Tag Archives: milk

Two odd but important Christian phrases about becoming spiritually mature

27 Jun

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

If you’ve ever watched a newborn nursing or drinking from a bottle, it is wild how hungry they can be.  As they grow a few months, and they start to be a bit more aware, they can get very excited when you start talking about their bottle.  They shake, they wave their arms, and sometimes start crying because it is taking you soooo long to get the bottle ready.  Then when you hand them the bottle,they slam it into their mouths, gulping furiously, and their crying stops in an instant!  I remember watching our kids do that, and thinking they are craving that milk.

Christians, that’s how we should be.

Yesterday we looked at how Peter, in 1st Peter 2:1-3 says that there are five church family killers we should get rid of.  But Peter doesn’t stop there.  Peter doesn’t just want the people to stop things.  He also wants them to start things.  Remove the poor behaviors, for sure, but then add what?

He says in verse 2, “like newborns, you should crave pure spiritual milk.”  Again he mentions the concept of new birth!  Since the beginning of his letter, this is now the third time Peter has brought up the idea that Christians are reborn.  When you are reborn in Christ, you gain citizenship in a new country, and you become part of a new family of love.  Now Peter says we should be like newborn babies who crave milk. But he calls it “pure spiritual milk.”

Odd Phrase #1: Do you crave pure spiritual milk?

That’s a weird question, isn’t it?  “Do you crave pure spiritual milk?”  I don’t think I ever in my life asked that question before.  What is pure spiritual milk?

It’s pure. That means it is not infected, it is not diluted.  It is not half and half.  It’s not skim.  It’s not pasteurized. It is pure, like raw milk straight from a cow.

Also that pure spiritual milk has a purpose. Peter says in verse 2 that the purpose of this milk is that, “by it you may grow up in your salvation.”

This pure spiritual milk is stuff that helps you grow.  But not physical growth.  It is spiritual milk and it helps you grow spiritually, in your salvation, Peter says.

Odd Phrase #2: Grow up in your salvation

“Grow up in your salvation” is one of those Bible-sounding phrases that I could skip by really quickly assuming that you know what that means.  It is a very Christian kind of thing to say.  We Christians talk about salvation as if it is normal and everyone knows about it.  But do they?

“Grow up in your salvation.”  Look at that phrase.  Who talks like that?  You won’t hear that phrase anywhere in our culture.

You will hear “Grow up.” If a person is acting immature, we say, “Grow up!”  Why? They are not acting their age.

Or we use “grow up” from the perspective of a child who is dreaming about what they want to do when they grow up.   Usually it is about the career they want to have.  We often ask children, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Of course there are some adults who are also wondering what they want to be when they grow up.  Usually that is because they aren’t sure they have found that thing, that meaning, that fulfillment, in their career.

We know the term “grow up.”  It refers to a change that needs to take place.  A development in our lives.  It is a development toward maturity, right?  Growing up means that we are putting aside immaturity, kind of like Paul saying “Get rid of” the family killers in your life, and we are moving toward maturity.

Craving and taking in pure spiritual milk so that we can grow up in our salvation is just like that.

Our salvation is a way that Peter is describing our relationship with Jesus.  By his life, death and resurrection, Jesus made it possible for us to be saved from the penalty of sin.  When we trust in and obey him, as Peter said in verses 1:21-25, we are saved, we are reborn as citizens of a new spiritual country, the Kingdom of Jesus, and thus we are reborn as new babies into a new spiritual family, the church.

That’s what happens when we trust and obey; we are saved, we are reborn. Thus the image of new babies is perfect for the Christians that Peter is writing to.  They need to see themselves new babies in a new family.  Thus they should want to grow up and mature.

The implications are clear.  Christians are not to stay in the infant stage.  Christians should grow up.   Growing up as followers of Jesus requires that we take in a form of nourishment called pure spiritual milk.  Just as a baby derives nutrients and calories from milk, and that causes the baby to grow, so Christians must take in pure spiritual milk, and the spiritual energy it brings will cause them to grow and mature as followers of Christ.

Also, Peter is saying this pure spiritual milk is not option.  He says we should crave it.  We need to want it.  That means we need to have humble teachable hearts to see those areas of our lives that are immature, where we need growth.  Then we can seek pure spiritual milk to help us in those areas.

Finally, Peter answers where this spiritual sustenance comes from.

In verse 3 he is saying, “Christians, you have tasted that the Lord is good.  You know that he is the real deal.  He is the truth, and because you have tasted the goodness of the Lord, that means that the pure spiritual milk is from the Lord.”

Only the Lord can satisfy the longing of your life.  In other words, if you want to grow up in your relationship from the Lord, you need sustenance that only comes from him.  That’s what pure spiritual milk is.  Pure spiritual milk is spiritual sustenance, spiritual calories that are only available from God.  If you want to grow up in your salvation, if you want to become more mature in your practice of discipleship to Jesus, drink more spiritual milk.

Check back in tomorrow as we’ll give practical suggestions about how to get this pure spiritual milk and take it in to our lives on a regular basis.

That time the Bible teaches us to take off our dirty clothes and drink raw milk?

