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1st Peter 1:1-9 1st Peter 1:7-19 1st Peter 1:20-25 1st Peter 2:4-15 1st Peter 2:15-25
1st Peter 3:1-6 1st Peter 3:7 1st Peter 3:8-22 1st Peter 4:1-19 1st Peter 5:1-14

 

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INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST EPISTLE OF

PETER

 

"...This book was written by the apostle Peter, and was addressed to the Jewish believers who were in the region of Asia Minor, or present day Turkey [i.e. to the believer Jewish Diaspora residing in Asia Minor].  It was written after the writings of Paul, probably around A.D. 65 to 67.  There is some question as to where Peter was when he wrote this letter.  He offers greetings from the church in Babylon (1 Pet. 5:13), but we aren't sure what he meant by Babylon.  There are those who suggest that this is literal Babylon, which was in present-day Iraq.  There are others who say that Peter was actually in Rome at this time and was using Babylon as a code word for Rome.  This is probably the majority opinion among scholars.  (Revelation 17 is another passage of Scripture that seems to refer to Rome as Babylon.)  Tradition says Peter was martyred in Rome, so if it was written from Rome it was probably near the end of Peter's life.  The theme of the book is suffering.  The Christians were now undergoing increasingly intense suffering and needed to be instructed and encouraged in light of this suffering.  They needed to understand that suffering is a normal part of the Christian life and that it was a way to relate to the suffering of Jesus, which Peter had witnessed personally..." [THE WORD FOR TODAY BIBLE, New King James Version, excerpts from "Introduction To The First Epistle Of Peter," by Pastor Chuck Smith, selected portions, p. 1640]

 

1st Peter 1:1-9

 

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:  Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."

 

Introduction:  Peter, The Apostle Of Hope

 

