Crave Pure Spiritual Milk

October 15, 2023 Preacher: Alex Costa Series: First Peter

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1–3

Well, good morning. Today we're going to take a look at 1 Peter 2:1-3. It's not many verses, but there's plenty to talk about. So, I want to read the verses and then pray, and then we'll dive into it. So, 1 Peter 2:1-3. So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy.

Father, have mercy on us today. Let us love one another. Let us take this scripture to heart and love one another. one another as we ought and to not, act with hatred, which would be so unlike those who follow you. Lord, let us love, let us love those who, who love you. Let us love those who are in this world.

Be with us today, Lord. In Jesus name, amen. Alright, so the first few verses of 1 Peter 2, this is a continuation of the end of chapter 1. And I'm saying that because starting in verse 13, it says the word therefore, and the therefore pretty much extends to the beginning of chapter 2. And I'm saying that because simply it's so easy to look at chapter breaks is kind of like, all right, that part's over, here's the new part, and I would encourage you not to do that.

Peter, when he wrote this book, the Holy Spirit, there was no chapter two, it wasn't like Peter was writing, okay, first Peter, chapter two, so put away all malice, it was one letter. Okay, and so I'm saying that because again, this is a continuation. of the previous chapter, the end of the previous chapter. And that's especially important because last week, Wade preached on, chapter 1, verses 22 through 25.

And he encouraged us to love one another and to love others. And this week is simply the other side of the same coin. And so, what do I mean by that? Well, Wade's spurring you on to loving each other and loving others. I want to spur you on. Toward not hating each other and others and there's a simple way to do that.

It's love others. So I'm going to be talking about not hating I'm also going to be talking about loving and just an important aspect of our lives as Christians and I want to ask you this question to start out last week in my city group. I asked a question What is different about Christian love?

Is there a difference? Let me ask you that. Think to yourself, what's the difference between how Christians love and how non-Christians love? Do non-Christians love? Sure. Yes. But are we who follow Christ capable of loving each other and loving others in a way? That is either impossible or extremely difficult for those who don't know Christ for them to do.

And I want to be clear, not because we are holier than thou or some nonsense like that, because that is just nonsense, but mostly, largely, or entirely because of what took place on the cross. That have we been freed in such a way that we can now love others in a way that, dare I say, is radical. So, I asked that question to my group, and someone in the group gave an answer that I just thought was spot on, and I've just been dwelling on it ever since.

And it may sound a little too simple at first, but this was his answer. God loved us. Okay, that may be a little disappointing at first. I hope not. But let's, let's expound about this, on this. Let's, let's think about this. God loved us. We, this is to our benefit, we are so in his debt. We are in God's debt. I mean, if you think about the amount of love that we have received from God.

the kind of love we have received from him, the way in which he loved us, the means in which he chose to demonstrate his love for us. It's like if there was a scale, you know, and on one hand we have the love that we have received from God, forget about. Love from others, your parents, from other Christians, just the love that we have received from God and weigh that against the love that we have given to others or the love that we are capable of giving to others is so far outweighs the love that we have received from God, so far outweighs anything that we could possibly give back.

And the significance of that is that it sets us free. You know, do you understand what I'm talking about here? We don't have to be thinking about, well, you know, I love so and so more than he's loved me, and he hasn't loved me enough, so I'm just gonna not pay attention to him anymore. You know, he's done.

I'm done with him. Or I've loved so and so and she's responded to me. With hatred. So, you know what? I'm gonna repay your hatred with hatred. We don't do that. We are Christians because we are so much, it is so much, it's worked out so much in our favor. The love that we have received, that when we love others, we're never, we, we know that we're never going to be able to pay it back in the sense of, of how much love that we have received, and the kind of love that we have received, and how amazing this love is.

And so, there are so many examples from, from church history. From the lives of Christians. I wish that I could just spend the rest of this time telling you example after example, story after story like me with the kids right now. I'm reading through with them. This really simple to understand church history book that puts people's lives in story form.

