1st Peter 1:20-25


"Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love [phileo] of the brethren, see that ye love [agape'] one another with a pure heart fervently:  being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  but the word of the Lord endureth for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."


In Review


"1st Peter chapter 1, he is taking us through some remarkable truths, encouraging us to gird up the loins of our minds, not fashioning ourselves after our former lusts, but rather as obedient children who walk worthy of our vocation, "be ye holy, for I am holy," says the Lord. To be separate, again, you know we're in a world that so desperately needs the truth, we always need to remember that separation is not isolation, it's not what it's talking about.  Separation is not isolation, separation is contact with a lost world without contamination.  It isn't isolation.  It's to interact with a lost world without being contaminated by it.  So separate in that sense.  [Comment:  Originally that was the reason in Ezra and Nehemiah God commanded through them that the Jews  should be separate from the Gentile races, to avoid contamination.  But the Jews, even under Ezra and Nehemiah, did not have God's Holy Spirit, and thus could never achieve this spiritual balance in a loving manner, and so by the time of Christ, they had carried out the order for separation with horrible racial overtones, reminiscent of and sometimes worse than the racial discrimination of the whites against the blacks in the deep South of the United States after the Civil War, and also of whites against blacks in apartheid South Africa before President Nelson Mandela.  From the time of the Maccabees to the time of Christ, in a tiny sense, the Jews achieved a harmony with the Gentiles they reached out to evangelistically, one's they had successfully brought into synagogue worship of God as "the God-fearers" in the Diaspora (see Oskar Skarsaune, "In The Shadow Of The Temple").  Some churches practice separation through isolation, just like the Pharisaic Jews of Christ's time, and this is not healthy, nor loving toward those we are supposed to reach with the Gospel message and warning of dire things to come, prophetically speaking.  We are responsible to those in the world for what we know.]  And knowing that the Lord will judge our works, not our salvation, but our service, and he does that impartially, that we should pass the time of our sojourning, our pilgrimage, our temporary journey through this world, and that's what it is, that we should do that with reverence, with fear.  "Forasmuch" he says in verse 18, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation" your empty lifestyle "received by tradition from your fathers;" from the generation before you.  Ah, again, 60 millions slaves in Rome [i.e. in the Roman Empire as a whole], redemption a particularly familiar word to them, sadly, and it was a very harsh form of slavery.  When you bought a slave, when you paid for a slave, he was property, she was property.  A servant was different, but there were slaves, bond-slaves, you owned them.  There are records of slave-owners with fountains and ponds in front of their houses, being unsatisfied with their slave, and throwing the slave to the lamprey eels that he would keep in his ponds, they could do whatever they wanted.  And he uses this word "redemption" they understood so well.  You were purchased, a slave could buy their own freedom or their freedom could be bought.  And he's saying, 'you were purchased, you were redeemed, but not with corruptible things like silver and gold,'  The price that was necessary for the forgiveness of our sins, for us to be set free from the slavery of sin and death and darkness, the price that was necessary, if God had made the universe, the stars and planets out of silver and gold, to put all of them on a set of balances would have been insufficient to pay the price for the weight of our sin.  It would have been insufficient.  You were not set free, you weren't purchased, redeemed with corruptible things, he says, such as silver and gold, 'from the empty lifestyle that you received from the generation before  you,' you know, just whatever the traditions were. Whatever, however they lived, you know, that was life, we received physical life from our physical parents, we received tendencies from them, we received bad and good habits from them.  [I remember my dad, the strong, silent type, extremely hard worker, full of quiet wisdom, and I would like to have thought I absorbed a little bit of that from him, from his example.  But he didn't know God in the sense that he had been born-again, from above, he was of this world.]  We received, you know, in the final analysis an empty lifestyle passed on from the generation before us.  And he says that 'we should live soberly, knowing the price that was paid, it wasn't the price of corruptible things, such as silver and gold,' "but with the precious blood of Christ," verse 19, "as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  who was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you," (verses 19-20)  But with the precious blood, he says, of the Lord Jesus Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, without spot.  And you know, and you think of Peter, hearing John the Baptist say 'Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."  Peter was there and watched John the Baptist do that, the greatest prophet that had ever lived, the early impressions on his mind, 'behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.'  Now Peter, hearing Jesus at Caesarea Philippi, 'Whom do men say that I am?'  'You're the Christ, the Son of the Living God.'  'Blessed art thou Simon bar Jonah, flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you, but by the Father which is in heaven.  And you are Peter [small stone, pebble] and upon this rock [petra, large rock outcrop] I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against my Church...but lo, we go up to Jerusalem and the Son of man will be handed over to the elders, he'll be beaten, he'll be crucified and killed.'  And then Peter saying, 'Far be it from you Lord,' starting to argue with the Lord, and the Lord saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan," hearing the enemy there [influencing Peter without him knowing it].  "Thou savourest not the things of God, but the things of man." 


