10/9/14

Stem-Cell Research: “Why Lines Must be Drawn” by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1053

Stem-Cell Research: “Why Lines Must be Drawn”

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

It’s not often that I find myself agreeing with an editorial from the pages of magazines such as U.S. News & World Report, Time, or Newsweek. These publications are well known for the “liberal” slant they put on most subjects they address—from matters of politics to matters of ethics. Generally, when I read an article by one of the writers who frequent the pages of such publications, I find myself shaking my head left to right in strong disagreement.
But in the August 23, 2004 issue of Time, I stumbled upon an exception. In the closing pages of the magazine, there was an essay titled “Why Lines Must be Drawn,” by Time staff writer Charles Krauthammer. I read the article while onboard an airplane, on my way home from a weekend speaking engagement in eastern Tennessee. The title itself caught my eye—if for no other reason than the fact that a Time writer would dare to suggest that there actually are times when lines must be drawn. As I read, I found myself once again shaking my head—but this time up and down instead of left to right. Allow me to explain.
On June 5, 2004, former U.S. president Ronald Reagan succumbed to Alzheimer’s, after a ten-year-long battle with the disease. A little over a month later, on Tuesday, July 27, 2004, the president’s youngest son and namesake, Ron Reagan, did two things that his Republican-president father never would have done. First, he spoke at the Democratic National Convention. Second, he advocated the use of stem-cell research using embryonic stem cells (something to which is father was opposed during his own administration). Ron Reagan “tugged at the heart strings” when he painted a picture that envisioned a Parkinson’s disease patient being cured as the result of stem-cell research. He discussed the potential of using a patient’s own skin cells—plus a donor egg—to produce neural cells that would be injected into the brain. Reagan Jr. called it a “personal biological repair kit,” and labeled it “the future of medicine,” telling those in attendance that stem-cell research could lead to “the greatest medical breakthrough in our or in any lifetime” (“Reagan Calls for…,” 2004).
Great convention speech material, that! But Ron Reagan conveniently downplayed the fact that in order for such a “great medical breakthrough” to occur, it requires the destruction of the donor egg that has become a viable, growing embryo. But that is not a problem, suggested Reagan, because, according to him, “an embryo is not a human being!
Not everyone agrees with him on that salient point, however. As a reporter for CNN.com put it:
The subject is a highly controversial one…. Stem cells typically are taken from days-old human embryos and then grown in a laboratory into lines or colonies. Because the embryos are destroyed when the cells are extracted, the process is opposed by some conservatives who link it to abortion. Reagan said there was a distinction between an embryo and a fetus” (“Reagan Calls for…,” 2004).
Enter Charles Krauthammer and Time magazine. In his article (which bore the subheading: “Stem Cells Present a Complex Moral Issue”), Krauthammer discussed some of the political shenanigans that have occurred in the stem-cell debate (a topic not under discussion here). But he then commented:
…[T]his is not an issue of reason vs. ignorance…, but of recognizing two important competing human values: the thirst for knowledge and cures on the one hand and, on the other, the respect for even embryonic human life and a well-grounded respect for the proven human capacity to misuse newly acquired powers, in this case, the power to manipulate, reshape, dissect and redesign the developing human embryo (2004, 164[8]:78, emp. added).
Krauthammer was clearly angry that a medical/ethical issue had been turned into a political issue. With biting (and appropriate) sarcasm, he referred to the “prime-time convention speech by the well-known medical expert Ron Reagan,” and then inquired as to what, exactly, the message was that Reagan was trying to get across to his audience. Krauthammer’s conclusion?
On the one side are the forces of the good, on the verge of curing such terrible afflictions as Parkinson’s, diabetes and spinal-cord injury. On the other are the forces of reaction and superstition who, slaves to a primitive religiosity, would condemn millions to suffer and die. Or as Reagan subtly put it, the choice is “between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology” (p. 78).
But Krauthammer wasn’t finished. He continued:
Compassion? There’s nothing less compassionate than to construct a political constituency of sufferers (and their loved ones) by falsely and cruelly intimating that their disease is on the very cusp of cure if only the President would stop playing politics with the issue. Why, after all, was Reagan addressing the nation on a subject of which he knows nothing? Because his famous father died of Alzheimer’s, and some (including, sadly, Nancy Reagan) have been led to believe that Alzheimer’s is curable using stem cells. This is nonsense. Cynical nonsense. Or as Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem-cell researcher at the National Institutes of Health, admitted candidly to the Washington Post, a fiction: “People need a fairy tale” (p. 78, parenthetical items in orig., emp. added).
Krauthammer is angry. Really, really angry! And he has good reason to be. As we reported in the “In the News” section of our Web site for the week of July 26-August 1, 2004 (in an article titled “Stem Cells May not be the Ultimate Cure-All”), research at the Oregon Health and Science University defies the long-held assumption that stem cells are responsible for repairing diseased tissue. Holger Willenbring and colleagues found that macrophages (white blood cells that act as phagocytes to ingest foreign particles) “derived from bone marrow stem cells, and not bone marrow stem cells themselves, are what fused with diseased liver cells, ultimately curing a genetic liver disease” (as quoted in Science Daily, 2004, p. 1). In fact, Willenbring was not sure that stem cells did anything in the cells he and his coworkers evaluated. This landmark discovery was reported in the July issue of Nature Medicine (see Willenbring, et al., 2004).
But more than that, Krauthammer is angry that so little respect is afforded the human embryo. In speaking of his own offspring, he remarked:
I think it is more important to bequeath to my son a world that retains a moral compass, a world that when unleashing the most powerful human discovery since Alamogordo—something as protean, elemental, powerful and potentially dangerous as the manipulation and re-formation of the human embryo—recognizes that lines must be drawn and fences erected (p. 78).
Krauthammer’s point—that “lines must be drawn and fences erected”—is right on target. He angrily decried the use of “embryos created purposely and wantonly for nothing but use by science.” I share his anger—as do millions of other Americans who have an innate respect for human life—from single-celled embryo to doddering elder. As those of us at Apologetics Press have repeatedly pointed out (see Human Cloning and Stem-Cell Research—Science's “Slippery Slope” [Part II]), the destruction of human embryos for this type of research is a dangerous “slippery slope” that science dare not tread—even when there seems to be good reason to do so. Why? Because the wanton destruction of human life is wrong!
But who could possibly want a “magic bullet cure” for various human ailments more than Charles Krauthammer? When he was a mere 22 years old, he sustained a spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He has not walked in 32 years!
Oh, and did I mention that it was Dr. Charles Krauthammer who wrote this essay? Unlike Ron Reagan, who boldly spoke on a subject (stem-cell research) “of which he knows nothing,” Krauthammer is a well-known physician who knows exactly what he’s talking about—and who has a self-professed vested interest in finding cures for human beings, like himself, who desperately want to walk, or live, another day.
But, as Krauthammer noted—not by destroying other human beings! Or, as Dr. Krauthammer said when he ended his article, “not at any price” (p. 78). I couldn’t agree more. Premeditatedly destroying one human being, on the slim off-chance of hoping to save another, is not an option. Two wrongs never make a right. Lines must indeed be drawn!

