1 Peter Message #9 “Desire of the Newborn” Ed Miller, April 6, 2022

Listen to audio above while following along with the transcript below (also available for download in Word a www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)

As we come to look in God’s word, there’s a principle of Bible Study that is absolutely indispensable, and that’s total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit.  Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.  How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”  I just want to call attention to what it doesn’t say.  It doesn’t say, “How blessed will be the man.”  It says, “How blessed IS the man that trust in Him.”  So, we’re going to get into a little of the truth of tasting and hungering.  So, this verse, “Taste…see that the Lord is good.” 

Let’s bow.  Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are.  Thank You for meeting with us.  We just ask You, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, to put the light again on our Lord Jesus in a fresh way.  Meet with Your children, we pray.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

We welcome you again to our meditation on the Lord Jesus through the little epistle of 1 Peter.  Every book in the Bible, you remember, puts the spotlight on the Lord.  John 5:39, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it’s these that testify of Me.”  The scriptures testify of Christ.  Remember on the Emmaus Road when the two disciples…  I like to say the two disciples instead of the two men, because we’re not dead sure they were both men.  Some think it was husband and wife, but I don’t know.  Anyway, beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them things concerning Himself in all the scriptures.  So, the scriptures are all about the Lord.  We are blessed to be in this home in order to see Jesus.  In my own heart I consider Bethany.  As far as I know and as far I’ve been able to tell, Bethany was the only spot on earth where the Lord Jesus was fully received.  So, this place is our Bethany.  Jesus is fully received here.

I want to give a broad review.  First, just a sentence about the message of the entire book, and then back up and say, “This is the message of chapter one,” because, Lord willing, we’ll start chapter two.  The revelation of Christ in the entire book, you remember, is that He is the true Pilgrim; He’s the Pilgrim after God’s heart.  He’s the only One qualified to live a Pilgrim life.  Now that He lives in you, you are qualified.  We have hope, now.  1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.”  The pilgrim after God’s heart, the pilgrim who lives by the life of the indwelling Pilgrim has hope.  There would be no hope to live the Christian life if He didn’t live it in you and through you.

I like to contrast the positive message of 1 Peter with the same truth in the negative in the Old Testament, in the book of Ecclesiastes.  You are only two verses deep in Ecclesiastes and you read these words, “The words of the preacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem, ‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the preacher, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”  Vanity is just emptiness, emptiness of emptiness.  We used to live there.  Do you remember before you knew Jesus, we lived in that place, vanity of vanities?   Ecclesiastes 1:14, “I’ve seen all the works which have been done under the sun.  Behold, all is vanity and striving after wind, vexation,” and we used to live there.  That expression, “Under the sun,” just describes the natural man before He comes to know the Lord.  It’s a life out of fellowship with God.  We’re just living on the earth under the sun. 

I think you’re familiar with the fact that Abraham is called “the father of faith,” and he ever only owned one plot of land in his whole life.  The only plot of land he ever owned was a cemetery plot.  May I suggest that the world doesn’t have much more to give us, except that cemetery plot.  1 Peter is the exact opposite of that.  It’s not like “under the sun,” the One who has created the sun, the One who is lifted up in heavenly places, lifted us up in heavenly places; our life is in fellowship with God.  So, we have fullness of joy, not vanity.  We have rest, not vexation.  Our lives are full purpose now.  We’re not striving after wind, and we have life and not death.  So, Ecclesiastes is 1Peter in the negative.

Let me review how He’s presented in the first chapter of Peter.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time, but once again Peter shows us how preeminent the Lord Jesus is in every realm.  In relation to the Godhead, He’s central in the Godhead.  In relation to angels, He’s their object of all, and worship.  In relation to Christians, He’s intimate with them, and everything is redemptive, and He comes in as a seed, and He grows in us.  Finally, in relation to the world, He’s a tree of life through us.  2 Corinthians 5:19, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.”  You remember when we left off I was calling attention to the difference between the mission of the Lord Jesus to save the world and the motive of the Lord Jesus to please His heavenly Father.  He didn’t go after the mission.  He let the One who was in Him do the works.  John 4:34, “Jesus said, ‘My food, my meat is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.’”  John 8:29, “He who sent Me is always with Me, and He has not left me alone, for I always do the things pleasing to Him.”  So, we have a chance to show forth the excellencies of Him.  1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so you can proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 

