Growing Under Your Spiritual Mother’s Care (1 Pet 2:1-3)


Ben Tellinghuisen - May 11, 2014

Growing Under Your Spiritual Mother's Care (1 Pet 2:1-3)

3 Simple Steps to Grow as a Christian Transcript: It’s rather easy to see that moms play the most important role in their children’s lives. Kids know that’s why we have such a soft spot in our hearts for their mothers, right? Dads know that’s why when my dear son gets hurt or sick, he immediately cries for mommy even if she’s not even there. And moms should definitely know that’s why we celebrate Mother’s Day. I looked up some statistics this week for Mother’s Day. It’s actually second only to Christmas on spending in flowers and plants. That means Mother’s Day; people spend more money on flowers and plants than on Valentine’s Day. I was actually surprised to find that out. On average, the American spends 169 dollars on their mothers or grandmothers, etc., for a grand total of 20 billion dollars spent in the US on Mother’s Day. That’s a pretty penny. But that doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of how much it could cost to replace a stay at home mom, does it? indicates and calculates the worth of a stay at home mom at 118 thousand dollars, 905 dollars every year. That’s quite a bit of money for those stay at home moms. Thank you very much for working for free even though those are what your services are worth. But we really can’t put a dollar figure on the important role of mothers, can we? We can’t put a dollar figure on the important role on the lives of their children especially. Mothers not only provide physical nourishment, they are God’s tools to mold children into who they will become as adults. We all are who we are due in large part to our moms. They direct us, they help us see right and wrong, they continually love us even when, frankly, we don’t deserve it. And even though a mother’s role last a lifetime, one of the most precious and poignant examples of the importance of a mother, is looking at the relationship of a newborn baby and her complete dependence on their mother. That complete dependence of a newborn is actually Peter’s illustration in our text this morning. It says, “Like newborn infants long for the pure spiritual milk…” It’s only by her mother’s milk, that a newborn baby can grow and to a newborn, mommy is absolutely everything. It’s exactly how Peter describes our relationship to God in his Word. It should be our everything. God gives us everything we need to grow as Christians and it is found directly in his Word. It is it alone that we need to be totally dependent. As important as your dear ol’ mother was to your growth, even more important is the Word to your spiritual growth. Specifically, our passage has three steps to grow as a Christian, but there really is one main commandment in our passage and that is to long for the pure spiritual milk in verse 2: “Long for the pure spiritual milk, the Word of God.” This emphasis makes sense given the context in verses 23-25, Peter has just spent time telling us that it is only through the imperishable Word of God that we can be born again- that we can be made new, that we can become Christian in the first place. The Word of God alone contains the glorious Good News, the glorious Gospel truth. It is in the Bible alone that we find that in spite of the big problem that we all face of falling far short of God’s standard for perfection, God has made a way to be forgiven, to be wiped completely clean of our sin and our filth. He promised the prophets of old that a Messiah would come who would be the ultimate sacrificial lamb and take on the sins of the whole world and that the prophets themselves looked carefully into these prophecies and that’s what we saw in 1st Peter 10 and 11, isn’t it? Peter wrote, “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that would be yours, searched and inquired carefully, they inquired what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and his subsequent glories.” It’s also all in the word that we find how to become Christians in the first place. Only those who turn from living for themselves and believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior can truly be born again. Peter makes that abundantly clear as well. 1st Peter, chapter 1, verse 14: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” In other words, forget your old self. Stop living the way you used to live. Stop living after the same passions that you are naturally inclined to have, and instead, run after God. We also see the same thing in verse 8, that we “obtain… the outcome of our faith,[ which is] the salvation of our souls.” And then verse 3, it is God who has “caused us to be born again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” And so the Word clearly proclaims the Good News and is clearly the source of our salvation, but as we will see in our text today, it is also now the source of our growth. The Bible is not only the source of how you become a Christian, it’s also the source of how you grow as a Christian and we see this beautifully illustrated in Isaiah 55:10 and 11. Go ahead and look there if you want – Isaiah 55:10 and 11. Isaiah writes this: “For as the rain and the snow come down from Heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my Word be that goes out from my mouth. It should not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing that which I sent it.” Here, God says himself that the purpose of the Word is to cause growth in the lives of true believers. And so our passage today well teaches us, that the Word of God is what nourishes our souls. Now I want you to notice in 1 Peter, chapter 2, verse 1, the very first word is ‘so.’ Some of your translations might say ‘therefore’ if you have the NIV or the NASB and that, of course, links it to what has previously been said. It is no surprised really, that the lynchpin to all Christian growth is the same source as the beginning of all Christian life, and so after calling us to pursue holiness in verse 17, remind us that our faith and our hope are in God alone, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead in verses 20 and 21, and encouraging us to pursue brotherly love as a very specific way to be holy like God is holy – Peter now gives us 3 simple steps that we’re to grow as Christians. Look, he’s called us to be holy, he’s called us be righteous, and now he says, “Here’s how you do it. Here’s how you become more holy.” 3 Simple Steps to Grow as a Christian It is a given here that Peter is talking to Christians because growth only happens to those who are spiritually alive; it’s like the plant analogy. Plants that are alive grow, if they’re dead, they don’t grow at all. If you’re trying to grow as a Christian without being truly Christian has actually caused much confusion and widespread hypocrisy in the church today, hasn’t it? So before you start taking notes on how you grow as a Christian, ask yourself: “Have I been born again? Am I a new believer?” Has God done the work in your heart that we’ve just discussed? Have your eyes been open to the powerful truths contained in his Word? Have you turned from living for yourself and trusted in God for everything? Do you long for an understanding of the Bible like a newborn baby longs for milk? I pray that you do, and if you don’t, come right now and trust in God. There’s no better time than right now. 1. Strip Off All Sin (v. 1) Interestingly, the stages for spiritual growth is very similar to the same basic response of the Gospel message for the first time, isn’t it? So this will be important, no matter where you find yourself in your spiritual journey, and our first stage of spiritual growth is really the first stage to conversion – it’s to strip off all sin. Put away all sin. We see that in verse 1, “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” The word that is used here – ‘to put away’ – is literally to refer to taking off clothes in Acts, chapter 7, verse 58. And so frequently used as a metaphor in the same way to refer to stripping off sin really provides a helpful illustration for us, doesn’t it? With the warmer weather outside, my children have been playing outside a lot more frequently these last weeks and often, as they come in, they are still muddy. Sometimes, quite so, I got two little mud monsters on my hand. Imagine if I just picked them right up, clothes and all, and just threw them in the shower and turned on the faucet and just let the water rinse. Well neither their clothes, nor themselves, will get very clean. The mud would get stuck in all the folds and their underwear and their diapers. Sure, some dirt would come off but it wouldn’t get them clean now, would it? So I do what all of you would do. I would set them down, I’d fling off their dirty clothes, and then I’d put them in the shower. Same is true with the Christian life, isn’t it? We have to get rid of our filthy garments before we can ever expect the cleansing shower of God’s Word to have its affect in our lives. I’m not saying you have to be perfectly clean to get in the shower of God’s grace, just that you can no longer cling to the old clothes. We can’t cling to the old way of living – this sin that clings to us like a filthy, muddy, wet shirt. We’ve got to take that off and put it aside. No longer hold on to our sin, keeping it with us, close to us. And so we’re commanded here, “Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” The first he commands us to put away is malice and that first word is a general world. It’s a general word for sin. It’s an evil attitude or disposition. It describes an orientation of a walk towards evil. The New English Translation, or the NET, translate it ‘get rid of all evil.’ It’s good of everything that you could imagine in your life that is evil. And so after the most general word for sin that Peter uses here, he hones in on some very specific sins that can be particularly convicting if we look at these honestly. “So put away all types of evil, all malice and all deceit and all hypocrisy.” Deceit here is purposely misleading or lying to someone. Some blatantly all the time, others are more subtle. Subtly thinking and wanting to make yourself look better than you actually are in an argument. We do this when we say, “I always do this,” or, “I never would do that.” Don’t focus on what you never would do or what you always would do, but focus on what you actually did do. Repent of what you need to repent of and stop trying to make yourself look better than you are. We do this frequently by withholding parts of the truth – shifting the truth into what we want it to be so that we can get something that we want. Look, deceit is rampant in mankind and sadly, even those within the church fall into this temptation frequently and when we begin to deceive ourselves trying to put forward a version of ourselves that is different than the truth, then we become hypocrites. That’s the second thing that he tells us to put away. Put away all deceit and put away all hypocrisy. So many religious people in churches fall prey to this sin which is at the heart of hypocrisy is the lack of genuine care and concern for God. See, hypocrisy is trying to be holy like God has called you to be holy totally on your own efforts – for your own praise, and ultimately, to your demise. You see, we are called to pursue holiness for