REFERENCES

Krauthammer, Charles (2004), “Why Lines Must be Drawn,” Time, 164[8]:78, August 23.
“Reagan Calls for Increased Stem-cell Research” (2004), CNN, [On-line], URL: http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/27/dems.reagan/.
Science Daily (2004), “Macrophages, not Stem Cells, Correct Liver Disease by Fusion,” [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040708014035.htm.
Willenbring, Holger, Alexis S. Bailey, Mark Foster, Yassmine Akkari, Craig Dorrell, Susan Olson, Milton Finegold, William H. Fleming, and Markus Grompe (2004), “Myelomonocytic Cells are Sufficient for Therapeutic Cell Fusion in Liver,” Nature Medicine, 10:744-748, July.

From Gary... Bible Reading October 9


Bible Reading 

October 9

The World English Bible

 
Oct. 9
Psalms 148-150

Psa 148:1 Praise Yah! Praise Yahweh from the heavens! Praise him in the heights!
Psa 148:2 Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all his army!
Psa 148:3 Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you shining stars!
Psa 148:4 Praise him, you heavens of heavens, You waters that are above the heavens.
Psa 148:5 Let them praise the name of Yahweh, For he commanded, and they were created.
Psa 148:6 He has also established them forever and ever. He has made a decree which will not pass away.
Psa 148:7 Praise Yahweh from the earth, you great sea creatures, and all depths!
Psa 148:8 Lightning and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling his word;
Psa 148:9 mountains and all hills; fruit trees and all cedars;
Psa 148:10 wild animals and all livestock; small creatures and flying birds;
Psa 148:11 kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all judges of the earth;
Psa 148:12 both young men and maidens; old men and children:
Psa 148:13 let them praise the name of Yahweh, for his name alone is exalted. His glory is above the earth and the heavens.
Psa 148:14 He has lifted up the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near to him. Praise Yah!
Psa 149:1 Praise Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.
Psa 149:2 Let Israel rejoice in him who made them. Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Psa 149:3 Let them praise his name in the dance! Let them sing praises to him with tambourine and harp!
Psa 149:4 For Yahweh takes pleasure in his people. He crowns the humble with salvation.
Psa 149:5 Let the saints rejoice in honor. Let them sing for joy on their beds.
Psa 149:6 May the high praises of God be in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hand;
Psa 149:7 To execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples;
Psa 149:8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;
Psa 149:9 to execute on them the written judgment. All his saints have this honor. Praise Yah!
Psa 150:1 Praise Yah! Praise God in his sanctuary! Praise him in his heavens for his acts of power!
Psa 150:2 Praise him for his mighty acts! Praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Psa 150:3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet! Praise him with harp and lyre!
Psa 150:4 Praise him with tambourine and dancing! Praise him with stringed instruments and flute!
Psa 150:5 Praise him with loud cymbals! Praise him with resounding cymbals!
Psa 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise Yah! Praise Yah!

 
Oct. 9
Galatians 6

Gal 6:1 Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren't tempted.
Gal 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Gal 6:3 For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Gal 6:4 But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor.
Gal 6:5 For each man will bear his own burden.
Gal 6:6 But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches.
Gal 6:7 Don't be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Gal 6:8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Gal 6:9 Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don't give up.
Gal 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let's do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.
Gal 6:11 See with what large letters I write to you with my own hand.
Gal 6:12 As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Gal 6:13 For even they who receive circumcision don't keep the law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh.
Gal 6:14 But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
Gal 6:16 As many as walk by this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on God's Israel.
Gal 6:17 From now on, let no one cause me any trouble, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body.
Gal 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.



From Mark Copeland... Our Duties As Wives And Husbands (1 Peter 3:1-7)

                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

                Our Duties As Wives And Husbands (3:1-7)

INTRODUCTION

1. In this study of 1st Peter, we are seeing that God teaches the
   Christian how to conduct himself in all relations of life
   a. BEFORE GOD, he is to be holy, even as God is holy - 1Pe 1:14-16
   b. BEFORE THE WORLD, he is to live an honorable life, one filled
      with good works - 1Pe 2:11-12
   c. AS A CITIZEN, he is to submit to civil authorities - 1Pe 2:13-17
   d. AS A SERVANT, he is to do good, even it means to suffer patiently
      the mistreatment of others - 1Pe 2:18-25

2. As we come to chapter three, we find there are also certain
   responsibilities in our relations as husbands and wives - 1Pe 3:1-7

3. In a society where "dysfunctional families" seem to be the norm, it
   is even more imperative that the people of God demonstrate through
   their families that which is the will of God, and is "honorable"
   (good, beautiful to behold) conduct

[Our text goes a long way in describing the sort of conduct that is
"honorable" for wives and husbands, beginning with...]