"We love Peter don't we?  He's the David of the New Testament or something, we love those characters in the Bible that are so human that we actually feel comfortable in our relationship with God.  If they could, we can.  And Peter certainly is that in many ways.  Peter writes to encourage, chapter 5, verse 12, he says, 'to exhort, to encourage, to testify of the grace of God.'  And he's a man, certainly, that could encourage us, he is a guy that failed, that faltered, that made mistakes, that God condemned, that cried, was forgiven, was restored, was filled with hope again.  And certainly he can testify of these things.  He writes differently than James.  I had a great time in James, and just constantly through the Book remembering that it was written through the eyes of a younger brother.  But Peter saw things that James didn't.  Peter was there by the shores of Galilee, growing up in Bethsaida.  We wonder at what age he met John and James, the sons of Zebedee [who ran a fishing company out of Galilee, marketing their fish in Jerusalem].  We know that young boys, from the time they were six years old, every day in the afternoon had to go to what was called the school of the Book, and sit with a rabbi, Peter even in Bethsaida or Capernaum.  [I grew up with a Jewish boy, and after he got out of school in the early afternoon, he'd go right from grade-school to Temple where he attended Hebrew School.  Nothing's changed much in Jewish culture.]  And somewhere a number of years younger than him up in Nazareth there was a young boy named Jesus [actually, Yeshua, Hebrew for Joshua], that was every afternoon going to the school of the Book and probably blowing the rabbi's mind.  The mandatory journeys down to Jerusalem, at the Passover feast, and the different times of the year, when Jesus and his four brothers and his sisters and his family would have gone to attend the Holy Days.  [See http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm].  And we wonder if there were times that Peter and Andrew, and James and John were mingled in the crowd with this family from Nazareth.  His brother Andrew coming to him saying, 'We have found the Messiah,'  John the Baptist causing a big stir, and of course Simon coming.  "Thou art Simon," Jesus says, 'you're name is going to be Cephas, gonna be Peter, a rock [literally, pebble].'  Simon means "hearing," evidently possibly his parents, Simon bar Jonah, son of Jonah, John to name him Simon, it may have been because Jonah's father was Simon, and sometimes they went back and forth, Simon bar Jonah, Jonah bar Simon.  Or it may have been because they had prayed, and the Lord "heard" and granted a son.  Jesus one day would say, 'Drop your nets, follow me, I'll make you fishers of men.'  [How do we do that?  What did Jesus mean by that analogy?  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm]  And it was a long journey.  Peter becomes a part of the 12, and he becomes a part of a smaller group within the 12, Peter, James and John [and they, all three would become the foundation for the Jerusalem Church, which under Peter and James and John would reside mainly in Judea until just before 70AD (after Peter and James had been martyred), when John moved probably with a large number of Jewish-Christian refugees, up to Ephesus, where he and Mary the mother of Jesus lived, and eventually died there.  Peter and James, with John, were the leaders of the Jewish branch of the Body of Christ, while Paul became the leader of the Gentile branch of the Body of Christ (which was essentially Judeo-Christian, and resided mainly in Asia Minor and parts of Greece).  So those three were an essential part of the leadership team which Jesus would place over the Jewish branch of the Body of Christ residing in Jerusalem and Judea.  For more on the history of this, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm]...Peter, James and John, that are taken alone, as the daughter of Jairus is dead, and taken into the inner room to see Jesus take this little girl and say "Talitha cumi, little lamb, arise." (Mark 5:41) and call her back from the dead, Peter standing there and watching that.  And in the Book of Acts he would say to Dorcas, "Tabitha cumi, gazelle arise."  Peter, walking on the water, sinking in the water.  I mean, this guy did it all, Peter in Caesarea Philippi, saying, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God," and Jesus saying to him, "Blessed art thou Simon bar Jonah, flesh and blood hath not revealed that to you, but my Father which is in heaven."  Ah, Peter, James and John in Gethsemane, going further than the rest of them.  And sleeping, waking up and hacking off the ear of Malchus with the sword, Jesus having to fix that up.  Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Peter denying the Lord and fleeing into the night, weeping.  And then Peter, somewhere, resurrection morning, we're not sure where.  The angels said to Mary and the women, "Go tell his disciples and Peter that he's risen from the dead," and that angel was sent from the throne of God.  Which means that God said to the angels, 'Go tell his disciples,' and then as the angels were going God said, 'Oh, yea, yea, and make sure to tell Peter.'  Because when the angels came they said to the women, "Go tell his disciples and Peter that he's risen from the dead."  And I wonder as the women came and said, 'We saw angels and they said to tell you guys he's risen,' and they looked at Peter and said, 'They said to tell you too.'  Peter must have thought, 'oh my name is mud, I denied him three times, and I get a special message from God, I am in trouble.'  But somewhere of course, that morning, Jesus appearing alone to Peter.  Peter no doubt hanging his head, and the Lord saying, 'Shalom, peace, look at these nail marks Peter, the price is paid.  Remember I told you that you would deny me.  But I had prayed that your faith wouldn't fail, that I said 'When you're restored, strengthen your brethren.'  Now go,'  Peter would remember that.  Peter would remember him saying, 'If you love me, feed my sheep.'  And Peter was always a work in progress, just like the person next to you, look around.  If you don't want to look at the person next to you, get your mirror out of your purse and look at your mirror.  Peter was a work in progress, ah, denying the Lord three times.  Peter, as an apostle, Jesus giving a vision to him, saying kill and eat, 'Not so Lord,' and even the Lord has to do that three times.  [Comment:  In this portion in Acts 10:9-16, Sunday-observers always like to say this is showing that it's ok to eat what God called in the Old Testament in Leviticus 11 "unclean," not fit for human consumption.  If you read on further from Acts 10:17-28, you see that Peter discerned that the Lord was telling him 'not to consider or call any man common or unclean,' as all Jews in Judea were prone to do.  If you read on from verse 29 through verse 48, you'll see that God was making a big point to Peter about the Gospel and his calling now going out to the Gentiles, and that the Jewish believers were never to regard the Gentiles as being unclean, ever again.  This passage, to properly interpret verses 9-28, has to be taken in it's entirety, through verses 29-48.  Verses 9-16 cannot therefore be taken to prove that you can eat what God called "unclean" or unfit for human consumption in Leviticus 11.  Modern medical science is just beginning to realize these are health laws, written many thousands of years before medical science was able to prove them correct and accurate.  Just for starters, see, http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/07/safe-levels-neurotoxin-found-in-seafood-may-cause-kidney-damage/ ]  It seems like Peter gets it in threes.  Paul the apostle having to rebuke Peter, before the church at Antioch, as an apostle, because he starts to go back under the law, he starts to misinterpret the grace of God.  [i.e. that part of the law that said Jews weren't to associate with Gentiles, not the moral law of the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath and Holy Days, and unclean food laws.  The Jews for several centuries had been trying to proselytize Gentiles, and had succeeded somewhat, and these Gentile folk would actually attend synagogue, keep the Sabbath and Holy Days, and even were considered as having become Jewish by their pagan neighbors, even though they were still ethnically Gentiles.  So the Gospel going out to the Gentiles was not a new idea to the Jews, they just didn't like it when these new 'Christians' proselytized Gentiles, it made them jealous.  The apostle Paul was a master at proselytizing both Jews and these God-fearing Gentiles, all within their own synagogues.  To read some of this early Church history, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm]  A work in progress.  But certainly as he writes this epistle, 62 to 64AD probably an old man.  The Church fathers tell us that he was older than the rest of the disciples, that he was a big burly fisherman.  You can imagine him with leathery skin and thumbs about this wide, just big, old, burly guy.  John chapter 21, remember they're fishing there, and Jesus standing on the shore says, 'You guys catch anything?' which was like dejavou for Peter.  'Nah,' he said.  'Throw your net on the other side of the boat.'  And as they did, they got so many fish it says they couldn't pull the net in.  And Peter, just like Peter, dove in and swam to shore.  Impetuous, didn't want to wait for the boat, that was his makeup, that was his nature, hack off an ear, dive into the water, you know, ready-fire-aim, that was Peter's motto.  But God used that.  And it was when they drew the net to shore, Peter went down and pulled it in by himself.  The other disciples, it says, they couldn't pull it in, because it was so full of fish, and Peter went down and pulled that net in by himself.  So you can imagine this big, old, burly fisherman, he's not a guy you want chasing you with a sword.  God used that nature, God used that personality.  Psalm 139 tells us that part of us is formed while we're in the womb. God knows how to wire us, he knows our calling, he knows what we're going to end up doing.  And he had given Peter a personality that suited what God had for him to do.  And he becomes the apostle of hope, he's writing to people that are discouraged here, and his message is in regards to hope.  And it's interesting to watch these writings.  Paul wrote in regards to faith.  Peter wrote in regards to hope, and John wrote in regards to love, faith, hope and love.  And Peter has this tremendous message of encouragement for those that are going through difficult times, those that are going through trials.  So listen up.  Maybe you're saying tonight, 'I'm not in a trial,' you will be next week.  So, Christians are either in one, coming out of one, or going into one.  That's where we are, and they're designed.  You know, we can be in a trial because the lord has permitted it, we can be in a trial because the Lord has permitted Satan to test us [remember Job, the Book of Job?], we can be in a self-inflicted trial.  I've been in a number of those.  Today, ah.  So Peter has much to say to us, this remarkable old man.  Is he still taking his wife?  He had a wife, Clement of Alexandria tells us his wife's name was Perpetua, now that's good, we get perpetuity out of that.  But that's quite a handle, I don't imagine there's any Perpetua's here tonight.  I don't know what they called her for short, Tua, or Perpe or whatever they called her.  But evidently a very godly woman.  Peter's going to have some things to say to us about marriage.  Paul says, 1st Corinthians chapter 9, around verse 5, 'Don't I have the right to take around a sister or wife, like the apostles, like Cephas?'  So evidently she traveled with him, in many of his travels.  And Peter was just a remarkable human, so human.  That's what I love about him.  Now, this guy is uneducated.  I mean, this introduction he gives us, you know from a fisherman, is remarkable.  Remember, he grew up in the school of the Book, he's well versed in the Hebrew, the Old Testament, we can tell by the way he writes.  And remember when the sheet came down out of heaven three times, the Lord said, 'Kill and eat,' Peter says, 'I've never broken kosher law, I've never done this.'  So he was Jewish through and through.  He has a great background in the Old Testament, he has some very remarkable things to say.

