1. What are the stages in building a house from the planning to its completion? (Idea about size, blueprints, hire a builder, excavation, laying the foundation, bricklayers, carpenters, framing, electrical, plumbers, inspectors, insulation, finishing, painting, roofers, …and the list goes on.)
2. Why is each of these necessary to building a house?
3. What would happen if one step were omitted or done out of order?
4. What is the most important part about any building? (The foundation. It is unseen but the most important part.)
5. How would you compare the foundation of a building to the foundation a new believer needs for a productive Christian life?
The process of spiritual growth throughout the regenerate person’s life is called sanctification. A believer grows spiritually to become more and more like Jesus throughout their lifetime. As in building a house, the Christian’s spiritual foundation is critical to building a strong spiritual life.
Spiritual Milk! Read 1 Peter 2:1-3
(Consider listing the following words on the board, or a sheet of paper in front of the class for all to see. From 1 Peter 2:1—malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. From Gal. 5:19-21—sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, etc. Then have listed the “fruit of the Spirit” from Gal. 5:22-23—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. If possible have the “Fruit of the Spirit” list covered initially.)
1. How would you describe the five attitudes and actions Peter listed in verse 1? (Malice=evil intent; Deceit=falsehood or trickery; Hypocrisy=masking inward hostility with an outward appearance of love; Envy=jealous desire to have what someone else has-not thankful for what you have; Slander=cutting down others in speech, words meant to harm another’s reputation.)
2. How do these attitudes and actions get in the way of spiritual growth? (A person doing these things is not being led by the Holy Spirit. They are actually allowing Satan to influence their actions.)
3. The phrase “rid yourselves” could be written “take off”. If we are to take off something what are we to put on? (“The Fruit of the Spirit.”—now uncover these 9 elements or characteristics of the “Fruit of the Spirit.”)
The writer of Hebrews used the analogy of milk and solid food in a different way than Peter. Here Peter is comparing “milk” to pure spiritual food, which we all need to continue to grow to maturity in our spiritual life.
All Christians need the pure spiritual milk that allows them to grow. Whether mature or immature, Christians need the same food source. We should "desire,” “long for,” or “crave” this spiritual milk. Ps. 42:1 “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.” Ps. 84:2 “I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God.”
4. How would you explain the importance of proper spiritual nourishment?
5. What would you include as a balanced spiritual diet for the believer? (Prayer, Bible Study, Worship, Service, Giving, Fellowship, etc.)
Peter shifted metaphors from spiritual growth, turning from newborn babes craving pure spiritual milk to living stones being built into a spiritual building.
Spiritual House! Read 1 Peter 2:4-8
Jesus is a living stone, the cornerstone for the building. Those who trust in Him as Savior become part of His building program. The Christian life must be lived in community. We are not a stone unto ourselves but a part of what God is building around us.
1. What do you understand that building to be? (We typically refer to this building as the church.)
2. What is the church’s function? (The church represents the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to the world and proclaims Christ. As such, the church is a valuable and integral part of God’s plan of redemption. See Matt. 28:18-20.)
3. What role does a church and its members play in the development of a follower of Christ? (We are to “make disciples”.)
Peter quoted the passage from Isa. 28:16 to demonstrate how this was God’s plan from the beginning. At great cost the Cornerstone was laid in place in Zion, and it was the foundation upon which everything else rested!
4. As we look at how Christ was received, how is the church viewed by the world? (The world rejected Christ and will always look skeptically at His church and persecute it.)
5. How is the church viewed by God the Father? (The church can rest in the knowledge that God has honor in store for followers of His Son.)
6. How does knowing that Jesus was rejected by some give believers courage to face persecution and rejection? (Should believers expect to be treated differently by those who reject Jesus?)
Notice that Jesus is viewed as a stone to both believers and non-believers. For us He is the Cornerstone, the foundation of our salvation. For the unbelievers, that stone becomes a stumbling block. Their rejection of Him will eventually prevent them from entering eternal life with Him.
The last phrase in verse 8 “they were destined for this.” simply means this is the natural consequence of an individual’s choice of rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior!
Spiritual People! Read 1 Peter 2:9-10
1. What are the four images Peter used to describe God’s church?
· A chosen race: God hand-selected us for the task. When we accepted Christ as our Savior our DNA changed!
· A royal priesthood: We will share in Jesus’ inheritance, and we have direct access to the Father through Jesus, as well as represent God to the people and the people to God.
· A holy nation: Purity and strength define us.
· A people for His possession: God desires to dwell with His people forever.
2. God has expectations for His people. What does He expect of us? (God expects us to give Him the praise that is rightfully His for pulling us out of darkness into His marvelous light. We owe Him all praise because of the great mercy He has given us.)
These exalted titles were not to bring glory to the people of God. Rather, they were to bring praises to God. The Greek word translated marvelous means “beyond human comprehension”. The word for the light that is experienced in the presence of God is effulgent. Dr. T. W. Hunt defined it as light that cast no shadow. It is all enveloping.
3. What is the relationship between worship and evangelism? (Our worship brings praise, laud, glory and honor to God. Sharing God’s message of mercy and grace with those who are still in darkness is a form of worship that brings praise to Him.)
The words darkness and light describe life before and after Christ. We have all seen a house that was in great need of restoration and then what it looked like after the restoration. That is a picture of what happens spiritually when we allow God to restore our life to what He originally created it to be.
4. Write the words Darkness and Light on the board. What words describe your life before Christ? Record them under Darkness.
5. What words describe your life after Christ? Record under light.
The words under Light describe God’s people, a community built through God’s grace!
6. How does the gospel break down walls between people?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. What can the church do to live up to our calling? (Allow our calling to embolden, reassure, and fill us with resolve to live out our purpose. It is our privilege to share Christ with the lost and to build up other believers.)
2. What guidance do the verses we studied provide about building our faith?
3. Evaluate the progress of your spiritual life. How are you growing in your relationship with the Lord?
4. What areas need more attention?
5. What actions will you take to foster your spiritual growth?
Being called out of darkness into His marvelous light is an amazing and fascinating visual picture. Think about your own experience and share your testimony with a friend or family member this week.