1 Peter 2:1-3
2 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
In the manufacturing industry there is a phrase that is often used to refer to goods that are no longer raw materials but also not yet a finished product. The phrase is "Work In Progress". For those that has worked in a manufacturing company, you know how the process goes. It starts from one department to another. For example, like our vehicles, with all the parts that goes into it. Before it ends up in a car lot to be sold it has to be perfect. All the components needs to be where they are. It has to be running in good condition, everything needs to work before final inspection. And then approved!!!
For those of us who are saved, we are all "A Works In Progress". We are no longer raw material, but we are FAR from a finished product (some of us are farther away than others!). As a pastor, there is nothing more fulfilling than watching a Christian grow and mature in the faith.
Sometimes Christians have a tendency to look at a new believer and expect them to act as if they had been saved for decades. They will falter and fail and we are quick to point out their flaws. We may even go as far as to question their salvation. The fact of the matter is that they are also "a work in progress". They are "spiritual babes" learning how to walk! All believers are involved in the sanctification process! And we all have a long way to go. But we have a loving God Who is constantly working on us. We are clay in the hands of the potter...and He is molding and making us into what HE would have us to be.
In the first chapter of this Epistle, Peter has revealed some of the ways that God is "working on" His people. One prominent section of that chapter is where he describes the "purification process".
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been [a]grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
As we enter into chapter 2 of this epistle, The Apostle speaks of progress or "growth" in the Christian life. He speaks of salvation, turning away from sin, the importance of God's Word and the fact that we can and should "delight in the Lord". I would like to look at this growth process and preach on the thought " A Work In Progress"
In order to see the entirety of this "A Work In Progress" we must back up to chapter 1 verse 25. It is there we will see the importance of Depending on Christ!
1 Peter 1:25
But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
Here Peter speaks of the "gospel" that was preached. The "gospel" is the good news of salvation though Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:21 ... “it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe”. - We cannot underestimate the preaching of the gospel in the salvation process. The Christian in Asia Minor whom Peter was writing to received the gospel through the preaching of the Word. The context of these verses refers to the importance of God's Word.
Look to verse 2 for a moment…from our opening verse, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word". Here Peter refers to the "spiritual birth". The greatest explanation of the "spiritual birth" comes from none other than Jesus Christ. A Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus came to Jesus one night. And began to speak to Him. Jesus told him in John 3:3 that "unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” --- John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
If you expect to go to Heaven, YOU TOO MUST BE BORN AGAIN!!! How do you do this? ....By "Depending on Christ" Not a denomination, not a church building. Jesus revealed this fact to Nicodemus as well. - John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. - Notice that Jesus said we are to "believe in Him" this means more than head knowledge. The Greek word for "believe" literally means to "entrust". In order to become a Christian, you must "Depend On Christ”.
And the moment that you do, you will then become a "Work In Progress" The next step in this "Work In Progress" is:
II. Dealing With Sin- v1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.
Let me just say that "dealing with sin" is not something you can do apart from Christ. But we do have a responsibility in this process. We are to let the Holy Spirit guide our lives. Our sinful nature still craves what it has always craved. Our sinful nature is directly opposed to what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. The flesh and the Spirit are constantly battling one another.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
We will never be able to "deal with sin" on our own, but when we "walk in the Spirit" He will help us do just that!! When a person is saved, they may attempt to flee those large, obvious sins. He/she may stop cussing. He/she may no longer go to the bar. He/she may stop doing drugs. They may no longer commit adultery. The hate & anger that they once possessed may cease. The new convert may find new living arrangements if they were living in sin. A homosexual who gets saved may renounce that lifestyle. The problem is that many new believers stop with the “obvious sins”. They fail to address those other sins that clutter the landscape of their lives.
Suppose you are planning to plant a garden. Before you plant the seed, you will clear the land. Then you will till the soil and remove and rocks or other debris. Once you plant the seed you will periodically remove the weeds and anything else that might hinder the growth of that seed. Before we can grow as Christians, we must remove those things that would hinder us. We must purge our life of those "former lusts" & fleshly desires. There are sins from our past that surround us in this wicked world in which we live. These sins a prevalent and powerful and they will hinder our spiritual growth. So, we must take the proper steps to "lay aside" and to "cast off" anything that prevents progress.
Verse 1 identifies 5 things that we MUST "lay aside":
1) "Malice" - the intention or desire to do evil. More specifically this refers to ill will toward someone with the intent to do harm.
2) “Guile” refers to deceitfulness. This means to trick or mislead someone
3) “Hypocrisies” - acting in a way that contradicts your stated beliefs. This word literally means to wear a mask.