 

We're Like Strangers, Sown Amongst The Unbelieving World

 

So he opens his letter by saying, "Peter, an apostle" one sent, "of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia," "the strangers," that's us, nobody gets stranger than this crew, just look around.  Ah, if you look in chapter 2, verse 11, he gives us that same word, "strangers," "dearly beloved I beseech you as strangers, and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against your soul."  Ah, he says there that they are strangers, we're strangers, the idea is, we don't fit in here, it's not our home.  It's those who are placed along side of us, a strange idea, and he says that they're "scattered," it's the same word that James uses, and the picture is of seed that's been sown in a field, scattered, strangers scattered, Pontus, Cappadocia, Bithynia, Galatia, you look at this list, many of them probably hearing Peter's first sermon on Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:1-40).  As you read the list of those who were there (in Acts 2), it mentions Cappadocia, Pontus, Bithynia, they were from that Mediterranean world, and this is particularly in Asia Minor, Turkey, that area, ah, many there, scattered.  And the idea is, they've been placed there, they've been sown there, there's no mistake, they've [these Jews in the Diaspora that had come to Christ in Acts 2] been sown amongst the Gentiles, amongst the unbelievers.  And sometimes I think, you know, at work, at school, wherever we might spend our time, unbelievers that we work with really can get on our nerves, we think, 'Lord, I can't wait till the Rapture.'  I like that sentiment, I can't either.  But you're not where you are by mistake.  You're not amongst the unbelievers that are driving you crazy by mistake.  If you're not there, what chance do they have?  You may be the last link to eternity that they ever have.  You may be the last person to tell them about the love of Jesus Christ.  And sometimes I think we can get agitated to the point where we think, 'Oh, they're driving me crazy, they make fun of me, I can't read my Bible here, I can't say nothing about the Lord, I can't do...' But you know I'll tell you what happens the first time one of their kids or their mom gets cancer, the first time there's a tragedy, you're going to be the first one they come to and say, 'Hey, would you do me a favour, would you pray for my mom?  Would you pray for my son, my daughter?' [And this is so true, I've had it happen numerous times.]  And Peter sees them, these believers, scattered throughout this Roman world, scattered like seed sown. But that's only the temporal part of their condition.

 

We're The "Elect Of God," Chosen, Selected With The Foreknowledge Of God, Before The Foundation Of The World

 

He says in verse 2, now here's a big old fisherman, and like Peter, hack off an ear, ready-fire-aim, he jumps right in with both feet.  He doesn't hesitate.  You think, 'Hey, Peter, warm them up, then give them this stuff.'  Look what he says, "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:  Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."  He jumps right in.  "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father," 'wait a minute, you're a fisherman, what are you doing messing around with all this Calvinism and all this stuff?'  Well I guess it's Peterism, it's not Calvinism, because he's way before Calvin.  "elect" that means to be picked out, to be chosen.  Ephesians chapter 1, verse 4 translates the same word, and it says "according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."  He's chosen us before the foundation of the world.  Here it's translated "elect" in English, "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father," that's who he's writing to.  That God has picked us out [then, Peter's audience, and now, us], he's chosen us.  He looked around and said, 'Mmmm, I'll take this one, look at that one, I'll take that one, mmmm I'll take this one,' he's not saying 'Well this one's cute,' he's saying, 'This one is really messed up and I'll really get glory from this one, let me pick this one here, this one here,' [i.e. read 1st Corinthians 1:26-31] chosen, elect (cf. John 6:44;65), that we're picked out.  And he says "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father," prognosko, to know ahead of time.  When you say to somebody in the hospital 'What's the prognosis?' we're asking the doctor 'How's this going to turn out?'  It comes from pro, before, knosko, to know, "according to his foreknowledge," that's how he's chosen us.  [Comment:  Since this is dealing with the subject of God's calling, who, when and where, we must realize that some Christian denominations believe that if one is not called or doesn't respond to God's calling in their normal lifetimes, the are damned and go to some everburning hell (that doctrine comes to us out of Roman Catholicism, by the way).  Other denominations believe God is not calling everyone in their normal lifetimes, but that those he does not call now in their present lifetime will receive their call in the great general resurrection, referred to in Revelation 20:11-13 as the Great White Throne Judgment.  This gets into doctrines about "the unsaved dead."  For discussion of this subject, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm] God's sovereignty is the picture that Peter's putting in front of us.  When he was preaching on Pentecost, he said that "Christ was crucified by the determinant counsel and foreknowledge of God."  He uses the same phrase there, foreknowledge.  But it says "determinant counsel", that's a Granville-Sharp rule there in the Greek that makes them (i.e. "determinant counsel" and "foreknowledge") the same thing.  God can't "foreknow" something, and be benign about it.  He can't just foreknow something and be static.  Because he is love, because he is good, and because he is all-powerful, his foreknowledge is part of his action, it's the same thing.  We are "chosen," we're "elect," and that's according to "his foreknowledge" and "he knew us before the foundation of the world."  You know, he "chose us."  That's one thing, I have four kids.  I didn't pick any of them, they just showed up.  Now I said, "Lord, good choice, because those are the one's I'd have picked too."  'I don't know if any of them are here, I don't want any of them to get a bad idea about this.'  But imagine the Lord picked us, ahead of time.  Now you're thinking, 'He blew it, I know since he picked me he's thinking, 'I didn't know this one was a lemon.''  Spurgeon said, "I know he picked me before I was born, because he'd never have picked me after I was born."  Now he didn't pick us somewhere along the line and go "Ouy Vey, this one, if I'd have only known,' well he did know.  That's what it says, 'it was according to his foreknowledge,' we haven't done anything that surprised him.  In our failings and in our struggles, he's the one whose faithful, 'he foreknew us.'  That's a complete knowledge.  When we come to Christ and start to walk with Christ, and we make a mistake, or we compromise, and we fail, and we're shocked, because we really thought we were really something, you know, when he saved us, 'Well I don't blame you, Lord, saving me.  You know, such a deal, what a wise choice,'  and we make a mistake, and we falter, we compromise, and then we're shocked.  He wasn't shocked.  It was according to his foreknowledge that he picked us.  There isn't anything we can do that surprises him.  It says over in verse 20, "Who verily" speaking of Christ himself, "was foreordained before the foundation of the world," that's "foreknown" it's translated "foreordained" there, prognosko, but it's saying there it was before the foundation of the world, which agrees with Acts chapter 2, verse 23, action and knowing of God go together.  So what it is saying to us is that 'he knew us, he chose us.'  I don't have a problem with that.  If you're sitting here tonight, you know, maybe that's something you struggle with.  Martin Luther in his preface to Romans says 'Who are these audacious young Christians who dare to soar the heights of total depravity and of, you know, predestination, and of God's election, and of the perseverance of the saints, before they understand temptation, the flesh, sin, warfare.'  He said, 'Surely they must fall.'  And he said, 'Because there is a doctrine for every season in a person's life.'  [You know what, that makes sense.  When God first called me I wanted to know all about prophecy, God's Plan for mankind which has been prophecied in both the Old and New Testaments, election, God's calling, both for me, and when he intends to call and/or straighten out the world in general.  That seems to be the set of Biblical doctrines new-believers cut their spiritual teeth on.  Then they go into, in a far heavier sense, the doctrines dealing with temptation, the flesh, sin, and spiritual warfare as they go on towards spiritual maturity, and finishing up on the doctrines of developing within us God's agape-love for others, reconciliation, faith, mercy and judgment.  I bet if you thought about it enough, you could come up with four basic seasons we all go through, I sort of see three here, but it could be broken into four.]  And Peter will tell us many things in his letter, that he heard from the mouth of Christ.  Jesus had said to him, 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, that you might bring forth fruit.'  That was cooking in his mind for decades.  He talked about it in the Book of Acts, but this is decades later, and it has blossomed and has come to mean so much more.  You know, the same thing happens in your life.  We learn something in the Scripture, when we first get saved, we love a verse, that as the years go on, how that becomes more precious to us, it becomes deeper.  It's like your wedding vows, you're getting married, you know, 'With this ring I thee wed, and I pledge my love, to honour you and keep you, through sickness and health, richer and poorer, better or worse,' you're just saying those words on your wedding day.  You have no idea why they say those words on a wedding day, until "richer and poorer, better and worse, and it really becomes worse.  You know, we take little kids and we teach them the 23rd Psalm, and you've got a bunch of 3, 4 year-olds saying 'The Lord's my shepherd, I shall not want, he maketh me to lie down...' and you know, they don't know what it means.  David wrote that Psalm as an old man.  You and I read that Psalm and it blows our minds, we've been kicked around, and fallen, and got back up and dusted off, we've been thirsty, we've been in the valley of the shadow of death, all this stuff, and we read those words, and it means so much to us.  So we take a little kid, and we teach them, and they're just mimicking it, and it doesn't mean anything yet.  [Comment:  I just finished reading Eugene Sledge's "With The Old Breed", about his experiences in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Battles of Pelelui and Okinawa.  On Pelelui, it was literally like passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, as well as there being no water in 115 degree heat, death, destruction and rotting bodies all around, and Eugene, a believer, repeating the 23rd Psalm in prayer throughout it all.  That Psalm meant so very much to him then, as he survived the Battle of Pelelui, and thereafter, for the rest of his life.]  'You've not chosen me, I've chosen you,' John chapter 15.

