Pastor Jerry Locke
Another Sermon Series by Pastor Jerry Locke

4445 Hodgkins Rd. Fort Worth, TX 76135

Webmaster's Note: A Selection of 24 Single, Stand Alone Scripture
Sermons by one of our outstanding Independent Baptist Preachers,
Brother Jerry Locke, of Fort Worth, Texas. Enjoy!
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11 - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
1 Peter 2:2 - "A Single Scripture on Christian Growth"

Introduction - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
The Bible contains powerful:
Books...Genesis, John, Romans, Revelation
Passages...Genesis 1; Psalm 23; Isaiah 53.
Verses...Too Many to List

Most all Scripture needs a context for correct interpretation. Isolated verses are often the source of misinterpretation and ultimately heresy. The fact is, most Bible verses are not intended to stand alone.

But there are some single scripture that are so powerful, so clear, so complete that they are able to stand alone. There are three things we are intending to do with each of these “single, stand alone” scriptures.

Memorize...Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” We will assign the scripture a week in advance to memorize.

Message...Organize and discuss these single scriptures.

Meditate… Psalm 1:2 ”But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

11 - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
1 Peter 2:2 - "A Single Scripture on Christian Growth"

“As new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

How much have you grown lately? This past week Susan was at Gracie and Gatlin’s house and Gracie showed her how much she had grown since her birthday—1 1/2 inches!

How you given any serious thought lately to your growth as a Christian?

When I speak about growing as a Christian we must understand that growth is impossible without life being present. Only a live organism is able to grow. As John E. Hunter says in his book Living the Christ-Filled Life, “There is no spring for a dead tree!” Only things that are alive grow.

So, one of the first things to ask is, “Are you alive?” The Bible says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life,” 1 John 5:12. A person is not a Christian because he embraces Christian teaching or Christian ethics or Christian ideas or worships in a Christian church. A person is a Christian who receives a Person, puts his trust in a Person, builds his life around obedience to that Person. Christianity is Christ!

Then, one can ask, “Are you growing?” The one Book that God has given so we may know Christ and grow in Him is the Bible. Jesus said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” Matthew 4:4.

Someone has said, “This Book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this Book. You make the choice!”

1 Peter 2:2 is a verse about the Bible—”the Word.” The word “sincere” means “pure.” It is dangerous and unconscionable to give a baby spoiled or contaminated milk. “Milk” implies “the basic teachings of the faith” as distinguished from the “meat,” Hebrews 5:12-14. Solid foods cannot be digested by infants.

The Attitude Toward the Word.

“As new born babes…” Just as a newborn babe today reaches for a bottle, Christians should reach for the Bible!

One things I remember years ago when Susan and I were young parents (picture) - you cannot ignore a child who has inside information that he must be fed! Do you remember it? Awakened by a violent noise at an unreal hour . . . stumble in the darkness toward the kitchen...bottle in the refrigerator . . . Plug in a bottle warmer (in the days before the microwave) . . . shake it on your arm so it wouldn’t fry the kid’s tonsils...walk toward the screaming form in the dark and plug it in! Nothing else goes on when there is a hungry baby. Sleep stops! Meals stop! Rest stop! And what made it so trying is that this was repeated with predictable regularity. Newborn babies love milk. That’s the way God made them.

And God made believers to love the Word. The kind of attitude a Christian is to have about the Word that that of a newborn baby ho wants to be fed.

Some try to justify their neglect of the Word of God by saying, “Well, preacher, I’ve got to” But, somehow the urgency of maintaining our spiritual life has never gripped us.

Two preachers were talking about their churches. One said, “The problem with my church is we are too close to the lake and the golf course.” The other preacher said, “The problem with my church is we are not close enough to the Lord.”

We need to pray, God give me the attitude of a “newborn baby.”

The Appetite For the Word.

“As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word…”

There is the word about appetite—”desire.” This word carries with it a powerful application. It means to “have a love for, to yearn after, to crave.”

The psalmist declared, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God,” Psalm 42:2.

There is the fact of a common appetite (natural). Babies want to eat. Its common. Its natural. There are really only about four things babies do. (1) They sleep (2) They wake up (3) They mess up their diapers on the south end (you talk about hazardous waste!). (4) And they want some milk on the north end.

There is the problem of a conflicted appetite. If it is common to want to consume the Bible, why does Peter tell us to “desire” the Word? Its because we sometimes are consuming the wrong things, and end up having no appetite for the right things. The person who says at meal time, “I’m not hungry” may have had a 20 ounce Coke and a couple of Twinkies a hour before. He’s not hungry because he is taking in too much “junk food.”

How is your appetite? I have noted three kinds of Bible students.

“Caster oil” type. This is rough, but I’ve got to read it. A chapter a day keeps the devil away, so here I drag through it.

“Shredded Wheat” type. Its dry, but is nourishing. Its good for you, so here we much on this bail of Bible hay.

“Peaches and cream” type. What a delight. You just cannot get enough.

There is the need for a cultivated appetite. Our desire for the Word of God is not the product of an inexplicable accident, but a determined cultivation. Have you ever had to develop an appetite for certain kinds of foods?