I. INSTRUCTIONS TO THE WIVES

   A. BE SUBMISSIVE TO YOUR HUSBANDS (1-2)
      1. The word "likewise" refers back to the discussion in the
         previous chapter
         a. In which the principle of submission has already been
            applied to:
            1) Our responsibility to governmental authorities
            2) The servant's relationship to his master
         b. This would suggest that the same principles discussed
            earlier hold true to wives in their relationship with
            husbands
            1) I.e., to submit not only to the good, but also to the
               harsh - cf. 1Pe 2:18
            2) That if a wife suffers wrong from her husband when she
               was doing good, it is commendable before God if she bear
               that mistreatment patiently - cf. 1Pe 2:19
      2. The value of submission is best illustrated in the case where
         a Christian wife is married to an unbeliever
         a. He might be converted by her "conduct"
            1) Even though he might not have previously obeyed "the"
               word (the gospel)...
            2) Without "a" word (persistent nagging), he may be reached
               by her conduct!
         b. The type of "conduct" likely to have that effect is
            described as:
            1) "chaste" - that is, purity in all manner of life
            2) "accompanied by fear" -  that is, reverence; which in
               this case...
               a) Is manifested toward the husband
               b) And is an attitude consistent with the principle of
                  "submission"
      3. So the first duty of wives as outlined by Peter is that of
         "submission", especially if the husband is an unbeliever

   B. ADORN YOURSELVES PROPERLY (3-4)
      1. It is likely that Peter's comments are in the form of a
         "Hebraism"
         a. I.e., a Hebrew idiom (form of speech) commonly found in the
            Scriptures
         b. In this case, there is a contrast ("not this...but this")
            for the sake of emphasis
         c. A good example of this is found in Jn 6:27
            1) Jesus is not saying that it is wrong to work so we can
               eat
            2) But that our priority in life should be to have
               everlasting life
      2. A similar emphasis by way of contrast is being made by Peter
         a. I.e., don't let your emphasis on "beauty" pertain to
            outward adornment
         b. Not that is always wrong to arrange the hair, wear gold, or
            put on apparel
         c. But place your emphasis elsewhere!
      3. Let your beauty be "the hidden person of the heart"
         a. Conduct yourself so that beauty of the "inner person"
            shines forth
         b. Where people notice more "who" you are rather than "what"
            you wear!
      4. It is a "gentle and quiet spirit" that constitutes true inner
         beauty
         a. Unlike hair, gold, and apparel, it is incorruptible! - cf.
            2Co 4:16
         b. It is also very precious in the sight of God - cf. Isa 66:1-2
      5. So Christian women, let your inner beauty be your most
         noticeable feature!
         a. Without inner beauty, any outward beauty is like a ring of
            gold in the nose of a pig! - Pr 11:22
         b. Parents, are we teaching this truth (by word and example)
            to our daughters?

   C. BE "DAUGHTERS OF SARAH" (5-6)
      1. Remember, the holy women in the Old Testament who trusted in
         God...
         a. Adorned themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit
         b. Were submissive to their husbands
      2. A case in point is that of Sarah:
         a. Who was so beautiful outwardly...
            1) That Pharaoh wanted her when she was over 65 years old
            2) That the king of the Philistines wanted her when she was
               over 90 years old, and long past the age of childbearing
         b. Yet her true beauty was demonstrated by her submissive
            spirit (calling her husband "lord")
      3. Christian women can become the "daughters of Sarah," provided
         they...
         a. "do good" (be submissive to their husbands)
         b. "are not afraid of any terror" (composed with a gentle and
            quiet spirit)

[To be considered a "daughter of Sarah" by God would be a very special
honor!  It can be had by any woman who heeds the words of the apostle
Peter.

But a failure to heed these words will result in being more like a
"daughter of Jezebel."  Remember, she delighted in her physical beauty
and in manipulating her husband.  May such never be true of women
professing godliness and wearing the name of Christ!

Peter's instructions to husbands are brief, but nonetheless extremely
important...]

II. INSTRUCTIONS TO THE HUSBANDS

   A. DWELL WITH YOUR WIVES "WITH UNDERSTANDING"...
      1. The KJV says "with knowledge"
      2. Husbands are expected to know, and understand...
         a. Their responsibilities in marriage - e.g., Ep 5:25
         b. The nature of women, as "weaker vessels"
            1) Refers to physical strength
            2) Not to intellectual abilities, moral courage, or
               spiritual strength
      3. Such understanding is to govern how the husband lives with his
         wife -- with love and thoughtfulness

   B. "GIVE HONOR" TO THE WIFE...
      1. The word "give" means "to assign"
      2. "honor" involves the idea of that which is "precious, of high
         value"
      3. So the husband is to assign to his wife the honor of being
         precious and of high value in his sight
      4. A good reason to consider our wives in such light:  they are
         truly "heirs together of the grace of life"
      5. I.e., sisters in Christ, and therefore worthy of the respect
         we give any other child of God!

   C. "THAT YOUR PRAYERS MAY NOT BE HINDERED"...
      1. Here is good reason to heed Peter's instruction!
      2. The word "hindered" literally means "cut off"
      3. Thus the way we treat our wives may result in our access to
         God being cut off!
      4. This is what happened to the O.T. priests who divorced their
         wives - cf. Mal 2:13-14

CONCLUSION

1. We learn from Peter, then, that how we conduct ourselves as husbands
   and wives can have a bearing on our personal relationship with God
   a. If wives are to be considered "very precious in the sight of
      God..."
   b. If husbands are to keep open the avenue of their prayers to
      God...
   -- Then we must apply the principles in this passage (1Pe 3:1-7)
      to our lives!

2. If we do, then we all can be "heirs together of the grace of life!"

Speaking of being heirs of the grace of life, do you know one can
become such an heir? - cf. Tit 3:3-7

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Commendable Conduct Before God (1 Peter 2:18-25)


                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

                Commendable Conduct Before God (2:18-25)

INTRODUCTION

1. Our last study introduced the importance of submission to human 
   institutions that rule over us - 1Pe 2:13-17

2. Now in verses 18-25, Peter addresses those who were servants, 
   emphasizing again the principle of submission (READ)

3. In the course of his instructions, Peter mentions conduct that is 
   considered "commendable" before God...
   a. In the NKJV, the word "commendable" is used twice - 1Pe 2:19,20
   b. The NASV translates it as "finds favor" 

4. In this study, we shall consider...
   a. What is commendable conduct before God
   b. Why it is considered commendable
   c. How we can be sure to have this commendable conduct before God

[First of all, then...]

