Summary: Foreigners in a Foreign Land The Word in the Life Of God's People
Foreigners in a Foreign Land
The Word in the Life Of God's People
We are revisiting this passage to direct our attention to this fall, which really starts at the end of the month with Sunday School, Youth Group, and then in the fall Life Groups and Pioneers. I want to share with you the necessity of the word being central in our lives and about opportunities for involvement and community in our church family.
Big idea – We are to long for the word because in it we taste the goodness of God, experiencing life and transformation as a community.
You may be tired of hearing this but hopefully you will remember it, so let's review. Peter emphasizes that salvation is the work of God – God chose us in eternity past, God has caused us to be born again, and God is keeping us. Then he shows how the word is the means God works in our coming to salvation and spiritual growth in Christ. That was huge for his readers who were going through tremendous difficulties and hardships in life.
Overview of text: There are two commands – love and long. Love one another and long for the word. The command to love rests on two legs that hold it up, having purified our souls by obedience to the truth and because you have been born again through the word. And we are to long for the word because it brings light to the mind and heat to heart.
The Power of the Word to Produce Life
As I said and we saw few weeks ago, the command to love rests on two legs – we love other in community because we have purified our souls by obedience to the truth and because we have been born again by the word. It seems odd that Peter did not say, 'having purified your souls by faith in the truth.' If you remember, he means that our souls are purified by saving faith, which produces an obedient response to the gospel. Second we have a familial love for each other because we have been born again by the word. Remember, faith is the evidence that God has already performed the miracle of new birth, being born again. That is why Peter describes the word as living and abiding. It is living because it has power to beget life by the Spirit; it is abiding because it sustains the life that it created.
The bible possesses its own resident life but it does not always beget life. It is only effective when it is accompanied by the operative power of the HS. The Spirit must not only communicate the truth in an objective and external way but must also subjectively and internally work by applying the truth to our heart. So it is not just understanding the truth of the word, the Spirit must also work internally, subjectively applying, massaging that truth into the human heart. As a pastor I pray for both every Sunday and as a parent I pray for both in the life of my children. Parents are you trusting the word to create life in your children? We are here to partner with you in your children's spiritual development but not replace you. Are you deliberately and regularly exposing them to it? Are you praying for the Spirit's work to create life in them and change their hearts? Both are critical! Knowing the stories and quoting memory verses does not guarantee that their hearts are changed. The Spirit must massage the truth into their hearts, invading and transforming it. Truth is essential but so is the Spirit's work.
The Power of the Word To Transform our Community
“Long for the pure spiritual milk that you may grow up into salvation.” The result of longing for the word is that we will grow up into salvation. The word is our primary means of spiritual growth, spiritual strength, and vitality. The word is like a seed that produces new life; the word is also like milk that produces new growth. It does this two ways. Giving light to our minds and heat to our hearts; enlightening the mind and enlivening the heart. No light and our thinking will not change; no heat and our affections and desires will not change. Unless our desires change we will never change our behavior. We all do what we desire to do so the Spirit must apply the heat of the word to our affections to give us new desires and appetites. Light and heat; Word and Spirit.
Are you convinced with Jesus that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds form the mouth of God? That is why he commands us to long for the word as a baby craves it's mothers milk. The goodness of God is the saving grace and sustaining grace. Let me encourage you today choose to spend time in the word – make some choices today.
Take aways . . .
• Trust the power of the word to work in us
• The word uses community to form us