When we left off a couple of weeks ago, I called attention to Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”  And from that so-called problem passage, we saw this great truth, 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”  Jesus was raised by the life of God, by the Spirit of God, and by that same Spirit He indwelt Noah in the days of Noah, 2500 years earlier, and He lived in Noah and preached through Noah.  1 Peter 3:19, “In which He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah during the construction of the ark in which few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” 

And, finally, the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, that same Holy Spirit that worked through Noah in his day, is the One who is working now through these suffering pilgrims.  He’s living redemptively.  1 Peter 4:6, “For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”  The principle is that Jesus is the same, the same Spirit that raised Him up, is the Spirit that lived in Noah, and all the Old Testament saints, and it’s the Spirit that now lives in you and through these suffering Christians.

Before we begin 1 Peter 2, and really the remainder of the book, there’s something dangling in chapter 1 that I haven’t yet commented on.  So, I don’t want to leave chapter one unless I bring this before you.  Last session we discussed what is considered a controversial passage and I used it as an opportunity to suggest some principles on how to approach controversial passages.  I’m not going to go through that again, but I’m going to make several applications of that because the precious passage that I left dangling in chapter one was not originally controversial.  When Peter wrote that there was no controversy whatsoever, but those who have studied it have made it controversial.  They have really done much damage.

A comment is made in the first two verses, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father.”  That’s the expression, “chosen.”  Another says, “elect.”  And you know where the problem has come.  Kenneth Wuest translates it, “chosen out ones, the choice having been determined by the foreordination of God, the Father.”  He says that’s the sense of the Greek.  KJV says, “elect, according to the foreknowledge of God.”  ESV calls them, “elect exiles.”  The NIV, “God’s elect.”  As I said, when Peter wrote that, if you went up and said, “Let’s discuss election,” they’d have no problem, not for Peter.  He was just trying to say, “The Lord has you, and He’s always had you from the beginning.  Just as Jesus was elect and foreknown, and everything He went through was not an accident, dear, suffering Christians, you were also foreknown, and He knows what you are going through now.  There’s nothing in your life that’s an accident. 

That’s what was in Peter’s mind.  That’s what he was trying to say.  But since Peter has used the words elect, chosen, foreknowledge, predestination, in the minds of many who call themselves Theologians, that precious word has become a battle ground, a big problem to be solved.  “How can grace be reconciled with election.  How can there be free will, and God choosing?”  So, there’s a civil war.  Those who call themselves or claim to be in the Calvinistic camp, they are big on the sovereignty of God, and they’re at war with the Armenians who are on the other side and say that there’s got to be free will.  They go back and forth, and one says, “Satan votes against you and God votes for you, and you’ve got the deciding vote.”  Well, that sounds like works, and your salvation depends on you.  And others would say, “From eternity God elected some to go to heaven and some to be firewood, and they are just going to go to hell.” 

That’s a million light years from what Peter had in mind.  So, I want to address just those words; election, foreknowledge, not to offer some answer that’s going to satisfy every side.  I refuse to limit the Lord by my ignorance.  I’m not going to do that.  Once again, I want to encourage when you come to something like this to approach it in a Christ centered way.  So, let me make a couple of comments.  I want to give you three Christ centered principles as you approach the doctrine of election.

The first principle, and I always love to study this principle, where is something mentioned for the first time?  I’d like to know where it’s first, where it’s last and then where it’s fully developed.  The first time this word “election, chosen,” is mentioned and applied, it’s applied to Messiah.  Isaiah 42:1, “Behold, my servant whom I uphold, My chosen one, My elect, in whom My soul delights, I put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.”  If you continue in there, “His voice will not be heard in the streets,” and so on.  It’s quoted and is applied to Jesus.  Why is it important that Jesus is the first one in the Bible to be called elect?  The answer is because I’m in Jesus.  Do you understand what I’m saying?  I say to a Christian, “Are you righteous?”  They say, “No, but I have the righteousness of Christ.  That’s imputed to me.  I’m in Jesus.  I’m righteous.”  Someone says, “I’m a son of God, because I’m in Jesus and He’s the Son of God.”  “I’m heir and co-heir with Him because He’s the Heir and I’m in Jesus.”  Are you an overcomer?  Well, He’s an overcomer, and I’m in Jesus, and so I’m an overcomer.  Everything is imputed.  1 Corinthians 1:30, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”  The whole issue of election, how do you know you are elect?  It’s because He’s elect and you are in Him.  It’s imputed.  That’s the simplicity of it.  You don’t have to argue and fight about it.  Everything you have is because you are in Christ Jesus.