I. WHAT IS COMMENDABLE CONDUCT BEFORE GOD?

   A. TO SUFFER PATIENTLY WHEN MISTREATED FOR DOING GOOD...
      1. Consider the example given by Peter...
         a. A servant is trying to serve his master well
         b. For some reason, however, his master mistreats him
         c. The servant "finds favor" in God's sight if he patiently 
            and submissively endures the mistreatment!
      2. To put it in other words:
         a. When you are doing that which is good...
         b. And despite it you are being mistreated...
         c. But you endure the unjust treatment patiently...
         d. Your patient forbearance is commendable in the sight of 
            God!
      3. Note carefully:
         a. It is not simply suffering patiently that is commendable
         b. But suffering patiently when you did good, and yet are 
            abused for it - 1Pe 2:20

   B. IS THIS APPLICABLE ONLY IN A MASTER-SLAVE RELATIONSHIP?
      1. No! Consider 1Pe 3:13-14,17, where Peter speaks to brethren
         in general
      2. In writing to servants, then, Peter is applying a general 
         truth to a specific application
      3. It is therefore applicable to any situation where we are told 
         to submit...
         a. E.g., in our relationship to government - 1Pe 2:13
         b. E.g., in a wife's relationship to her husband - 1Pe 3:1
         c. E.g., in our relationship to one another - cf. Ep 5:21

[So whenever we do good and suffer for it, to endure that suffering 
patiently is "commendable conduct before God."

But that is hard!  It is our natural inclination to resist and defend 
ourselves when we are "in the right" and being mistreated.  Indeed, we 
want to "stand up for our rights."

To appreciate why patiently enduring suffering while doing good is 
commendable before God, let's address the question...]

II. WHY IS THIS CONDUCT COMMENDABLE BEFORE GOD?

   A. WE WERE CALLED FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE!
      1. Consider 1Pe 2:21-23
         a. Christians are called to follow the example of Jesus
         b. Just as He suffered patiently when mistreated without 
            cause, so should we!
      2. We have therefore been called to respond to ill treatment with
         good treatment - cf. 1Pe 3:9; Lk 6:27-36

   B. IN VIEW OF THE POTENTIAL GOOD THAT CAN RESULT!
      1. See what Jesus accomplished by His patient forbearance to 
         mistreatment done to Him! - cf. 1Pe 2:24-25
         a. The forgiveness of our sins!
         b. The restoration of straying sheep back to their Shepherd!
      2. By following the example of Jesus, we can have an effect for 
         good also
         a. Returning good for evil, we are more likely to overcome 
            evil - Ro 12:19-21
         b. In this way we are more likely to change those who 
            persecute us
         c. For they are often ashamed when they see how we patiently 
            endure their mistreatment by doing good

[Just as we were moved by the sacrificial death of Jesus for our sins, 
so we might best move others to change their evil ways by patiently 
doing good even when they mistreat us.  That is why we have been called
to follow the example of Jesus!

Finally, here are some suggestions to the question...]

III. HOW WE CAN BE SURE TO HAVE THIS COMMENDABLE CONDUCT?

   A. "REJOICE" THAT YOU ARE COUNTED WORTHY TO SUFFER...
      1. So Peter commanded later in this epistle - 1Pe 4:12-14; cf.
         also Ac 5:41
      2. Just as Christ did in His sermon on the mount - Mt 5:10-12
      3. Knowing that we are blessed in the sight of God, and have 
         joined a great group of prophets, apostles, and disciples in 
         suffering for Christ, can help us to have the proper attitude
         (one of joy, not vengeance)
      4. Even if those mistreating us do not know that we are 
         Christians, if our response is governed by Christ's teachings,
         we can still have satisfaction in knowing that God is pleased!

   B. "RESIST" THE TEMPTATION TO RETALIATE...
      1. When we suffer mistreatment by others, Satan is behind it all
         - cf. 1Pe 5:8-9
      2. He would love to hinder the cause of Christ by having us 
         retaliate just as people in the world would, proving that 
         Christians are no different than sinners of the world
      3. Don't let him win!

   C. "RESPOND" TO MISTREATMENT BY DOING MORE GOOD...
      1. When mistreated for doing good, just do more good! - cf. 1 Pe 3:9; Ro 12:20-21
      2. For "endure" (1Pe 2:19) means "to bear from underneath, i.e.
         (fig.) to undergo hardship", thus to bear up under pressure
      3. There is nothing noble (commendable) about stopping when "the 
         going gets tough"; but when "the tough get going", and going 
         about doing good, now THAT is commendable!

   D. "RELY" ON GOD...
      1. Suffering patiently when mistreated for doing good does not 
         always bring immediate satisfaction
      2. We must therefore trust in God, believing that His will is 
         best
      3. So just as Jesus "committed Himself to Him judges righteously"
         (1Pe 2:23), so should we - 1Pe 4:19
      4. And if our Christ-like behavior does not change the behavior 
         of those who mistreat us, God will one day do what is right 
         - cf. Ro 12:19; 2Th 1:6

CONCLUSION

1. Hopefully by following the "four R's" (rejoice, resist, respond, 
   rely) we can follow in the steps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus 
   Christ

2. If so, then we can be sure to have "commendable conduct before God"!

We have made reference to what Jesus accomplished by suffering for us, 
how He bore our sins on the tree (1Pe 2:24).  Peter also says Jesus
did this "that we, having died to sins might live for righteousness".

Have you "died to sins"?  Do you even know how that it is accomplished?
The answer is found in Romans 6:1-8...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Pilgrims And The Governments Of Men (1 Peter 2:13-17)

                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

             Pilgrims And The Governments Of Men (2:13-17)

INTRODUCTION

1. Throughout our study in 1st Peter, we have noticed that as
   "pilgrims" those who are Christians have many blessings and
   responsibilities

2. For example, in our previous study we saw that as "pilgrims and
   sojourners" we are to have our conduct honorable among those with 
   whom we live

3. But what about our responsibilities to those governments of men 
   under which we live?

4. When our true citizenship is in heaven, do we have any 
   responsibilities to the countries on earth?

[Peter addresses this very question in 1Pe 2:13-17...]

I. THE PILGRIMS' RESPONSIBILITY IN ONE WORD:  SUBMIT! (13-14)

   A. WE ARE TO SUBMIT "TO EVERY ORDINANCE OF MAN"...
      1. The word "submit"...
         a. Means "be subject to," signifying "to place one's self 
            under subjection; to render one's self subordinate"
         b. This will not be the only time in this epistle that 
            Christians will be told to be submissive - cf. 1Pe 2:18; 
            3:1; 5:5
      2. In this case, we are told to submit "to every ordinance of 
         man"
         a. The word "ordinance" literally means "a creation"
            1) The Greeks and Romans were accustomed to describe the 
               appointment of officers as the "creation" of them
            2) Therefore, the expression "ordinance" actually refers...
               a) Not to a particular law passed by government
               b) But to the civil government or institution itself
            3) Cf. the NASV, "to every human institution"
         b. Note also, we are to submit to EVERY human institution
            1) Whether it be a monarchy, democracy, or totalitarian 
               state
            2) The responsibility of pilgrims is still the same:  
               submit!

