May 18, 2014

“Nourished to Flourish”

(I Peter 2:2-10)

 

Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

TEXT: I Peter 2:2 ~ “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…”

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.  Amen.

 

Introduction:  Touching a baby’s cheek to get it to turn its suckling mouth toward your finger…

 

I.  Pure spiritual milk nourishes your spirit to “grow into salvation.”

 

A.    That Word is what originally converted us, bringing us the Holy Spirit

 

1.  In the first chapter of this letter, Peter wrote, “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ… knowing that you were ransomed… not with perishable things such as silver or gold,  but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

 

2.  “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…”

 

B.  But we are tempted to long for “a better way”…

 

1.  Devil, world, and ourselves tempt us to build on our own good works…

2.  Solid Lutheran doctrine is nothing more than the Word of God, which saves us.  “Doctrine” is a dirty word only if it’s human doctrine that contradicts God’s Word.

 

II.    We are built on the Cornerstone

 

A. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”

 

1.   Build on that Cornerstone!

 

a. We are “priests,” because we make spiritual sacrifices, “Eucharistic” sacrifices of thanksgiving, giving praise and thanks to God who saved us:

 

i. Announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ

ii. Believing the Good News of Jesus Christ

iii. Prayer

iv. Thanksgiving

v. Confession (both confessing our sins and the faith we believe)

vi. Bearing our cross

vii. All the good works of the saints

 

b. These sacrifices please God, NOT because they merit forgiveness, but only because the Word comes to us through these sacrifices, bringing and strengthening our faith in Christ.  Look to the real substance (Christ), for the Holy Spirit puts us to death (die knowing our works avail us nothing before God) and raises us to life (knowing God alone has saved us through Christ).

 

c. We are not Old Testament priests trying to earn forgiveness!  (And even those bloody sacrifices were always intended to point us the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.)

 

d. We praise and thank God because we ALREADY ARE SAVED!  (That’s why we’re called “saints”!)

 

e. Once for all a final sacrifice has been made by the Lamb!

 

2.  Some take offence and reject the Cornerstone, building instead on sinking sand instead of the Rock:  Illustration:  “I don’t think we stand before God for our judgment.  If so then I am as ready as I will ever be. While I’ve done more than my share of bad, I have also done a fair amount of good and will put my record up against anyone.”

 

3. Hypocrites who trust in their own good works will be put to shame for not trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.  You will NOT be put to shame for trusting in what God did for you through the cross of Christ.  You have God’s Word on it:  “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

 

4.  Desolation is not a bitty storefront instead of a grand cathedral.  Desolation is ignorance of the Gospel.  This IS a grand cathedral, rich in God’s Word!  You ARE “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.  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.”

 

B.  Stick to the pure Word of God!

 

1.     Lest you be led back to fatal works-righteousness…  It’s always a temptation, while we remain in this world.  “Lord, I believe – help Thou mine unbelief!”

 

2.   Great is HIS faithfulness!

 

i. All this is from God who saved you through the sacrifice of his Son who paid for all your sins on the cross.

 

ii. All this is from God – you believe it because his Holy Spirit convinced you through the pure spiritual milk of his Word!

 

iii. Nourished by this Word, transformed by the Word of God, you grow to naturally pray, praise, and give thanks to God our Savior!

 

Conclusion:   “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…”

 

Amen.

 

Now may the peace of God, which is beyond understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting.  Amen.