 

How Does God Choose Us, Set Us Aside?

 

Peter says here, "elect", that's who he's writing to.  They're both scattered and gathered, you see.  Ya, you're sown throughout Philadelphia, you're sown throughout this area, you work where you work, you go to school where you go to school, you do what you do, and there's aggravation, there's difficulty, but the other side of that is, you're gathered also, you're "elect," you're "chosen," and that "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit," here's how it happens.  "through sanctification of the Spirit" is "en" it's "in the sphere of" in the grammar, 'in the sphere of sanctification of the Spirit,' now this is not the lifelong process, this is 'in the sphere of being set aside by the work of the Holy Spirit.'  [Comment: There are two kinds of "sanctification" spoken of in the Bible.  To read about each, see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/1st%20Corinthians.htm]  'Chosen by the Father,' how?  It's locative in the grammar, 'in the sphere of the work of the Holy Spirit by setting your life aside,' "unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:"  Now this is not the lifelong process [type of sanctification], this is belief, of becoming obedient to the faith in Acts 2 was "believing."  "unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" now look what he's done.  He's put the trinity before us, before he even says "grace and peace."  [Comment:  Some look at this as the trinunity of God, not believing the Holy Spirit is a person as Catholic doctrine dogmatically teaches, but instead that the Holy Spirit is in some unexplained way a unifying part of God, which unifies both Father and Son as the one God.  Some denominations make a big deal of it, using the issue to divide the Body of Christ, while others don't, and aren't so divisive.]  He's saying 'You're chosen by the Father (cf. John 6:44, 65), before the foundation of the world, according to his foreknowledge.  That happens, it manifests locatively in the sphere of the Holy Spirit who sets you aside, unto the cleansing of the Son with the sprinkling of his blood.'  He's got the Father choosing, the Spirit setting aside, and the Son cleansing, and he's got all of that happening in his introduction, and this is a fisherman.  It says in the Book of Acts that they, the Pharisees and Sadducees, took note that they were unlearned and ignorant men, but that they had been with Jesus.  Now it doesn't mean unlearned and ignorant like they didn't know anything, it means that they didn't go to the same school that the Pharisees and Sadducees went to.  It doesn't mean they weren't used of God, or ordained of God, or given wisdom by God.  Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived, and his dad was a shepherd [and shepherds were looked down upon in ancient Israel and Judea as ignorant and untrustworthy, no better than common thieves].  And God granted that wisdom to him.  You see, they made a big mistake, they took note that they were unlearned and ignorant men, and that they had been with Jesus.  They were wrong, they were unlearned and ignorant men, and they were still with Jesus (cf. John 14), and this is 37 years later, after walking with Jesus.  And Peter says, 'You know, it's God the Father, you're scattered throughout this world, I know there's difficulties, but you're also gathered, God the Father chose you according to his foreknowledge.  And in the sphere of the Spirit you were set apart,' that's how his choosing was manifest, 'and sprinkled with the blood of the Son,'  And to you, he says, "Grace unto you, and peace," and I love Peter, "be multiplied."  Paul says 'Grace and peace unto you,' because he teaches about faith.  Peter says 'be multiplied,' because that's what he needed in his life.  He didn't just need grace and peace, he needed grace and peace multiplied.  He's going to talk about, ah, sin, manifold temptations, and he's going to talk about "manifold" grace, and he uses an interesting word which is "very colored."  And he's saying 'manifold temptations come to us, very colored,' they come in different ways, with different emotions, with different strains and struggles from different directions.  But God's grace then is also "very colored," has different hues and different temperaments, it comes to us at different times in our lives when we're struggling, when we're high, when we're low, it comes at the worst of times and the best of times.  He sees, because his personality was so diverse, he understood God's grace was just as diverse, and it met him at every turn.  And here he says grace, and it's always the order, grace first, then peace.  You'll never have peace until you have grace. It's never peace and grace.  It's always grace and peace.  Grace, the Greek greeting, charis, peace, shalom, the Hebrew greeting.  'Grace and peace,' but then he says 'be multiplied.'  I'm glad, aren't you?  Now it's multiplied for good reason.  Isn't it?  It's multiplied because we're Gods kids, you're elect, you were chosen according to his foreknowledge, from the foundation of the world, and he took your life and set it aside by the work of the Holy Spirit, washing you with the blood of his Son, and because of all of that it's in the Father's heart when he gives you grace and peace, to multiply it unto you, grace upon grace, peace upon peace.