4) “Envyings” - desiring to have a quality, possession, or other desirable characteristic of someone else. This attribute is often the motivation for one's guile and hypocrisy.
5) "Evil speaking" - slander. This is making false and/or damaging statements about someone. This kind of person will say one thing to your face and then run you down behind your back.
Peter says that if these actions mark our life... Remove them!! Since we are told to "lay aside" these actions.... this shows that we are capable of and responsible for these sins. But it also encourages us in the fact that through the power of the Spirit we can cast them off!!
Children have certain items that they cherish. A girl may have a doll or stuffed animal. A boy may have blanket or action figure. But as they grow and mature eventually, they put these things away. - Paul said, "When I became a man I put away childish things" (I Corinthians 13:11)
Are there some things that you are holding on to from your life before Christ? Church, it is time that we "put away sinful things"... LAY THEM ASIDE, CAST THEM OFF and begin to move forward for the Lord. It is possible, for we are "A Work In Progress"
Now we come to the next step in this process of progress: Desiring The Word.
1 Peter 2:2
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.
New-born babies get their nourishment from milk. Christians get our spiritual nourishment from the Word of God. A baby cannot live long without milk, and a Christian cannot grow without studying the Word of God. Peter says that we should desire personal fellowship with God through His Word each day.
There will come a day when the young Christian is ready for solid "spiritual food". But you never outgrow your need for milk. Our goal should be to make progress every day of our life. The Bible is extremely important in this process. This book that we are blessed to hold in our hands is ESSENTIAL to our lives. We should desire this milk so "that we may grow".
Peter is talking about "growing in grace". Growing in grace is not becoming more saved than at the moment of conversion. Growing in grace is not becoming more pardoned than when converted. Growing in grace is not becoming more justified than at salvation. Christian growth is experiencing and understanding the love of God. Christian growth is learning more of what God wants through His Word. Christian growth is being able to do more of what God wants.
The Bible gives evidence of the growth process in the lives of countless individuals. Through the Bible we see John as he went from "the Son of Thunder" to "the disciple of love". Through the Bible we see Paul go from "the Damascus road" to "the Roman Road". Through the Bible we see the very author if this Epistle, Simon Peter go from denial to devotion. And when we get in the blessed Word of God we will see first-hand, what it is like for a "work in progress" to grow in grace!!!
We are commanded to spend time in God’s Word - 2 Timothy 2:15..
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The problem with many Christians today is they are trying to survive on an improper diet! We are affected physically by what we take into our mouth! But we are also affected spiritually by what we take into our mind…into our hearts!
Remember... Peter is telling us how to achieve "holiness". We are to "deal with sin" and we can do that through the Word of God! –
9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
A few years ago, LifeWay study revealed that 90 percent of professing Christians say that they "desire to please and honor Jesus in all they do". But 81% of them do not read their Bible daily. LifeWay Research president Ed Stetzer went on to say "Bible engagement points people toward maturity and maturing Christians have practices that correspond to Bible reading"
If there is going to be progress in your Christian walk...there must be a desire for the scriptures! So far we have seen that this "Work In Progress" involves Depending On Christ, Dealing With Sin, and Desiring The Word. Finally we will see that this also involves:
1 Peter 2:3
3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
This seems to be a reference to - Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. - Just as the milk for the baby is sweet, the Word of God is sweet to the Christian. At salvation, we experience how gracious the Lord is to those who trust Him. That initial taste compels believers to seek more of it. The glory of the conversion tastes so good it whets the appetite for more.
The people Peter was writing to had "tasted the goodness of Christ". They were "born again, of incorruptible seed" and "their hearts were purified by the truth." Their lives truly were a "Work In Progress". And they could rest assured that .... he which hath begun a good work in them would perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6) And we can cling to that same promise today!
When John Newton (author of Amazing Grace) was in his old age, he could no longer see to read, but he heard someone recite this text, "By the grace of God—I am what I am. "Newton spoke up and said "Though I am not what I ought to be, what I wish to be, and what I hope to be—yet I can truly say, I am not what I once was—a slave to sin and Satan! I can heartily join with the apostle and acknowledge, "By the grace of God—I am what I am!"
Maybe you are here and you have failed in some way. The Devil would like nothing more than for you to become discouraged and quit the good fight. Do not be discouraged... get up and go, let go of whatever it is that weighs heavy in your heart and press on towards the goal. Realize that God is still working a greater plan in our life. Maybe you are here and you have never been "born again". Then, cry out to God, pray that God…by His grace will save you today? If you will then you too can be a " A Work In Progress"
Let Us Pray:
Pastor Richard Santos
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