Finding And Living In Kingdom Love

Photo by Pierre Blaché:

Please turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Peter chapter 2.

Christians Are Bound By The Royal Law Of Love

Though Salvation is a free gift from God – a gift can neither earn nor deserve – once saved you are under the Law of Love. There are three pillars to the Royal Law:

1 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:29-30; Luke 10:27; Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12; Mark 12:33; 1 John 5:2-5). Your love of God should bleed over into all that you so in life.

Illustration: One of the best illustrations I can think of the first commandment filled is in the work of one of the greatest composers, Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach wrote anthems, chorales, and cantatas for Church worship. He wrote also a number of so called “secular” concert pieces (like the Brandenburg Concertos), and a keyboard primer that is very popular (the Anna Magdalena notebooks). At the top of the first page of every manuscript Bach wrote the Latin initials for Jesu juva, meaning “Jesus, help me” and at the bottom of the last page he wrote Soli Deo Gloria, which means “Glory to God alone”. God wants us to put Him first in our hearts. The second pillar of our faith is:

2 You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Leviticus 19:18; Romans 13:9-10; Galatians 5:14; Matthew 19:19; James 2:8). Your love for God should bleed over in your love of what God has created.

We are not told to love ourselves, for most people naturally love themselves. In fact, in our day people love themselves TOO much, seeking to reassign their sex or their reality to suit their mood at the time. Our propensity to excessive self love – which is unhealthy both mentally and physically – stems to our fall from Eden. We are to love ourselves, but not more than God. We are to love others EQUALLY as we love ourselves. We should expect RESPECT from others, and give RESPECT to others. As we love ourselves, we are to treat others around us (whether we know them or not) the way we ourselves want to be treated.If you do not have self love and are considering suicide, please contact me and I will guide you to a counselor. Self hate is as unnatural as is excessive self love.

The third pillar of the Royal Law deals with the Family of God.

3 You shall love your fellow Christian as Jesus has loved you. (John 13:34; John 15:12; John 13:8)

Christians are members of the Family of God, citizens of the Kingdom of God, and as God is Light we are to be Light (1 John 1:5). Those not in the Kingdom of God live without regard to the Light of God and His glory. We live as children seeking to honor and glorify our Lord. We do this by loving others as Christ has loved us.

Christians are in a battle, and will remain in battle while we are in this world. Christianity and non-Christianity are locked in a battle that will not end until Christ comes. Those who are born once do not understand the things of God. The Bible says of the lost that though they know God, they glorify Him not as God. They are vain in their imagination, and their foolish hearts are darkened” (Romans 1:21). The Bible says their understanding is darkened, being alienated from the life of God because of the blindness of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18). Those who are born once know that there is a God in Heaven. If they did not know, they would not curse His name so. They know, but refuse to follow.

The worldly practice self love rather than Kingdom love. Those who are “born again” by faith in Christ turn from self love to Kingdom Love.

As we read in chapter one:

1 Peter 1:22-23 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

Illustrate: Every summer I “weed eat” my yard when I get through mowing it. I don’t use the standard “weed eater” with the motor and the string, but I use the “liquid weed eater”. I spray that stuff on my fences, else the grass and weeds will take it over. Left untreated, my yard would get out of control. In the Church we spray the “weeds” that spring up in our midst with the Word of God, killing the bad attitudes and bad habits that could easily take over and destroy our congregation.

We are to love like Jesus loved us – sacrificially, undeservedly, consistently, knowingly.

The Godly are those who do love to others. The ungodly love themselves above others, and strive to satisfy themselves in all they do. They are, as the Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 10:4-6 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. 5 His ways are always grievous; Thy judgments {O God} are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. 6 He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.

Whereas the Christian sings “As a tree, planted by the waters, I shall not be moved”, the unbeliever refuses to move toward God, to repent and follow Christ. A person CANNOT be born again apart from repentance, apart from surrendering yourselves to God your Savior. But Beloved, once you repent – turn from being your own god – and turn to God the Son in faith, God the Holy Spirit moves upon your life to cause you to be “born again”. This state of being is nothing that you can earn nor deserve – it is a gift of God. But YOU must make the decision to follow Jesus. Theologian Carl F.H. Henry said:

The Christian experience is always PERSONAL,
but never PRIVATE”

The Christian experience changes the output of your life. When you come to Jesus in faith, God the Holy Spirit comes to you in real time. You enter into a partnership with God. No one can do this for you. The Bible says that to be saved that:

Hebrews 11:6 {we must} “believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

What Does Christlike Love Look Like?