Christ Was Set Apart To Be Slain And Offered Before The Foundation Of The World


We Were Chosen Before The Foundation Of The World


And now Peter, these many, many years later saying 'You know, we've been bought with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, as of a lamb without spot or blemish, who truly was foreordained from the foundation of the world.'  He had argued with Christ about his death, about his crucifixion, now he said, 'No, it was never an afterthought, it was never an afterthought in the mind of God, it was never something that God thought about when man fell, and he thought, 'Oh no, I need to come up with a way to redeem this.'  It was never that the cross in Hebrew imagery was fashioned after the Book of Leviticus.  No, no, he says the Book of Leviticus was fashioned after something that happened before the foundation of the world, that Christ was slain and offered before the foundation of the world, 'he was foreordained, foreknown,' ah, you and I part of that.  Of course we're told this in Ephesians, 'according as he has chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, without blame before him in love.'  We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, you and I.  I'm not going to ask you to exercise your dendrites and your receptors trying to take hold of that, ok, I'm not gonna ask you to exercise your brain-matter, right now, your grey-matter trying to think...ok, Christ was foreordained, foreknown before the foundation of the world,' it means to throw down, before the foundations of the universe were ever laid, before they were ever thrown down, he was slain before all of that ever happened, and I was chosen in him, way back then, before the foundation of the world.  I'm not gonna ask you to exercise your grey-matter in regards to that.  I would encourage you to sit alone with the Lord, I would encourage you to sit alone with the Lord, and say 'Lord, before you made the universe, me?  Lord, don't tell my brain what that means, tell my heart, please.  I know that I'm supposed to love you because you first loved me.  Lord, what was it, how?  What was it that you saw in me?  How did this ever happen?  You obviously saw what was wrong with me, because you were slain before the foundation of the world.  But you also saw something you loved in me, because you were slain before the foundation of the world.  And I was chosen in you before the foundation of the world.'  Peter says, look, just pull your thoughts together, think of what we're talking about here, he says 'We were purchased not with corruptible things, our redemption, what took us out of the slavery of this world, and it's ideas that we were in bondage to, has nothing to do with any human price that could ever be imaginable, but rather it was with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, as a lamb without spot or blemish, slain before the foundation of the universe was ever laid.'  That price, he says, that price, think of that price, he says.  "but [he] was manifest in these last times for you," (verse 20b)  You know it tells us in Galatians, I'll read it, you don't have to turn there, "But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father," Daddy.'  It almost seems irreverent.  You know you go to Israel and you hear the little kids running around the street saying to their parent, 'Abba, abba,'  We hear our kids saying 'Dadda, Momma,' over there you hear 'Abba, abba.'  And he's saying God has sent forth his Spirit into our hearts, cryingNow Peter heard Christ in the garden saying "Abba," in Gethsemane in his agony, more endearing that just father, 'Dad.'  And he says that's the very thing that's happened to us, 'that in the fulness of time,' he says, that's the very thing that's happened to us, 'in the fulness of time God sent forth the Son,' when there was a Greek language that was spread through the entire world, when there were tens of thousands of miles of Roman roads that were paved and had street lamps, thousands of miles of them, when human civilization was paved for the Gospel to spread forth westward into the known world, and then throughout the entire earth, 'in the fulness of time it was manifest, but it was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world.'  But in the fulness of time it happened.  You know, we know at Christmas time we think of Isaiah saying "unto us a child is born," that's the human side, "unto us a Son is given," that's the eternal side.  Unto us, what we saw manifest in this world was a child born, but what happened from heaven's side was "as Son was given."  And he says here, when we think of the price that was paid, it should effect our lives. 


Jesus Was Raised 'Out From Among The Dead'---What Does That Mean?