25 Jun

Photo by Edward Boulton on Unsplash

How much milk do you drink?  And what kind?  Skim?  Whole?  1 or 2 percent?

Milk is good stuff.  And what I have found over the years is that people have lots of opinions about milk.  My family is a skim milk family.  I have heard some people call skim milk, “chalk water.”  Some of you are 1 percenters and 2 percenters, and it seems to me that you tend to be a bit more quiet about your preferences.  The whole milk people, though?  You are passionate.  For you, whole milk is the only milk.  To me, though, whole milk tastes like liquid sugar.  I really like its sweetness at first, but I can barely get through a full bowl of cereal with whole milk because it is so sweet. It can make my stomach sick.

But that is not the only option when it comes to milk, right?  There is also flavored milk, like chocolate and strawberry, and non-dairy versions like almond milk.

Then there is raw milk.  I had raw milk for the first time about five years ago at our Amish friends’ house.  First of all, it didn’t look like milk.  I’m used to pure white milk.  This raw milk had a touch of tan coloration to it.  Second of all, it didn’t smell or taste like milk.  Remember, I’m used to skim milk.  I love skim milk.  To me skim has the perfect sweetness level.  Raw milk?  Whew, it tasted like liquid earth.  Like there had to be some actual dirt in there.

Raw milk is pure unadulterated milk.  Not even whole milk can say that.  How many of you like raw milk?

I’m saying this because when you’re used to skim milk, whole milk might make you sick.  If you’re used to skim milk or whole milk, you might not like the taste of raw milk.  We might be so used to impure or diluted spiritual milk that we won’t like the real thing.

In our next section of 1st Peter, 2:1-3, Peter says we should be drinking raw milk.  Check it out for yourselves.  We’re going to be looking at these three verses all week.

Peter starts with “therefore,” thus connecting the material that came before with this new material.  So what came before?  Well, the final verses of chapter 1 which we studied last week.  And in those verses we saw Peter the Christians in his day that they were to love one another deeply from the heart, because they were reborn into a new family by trusting and obeying the imperishable word of God that was preached to them.

Remember that?  We are reborn into a new family, and we are to love one another deeply, from the heart.

Now Peter continues.  Because of that rebirth into a new family, because we are to love one another deeply, he says we must rid ourselves of five family killers.  Before we get to describing those five family killers, it is important to reemphasize that Peter is saying clearly that the Christians need to stop these behaviors.

The image Peter uses is one of taking off old clothes.  Get those old dirty clothes off because that’s not you anymore!

Maybe Peter heard that the Christians were behaving this way.  It wouldn’t surprise me.  These behaviors he’s about to bring up can be present in nearly any church family. There is no perfect church!  And so Peter is clear.  These church family killers have to stop.  A follower of Jesus who has been reborn will strive to stop these things.  Then they will drink raw milk!

Check back in tomorrow as we look at the five family killers.  Then later in the week, we’ll see Peter make his case for drinking raw milk.

Dealing with immature faith – 1st Corinthians 3:1-4, 18-23

26 Feb

Last week I mentioned that the recycling bin at my house is full of milk jugs most weeks.  So far this week we have four in there, with another two likely by tomorrow night when we put the bin out for the trash men.  I feel like my kids were drinking milk more vigorously this week or something. Maybe they heard my sermon and got freaked out, like we were going to really wean them off milk, and they’re thinking they better get their milk fix while they can.  Geesh.

But that’s kinda the problem Paul is talking about in this section.  This group of Christians who should have moved beyond spiritual milk have not.  And he knows it is true because of their behavior.  Paul says that their faith is immature because of the quarreling and jealousy in their church.

We had a wonderful discussion afterwards in sermon discussion group.  What does it mean to go on to maturity?  How do allow the Lord to impact our behavior so we actually show that we have been weaned off spiritual milk?

Is your recycling bin always full of milk jugs?

22 Feb

Ours is.

The Kime household consistently knocks back 6-8 gallons of milk per week.  Think about that a minute.  Even if we average 5 gallons per week, and the price per gallon of milk is $3.50, you do the math.  Now multiply that by four weeks in a month.  Yeah, that’s not chump change.  We joke around a lot about buying a cow.

In December the Farm Bill had us a bit uneasy. Guess how we felt this week when we read this?

Red Alert!  Doomsday.  Armageddon.  Pray for rain in California!

Or how about weening the kids off milk???

I’m glad they love milk, as it is healthy.  I personally love milk on my cereal, which is my normal breakfast a couple mornings each week. The kids, though, don’t put milk on their cereal!  Instead they drink milk at meals, before meals, after meals, and pretty much all day long.  60 cents more for every gallon?  It has to stop!

So this milk price increase and weening the kids off milk, gets me thinking about the maturation process a child goes through.  From mother’s milk or formula to regular milk to solid foods.  They can’t survive on just milk, can they?  We ween them so they can grow and mature with healthy nutrition. Can you imagine a baby that never, ever progressed beyond breast milk or formula?  Is that even possible?  As Paul continues his teaching in 1st Corinthians, he uses the imagery of an infant drinking milk that has not moved on to solid food.   How does that relate to the followers of Jesus in the church at Corinth?  What is his point?

Join on Sunday as we study 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; 18-23 to hear what Paul has to say!