This week, Pastor Chris brought a powerful word continuing in our 1 Peter study. We learned that in order to stand firm in the faith, we cannot stand alone. It is vital to our spiritual life to be in the word and in Christian community as we represent Christ amongst an unhealthy, broken world. Our relationship with God’s word matters just as much as our relationships with other people. Pastor Chris called on all those listening to come into community because God is not an individual God and we are not created to do life alone.
- The Word Makes You Healthy: In light of the good news, we will need to be attentive and put away some key things. We’re called to respond to the Word of God like an infant craves nourishment and sustenance.We may not even recognize how unhealthy we are until we begin to live in the Word of God and develop spiritual health.
1 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV)
1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
5 Destroyers of Relationships:
- Malice: when we find joy in someone else’s hurt, or when we’re unhappy when others are blessed.
- Deceit: a twisting of the truth, ulterior motives, a skewing of the facts (ex: self-deception)
- Hypocrisy: a picture of someone with a mask on to make it look like someone they authentically aren’t (ex: Judas Iscariot).
- Envy: feeling of discontent or resentful because of another’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
- Slander: gossip, defamation, speaking badly of another, agreement with Satan (who is ‘the slanderer’).
Psalm 1:1–2 (ESV)
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
A Christian develops a desire for the truth of God’s Word by:
1) Remembering: remember where you were when He found you.
2) Eliminating: put away sin in your life. It will crowd out God and hinder our affections for Him.
3) Admitting: our need for Jesus’ truth, help, and guidance.
4) Pursuing: spiritual growth. Develop a life in the Word of God.
5) Surveying: God’s blessings, realizing that the Lord is good.
The Power of 4 Effect – Here are some objective statistics that show what can shift in your life if you are in the Word at least 4 days a week:
- 407% more likely to memorize Scripture
- 228% more likely to share faith with others
- 59% less likely to view pornography
- 30% less likely to struggle with loneliness
- Markedly lower likelihood to struggle with sex outside of marriage, gambling, and getting drunk.
- Chosen by God to Live in Community: Jesus Christ was chosen and precious in God’s sight, yet rejected by men. We should not be surprised when we are also rejected by the world. As Christians, we are part of something bigger than what the world seeks to offer. We cannot live in isolation. You may have to make a sacrifice of the will to live in community.
1 Peter 2:4-5 (ESV)
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
5 Big Misconceptions About Community
- It’s Easy: It likely will never be!
- It’s Natural: It won’t always be. You will have to be intentional.
- It Will Come to You: It won’t. It is a two-way street!
- It’s Convenient: Most worthwhile things take effort.
- It’s Optional: The God-head shows us what fellowship looks like. We are commanded to live interdependently.
1 Peter 2:6-8 (ESV)
6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
- Healthy Together in a Sick World: If you call Jesus Christ Lord, you are chosen and set apart for God’s service and possession. You also have a spiritual family who wants to walk alongside you in your faith! As His children, we are called to proclaim what He has done and who He is to those who don’t know Him. We are not just called to live in community but to actively engage in one.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:11-12 (ESV)
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Revelation 21:3 (ESV)
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
- Have you ever felt dull or uncommitted in your reading of God’s word? How can you become one who craves the word of God like an infant craves nourishment?
- Has the enemy ever sought to convince you that life is more valuable in isolation? How did you combat this lie?
- Are you believing any of the 5 misconceptions about community listed above? How can you shift your thinking in that area this week?
- What do you need to work on: getting into the Word or getting into community? How can you make a shift to pursue this?
- How many days a week do you read your Bible? How would aspects of your life change if you were in the word at least 4 days this week? Try it and journal any insight the Lord gives.
- Which of the 5 options listed above can you focus on this week to develop a greater desire for the truth of God’s word (Remember, eliminate, admit, pursue, survey)? Write down how you will specifically pursue that this week.
- Have you been struggling with loneliness and isolation during the pandemic? Have you struggled to come back into community? Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-13 this week to gain God’s heart on community. Make a plan to meet in person with the saints this coming Sunday.