"verily foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." (verses 20-21)  He said, remember in the first chapter, 'he's begotten us unto a living hope, by the resurrection of Christ from the dead,' that he died for our offenses, but he was raised for our justification.  We know in the fact, if he had just died on the cross, he would have just been another martyr, of the tens of thousands of martyrs in Rome.  But the fact that there's an empty tomb in Jerusalem, that he's risen, sets what we believe aside from what all of the people all over the world believe.  All other religious figures and leaders of religious groups are dead and in their tombs, ah, there's an empty tomb in Jerusalem.  And it's interesting here, he uses a particular phrase, he said "God raised him from the dead," it's eknekron he raised him 'out from among the dead,' something that was impressed on Peter's mind at the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John there, sleeping, and all of a sudden there's a light that's so bright that they're awakened, and what they see when they wake up is Jesus, Moses and Elijah, talking to each other.  Peter, Mark's Gospel tells us, Peter said 'It's a good thing we're here.'  And then Mark says, 'he said that because he didn't know what to say.'  Best rule is, when you don't know what to say in a circumstance like that, don't say anything.  'It's a good thing that we're here, ah, we'll make three booths, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.'  And God Almighty had to speak to Peter out of heaven, said to him, all of a sudden they were overshadowed, and he hears a voice that says 'This is my beloved Son, be hearing,' that's the tense, 'be hearing him.'  And when they opened their eyes, Moses and Elijah were gone, God had to straighten out Peter, God the Father [telling him essentially to shut up.].  So in his 2nd Epistle he's still impressed with that, you would be too.  It was many, many years before that, he said 'when we made known unto you the power of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we didn't do it with cunningly devised fables, but we ourselves were eye-witnesses on the Holy Mount, and we heard that voice that spoke from heaven,' that's still on his mind.  He may be the only human being that God the Father had to interrupt his conversation and set him straight.  And he says, 'It's a good thing we're here.'  Now as they're coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration imagine what's taken place, you know, they're looking at him, they had looked at him for several years, they knew the back of his robe, the back of his garment, the back of his hair, the back of his head, they knew if he had any streaks in his hair, they knew what his heels looked like, they looked at the back of his elbows, he looked completely familiar, but he never looked the same again.  Because they had seen something burst forth from within him, of glory.  And they must have been thinking many times after that, 'Do it now, Lord, turn it on again, we know it's in there, it'll blow their minds, do it now Lord.'  On Palm Sunday [which was actually on a Friday] no doubt in the triumphal entry they must have been thinking 'Do it now, Lord, they're all here, do it now.'  So, they're coming down, and he ever looks the same, but never the same again, in one sense.  And he turns around, and he says, 'Do me a favour, when we get down there, don't tell anybody what happened.'  They scratched their heads and said, 'Well, why Lord?'  'Even the Old Testament says Elijah must first come, we just saw him,  Isn't this what the Old Testament prophets?  And he said, 'Elijah verily has come, in John the Baptist, but they didn't receive him, and Elijah shall yet come.'  He says it's going to happen before the end-times.  But he said, 'But don't you say anything about this, until the Son of man be risen from the dead, until the Son of man be risen, eknekron, out from among the dead,' and we'll pick it up from the English, and then 'They began to question among themselves, 'What is this rising out from among the dead?'  They didn't understand that.  Because the Old Testament Jews believed there would be a resurrection, Daniel chapter 12, different places, but they believed in a general resurrection, when everybody would be raised at one time.  Some would be raised to everlasting life it says (in Daniel 12:1-3), some to everlasting shame and contempt.  They thought there would be one resurrection, everybody would be raised at one time, and judged and divided. [cf. Ezekiel 37:1-14, the Valley of Dry Bones Prophecy, a great general resurrection of all Israelites back to physical life, that's where the Jews get this belief, and it's quite Scriptural, most Christian denominations not knowing or understanding how to properly interpret the verses of this prophecy, but the Jews, as is proper, interpret them quite literally.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htmfor some interesting interpretations about these prophecies about the two major resurrections prophecied in both the Old Testament and New Testament.]  Well the New Testament was a new revelation, taught something completely different [it showed, just as Jesus as Messiah would have two comings, and not just one, so there would be two major resurrections, and not just one.]  Christ was the first of those risen, eknekron, out from among the dead.  Then we have that strange passage in Matthew, that when we see Matthew in heaven [the kingdom of heaven] we'll all say 'Thanks for writing that,' you know where the saints of the Old Testament came out of their graves after Christ was risen from the dead, went into Jerusalem and visited people, and he just throws that in there and moves on.  Thanks, Matthew, what in the world does that mean?  [It means there's more to God's Word than we are privy to understanding.  Remember the last sermon transcript, just before this one, where Pastor Joe showed in Scripture that both we, and the Old Testament prophets are on a "need-to-know" basis, and that God doesn't always explain everything we want to see explained.]  Then we have the resurrection of the Church, which is part of the 1st Resurrection, then we have the resurrection of the two prophets outside of Jerusalem who are killed in the eyes of the whole world, and then raised up in front of everybody, then we have the resurrection of the Old Testament saints, which seems to be about 75 days after Christ returns, and they're raised into the Kingdom as it's set up, all part of the 1st Resurrection [and I positively do not know how the Calvary Chapels manage to divide the 1st Resurrection to immortality spoken of by Paul in 1st Corinthians 15:49-54 into so many different "resurrections."  But each to their own, we'll see how it all shakes out in the end, as Biblical prophecy, as Paul said, is like looking through a darkened glass, like looking through welding glasses.  I think it all happens at the same time, he thinks it's all divided up like he just stated.  That doesn't bother me a bit.  As mature Christians we ought to be able to accept those with differing interpretations, knowing it'll all become clear after it happens, for such prophecied events, it's no big deal to me.  It should not be an issue used to divide the Body of Christ, whom the Holy Spirit has placed us into.]  The first resurrection is a resurrection unto life, and all those, they are raised "out from among the dead," they're a distinct group, raised out from among the dead.  The dead will be raised at the Great White Throne, and that Great White Throne is a throne of  judgment, everybody there is condemned.  [Now there are differing beliefs about what this Great White Throne represents too.  To read some other interpretations, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm]  But before that, those who believe, those who belong to the Lord are raise out from among the dead, and he says 'We have this hope, and this belief, because God has raised him out from among the dead.'  And that's been demonstrated, that's what we believe.  You know, you go to a funeral, it's a very strange thing, and a very strange vibe, and to see someone there, it settles everyone down, it doesn't matter how many games the Eagles have won, it doesn't matter what's going on in the market, it doesn't matter the price of gasoline, all of a sudden everybody sits there, and they look at that, and their mortality smacks them in the face.  Everybody has to deal with it, very strange visitor when we have to face death.  I don't like that, in our family, a loved one, someone close.  But Peter said, you know, he's given us that hope in that he's raised Christ out from among the dead.  And we believe in not just life after death from the ethereal spiritual realm, we believe in resurrection, we believe we're getting up again, and a lot younger, great stuff. [cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-54, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm]


Christ's Resurrection And Our Future Resurrection To Immortality Should Inspire Our Spiritual Growth