Here’s the second principle.  Approach the doctrine of election or predestination or free will or the sovereignty of God not as a problem.  It’s presented in the Bible to be a solution to all problems.  If you approach it as a problem, you’re going to find a solution that’s not the answer, because the problem is not the problem.  If you end up with a solution that’s not the answer, you are not going to be satisfied.

When I was a student at Bible school, we used to love to have theological bull sessions, especially on this, election and the sovereignty of God.  We’d go back and forth, and you’ve probably heard the expression, “those who get convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.”  That’s exactly what would happen.  We would get proof texts and throw them at each other and argue and then go and then come back.  So, I always approached election, the sovereignty of God, as a problem to be discussed and figured out, until I crashed in 1965, and until my mother died, and until my grandchild died, until my in-laws died, until dear friends that I had were stricken terrible diseases, until I had a massive heart attack, and all of a sudden, the sovereignty of God became different to me.  It was no longer a problem to be discussed and argued.  It was a resting place for my faith.  It was a place I could lean on and trust the Lord, “He’s in charge and He’s on the throne.”  Once I approached the sovereignty of God as a solution, I was finished trying to explain it or trying to defend it or prove my little viewpoint.  I praise God for the truth of election, because I’m in Christ.  I praise God for the truth of His sovereignty because it’s a solution to every problem.  It’s not a problem.

My third suggestion is this, how is that word used in the New Testament?  It’s like the expression, “firstborn.”  It’s a title of privilege, and a title of dignity.  I’m God’s elect.  In our early marriage I used to call Lillian, “sweets.”  That was my term of endearment for Lillian.  Now, I like, “My Lillian,” unless I’m waking her up.  She sleeps on her side, so I can kiss her cheek I’m bend over and kiss her cheek and whisper in her ear, “My sister, my bridge.”  That’s the way I wake her up every day of her life.  My son calls his wife, “wife.”  That’s his term of endearment.  Our good friend, Brother Donat, calls his wife, “Babe.”  There are different terms of endearment.  I have a friend who is retired from the navy who was a chaplain in the navy and his wife used to call him, “Muffin.”  Archie Bunker’s term of endearment was “dingbat.” 

The point is that the doctrine of election is a term of endearment.  God looks at you and says, “You are My elect.”  That’s a precious, precious thing.  Fighting over election is like fighting over terms of endearment.  I’m not suggesting that there is no mystery in this wonderful doctrine; there is, and it’s way over my head.  But let me just say this, thank God you’re accepted in the Beloved.  You are elect because He’s elect and thank God that His sovereignty is a solution to every problem you’ll ever have in your life, and thank God that He is that fond of you that He would call you, “His elect.”  It’s very precious.

Let me say something about the other word, foreknowledge, because they’ve turned that into a problem, as well.  1 Peter 1:2, “…according to the foreknowledge of the Father.”  We think of foreknowledge usually in terms of the Lord.  He knows all things in advance.  Nothing is surprising to the Lord.  I have to read these verses, because when I think of foreknowledge, this is precious.  Psalm 139, “Oh, Lord, you’ve searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up.  You understand my thoughts from afar.  You scrutinize my path and my lying down.  And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.  Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, oh Lord, You know it all.  You have enclosed me behind and before.  And laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high; I cannot attain to it.” 

God knows everything actual and everything possible.  He never started to know any of it.  He’s always known it.  There was a time when everything, except God, was future, because He hadn’t yet decided to create the universe.  So, with the Lord everything is known, absolute foreknowledge.  Because of His faithfulness, we have foreknowledge on some things.  Science, if I strike a match, I think it will light.  I can see the future and what’s going to happen.  The mariners used to guide their ships by the north star.  We now have our GPS, and that guides us.  We know the future.  I know that spring is trying to come, and after that there will be summer.  You know and have foreknowledge a little bit.  But foreknowledge belongs to the Lord.