Boiled okra. Jerry Clowers use to say that he ate so much boiled okra when he was a kid his socks wouldn’t stay up. He also told about the worst dog fight he ever saw was when his mama threw out some oiled okra to the dogs and one dog ate it so fast he jumped on the other dogs thinking they had eaten it.

Oysters. One old man gave his reason for not eating raw oysters. He said, “I don’t put anything in my mouth that I can’t control.” One man was asked why he didn’t eat oysters or jello. His answer was, “I don’t eat nothing that is more nervous than me.”

How many will admit you need to develop an appetite for the Word of God? Show of hands. Ready? Here’s how you do it.

Get “in” the Word. Start by reading the Bible. “This may the one of the most neglected areas in the minister (Christian’s) life. The devil sees to this! He knows that if he can distract or divert us from this daily tryst with our Lord, the consequence will be defeat, despair, and disaster,” Steven Olford.

If you are having trouble having time reading the Bible everyday here’s a suggestion. Its radical, so buckle you sea belts. Cancel the newspaper, don’t renew your magazine subscriptions, unplug your TV. And begin by reading the Bible every day. It’s a simple fact: The more you read other things the less you will read the Bible. And the less you will develop an appetite for God’s Word.

You cannot be physically well without eating physical food and you cannot be spiritually well without eating spiritual food. The reason we have a bunch of weak and sick Christians today is because they are not eating.

Get “under” the Word. I am referring to consistently getting under the preaching and teaching ministry of your pastor.

You can get by with a bad Barber and hair stylist — your hair will grow back.

Financial planner — you can always go back to work and rebuild your nest egg.

Mechanic — you can call a tow-truck.

But you cannot afford to be under the ministry of a man who does not develop your love and appetite for the Word.

Give “out” the Word. Talking to others about what you are learning will help develop your appetite for the Word. Share the Bible with others. “The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it,” Psalm 68:11.

Do you know why some people are embalmed instead of excited about the Bible? They have no paternal interest in it! They have made no personal investment in the Word of God.

In too many Christians, there is only second-hand knowledge of the Bible. It is something someone else told you, but you have never discovered it for yourself. “These two hath God married, and no man shall part. Dust on the Bible, and drought in the heart.”

Let me say one more thing about a baby’s appetite as it relates to the Christian. If you try to put some things in a baby’s mouth, they will spit it out! After several months on the “milk” the parent will slip the baby a green bean or some mashed potatoes. They make a sour face and spit it out—on you. Some say, “I don’t like what the preacher is preaching. It’s hard. It doesn’t set right. It doesn’t taste good.” Listen, you better not spit it out. You had better shallow it. It will be nourishment for your soul.

The Aim of the Word.

“As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

This is one of three great words that define the pursuit of the believer.
1 Peter 1:18 “Know” you are redeemed.
1 Peter 2:2 “Grow”.
1 Peter 2:9 “Shew (show) forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

The aim of the Word is not just to “know.” Indeed, studying the Bible will result in knowing, but the tragedy is you can know and not grow.

The practical aim of the Word is so you may “grow.” The Word was essential for the conception of our spiritual life, 1 Peter 1:23. The development of our life is also by the Word. The particular mood of this verse (subjunctive) indicates a condition that does not exist and may never exist unless it is purposefully pursued. That is probably why Peter’s last written words are, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18.

This seems to be the point. What begins as the simple appetite of a babe, must be ever developing to the point that we become mature adults in the faith.

How do we all need to grow? In what ways do we need to grow?

Well, for one, we all need to grow up — maturity. Its great for babies to be babies, but it is sad to see adults who are still babies. Some only grow old in the Lord, but they never grow up.

It is no disgrace to be at whatever level you are at as a Christian. The disgrace is to be “saved and stuck.”

Here’s some great news - Jesus does not give up on us while we are growing up. How do I know? He never gave up on His disciples.

Peter, a guy who always had both feet in his mouth and wondered why he couldn’t walk right.

Thomas was a big-time doubter. Wouldn’t be he great for a major church committee?

Phillip was just plain vanilla, John 14:8.

Andrew was a “behind the scenes” guy. But all of these men ended up growing up in the Lord.

In too many churches the Bible is something over which one argues or fights, instead of being the source of spiritual food and power to move us toward maturity.

One man said, “If you have the Spirit without the Word, you blow up. If you have the Word without the Spirit, you dry up. If you have both the Word and the Spirit, you grow up.”

And, we need to grow together—unity. Only those who are making an effort to grow up can learn to grow together.

Lucy and Linus were watching television when Lucy said, “Change channels.” Linus asked, “What makes you think you can come in here and take over?”

Lucy responded, “These five fingers. Individually, they’re nothing, but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.”

Linus says, “Which channel do you want?” Turning away and looking down at his own fingers, he demands, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”

One of the real ways genuine growth is measured is by how willing I am to work together with others with whom I may disagree.

Psalm 119:165 - “Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.”

“Does this bring conviction to your own heart? Do you really desire the Word of God as a newborn desires milk? Your spiritual maturity as a Christian will increase in direct proportion to the amount of study you invest in the Word,” Louis A Barbieri.