Two Essential Kinds Of Love We're Commanded To Have Toward The Brethren


"who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead [from out from among the dead, literally], and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love [phileo-love, brotherly love] of the brethren, see that ye love [agape-love] one another with a pure heart fervently:" (verses 21-22) that God accepted the price that's been paid, now in regards to all of this, has this had an impact on your life? And here we are, do we really believe this is a sojourn, a pilgrimage?  Do we really believe that?  Because this is going to go by quickly, it's gonna go by quickly.  You know, I could ask everybody over sixty, seventy years old to raise their hands, and say to them "How quickly has it gone by?"  And everyone would tell you, "Like that, snap!, like that."  And the Bible, and Peter's going to say here, that all flesh is like "as grass, and man is like the flower." Oh yes, we may blossom at a point in our life, but that's even more short-lived than the grass itself that it grows on.  That life is a vapour, the Bible tells us [in James 4:14, "For what is your life?  It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."  We're vapour-man and vapour-woman, that's all.  All physical matter is like a vapour, like a hologram.]  Here he says 'We're sojourning, we're passing through, that we should live a sober life,' and I'll tell you, in the final analysis, when I watched my dad take his last breath, one of the things that I thought was, that's what life is all about, that's what the Gospel is all about, that's what this is all about, is that last breath for every one of us.  That's where the rubber meets the road, that's what all of this is about.  We believe in the resurrection, that God has raised Christ up from among the dead, and that he's going to raise us up from among the dead.  And the price that was paid for that to happen is unimaginable in a sense, but it is something only the Spirit can make real to us, as we're born into God's Kingdom [in the spiritual sense, the literal sense not being fulfilled until the 1st resurrection occurs.].  And then it should effect us, he's saying, it should determine the way we live, and here he says, in verse 22 he begins to talk to us about some of those changes.  He says this, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love [phileo-love]  brethren, see that ye love [agape-love] one another with a pure heart fervently:" (verse 22) "seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth" now that's speaking of belief, it's not something I'm going to huff and puff and purify my soul, and blow this house down.  The idea is, you've extended faith in Christ, now there's a sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, it's going to say here, through the Spirit, he said in chapter 1, verse 2, 'elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit,' so in believing, the Spirit of God works in our lives, there's a purifying of our souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, but that's unto something.  This is what he says, "unto the unfeigned love [phileo-love] of the brethren, see that ye love [agape-love] one another with a pure heart fervently:  being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (verses 22b-23)  So, seeing all of this that God's done for us, and seeing that you have purified your souls in obeying the truth, being born-again, believing in Christ, through the Spirit, he does an interesting thing here.  He says first of all it's "unto the unfeigned love [Greek: phileo] of the brethren," and then he says, see that ye love [Greek: agape']."  He uses two words [in the Greek], first of all "unto the unfeigned love," "unto the unfeigned Philadelphia, phileo, brotherly love."  Unfeigned is unhypocritical.  That's one of the things that should happen, if we've really been born into the family of God, that there should be an unhypocritical love between us, an unfeigned love of the brethren.  It should be real, it should be genuine.  You begrudge something to somebody else, see somebody else in the Body of Christ that's struggling, are you hard on them?  Are you struggling?  Or is your name beyond struggle, you've conquered struggle?  Left struggle in the past?  No, no, when we realize the price that was paid, when we realize the dynamics, the equations, what had to take place to bring us into newness of life and into the Kingdom, one of the things that happens, we look around, we see other people saved.  I love to see people saved.  People come up on Sunday morning, they get saved, and you know, a week later, they're saying "Do I really have to turn the other cheek?"  This is all new to them.  "Well if I turn the other cheek, then can I hit him back?"  You know what it's like when you're first saved, you're new-born in Christ, all of this is new, you're measuring it out, you're reading this, it's blowing your mind, all of this stuff, how wonderful to see, and in that you just love that, I love to see that.  I love to see brand-new Christians, because they just drive everybody crazy [I drove my first pastor crazy].  They're just excited, they're infectious, they're contagious.  [I love to see new believers come into a congregation, they shake things up, which can be a good thing.]  When they become older Christians like us, we become mature, boring, all of our love turns into discernment, I don't know what happens to us.  But it's wonderful to see brand-new Christians excited about the things of Christ.  And you watch the family of God, there should be an unhypocritical love between us.  Do we argue?  Yea, I've got four kids, they're of the same gene-pool, they're all brothers and sisters, they've argued, once in 1982, once in 1994, you know, but family.  So there should be unhypocritical love, family, phileo, brotherly love between us.  And then is says, "see that ye agape' one another with a pure heart fervently:" "fervently" is a word that was sometimes used in gymnastics in Peter's day.  'See that you exercise yourself in regards to agape'.  Phileo is emotional, agape' is a duty.   [Comment: In the Scriptures God's love for us is often referred to us as agape-love.  It is thoroughly explained in the sermon series by Gary Petty, which I have condensed down somewhat, and is at:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm]  It's something we do as believers, that we determine to do.  Agape' isn't always a feeling, many times it's just a decision.  'I'm gonna love that guy, he's unlovable, but I'm gonna love him.'  [Some of my best friendships in the Church have resulted from deciding to love someone like this.]  I encourage you if you struggle with that, in the tape library we have a tape by Corey ten Boom, Corey had spoken at some of the Calvary Chapels before she died, Chuck Smith did Corey's funeral.  But Corey ten Boom talks about speaking somewhere, and then after she was finished speaking, here comes this man to her afterwards, and she recognized him, he was one of the German concentration prison guards in Ravensbruck, she was in the concentration camp where her sister died.  And her sister died under the tyranny and the cruelty of this man.  And she said the man walked up to her and said "Corey, after the war I fled, and I came to Christ ["Ich kompt nach Christ"], and I want your forgiveness."  And she said "he put out his hand to shake my hand," and she said "I almost convulsed, made me sick,"  and she said, "But I knew the Lord wanted me to put my hand out."  And she said "It was a decision, it was not a feeling."  And she said "As I put my hand out and took the man's hand," she said, "the love of Christ just began to flow through me."  It just began to flow through her.  I encourage you to get it, it's called "The Greatest Of These Is Love," we have it in the tape library.  So there's two things that should happen, if you're genuinely saved, realizing what Christ has done for us, one is, there should be an unhypocritical love, brotherly love, between us, as brothers and sisters.  You guys that are dating, you're dating a Christian woman, she's your sister, until you're married.  Before that, you touch her, that's incest, no different than an earthly sister.    [Now I'm not sure about holding hands, going a very short distance up the bonding ladder, which is the initial phase of romance toward marriage. I'm not sure where Pastor Joe is on this.]  If that makes you sick, so should the other thing.  She's your sister in Christ.  Girls, you're dating a Christian guy?  He says he's a Christian, and he tries to get you to compromise yourself sexually, he's a pervert.  Just have him close his eyes, ball up your fist, and hit him right in the nose, as hard as you can.  Look, there should be unhypocritical family love, brotherly love between us.  And beyond that, it says, that we should exercise ourselves unto agape-love, fervently, we should give ourselves to it, to make that decision to then exercise the love that earthly people don't have, which is a sacrificial love.  It's the kind of love that stretches out its hands on a cross, and lays down its own life for the sake of others.  That's supernatural, that does not come natural.  "Supernatural" means "beyond the natural," so don't look for it in yourself, it's not there.  The Lord provides it freely through his Spirit.  That we should then love one another also fervently


We're Born Of Incorruptible Seed, That Seed Being The Word Of God


"being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (verse 23)  That was 1950 when I was born of corruptible seed, and that's no offense to my parents, I mean, that's just of the natural.  And there's no unity borne of that kind of birth that's worth anything.  "being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." and Peter probably thinking back to Jesus telling the parable of the sower, that the seed falls on good ground, some falls on hard ground, some falls on ground with no depth, some falls on ground where it's choked by the cares of this life.  But the word of God when it falls on good soil, brings forth 30, 40, 60, 100-fold.  And no doubt he's saying, 'We haven't been born again by corruptible seed, but by incorruptible, by the Word of God.'  Somewhere in the process of life, something was shared with us, we heard something, not just with the human ear but with the heart, and at that point he's saying 'God was planting his living Word in your heart, where it took root and sprung forth to eternal life.'  If you don't know Christ tonight, as you're sitting here, what we're hoping as we're going through this Book, we're studying through, is that your heart is plowed up, that God has you here somehow, because the hardness of your heart has been broken up, that God has drug the plow over your heart, and the truth of his Word will get planted, not in your intellect, but in the deeper part of your being, and that it will come forth to eternal life, that there will be a response in you to the truth of what you're hearing.  "being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."  God's Word is alive and abiding.