   B. THE APOSTLE PAUL TAUGHT THE SAME PRINCIPLE...
      1. We are to be subject to the governing authorities ("higher 
         powers", KJV) - Ro 13:1
      2. We MUST be subject, and show such submission by paying taxes
         and customs, and showing respect and honor to our officials - 
         Ro 13:5-7

[Our responsibility as pilgrims to the governments of men under which 
we live is quite simple:  submit to them.

But submission is not always an easy thing to do.  What reasons do 
Peter and Paul give that might motivate us to submit to our governments
as we should?]

II. REASONS WHY WE MUST SUBMIT (15-17)

   A. PETER GIVES US TWO GOOD REASONS...
      1. First and foremost, "this is the will of God" - 1Pe 2:15a
         a. Cf. also, "for the Lord's sake" - 1Pe 2:13
         b. That ought to suffice for all true servants of God
         c. But Peter does explain why this is the Lord's will...
      2. That we may "put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" 
         - 1Pe 2:15b
         a. Because of their allegiance to a heavenly King, Christians
            are often falsely accused of sedition or treason - e.g., 
            Ac 17:5-8
         b. By doing good (e.g., submitting to the governing 
            authorities), we can "silence" (lit., muzzle) such ignorant
            charges

   B. PAUL GIVES US ANOTHER GOOD REASON...
      1. Governing authorities that exist have been appointed by God! 
         - Ro 13:1
         a. This truth is emphasized in the book of Daniel - cf. Dan 2:20-21; 4:17,25a,32a
         b. Even those that are evil, which God uses for His divine 
            purposes and then replaces - cf. Exo 9:16 (Egypt); Isa 10:5-12 (Assyria)
      2. This being the case, to resist the government means to resist
         God Himself! - Ro 13:2-4

[So lest we find ourselves resisting against God Himself, let God's 
"pilgrims" freely submit to the powers ruling over them.  In so doing,
we will also silence those who might falsely accuse us of wrong-doing.

But is the principle of submission to government without exception?  Is
there ever a time when Christians are justified in refusing to obey 
governmental authorities?  From Peter himself, we learn...]

III. THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE

   A. IT IS NOT "WHENEVER GOVERNMENT IS OPPRESSIVE..."
      1. Consider the government and conditions under which Peter and
         Paul wrote:
         a. The government was totalitarian, with Nero as ruler, an 
            evil, despotic emperor
         b. Under his reign, Christians suffered greatly - cf. 1Pe 4:
            12-13; 5:8-9
         c. Eventually, even Peter himself was crucified, and Paul was
            beheaded
      2. Under such oppressive governments, our responsibilities remain
         clear:
         a. We are to submit
         b. We are to pray for our rulers, that peace may prevail - cf.
            1Ti 2:1-2
         c. Who knows?  Perhaps God who "removes kings and raises up 
            kings" will answer our prayers and give us rulers who are 
            good and just!

   B. THE EXCEPTION:  WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MAN!
      1. As illustrated by Peter and the rest of the apostles - cf. Ac 4:18-20; 5:27-29
      2. Only when government tries to force us to disobey God, must we
         then disobey the government
      3. Even then, it is only the particular laws designed to force us
         to disobey God that we have a right to break;  we have no 
         authority to break other laws in protest
      4. Rather, we are charged to pray for those in authority, and 
         submit to them in all other areas

CONCLUSION

1. Such is our responsibility as pilgrims under whatever government  we
   may find ourselves as we sojourn here on earth
   a. Even though we have liberty and freedom in Christ, we should use 
      that freedom in serving the Lord - cf. 1Pe 2:16
   b. As we do so, we will show honor and respect to those in authority
      - cf. 1Pe 2:17
      
2. Of course, we who live in countries that allow freedom of religion 
   should be especially quick to show our respect and submission, and 
   to thank God daily for this wonderful privilege!

Speaking of freedom of religion, are we taking advantage of such 
freedom by rendering obedience to God?  Perhaps there are those who 
have not yet done so... - cf. He 5:9

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... A Plea To Pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11-12)

                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

                      A Plea To Pilgrims (2:11-12)

INTRODUCTION

1. Having said that as Christians we are...
   a. "a chosen generation"
   b. "a royal priesthood"
   c. "a holy nation"
   d. God's "own special people"
   ...Peter makes a heart-felt plea concerning our conduct before those
      in the world - 1Pe 2:11-12

2. As we consider this "plea to pilgrims", remember that Peter is 
   speaking by inspiration; i.e., it is actually GOD who is making this
   plea!

[Before we examine the plea itself, let's notice some things mentioned
in the passage that serve as...]

I. THE BASIS OF THE PLEA

   A. YOU ARE "BELOVED"...
      1. Beloved by whom?
         a. By Peter, of course - 1Pe 2:12; cf. also 1Pe 4:12
         b. By Paul, James, John, & Jude, all of whom used this same 
            term of endearment
         c. But most of all, we are beloved of God and Jesus! - cf. Ro 1:7; Col 3:12
      2. It is out such human and divine love that this plea is made

   B. YOU ARE "SOJOURNERS AND PILGRIMS"...
      1. You have not yet reached your heavenly home
      2. As we will see later, failure to heed the plea will mean you 
         will never reach it!
      3. In view of that real possibility, we find this plea made even
         in form of "begging"!

   C. YOU ARE ENGAGED IN WARFARE...
      1. A war in which "fleshly lusts" wage war against the "soul"
      2. The outcome of this "war" will determine whether or not we 
         will reach our heavenly home

   D. YOU ARE BEING OBSERVED BY OTHERS...
      1. Some of which who often speak evil of you (even as they did of
         Christ)
      2. But by heeding this plea, it is possible to cause those very 
         ones who speak evil of you to glorify God in "the day of 
         visitation"
         a. This "day of visitation" might refer to the Day of Judgment
         b. In my opinion, it refers to the "day" when God's grace is 
            shown through a presentation of the gospel to them - cf.
            Lk 19:44
         c. In either case, we have an opportunity to bring glory to 
            God by the way we heed this plea

[In view of these four reasons, then, God through Peter is making a 
heart-felt plea.  What is this plea?