1 Peter:1 Peter says, “God has foreknowledge, but there are some things that He wants you to know about the future, and He lists them in the first chapter.  I just want to mention what the Holy Spirit through Peter says.  Generally speaking, I don’t want to know the future.  That’s just me.  I don’t want to know when I’m going to die or how I’m going to die.  I don’t want to know in advance about my family or my kids or my wife or anything like that.  I don’t want to know in advance, “You are going to get this sickness, or this tragedy is going to come, or you are going to break this limb or that limb or somebody is going to die.”  I don’t want to know that.  I want to leave that with the Lord.  He knows what’s coming down the road.  He knows what is in my life, and He knows all the contingencies, everything that will happen and everything that won’t happen.  He knows that.  He knows my life, my family, everything. 

So, I’ll leave foreknowledge to Him, but Peter said, “No,” because there’s a few things he wants you to know.  Don’t forget, he’s writing to persecuted Christians. So, he mentions several.  Of course, the big one carries us through the whole book.  You know, because you’re identified with Christ, everything is redemptive, you are going to find suffering in your life, the cross.  You are going to have that.  1 Peter 4:1&2, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose.”  You are going to suffer.  1 Peter 5:10, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  Hope has to do with the future, and He has given us a living hope.  You say, “Do you know the future?”  I know this, that Jesus lives in me, and He’s going to live in me tomorrow and next week and next month and every day of my life until I go to heaven.  I know the future, if that’s the future.  But he mentions other things.

1 Peter 1:3&4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”  This was important for those believers who were being tortured and killed and persecuted and martyred.  He said, “I want you to know in advance that heaven follows this life.  You have inheritance, that death is not the end.”  They needed to hear that.  They needed to know that.  Peter can’t describe heaven, so he tells us there will be no corruption there, there will be no impurity there, there will be no decay there, and there will be no end there.  I think part of the inexpressible joy that he describes is because of our inexpressible inheritance.

Look at the end of 1 Peter 1:4, “…to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away,” and here’s the second thing he wants you to know, “reserved in heaven for you.”  Not only that there is a heaven, but you have a reservation, “reserved in heaven for you.”  Remember what Jesus said in Luke 10 when they got all excited, Luke 10:20, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you.  Rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”  He wants you to know there is a heaven, undefiled, and fades not away.  He wants you to know that you can have a reservation there. Everyone who has travelled knows how comforting it is to know that you have a reservation after a hard day of travelling, and you go in and the concierge says, “Oh yes, we have your name and we have your reservations,” and you sigh with relief.  Wonderful foreknowledge: praise God there is a heaven!  Praise God I have a reservation.

And he wants me to know one more thing.  1 Peter 1:5, “…who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  There is a heaven.  You should know that, down the road.  There is a reservation and you’ve got your name written there, and until that day you’re going to be kept by the power of God.  He says, “That’s foreknowledge and I want you to know that there will never be a day when you will not be kept.”  They tell us that the Greek word there is a military word, garrisoned, “I’m being garrisoned, guarded by military guards.”

Peter is not talking about the future so that these people can start dreaming about heaven.  He wants them to know the reality, “Your lives are redemptive, and some of you are going to die for the sake of others, as He redeems the world through you.  But it’s not the end.  There’s a heaven at the end, and you have a reservation, and you are going to be kept.”  A child holds a parent’s hand as they cross the street.  Does the security of that child depend on how tight the grip the child has on the parent, or how tight the grip the parent has on the child?  I hold His hand, but my, He’s holding my hand, and He’s holding your hand.  My favorite verse on being kept is Jude 1, “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ,” not kept by.  At the end of Jude it says, “kept by.”

God, the Father, has given you to God the Son as a gift.  Just read John 17, and how many times He calls attention to that, “Those the Father has given me….”   You are God’s gift to the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit says, “I’ll keep it for you, I’ll keep that gift for you.”  The Holy Spirit is keeping you for Jesus.  So, he says, “I want you to have some foreknowledge.  You better know there’s a heaven at the end, and you better know you have a reservation, and you can also know that you are safe.  Grace has brought us safely thus far, and grace will bring us home.  We’re being kept for and by God.

Alright, with those few straggling thoughts, I’d like to move onto chapter 2 and the remainder of the book.  As we’ve seen the Lord Jesus, the true Pilgrim, in the entire book, now that we come to chapter 2 and for the rest of the book, he’s going to focus on two dominant principles, two characteristics which will mark the Christian pilgrim more than any other characteristic.  You say, “Well, you left out love.”  No, it’s included in there, but it’s not one of those characteristics. 