And we're reading that before bed every night and every time it's, you know, we have this hero of the faith, this saint, a father, a church father. Who is in the face of opposition, or who has to choose between following Christ, or following the world, or loving Christ, or loving this world, or hating people in the world, and sinning against them.

And there's so many examples of people throughout church history who have, we see the love that they have received, and how that has transformed them so that they can love others in ways that are, that are not possible. without Christ and their lie. I could give you so many examples, I wanna even, I wanna share with you a personal example and it's interesting cause, I wanna share with you about something that happened last July, July of 2022, with my son Jordan and I, I'm looking around and many of you weren't even here So if you don't know, my son Jordan almost drowned in a, in a pool.

He was with my mother and my son Hudson. So, my mom Hudson and Jordan in the community pool and their neighborhood in Fishers, Indiana, just North of Indianapolis. And I don't know what happened. Y know, by the grace of God, Jordan's life was spared, but I've never really, I've never blamed my mother for that.

I know, like. It could have happened easily with me, for sure. So, Jordan had to go to the hospital. And, he was there for, I think, three days. And, and as soon as my mom called me, I went to Indianapolis to be with him. And when I got there, he was on a ventilator for, for about 48 hours, unconscious for most of it.

And so I, I found myself in this weird position where it's like, alright, I'm sitting in this hospital room. with Jordan. He's unconscious and don't really have much to do aside from be with Jordan and pray. And so I just started. I just I have all this time now and this I don't know what to call it.

This I pulled out my phone and I started reading the story. It came upon me. I wasn't looking for it. But I found, I, I came upon this story that was very similar to the situation that I was in, in that exact moment with Jordan, except that it involved a, a young girl, child who, who died, you know, so that was the difference, but it was the same, similar circumstances, where you had this woman telling, telling her story, she had twins, twin girls, and then an older son, and the children, were under the care of their grandmother, this woman's mom.

And the woman, I don't want to call it neglect, I don't, I'm not going to share details of this story because it's just, it's devastating. But the woman did something unintentionally that caused the death of this child. And I'm reading this and I'm just in the hospital with Jordan. I know he's not going to die.

But I am just, I'm a wreck as I'm reading this. But then I read more of the story and it tears me apart even more. Because the person, the woman telling the story talks about what happened after the funeral and all of that. And her mother, the grandmother, essentially became an outcast for the entire family.

The grandfather divorced her, the rest of the family, cousins, whatever, they all rejected her. And this woman wanted to never see her mother again. And the last words of that story haunt me at times. This was 15 years ago, and sometime between then and now, the mother called this woman and asked, please, will you please forgive me?

I'm so sorry. I want to see you. I love you. I want to see you. I want to see my grandchildren. And the, the woman telling the story responded, there's not a happy ending to this story by the way, but she responded, you can see us when you bring her back. My daughter, who you killed, you can see us when you bring her back.

The end. And so here I am, in the hospital, with my son, who is not gonna die. So, there's a huge difference between myself right here, and, and this story. And I re I feel for this woman. But I'm thinking about my mother. Let's just say, God chose to not spare Jordan. How would I have responded to my mother? I can tell you, even for a minute, for a second.

I would not have responded the same way. I would have forgiven my mother. I would have loved her just as much, if not more, than before. Why? Is it because I'm better than this woman telling this story? Absolutely not. By no means am I better. It's because God loved me. Think about this, okay? I am the grandmother.

When it comes to me and God, except I'm so much worse. Alright, this grandmother did not intend. on killing her granddaughter. I killed Jesus. This grandmother loved her granddaughter. I hated Jesus. I was his enemy. Romans 5:10 You were once an enemy of God. And how did God respond to you? Did he respond like this woman responded?

To his mother to her mother. I mean, we deserve far worse. We deserved eternity away from him. We deserved hell and God responded to us by loving us by forgiving us by welcoming him by welcoming us into his family as adopted sons. So, knowing that having that perspective, how could I possibly? How could you if you were in that situation possibly respond in such a way?