All Flesh Is Like Grass, And The Glory Of Man, Like The Flower Of Grass


"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:" (verse 24)  All flesh is like grass.  Now here's the interesting thing, in one sense all flesh is like grass.  Very interesting, as you go through Genesis chapter 1, it says "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" he uses the Hebrew word 'bara, out of nothing he makes the heaven and the earth.'  And then it goes through the days of creation after that, and it doesn't use that word "bara" anymore, it says 'He formed, he separated the land from the sea, and it then says 'he formed the plants,' he made those out of elements that already existed when he made something out of nothing.  He doesn't make something out of nothing again until he makes the great whales, the creatures in the sea, the birds and so forth, and then it says 'he created, bara, something from nothing, created them, a living soul, he gave them consciousness,'  he made the plants, I know you think you need to hug your plants and hug your trees, and play you know, classical music and everything to them, but look, but they're made of elements that already existed.  But when God made animal life, they were higher than plant life, he gave them a body made of the same stuff plants are made out of, but he gave them a consciousness.  An animal has a soul. [Comment:  All animal life has a spirit which grants to each animal it's own level of intellect, even a form of brotherly or family, parent/sibling love which is genuine.  Man has a similar spirit, often referred to in the Bible as the spirit-in-man or spirit-of-man.  It is not the Holy Spirit, but more like a spirit which is like a computer program, which grants a level of intellect and intelligence and emotions.  Solomon makes reference to both the spirit in animals and that of the human spirit in man in Ecclesiastes 3:19-21, "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them:  as the one dieth, so dieth the other, yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast:  for all is vanity [temporary].  All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?"  The human spirit upon death goes upward, Solomon says, I would say upward to God to reside there until one of the two major resurrections, when it will be reunited with the body which is resurrected.  The spirit of all animals, he says goes downward upon death, into the ground.  As such, this passage in Scripture would indicate animals have no chance of resurrection, only human beings do, for whichever resurrection they are slated for.  Animal consciousness comes from the spirit God places within each animal, just as human consciousness comes from the human spirit God places within each and every human being, presumably at conception.  Paul talks of this same "spirit of man" verses the Holy Spirit, in 1st Corinthians 2:9-13, that it grants physical knowledge and intellect.  Pastor Joe calls this spirit "a soul," technically that's wrong, as the word "soul" represents the body, mind and spirit, all three, of a person or animal, if we want to get into  the technical/Biblical definition of words here.]  The third time it uses the word in Genesis 1 to make something from nothing is when he gets to man, and it says he created him a living spirit, that you and I have a body, made of out of what the grass is made out of, we have a soul [i.e. spirit, spirit-in-man, spirit-of-man], a consciousness, but we have a spirit [now he's getting our spirit-in-man confused with soul, the soul being all three, body, human-spirit, combining to give consciousness and intellect and these three components, spirit-in-man and flesh and mind equaling the "soul" as the Bible defines it in both Old and New Testaments.].  That's what the image and likeness of God is.  [As the Holy Spirit unites God the Father and God the Son, so the spirit in man, when a man marries a woman, their two spirits unite, intertwine, as Paul indicates in 1st Corinthians 6.  That's how we're created in the image of God, that's how we look similar, but on a physical plane, not a spirit-level plain, such as God is.]  That when he came to man again he created something out of nothing, he made man a living spirit [i.e. "soul"]. So in one sense we really are like grass, this stuff is made out of the same stuff that is out there.  You go out on the ball field and take a shovel full of dirt, there's seventeen elements in it, you take a shovel full of this, it's the same seventeen elements that are out in the ball field.  And he says all flesh, natural birth, it's like grass, and all the glory of man, is like the flower of grass.  You know, you accomplish something in life, because a millionaire, you end up on TV, you're a billionaire, you're bored, you don't know what to do, so now you can have your own reality show on television and make people do crazy things for a million bucks.  And you'll still be bored, still be bummed.  And if that's your greatest glory, he says all flesh is like grass, and the glory of man is like the flower, that's even shorter lived, you know, you have your best years and then you're on the decline again.  He says even the glory of man is like the flower, and that falls away.  [I'm reading the biography of Commander Joe Rochefort right now, who ran the famous Hypo cryptology department that cracked Yamamoto's code and discovered the Japanese were going to hit Midway, enabling the US Navy to score a major victory by sinking the very aircraft carriers which had attacked Pearl Harbor six months earlier.  It almost seemed God trained this man in all the skills he would need, and then at the exact right moment, placed Joe in the right spot, and he had about one to one and a half years of real achievement and glory [hidden from public view of course], and then he was demoted by jealous rivals.  His flower of achievement was brilliant, bright, but faded quickly.  Yes, the flower of man's achievements fades quickly if it's in the physical realm.  The flower of the apostle Paul's and Peter's achievements live on, there are some things you can do on the spiritual level that will never fade, doing the things of God.  John Wesley's works converted to commentaries, J. Vernon McGee's works, all commentaries now, survive and bless those who read them, just as Paul's and Peter's works do as a part of God's very Word, the flower of their lives, surviving and blessing all who read them.]  "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (verse 25)  And this is the word that I'm speaking about, that you were born-again by, "which by the gospel is preached unto you."  He had talked to us about the price of redemption, now the power of regeneration, and then he says "Wherefore", there was no chapter break when he wrote this, there was no chapter 2. 


