Near where we once lived in Butte County, Northern California there is a small town named Biggs. The agency that does the national milk commercials came to them asking if they would change the name of their town to “Got Milk?” After some meetings they declined the offer. The students were wondering if their school nickname would be, Milk Cows and their cheerleader’s would wear udders on their heads.”
1 Peter 2:1-3, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
1 Peter 2:1-3 AMP, “So be done with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all deceit and insincerity (pretense, hypocrisy) and grudges (envy, jealousy) and slander and evil speaking of every kind. Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation, since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord.”
This chapter In The New King James Version begins with, “Therefore.” When you see that word you ask “What is ‘therefore’ there for?” Chapter one ends with a reminder of the new birth experience, “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23). Life begins with the new birth. John 3:3 NLT, “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” So Christianity is not just a doctrine to be believed, it is a life to be lived! In October, 1958 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, I was born again by the Spirit of God. That day I didn’t know:
•I needed to be baptized as the first act of obedience to God. But that’s what I did!
•I didn’t know I was supposed to find a church that taught the Bible, get in it and serve God. But that’s what I did!
•I didn’t know I was supposed to read and study the Bible. But that’s what I did!
•I didn’t know I was to pray without ceasing. But that’s what I did!
•I didn’t know I was to share my faith with others. But that’s what I did!
•I didn’t know that I was to be willing give 10% of my income to the Lord. But that’s what I did!
•I didn’t know that I as to follow the Lord in complete obedience to His Word. But that’s what I did!
•I didn’t know anything about being a Christian or Christian growth. But I grew phenomenally!
•I didn’t know about shedding the grave clothes of the old life. But they began to come off slowly!
I only knew one thing…Once I was lost but now I’m found! Once I was blind but now I see! (John 9) I didn’t know much. I only knew I needed a change and God provided that change though the Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Birth must be followed by growth. What would happen if a newborn baby never got any nutrition? That baby would not live. That newborn baby needs to be nourished and nurtured to be able to grow.
1 Peter 1:2, “As newborn babes.” Peter is writing to many who were new in the faith, but many to whom he was writing were older believers. So he is admonishing these seasoned believers to lay aside, some things. literally, “Get rid of, cast off.”
First things first: “Laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking…”
•Lay aside Malice: “A desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another. Intent to commit an unlawful act or to cause harm without legal justification. A deep-seated and often unreasonable dislike for a person and a desire to see him suffer.”
Titus 3:3, “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”
Ephesians 4:31,32, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
•Lay aside Deceit: “To decoy, trickery, to catch with bait. To mislead by a false appearance or statement.” One of my ancestors was called, “Tom Trickery.” I wonder what he was about? What is a fisherman trying to do when he baits his hook? He is trying to deceive the fish!
Psalm 122:2, “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue.”
Mark 7:21-23, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
•Lay aside Hypocrisy: In Greek, hupokrisis, “Play acting, to put on a false face. Hiding behind a screen, or hiding one’s true identity. Claiming to believe something but acting in a different manner. The word is derived from the Greek term for “actor”—literally, “one who wears a mask”—in other words, someone who pretends to be what he is not.”
Matthew 15:7-9, Jesus says, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me.”
Romans 12:9, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”
“We have all heard the expression, “There are too many hypocrites in the church!” I say “Amen to that!” But that does not excuse you from doing what God wants you to do! You have to be smaller than that which you attempt to hide behind. To hide behind a hypocrite you have to be smaller than them!
•Lay aside Envy: “Ill-will, jealousy, to defile, destroy.” Envy is the feeling of resentment, discontentment or jealousy of another's position or success.
Psalm 73:3 NLT, “For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.”
Galatians 5:26, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Romans 13:12-14, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
F.B. Meyer (1847-1929), was pastor of Christ’s Church, London when G. Campbell Morgan was the pastor of Westminster Chapel and Charles Spurgeon was the pastor of Metropolitan Chapel. Both Morgan and Spurgeon had larger congregations than Meyer. Troubled by envy, Meyer confessed that not until he began to pray for his colleagues did he have peace of heart. “When I prayed for their success,” said Meyer, “The result was that God filled their churches so that the overflow filled mine. It has been that way ever since.”
•Lay aside Evil speaking: “Slander, defamation of character; detraction; speaking against another, or defaming him; backbiting.”
Leviticus 19:16, “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord.”
Proverbs 20:19 NLT, “A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.”
James 4:11,12, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”
This “Laying aside” is a constant battle! It involves all of the characteristics of the old nature…The grave clothes! When Lazarus was raised from the dead he came out of the grave still wearing his grave clothes, the wrappings of death. “And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go’” (John 11:44).