It contains two parts, which we shall now look at closely...]

II. THE PLEA ITSELF

   A. FIRST, THE PLEA BEGS US TO "ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUSTS"...
      1. The word "abstain" means "to hold one's self constantly back"
      2. From what are we to abstain?
         a. "Fleshly lusts", some of which are defined by Paul in Ga 5:19-21
         b. Notice that they involve more than just "sexual" sins (such
            as fornication)
         c. They also include sins of the "emotions" (hatred, outbursts
            of wrath, jealousies, envy, etc.)
      3. Why must we "hold ourselves constantly back" from these 
         things?
         a. According to Peter, they "wage war against the soul"
         b. According to Paul, they can keep us out of the kingdom of 
            God! - cf. Ga 5:21
         c. So if we want to succeed in our spiritual "pilgrimage" and
            reach our heavenly destination, we must heed this "plea to 
            pilgrims"!
      4. How can one abstain from fleshly lusts?  In his epistles, Paul
         explains how...
         a. Keep your mind on the things of the Spirit, and not on the 
            things of the flesh - Ro 8:5-6
         b. Grow in Christ, and don't provide opportunities for the 
            fulfillment of fleshly lusts - Ro 13:13-14
         c. Should such opportunities arise, flee them (remember Joseph
            and Potiphar's wife?), and pursue after that which is good 
            - cf. 2Ti 2:22

   [By following Paul's advice, we can win the "war" between the flesh
   and soul, and successfully complete our pilgrimage!

   But abstaining from fleshly lusts is not the only thing expected of
   God's pilgrims...]

   B. THE PLEA ALSO BEGS US TO "HAVE HONORABLE CONDUCT"...
      1. The word "honorable" ("honest", KJV) in the Greek is "kalos"
         a. It means that which is good, beautiful, harmonious, and 
            lovely
         b. I.e., our conduct is to be something beautiful and 
            refreshing to behold
      2. We can have conduct that is "honorable"...
         a. If on the one hand, we abstain from "fleshly lusts"
         b. And on the other hand, we do "good works" ("good" is the 
            same word in the Greek as "honorable")
      3. We have seen what are "fleshly lusts", what "good works" can 
         we do that are beautiful to behold?
         a. We can see to the needs of those who are poor, fatherless, 
            widowed, sick, and otherwise afflicted - cf. Jm 1:27
         b. We can demonstrate love and hospitality to brethren, 
            friends, neighbors, even strangers - He 13:1-3
         c. We can react kindly to those who despise us, speak evil of
            us, and mistreat us - Lk 6:27-31
      4. The effect of such conduct is that it will likely prompt 
         others to glorify God!
         a. As Jesus taught us in Mt 5:16
         b. Even those who at the present may speak against us as 
            evildoers! - 1Pe 2:12

CONCLUSION

1. By heeding this "plea to pilgrims" as found in 1Pe 2:11-12, it is 
   possible to accomplish several things at the same time...
   a. We can save ourselves
   b. We can glorify God
   c. We might even help save those who presently speak evil of us!

2. As the "people of God" who have "obtained mercy" (1Pe 2:10), can 
   we do any less?
   a. Abstain, then, from those fleshly lusts which wage war against 
      the soul!
   b. Conduct yourselves, then, in ways that are honorable and a thing
      of beauty for others to behold!
   -- In so doing, you will ensure the successful completion of your 
      spiritual pilgrimage!

Speaking of the mercy of God, have you received the mercy that comes 
through the "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit"? 
- cf. Tit 3:4-7

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Spiritual Sacrifices Acceptable To God (1 Peter 2:5)

                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

              Spiritual Sacrifices Acceptable To God (2:5)

INTRODUCTION

1. An important principle taught in the New Testament is that of "The
   Priesthood Of All Believers."
   a. It is true that under the Law of Moses there was a distinction 
      made between priests the common people
   b. Even today, many religions professing to be "Christian" have 
      developed a clergy-laity distinction
   c. But the New Testament teaches otherwise - Re 1:5-6; 1Pe 2:9

2. The fact is, in Christ we are ALL "clergy"
   a. I used to say that we had no clergy in the church, but in reality
      we have no "laity"
   b. Does this mean we are all free to use "clergy-parking"?  I'll let
      you discuss that with the security guards at the hospitals! 
      

3. As "a royal priesthood", our responsibilities are described in 1 Pe 2:5
   a. "to offer up spiritual sacrifices"
   b. "sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ"

4. My goal in this lesson...
   a. Is to make sure that we understand our duties as "a holy 
      priesthood"
   b. And to encourage us to carry them out faithfully

[Let's take a closer look at the idea of "spiritual sacrifices"...]

I. SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES

   A. TYPES OF SACRIFICES TO BE OFFERED BY CHRISTIANS...
      1. Our bodies, as "living sacrifices" - Ro 12:1-2
      2. A lifestyle characterized by sacrificial love - Ep 5:1-2
      3. Praise and thanksgiving, which we do in prayer and song - He 13:15
      4. Doing good and sharing with others - He 13:16; Php 4:15-18
      5. Even in the way we die for the Lord! - Php 1:20; 2:17; 2Ti 4:6

   B. THE PURPOSE OF THESE SACRIFICES...
      1. In the Old Testament, sacrifices were offered for one of two 
         reasons...
         a. For those OUT of fellowship with God, to restore them back
            to the Lord
         b. For those IN fellowship with God, to express thanksgiving, 
            praise, love and devotion
      2. But in the New Testament...
         a. Only Jesus can provide the sacrifice needed to restore us 
            back to God - He 10:11-18
         b. Therefore, it should be clearly understood that our 
            sacrifices are not to "remove sin" or in any other way to 
            try to "earn our way" into heaven!
      3. Rather, to express thanksgiving and praise, love and devotion,
         for the goodness and mercy God has shown to us!

[Such is the nature of the "spiritual sacrifices" we offer to God.  But
as our text says, they must be "acceptable to God".

We can learn some valuable lessons from the Book of Malachi about what
constitutes "acceptable sacrifices"...]

