Monday, September 16, 2013

1 Peter 2:1-10 -- Milk, Living Stones, and Priests

LINK: 1 Peter 2


BACKGROUND


The key words in this book are suffering and glory. Mark them as you read. 


Peter lists five sins of attitude and speech (Greek words are in parenthesis):


1) Malice (kakian)- desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another (the New Testament views kakian as destructive of fellowship)

2) Deceit (dolon)- deliberate dishonesty


3) Hypocrisy (hypokriseis) - pretended piety and love


4) Envy (phthonous) - feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others


5) Slander (katalalias) - literally "to speak (laleo) against (kata)," defamation



They were "newborn" believers, and they were to put aside these old ways of life and "have a yearning desire for" the Word of God like a newborn baby longs for milk at his feeding time! Just as pure milk helps a baby grow, the Word, helps a new believer grow. The Greek word for "pure milk of the Word" refers to the "rudimentary spiritual teachings." 


In verse four, Peter uses a new metaphor as he describes Jesus as a "living stone rejected by men" that became the "choice . . .cornerstone foundation" (Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22) of the spiritual house in which the persecuted Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor (modern Turkey), were also living stones. Peter here identified Jesus as the "rock" in which He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). The Jews stumbled over this stone because Jesus was not the Messiah they imagined Him to be (Matthew 21:42ff; 1 Corinthians 1:18ff), and they were simply disobedient to the Word. 


Finally, Peter describes the church as a holy and royal priesthood. Jesus is both a King and a Priest (Hebrews 7). Each individual believer can come into the presence of God (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-25) through the Mediator, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:1-8). We are chosen by God to declare His praises and bear witness of Him throughout the whole earth (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)!

REFLECTIONS from Great Saints (click on links for their biographies)


"The word is to be desired with appetite as the cause of life, 
to be swallowed in the hearing, 
to be chewed as cud in by rumination with the understanding, 
and to be digested by faith." 


"The Word of God, rightly used, does not leave a man as it finds him, 
but improves and makes him better . . . [It] is the great instrument whereby [God] discloses and communicates His grace to men. Those who feed upon the sincere milk of the word taste and experience most of His grace." 
(this site also has an online version of his book A Method for Prayer) 


"When Christians are growing in the Word, they are peacemakers, 
not troublemakers, and they promote the unity of the church." 


APPLICATION


Pray through 1 Peter 2 sentence-by-sentence allowing God to speak to You so that it goes from Biblical knowledge in your head to your heart and to your actions. Each sentence may cause you to examine your heart, lead you to confession and repentance, worship, petition, or action!  Let God's Word transform You today!


The "rudimentary spiritual teachings" for a young believer (and any believer needing a "back to the basics" spiritual shape-up) are contained in Discipleship EssentialsI am going through it right now with a new believer, and it has been so fantastic! The lessons are very simple, but they are foundational and should be returned to again and again. We did it with our kids in 2010-2011, and it was wonderful. 


Find two other people and covenant together to grow in your spiritual walk this year by going through this book! I find it takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete the lessons and 1 1/2 hours to discuss the lessons with one to three other people. That is a three hour investment that will reap eternal dividends! I had one woman from the last cycle of the BBC do it, and she thought it was "too basic," but I encourage you to do it anyway and "beef it up" by springboarding off of it into deeper things. 

Another alternative is a simple Discovery Bible Study through the "Discovering Obedienced-Based Discipleship" or the  "Commands of Christ" studies. Jesus said to "make disciples of all nations teaching them to observe ALL that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20), and these are great studies for that. Obedience and accountability are the keys to transformative growth as disciples.

Here is a downloadable handout explaining a simple way to facilitate a Discovery Bible Study (and you want all the participants to take turns facilitating it) and the four Scripture lists associated with each study: 

DISCOVERY BIBLE STUDY WITH LISTS

PRAYER


Lord, give us a longing for the pure milk of Your Word. Help us to live up to our holy, royal calling as believer-priests. Give us hearts to declare your praises to a lost world. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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