Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 18th - The Pure Milk of the Word

Prayer Requests
Dan + Leon Preaching
Fall Festival Results
Pastor Carey Cash
Giles, York, and Miano's in their family losses this week
James' friend Aaron move to Pennsylvania

Text - 1 Peter 2:2-3

Short Lesson, Hannah did the introduction, and we had missionaries visit from the fifth grade.

The verse we are going to read and look at today is a continuation of chapter one, especially the idea of being born again. So some review, our earthly life mirrors our spiritual life.

Conception – Seed Planted (1 Corinthians 3:5-6)
Gestation – Seed Growth/Danger of no Birth (Galatians 4:19)
Birth – Rebirth (1 Peter 1:3)
Newborn – Spiritual Babes (Hebrews 5:13, 1 Peter 2:2)
Adolescence – Maturing (Hebrews 5:14)
Maturity – Able to Minister to Souls (Hebrews 5:12)

There needs to be a direction to this, if you stop moving towards maturity for any lengthy period of time that is not good, the important thing is that there is a progression. Peter's Epistle mirrors this progression, he starts the letter out by talking about being born again and he concludes talking to the elders. How do we get from being newborns to elders?

1 Peter 2:2-3 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.

What does a baby want when it is first born? Steak? Coca-Cola? Pepperoni Pizza? Or the pure milk from its mom?

Does it have any desire for anything else? Nope, because the milk is what it needs. What happens if you try to give a newborn a potato chip? They don't want it, they know what they need.

So a newly Reborn Christian is told to do what by Peter? Desire the pure spiritual milk. Let me give you a personal example, after I got saved, I had two weeks off from work because I had just returned from the middle-east, where you get to save up all of your weekends, and so I read the Bible from cover to cover in those two weeks. I missed a lot of things, but it gave me a great foundation of Christianity.

This milk contains all sorts of incredible things that most food doesn't have, and is super concentrated. First of all, it is heavy in omega-3, which is a fatty acid that is fantastic for brain-growth. You can eat fish and get this same stuff, but you won't get the same benefit as the baby, because the milk also comes with this stuff called "lipase" which is an enzyme that greatly helps the baby digest the omega-3 so that more of it goes into its brain.

This is just like the Bible, where is the best place to grow your spiritual knowledge? It's from reading straight from God's Word. I can teach it to you, and while I hope you're getting a lot out of this class, I'm certain there is a lot of stuff you're missing too...this is just how our brains work, God wants us to seek him, not somebody talking about him. Similarly, the Bible, when it is interpreted for you by the Holy Spirit will be much more absorbed into your brain.

Next, milk has very specific proteins in it that are perfect for the baby's body to absorb to make stronger bodies and better immune systems. This milk is completely absorbed and used because it is made for the body. On the other hand, cow's milk has protein in it, but it is so hard for your body to get out that what your body gets from cow-milk protein isn't enough to replace the protein it took to get it. It's like me buying a $1 bill from you for $5. You don't drink cow's milk for the protein, but for the vitamins.

That goes straight to the Bible. The Bible contains things that your spiritual life can totally use. On the other hand, you read a book by a great preacher, or hear a great sermon or lesson, and the spiritual truths may be great and true, but the effort the preacher spent to get that truth to you took forever in research and prayer. A preacher should be giving you application along with your truth, these are the reasons we listen to preachers who ought to be exhorting.

Next, milk has huge amounts of sugar in it, that makes it taste good for the baby. This also makes it easier to digest.

In Seminary, they make you read up to three books a week, and while some of these books are really good, when you read the Bible after that, you realize that God's Word is so much sweeter than mans' words.

There is more, according to a Dr. Frank Oski who is a leading pediatrician for Johns Hopkins Medical School, there are at least 400 reasons milk is better than formula or baby food, but those are the really neat ones I thought, plus one more that I think is fantastic. Milk has natural antibacterial agents in it that kills bad germs (not all germs are bad), but doesn't kill babies. While you have to boil bottles and keep baby food sealed, milk is ready to go from the source.

Chapter 1 of First Peter talked about how we are being refined, through trial and obedience, but that we have eternal life. The Bible kills sin and purifies us, but won't kills us...there is an if coming up...

v.3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

None of these promises are for unbelievers, people who have not been born-again, but only for the believer.

So where is Peter telling us to look for spiritual growth? The Bible. Let's see where he got this quote in verse three from.

Hmm, it seems to be the Bible; one of the reasons I picked these Epistles to go through is because they quote the Old Testament like crazy. First Thessalonians didn't quote it a single time, so I felt it would be good to look at an Epistle that quotes and/or alludes to the Old Testament a ridiculous number of times.

Peter is quoting Psalm 34:8, this is an absolutely wonderful Psalm, maybe my favorite, and also maybe Peter's favorite because he quotes it several times and holds close to its themes. The verse here that Peter quotes wasn't just stated, I believe it was an emotional outburst,

Psalm 34:8-11 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

The taste the Lord directly relates to the spiritual milk, what happens if you try to feed a baby something that isn't spiritual milk? He's going to spit it out, because he knows there is something so much better. The same with someone who has seen the perfection of God, the absolute pleasure that comes from knowing him, from resting in his grace and finding refuge in his mercy. Imagine someone came to us and said, "I will give you each a trillion dollars if you will never talk about Jesus ever again or pray or use this money for any Christian endeavor. You can do whatever you want with it, as long as the cause of Christ is not furthered." Our response should be, "Ew, are you serious, that is the last thing in the world I want, because my desire is the Living God, he is what I want." That would be your response if you have tasted that the Lord is good.

I believe I started out on the right track, I didn't have Christian books or teachers around to corrupt me or get me caught on something else, I had the pure spiritual milk of the Word. This is one reason I get so defensive when somebody talks about the myth of Free-Will, or say to get saved you "ask Jesus into your heart", or any number of goofy things. We add these manmade things and it takes the sweetness out of the Bible.

I think one of the reasons the Christian church is so caught up in other things is because when someone gets saved, they don't go to the Word, but they go to Sunday School or church or books about how to be a Christian while neglecting the Bible. Look at America, we know that we ought to eat healthy, but we love things that taste good to us, the Bible has never been shown to most Christians to be so sweet and so good and so good for us.

So the application is straightforward. Love this book, read this book, find how great and glorious God is through this book, so that you progress in your Christian life, moving from spiritual rebirth to being an elder, and never stop progressing. Christian teachers, books, and sermons are wonderful, but they are not the Bible. Your main diet should be from this Bible and things on top of it should treats or snacks.

Finally, how many times do you eat a day? Two? Three? Six? What happens if you skip a few days? You get weak, you pass out, you die... How many times do you read your Bible a day? Ever skipped a few days? A few weeks? A few months?

Don't get me wrong, you can't lose your salvation by not reading your Bible, but if you're not subsisting on your Bible, then your spirit probably isn't alive in need of nourishment, but is still dead in sins and transgressions. What do the dead eat? If there is no Bible-input, then it is likely that the spirit is dead, and the need is to be spiritual raised so that you taste that the Lord is good.