THE BEST IS YET TO COME

…to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. – 1 Peter 1:4

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As the popular saying goes, April showers bring May flowers…but just like desiring the sun after days of rain, sometimes it’s difficult to wait for the good stuff to get here.

The book of 1 Peter was written to encourage Christians who were going through extended brutal persecution by the Romans. Today, we in the United State are not (yet) experiencing this kind persecution, but there are parts of the world where Christians are regularly tortured and killed for their faith. We are, however, seeing political/social persecution… such as being required to support abortion and homosexuality or face fines or even imprisonment. As we live in the “last days,” we should expect to experience increasingly more trouble simply for standing up for what the Bible teaches. But Peter wanted both the Christians of his day (and us) to know that, though they were “distressed by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6), this world was not their real home (1:17b; 2:11a; 5:10) and that they had an inheritance in Heaven that no one could take from them (1:3-5). In essence, he was telling them that the best was yet to come.

The Bible teaches that the days just before the coming of the Lord will be filled with dangers for believers, but we are to hold fast and not yield to the evils and temptations which will grow increasingly stronger (2 Tim. 3; 2 Pet. 3).  The enemy can use these chaotic times to make us fearful.  But remember that he is no match for the Holy Spirit living in us (1 John 4:4) and we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 8:37).  We should prepare ourselves for battle (Eph. 6:10-18), while remembering the battle belongs to the Lord (Prov. 21:31). We are living in exciting times and can have confidence that we have been given the tools to be prepared and victorious. for we know that the best is yet to come!

Growing Pains

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure mild of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”  1 Peter 2.1-3

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Is our desire really to grow?

I spend a lot of time burping babies at home…but when I come to church I spend a lot of time burping spiritual babies too.  It’s time for Christians to graduate from babyhood to adulthood in  Jesus!  I learned years ago that not everybody that grows old, grows up!  And that’s not only true emotionally, it’s true spiritually!

So what’s involved in our growing up spiritually?

 
1. PRE-GROWTH

 
Peter says that there are some things that need to be removed and left behind in order for you to spiritually grow up.

 
And until we’re willing to remove them, it doesn’t matter how many sermons we hear preached or how many verses in the Bible we memorize .. we won’t spiritually grow up.

 
Malice is an unforgiving spirit.  Deceit speaks of getting even with somebody who has wronged you. Hypocrites never grow up spiritually, because they are hypocrites.  Acting on the outside what you aren’t on the inside.

 

Most of us are not nearly as spiritual and wonderful as we pretend to be on the outside.  We’ve got to lay aside our hypocrisy if we’re ever going to grow up spiritually.
Envy is resenting somebody who has something good happen to them.  And Evil speaking is the result of being envious.

 
We’ve have been born again to GROW!  And in order to grow up spiritually .. there are some things we must lay aside, but if we don’t … we won’t!

 
2. PRODUCING GROWTH

 
Just as there must be some laying aside of some things … there must also be some things that produce GROWTH that we need to pursue.  In other words .. it’s not enough to simply lay aside these things.

 
YOU WILL NOT GROW APART FROM THE WORD OF GOD.  Suppose you walk up to me and said, “Jonah, I’m so weak, I don’t have any strength and can hardly walk”  And I asked, “Are you eating right?”  And you said, “No, I eat just a little one morning a week.  I wonder what’s wrong with me?”

 
If we are going to GROW, we have to FEED on the Word of God!

 
God’s placed within every baby the desire for milk.  When my children were born, the only desire they had was for milk in order to grow.  God placed that desire in them just as He has placed within those of us who have been born again to desire the pure milk of the word.

 
Be intentional and plan out your priorities. Set a time!  Decide on a place!  And once it gets into you, it will then come out of you giving you the nutrition and wisdom and strength you need to grow up and to stand firm.

 
3. PROMPTING GROWTH

 
Since we’ve experienced God’s graciousness, forgiveness, hope, inheritance, and have been born again to love one another, Peter says that should prompt us to grow.

 
We have tasted (come to experience) that the Lord is gracious.  The Psalmists says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

 
As we grow, we will be better equipped to lead our groups and lead them grow as well.