1st Peter 2:1-3


Three Things That Will Kill Our Brotherly Love And Agape-Love For Others


"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."  And he says "Wherefore" because of all of this, because of what God has done in you spiritually, and because life on the physical plane is passing away.  You know, we're to lay up treasure for ourselves in heaven, Jesus said, where moth and rust don't corrode, where thieves don't break in and steal.  Because where your treasure is, he says that's where your heart will be also.  And now Peter had been ear-witness to all of that.  Peter's saying 'Wherefore then, because of this, laying aside,' and there's three "all's" here, and they're very important in verse 1, because they will all destroy the love that he told us we're supposed to have, an unhypocritical brotherly love. And if you're really bugged at somebody here in the church, I encourage you at some time, at least write them a note, we're supposed to be unhypocritical, brotherly love, and then beyond that, you and I have the exhortation to exercise ourselves unto agape fervently.  Very important, because we're told in the last days, Matthew chapter 24, verse 12, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love [agape'] of many shall wax cold."  'The agape of many shall grow cold,' and he speaks it as a warning, so he has to be talking about believers, it's the only time the noun form of agape' is used, in the Gospel of Matthew, 'in the last days, because iniquity shall abound, the agape' of many shall grow cold.'  You know, you see Lot, his righteous soul was vexed when he saw what was going on in Sodom, we can get worn out by the insanity of this world, we can just kind of throw up our hands and say just 'The heck with it, I don't care, Lord, just get me outa here.'  And the Scripture says, no, no, we're supposed to be the ones that exercise ourselves and are the vessels to bring the agape-love of God to a lost world and to one another.  So, he says, seeing this, then, the stakes are high, what God has done, "Wherefore" he says, "laying aside" 1) "all malice," 2) "and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies," you see the plurals there, 3) "and all evil speakings, as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (verses 1-3)  So, he lays out three things here that will destroy that love that he just exhorted us we're to have for one another.  And he says to us "Wherefore laying aside", now it's an interesting construction.  It's a verb form, it's imperative, the tense is arotis, the voice is middle.  'Thanks, Joe, that means nothing to me.'  What it means is this, it's imperative, so it's a command, this is not multiple choice, 'you can do this if you want to, if you don't want to, don't worry about it.  If you want to lay aside all malice and hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking, that's ok, if you don't want to, that's ok too, just be hypocritical and evil and go on and have fun as a Christian.'  No, no, it's not optional, it's in the imperative.  This is something we need to do, arotis means "Let's just do it and get it done with, it needs to be done, once and for all, do it now is the idea, let's do this."  And it's in the middle voice, which means, "you cooperate with it," if it was in the passive voice it would mean that it was something God was doing through you, it's in the middle voice, God is saying "You be part of this, you be part of this."  "You've been born-again by the Word of God, my Spirit is working in you, I want you to cooperate with these things."  So he says "Wherefore laying aside" and he says three things now, number 1) "all malice," now I don't know what translation you're reading, "malice" is "uncleanness," "malice is troublemaking, malice is a kind of anger, a kind of aggida, you know, aggida-borne attitudes, malice, "laying aside all malice,"  What do you let come out of your mouth?  And I'll tell you, it includes sexual innuendos, dirty jokes, things that are not fitting.  And my problem is, I'll here somebody do something like that, and I'm sick enough that I still might laugh when I hear it, so I don't need any encouragement.  There's enough traitor within me that I understand that kind of humour.  I don't need it, no thanks.  If you love me, keep that stuff away from my ears, please.  "laying aside," number 1) "all malice," not most, all of it, lay it aside.  Do it now.  Then it says, "all hypocrisies," plural, "guile" is deceptiveness, which is attached to hypocrisy, "and envies," is things that would drive us to do things that are not clean, lay that aside, hypocrities was to put the mask on in the ancient Greek theaters, it was the actor on the stage of life, you see those masks in the theater, one with the frown, one with the big smile, those two masks, those were the masks of the hypocrities, the actors on the stage of life.  When you see that movie with Jim Carey, you guys all watch that movie?  You know what I'm talking about, The Mask, where he puts that green mask on, and he turns into something he's really not.  It says, put that away.  You know, people do that, and he's saying it in the sense that we all wrestle with this.  [one natural reaction when someone slanders us, behind our backs, is to get malicious]  He's saying 'Come on, once and for all, let's put this stuff aside.'  You know, you drive all the way to church, fighting with your wife, yelling at your kids, angry 'I'm going to kill you!  I don't even want to go to church, you're not a Christian, you're demon possessed, it's probably Legion,' and you walk in the front door and somebody says 'How you doing?' and you say 'Oh, praise the Lord, fine!' [laughter]  You just put that green mask on when you came in the door, now all of a sudden you're super-Christian, you know.  He says 'let's do this now,' it's imperative, 'let's do it once and for all,' arotis, cooperate with this, let's lay aside all malice, uncleanness, that kind of stuff, let's lay aside all deceptiveness and hypocrisy and envying, the things that would drive us underneath, to be phony.  Let's lay that aside.  And lastly, "all evil speakings."  Man, oh man that's a tough one.  Isn't it?  No backbiting, no gossip, no maligning somebody else's character, let's lay that aside.  You know, it's interesting, people, Mike MacIntosh, some others I know that had spent time around Billy Graham, and they said they were with him, and one of the televangelists came up [in conversation] that had fallen into sin.  And the person was trying to bait Billy Graham a little bit into 'Hey, let's kind of talk about, 'What do you think about this scoundrel?''  and he said, he just stopped everything right there and said "Let's pray for them, let's just pray for them."  Now I'm not that gracious yet.  Now of course I imagine when you're in your eighties, and you might see the Lord any day, you tend to be very gracious at that point.  Let's set these things aside, if we're going to love one another the way we're supposed to, let's lay aside all malice, all guile, phoniness, deceptiveness, hypocrisies and envies, and all evil speakings.  Those things are the enemies of unfeigned love of the brethren and agape-love that we should exercise towards one another. 


