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Ethical Transformation

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·         Hearing or reading the Word of God is a vital part of your Christian life but for your ethics to become more and more Christian, you need a broader view of your theology

·         Our Scripture reading is found in 1 Peter 2:1-3


1 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV)
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.

·         And our subject today is; ‘Ethical Transformation’.

·         Transform or change your ethics, ethics being the way you deal with morality, right and wrong conduct

·         Peter utilizes the Old Testament in this letter

·         Last week verses 24 and 25 of chapter 1 were from the book of Isaiah chapter 40 verses six through eight

·         Our passage this week though not as obvious as last week is also reference in the Old Testament

·         And Psalm 34 appears to be one of Peter’s favorite.

·         So as an introduction for today, I would like to go Old Testament on you.  Listen to Psalm 34 all 22 verses;

Psalm 34 (ESV) page 556
Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

·         A Psalm for the exile

·         Can you hear in this Psalm some of the exhortations that Peter has mentioned in his letter?  And there are others he will mention later.

·         Using this as the introduction, listen again to Peter

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.

·         Ethical Transformation

·         Add to the exhortation of last week ‘love one another earnestly’ this first verse tells of things to put away, place aside, get rid of, or just stop doing

·         Don’t take Peter likely and many of you do

·         Here is what I mean, there are many in the church who would call themselves descent Bible readers, would take a look at these three verses and feel immediately that they must start with verse one

·         After all it is verse one, the first verse of chapter 2

·         And they will set up camp around this verse and move no further

·         They would see this as a new set of ‘thou shall not’s’ and then make attempts to put them away, place them aside, get rid of them, or come up with ways to stop doing them

·         Wrong!  The horse is in the barn and you are out pulling the wagon yourself

·         There may be some who would read the next verse, verse two which says; long for, desire, crave and some versions would say ‘the pure milk of the word’

·         And they would set up camp here

·         They would see this as a new set of ‘thou shall do’, read more Scripture, listen to more Scripture, get more tapes of good preachers and teachers of the word and listen to them

·         That’s all well and good but you got the horse and wagon this time, but the you got the wagon in front of the horse

·         Actually the correct key to these three verses is found in understanding the third verse and then dealing with the other two

·         It says and remember now our introduction; “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

·         To understand this passage it needs to be approach from verse 3 to verse 2 and then to verse 1

·         Tasted that the Lord is good, long for the pure spiritual milk, and then put away all.

·         The verb tasted is in the indicative mood and all that means is that it is treated as fact

·         When did you taste that the Lord is good?

·         Psalm 34:8 gives it as an imperative telling you to do it, now the question before you is when did you taste that the Lord is good?

·         Allow some help in your meditation the Greek word that is translated taste is also translated eat and experience

·         Now listen

·         Of all the sensory metaphors (comparisons), tasting is the most intimate and the only one that involves ingestion.

·         Seeing God, hearing God, even touching God, does not carry the powerful connotations that ‘tasting’ implies

·         For in tasting it makes the experience of God internal to oneself

·         So when did you feel Him on the inside?

·         When did you know that the Holy Spirit was in you?

·         When did you feel fire shut up in your bones?

·         And your answer must be at conversion

·         When you were truly converted, born again, regenerated, made new in the Lord,

·         You tasted that the Lord is good

·         And you today just like the brothers and sisters that Peter is writing to who back in chapter one verse three were told that they were born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

·         You can say Amen to Psalm 34:8 because that is your reality

·         Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge (who has trust and hope) in him!

·         Are you beginning to see that to put away all is impossible if you have not tasted that the Lord is good

·         If you have not ingested Jesus, you are not capable of putting away anything.

·         But also it broaden my next point; long for the pure spiritual milk

·         Some of the limitations come in how one Greek word is translated

·         It is only used here and in Romans 12:1 and the meaning in Greek is being true to the real and essential nature of something

·         The word ‘pure’ here is unadulterated or contaminated

·         Here is how one source puts it

“When Peter exhorts them to crave spiritual milk, he is not telling them to crave the word of God, as if commanding them to listen to more sermons or to read more Scripture, as good and even necessary as those activities may be.  He is saying that God in Christ alone both conceives and sustains the life of the new birth.  They are to crave the Lord God for spiritual nourishment.  They have tasted the goodness of the Lord in their conversion, but there is more to be had.”

·         Peter in this letter will talk about practical things that will result in growing up to salvation

·         You know that spiritual nourishment comes in different packages and many flavors

·         A song can be nourishing

·         Fellowship is nourishing

·         A good cry or hardy laugh is nourishing

·         Seeing the blessing or hearing the testimonies of others is nourishing

·         And just like the image of a newborn infant longing for milk and most are beginning to relearn that the best unadulterated and uncontaminated milk is the infant’s mother’s milk

·         You long for the pure spiritual milk that only the Lord God can send in His own special customize way, a formula just for you.