No one can come to God for you. You must come to Him, and believe that God has forgiven your sins for Christ’s sake. “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). You are forgiven all your sins because you believe and receive that salvation that the Lord offers you through Jesus Christ. Peter is addressing Christians, born again believers, Children of God’s Kingdom. Let’s read our morning’s focal text:

1 Peter 2:1-5 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Word Study: Our text starts with the word Wherefore. This ties what Peter is about to say with the “new birth” statement of 1 Peter chapter 1. If you are a child of God, you are to live for God. You are to live to glorify God. The Bible says we are to lay aside certain things as incompatible to Kingdom Life. The word laying aside is the Greek “ἀποτίθημι apotíthēmi, {pronounced ap-ot-eeth’-ay-mee}”, which means “to put away, cast off as unworthy, put to the side”. The word is first used in the Book of Acts when the Deacon Stephen was stoned to death by the Pharisees for preaching about Jesus. The Pharisees learned the Law of God, and modified the Law of God, taking God’s Word and putting their own spin upon it. God condemned the Pharisees for this, saying:

Mark 7:7 … in vain they worship me, teaching for doctrines {God’s Word} the commandments of men …

The Pharisees twisted the Word of God instead of obeying the Word of God. When Stephen challenged their religion by pointing them to faith in Jesus Christ, they carried him outside the city. Taking off their clothes beforehand, they cast them down (apotíthēmi) far from Stephen, then stoned him to death. They cared more for their clothing than they did a human life!

Christian, there are certain things that do not belong in our walk with God. The Scripture says:

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off {apotíthēmi} the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Illustrate: What is it that God tells us to “cast off”? These are all things that belong in the other kingdom, the fallen world. I was in my garage the other day when a wolf spider crawled across my hand. I didn’t look at it and say, “My, what a pretty thing, a marvel of engineering!”. No, I CAST IT OFF. It didn’t belong on my skin. If I could have caught it, I’d have squished it! Likewise, we are to CAST OFF those things unhealthy to our spiritual walk with God. We are now weed eating with liquid Word these things:

  • All malice: κακία kakía, {pronounced kak-ee’-ah}, a “desire to injure someone physically or spiritually”.
  • All guile: δόλος dólos, {pronounced dol’-os}, “deceitfulness, trickery, craftiness. To set out bait so as to trap.”
  • hypocrisies: ὑπόκρισις hupŏkrisis, {pronounced hoop-ok’-ree-sis}, to “have two faces, a displayed face, and a secret face”. Hypocrisy was one of the things that Jesus often charged the Pharisees with (see Matthew 23:28; Mark 12:15). Jesus even called the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as “the leaven of the Pharisees” (Luke 12:1).
  • envies: φθόνος phthónos, {pronounced fthon’-os}, to “want what someone else has, to covet”. The Pharisees were envious of the Lord Jesus’ following, and for this reason they delivered Him to Pilate to be executed (see Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10). Envy is the violation of the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17).
  • evil speakings: καταλαλία katalalía, {pronounced kat-al-al-ee’-ah}, which means “to backbite, to defame, to speak evil of another with the intent of destroying or murdering another person’s character”.

When we were children of darkness, we followed patterns of life that tore others down while building ourselves up. Now that we are children of God we are children of Light. We are called of God to – through the operation of the Holy Spirit – to cast off anything that dishonors God and hurts others. The Stepbrother of Christ wrote:

James 1:19-21 (ESV) Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

As Children of God we are to put off or put away our old way of life, and put on the Word of God. We are to ask our God, “What is Your will for my life?”, then we are to prayerfully turn to the Scripture to find that will.

When I decide to live my Christian faith following the world and not the Word of God, I HINDER my walk with God, I HURT the Kingdom of God on this earth, and I HELP DISCOURAGE others from seeking salvation by faith in Christ.