The first, 1 Peter 2:1&2, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”  The first dominant principle, marking every true pilgrim, is desire, hunger, and not just hunger, but hunger described by the hunger, the instinctive desire of a newborn baby, that hunger.  We’ll get into that, but hunger should follow every stage in maturity.  It’s not just at the beginning.  So, they tell us that this is not just a passing waver.  It’s a pining after, a craving, not able to be satisfied apart from what this baby is hungering.  We’ll look at that in a moment.

Let me just mention the second dominant characteristic of a Christian pilgrim, and he really takes the rest of the book to develop this, and I’m talking about subjection.  Peter puts great emphasis on subjection.  It’s a clear characteristic of every true pilgrim.  It’s easily illustrated.  Let me give a simple overview of the rest of the book, sort of an outline, and you’ll see how he develops this.  Chapter 2:11&12, he introduces the subject, and he answers the question, “Why is it important that we be subject?”  And then chapter 2:13-17, he speaks of being subject to every ordinance of man, and he illustrates it with the government, and that was Nero at that time.  And then in chapter 2:18-25, he addresses servants, and he said, “You need to be subject to your masters, even if they are cruel.”  And then in chapters 3:1-7 he calls attention to the mutual subjection of husbands and wives, subjection.  Chapter 3:8 to 4:19 he sort of summarizes it and says, “A pilgrim is to be subject in all aspects of life.”  Then in chapter 5:1-14 he’s not done, and he says, “Alright, the younger Christian brothers and older Christian brothers, there’s a subjection that needs to take place here.”

The Holy Spirit over and over, subject to governments, subject to your masters, subject to your boss, subject to your wife and husband and your children to the parents—subjection, subjection, subjection.  But Peter uses the word subjection in a way that is not found, it’s found but not emphasized the same way.  It’s sort of overlooked.  Don’t forget that he’s writing to persecuted Christians.  They are being tortured, their families are being crucified and burned.  It’s sort of strange advice giving to them; surrender, submit.  They say, “We’re being whipped and stoned, and we’re being crucified and burned.”  Submit; the way the Holy Spirit uses the word submit, subjection in 1 Peter, usually when we think of surrender, we think of the idea something I do, I surrender, I gave up, I deny myself, I sacrifice, I’m surrendering and I’m going to do it, and I’ll do anything God wants me to do.  I’ll go, I’ll give, I’ll sacrifice, I’ll give up my time, my energy, my money.  That’s surrender, I give, I give, but not in 1 Peter.  Subjection in 1 Peter is not willingness to do.  It’s willingness to be done unto.  That’s different, willingness to be done unto, nonresistance, take it. 

Every fiber in my natural heart recoils at this dominant emphasis on subjection.  I’m willing to do almost anything for the Lord, but I don’t think there’s a bone in my natural body that likes being done unto.  My natural heart is vindictive, and is full of vengeance, and I want to counter punch.  If somebody strikes me or somebody in my family, I want to strike out and I want to come back.  And to get this amazing principle, be subject and be willing to be done unto, you know how much you need the Lord for something like that.  You see how desperate the need is to have the pilgrim living in my heart.  Anyway, those are the two dominant principles that we’re going to now unfold.  First, the desire of a newborn baby and then subjection and the willingness to be done unto.   Both of those will crowd you to the Lord Jesus Christ, because it’s a million light years away from our natural heart.  How we need Jesus all the time!

Let’s go back to 1 Peter 2:1&2, “Therefore, putting aside all malice, all deceit and hypocrisy, envy, slander, like newborn babies long for the pure milk of the word, so that you might grow in respect to salvation.”  1 Peter 2 is not the first time the Holy Spirit decided to use children, babies.  Over and over, He does it.  I’m going to start with one a little older and then back up to the newborn.  Mark 9:33, “They came to Capernaum and when He was in the house, He began to question them.  ‘What were you discussing on the way?’  But they kept silent, for on the way they had been discussing with one another which of them was the greatest.  Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all’, and taking the child, he set him before them, and then taking him in His arms He said to them, ‘Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me.  Whoever receives Me does not receive, but Him who sent Me.’”  I’m not going to spend time on this illustration, only to say that he took a child, and then at first the child was standing in front of him, before He grabbed Him.  We don’t know how old he is, five years old or six, seven?  I don’t know how old the child is, but it’s the contrast between a child and those who are trying to be great, striving to be great.  A child is just being.  They’re striving to be.  A child just be-s.  He just is.  It doesn’t matter to a child.  Bring the president of the Untied States into your living room and the kid will come in and stand on his head.  He’s a kid, a child.  So, this illustration is the difference between being and striving to be.