We must constantly work at removing those grave clothes. Conquering the old self and cultivating the new! “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT).
“Desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”
How does one get a desire for the word of God? Here are a few practical suggestions:
1. Remember your life-source: If you know what God’s word has done in your life why wouldn’t you desire it? You have experienced the power of God’s Word!
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Psalm 19:7-10, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
Isaiah 55:11 NLT, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
2. Eliminate your sin:
James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
The late Dr. Adrian Rogers gives us the following about sin:
Sin soils the saint! Sin will make the saint feel dirty.
Sin Saturates The Mind! An unbeliever can sin and forget it, but the Christian will have that sin on his mind until it is dealt with! The Holy Ghost in our hearts will not allow us to forget it.
Sin stings the conscience! A true Christian weeps not over the consequences of his actions, but he weeps because he has offended and disgraced his Heavenly Father!
Sin saddens the heart! In Psalm 53, David lost his joy and wants it back! If you are saved, sin will make you the most miserable person on the face of the earth. You cannot live in a backslidden condition and expect to have happiness. Joy is the by-product of a right relationship with God!
Sin sickens the body! It can damage your health, 1 Corinthians 11:30, That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died
Sin sours the spirit! The backslider will be cantankerous, critical, sour and judgmental. The saint in sin is impossible to satisfy and quick to attack others to make themselves look better
Sin seals The lips! Sin will take away your shout, your song and your statement of testimony. You can’t shout - there’s no presence of God. You can’t sing - there’s no joy. You can’t testify - there’s no reality in your life. All the while, Satan in pointing at you laughing, and accusing you
Some of you are right there today! You are not where you used to be with the Lord. You are not where you know you ought to be with the Lord. You are not even where you could be. You are just where you are, cold, indifferent and backslidden. Thank God! Things do not have to remain the way they are!
•“Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.” (Proverbs 14:14 NLT).
•“Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Indeed we do come to You, for You are the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 3:22).
3. Admit your need: God’s word should be read like a hungry baby! Newborn babies are immediately hungry. They don’t care about their room, what they are wearing, or what their crib looks like, they just want food! Did you know that mother’s milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for infants' health, growth, immunity and development. It is a unique nutritional source that cannot adequately be replaced by any other food, including infant formula. It has everything a child needs to grow healthy and strong. And so God’s Word has everything the child of God needs to grow strong and healthy.
4. Pursue your growth: God desires for us to grow spiritually, and He has given us all we need to experience spiritual growth. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can overcome sin and steadily become more like our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our goal is not just to know the Bible, it is to know God!
•John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent…”
•2 Corinthians 3:18, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
2 Peter 1:3-8, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 5:12-14 MSG, “By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.”
5. Survey your blessings: 1 Peter 2:3, “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” There’s a simple cure for spiritual anorexia…just eat!
2 Corinthians 9:8-11 MSG, “God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, and never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.”
6. Purify yourself: The Word of God is God’s wash basin!
Ephesians 5:26, 27, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
1 Peter 1:22 NLT, “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.[a] Love each other deeply with all your heart.”
James 1:21 NLT, “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”
7. Then the command is simple, READ! Do not get bogged down by a particular word or verse. A good way to read is to start by asking God to enlighten your mind. Then just read! God will begin to show you what He wants you to learn.
Joshua 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
1 Timothy 4:13, “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” Here is a prayer found in Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”
Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
God is patient and He will teach you, Isaiah 28:10 NLT, “He tells us everything over and over—one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!”
What are the benefits of reading and heeding God’s Word?
You will grow. Our text: “That you may grow thereby…”
You will defeat sin. Psalm 119:9-11, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”
You will have success in life. Joshua 1:8,9, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
You will be blessed (Macharios, happy). Psalm 1:1,2 NLT, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” My paraphrase: “Happy and content is the person who walks not in the counsel of Mediums, Spiritualists, Horoscopes, Star readings, Psychics, Palm Readers, Jerry Springer, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Maury, most News programs and talk shows. But their delight is in God’s Holy Word and in it they meditate day and night.”
You will be qualified to help others. 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 1 Peter 3:14,15 NLT, “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.”
You will show Jesus in your lives as you live the Word of God. Colossians 3:16 NASB, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
One Sunday on their way home from church, a little girl turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, the pastor’s sermon this morning confused me.” “Oh, why is that?” the mother asked. “Well, he said that God is bigger than we are, is that true?” The mother replied, “Yes, that’s true honey.” “And he also said that God lives in us, is that true mommy?” Again the mother replied, “Yes!” “Well,” said the little girl, “If God is bigger than us, and lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”
Saturate your life with the Word of God and He will always see you through!
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).