 

The Living Hope Of The Believer---The Blessed Hope Of The Church Is The Coming Of Christ And His Kingdom

 

And then he says this, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (verse 3)  "Blessed be," we have, when we do a funeral, we have a eulogy, that's our Greek word here, "blessed be."  Eulogize, to speak well of, or to praise.  He's saying, 'Bless the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be well spoken of, bless his name.'  And Peter has specific reason here, where he says, "which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."  He's talking about the new-birth, 'he's begotten us again, and he's begotten us again to a living hope,'  Now look, very important, as Christians, the hope that you and I have is not the kind of hope that people in the world have.  Because the kind of hope the people in the world have is a hope that is a possibility, 'you know, I really hope this happens, I really hope that happens, I really hope this works out.'  The hope that the believer has is a certainty, not a possibility.  The blessed hope of the Church is the coming of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm].  That's the blessed hope, that's a certainty, that's not 'Boy, I hope this is all true.  I've been going to church for years, ah, I went forward at the altar call, ah, I hope this is all true.'  No, no, no, no, 'unto a living hope.'  As Christians we're not supposed to be pessimists all the time.  And I know there are Christians like that, their blood-type is B-Negative.  But this is, 'he's begotten us unto a living hope, unto a living hope.'  How are we supposed to share the Good News of Jesus Christ [and of his coming Kingdom to earth] with a lost world if we're like Eor all the time?  [Comment: One of the heaviest hitters for downloading a file from off this website is for the Millennial Kingdom of God link I just listed.  Why?  Because it gives the Christian a living hope for his future, along with a Biblical explanation of what our future will be as resurrected, immortal beings.  One of the most popular and widely distributed booklets published by the old Worldwide Church of God was titled and about "The Wonderful World Tomorrow, What It Will Be Like", and it was written all about the coming Millennial Kingdom of God which will be brought to the world at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  A whole denomination based its blessed hope on the Biblical facts written in that booklet, and many came to Christ by reading it.]  'You can be saaaaved, accept Jesuuuus,' [spoken with a low, slow voice, like Eor]  'No thanks, if that's what being a Christian is, I think I'll pass.'  'He's begotten us again unto a living hope, a living hope.'  How?  Through the means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  No one knew it better than him.  It fact, as he signs off in his 2nd Epistle, he prays that we should take heed lest we also, unless you are moved from your stedfastness, also, he's taking about his own experience.  'Lord, though all these other guys forsake you, you can count on me.'  And you know he meant it.  How many times have we said that to the Lord?  'You can count  on me, Lord, I'm not like the rest of them there, at Calvary or wherever, you can count on me.'  The Lord said, 'Peter, before the cock crows twice you're going to deny me three times.'  In John it gives us the context, and he says, "let not your heart be troubled.  If you believe in God, believe also in me, in my Father's house are many mansions.  If it were not so I would have told you, lo I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may also be, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I shall receive you again unto myself."  [Comment:  Interestingly, I never really gave much thought or realized where those mansions are, and where they're all coming to.  But Revelation 21:1-23 describes that heavenly city Abraham was waiting for, and shows where it will end up.]  Peter meant that with all of his heart.  What happened, as they went through that night, of course in Gethsemane, and Peter sleeping, hacking off a guy's ear, you know, running into the night, and then drawing near to the enemy's fire [with the apostle John] there in the courtyard in the house of Caiaphas, and the little maiden saying 'You're one of them,'  'I don't know this man, I don't know who you're taking about.'  Again, 'Certainly your speech betrays you,' and finally, Peter, the third time, it says he curses, pronounces an anathema upon himself, he says 'If I know that man, let me be eternally damned.'  That's what he did.  [I'm glad God doesn't listen to us when we say something like that out of frustration or stupidity or fear, as in Peter's case.]  And when he said that, he heard 'err, err, err, errrrr!'  What timing, huh?  Because there was an ordinance in that day, roosters were not allowed in Jerusalem, because they were unclean.  [Technically, according to the kosher laws in Leviticus 11, a rooster is not unclean, but the city elders must have viewed roosters as being unsanitary, just like a city ordinance against having chickens in an apartment building (which is common in certain cities in the U.S., even though it's against the city ordinance.]  Not only did he crow at the right time, he snuck into the city to do it.  [laughter]  And evidently it became known, Lindskey, the old German grammarists says the Church fathers said when Peter would walk by, behind his back they'd go err, err, err, err, errrrr!  We're all just big kids in the final analysis.  People would tease him.  It says when the rooster crowed he looked, and the eyes of Jesus Christ met him.  And it uses the word John used back in chapter 1, it says "Jesus beheld him," the Greek word is 'looked down into him.'  And that rooster crowed, Peter's eyes swung over there, Christ's face just mangled, beaten, and he could see his eyes, and it says Christ beheld him, 'looked down into him.'  Jesus did not go and make disgusted noises, you know it was with compassion [that Christ looked down into Peter], and he [Peter] met the eyes of Christ.  Jesus again looked down into the same man he had looked down into long before.  And Peter ran out into the night, weeping, convulsing, broken, had denied his Master.  But on Resurrection morning, somewhere, Jesus found him, and talked to him, and restored him.  And he could write for all of us, "blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (verse 3) he's given us a new birth through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  What a hope you and I have, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (cf. 1st Corinthians 15:1-54), Christ in us, the hope of glory.

