- Peter makes application explicit (20/25 verses contain “you”/“your”).
- He reminded them of their hope, joy, and salvation in Christ so that they might love one another sincerely and earnestly (1:22).
Read 1 Peter 2:1-3
- Atlantic (August 2016): “How the Percentage of Americans Who Go to Church Every Week Is Changing”
Roughly 51 percent of Americans say they go to church or another worship service somewhere between once a month and multiple times per week, while 49 percent said they go rarely or never.
Those who are skipping out aren’t necessarily doing it for reasons of belief.
- The logistics of getting there are the biggest obstacle.
- Organizations’ reputations.
- The point of Peter’s charge is not to create a fellowship of cookie cutter Christians, but to encourage the elect to find their soul’s cravings satisfied by the Lord’s goodness.
Therefore, we must Eliminate (1), Cultivate (2), and Recalibrate (3).
- Part of how we are to love fellow believers (1:22) is through putting away attitudes and actions that harm others.
- All of these terms (malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander) are examples of social sins which are contrary to love.
- They hinder/destroy fellowship. They create enemies and cliques of superiority. They diminish our love and willingness to sacrifice.
- In order to put off former passions they must be replaced with superior ones.
- You don’t mature by comparing yourself to others. It’s not a competition.
- The “me vs. them” attitude – that pervades politics, education, and business – has no place here.
- Don’t get people to “our side”! Encourage them to drink deeply of Christ.
- Now, let me be clear, when Christ becomes our craving, we won’t surround ourselves with competing desires. We eliminate whatever dilutes our goal. Whatever hinders our experience of the Lord’s goodness must be stripped away!
- What difference would adopting Peter’s understanding make in your life? Would it isolate you from others? Wouldn’t you begin to recognize your utter dependence upon Christ? And would that not make you appreciate the means he has provided through his bride, the Church, to increase your affection?
- When Christians mature, fellowship and intimacy increase (not automatically).
- That doesn’t means we act in identical ways. Diversity complements community.
Diversity enriches fellowship when Christ remains our primary craving.
- Probably not God’s Word (1:23-25), but “the sustaining life of God” (Beale).
- Not level of maturity, but dependency (Psalm 42:1-2). It’s to want something ultimately.
- Believers crave growth in salvation so intensely that nothing else satisfies. And the longer you go without it the more empty you feel.
- A Christian who doesn’t want holiness is like an infant that is never hungry. Something would be seriously wrong. Skipped feedings aren’t healthy.
- How do we obey Peter’s command to crave? If I said, “Children, crave vegetables! Vegetables are good for you. Stop craving chocolate and candy.” What would you say?
- Can you crave something you find distasteful? Could I ever crave beef stroganoff? If the choice were beef stroganoff, monkey brains, or worms I might choose beef stroganoff. But that doesn’t mean I would crave it.
- Is Peter saying, “Crave something you find incredibly unsatisfying! I know you would rather be filled with malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander, but put those aside so that you will learn to crave Christ’s goodness,” is that what he’s saying?
- Peter is instructing us to do what should’ve already become our ultimate desire. It’s like saying, “Children, desire Disneyland! Put off school work, chores, and boredom. We’re going to Disneyland!”
- The desire is already there, but maybe you have been distracted by other things. Maybe you had even forgotten Disneyland exists.
- This is how advertising works. It places something in front of you that satisfies a longing you already have.
- Spiritual growth occurs when we receive what we now crave, the goodness of the Lord.
That will become clear as we consider this last verse…
- Context: Psalm 34 When David feigned madness in the court of Abimelech (1 Sam. 21:10-15). David is rejoicing that he had escaped Abimelech. The psalm is concerned with an experience of God’s grace that sustains life.
- It is concerned with not speaking evil and deceit (13), with turning away from evil and pursuing good (14). The Word is a means or tool pointing us towards holiness.
- Peter is asking his readers to recall the relief and joy they experienced at their conversion.
- “How Sweet and Awful” by Isaac Watts
“Twas the same love that spread the feast that sweetly drew us in; else we had still refused to taste and perished in our sin.”
- The Lord’s goodness is so superior to the things the world craves, that our taste for him can only be satisfied by receiving more of him.
- Our experience of the goodness of the Lord deepens our fellowship as we are stripped of attitudes and actions that destroy community.
- Don’t remove the tension by changing “if” to “since”. This isn’t about shaming, but testing. And it echoes previous themes.
- The Lord’s goodness is magnified when we support one another working towards maturity (fellowship). Competition fills us with the attitudes of 2:1.
- If rather, we are racing as a team, we will support one another. When one member falls, everyone gathers around to help her up and ensure she is able to continue.
Eliminate. Cultivate. Recalibrate.
- In You Are What You Love, James K.A. Smith writes,
“You can’t just think your way to right worship…A more holistic response is to intentionally recalibrate the unconscious, to worship well, to immerse ourselves in liturgies that are indexed to the kingdom of God precisely so that even our unconscious desires and longings—the affective, under-the-hood ways we intend the world—are indexed to God and what God wants for his world. Through Spirited worship, the grace of God captivates and orients even our unconscious.”
- Do you crave Christ? Does your soul leap with joy inexpressible at the mention of your Savior’s name? Or have the longings for whatever the world has put in front of you become your all-consuming passion?
- “If” that is true, you have forgotten the all-satisfying taste of the goodness of the Lord. Your palate has been feeding too long on sugar-spikes and caffeine-highs leaving you feeling unhealthy and empty.
- The growing Christian will strip off their former attitudes that brought division and contention, craving instead to be filled with the goodness of the Lord.