Ephesians 4:21-24 (ESV) assuming that you have heard about {Jesus} and were taught in {Jesus}, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

As Christians in the Kingdom of God, our minds are to be redirected from what the WORLD says is right to what GOD says is right. How do we do this?

The Word Of God Teaches Us How To Walk & Grow Spiritually

1 Peter 2:2-3 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Illustrate: We are given a beautiful picture of the Grace Walking Christian. When Sherry and I were much younger, I worked a swing shift in the Air Force for several years. We had, at that time, one baby and one toddler in our home. I’d get home from work around midnight, and stay up till about 1:30 am when the baby woke up. I’d hear him rustling, and starting to fuss. You see, his little belly was empty. I’d quickly warm up his bottle, and go get him out of the crib before he woke his big brother. He’d see that bottle, and his eyes would be focused on the bottle, not on me. When I put the nipple in his mouth he’d start sucking, desperately, quickly, to get as much down as fast as possible. I’d always say, “Slow down, Son”, but he wouldn’t listen. He wanted that bottle!

As a baby does with a bottle of milk, we who are Christians should desire the sincere milk of the Word. The word translated sincere is the Greek ἄδολος ádolos, {pronounced ad’-ol-os}, which means “pure, something unmixed with anything else”. As Christians, we grow in our faith and in our spirituality as we intake the teachings of the Word of God into our lives, and live by those teachings. We need to be careful about following televangelists and New Age television teachers who express opinions totally divorced from the Word of God. We need to always remember that Satan knows how to quote Scripture out of context, and that he used this tactic even with our Lord Jesus. Satan, the Bible says:

The Devil Loves To Supplement: Matthew 4:5-7 (ESV) {Satan} took {Jesus} to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Those who would do evil, and disrupt the Kingdom of God’s work on this earth often takes the Scripture, and twists it from what it says to what they want it to say. We are to desire the SINCERE or PURE Word of God, for only this grows us as believers. The Apostle told his student:

2 Timothy 3:15-17 (ESV) … from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

It is the Scripture that you must know and understand in order to be a power filled Child of the King. Satan is constantly bombarding our minds with the doctrines of darkness and the ways of sin. But it is God’s desire that we be like Jesus Christ in all our lives – not just at Church, but at work, in the market place, and at home. We abide in Jesus by reading, studying, and meditating on this Word. It is the Word of God that washes the darkness out of our lives:

Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) … Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

It is the Word of God that converts us,
and the Word of God that
cleanses us.

It is the Word of God PREACHED and RECEIVED that changed you. You must keep on receiving that Word! If the newborn baby stops eating it will, in time, die. The child must be fed. You must be fed. The Christian who will not feed on the Word of God by regularly reading it and studying it will, in time, be consumed of the world. The reason we have sickly and useless Christians in every age of every Church is because they will not seek God’s Word. You must long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation. But the Scripture adds this:

1 Peter 2:3-4If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. TO WHOM COMING, as unto a Living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but Chosen of God and Precious.

The Christian – person who is BORN AGAIN – has tasted that the Lord is gracious. You’ve tasted of God’s Grace. The Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 34:8 (ESV) Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed in the man who takes refuge in Him!

Salvation comes to us when we recognize that we are sinners in need of the Savior. Where do sinners need to go? They go to JESUS. Jesus Christ came for sinners. Those who follow Jesus are broken people that He is fixing. The Bible tells us that Jesus had just healed a paralyzed man by telling him,

Your sins are forgiven you!

That man picked up his bed, and walked. Jesus Christ came to heal the broken, to embrace the sinner. With a Word Jesus healed that man – and that man did what JESUS SAID, he PICKED UP HIS BED AND WALKED. He did not remain in that bed. Where Jesus has been, life is. Where Jesus works,

the blind see,
the deaf hear,
the cripple walk,
the lepers are healed,
the demons are cast out,
the lost are found,
and those in darkness are brought into light.