Then he backs up a little into weaning.  That’s the younger child, maybe two or three. Psalm 131:2, “Surely, I’ve composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul,“ says David, “is like a weaned child within me.”  Once again, the principle is contentment.  The baby was weaned from the mother’s breast, and saw the difference between mother, what she gives, and who she is.  And the baby is finally content, not with the gifts but with the giver.

Now we come to the newborn.  Actually, in the Bible there are two illustrations, two times the newborn is illustrated, and there are two different principles.  I’m going to give you the first principle, and then we’ll come to 1 Peter and look at his principle.  Luke 18:15, “And they were bringing even their babies…” the Greek there is, “infant of days, days old,” “When the disciples saw it they began rebuking them.”  So, we are to be, not striving to be, and we are to be weaned and to go after the Person and not the gifts, and now helpless dependency.  Nothing is more helpless than a newborn.  Everything, they need to depend, and so he illustrates that great truth.  I don’t have to strive, and I can just be, and I can find rest in who He is, and I need to be helpless.

Now let’s come to 1 Peter 2:1-2, “…like newborn babies long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow.”  A newborn baby here is calling attention, the Holy Spirit, to the desire that a newborn baby has, the instinctive desire.  Sometimes babes are used to illustrate new Christians in the Bible, and sometimes carnal Christian, like 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ,” and so on.  But in 1 Peter the newborn babe is not picturing a new Christian.  These are seasoned Christians; these are martyrs.  I showed you in chapter one all the doctrine.  You’ve got election and foreknowledge and the trinity and heaven and the keeping power.  These are not new Christians.  These are mature adults, and the newborn infant doesn’t represent the carnal Christian, the willfully retarded who refuse to grow.  In 1 Peter it’s just desire, hunger.  Wuest translates it, “intensely yearn.”  The Greek actually carries the idea of crave, that there is a craving.

In our family we’ve got lots and lots of opportunities to see newborns.  We’ve got a wonderful family.  The desire of a newborn babe when its hungry, it’s amazing to see.  It’s face lights up and its eyes get the size of garbage can covers and every limb is wiggling, and they are just shaking and shaking.  At that moment nothing else will do.  It’s an instinctive longing, and not one of my kids have taught their children how to hunger like that.  That’s instinctive.  They’re not taught how to do that.  This dominant principle, this intense longing, this craving, should be the characteristic of every Christian in every stage of maturity.  The desire is not just at the beginning, and it’s not to be intermittent.  How is he going to address persecuted Christians?  “Oh, are you having trouble.  You need to have the desire of newborn baby.”  Are you kidding me?  Is that what I need? 

The baby who is only days old, has a desire for only one thing.  I want to identify that one thing, but that one thing is a picture of another one thing, and we need to know what that is.  For the baby it’s mother’s breast.  That’s the desire, and nothing else will do.  After a while you can see it.  The kid is going to spit out the pacifier.  That’s not going to work, and you aren’t going to him a toy.  That’s not going to help, or a stuffed animal because that’s not going to do.  Surely, you aren’t going to show him a winning lottery ticket or a vacation where we’re going to go, or a rocking horse.  Nothing is going to help.  Brothers and sister, we’re to have that kind of a desire at every stage of our maturity, for that one thing.  What is that here?  Verse 2, “Like newborn babies long for the pure milk of the word, so by it you may grow.”  At first reading you say that’s the Bible, pure milk of the word.  That’s the scriptures.  He’s already spoken of it.  1 Peter 1 :23, “for you have been born again not of see which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

I wouldn’t be honest sitting here before you if I said that there is no reference to the Bible in that expression.  There is, but you need to understand, as Peter uses it, that “the word” also has another meaning, and it’s not ink and leather and words.  John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.”  John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us..”  I read a verse earlier, John 5:39&40, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me…”  Peter is talking about the babes, the hunger, the desire, the pure milk of the word.  What’s the next verse?  1 Peter 2:4, “And coming to Him…”  So, the desire is coming unto Him, the Living Word, through the written word, an insatiable desire and longing of the Newborn.  It’s to Him we come.  It’s Him that we crave.  At every stage of maturity, we need to be newborn babes when it comes to the yearning of our heart.