 

Our Inheritance Is Incorruptible, Undefiled And Fades Not Away

 

Now look, he says, all of this is unto, he's headed somewhere, ok, because he's encouraging people that are struggling and going through trials.  "to" he says, "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you," (verse 4) he's begotten us again, it's unto a living hope, that living hope is "to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (verses 4-5)  We've been chosen, we've been set aside, we've been cleansed, and all of this by the means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he's paid the price, we've been born again unto this living hope.  What is the hope that we have?  It's not a hope like worldly people, 'Oh man, I hope I win the Lotto, it's up to 54 million bucks!' or 'I hope Ed McMann finally comes to my door with the Sweepstakes, I mean, I've been sending this in for years, and they send me these letters saying 'We know your name, and you're on the list now, all you need to do is buy another magazine,' you know, you live in a house made of magazines, stacked to the ceiling, you know... 'Now we're coming,' what is your hope?  What is your hope?  Think of what worldly people hope for. Somebody was talking to me Sunday, to me it's ridiculous, this show The Fear Factor, and I think, and I don't watch it, but I've seen it.  But I think, 'Who would eat that for 50 thousand bucks?'  Keep your 50 thousand dollars, I'm a sane human being.  You trying to buy my mind!?  You're crazy.  What do people hope for in these days?  You know, all of these reality TV shows, it's just crazy.  What are we hoping in, what's our hope?  What are we hoping in, what's our hope?  It's "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth now away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."  By the power of God, through faith, an inheritance, streets of gold, it's just asphalt up there, streets of gold, walls of jewels, 1,500 miles wide, 1,500 miles long, 1,500 miles high, 12 different foundations of different jewels, gates of pearls (cf. Revelation 21:1-23).  What in the world does it look like when it comes in front of your eyes?  All of the redeemed, River of Life, throne of God and of the Lamb, [Sea of Glass,] everything in the city reflecting or refracting light, and all of us gathered there shining like the stars of heaven in the middle of all that (cf. Daniel 12:1-3).  What in the world is that like?  What will it be like?  It's an inheritance, we know this, it's incorruptible, it can never pass [fade] away, that's the idea [the second law of thermodynamics has been suspended, abrogated, or it's made of pure spirit, which I have always felt is more solid than physical matter.  We're vapour, the Bible says in James, not God or the things of God, which are eternal and fadeth not away.  If we're made of spirit, as God is, and the angels are, we'll be more solid than matter, which is what the Bible seems to indicate we'll be composed of, as it says we'll be like Jesus, who is God, God the Son.  We'll no longer be vapour-man or vapour-woman.]  It can never be ruined [defiled], it's incorruptible.  We know that we're going to be part of it, because Paul says this corruption is going to put on incorruption, this mortal is going to put on immortality.  It's incorruptible, it's undefiled, it will never be effected by sin.  Because I know some of you think, 'I'll ruin it.  If they let me in, I'll ruin it.  If I go to heaven [the heavenly city, which Revelation 21:1-23 shows ends up on earth], I'm going to be there less than a day, I'm going to do something stupid, and everybody in heaven is going to turn around and look at me and there's going to be a big black stain...' no, no, no, no, it's incorruptible, it's undefiled, it will never be stained by sin, because when you and I are there, we are cleansed, we are purified, and it fadeth not away, it never wears out, it never gets old, the idea is it never gets stale.  The first thing we're going to see is the Lamb with the marks of slaughter upon it, it says.  And it says the four cherubim around the throne (cf. Revelation 4), each with the face of a man, face of an ox, face of an eagle, and the face of a lion, and their wings, around the throne of God.  [Comment:  How does this "going to heaven" he talks about so much square with coming back to earth with Jesus Christ to reign with him for a thousand years?  The Calvary Chapels are a bit muddled in either their terminology or theology about this, in not explaining the prophetic sequence of events, how we appear to end up in heaven, and for how long, this heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, that being our eternal residence and all of that.  For one denomination's explanation, which appears to sort this out a bit (whether they've got it totally right or not we won't know until it happens, of course, like all doctrinal interpretations of men), see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm and read through both "html pages" of that (it's about 40 pages in all).  It's quite interesting, and will give you an idea of the sequence of events.  Initially, at the time of the 1st Resurrection to Immortality (cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-54) it appears we all go up to this New Jerusalem, where the throne of God resides, for this Wedding Feast (cf. Revelation 4-6, 19:7-9), then we all come back down to earth with Jesus Christ to conquer the Beast power and the armies of the world which have compassed Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 19:8-21; Zechariah 14:1-15), and then we rule and reign over the inhabitants of the world for 1,000 years, bringing salvation to them, until all who are going to be saved are saved, and all who are going to reject Christ have rejected him (cf. Isaiah 11:1-16; Ezekiel 36:1-38; Ezekiel 37:15-28; and Revelation 20:1-15 encompassing the whole prophetic time period for redemption of mankind).  Then after that is all wrapped up, and everyone who is going to be saved is saved, and made immortal, the lake of fire occurs (cf. Revelation 20:14-15) and then immediately the new heavens and new earth are created, and the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem (where God's throne and the Sea of Glass are, where the Wedding of the Lamb occurred) comes down from heaven, to reside on earth forever and ever, the eternal residence of the saints who were a part of the first resurrection to immortality (cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-56).  That's the prophetic sequence of events for the salvation of mankind and our eternal inheritance in a nutshell.  As to whether there's a pre-tribulation Rapture of saints or a post-tribulation Rapture of saints (the very word Rapture simply referring to the 1st resurrection to immortality spoken of in 1st Corinthians 15), the Body of Christ as a whole can't seem to agree on when it occurs within the 2nd coming prophetic sequence of events (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html and read that title page for an explanation about this predicament the Body of Christ finds itself in.]  If you just saw a cherubim, you would fall down with a heart-attack, the cherubim when they look at Jesus, they fall down, and all four of their minds are blown, they fall down when they look at him.  And then the 24 elders, then the angels, and Gabriel, and Michael, and whoever, I don't know the rest of them, Ralph and Harry, who knows, all the rest of the angels, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Noah, just think, Spurgeon and my dad, and grandparents, we're all going to be gathered there.  What will that first experience be like, our mouths are going to be hanging open, we're going to be filled with awe, and everyone, when we look at him, we're going to fall down and cast our crowns, we're going to sing 'Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who is, Who was, and Who is to come!'  And it says that will never get stale.  It's not like you're going to be there a thousand years going 'Well here we go again, holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, can't we learn a new song?' you do that in church after two months, 'he's not going to sing another chorus of this is he?  Can't he learn a new song?'  you know, it never gets stale, never.  Because he's infinite, he's infinite, that means every time we look up at him we will see something that we have never seen before, and it will blow our minds like it did the very first second.  God's love can never be diminished, and it can never be increased.  Do you know that?  He can never love us less, and he can never love us more.  Because he loves us completely.  But what he can do, is he can multiply the manifestation of that grace, peace.  When we gather around his throne, in the ages to come, we'll still be learning about his grace and his mercy.  He'll still be imparting to us, we will always in one sense be finite, he'll always be infinite, and heaven [i.e. the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, now residing on earth] will never grow old.  It will never get stale.  We will be as excited and amazed when we're there for billions of years, and I now there's no years, we're just talking time here [i.e. eternity is outside of space-time], as will we be the first second we were ever there.  Just try to imagine that.  Christmas morning forever [now Pastor Joe, you know, and Calvary Chapels believe that God will restore the observance of the 7th day Sabbath and Holy Days of Leviticus 23 at the 2nd coming of Christ.  Christmas and Easter were forced on the early Church by the proto-Catholic Church].  You know what it felt like as a kid?  Parents were all bleary-eyed, you know that feeling, or the first day of summer vacation, when you were a kid, you know that feeling?  'I can sleep for two months, I can stay up late,'  it will never go away, it'll never go away.  That's what we're called to, "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away," then he says, "reserved in heaven for you,"
that means "to be guarded, to be watched, to be protected."     