Yeah. That's the difference. If I could encapsulate it, we have been set free to love in ways that we would not have been able to love others if it wasn't for the fact that Jesus Christ intervened in our lives. So, with that in mind, 1 Peter 2:1. So put away all malice, and all deceit, and hypocrisy, and envy, and all slander.

Let me read the whole thing. Like newborn infants long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation. If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good, let me kind of reword this in such a way that I think meets Peter's intention here, and I'll say this, if you haven't, if you have tasted that the Lord is good, if you are a Christian, you will, over time, be putting away all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.

These things will be true of you. They are true of you right now. Now, I know, I know, we have our sins, right? At times, may have these things be true, but these things in our hearts, but over time, we are, as we grow up to look like our Heavenly Father, losing those things, putting them away. This is an entire life kind of thing.

And so, I don't want to... Go in depth on this because this isn't a comprehensive list. It's not like Peter chose the five magic words here. There's plenty more, but this encapsulates a lot. And there, there's a lot of interchange between them, like slander and malice can go hand in hand. Hypocrisy and deceit can go hand in hand.

And I don't want to look at the Greek and, you know, what's the Greek word for envy? It's a deep longing for something that someone else possesses. So, in other words, envy. Envy is envy. Envy is envy here. You can understand the word envy by, there's times, it's okay. But I do want to go over a few things with some of these words.

Like malice.

It took me a second with malice, the word malice. And then I realized, oh wait a second, okay, that's short for malicious. Alright, so malicious, malice. It means intending and or causing harm to another person. And Peter says, put it all away. And so, looking around, I'm thinking about all of you. And I don't think this is something I need to hammer my fist against the pulpit and demanding that you repent of your malice.

You know, is that something, you know, that's a pretty serious thing. But I will ask you, are any of you actively right now trying to bring harm upon another person? Or wishing that harm would come to another person. If so, that is a great evil and you must repent. Lest you become like the unforgiving servant.

You know the unforgiving servant, right? The one who was forgiven had this great debt that he could not possibly pay. And the king forgave him. And then upon leaving, he found a man who owed him 100 denarii, about a day's wage. And he demanded repayment from this other man. The other man was like, please, give me time.

I will not, I will repay you. And this, this unforgiving servant said, “No, I will throw you in jail.” And then upon hearing it, the king was furious and took back what he gave him. If you have malice in your heart towards another individual... Beware, lest you become like this unforgiving servant. It is so, it is so not Christian.

But okay, maybe that's not a thing. Let me refine this in such a way it might hit closer to home. I know it hits home for me. Have you ever, upon hearing of something bad happen to another person, felt some sort of happiness? I have in my life, as a Christian. I can honestly say, none of you. If I hear of something happening, bad happening with any of you, I have been sorrowful.

I have at times wept, but I can think of times in my life as a Christian where, yes, you know, somebody who is at odds with me, somebody who, whatever, you know, hearing of something bad happening to that person is kind of, if that's you, you have sinned against that person. There is some form of malice in your heart.

And I want to be clear, I want to discern between You know, something bad happens to somebody, let's say that person sinned against you or sinned against someone you love and you're hopeful and there's some hope in there that maybe this will bring this person to repentance. That's one thing, but there's a fine line between that and just flat out, because of the malice in your heart, being happy that something bad has happened.

To somebody that, that you, you know, here's what you should do instead in that moment. Especially if you feel the slightest temptation, pray for them. You're a Christian. Ask God to do what God will do, whether that's bringing them to repentance or giving them joy. Whatever it is, leave that to God. What about envy?

Another word here. Envy. It means envy, by the way. What do you have to envy? You, you are the man who found the treasure in the field. If you are a Christian. You found this treasure in a field, which is more valuable than anything That you could ever find in this world you had you sold all your possessions so that you could buy the field with the treasure in it and yet you envy what are you envying?

You're envying something that somebody has, somebody has a better life than you for these 70 or 80 years where you are in this flesh, on this earth. You're envying that? You are envying something that other people have when you have, that you found the treasure. You know, I was talking with, Steve Di Iorio a few weeks ago.