II. ACCEPTABLE TO GOD

   A. IT MUST BE THE BEST WE HAVE TO OFFER - Mal 1:6-8
      1. Otherwise we despise the Name of God by offering "defiled 
         food"
      2. Would we render the same kind of service to our employers,
         etc.?
      3. If not, God would rather someone "shut the doors" or let 
         someone else serve Him - cf. Mal 1:9-11
   
   B. IT MUST BE OFFERED WITH SINCERITY AND ZEAL - Mal 1:12-13
      1. Lack of zeal is evidence of lack of sincerity!
      2. Lack of both results in offering "blemished sacrifices", which
         brings a curse from Him who deserves proper reverence - Mal 1:14-2:9
      3. How does this apply to our spiritual sacrifices?
         a. Like singing praises?
         b. Like doing good to others?

   C. IT MUST BE OFFERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH RIGHTEOUS LIVES - Mal 2:13-16
      1. The priests of Malachi's day had been quick to divorce their
         wives
      2. Even Peter taught that our treatment of wives would have a
         bearing on the effectiveness of our prayers - 1Pe 3:7
      3. This can be applied to many other things as well - cf. Ps 41:
         1-3

CONCLUSION

1. Some in Malachi's day did not think it of any value to serve the
   Lord faithfully - Mal 3:13-15

2. But others heeded his words, and it is touching to read what was
   said about them - Mal 3:16-18

3. Shall we be among those who serve God?  May we never forget that in
   the sight of God we are to be "a royal priesthood", called to offer
   "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ"!

May God help us to truly be one of His "jewels"!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Jesus: Cornerstone, Or Stumblingstone? (1 Peter 2:4-10)


                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

            Jesus:  Cornerstone, Or Stumblingstone? (2:4-10)

INTRODUCTION

1. When the infant Jesus was being presented to the Lord at the temple,
   an interesting statement was made concerning Him by Simeon:

   "Behold, this Child in destined for the fall and rising of many
   in Israel..." (Lk 2:34)

2. In other words, Jesus was destined to have different effects on 
   different people...
   a. To some, He would be the cause of their rising
   b. For others, He would be their down fall

3. In 1 Peter 2:4-10, the apostle Peter expands upon this same theme...
   a. To some people, Jesus serves as a "cornerstone"
   b. To others, He is a "stumblingstone".

[What's the difference? Well...]

I. TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE, JESUS IS A "CORNERSTONE"

   A. HE IS A "LIVING STONE" (4)
      1. Which was rejected by men
         a. As stated by John in Jn 1:10-11
         b. Instead, they crucified Him
      2. And yet, He was chosen by God, considered to be precious
         a. As foretold in Ps 118:22, God has taken that which was 
            rejected by men and made it the "cornerstone"
         b. The cornerstone of what?

   B. THE "CORNERSTONE" OF A GREAT SPIRITUAL HOUSE OR TEMPLE (5-6)
      1. Upon which we are being built
      2. The same thought or illustration is used by the apostle Paul
         - 1Co 3:9-11, 16-17; Ep 2:19-22
      3. As this spiritual house built upon Christ, we fulfill certain 
         responsibilities...
         a. We serve as a holy priesthood, offering spiritual 
            sacrifices to God, e.g.:
            1) Our bodies - Ro 12:1-2
            2) Our praise - He 13:15
            3) Our doing good and sharing - He 13:16
            4) Even our deaths - 2Ti 4:6-8
         b. We therefore serve as God's special people (9-10)
            1) With a special task of proclaiming the praises of God
            2) For by His grace...
               a) We have been called out of darkness into His 
                  marvelous light
               b) We who were not a people, are now the people of God
               c) We have obtained mercy!

   C. JESUS IS ALSO THE ROCK UPON WHICH WE AS INDIVIDUALS BUILD OUR
      LIVES - MT 7:24-27
      1. By following His teachings, we are able to establish our lives
         on solid ground
      2. And this enables us to withstand the "storms" of life

[So in more ways than one, Jesus is truly a "cornerstone" to those who
believe in Him and follow Him.

But what about those who do not believe in Jesus, who do not make Him 
the "cornerstone" of their lives?]

II. TO THOSE WHO DISBELIEVE, JESUS IS A "STUMBLINGSTONE"

   A. THERE IS NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE (7-8)
      1. Either Jesus is the cornerstone...
         a. Upon which we are being built as stones in His temple (the
            church)
         b. Upon which we are building our lives by following His 
            teaching
      2. Or He will be the "stumblingstone" over which we will meet our
         doom!

   B. THAT JESUS WOULD BE A STUMBLINGSTONE TO SOME...
      1. Was foretold by Isaiah, who Peter quotes - cf. Isa 8:13-15
      2. We saw that Simeon also foresaw the same thing when Jesus was
         presented in the temple as a newborn - Lk 2:34
      3. Even Jesus saw Himself as this stumblingstone - Mt 21:42-44

   C. SADLY, JESUS HAS BECOME A STUMBLINGSTONE TO ISRAEL...
      1. Cf. Ro 9:30-33; 1Co 1:23
      2. Jesus was a stumbling block to many of the Jews because...
         a. They thought that they could attain righteousness by
            keeping the Law
         b. They could not accept the need for a suffering Messiah to
            atone for their sins!

   D. IN A SIMILAR WAY, JESUS IS A STUMBLINGSTONE FOR MANY PEOPLE
      TODAY...
      1. Pride prevents them from accepting Jesus on His terms!
      2. They think that they can please God and go to heaven on the 
         basis of their good deeds
      3. Therefore, they are unwilling...
         a. To confess their sinfulness, and their need for Jesus 
            Christ
         b. To turn their lives over to Jesus, and to do His Will

   E. THE SAD PART IS THIS: TO THOSE WHO STUMBLE BY BEING DISOBEDIENT,
      DOOM AWAITS!
      1. For such doom has been appointed by God - 1Pe 2:8
      2. Such is logically necessary, for without Christ...
         a. We will die in our own sins - cf. Jn 8:24
         b. Righteous punishment can only follow - cf. Re 20:11-15

CONCLUSION

1. We often sing "Jesus, Rock of Ages," for truly Jesus is like a rock.
   But what kind of rock is He to us?

2. If we are willing to believe and obey Jesus, He can be the
   CORNERSTONE...
   a. Upon which we can be added as part of His church, the spiritual
      temple
   b. Upon which can build our lives so as to have a full and
      meaningful life

3. But if we disbelieve and are disobedient. then by necessity Jesus
   will be our STUMBLINGSTONE...
   a. Over which we will fall
   b. Under which we will be broken and be ground to powder

There is no middle ground. What will Jesus be for you?  Are you
obedient to His Word?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Living And Abiding Word (1 Peter 1:22-2:3)

                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

                 The Living And Abiding Word (1:22-2:3)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Christians, we are but pilgrims in this world;  our lives are but
   a sojourn toward our true home which is in heaven
   a. But as we travel through this life, we are not left without a
      "spiritual roadmap"
   b. To guide us on our journey, God in His grace has given us His
      wonderful Word, contained in the pages of what we call the Bible

2. What is sad is the fact...
   a. That many people go through their lives and never seriously
      consult this book which can direct them to heaven
   b. That even many Christians go through life ignorant of much of its
      content!

