Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Here's my question for you. When your flesh fades, because it will, when your marriage fades, when your family fades, when your body fades, when your account fades, what are you going to fall back on? Are you on a cornerstone that lasts forever? Because that's what's happened. That's what Peter's saying.
Grow up because it's not. It's going to fade for something that's going to happen sooner than you realize. Happy Friday, friends. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. You know, when you're a kid, there are several big milestones that you usually look forward to hitting as you grow up. Walking home from school alone, getting your driver's license, graduating high school, moving out of your parents' house, those are big deals. But in our spiritual lives, it can be harder to judge whether or not we are actually growing up, whether we're hitting those same types of milestones along the way. So today, Pastor J.D. describes what a maturing believer looks and sounds like. It's part of our teaching series called I Am an Alien. So let's rejoin Pastor J.D.
as he helps us to grow up here on Summit Life. Children have a short view of possessions. Things have got to be in their hands for them to feel like they're theirs. They don't grasp, right, the larger picture. That's the way new Christians are. They've got to have stuff in their hands now.
I need healing now, prosperity now, blessing now. They don't grasp the greater promises that are theirs. Kids are gullible. I mean, kids believe anything. A lot of Christians are suckers for a powerful speaker. They're suckers for a miracle story, suckers for the latest bestseller. If it builds a crowd, if it has good music with it, if the guy's got a good smile, it's got to be true.
It's like going to the church at the Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch, and it's just like, hey, you know, this is a great place to be. But what happens is that's not real. You know, the circumstances change, and you don't have a lot of anchor to your faith.
We've got a lot of people in here who are gullible. The point is you need to grow up. You need to grow up. Paul says to the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians 3.1, he says you're jealous.
You're selfish. You're demanding. When something goes wrong in your life, you're screaming about where God is.
You demand miracles to prove your faith. You're addicted to charismatic personality. Some of you are like, oh, I love the preaching of Apollos. He's such an orator. Oh, no, I love Paul. He's so deep. I'm a Paul.
I'm Apollos. He's like, you're kids. I can't speak to you like mature people, because mature people aren't moved by who can raise the hair on the back of their neck and make them have warm fuzzies. Mature people are beyond that, but you're infants.
You're moved by every wind of doctrine that comes along. And what's going to happen, like Peter's saying here, hardship, persecution comes, and all of a sudden you get isolated, and you are not going to make it because you're an infant in Christ. You need to grow up. You need to grow up. That's the first thing Peter tells us in this passage. You've got to grow up. Number two, he says, this is what it looks like to grow up.
You see, here he describes being grown up. Verse 22 is having sincere brotherly love. What we're talking about is love that is not corrupted by selfish agendas, love that is not need-driven, love that is not manipulative, love like Christ's love, love that poured itself out, love that gave itself away.
Notice, chapter 2, verse 1, he says, what I'm talking about a love that is without malice. He says, you've got to make Jesus your cornerstone so that all of your life ultimately anchors in and is rooted in Jesus. Martin Luther said that what Peter means there, for Jesus to be your cornerstone, he said, your cornerstone is whatever you fall back on when everything goes wrong. Okay, so for example, when things are going wrong in your life, what do you fall back into is your refuge. Some of you say, well, yeah, things are going wrong, but you know what, I'm going to make a lot of money, or I have made a lot of money.
Money is your refuge. That's your cornerstone. Some of you are like, well, yeah, you know, but at least I got a good marriage. Some of you are like, well, I'm a good person, though.
Some of you are like, well, I'm really religious. Whatever that is becomes your refuge. That's your cornerstone.
And what Peter is telling you is that anything besides Jesus that you make your cornerstone will lead you to these things right here, which is why I've told you to think of it like this, the gospel prayer that I've told you you ought to pray in some form every day. It goes like this. It says, in Christ, there's nothing I can do that makes you love me anymore. There's nothing I have done that would make you love me any less.