And he's about two years older than I am, so we're both at this point in our lives where... we're looking at peers, people who maybe we went to school with, friends, whatever. And, and we're both, we both were kind of reflecting on like, yeah, I have some friends who just, they've made it, you know, in the world's eyes, they've made it.

And we both at the, at the same time, we're just kind of like, you know, I'm looking at him with his seven kids going on eight, and he's looking at me with my, my six kids, and we're, we're just like, you know, if you ask either of us what we do for a living, it's like, whatever it takes. And so, have we made it?

I reminded Steve of a few things. I mean, one, like, he, he made it. In the world's eyes. He, if you have not heard their story, why they were in New Jersey and they came here, just ask, ask any of the Di Iorio. I, I just, I have so much respect for them. H had a good job with good pay. A respectable position.

Comfort, a steady paycheck, recognition. He had all those things, and then he found himself in a position where he had to choose between following Jesus. Or pursuing the comforts in this world. And he chose Jesus. And I praise God for that. And so Steve, the thing that I, I would say to him right now, I guess I'll see him in the second service, Hi Sophie, his daughter, Steve made it.

He found the treasure in the field. He made it. Now, for both of us, it's like, the world may think differently. I'll, I'll speak of him more so, but... What does God think? God is well pleased, I think, that the Di Iorio’s chose to follow Jesus. So what do you have to envy? You know, you have, you are wealthier, the poorest person in here is wealthier than someone of extreme earthly wealth.

Okay, moving on. So, like I said, I'm not going to focus on all these words. Because, again, it's not comprehensive. It's just, it's a picture. It's, you must stop. And if I were to define all of these words together, I'd say, stop hating people. So how do we put these things away? How do we put away all malice, envy, slander, hypocrisy, deceit?

I'll give you three answers. If you want to call it application, so be it. First of all, and we've been focusing on this a little bit here, but, number one, I would encourage you strongly to have a proper perspective. Have a perspective, the treasure in the field. Have the proper perspective. And we see this in 1 Peter.


All right, we see this in 1 Peter 1:3, You have been born again. You were dead, in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked. You have been born again to a living hope. You were without hope, and now you have a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Verse 4, you have waiting for you an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:18-19. But you were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ. You, Christian. It's not up here, but you have been forgiven of your sins.

But more than that, you have been justified. You understand the difference between this and how those two beautifully go hand in hand. Forgiveness communicates something. It says, go. You have been forgiven. Your debt is no longer owed. You are free. Go. But then justification turns that around and says, come.

You have been declared righteous. You are one of us. You are a saint. So come. You've got to remember that perspective. And here's another way to have perspective, okay? It's point number two, 1 Peter 2:2. Like newborn infants long for the pure spiritual milk. That by it you may grow up into salvation.

We've seen this word before, right? This word milk, but more so spiritual milk. But we've seen it in, in negative context. And so we, I think, we're tempted to have a reaction against milk that we shouldn't have. So, this is the third time in the New Testament that this word, the spiritual milk, shows up. The first time is 1 Corinthians 3:2.

I fed you with milk. Not solid food for you were not ready for it and even now you are not ready. So, you hear a verse like that and what's your temptation? Well, I'm not gonna have milk. I want solid food That's the wrong response Hebrews second time for though by this time you ought to be teachers You need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God You need milk not solid food for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness Since he is a child.

So what's the, what's the bad thing here? Is it milk itself? Or is it the people who can only consume milk? And it says it right here. Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the world. If you live on milk, I mean, if you just think about this practically, You know, when you were born, first six months of your life, you, your diet pretty much entirely consisted of milk.

And then around that six month old period, you were, you were introduced to solid foods. And then throughout your life, your diet consisted largely of solid foods. But let me ask you something, and I don't want to get into lactose intolerance here. Okay. Did you stop drinking milk? No. Why? Because milk is good.