God’s glory, not our own glory. The hypocrite reads the Bible because it’s what he should do. He goes to church so is not to be confused with those heathens who might worship football or some other ‘God forsaken sport’ on a Sunday. The hypocrite, he serves others because it’s all in good day’s work of Mr. Christian of the Year. Whereas the Christian, well, the Christian reads the Bible and goes to church and serves others because he wants to because he wants to honor God and give God the glory. He genuinely loves god, he loves others and rejoices at the privilege to become more obedient to his commands. Sadly, it is difficulty at times to discern the difference in our churches. That’s why Peter encourages Christians, as he’s writing to Christians here to search out your hearts and see if you are a hypocrite. Look, we’re all hypocrites at times, we need to find hypocrisy in our own hearts and repent of it, turn from it, and put it off, like a filthy garment. What else are we supposed to put off, like a filthy garment? Well, envy and slander and all slander. Sometimes it’s helpful to see a sin for what it is not or the opposite. Well, the opposite of envy is a right response of joy and thankfulness when something good happens to someone else. Someone gets an award, someone wins an election that you were also going up for in school when and you ran for president. Were you angry at that person who won president and you didn’t? Often we are. That’s envy. Envy wants desperately good only for yourself. It sees the greener grass and sinfully longs for that grass. It even includes the desire for the downfall of your neighbor so you can inherit his grass. Envy so longs for what you perceive will make you happy that you hate anybody and anything that gets in your way or gets what you want. This takes shapes in the cultic idea of happiness that we often find in our culture. Bet you didn’t know that the UN declared March 20th as International Day of happiness, did you? Well they did, and they actually sanctioned a “Happiness Report,” and on this “Happiness Report” they found out – I’ll give you a brief of it – Denmark was the highest and the US was not in the top ten. So, the criteria for the countries that represent the ‘happiest’ countries, well, self-reported happiness – if people said that they were happy – that meant it was a happy country. Per capita wealth, higher life expectancy, I found this one interesting, percentage of Government spending on social programs, perceptions of corruption. Apparently all those things make people happy. If this is what makes you happy, that’s all going to be fleeting isn’t it? This wealth, success, government support, it’s all going to fade away. Also pursuing what you think will make you happy, often does not. In many of these countries that were in the top ten, they’re countries that have the highest rates of divorce. They’re some of the highest rates of infidelity. They’re some of the countries that have the lowest birth rates. You see, the UN’s understanding of happiness is not the Bible’s understanding of happiness. Bet you’d also find in the top happy countries a similar study finding that those might be the top envy countries as well. If we buy into this lie that we’re always supposed to be happy and we get to define what makes us happy, then we’ll become green with envy. Well the final sin that we are to put off is – to put off all slander. “Put off all slander,” he says at the end of verse 1. This can include false stories or lies about others, but it’s much more broad than this. As one commentator writes, “Slander also involves disparaging others. Well timed words that carry insinuations about others are often all that is necessary to slander someone.” This is the exact opposite of brotherly love, isn’t it – that believes and hopes the best about another Christian and avoids speaking negatively about anyone. Slander is a problem. We need to check our hearts and see when and if we slander. That was quite the list, but it is far from exhaustive list of sins. We struggle with much more than just these five particular sins that he mentions here. We need to learn to put off every bitter thought, every evil deed, and as soon as we are aware of our sin in our life, the truly converted will hate that sin and will turn from that sin in disgust. We have our own conscience, which helps us see sin but that can be broken, can’t it? It can be seared. We have brothers and sisters in Christ that can help us see sin, but sometimes people call personal preferences sin, don’t they? The one source that helps to see ourselves for who we truly are - is right here, the Word of God. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit which opens our eyes to its truth. So Christian, if you grow, you must learn to put off the sin that remains. 2. Learn to Long for God’s Word (v. 2) But also, secondly, you need to learn to long for God’s Word. Learn to learn for God’s word – we see that in verse 2. Peter writes, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk that by it you might grow into salvation.” The English, like the Greek, is rather redundant. ‘Newborns’ here are brand new babies, and ‘infants’ are the youngest of babies. Peter just wants to drive home his point. He wants you to picture the squirrelest, the youngest, little newborn – you know the ones who go like – you know that have the hands they can’t control and they’re just hardly opening their eyes, they can’t do anything – they’re helpless. That is except one thing, right? Right away from the room, what do they know how to do? They know the root and they know how to suck, they know how to drink milk. It’s because ultimately milk