There's nothing I've done that makes you love me anymore, nothing I've done that makes you love me any less. Forgiveness is mine, closeness to yours is mine. I am as close to you when I'm doing well as I am when I'm doing bad because it has nothing to do with how I've done. It has to do with what Christ did and gave me as a gift. Second thing I've told you is when you say to God, you're all I need for everlasting joy, when it comes to the point that you say, you know, because I have God's approval, because I have his forgiveness, I can have joy in the midst of anything. I've told you that your spiritual maturity is measured by your ability to be joyful in all things. Your understanding of the gospel is measured by your ability to be joyful in all things because that shows you how much Christ's approval matters to you. Because if it matters the world to you, then even when things are going wrong, you still have joy because you still got Christ. Here's the way John Newton said it.
John Newton said it this way. He says, you know that somebody is still a baby in Christ because he or she is sensitive to criticism. They find the admission of their weaknesses difficult and humiliating. They're still fairly insecure in how he or she is being perceived.
Why? It's because they do not know that they're forgiven and loved. They do not know that they're forgiven and accepted, and there's still a lot of works righteousness that is clinging to them. Newton said that in this stage, the baby stage was marked by a lot of feelings and little truth. This stage is marked by a lot of truth and little feelings, sometimes little feelings. But you just don't depend on those feelings in order to stay and walk with Christ. So you become a young man, which brings you to the last stage, verse 13, where he talks about being a father. That's your level where it says, because you've known him who is from the beginning. He's referring, John Newton says, to a profound trust in God, a profound trust in God that recognizes how much higher his ways are than yours. So you trust God even when things don't make sense. You know how valuable he is, so you trust him and you obey him and you leverage your life for him.
All right, so all these writers say the same thing. You got to grow up. You got to grow up and get past the feeling, the infancy stage. And again, listen, I'm not trying to be hard on you. Let me say it discourages me because some of you, it's just wind.
It's excitement. It's just you've never grown up spiritually. That's why your life is all over the place and why you're characterized by malice and envy and hatred and all these things, hypocrisy, because you've never grown up. So that's number three, how to grow up. He shows you in this passage how to grow up. Well, Peter in this passage says essentially the same thing three times. He kind of cycles.
Peter's a little repetitive, okay? And what he does, he goes through this passage, he says the same thing three different ways in slightly different nuanced ways. Verse 22, chapter one is the first time. He says, you grow up by obedience to the truth of the word of God. You grow up by obedience to the truth of the word of God. Chapter two, verse two, you grow up by nourishment on the milk of the word of God.
And then chapter two, verse four, he tells you you grow up by building your life on the cornerstone of the word of God. Now, all these things have in common the word of God, obviously. So Peter's going to give you three different qualities about the word of God that you really ought to understand. All right, quality number one is that the word of God is imperishable. Imperishable. You see that in verse 23 of chapter one.
Listen to it. Since you've been born again, not a perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and abiding word of God, for all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.
The word of God is the one thing in the universe that is imperishable. That is in contrast, watch this, to everything else in the flesh. Everything else in the flesh is like a flower that's really beautiful for a while, but then it fades and it falls off the plant. Or it's like grass. It just fades.
Anything else is perishable. For example, if your cornerstone, if what you've built your life on is the approval of people, you find that that fades. One generation's heroes become totally unknown to the next. I think about this every time I go in the Dean Smith Center.
I look up all those different churches that are hanging up there, and I don't even know who they all are. And I'm a fan. The day's gonna come when my kids are getting old enough to enjoy basketball. They're gonna go, who is Tyler Hansbro?
And I'm gonna say, blasphemer. How do you not know that? They're gonna grow up to be teenagers and say, who's Michael Jordan?
That seems inconceivable to me that you could not know who Michael Jordan is. It fades. It always fades. If the rock of your life, if the cornerstone is how you look, it's your beauty, then what happens is as your beauty deteriorates, your soul deteriorates. If your cornerstone is money, then what happens is you develop all those things that we looked at a minute ago. Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, worry. Some of you, your cornerstone has been money, and that's why you're worrying about it all the time. The way I said it to you before is, what's happened is in the last four or five years in our country, the God that you built your life on, money, got crucified and shows no signs of being resurrected. You see, the Jewish people in Jesus' day looked at the cornerstone of Jesus, and they thought, huh, that's not good for the building we wanna build, so they rejected him. That's what people do is you look at Jesus and say, huh, the building I wanna build is a building about my success.
