Summary: Sermon 7 in a study in 1 & 2 Peter
“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” 8 and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”
TAKE ON THE LIFE OF THE SAVED (vs 1-3)
Well, this time the ‘therefore’ is real easy. See it?
“…THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER. And this is the word which was preached to you.” (1:25)
Do you remember what we talked about? The ‘word’ being referenced to being, specifically, the gospel message; the truth which they had obeyed in faith leading to salvation.
“Therefore…” putting aside certain things…
On the basis of their imperishable life gained through the imperishable seed of God’s Word, and sustained thereby, the sin that once controlled them must now be controlled by them. Put aside. Put off.
This is a term that Paul employed to the Colossians (3:8-9) and also James to his readers that referred to taking off old, soiled garments and putting on new clean ones.
In early Christian baptism ceremonies the candidate would remove his old clothes that he arrived in and after baptism the church supplied him (or her) with clean, white garments to go away in. It signified the new, clean life they had in Christ and the putting away of the old sinful life.
So Peter’s admonition to them might have brought the picture of their own baptism back to their remembrance as he spoke of putting away the sins of their past that they had been washed clean of.
Now I don’t want to spend our time today looking in great detail at each of these sins Peter lists here – and by the way, later you might just compare this list with Paul’s in Colossians 3:8-9 – but notice please that they all come from inside.
In response to criticism from the Pharisees that His disciples were not conducting ceremonial hand-washing before eating, Jesus said to them:
“It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” Matt 15:11
He had a few other things to say to them also that had His disciples coming to Him to inform Him that He had offended the Pharisees. I’m not going to get off track with that but it just always tickles me to read that.
I picture Jesus looking surprised, then embarrassed and appointing a committee to decide how they could best approach the Pharisees to appease their anger and make up with them. Maybe some flowers… no, a nice dinner… no, nothing less than a public apology will do! On CNN.
Think about the list. Malice. That means wickedness. A desire to do evil. In English we use the word to denote a desire to hurt someone or at least a lack of caring whether or not they are hurt.
Guile has to do with falsehood. You may remember when Jesus first met Nathaniel in John 1:47 He called him ‘an Israelite in whom there is no deceit’, and the King James translation there uses the word ‘guile’.
Now that would be an interesting point for another sermon. Had Jesus seen so much deception from His people that He thought it significant to point out one who was honest? Or was Nathaniel’s personal character so noble and forthright that he deserved the acclaim?
Hypocrisy means pretending to be what you are not. It is the fruit of guile. Envy. Do you remember some of the discussions we’ve had recently about the ‘Prosperity Lite’ doctrine? The ‘God wants you to be rich and healthy’ teaching?