is all they care about. You know if they could talk, it would read something like this: “Feed me, deal with the consequences, then feed me some more.” So like the newest babies who can truly has said to have one primary desire, we’re given one command – “Like newborn infants, you are to long for the pure spiritual milk.” The nourishment the baby gets from his mother’s ideal, contains and abides and even changes according to what the child needs to do each stage of development in the first weeks. You know that the baby’s stomach is about a half of teaspoon at the beginning and it gradually grows, and the same with the mother’s milk. So too is the Word of God the ideal for the believer at every stage of life. You know that as well, don’t you? You notice when you are first a believer, you read a passage and you just loved it and it was a great chapter and all of a sudden, three years down the road you see like three verses in that chapter and you’re like, “Wow! I never saw that before,” right? Or how many times have you read the same passage over and over and over again – ten, twenty, thirty, forty times and then the thirtieth, fortieth time, your eyes are opened to something new – a new truth in God’s Word. See, God’s Word is powerful. It speaks to us at our every point of need. Exactly when we need to hear what it says. It’s because the word is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, as Hebrews 4:12 says –or as he says in verse 23, “it is living and abiding.” And take a step back. How do we know we’re talking about the Bible in this verse, it only says “long for the pure spiritual milk.” Well, what do you think? How do we know that the pure spiritual milk is the Word? Well, as any good Bible scholar will do, we’re going to look at the context – look at verses 23-25. What’s the main topic in verses 23-25? It’s the Word of God, right? Verse 23 talks about the living and abiding Word of God, the rest, “flesh is like grass, but the Word of the Lord remains forever,” in verse 25 and, “It’s this Word that was preached to you that contains the good news,” so Peter has just talked about the Word of God. Makes sense that then that it would continue to do so in this very next passage, that an imperishable seed that has caused one to be born again is the same thing that causes us to grow as a Christian – our nourishment. So our needed context tells us that, well you also know that the larger biblical context demands it as well. The idea that the Word nourishes the soul is found frequently in Scriptures - Deuteronomy 8:3, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119, Matthew 4 – So too is the idea that the Word is pure. Free from any imperfection and will never deceive or lead astray that’s found in Psalm 12:6, 18:8, but these ideas that are talked about in this verse, that it nourishes, that it causes us to grow, that it is pure, is found throughout Scripture. The Word also here, is described as spiritual, and when you look at the word ‘spiritual’ in the Greek, you’ll understand that it is most likely talking about the Word of God and that’s because the word for ‘spiritual’ isn’t the normal word for spiritual – it is the word ‘logikos.’ Sounds like ‘logic,’ doesn’t it? And that ‘logos’ is also the word for ‘word.’ Literally, the word, ‘word,’ and that means that we have a logically or reasonable milk that we are talking about. And so, it’s a metaphorical milk, it’s a spiritual milk. The only time that the same word, ‘logikos’ is used is in Romans 12:1, you know that passage well, don’t you? “I appeal to you therefore brothers by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship [or rational or logical worship].” The idea is that it makes sense for you to give up your life and serve God because he has done everything for you. Well, here too, we’re to grow by our understanding of the Word of God. It gives a logical sense and it’s the Word that gives us that understanding. So, it’s not literal milk that is being talked about it here, but spiritual, rational, logical milk, and knowing the Word the God fits that metaphor, so virtually everybody agrees that the spiritual milk is the Word of God. Now the command is simple, yet profound. When I first of read this, and I’m sure when you might have first read this you think, “Like newborn infants, long for the spiritual milk,” you might have skipped that comma and didn’t realize that the word ‘long’ is really a command. And this isn’t just a casual command, this isn’t just a casual desire, this is an intense, personal, even primary desire. And given the connection to the newborn and the milk, it makes sense doesn’t it? The newborn desires really one thing – his mother’s milk. The Christian really should desire one thing above all else. It’s the Word of God. Our desire for the Word for reading it, for understanding it, for hearing it taught, for being around others who love it – those desires should be primary in our lives. We should echo the psalmist. The psalmist says in 119 about his own desires for the Word of God. You can listen as I read a number of verses in Psalm 119. Psalm 119, verse 16, the psalmist says this: I will delight in your statutes and I will never forget your Word.” Verse 24, he says this: “Your testimonies are my delight. They are my counselors.” Verses 47 and 48, “For I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands towards your commandments which I love and I will meditate on your statutes.” Verse 72, “The law of your mouth is better to me that thousands of gold and silver pieces.” How many of you can say that? Do you cherish the Bible more than wealth? I know some martyrs that would say that but I think too many of us frequently would not. Verse 97, “Oh how I love your law. It is my meditation all the day.” And then verses 111 and 112, “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they’re the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever to the end.” Might we be those who so long for, so desire, the Word that it remains the highest desire to the end of our life. And when it does, it transforms our hearts. Along with this desire comes spiritual growth. That’s why Peter continues in our verse, verse 2, “That by it, by the spiritual milk, you may grow up into salvation.” The results of this longing are made clear – like a child grows up as she is fed, so too will the Christian grow up in our salvation - The more we understand and know and cherish the Word of God. And you might say, “I don’t know about ‘longing for the Bible.’ You see, I know so many people who know a lot about the Bible who, frankly, are quite immature in their faith,” and I would say, “quite right.” That’s because many people don’t really know how to read the Bible. They read the Bible without taking off hypocrisy. You see, some read the Bible traditionally. Their parents read it daily and so they read it daily. “They’ve always read it daily, so that’s I’m going to do.” Some people, they read the Bible superstitiously. Like religious charm, you know, “What am I going to get today opens the Bible to any random passage? (Opens the Bible to any randomly to any passage) Okay, I’m going to take that one. Bring it home to the bank.” They think, “Well you better do what your daily reading says or, I don’t know, God might zap you. You can miss two days, but three days – you’re in real trouble.” That’s a superstitious way to read the Bible. Some read it educationally. They want to know all the facts, all the history, all the theology, all the mythology, as they might say. Some read it denominationally, to defend their articles of the faith, to defend what we believe in our church. Some read it professionally so they can write commentaries about it so they preach sermons about it. Some read it proudly so they can win the Bible trivia at the next wild church party they attend. The point is you can read the Bible because you feel like it. You can read the Bible because you feel like you have to or for any of these wrong reasons and you won’t get much out of it. It’s not going to change your life. You’re just going to be another hypocrite sitting in the church pew. But really we need to look at this differently – we need to look at the Bible differently. See, you don’t have to read the Bible, but you get to read the Bible. You don’t have to know God; you get to know to God. You don’t have to go to church, you get to go to church and hear the Word proclaimed. You don’t have to go to Bible study or care group, you get to. God has made available a bountiful feast in his Word and we now have the privilege to have it written in a language we can understand and have multiple copies with study notes sitting on our shelves at home. We are those who are incredibly privileged and if you are truly converted, you’ll recognize this privilege and put yourself in the way of as much truth as you possibly can. Therefore, prioritize your time in the Word, both privately and corporately, and learn to cultivate a longing for the Word. Learn to love the Bible. Now Peter could have commanded us a number of things, some things that Paul command. Like Paul commanded in 1st Timothy 4:13, you “need to read the Word.” That’s not what he says here. In 1st Timothy 2:13 Paul said, “You need to study the Word, so that you can be not ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” In Psalm 16:14, Philippians 4:8, we are commanded to “think upon,” or meditate upon the Word. 1st Timothy 4:11 says we are to “teach to Word.” 2nd Timothy 4:2, “preach the Word. Acts 17:11 describes the Bereans as those who “search the Word.” But as important as each of these commands are, Peter’s command is more foundational than this, isn’t it? Proceeds all of these – it’s to desire the Word. The Word is the rain that causes growth. We need to learn to long for it, like the parched earth waiting to sprout up grass. And if you are a Christian, you’ll want to grow, mature in your salvation, rather you will grow and mature in your salvation and the only way that can happen is you strip your sin and you begin to cultivate a love and concern for God’s Word, drinking deeply and frequently. 3. Remember God’s Goodness (v. 3) And our third point in spiritual growth is – remember God’s holiness. Strip off all your sin. Learn to long for God’s Word and remember God’s goodness. Now if you aren’t a believer here today, well like I’ve already said, we have similar steps to become a believer – you strip off all your sin, you cultivate a love for the Word which shows you the way for salvation and you recognize God’s goodness. You don’t know God’s goodness as intimately as a Christian does. See, a Christian already knows God’s goodness and we need to be those who remember it - recognize God’s goodness and remember it, but the unbeliever; recognize God’s goodness and salvation today. It says in verse 3, “If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” This hypothetical ‘if’ doesn’t question whether or not God’s goodness is good, only whether or not you have tasted his goodness or that you remember tasting his goodness -in other words, whether or not you recognize God’s good, sovereign, hand in your life. This idea of tasted, of course, means experienced and is continuing the theme of drinking milk that Peter emphasized in our passage. So Christian, you need to both remember and recognize his goodness in