A Priesthood of Babies
Good evening and welcome back!
I trust that everyone has had a good Mother’s Day celebration and maybe even time to get a “Nazarene Nap” in before church tonight.
Tonight, I would like for us to turn our attention back to the New Testament.
This morning we were in the book of Exodus talking about “showing honor,” and tonight though, I felt like the Lord was leading us to look more deeply at the subjects of holiness and sanctification.
Tonight we are going to be looking at , and thinking about the subject of being a “Priesthood of Babies.”
And as we work through the text here in 1 Peter, you will hopefully see that the title is not necessarily a bad title to have.
Just on it’s surface though to be called a “baby” carries a negative stigma.
We think of babies as helpless, immature, dependent and reliant on someone else for everything.
We think of a baby as someone who can’t control their temper or their tongue and someone who throws a fit when they don’t get their way.
So in this sense, to be called a baby would be a bad thing.
But when I am talking about a “Priesthood of Babies” I am thinking about something radically different.
Tonight I want us to think about some of the other qualities of babies.
I want us to think about how trusting, loving, innocent, and faithful a baby is.
I want us to think about how curious, inquisitive, exploratory a baby is.
Because these qualities leads us to exhibit some behaviors that God desires very much for us.
And we read here in 1 Peter that God tells us that we are to be babies in this sense.
That we are in essence to be a “Priesthood of Babies.”
So, if you have found in your Bibles, I’d invite you to stand as we read verses 2-10,
Again, that is . . .
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. 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
If you are reading through 1 Peter, you will find that our passage takes place toward the end of Peter admonishing the people to submit themselves to God and to live holy lives.
All the way back in chapter one Peter tells them to . . .
1 Peter 1:
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Three key things regarding a sanctified life:
#1-Prepare our minds for action.
#3-Set our hopes fully on the grace to be given to us.
All three things that are only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit.
We are to be open and prepared for the work of the Holy Spirit, be controlled and deliberate in our actions, and put our hope fully in Jesus Christ.
We are called to be different than the world. Peter says we are to be . . .
14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
We are to called to reject and throw off the ways of the world and it’s “evil desires.”
We are to seek a better way, God’s way.
When we receive Christ our minds are renewed and we now know better and because we know better we will now be held accountable.
Peter says . . .
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
Our lives should be a reflection of the holiness of God.
But, we do not have the ability to do this on our own.
Holiness is only brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
We can’t wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll be holy today.”
If we think we can do this then we are massively deceiving ourselves.
And we also can’t “get sanctified” and that be the end of it.
We don’t “get sanctified.”
Sanctification is the work that God does in us throughout our lives.
The process begins we we receive Christ and then we grow until we reach the point that we realize that we can no longer hold things back from God.
It is here that we then submit ourselves FULLY to God or we are consecrated before God. Releasing everything to Him.
In the Church of the Nazarene we call this “Entire Sanctification.”
BUT IT DOES NOT END AT THIS POINT!
That just marks a new beginning and deeper level.
God intends for us to grow continuously throughout our lifetime.
Until the moment we take our last breath, we should be growing and maturing in the Lord.
And this continued growth is made possible through the work of the Holy Spirit and how we approach God, which brings us to our focus for tonight .
Peter writes that first we are to . . .
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
All things that take place when we experience Entire Sanctification.
Peter says that we are to “rid ourselves” of these things because Peter knows that as the Holy Spirit convicts us of these things, we are called to lay these things on God’s altar ALLOWING the Holy Spirit to purge these things from us.
Just because we receive salvation and just because we have been entirely sanctified, does not mean we suddenly lose the ability to sin.
God never takes away our freedom to do anything.
We desire to be different and to do differently, but the ability to sin is still there.
So, therefore we must give these things to God.
Once this is done, we then must be . . .
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.
And there is a whole lot in these two little verses of Scripture.
First we must approach God like newborn babies.
All of those qualities we talked about in the beginning regarding newborns, we must approach God in this way.
We must trust God completely.
We must love God completely.
We must put our complete faith in God.
We must be inquisitive about God and God’s will.
Peter says we are to crave pure spiritual milk.
All the things of God, we should be craving after, searching after.