I wanna build it on money, and Jesus is not really great for all this success over here. He says, what happens is you oppose it, and then that cornerstone becomes God's chosen stone and grinds you to power because you opposed the one thing that was imperishable. 10,000 years from now, every other building that's been built, metaphorically speaking, is going to not be here except the ones that are built on Jesus Christ, the living cornerstone, who was and is and is to come. That's what Peter says in there, by the way, is you become a living stone, which means you live forever, and what you do forever lasts forever. The way I heard it as a teenager, only one life to live will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last.
You start to build it on there, and you start to grow up, see, and your life begins to be, it's permanent, it has something that lasts forever. Some of you have rejected Jesus because he honestly is not good for the building you're building, but the building you're building is going to be destroyed. There's a cornerstone that God has laid.
If you trip over it, it will destroy you. But Jesus offers it to all those who would build their lives on it, see? So the Word of God is imperishable. This is Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. I hope you're enjoying today's teaching called Grow Up from our teaching series in the book of 1 Peter. But before we get back to it, I wanted to take a moment to let you know about our featured resource that we're offering our gospel partners and any of the generous listeners who give to this ministry. It's a book called Scent, Living a Life That Invites Others to Jesus by Heather and Ashley Holliman. If you're anything like me, it is not always easy to find opportunities to share the gospel.
And a lot of times, I don't know where to begin or I just overthink it. And if that's you, trust me, this book is for you. Heather Holliman and her husband Ashley offer practical ideas and strategies for how to share the gospel with the people that God's put in your life. To get your copy, join our gospel partner family or give a one-time gift of thirty-five dollars or more to this ministry. After all, everything we do is made possible by listeners just like you.
Call us at 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgrier.com. Now let's get back to today's teaching here on Summit Life. Secondly, Peter says the Word of God is about the gospel. Do you notice in this?
And you ought to make sure you see this. Do you notice how Peter goes back and forth between the Word of God and Jesus in this? For example, verse 23, he says, what is imperishable is the Word of God. Then chapter 2, verse 3, Peter switches and starts talking about tasting of spiritual milk, saying that the Lord is good. In verse 4, he talks about Jesus as the cornerstone. Watch this.
This is very important. That's because in Peter's mind, there's no distinction between the Word of God and Jesus. The reason I point this out is because some of you still seem to think that mastering the Word of God, what we're talking about is mastering a list of doctrines and a bunch of moral precepts. But for Peter, the Word of God is about the gospel and to master the Word of God is to ground yourself in the gospel.
That's why you see verse 25, he says it plainly. This word is the, guess what that is? Good news, guess what that word is in Greek? Euangelion, which means gospel. That word is the gospel that was preached to you. The Word of God is the gospel. The way that we say that around our church, and I say it ad nauseum, is that you don't grow spiritually by growing beyond the gospel, you grow spiritually by growing deeper into the gospel. All the doctrines that we learn are there to help us understand the gospel more. All the moral precepts we learn flow out of the gospel, which is why we continually come back, again these two phrases I've given you, to the gift righteousness of the gospel, that in Christ there's nothing we can do to make him love us more, nothing we've done makes him love us less, and the fact that Christ's approval is all we need for everlasting joy. Let me tell you this, if you would master those two things, if those two things became your cornerstone, 98.4% of all of your spiritual problems would disappear. Worry, anxiety, your neediness, your codependency, your addictions, depression, I'm not talking clinically, I'm talking spiritually, all those things would disappear if this became the cornerstone of your life, because it's about the gospel. So the Word of God is imperishable, the Word of God is about the gospel, that leads you to the third thing, he says the Word of God is alive.
