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Dear Partner,

In my letters this year, I have been instructed to discuss those things that cause true "permanent change" in believers. The apostle Peter said,

1 Pet 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Knowing that all scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is not coincidence that Peter chose to use the word "milk" in this verse. What is milk? It makes no difference whether you are describing human milk, cow's milk, goat's milk or the milk of the Word milk is "food that has already been pre-digested by another."

For example, a cow eats green grass and then digests that food within herself until it is processed into milk. She then nurtures her little ones with this "food" which she has already pre-digested for them. Why must she do this? Her calves are not yet of sufficient age to digest solid food directly for themselves. Peter is primarily speaking to these young converts concerning believing the gospel that was being preached to them by the apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists. These elders had developed to a level of maturity where they could digest the "meat" of the Word, then deliver it to these little ones in "milk" form. Notice the context of this verse with the previous two:

1 Pet 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 Pet 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1 Pet 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

All of us begin as "babes in Christ." We need the five-fold ministry gifts which the Lord has placed in the Church to nurture us with milk so we can grow up to adulthood, able to digest the meat of the Word for ourselves. I love the way that the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to sandwich verse 2:1 in between the other two verses. You are never partaking of the "milk of the Word" by only hearing it. No, it is only as you "do" the Word that you "grow thereby." James tells us:

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

It is important to notice, however, that all New Testament ministers are "ministers of the spirit" and not of the "the letter:"

2 Cor 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Old Testament ministers would read from the Law (the letter) to the people. The responsibility of the people was to try to keep the Law through their best efforts, even though they had not been born again and still had death working in their nature. Of course, nobody in that condition could perfectly keep the righteousness of the Law. For that reason, God gave them ordinances of animal sacrifice to make temporary atonement for their sins until Christ would come.

Many preachers and teachers today are still ministers "of the letter" in the sense that they have only exchanged the Law of the Old Testament for a new moral code based on Christ's teachings. They do not teach the people how to "feed the Seed" of LIFE that was imparted to their spirit when they were born again. Instead, they preach and teach codes of conduct, as if the people could live up to an even higher standard than the Law of the Old Testament through natural human effort. Impossible!

All "permanent change" comes from within. It is only as we learn to nurture that new spirit we received when we were born again that the very nature of Christ Himself begins to "grow up" in us. The "milk" we are to be receiving is HOW TO NURTURE THAT NEW SPIRIT WITHIN US! New testament ministers of the gospel are to be teaching their flock how to do those things that literally "feed" the inner man. A partial list of these things are; 1) Meditation of the Word, 2) Worship in spirit and in truth, 3) Confession of the Word, and 4) Praying in the spirit.

IT IS IMPORTANT WHO YOU CHOOSE TO SIT UNDER TO RECEIVE THE MILK OF THE WORD! Why? Because Jesus taught us that the best we can hope for is to become "as our teacher":

Luke 6:40 The disciple is not above his master [teacher]: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master [teacher].

If the minister you are sitting under is merely teaching "the letter," a moral code and/or standards of conduct, then you will become "as your teacher" legalistic and self-righteous. On the other hand, if you are sitting under a minister who is teaching you how to draw on the true "milk of the Word" that will feed that new nature of Christ within you, then you will become more and more conformed to the image of Christ bearing all the sweet fruit of the spirit upon your limbs for everyone to enjoy:

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Thank you for your gift to GCM. Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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