Explore the Bible: Building Our Faith

11:31 AM

Being a believer gives us so many benefits. We have a faith that can't be taken away, we were saved out of a darkness that would destroy us, we live with the promise of eternal life with Jesus Christ, and we have a hope that can't be explained. But, have you ever considered the responsibility that comes with the benefits? This is where Peter begins the conversation in 1 Peter 2:1-10 as we focus on this week's Explore the Bible study: Building Our Faith. He challenges all of us to rid ourselves of anything that might hinder our spiritual growth because we are part of a spiritual house of faith.

As you lead this session consider using the following ideas to supplement your conversation:
  • Display a Baby bottle and a toy or real brick or block.
  • Bring several English dictionaries or guide your group to use their phones or tablets to look up words as instructed.
  • Consider using the following humorous video to introduce the discussion of 1 Peter 2:2-3.

Additional Discussion Helps:

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.

Display: Baby Bottle and a brick or block (real or toy is fine)

Discuss (As the group enters):
  • (Call attention to the baby bottle) Have you ever watched a hungry baby go for a bottle of milk? How did he/she respond when seeing the bottle?
  • (Call attention to the brick or block) Have you ever watched someone lay bricks or blocks? Does anyone know the importance of a cornerstone? – A cornerstone was the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation and was important since all other stones would be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.
Explain: You may think that these are obscure questions, but there is a purpose. Peter uses babies' milk and building stones as an illustration in today’s study. 

LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

1 Peter 2:1
Explain: “So” points back to the previous chapter in which Peter concludes that they are to love one another earnestly. Because of this he says they are to rid themselves (like taking off filthy, dirty clothes) of anything representative of their old lives. 

Direct: Who would volunteer to look up the following words in the dictionary or your phone or tablet? (Consider providing a few dictionaries as an option.)
  • Malice (volunteer share definition) - Explain: The focus is on evil intentions, nastiness, or mean spiritedness.
  • Deceit (volunteer share definition) - Explain: The focus is on falsehood, trickery, lying, deception, conning one another, etc.
  • Hypocrisy (volunteer share definition) - Explain: The focus is on masking inward hostility or snobbery.
  • Envy (volunteer share definition) - Explain: The focus is on being jealous instead of thankful for the good things others have.
  • Slander (volunteer share definition) - Explain: The focus is on harming others with your speech; "slandering their reputations with words." 
Respond: Which one of these would cause the most damage to non-believers? To the church? Which one of these do you struggle with the most?

Transition: So how do we rid ourselves of these?  Verses 2-3 tells us. 

1 Peter 2:2-3
  • Do you remember the “Got Milk” commercials? What was the theme of these commercials? (It builds strong bones; it does a body good; etc.)
  • What did Peter say would be the result from drinking this pure spiritual milk?  (Growth! You will grow your salvation. You are growing toward that day when your salvation is completed or revealed. Salvation refers to our attaining glorification, the future heavenly completion of our salvation.)
  • Emphasize: Verse 3 assumes that, if you know Christ, have been born-again, and tasted His salvation you WILL be hungry to grow!
  • How can you testify to the sweetness of the Lord when you first became a believer?
  • Have you lost that hunger, or has it increased?
  • What would you include as a balanced spiritual diet for the believer? 
1 Peter 2:4-8
  • What does Coming to Him describe for you?
  • Explain: Consider coming to Him as the idea that we come to Him: Individually - We came to Him for salvation (This is one of only a few verses in the New Testament that speaks of “coming to Christ”; Matthew 11:28.) Corporately – We have all come to Him as believers (We become a part His church.) Continually – We keep on coming to Christ daily in worship and fellowship.
  • State:  Verse 4 also reminds us of WHO we have come to – Jesus! He was rejected by people – in His ministry, in His death, and in the time Peter was writing. He was chosen and valuable to God – precious and held in honor.
  • Ask: What does this communicate regarding Jesus? What does this communicate regarding your salvation?
  • Discuss: What is Peter communicating in verse 5 when he compares us to The Living Stone by stating that we are living stones? (Those who come to Him in faith are little living stones.) Why did Peter emphasize the words "spiritual and living"? (Peter was making sure his readers understood that he did not have in mind any physical building.)
Discuss: What sacrifices do we as believers offer as priests and stones in God’s new temple? 
  • Someone Read: Romans 12:1 (We offer ourselves.)
  • Someone Read: Philippians 4:18 (We offer financial support to God’s work.)
  • Someone Read: Hebrews 13:15 (We offer our praises.)
Discuss: How can the fact that you will never be ashamed or disappointed in following Jesus change how you live your Christian faith from day-to-day?

Identify: For those who don’t believe, what does the Living Stone (Jesus) become to them? (A rock to stumble and trip over)

Discuss: What picture does this give you regarding those who reject following Christ?

1 Peter 2:9-10; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 43:20-21

Emphasize (See ETB Leader Commentary): Peter’s teaching was that there is now one people of God. We are not limited by race or geography or nationality. All believers are united in God’s plan and purpose. You are a . . .
  • Chosen race (Isa. 43:20) recalls that Christ was chosen (1 Pet. 2:4,6). We have now come to Him and are also a chosen people. The Israelite understanding that Jews alone were God’s chosen people has now been broadly expanded.
  • A royal priesthood (Ex. 19:6) continues the thought of the holy priesthood of 2:5. The emphasis now is that we are royal or kingly priests, serving a great King at His pleasure.
  • A holy nation (Ex. 19:6) implies a nation set apart and dedicated to the service of the living God. After the coming of Christ, geographical or political “nation” no longer has spiritual significance.
  • A people for His possession (Ex. 19:5; Isa. 43:21) suggests that believers are God’s distinctly prized possession. 
Ask: What does this passage state as the primary purpose for God doing these things for us? (So that we will praise and honor God.)

Discuss: While we might think of ourselves as somewhat special, we need to also consider what this passage is communicating about how we are to live. What is the responsibility that comes with being described the way all these passages describe believers?

Emphasize: When you slip into the thinking that just because you are a believer you can do whatever is right in your own eyes, you should remember the Israelites who did the same thing – Judges 17:6. Time and time again, as the promised people, they chose to walk away from the promises and responsibilities that come with this unique relationship. The result was judgement, discipline and, sadly, those who were watching them mocked their God – The God. 

LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.
  • Read Again: 1 Peter 2:10
  • Consider: Since we are a chosen people; Since we are living stones and priests; Since we have been called into His marvelous light; Since we have tasted of such a great salvation, why then are so many “professing believers” unwilling to rid themselves of the malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander or any other sin that dishonors such a great gift that has been given to us?
  • Reflect: As a Christian, what old ways has the Lord helped you take off? What behaviors still need removal? Is there malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, or slander in your life? Are you regularly eating a lot of the right food (the milk of God’s Word) to help you grow in your faith? 
  • Challenge: Commit your shortcomings to God so that your faith will become stronger and more and more pleasing to your Lord and Savior.

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