1 Wherefore laying aside all malice [depravity], and all guile [deceit], and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

As a person takes off dirty clothing so the believer is to take off, or lay aside spiritual clothing soiled by depraved acts of making trouble for others, deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy and inappropriate conversations.

2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby [by it]:

An appetite for the Word of God must be cultivated in order to be desired.

Five Ways to Cultivate a Desire for the Word of God

Have a pure conscience that is undefiled by secret sin. When a person is living in secret or open sin, fellowship with the Lord ceases, and holy matters are not desired.

Spend time meditating on the Word. Make a holy commitment to do this, and honor that commitment. Promise the Lord by saying, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways” (Ps 119:15).

Remember the promise of blessing for those who mediate on the Word. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Josh. 1:8).

Pray, and ask the Lord to teach you spiritual truths from the Word. “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths” (Psalm 25:4).

Speak to others about the spiritual truths the Lord has shown you. “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name” (Mal. 3:16).

3 If so be [because] ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious [kind].

The graciousness of God in giving His Word, and the kindness He has shown to the believer, should be a good motive to desire to know more of the Word. The heart naturally loves those who have shown them kindness.

Despite his busy schedule during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln often visited the hospitals to cheer the wounded. On one occasion he saw a young fellow who was near death. “Is there anything I can do for you?” asked the compassionate President. “Please write a letter to my mother,” came the reply. Unrecognized by the soldier, the Chief Executive sat down and wrote as the youth told him what to say. The letter read, “My Dearest Mother, I was badly hurt while doing my duty, and I won’t recover. Don’t sorrow too much for me. May God bless you and Father. Kiss Mary and John for me.” The young man was too weak to go on, so Lincoln signed the letter for him and then added this postscript: “Written for your son by Abraham Lincoln.” Asking to see the note, the soldier was astonished to discover who had shown him such kindness. “Are you really our President?” he asked. “Yes,” was the quiet answer. “Now, is there anything else I can do?” The lad feebly replied, “Will you please hold my hand? I think it would help to see me through to the end.” The tall, gaunt man granted his request, offering warm words of encouragement until death stole in with the dawn. Oh Christian, would you not want to ask in prayer, “Jesus, are you really my Savior? Would you please hold my hand and lead me through this dark night of the soul when tempted to sin? Would you stay with me to the end?”

“Take my life,
and let it be consecrated,
Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands,
and let them move at the impulse
of Thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be swift
and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
always, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them be
filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect,
and use every power
as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own;
it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord,
I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.

Take myself, and I will be ever,
only, all for Thee.”

Frances R. Havergal

February 1874

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

When a person comes to Christ in faith, He comes to the most interesting and unique person.

Christ is a Living Stone, though an outcast of society.

Christ was chosen of God.

Christ is precious.

“Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

When my way grows drear,
Precious Lord, linger near,
When my life is almost gone,
Hear my cry, hear my call,
Hold my hand lest I fall:
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near,
And the day is past and gone,
At the river I stand,
Guide my feet, hold my hand:
Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me home.”

Thomas A. Dorsey

The Story Behind the Song

Mr. Dorsey wrote this song in Chicago, Illinois, after his wife Nettie died while giving birth to a child, who also died shortly thereafter. Dorsey sang the song for his friend, Gospel singer Theodore Frye, and Frye’s choir sang it the next Sunday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Once the Lord dwelt in a physical structure of beautiful, but dead and decaying material. Now He dwells in a spiritual house. Every Christian can say, “My heart is Christ’s home. I am to function as a believer priest in a holy manner in order to offer up spiritual, but acceptable sacrifices to God.”

Seven Acceptable Spiritual Sacrifices

Offering Prayers. Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Expressing Praise and Adoration. Rev 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Giving thanks. “O give thanks unto the LORD.”

Witnessing. “Make known his deeds among the people.”

Singing unto the Lord spiritual song. Psalm 105:2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Remembering. “Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.”

Talking often about the Lord. “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Mal. 3:16, 17).

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [ashamed].

The concept of Christ being “chosen of God” (1 Pet. 2:4), and the elect One, is set forth against the decision of divine mercy to save sinners by allowing a substitute savior. Though a noble individual might have volunteered to die for others, none would be found worthy to be a suitable savior “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Thus, all are in need of a savior. Though an angel confirmed in righteousness might have volunteered to die for mortals, such an offer would be without merit for angels differ from men. Certainly no animal would be a suitable sacrifice, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). Finally, in His infinite wisdom, the Father choose a course of action, and decreed His begotten Son could be the One to accomplish the grand goal of redeeming souls from the slave market of sin. And so the Son was chosen by God to come into the world, not as an animal, not as an angel, but as the God-man, perfectly suited to mediate between God and man, for He would be both. Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us.”

“Immanuel, we sing Thy praise;
Thou Prince of Life,
Thou Fount of Grace,
With all Thy saints,
Thee, Lord, we sing;
Praise, honor, thanks,
to Thee we bring.

E’er since the world began to be,
How many a heart hath longed for Thee!
And Thou, O long expected guest,
Hast come at last to make us blest!

Now art Thou here:
we know Thee now:
In lowly manger liest Thou:
A Child, yet makest all things great;
Poor, yet the earth Thy robe of state.

Now fearlessly I come to Thee:
From sin and grief
O set me free!
Turn wrath away,
dread death destroy,
And turn my sorrow into joy.

Thou art my Head,
my Lord divine:
I am Thy member, wholly Thine;
And by Thy Spirit’s gracious power
Will seek to serve Thee evermore.”

Paul Gerhardt, 1653

The apostle Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim 1:12).

7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

“I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.”

Daniel Whittle, 1883

 “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right then, have it your way’” (C. S. Lewis).

The importance of the first, or foundational block in a building is well known. The importance of Christ is foundational in the plan of redemption, for “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

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