Milk makes you happy. It makes me happy, at least. I woke up this morning, 3 a. m., middle of the night. I went down to the refrigerator. I drank milk. Not because I wanted an illustration for the sermon. It's because I like milk. Milk makes me happy. You know, so milk is underrated. Milk is good. You ever, there's a Brian Regan sketch.

Some of you know it, I'm sure. He's visiting his doctor. He's a comedian. Visits the doctor. He's overweight. The doctor, as he's walking out, says, hey, by the way, lay off dairy. And he responds to that as if, like, his life just ended. He responds, he's like, by the way, no more happiness. And he's at the grocery store, in the veggie aisle, holding an eggplant, looking at the dairy section.

He sees people with their party hats on, just celebrating, having a big party. Because milk is good. Milk is good. Okay, so, I'm even still trying to discern, what, what is milk? And, I'll say this, alright, a theologian by the name of Karl Barth, someone who we can go into, I would say I disagree with him a decent amount, but that's not the point.

He spent his entire life studying the Word of God. And at, towards the end of his life, he was asked a question, what's the most important thing that you have learned in your entire life? And he responded, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Remind yourselves of these simple things.

What does it say here? The basic principles of the oracles of God. It is good to remind yourself of these things. Why? Well, I mean, if you don't, if you forget these things, and you focus on, you know, the debates between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism, and that's all you care about, you're in danger.

You're in danger of becoming like the Church of Ephesus in Revelation. What does it say about them? It says they lost their first love. Milk is good. Third, finally, last, the other side of the coin, what Wade, Wade encouraged us to last week. Love and humility. Humility is easier. Why humility? Because when you think about your salvation and the fact that you have been given the love of God, and you're now able to love others in ways that you otherwise haven't been able to.

What did you contribute to that? You contributed nothing. You are so undeserving. So again, have humility. That was your contribution. Nothing. Be humble. But then why love? Well, we don't have time to go into everything, but one, you know, love covers a multitude of offenses. But like I said at the beginning of this sermon, other side, same coin, so let me give you my two cents and leave it at that.

1 John 4:7-12. Beloved, let us love one another. For love is from God and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love. In this, the love of God was made manifest among us that God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through Him in this is love.

Not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, remember this next part, it's key for the next thing we're gonna share. If God so loved us, we also ought... To love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.

So, John Piper has this to say in his book, Finally Alive, about these verses in 1 John. When John says we ought to love each other, He means ought, in the way that fish ought to swim in water, and birds ought to fly in the air, and living creatures ought to breathe, and peaches ought to be sweet, and lemons ought to be sour, and hyenas ought to laugh, and born again people ought to love.

It's who we are. This is not mere imitation. For the children of God, imitation becomes realization. We are realizing and expressing who we are when we love, when we love. God's seed is in us, God's spirit is in us, God's nature is in us. God's love is being perfected in us. In other words, loving others. It says we ought.

To love others, to love each other. This is not a suggestion. It's not a command. I mean, it is a command, but it's also not. It is who we are. If you are a Christian, you will love. In the same way that fish swim. You don't have to tell a fish to swim. It swims the same way that birds fly, the ones that can fly.

We Christians love, which can be, I hope, an encouragement to many of you. And also, I mean, if you understand the implications of that. Peter understood, he recognized this. Verse 3, chapter 2, verse 3. If indeed... You have tasted that the Lord is good, if you have tasted that the Lord is good, you should be, you ought to be doing these things.

So, if these things are true of you, in your life, and you claim Christ, but your life is full of malice, deceit, envy, hypocrisy, and slander, you have not tasted that the Lord is good. You're not a Christian. And heed the warnings from the New Testament. Examine yourselves to see. Whether you are in the faith, but saints, let us love one another as we ought.

Let's pray.

Father, help us today. I pray that your word would be an encouragement. It would be a source of joy and happiness for those of us who know you. And cause discomfort for those who don't so that you would bring about repentance and let us live our lives as lives of repentance so that we can be more like you, our Father, who delights in us.

We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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