 

Both The Inheritance And The Inheritors Are Guarded By God And Secure---He Has Set A Military Watch Over Your Life

 

The next verse says, "who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (verse 5)  It's for us, who are, you and I, "who are kept" that's a military word, that you and I are guarded "by the power of God".  We have a military guard over our lives, and what stands behind that is the omnipotence of Almighty God, because he has elected us and chosen us, and put us in the sphere of being set aside by the Spirit and washed in the blood of his Son, and then he's called us to this inheritance, he's given us a living hope.  And whatever people's hopes are in this world, they're corrupt.  'Man, I can't wait till I get a Ferrari!  and somebody at 7-11 is going to open their door and put a ding in it, and you're going to have Ferrari-depression for months.  'Some idiot put a ding in my Ferrari! and it's going to burn, it's going to rust, it's not incorruptible.  It's not something that can't be defiled.  It's going to fade away, it's going to get old. But ours, not to be compared, incorruptible, undefiled, fadeth not away, "reserved in heaven for you, who are kept" guarded militarily "by the power of God" he has a watch over your life.  You may not feel like it, you're scattered through Pontus, through Bithynia, through Cappadocia, through Galatia.  No, no, no, Peter says there's something else going on, that's in the temporal, in the eternal there's something very remarkable that's taken place in regards to your life.  And he says, 'not only is your inheritance being reserved, but you are also being reserved, you're being kept.'  God wouldn't reserve it unless he knew we were going to get there, he has foreknowledge, he just told us that.  He knows we're going to be arriving, that's why he's reserved it.  And he's reserved it for us, that's why he's got a guard over us.  Why would he reserve it if we weren't going to be there?  He'd just be sitting there bummed, 'I made all this, and none of them made it.  I gave 'em a good start, they all blew it all the way.'  No, both the inheritance and the inheritors are protected and guarded and secure.  What a remarkable hope.  "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:" (verses 5-6)  Wherein we rejoice, wherein what, we greatly rejoice?  The beautiful thing about the language here, just like mathematics, there's rules in mathematics, there's rules in this grammar.  "Wherein" is in the neuter, people think, "salvation is ready to be revealed in the last time, that we greatly rejoice in the salvation," no, no, no, no, certainly we do, but that's feminine, and the other, neuter, has to go back to "the last time", 'that we greatly rejoice in the last time when our salvation is going to be revealed.'  That every Christian has the hope in his heart in regards to the last days, when Christ comes for the Church, the blessed hope of the Church, we greatly rejoice in that.  We sit here this evening, don't we?  We're excited.  You know, it's hard to talk to our relatives and friends about it, I know.  'Oh yea, we're gonna get Raptured, and look, when I get Raptured you can have everything in my house, you can have my coin collection, you can have my fishing rod, you can have my Craftsman Tools, you can have everything.'  'What do you mean Raptured?'  'Oh, did I ever tell you that part?  'You told me already too much.  What's Raptured?'  'Oh, the Lord's going to descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and trumpet of God, I'm gonna disappear, and then there's going to be seven years of tribulation, and during that time you can have my coin collection, you can have everything you want.  And I underlined places in my Bible for you, because you're such a hardhead now you won't listen to anything I'm going to say.'  Now look, we laugh about that.  But how many times do we say in our heart, 'Lord, Jesus come quickly' ?  And it says "Wherein we greatly rejoice," that's a word that surpasses human emotion.  You have to understand this, and I've done this, and you've done this, and you think to yourself, 'You know, I'm not thankful enough,' you ever think that way?  'You know, I'm not thankful enough,' you ever think that way?  'I'm not thankful enough,' we were all saying that about you too, as a matter of fact [laughter].  No, you know, look, I feel the same way.  How could we be?  In heaven [the kingdom of heaven, New Jerusalem] in our glorified bodies, when we look up and see what we have to be thankful for, we just fall on our faces.  If the Lord showed us everything right now, we'd just drop dead.  Our physical frames and physical minds, your mind would just explode.  Even in the ages to come, it's going to be revealed, his grace and truth.  So, it says in regards to all of this being manifest in the last times, we greatly rejoice, we greatly rejoice.  But it almost indicates our emotions are almost incapable, human emotions, of handling the truth, 'Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him, but by his Spirit he's made them real to us.' (1st Corinthians 2:9-10)  These things are real to us.  I remember in 1969, everybody remember 1969?  You weren't even born in 1969, I see Harris here, it was the Vietnam War and we had to go down and get our "physical," and I had blown out a couple disks in my back, and ended up in traction in the hospital, so they had to reschedule it, and they didn't believe me, they're poking my back, 'Aaaah!' and they talked to him (Harris I presume) and he said 'Ah, I don't know if I'm supposed to go to war,'  'What are you talking about?'  'Well I believe Jesus Christ is coming back through the heaven on a white horse, and he's going to set up his Kingdom,' and they like listened to him for awhile, and they wrote him off, 'We do not want this guy with all this fuming around in his head [loud laughter], and we recommend further psychological evaluation,' but you know, you're saying that to somebody in the world, and it's real to you, it's real to you.  I really do think as times goes on it wears down our relatives and friends.  When I first got saved my parents thought, 'You know, first it was yoga, it was LSD, it was this, it's Jesus now, just wait, it'll be flying saucers next.'  But my mom told me, she said, "But I watched you, you changed, your life changed, what you said you believed in changed.  I watched you for five years, ten years, fifteen years,' and 19 years later she got saved.  Don't get discouraged, pray for them, love them, 19 years.