Healing this man by saying, “Your sins are forgiven you”, Jesus goes on His way. Seeing a Tax Collector named Matthew, Jesus said simply,

Follow Me” (Matthew 9:9)

And Matthew got up from his tax collection tables and began to follow Jesus. That’s tasting grace. That’s what salvation looks like. Matthew invited Jesus home, and invited all his undesirable friends to come and meet Jesus (Matthew 9:10). When the Pharisees and Scribes heard of this, they asked those who followed Jesus:

Matthew 9:11 … Why does Jesus eat with tax collectors and other sinners? (my paraphrase)

When Jesus heard this He said:

Matthew 9:12-13 … They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus came for the broken who would come to Him. He came to lead us away from wasted life, to a life of “joy unspeakable, and full of glory” in the Lord. We are saved when we, calling upon the Name of Jesus, repent of being our own gods, and pledge our lives to His care. We follow Him. We live because of Him. We live for Him. Our Jesus is the Living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but Chosen of God and Precious. Jesus is the Living Stone that God is using to build His Kingdom on this earth.

If I Am A Christian I Am Part Of A Much Greater Purpose
Than Just My Satisfaction

1 Peter 2:4-5 To Whom coming, as unto a Living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but Chosen of God, and Precious, 5 Ye also, as Lively Stones, are built up a spiritual house ….

God has a purpose in saving you. What is that purpose? First, “I am to be like Jesus”. Saved by Grace, I am adopted into the Family of God by the operation of the Holy Spirit. We who are saved by faith in Christ are “predestined unto the adoption of Children by Jesus Christ to Himself” (Ephesians 1:5). The Holy Spirit of adoption indwells us (Romans 8:15). Jesus did not just come to this earth to make payment for our sins, but also to bring us into the Family and kingdom of God. The Scripture says:

Galatians 4:4-5 when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Jesus is THE Son of God. We who are saved are sons of God. Jesus served God the Father as THE Son of God. We serve God the Father as sons of God.

Illustrate: Jesus Is The “LIVING Stone” in the spiritual House of God. We Are The “LIVELY Stones” in the spiritual House of God. When I and my kids were younger, we used to play a game called “Pick Up Sticks”. In the game the sticks were divided into three or four colors. Holding the bundle of sticks in my hand, I would drop them – and they would scatter everywhere. The object was to use a stick to retrieve your colored sticks out of the pile – all without disturbing other sticks. While I had the bundle of sticks in my hand, ALL THE STICKS pointed in the SAME DIRECTION. But once my was removed, the sticks pointed in every direction, the very definition of confusion.

The Church is like this. While Jesus has His hand around us, and we are heeding and doing the Word of God, we are a bundle of sticks all facing in the same direction. But when we neglect to cling to Jesus and this, His Word of God, then we fall into a big, messy pile. Jesus is the Living Stone, we are to be lively stones. We are to be like Jesus. Dr. Adrian Rogers preached a sermon just before he went to be with Jesus. In that sermon Dr Rogers said:

The curse of [our age] is that we have many Churches filled with baptized pagans. We have a full Church of empty people. They have culture but not Calvary, ritual but not reality, form but not force, religion but not righteousness.”

Part of the reason for this confusion is because televangelists and preachers have emphasized “Salvation is a free gift” in their preaching, but have ignored Sanctification. Salvation is indeed a free gift. Jesus Christ came offering “the gift of God” (John 4:10). The “gift of God” cannot be obtained with money (Acts 8:20). The Bible tells us that

Romans 6:23 (ESV) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You cannot earn nor deserve your salvation. But once saved, God brings you into His Family, and you are given a Heavenly Stewardship. You were saved from sin – not to continue in sin – but to serve the Lord. Jesus Christ does not save you IN your sin, but FROM your sin. As a born again child of God you are called to …

Ephesians 4:1 … walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called

Colossians 1:10 walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God

1 Thessalonians 2:12 … walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Beloved, the saved are to walk worthy of God. We are to be imitators of Jesus. We are to live our lives so as to please our Heavenly Father. Are you “born again”? If so, you are …

1 Peter 2:5 … an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. …

Jesus is your High Priest, and you are a holy priesthood, left on this earth to represent God. Are you? Or have you drifted away from serving the Lord? Perhaps you never were saved in the first place. Dear ones, make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). Make sure you are saved by faith in Christ. If you are, follow Him. He is your High Priest, and you are a Holy Priesthood to God. May God the Holy Spirit bless you, and draw you closer to God daily. For the glory of Christ. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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