Be Hungry For The Word Of God---A Hungry Christian Is A Healthy Christian


In contrast to holding onto those things, "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" (verse 2)  He is not making the contrast that we have in Hebrews chapter 5, where the writer of Hebrews is saying to the Hebrew believers, 'by now you should be teachers, but the problem is, you're still immature, you're still drinking milk.  Those that are exercised by the Word of God are ready for the meat of the Word.'  He's not doing that, he's not saying 'You're babes' he's saying, 'Rather than being involved in envy and all this other stuff, rather than that, as newborn babes,' he doesn't say you are newborn babes, he's saying 'look at the hunger that a newborn baby has to nurse, for milk, and have that towards the Word of God, have that towards the Word of God.'  You know, you watch newborn babes, I've watched it.  You know, you get married, you get a wife, you get a license for it and everything, everything's legal, and it's the two of you, and then a baby comes into your world.  Then all of a sudden it's her and the baby, and you're the outsider.  'Do that, go there, pick that up, don't touch them, did you wash your hands?' you know, you're like standing outside still looking through the nursery window of the hospital for the first couple years.  And then the second one comes, and it's much different then, the first one is drop the nook, boil it, give it back to the baby, the second one is pick it up, suck it off, stick it back in because the other one's screaming too.  And then when you have three, then you're partners again, because it's three against two, and you have to join up to survive.  Four really takes you over the edge, wonderful thing, and from there on up, marriage is great.  [snip yourself, and tie the tubes, before you get started.]   But you know, babies, 'eeeh, eeeh, eeeh! You know, I dedicate babies, sometimes they don't know I'm not mamma, they want to nurse, I'm trying to dedicate them and they're going, 'eeh, eeh, eeh!' and there's nothing I can do to help them [laughter].  Of course the great thing about a baby when they're breast-fed, and they start screaming in the middle of the night, you just say 'Honey, they want you.'  'They want you, there's nothing I can do to help them.  I'd love to, but they're calling for you.'  They're amazing, aren't they?  You know, the funny thing is, and this is just for your information, Joshua, you know Joshua, he was born a month early, he was 7 lbs 14 ounces, if he'd have gone another month he'd have had Kathy instead of Kathy having him.  He was just a monster a month early, and he just bellowed, he looked like Jabba the Hut.  And when he was like a year and a half old, he would listen to us during the day, and listen to me and Kathy go back and forth.  So in the middle of the night, when he would wake up, if he wanted to nurse, instead of crying, he would just do this, out of the dark we'd hear "Yo, Kath!" [laughter], because he heard me do that, he heard me do that all day as I talked to her.  So, just out of the pitch black we'd hear "Yo, Kath!"  'Bring the feed-wagon in, Yo, Kath!'  And we would just start laughing, the bed would start shaking, it was so crazy.  'Laying aside all malice, uncleanness, do it now,' is there uncleanness in your life, in your language, is there something unclean in regards to anger and malice?  Lay it aside now, it's imperative, do it once and for all, lay it down.  Cooperate with the Lord in this, he's given you the power to do it.  Deceit, hypocrisy, envy, is some of that driving you?  Just put it down, put it aside, evil speaking, we're supposed to love one another with brotherly love, unhypocritical, agape-love, to be exercising that, in the sense of determination and duty.  So, there's no room in that to be backbiting, shooting our mouths off to tear down someone that Christ has paid for in his blood.  Let's put that aside.  And rather than desiring and feeding off of that, 'as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you might grow thereby.'  You know, it's a shame to see someone who when they first get saved, they're excited, and you see them ten years down the line, and they're no longer hungry for the Word, fifteen, twenty years down the line, no longer hungry for the Word, no longer need to go to a study, you know it's a shame to see that to me.  Because we loose the wonder of God's Word along the way somewhere.  We can do that.  And it's a shame.  You know, if I just study, and I do study, I dry up.  And I love to study.  And I'm supposed to study, to show myself approved, a workman approved of God [as a teacher-pastor].  But I have a Bible-Bible at home, it's the same Cambridge Bible I have up here, but without, it's not all blurred by my notes, it's just pure Bible, the Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible.  And I love to read that Bible, because it's the Bible, and just to sit alone with it.  [I'll be really glad when I can get to that point, when all these transcripts are finished going through the New Testamentalmost done, where I can do thatbeen going full-bore for 18 years now, can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel] and it still speaks to me.  Not to study it, to read it [meditatively speaking].  Because the miraculous thing about it is still the vertical of it, that it's alive and it's powerful, it actually talks to me still.  And it's a shame, there's all kinds of other alternatives being handed out to the Church [Body of Christ], entertainment, all kinds of other things.  We've been so glutted with the Word in this country, there's been so much freedom, Christian broadcasting on TV, on the radio, you can get Bibles everywhere, bookstores in churches, there's so much available that we can take it for granted, we forget about the wonder of the whole thing.  [Whereas a Christian in North Korea has to keep his Bible buried underground in a shoebox or plastic bag, and digs it up to read, only when he or she feels it's safe to do so, when no one else is looking.]  A hungry Christian is a healthy Christian, he's saying.  A hungry Christian is a healthy Christian.  If we're not hungry for the Word anymore, then we need to kind of look around, and say 'Lord, am I feeding on malice, am I letting these other things go on?  Have I replaced, is there a place in my life where I'm allowing myself the right to be bitter or to be angry, have I forgotten the price that was paid for me?  Am I taking in my thoughts and girding up the loins of my mind, or am I thinking sloppy through this whole process?  Lord, am I remembering the living hope, that you've begotten us again to?' 


