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Sermon7 1 Pt2:1-10 Guide

1 Peter 2:1-10, recitation verse 1 Peter 2:9

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

All living things in the world grow. In that sense, Christians are no exception. Christians who were born again with the imperishable seeds, the living and abiding words of God are also growing by the vibes of the Gospel implanted in them. This is not only through the grace of justification that we received through faith when we were regenerated, but also through the grace of sanctification. In other words, when we received the grace of regeneration and were baptized in water and the Holy Spirit, we were united with Christ and our old self was crucified and we were born into a new self. Through the application of all the blessings that Christ accomplished through His ministry, the Holy Spirit helps us to grow. However, when we look at the recent situation in the Korean church, it seems that this growth is not happening well. The reason for this may be that the church is not teaching the sound and firm knowledge of justification and sanctification, but is teaching the wrong doctrine of sanctification that is either moralistic or legalistic, or teaching that sanctification occurs without our obedience. In 1 Peter 2:1-10, Peter teaches us that in order to live a holy life of love according to God's will, we must grow into the Lord, and he gives specific teachings on the end of growth, and how to grow. I hope we may learn from him looking at it together.

1) Today's passage begins with the conjunction 'therefore.' Here, this conjunction therefore refers to the content of verses 22-25 of chapter 1, that when the living and abiding word of God is proclaimed in our hearts by those who preach the gospel, the Holy Spirit renews us, and when we obey the gospel, we begin to live a holy life in which we will be transformed clean and a life of love, which is the heart of our image of God. However, in order to truly love, as Peter says in today's passage in 2:1, we must reject all malice, which is all evil intentions and harmful actions towards others, all deceit, which is deceiving others with fraud and hypocrisy by hiding the evil within, envy, which is jealousy towards others, and all slander, which is speaking ill of others with the intention of harming their reputation. We cannot live a life of love that seeks the good of others if we have the intention of harming them, and we cannot achieve true spiritual growth without getting rid of these things.

2) And then, Peter starts to teach how to achieve progress in holiness, which is also progress in love, since progress in holiness and progress in love are the same concept as we talked about last time, love flows from holiness and holiness is expressed through love, so for spiritual people, holiness and love are one. Anyway, Peter presents two ways to achieve progress in holiness. In the first two verses of chapter 2, he says that we can achieve progress in holiness by drinking pure and spiritual milk for the nourishment of soul as we have already tasted and experienced God's goodness. Then, in verses 4-10, as the second method, he urges us to come to Christ, the precious living stone, and to grow into a holy temple where God dwells as also becoming a living stone. And then through those spiritual growth as a holy priest, we have to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ and proclaim His virtues.

3) Here first thing we would like to think about is the end of our growth, i.e., becoming a holy priest, as mentioned in today's passage. Generally, as we grow up, we first think about what we will become in the future. Some people may say they will become a professor, while others may want to become a wealthy person or a clergyman. As such, if we look at verse 2 of today's passage, it says that we should grow in Christ and be built into a spiritual house to become holy priests who offer spiritual sacrifices. And also since it is written in the present tense, it seems that we will be growing into holy priests after being built into a spiritual house where God dwells and offer spiritual sacrifices that please Him.

4) On the other hand, in verse 9, it says that we have already been chosen to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people belonging to God. In other words, we have already the identity as a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Therefore, instead of growing to become a holy priest, as is commonly thought, we are growing into our identity as a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Our growth is also “Already Not Yet”, as we grow into our new identity which we have already received through grace, i.e., we become who we are.

5) And in today's passage, Peter describes two means of spiritual growth, the first of which is growth through the Word. Since we are born again through the Holy Spirit, by the imperishable seed, which is the word of God, Peter instructs us to long for pure spiritual milk, just as a newborn baby longs for its mother's milk. Here the term "pure" implies flawless or without impurity so that the pure milk means the flawless words of God as Psalm 12:6 says, "The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times." And then the term "spiritual" which has the meaning of rational and intellectual, but here we can understand it as “spiritual” as in Romans 12:1, the same Greek word, "logikos," is translated as "spiritual". Therefore, as summary, it says that we must long for and nourish ourselves with the pure and spiritual word of God, the Truth.