·         This longing for and this ‘more of the Lord to be had’ concept, involves the third point; put away all

·         So how is the longing for expressed?  By verse 1; “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”

·         Because your theology is proper now your ethics can be transformed

·         Put them away, place them aside, get rid of them, or come up with ways to stop doing them, all of them

·         Listen now to what these vices are and take note of your own life, keep in mind however that you have tasted that the Lord is good and you long for more of Him in your life

·         You may have heard of house cleaning, here is life cleaning, ‘ethical transformation

Malice; desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another, intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse. Here are some synonyms;

·         Ill will, spite, holding a grudge

·         Malice implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer

·         Ill will implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration

·         Spite implies petty feelings of envy and resentment that are often expressed in small harassments

·         Grudge implies a harbored feeling of resentment or ill will that seeks satisfaction

·         All malice get rid of it!

Deceit; the act or practice of deceiving deception, an attempt or device to deceive to trick, the quality of being deceitful deceitfulness; to deceive; ensnare, to be false to, to fail to fulfill, cheat, to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid.  Here are some synonyms;

·         deceive, mislead, delude, beguile mean to lead astray or frustrate usu. by underhandedness.

·          deceive implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness

·         mislead implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional

·         delude implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth

·         beguile stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving

·         Those of us who are teachers and preachers of the Word of God, doctrines of our faith, and Christian ethics must be in prayer that we are not using ‘deceit’ to get our point across.

·         All deceit stop doing it!

Hypocrisy; a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not especially, the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.   We don’t usually put it this way but to go out and act like you don’t know the Lord is hypocrisy.  To behave like, act like, appear to be like, the unbeliever when you are saved, is hypocrisy.  I say this to all but especially to our younger believers because you have the desire to fit in and be excepted.

Envy; painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage, to covet or covetousness

Slander; the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation, a false statement about a person — libel

·         So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

Let me close with another quote from another source I use. This is for Bakers exegetical Commentary of the New Testament.

“The wider view of God’s life-sustaining grace in Christ, is appropriate to Peter’s goal of redefining the readers’ self-identity in light of the new reality into which they have come through the new birth.  Hearing or reading the word of God is a vital part of the new life, but Christians have not truly ingested God’s life-transforming grace until they have put off attitudes and behaviors that are inconsistent with the new life, thereby instinctively, eagerly, and incessantly craving the grace of God”

As you leave here today, I pray you leave on the path of ethical transformation, in Jesus’ name.

ἀποτίθεμαι (apotithemai), ἀποτίθημι (apotithēmi): put away, place aside to another location (Mt 14:3; Ac 7:58); stop, get rid of, the figurative extension of the prior entry (Ro 13:12; Eph 4:22, 25; Col 3:8; Heb 12:1; Jas 1:21; 1Pe 2:1)

πᾶς (pas), πᾶσα (pasa), πᾶν (pan) παντός (pantos): all, every, each, whole (Mt 8:32; 24:34; 26:56; Lk 4:5; 1Co 3:21; Gal 5:14; Jn 8:2; Mk 16:Shorter); any, one of a totality (Mt 18:19; 19:3); total, complete (Ac 4:29; 1Ti 4:9; Tit 2:15); whole, with the definite article, with the focus on totality (Mt 18:32; Ro 9:17; Mk 16:15); every kind of (Mt 4:23; 1Co 6:18)

κακία (kakia), ας (as), (): badness, evil, wickedness, depravity, malice (Ac 8:22; Ro 1:29; 1Co 14:20; Jas 1:21; 1Pe 2:16); difficulties, a state involving distressing circumstance (Mt 6:34); hateful feeling, hostility (Eph 4:31; Col 3:8; Tit 3:3; 1Pe 2:1; 1Co 5:8),

δόλος (dolos), ου (ou), (ho): treachery, deceit, slyness, trickery (Mt 26:4; Jn 1:47; Ac 13:10; 2Co 12:16; 1Th 2:3; 1Pe 2:1, 22; 3:10)

ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), εως (eōs), (): pretense (duplicity, insincerity); (most versions) hypocrisy (Mt 23:28; Mk 12:15; Lk 12:1; Gal 2:13; 1Ti 4:2; 1Pe 2:1; Jas 5:12.)

φθόνος (phthonos), ου (ou), (ho): jealousy, envy (Mt 27:18; Mk 15:10; Ro 1:29; Gal 5:21; Php 1:15; 1Ti 6:4; Tit 3:3; Jas 4:5; 1Pe 2:1)

καταλαλιά (katalalia), ᾶς (as), (): καταλαλιά (katalalia), ᾶς (as), (): slander, defamation, evil speech (2Co 12:20; 1Pe 2:1)

λογικός (logikos), ή (ē), όν (on): true to real nature, pertaining to being genuine: spiritual, reasonable, sensible, pertaining to mind and heart, (Ro 12:1; 1Pe 2:2)

·         Now:

·         When saying ‘just do it!’ won’t do

·         When ‘just say no’ don’t work

·         The question is how do I put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander?

·         Too many times you are happy with just some of it or apply this to certain people and not others.

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