maturity and effectiveness.
2. In the Bible he has provided us the milk, the meat, and the bread we need for spiritual energy.
B. The sincere milk of the Word.
1. “Being born again . . . by the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
2. Purify your soul by obeying the truth of the Word of God (1 Peter 1:22).
3. The Word of God has the life of God in it (1 Tim. 3:16 – 17; 1 Peter 1:23).
4. The Word of God endures forever (1 Peter 1:25).
C. Desire the sincere milk of the Word. It is a law of nature and also a law in the spiritual realm that shortly after birth the newborn has an appetite for food. The child of God will desire the milk of God’s Word.
1. We must know the truth of God revealed in his Word.
2. We must obey the truth of God learned from a study of his Word. When we study and obey the Word of God, our faith grows, our love deepens, and we gain spiritual strength and vitality.
III. Our future.
Peter reveals the noble destiny that God has planned for his children. It is God’s will that the followers of Christ assume both the privileges and the responsibilities that had been bestowed upon Israel as a nation.