Verse 23, it's living, chapter two, verse four, Jesus is a living stone, which means it's completely different from all other idols and foundations, because other foundations, they fade, but the Word of God, because Jesus was resurrected from the dead, as a way of continually making you alive. Again, for a long time in my life, I had other things that were more of my cornerstone, they were dead, and that's why, to use Jonathan Edwards' analogy, that's why they boomerang on you. Like, whatever you feast on besides Jesus may taste good for a while, but then it turns around and smacks you in the face, right? So, for example, the affirmation of people, man, sometimes that was just so good, it just meant it enriched my soul, it always turned around and smacked me in the face, where it became hollow and bitter and disappointing.
Money's the same way, it is an intoxicating meal, but then it boomerangs on you. Everything boomerangs on you, unless it is the living and abiding Word of God, which has the ability in it to continually renew your soul. There are depths of the Gospel that I'm just getting to that are new and fresh. I don't mean new facts, I'm learning just new dimensions of the goodness and the beauty of God. I've tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and I want to keep going deeper and deeper in that, because remember, in 1 Peter 1, Peter said that the Gospel is so unbelievable that even the angels can't get their minds around it. It's living, it's abiding, it refreshes and renews your soul. So, Peter says this Word that causes your growth, imperishable, about the Gospel, it is living. So, he says there are three different things you ought to do in response to that, okay? So, I'd encourage you to write these down, too.
There are three of them. Accept it is the first thing. You see that there in verse 22, it says you have developed an obedience to the truth. You just accept it as being the Word of God. You see, the reason I say this is because there's some of you that the Word of God is so counterintuitive to you, to anybody that really reads the Word of God and listens to it. It's scary, it's offensive, and it's counterintuitive.
If it's not those three things, then you're not really reading it. Second thing, nourish yourself by it. This is chapter 2 verse 2. It's like milk. Every parent in here knows your baby needs milk. If it's a new baby, it's like every three hours. You don't feed a baby milk at the hospital and then again when they're five. It's just continual.
Because if not, they die. This is what you were like. You need spiritual milk that is nourishing you and refreshing you or to switch metaphors on you. I was thinking this week about the first smartphone I ever had. It was awesome. It would do all the stuff that none of the other phones I'd ever had would ever do. The battery lasted about an hour and a half.
So it means I was like Mr. Cool for about an hour and then I can't call anybody because my phone died at 10 this morning. Your batteries are like that spiritually. They just are not that long. You just don't have a battery that lasts that long, so you've got to continually be nourishing your soul in the Word of God.
Here's what scares me. For many of you, the only real diet you get out of the Word of God is what I give you right here. Now you're like, oh JD, but man, you just do it so well. You just lay it out so well. I leave here with a spiritual buzz and I come back next week and you give me some more. Liar.
You either are just full of flattery or you just don't really understand yourself. Because there's no way that you give a baby milk one time and then it just come back the next week and get more milk. The whole image is daily. It's got to be renewed in you because there's so much around you that is corrupting you and destroying you.
You come back to it. You ought to have a permanent spiritual milk mustache because you never get away from the Word of God. Some of you, I've pointed this out to you.
Look at this. If you add up everything Jesus said in the Bible, everything Jesus said in the Gospels, 1,800 verses. Of those 1,800 verses, 180 of them are direct quotations of other scriptures, which means that 10% of everything Jesus said was a quotation of scripture. In his hour of temptation and in his hour of trial, that percentage increased like six-fold. When he's opposing Satan and when he's going to the cross, he's dropping scripture all over the place. 10% of everything he said was scripture.
How much of what you say and how much of your thought patterns are scripture? You're like, oh, well, yeah, Jesus probably needed that. Right. He's the Son of God. You don't need it nearly as badly as he did.
That makes a lot of sense. The reason he sustained in an hour of satanic oppression and trial and temptation is because the Word of God in him was stronger. You don't need to develop a stronger note towards sin. You need to develop a stronger depth in God's Word.
