It's important to grow. It's important to grow up. Most of us, at different times, are concerned with growing up. I think of the mother who was driving her four year old daughter to preschool one morning. She also happened to be a medical doctor and had left her stethoscope on the front seat. Driving along the street, she noticed her four year old was quite interested in the stethoscope and was playing with it. This mother and doctor began to think to herself, "Could it be that my daughter will grow up to follow in my footsteps? It would be wonderful if she would be like me." Just then her thoughts were interrupted as her daughter spoke into the stethoscope and said, "Welcome to McDonalds, may I take your order please."
Growing up! It was a few years ago now after I had been in pastoral ministry for a while that one of my young children came to me with a thought provoking question: "Daddy, what are you going to be when you grow up?" Now some of you are thinking that the question was asked last week. But I assure you it was a long time ago. What are you going to be when you grow up? Have you thought about growth? I'm not talking about physical growth now, I'm talking about spiritual growth. We hear a lot of talk today about church growth, building bigger and bigger churches with more and more people. But even more important than church growth is individual growth, personal, spiritual growth. This is a good time, at the beginning of a new church year with classes and studies and prayer groups beginning again. It's a good time to raise the issue of personal spiritual growth.
The apostle Peter raised the issue, and I call your attention to our text from 1 Peter 2:1-3
. Peter is writing to Christians and having told them in chapter one that they had been born again by the power of God's Word, he then issues a challenge to them. In 1 Peter 2:1
, "Therefore, because you have been born again by the power of God," because you've been made a new person, because that Word of God is eternal, "therefore," and what does he say, "putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes long for the pure milk of the Word, that by it you may grow in salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord."
Peter issues three commands to believers. He's not talking to unsaved people right at this point. He's talking to believers. Born again people. And his challenge is to grow. There are three commands that we want to look at here in our text and I express them in terms of Spurn, Yearn, and Learn. If you would grow in salvation, if you would have spiritual growth in your life, Spurn, Yearn, and Learn.Putting aside -- Spurning
(1 Peter 2:1
Putting aside denotes the image of taking off a garment in order to put another garment on. Putting aside, taking off. And note what believers are to take off. All malice. That's wickedness. Wickedness has to do with how people live who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. In the Bible the wicked are simply those who do not know God. Whatever the particular sins in their life, that isn't the emphasis with the wicked. The wicked are simply those who do not know God, who do not know Jesus Christ. Believers are to put off malice, wickedness, the inclination to live like the world lives. God calls believers to a higher standard. God calls believers to not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of their minds. Are you living just like the world lives? I'm not talking about Sunday, but Monday through Saturday; do you live pretty much like your unbelieving friends and neighbors live? Or is there a difference? Those who are born again are called to be different, to put off all malice, wickedness. To live different lives. To live lives that take sin seriously. To live lives where repentance is a daily concern. To live lives that seek the honor of Jesus above all else. To live lives that turn away from the world and its allures and instead turn to God with whole hearted devotion and commitment. Putting aside all malice, wickedness, not living like the world lives.