 

Our Fire-Tried Faith Is More Precious Than Gold To God

 

We greatly rejoice, in our faith, in regards to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.'  "Wherein we greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (verses 6-7)  That's a bummer, this now season.  "if need be," it doesn't say we always are "in manifold temptations," it doesn't say that the Christian life is a bummer. It isn't!  Yea, there are difficulties.  This is earth, this is not heaven [the kingdom of heaven].  We need to keep that straight.  There are struggles, there are difficulties.  "If need be" there are times when God allows things in our lives, for a season, it's "a little while" literally in the language, compared to eternity, for a season, for a little while, "if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:", "very colored temptations" that come in different ways and different shapes, that come at you in different ways, "that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (verses 6b-7)  Now the gold is precious, it's tried with fire.  The trial of your faith, faith more precious than gold, not the trials.  I don't know about you, trials to me are not more precious than gold.  Faith, and tried faith, but that's the way the grammar is constructed, it's not the trial that's more precious than gold, it's the faith that's more precious than gold.  'And the gold that is tried by the fire, it says, might be found unto praise, honour and glory at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.'  Look, it's a purification process.  Not you, but our faith.  How many times are we in a situation where we're forced to go back to the Scripture and say 'Lord, what does your Word say?  you are faithful, my life feels like it's falling apart right now.  And if it was dependent on my strength and my wisdom, it surely would.  But Lord, you are faithful.  You are immoveable, immutable, all powerful, all-knowing,' and the faith we have is tried.  And that proven faith, more precious than gold that's tried by fire.  Certainly a beautiful picture of the assayer that would take the gold and put it in the crucible and boil it, and as the dross came to the surface they would clean it off, and the assayer would continue to do that until he could see the reflection of his face in the gold, and then he knew he had come to a certain level of purity that was worth something, certainly God seeing the reflection of his Son Jesus Christ in us.  It's a beautiful picture.

 

Blessed Are Those Who Will Believe Without Having Seen Christ

 

The trying of our faith, that that "might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:" (verse 8)  How many of you here this evening love Jesus Christ?  How many of you have seen him?  There's usually one or two, and we don't know what to do with them, [laughter] and we say 'Well, ok, maybe...' No doubt, Peter was there when Jesus said to Thomas, 'Thomas, do you believe because you've seen?  Blessed are those who will believe without seeing.'  Blessed are those who will believe without seeing.  There is a particular blessing that none of the apostles will ever have.  Peter was an eyewitness, Peter is writing to those who had not, and it literally says, "who have not had a glimpse of him", not ever a glimpse, and yet love him.  A particular blessing is ours.  "whom having not seen, ye love; in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:" (verse 8)  With joy unspeakable, the only time that word is used in the New Testament, there are other English words where you have unspeakable, but the only time that Greek word is used, it's "indescribable."  Sounds like a candy bar or something like that in an advertisement somewhere.  [That describes the joy I felt when the Lord was first calling me, I think this is describing the joy a new-believer feels, as the Holy Spirit is lighting up his or her life, bringing Jesus into their lives.]  'We're rejoicing with joy indescribable, and full of glory.'  You know that's why some people say to us "What is wrong with you?"  And you can't tell them, because it's "indescribable."  You just say that "It's indescribable."  That'll make them happy.  We love Christ, we love him, how many times we sit alone with him, how many times I sit alone with him, and my heart is warmed, and his presence is real, and there's tears in my eyes, and he softens my hardened old heart and my hardened old head, and he melts me.  And I love him, with joy indescribable, full of glory, "receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (verse 9)  The telos, the end.  That is the final purpose, even the salvation of your souls, we're looking down to the end, receiving.

 

Closing Remarks

 

'Peter, the old fisherman, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers, scattered through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Bithynia, elect, that's us, chosen out, according to the foreknowledge of God, no mistakes, no mistakes, that happening in the sphere of the setting aside work of the Holy Spirit, that God chose us because, the Holy Spirit one day blew our minds somewhere.  I remember the second I was saved.  It grabbed us, and at that point he set our lives aside, and it was through the washing of the blood of the Son, and to us grace and peace are multiplied.  Because of that we should bless the name of God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As we tell people about God, we should just bless him.  We should be excited about him, who has begotten us again unto an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are guarded by the power of Almighty God, kept by the power of Almighty God.  What a great, great opening for a fisherman.  Yes, there may be trials, he says, now, for a time, for a season.  But we know that our faith, is something that is, when it's tested and purified, is more precious than gold that's tried by the fire.  And our faith, our believing, is in regards to him whom we have not seen, but we love, with joy unspeakable, full of glory, to the end that we will receive the full extent of our faith, the salvation of our souls.'  What a day that will be when we stand with Jesus.  I'm going to have the musicians come, we'll sing a last song...[transcript of a connective expository sermon on 1st Peter 1:1-9 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links:

 

The blessed hope of the Church is the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ and the coming Kingdom of God.

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm

 

For a prophetic sequence of events leading up to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ and the Wedding of the Lamb, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm

 

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