You businessmen, you're like, I work 70 hours a week. There ain't no way that I can time find to read the Bible. You need to figure out a way. You listen to it on MP3, a Bible on CD, on the way back and forth to work.
I did that for a while. If not, you just figure out how to rearrange your work schedule because I tell you what your kids need, what your kids need is less of your money and more of a spirit-filled daddy. The Word of God in you is going to determine whether or not your family is built on the cornerstone of Jesus or whether it's built on the faulty cornerstone of money.
You have got to make this a priority. Your mother's still guilty when they hear me talk about this. She's like, oh, I've got young kids and I just can't find them.
They don't ever leave me alone. You're going to have to get up a half hour earlier to read the Bible so that you can greet your kids in the power of the Holy Spirit, full of the Word of God. The Word of God becomes the spiritual milk in you that sustains you, that renews you. You desperately need the Word of God. You've got to nourish yourself on it.
Thirdly, you begin to build your life on it. When that happens, then you begin to look at the trials that come into your life and you can rejoice in those trials. Why? Because you love pain?
No. It's because sometimes what God's doing in a trial is he's tearing down these buildings that are built on a bad cornerstone and he's showing you how to build it on the right cornerstone. So you don't rejoice because of the trial.
You rejoice in the trial because God is simply helping you build more and more of your life on Jesus. Here's my question for you. When your flesh fades, because it will, when your marriage fades, when your family fades, when your body fades, when your account fades, what are you going to fall back on? Are you on a cornerstone that lasts forever?
Because that's what's happened. That's what Peter's saying, grow up because it's not, it's going to fade for something that's going to happen sooner than you realize. Can I say the most awesome thing about Jesus as the cornerstone to build on? Every other cornerstone tells you that if you will build the building correctly, then, then your building will be secure. Jesus the cornerstone says, I built the building correctly.
That's the cornerstone. So you can base the rest of your life not on your ability to accomplish but on what I've accomplished for you. You see, that is building a building not toward acceptance, that's building a building from acceptance and those are two totally different things. Because the security of my life is no longer dependent on how well I perform for Jesus because the gospel is that Jesus did it in my place, gave it to me as a gift, that's a cornerstone to build my life on. Because ultimately it means that it's already been built, it's already been done.
I rest in it and now I build from security not toward it and that's a whole different ballgame. You see, the one produces malice, hatred, envy, bitterness. The other one produces living stones of righteousness and beauty and peace and joy and love and generosity.
See, two different cornerstones. So you accept it, you nourish yourself on it and you build your life on it. When trials come, you rejoice that you can re-establish your life. Now Peter closes with a warning and so that's where I'll close. It's chapter 2 verse 11. Look at this. Beloved, I urge you as so generous in exiles to abstain from the passage of the flesh which wage, listen to this, war against your soul.
Growing up sometimes means having growing pains and thankfully we have the Bible as a source and a guide for truth as we mature. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. If you missed any part of today's message, you can listen again or explore our entire library of messages for free at jdgreer.com. I mentioned it earlier in today's broadcast but I want to make sure that you know about our latest featured resource. It's a book called Scent Living a Life That Invites Others to Jesus written by husband and wife duo Heather and Ashley Holliman. The Hollomans didn't write this book for super Christians. This is for the everyday Christian like you and me and that's why we are so excited about this book.
So whether you've been a Christian for most of your life or maybe you have a brand new relationship with God, Scent will help you find ways to naturally have gospel conversations with your friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family members. We'll send you a copy as a way to say thank you for supporting this ministry with a gift of $35 or more. You can give over the phone right now at 866-335-5220 or by visiting us online at jdgreer.com. While you're on the website be sure to sign up for our email list. This is to get ministry updates and blog posts from Pastor JD delivered straight to your inbox. It's a great way to stay connected with Summit Life throughout your week. Sign up when you go to jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vitovich and it's been another great week of biblical teaching here on Summit Life. We'll see you next time when we ask big questions like, who are we, where do we come from, and what do we do? Don't miss it Monday here on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
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