'Since We Have Tasted That The Lord Is Gracious, We Should Have A Hunger For The Word'


Peter says 'to gather these things in, and as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you might grow thereby,' "if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (verse 3)  Now look, "If so be" is the class condition, and "you have, since".  The Greek language has three "if's", "if, and it is," then they have "if" which is "if, and maybe it is," and then they have "if, and it's not."  It's a class condition.  This should be translated, "Since" verse 3, "Since ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."  Because it's "if so be" the class condition is "And you have, since."  So he's saying 'Lay all this stuff aside, desire the Word of God that you might grow, just like a baby desires to nurse and to feed, since you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.'  'Since you have tasted that the Lord is gracious," your translation can say "kind" there, not charis there instead of "gracious", but gracious is the fitting word certainly.  'Since you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.'  Have you tasted that?  Have you tasted that?  Do you remember what it tastes like?  Or is it just plain vanilla now?  You're ready to move onto 31-flavors you think.  Because if you've tasted that the Lord is gracious, and you still taste it.  You know, it's wonderful once in a while when the Lord lets us get a fresh glimpse of who we really are, we do something stupid, we bang our heads on something, we fumble, we fail, and then we're saying 'Oh God, oh God, oh God... and he's the same, he's there and he reveals himself to us again, and we discover the joy of our salvation again, how gracious he is.  You have tasted of that, that's what it's saying here, 'Since you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.'  That should do several things, it should make you hungry for his Word.  Let me tell you something, we can lose track of the Living Word, that what it says we've been born of.  It says in John, 'In the beginning was the Word, the Logos, the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the Logos, the written Word from Genesis to Revelation was manifest, it walked among us in Christ, the Living Word of God.'  From Genesis to Revelation there's a person being revealed to us.  You can look at the Bible, you know, and it's so important, I like green, so if I was going to wear sunglasses, and I don't.  My wife says that, 'How can you drive without sunglasses!?'  I can hardly see with eyes, with sunglasses I'd get in an accident for sure.  But some people like yellow sunglasses because it makes the whole world look green [they're also pilot's sunglasses, because it helps them distinguish between layers and types of clouds while flying].  Some people I guess they like the world to look rosy, because they get those red sunglasses.  Some people like sunglasses that get dark when the sun comes out [usually those are the photo-sensitive folks, like my daughter, who need glasses like that].  But depending on the lens you look through, that's how everything is colored.  Some people look at the Bible strictly as a book of doctrines, and what they're doing is they're pushing bullets in their belts, loading them up, spinning their barrel, they've got all their doctrines lined up, they're looking for a fight, 'Just let somebody talk to me about doctrine!  I'll show them and mow them down, I know what it says, and if I shoot them, they're predestined to die, that's in there, [laughter]'  If you look at the Bible as a book full of doctrines, and it is, you can be missing something.  If you look at the Bible just as a book of principles, and it's filled with principles, you can be missing something.  If you look at the Bible strictly as a book of how we need to live, what we need to do, you're missing something.  The Bible is a book about what he has done.  If you want to see what we have done, go to Genesis chapter 3.  We messed it up and the rest of the Bible is about him fixing it.  Because it's in Genesis 3 that man did his part.  The Bible is a book about what God has done, the Bible is Jesus Christ being revealed to us, 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.'  One thing that should be happening and continuing to happen in our lives, even if we've been saved for 25 or 50 years, it doesn't matter, if we have, and we have, since we have tasted that the Lord is gracious, we should have a hunger for the Word, because his grace is from Genesis to Revelation.  Another thing that should happen, since we've tasted that the Lord is gracious, we should really take it easy on one another.  Because if I'm getting in, everybody should be getting in.  You look up here, you see Pastor Joe.  I don't know what you think.  I know many of you are under an impression that's strange to me.  Sometimes somebody calls here from some other organization and asks "Is Reverend Focht there?" I know that person doesn't know me at all.  When I'm "Reverend" they don't know who I am.  Ask my wife who I am, my kids.  But more than that, I know who I am.  Look, I'm not transgressing anything that would disqualify me from ministry, but I know how selfish I can be, and I know how hypocritical I can be.  And I know what it's like to struggle with anger, and with lust, and with humanity, I know what it's like, 'if we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.'  But you know where that keeps me?  It keeps me amazed at his grace.  It's interesting, I've been saved since 1972, and I sin less and I repent more.  As time goes on, I sin less and I repent more.  Isn't that interesting?  I mean, when I first got saved, you know, you cut out the big ones.  You can't knock somebody down with your fist anymore, you can't go out and tie a load on anymore [get drunk], you can't snort cocaine anymore, you can't live in sexual sin anymore, ok, I've got the four biggies cleaned out of my life [essentially 9 of the 10 commandments, at least at the physical level], sex, drugs and alcohol are gone, I must be done.  If the Lord had told me then, that I'd be worried about a commercial now on TV (that is showing too much skin), 'Oh boy, I shouldn't watch that commercial.'  I mean, I sin less, but I repent more now.  If he'd have told me 30 years ago I'd be worried about my attitude, it would have been too much in the beginning, I was just glad the biggies went, I thought I had arrived.  [And a lot of believers in the legalistic churches have that attitude, they've got the externals licked, think they're perfect, and that they've "arrived" and don't know they're poor and naked, as Revelation 3:14-21 talks about.]  But I'll tell you this, I'm amazed at his grace, I know more of his grace than I've ever known, and I need to know it more than I've ever known, because as the years go by, he pulls back the screen and lets us see what we really are without him.  You understand depravity, and it makes me gracious towards other people.  Not perfectly gracious, I know if you ask my wife she'd say 'He needs to be a little more gracious right here,' but it makes me gracious towards other people.  I'm not hard on other people, and maybe sometimes that's perceived as a failing, sometimes, because I know what I am.  I get to do what I get to do, so what could I ever begrudge anybody else who gets to serve Christ?  You know, look, there's certain things that disqualify us, the Bible's clear about that.  But we're all human.  Love one another, with brotherly love, in an unhypocritical way, and exercise agape' towards one another, for Christ's sake, think of what he's paid for us.  Not corruptible treasure like silver and gold, but the precious blood of Christ, foreordained before the foundation of the world.  Lay aside all malice, hypocrisy, evil speaking, stay in love with the Word, stay in love with it.  Lots of entertainment being offered out there, instead of it, stay in love with the Word, feed on it, because you have tasted, in fact you have, and I have, that the Lord is gracious[connective expository sermon on 1st Peter 1:20-25 and 2:1-3, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA,  19116]


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To learn more about Phileo and God's Agape-love, see,