6) As Bonaventure said, the meditation on this pure and spiritual word of God provides three benefits to our souls. First, as Hebrews 4:12 says, the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword so that it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow and it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, purifying our souls - purgation. Second, as John 17:17 says, God's word is truth so that it illuminates the light of truth to our ignorant minds - illumination. Finally, as 1 Peter 1:22 says, when we obey to the truth, our souls are purified, which leads to growing into love, reaching the perfection of love.

7) And then, Peter introduces the second method of spiritual growth, which is to come to Jesus Christ, the living stone. Here, Peter introduces two metaphors about Jesus Christ, namely, the living stone and the cornerstone. First, as mentioned in verse 4, the statement that Jesus Christ is a precious stone means not only that He has been raised from the dead and is alive, but also that He is the Life-giver. Moreover Jesus Christ, as the living stone, represents the temple made of living stones, in contrast to the old covenant, which was based on the temple made of dead stones built on the foundation of the law. Therefore, those who believe in Jesus Christ, the living stone, will also become living stones and grow in union with Christ. Furthermore, in verse 7, Jesus Christ is referred to as the cornerstone. To understand this statement, it is necessary to know about the architectural style of the Middle East in the first century. While in the traditional Korean architectural style, which is constructed with woods, a stone in the middle, called “chief stone” is very important, yet in the Middle Eastern architectural style which is based on stone construction, the most important stone is the corner stone placed at the corners of the building. Therefore this corner stone is carefully chosen to have a flat surface with right angles, so that the walls can be built perpendicular to it and two walls can be well connected to each other. Therefore, through this metaphor, we know that we are being built on Jesus Christ, the foundation, and also being built as the temple with others in Christ. That is why in Ephesians 2:20-21, it is said, "Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord."

8) Through Today’s text, we would like to learn few things. First, we would like to think about our identity as Christians in verse 9. It says that we were the chosen people to be God's possession, which means we are elected by God before creations, as Ephesians 1:4 says. And also since the Greek word "περιποίησις" (peripoiēsis) translated as "possession" means that since we are so precious in His eyes so that God declares that we are God's possession and He sought and redeemed and has been protecting us. And regarding the royal priest, since the Greek words "βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα" (basileion hierateuma) translated as "a kingdom of priests," also can be interpreted as “kings and priests” or “priestly kingdom" instead of "royal priests", we can understand that we are kings and priests too. Moreover, the holy nation can also be understood as the holy people, who were chosen and separated by God to stand holy and blameless before Him, as mentioned in Ephesians 1:4. Therefore, we can understand this phrase that the grace from God ultimately leads us to fulfill these identities. So I hope we should remember that our identity as Christians is God's kings, priests, and holy people, who were chosen in Christ before creation to be His treasured possession. Secondly, since God's word makes us to grow into these identity of being God's kings and priests, we have to read and meditate the Bible to nourish our soul for the growth, since the born again by the truth requires also the truth of God’s Word since the knowledge or philosophy of the world cannot nourish our regenerated souls.

9) And finally, since this spiritual growth is also achieved through and in the union with Christ in which the Holy Spirit applies the grace of regeneration, justification, and sanctification which were already accomplished through the work of Jesus Christ, therefore, as Calvin said in his Christian Institutes, “Our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ.If we seek salvation, we find it in the very name of Jesus. If we seek any gifts of the Spirit, we find in his anointing. If strength, in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, in his birth. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life or immorality, in his resurrection; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other”, we hope that we can drink from Jesus, the eternal fountain, so that we all grow into the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ becoming all that he intends us to be.


Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 In today's reading, it is said that we can grow into Jesus Christ through pure and spiritual words, and even coming to Jesus can mean the life of the words, since the Holy Spirit within us reminds us of the Lord's words and teaches us their meaning, helping us to understand and apply them in our lives. So I hope you take a time to reflect on your life, and see if you continuously nourish your soul by reading and meditating on the Word, applying it to your life and growing through it. It would be great if you could share your experiences of how the Word has impacted your life, and how you have received grace through living it.

Q2 In today's reading, it is said that we can grow by coming to Jesus Christ to have fellowship with Him through union with Christ. Therefore, it is important to walk with the Lord in everything we do. So if you have your own way to walk with Jesus Christ in your life, it would be great to share your experiences and thoughts on how different your life will be with or without thinking of Him.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.


Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.

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