I pray that God will make me like a newborn every day.  We desire so many things.  We have a craving, and it sounds so spiritual, “Lord, give me strength, give me patience, give me a forgiving spirit, give me courage, give me faith, give me peace.”  No, no, “Give me Jesus,” because if you have Jesus, you have courage, and you have peace, and you have love, and all the fruit of the Spirit.  Open this book and give me Christ.  He said He would reveal it to babes.  Nothing else will do.  1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies long for the pure milk of the word, so you may grow in respect to salvation.”  Don’t thirst for knowledge, and don’t thirst for opportunities to minister.  You are going to grow by thirsting for Jesus in this book.  If you are not seeing Jesus in the book, and all you see is the book, you are going to be in bondage to a dead textualism and lost in a sea of theology.  God has never intended this Bible to meet your needs.  Only Jesus meets your needs.  The pure milk of the word has a name, and His name is Jesus.

I want to close with these thoughts.  There are many titles as you go through the New Testament that Jesus has for you.  He calls you disciples, servants, and bondservants, friends, His flock, sheep, but I found His pet name for you.  How do you get a pet name?  It’s used more often than any other name.  What does He call you more often in the New Testament than any other name?  The answer is, “my little ones”.  That’s His pet name for you, my little ones, babes. 

I get a kick out of, after the resurrection in John 21, they were waiting to meet the Lord Jesus, John 21:5, “Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you do not have any fish, do you?’”  Do you know what the Greek word for children is there?  Babies.  He rises from the dead, and they’re out in a boat fishing, and failing to fish, and He yells from the shore, “Babies, do you have any fish?”  That was the first indication that John was going to say, “It’s the Lord.”  And then when He said, “Put out your nets,” and he got the fish, Peter couldn’t take it and he jumped overboard.  Sometimes I wonder if he was planning to walk on water, because he put his coat on and jumped in the water.  I think he was focused and, “Alright, Lord watch.  This time I’m not taking my eyes off,” and he had to swim to shore.  Over and over and over He calls you His “little ones.” 

He took them in His arms, and He said, “These are my little ones,” and he warned that if any Christian was attacked by any, and you dare touch any of My little ones, it would be better for you that an animal drawn millstone be tied about your neck, and you drown in the depths of the sea.  You are His little ones.  I think that’s His favorite title for you and for me, babes.  Don’t be wise and prudent and don’t get too sophisticated.  He might want to use you as a mentor, as a teacher, or He might call you to be an elder or a pastor or a priest or somebody like a philanthropist, or He might call you to be a counselor, but to Him you will always be His “little ones”. 

I don’t want to be known as a prophet or a bondservant or as a missionary, as an evangelist.  It touches my heart that I am His little ones, and you are His little one.  Your glory is to be forever a newborn babe in your heart and reach out and wiggle and desire like a newborn baby, “I want to see Jesus in this book.  Nothing else will do.  Don’t give me anything else.”  And His glory is to grab you in His arms at every stage of maturity.

I want to close with a verse from Isaiah.  It’s a staggering verse.  Isaiah 46:3, “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have been borne by Me from birth, and have been carried from the womb; even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you!  I have done it, and I will carry you’ and I will bear you and I will deliver you.”  Get that in your mind.  Sitting in a rocking chair is God, and on His lap is an old grandmother or a great-grandmother or a grandfather.  You are always His little one.  I’m always His little one, and at age 79 I’m not the least bit embarrassed.  Somebody says, “Who are you?”  I’m His little one.  That’s precious!  And that’s one of the main characteristics of someone who allowing the real Pilgrim to live through them.  They are going to have a desire, “I want to see Jesus in this book.  Don’t give me anything else.  I don’t want anything else.  I just want Him.”  May God help us!

Let’s pray.  Father, thank You for Your word.  Oh, how we love Your word.  Thank You for directing us to the Lord Jesus every time.  Thank You for his heart for us, that He would carry us in our old age, that He would call us His “little ones”, and that He would watch over His little ones, that He would say that the kingdom of heaven is made up of little ones.  Lord, help us to be little ones.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.