your life and in Scripture. The more we are aware of the Word, the more we can readily call the mind God’s sovereign hand working everything out for our good, as Romans 8:28 says. And in spite of evil, and in spite of sin, and even in spite of demonic activity, God works it all for his good purposes - just as he did for Joseph in Genesis 50:20. Just as he did for Job and as he did through Jesus on the cross for you and I. Oh, we serve a good, sweet, and merciful God. Now this verse is actual a quote of Psalm 34 in verse 8, which says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” And Psalm 34 also proclaims some more specifics of God’s goodness. So I think it’s helpful for us to see these. “Taste and see that the Lord is good and blessed is the man who takes refuge is in him. God is our refuge. God is our protector.” And verse 16 says, “The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth, the Lord is the one who exacts justice. He is a good God who will take vengeance on those who do us harm.” That’s why we don’t take vengeance in our own hands – it’s God who does that. And verse 17, “When the righteous cried ‘help,’ the Lord hears, [Oh, what a good God!] and he delivers them out of all their troubles,” delivering us and turning everything in our life ultimately for our good. See God has always been and always will forever be good. The Christian knows this goodness and serves as a constant reminder and further motivation to long for this spiritual milk of the Word. Because as we turn from sin, remembering God’s goodness in forgiving us as we are reminded likewise that we want to grow and become well-nourished Christians and as we remember these things, we too will long for the Word of God. Like any mother, the Word doesn’t always tell us want we want to hear, but what we need to hear, right? For that reason on occasion, we can get a bad rap just like moms can get bad raps at times. An article was sent in from an anonymous letter writer, entitled “The Meanest Mother.” She wrote this: “I had the meanest mother in the whole world. While the other kids ate candy for breakfast, I had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When other kids had Cokes and French fries for lunch, I had to each a sandwich. My supper was different from theirs too. My mother insisted upon knowing where we were at all times. You’d have thought we were on a chain gang! I am nearly ashamed to admit it, but she actually spanked us, not once but each time we did as we pleased. Can you imagine striking a child just because she disobeyed? The worse is yet to come. We had to be in bed by 9 each night… and we couldn’t sleep until noon like our friends. In fact our mother broke the child labor laws… We had to wash dishes, we had to make beds, we had to learn to cook, we had to learn how to clean, we had to learn to do all sorts of exhausting jobs. I believe she lay awake nights thinking up mean things to do to us four kids. Also, she always insisted upon our telling the truth, even if it killed us – and sometimes it nearly did. By the time we were teenagers, our lives became even more unbearable… While our friends were dating at 12 and 13, my old-fashioned mother refused to let us date until we were 16, and that is if we dated only to go to school functions and to church services. As you can see, my mother was a complete failure. None of us has ever been arrested, divorced, ‘or… even’ take part in a riot. And who do we have to blame: that’s right, our mean mother. She forced us to grow up into God-fearing, educated, honest adults.” The Word can feel at times like the world’s meanest mother. The more quickly we understand that ‘mean moms’ are actually helping us to become who God wants us to be, the quicker we learn to cherish, love, and even desire mothers like this. So even if the Word at times seems outdated – irrelevant – don’t give into the cries of the culture, but remember the good and sovereign intentions of our God and return back to him as he alone will give you the food you so crave as a Christian. Let’s pray. God we thank you for giving us your Word and we thank you that it directs our lives. We thank you that even if we might have had mothers who were not perfect, that you’ve given us the most important guide in our life, and that’s your word. And so I pray for those of us that are believers in this room, that you would give us an overwhelming desire to know you through your Word. I pray that you would give us an overwhelming desire to put ourselves in the way of your truth – that we would make a habit of spending time with you, that we would make a habit of going to church, that we would make a habit of listening to sermons, to make a habit of doing everything that we possibly can to get to know you better. Lord, give us this desire. And Lord, I pray that those habits would then cultivate a further and further desire to know you and to be a child of God. And we thank you for the wonderful promise here that once we do that, once we cultivate that desire to know you and to know your Word and to know what you would have us see as sin and call sin, that you will allow us to grow as Christians. Lord, too often we look in all the wrong places to figure out how we might be able to grow, how we might be able to better ourselves and I pray that this week that you would help us to look into your Word. Lord, it is the true and only source of spiritual growth. And so I pray that it would do that mighty work in our lives. We pray this in your Son’s holy and precious name. Amen.

Scripture References: 1 Peter 2:1-3

From Series: "1 Peter: Standing Firm in this Shaky Life"

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