3. I am hoping that in the course of this lesson...
   a. I can awaken any such people to the value of the wonderful Word
      of God
   b. And that I can impress upon you the importance and necessity of
      reading the Word of God on a daily basis

[In an effort to do so, I encourage you to open your Bibles to 1Pe 1:
22-2:3, where we read of the nature of God's Word (read).

Within this passage of scripture, we can glean various attributes
possessed by the Word of God that make it so wonderful.  Consider,
then...]

I. THE WONDER OF GOD'S WORD

   A. IT LIVES AND ABIDES FOREVER...
      1. Verses 23-25 stress this point:
         a. "not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible"
         b. "which lives abides forever"
         c. "the Word of the Lord endures forever"
      2. Jesus has also spoken of the indestructibility of the Word of
         God - Mt 24:35
      3. History has borne out the fact that despite man's efforts to
         destroy and do away with it, the Bible continues to endure
         forever
         a. The efforts of Diocletian
            1) In 303 A.D. he proclaimed an edict requiring Christians
               and their sacred scriptures to be destroyed
            2) But within 25 years, the succeeding emperor ordered that
               50 copies be made and distributed at government expense!
         b. The claims of Voltaire, the French atheist (who died in
            1778)
            1) He boasted that within 100 hundred years of his
               lifetime, Christianity would be swept from the earth
            2) But only fifty years after his death, his own printing
               press and house were being used by the Geneva Bible
               Society to produce stacks of Bibles!
      4. How true, then, is the statement of Isaiah as quoted by Peter
         in 1Pe 1:24-25

   B. IT CAN CAUSE ONE TO BE BORN AGAIN...
      1. There is a law of science known as the Law of Biogenesis which
         states that "life begets life"
      2. Because the Word of God is what it is, it is able to produce
         spiritual life!  What is it?
         a. It is "incorruptible" seed which "lives and abides forever"
            - 1Pe 1:23
         b. It is "living and powerful" - He 4:12
         c. As Jesus said: "...The words that I speak to you are
            spirit, and they are life." - cf. Jn 6:63
      3. When a person receives the Word of God and obeys it, he or she
         is truly born again! - cf. Jm 1:18

   C. IT CAN PURIFY THE SOUL...
      1. Notice carefully:  "Since you have purified your souls in
         obeying the truth..." - 1Pe 1:22
      2. By obeying the truth (the Word of God), our souls are purified
         - cf. Jn 17:17
      3. That is because the truth contains the gospel, which when
         believed and obeyed, results in the remission of sins by the
         blood of Christ!

   D. IT CAN PRODUCE CONTINUAL GROWTH...
      1. "...desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow
         thereby," - 1Pe 2:2
      2. Spiritual growth as a Christian is totally dependent upon the
         Word of God!

[Do you see why the Word of God is too wonderful to neglect? There is
no way you can destroy it, and if you desire to be born again and grow
spiritually, it is impossible without the incorruptible seed of the
Word of God!

Now if we desire to allow the Word of God to produce in our lives its
desired effect (spiritual life and spiritual growth), there are at
least two things mentioned by Peter which are essential...]

II. GROWING BY THE WORD OF GOD

   A. FIRST, WE MUST PREPARE THE SOIL OF OUR HEARTS...
      1. Just as when we prepare the ground for planting a garden
         a. We cleanse the ground of all insects and weeds
         b. So that seeds can grow unhindered
      2. Likewise, there are things Peter says we must lay aside...
         a. MALICE - an evil disposition, malignant spirit, a desire to
            injure another
         b. GUILE - that is, craftiness
         c. HYPOCRISY - deceptive and deceitful actions and attitudes
         d. ENVY - feelings of unhappiness because another has that
            which one desires for oneself
         e. EVIL SPEAKING - slanderous and defamatory statements about
            others
         -- For the Word of God to flourish in our lives, we must rid
            ourselves of these things
      3. Note also that these attributes must be rid of, if we are to
         be able to "love one another fervently" (as commanded in 1 Pe 1:22)

   B. SECOND, WE MUST HAVE THE PROPER DESIRE FOR THE WORD...
      1. Peter illustrates the proper desire...
         a. We are to be like "newborn babes" who desire milk - 1Pe 2:
            2-3
         b. Just as babies "long" for milk, we are to "long" for the
            Word of God
      2. Do our present attitudes toward the Word of God indicate such
         longing?
         a. Do we demand regular feeding upon the Word of God?
         b. If we feasted upon food as often as we feasted upon the
            Word of God, would we survive physically? - cf. Mt 4:4;
            Ps 119:165; Jer 15:16
      3. Failure to have this longing for the Word of God is a main
         reason for the lack of spiritual growth in many today
         a. It is why many do not overcome sin in their lives - cf.
            1Jn 2:14
         b. It is why many never become the godly men and women you
            would expect of Christians who have been such for 5,10,15
            years or more
      4. A question I often raise:
         a. If we do not read, study and meditate upon the Bible
            daily...
         b. If we go year after year, failing to read through the Bible
            on a regular basis...
         -- Can it be said that we have the proper desire for the Word
            of God?

CONCLUSION

1. The Word of God is too wonderful for Christians to neglect! Yet I
   dare to say that there has been a wholesale neglect of the Word of
   God among Christians in the Lord's church today

2. "If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious", as Peter
   says, if you have been born again by the Word of God, then I plead
   with you to make Bible reading an integral part of your daily life!

If you have not even obeyed the gospel, why not do so this very day?
For the wonderful Word of which we have been speaking is contained
within the gospel (cf. 1Pe 1:25b; Mk 16:15-16).

Yes, be born again through obedience to the Word of God (cf. 1Pe 1:
22-23), and begin a life where you can continue to grow, feeding upon
"The Living And Abiding Word!"

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011