The Word of God says it is like a fire, a hammer, a lamp, a sword and a mirror. Our journey over the last few days has been helping us to see what the Bible says it is like. Today we observe … 6) The Bible is like something that sustains. It feeds. It meets the spiritual hunger of the soul. If you look at all the food we eat in its state before being cooked, we might not eat it. Think of carrots and potatoes unpeeled or a chicken uncleaned or a fish before its scaled! Before being prepared and cooked you might see something you won’t eat. Yet once the hard yards are done … cleaning, preparing, seasoning and cooking … the end product is awesome and tasty. Before the Word of God can feed to soul there needs to be some spiritual cleaning for the Word cannot feed a sin laden soul!
1Pe 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1) Getting rid of the sinful wrappings. How often have you taken a potato that has marks on it? It does not look so edible, yet after peeling off the skin and carving away the bruises and decorating it with your favourite spices, you oil a roasting pan, pop it into the oven and out it comes cooked through with a golden, crispy skin. The taste is so good. Now you are a Christian. Your sins are forgiven and your guilt taken away … but the effects of your before Christ life lingers and needs to be dealt with. Sometimes these “effects” lasts for life. One of our lecturers said the dents before salvation are at times hard to overcome … some he said linger for life. Personally I find this very true. So by the sinful wrapping I mean … (v1) “all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind”. Never forget that the Bible does not provide comprehensive list of things such as sins. These five sins are an example of the many sins we have. Before God can mature you in Christ, reaching deeper levels … as an example:
Eph 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God
you need to get rid of the sin that wraps itself to you. Think of the work related to the potato to make it so delectable … think of the work required to rid yourself of sin so that you are pleasurable to God!
2) Prepare to enjoy a healthy meal. If you have been nibbling at snacks, when the food arrives you won’t be so hungry. In verse 2 we are told to “crave” … food. The word “crave” means desire … but more that desire as we know it. The word implies to be “possessed with a desire” … used elsewhere it means “lust”. By the time the meal arrives you are so hungry, you literally dig into the food and consume it. This is how we need to prepare for the spiritual food God has for us in His Word. We need to be hungry. We need to be possessed with desire and need for the Word of God to nourish our souls!
3) Target the correct food. One of the ladies in the church gave birth to a son this past week. After church today we went to see him. He is so cute and gentle and well behaved. At 7 days old you can’t give him chops or even mince. He needs the appropriate food according to his age. He starts off on milk and after sometime progresses to purity foods before he can start eating “soft solids”. Verse 2 says … “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk”. “Pure” implies nothing but milk. Believers need to “eat” spiritual age appropriate foods, but the foods need to be pure Biblical foods.
You cannot give new (baby) Christians Packer’s “Amongst God’s Giants or Calvin’s “Institutes of Christian Religion” or Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology”. You need to give them some aid that will assist them to understand the Bible correctly like Peter Jeffery or John Stott’s material. Before they try to digest the “heavy” theological matters they need to know how to use and understand the Bible. For them that is “pure spiritual milk”.
4) Enjoy the purpose of a healthy diet. As time progresses and assurance of salvation and confidence in one’s new identity in Jesus is solidified there needs to be a move to more solid foods … so that as a new believer you may … verse 2 … “grow up in your salvation”. The pastor teacher plays a huge role here because his task is
Eph 4:12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Works of service builds up the Body in unity of faith, knowledge and maturity so that together, we all attain … “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” That is the purpose of a healthy spiritual diet. 5) Continue with the pattern because it is a good one. Have you noticed that your daily dietary program follows the pattern of the foods you love and enjoy? Verse 3 … “you have tasted that the Lord is good” … once you have tasted that the Lord is “good” through regular use of His Word day by day, you come back for more and more … and you realise that just as you cannot forfeit going without food day by day to sustain the body … so you cannot go without spiritual food to sustain the soul! When you stop eating for whatever reason you lose weight and should this continue for any length of time you will become sick and frail. Going without your daily spiritual diet for a protracted period of time will result in spiritual illness and a return to the sinful wrappings of verse 1.
O Lord our God, thank You for giving us Your Word to sustain the soul. Help us to find material that is age appropriate for our spiritual maturity to help us understand the Bible better as we prepare for works of service and eternity. Lord, grant us a healthy desire for Your Word. In Jesus’ name. amen.