All of this allows us to grow up in our salvation, which is vital to our spiritual lives.
We are not designed to remain “babies in Christ” forever.
Although there are a lot of good qualities about being a “babe in Christ” those qualities are restricted to how we are to approach God.
We are to approach God with faith, trust, love, and curiosity, BUT we are expected to mature in our character and behavior.
We are expected to develop a deeper and fuller understanding of God each and everyday.
We should learn something and grow just a little bit every single day.
And we know if we are doing this.
And we know whether or not the people around us are doing this as well.
One of the central problems in the Church world today is instead of having a Priesthood of Babies, we have giant nurseries full of Spiritually immature Christians, throwing tantrums whenever they do not get their way.
In this respect we all need to grow up in our salvation, as Peter puts it.
We don’t need to “get saved” and stop growing and we also don’t need to “get sanctified” and quit growing.
Peter says we have tasted the Lord and know that the Lord is good.
But yet, we don’t hold on to it.
We don’t try to take it any further.
Peter is telling us that this is not sufficient because this is not our calling.
This is not our purpose, to which he explains . . .
The Holy Priesthood
The Holy Priesthood
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Notice the word “Stone’ is capitalized.
Jesus is the “living Stone,” the “Rock of our Salvation,” the “Cornerstone” of the Church.
Jesus Christ is the foundation to which all things are built on.
Jesus was rejected by men, but chosen by God and is precious to him.
Jesus is the entire reason that we are here and even have the opportunity to come int a relationship with God.
Without Jesus NONE of it is possible.
Remember Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father but through Jesus.
Buddha can’t do it, Mohammed can’t do it, you can’t do it, I can’t do it, not even our precious praying grandmothers can do it.
JESUS AND ONLY JESUS CAN DO IT.
He makes the way.
He makes it possible.
We need to remember this and make sure we are telling everyone else around us as well.
But look at what Peter says about us in verse 5.
He says the we are like living stones, and are being built into a spiritual house to b e a holy priesthood.
The way this is supposed to work is that Jesus Christ is our foundation and we are the stones on which the priesthood, THE CHURCH is built.
Jesus told us that he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.
And he wasn’t talking about a fancy temple, tabernacle, or cathedral.
Jesus was talking about each one of us.
WE ARE THE CHURCH.
JESUS CHRIST IS OUR FOUNDATION AND WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BUILDING ON THAT FOUNDATION.
What are we building tonight?
Are we building on the foundation that is Jesus Christ?
Are we doing what God has called us to do?
Peter says that as the holy priesthood, we are supposed to be offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
And those spiritual sacrifices are us.
Remember, Paul tells us that we are to offer ourselves as sacrifices to God.
We are to give ourselves fully to God for God’s use.
Can we say tonight that we are doing this?
If we are not, then we cease to be the building stones and become a different kind of stone.
Peter writes in verses 6-8 . . .
6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
Do we understand what Peter is saying here?
For us who believe and put our faith in Christ, he is our cornerstone, the stone that holds it all together.
Jesus is precious to us.
But for those who do not believe Jesus becomes a capstone.
A stone designed to “seal us in” and as a result people stumble and fall.
And they stumble because they disobey the message.
They stumble because they are disobedient to God.
We asked this morning how many have ever been disobedient to their parents, but what about God?
How disobedient to God have we been?
How many times have we failed to sound the alarm and deliver the message God has given us to deliver?
We have been called to be different.
We have been called to stand out and stand apart.
Peter reminds them and I remind all of us that we are . . .
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
After all God has blessed us with and after all God has brought us through, dont’ we owe it to others to share the truth with them?
Don’t we owe it to God to share the message of hope with others?
Don’t we owe it to God to give ourselves fully to Him?
Now obviously we cannot buy or earn our salvation and entrance into heaven.
But if we are called to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and love others as ourselves, shouldn’t we desire to share this love with others?
People always ask, what’s the evidence of sanctification?
The evidence is love.
Do we love God with all our being and love others as ourselves?
Do we demonstrate that love with our actions?
That is how we know.
As we end tonight , I want to ask you if you know where you stand.
If you don’t now is the perfect time to do something about it.
What will that choice be tonight?