Occasion Sunday Worship 15th December 2013
Introduction: Farming is a common occupation in many parts of Ghana, and even some of our church member’s farm. When the rains come in late May, our farmers plant their fields. These seeds posses life and once they sprout produce a plentiful. We understand that life in the seed does not stay in the soil once the rains come. That life quickly sprouts and produces a harvest in its season. Living bodies grow and reproduce themselves through the natural processes God has created in this world. This principle is true in the natural realm, and we need to understand it is also true in the spiritual real. When a man places his faith in the finished work of Christ, there are several terms we use to describe that event in the young believer’s life. We say that he is justified, meaning declared righteous by God. We say he has been adopted, meaning he has become a son by legal adoption and awaits a future eternal inheritance. We say he has been converted, meaning passed from death unto life and is now on a path of positive Christian growth into Christ-likeness. We also say he has been regenerated, meaning that prior to conversion he was spiritually dead and alienated from God, but due to the gracious work of God, he has received new life with the capacity to know and serve God. Peter’s point as Paul’s in the other epistles is that new life produces by nature and necessity new fruit.
Text: 1 Peter 1:22
Purpose: Peter reveals the most natural application to our change of position, a sincere, walk of Christian love.
Proposition: God wants you to see and live in light of this logical connection between your position in Christ and Christian practice.
Interrogative: How can I do this?
I. The gospel is a command: You have purified your souls by obeying the truth through the Spirit: The call of the gospel is not a suggestion. It is a command. But it is not a command to do something for God. It is a command to depend on what God has done for you. It is not a call to work for God, but rather a command to receive His work for us. Notice the surrounding context to these verses.
- Salvation is a work of God
In First Peter 1 emphasizes God’s work in our salvation:
1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God.
1 Peter 1:3 God has begotten us again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:5 We are kept by the power of God.
1 Peter 1:18 You were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ.
1 Peter 1:20 Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world for us.
1 Peter 1:21 Through Him you believe in God.
Other New Testament passages emphasize God’s work in our salvation:
John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you.
John 15:19 I chose you out of the world.
Romans 2:4 The goodness of God leads you to repentance.
2 Timothy 2:25 Perhaps God will grant repentance, so that they may know the truth.
- Salvation is not in any part a work of man
Illustration: Last week we compared salvation to a mighty chain made by God that is powerful to save. God provides every link of the chain for us. He provides a perfect sacrifice, perfect obedience, and perfect righteousness. We simply by faith alone accept this chain and depend alone one what he has done and not what we can do or purpose to do.
Titus 3:5 We are not saved by works of righteousness which we have done.
Ephesians 2:8-9Salvation is by grace…not of ourselves; the gift of God, not of works.
Romans 3:20 By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified.
Romans 3:28 A man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
- Man is still fully responsible to respond to the gospel: Christ and the apostles did not just preach the gospel. They commanded men to respond to the message. Notice the following passages.
Acts 20:21 Testifying repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mark 6:12 They preached that people should repent.
Luke 13:3 Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
Acts 3:19 Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.
Acts 17:30 God commands all men everywhere to repent.
Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
II. The gospel purifies the soul: You have purified your soulsby obeying the truth through the Spirit: The gospel is not just about giving you fire insurance, so you escape eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire. It is about declaring you righteous, making you a partaker of His holiness, and restoring man and the rest of the creation to his original beauty, glory, and purpose.
- The gospel purifies the soul in two senses
- Its application to Christian living transforms us into the image of Christ day by day.
- It gives us a righteous standing by means of imputed righteousness (This is the sense of the passage)
Illustration: Pastor Joel is in serious debt, because he has been buying on credit. His creditors come to him and are angry because he has not paid. They demand that he pay up or go to debtor’s prison. A kind independently wealthy businessman decides to show grace to Pastor Joel. He shows debt in three ways: he pays the debt in full, agrees to pay ant future debt in full, and then adds Pastor Joel’s name to his bank account. This is similar to what God has done for us. He has paid our sin debt in full, both past sins and future sins. He also has imputed His Son’s perfect righteousness and obedience to our account, and this is the primary sense of the passage.
- This work is done through the Spirit
2 Corinthians 3:18 We are being transformed into the image of Christ by the Spirit of the Lord.
John 16:8 The Spirit will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
- Positional purification: He brings us to faith in Christ
- Practical purification: He transforms us into the image of Christ
III. The gospel manifests its saving power in Christian love: In sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart:
- The gospel changes our position
1 Corinthians 15:22 In Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
John 5:24 Whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life.
- The gospel motivates our walk: Notice the way Peter motivates these believers to a holy walk of Christian love. He reminds them of two things: the gospel and their position in Christ.
1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth…love one another fervently.
1 Peter 1:3 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind.
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts.
1 Peter 1:15 As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
- The gospel reveals its power and presence in transformed character: I refer back to our opening illustration. Life reproduces itself and is fruitful. What we are is revealed by what is being produced naturally in our lives. If the Spirit indwells us, then He produces a distinct type of fruit. Notice what these passages say:
John 13:35 All men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Galatians 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is love…
Ephesians 5:8-9 Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.
1 John 3:14 We have assurance that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
- Have you passed from death to life through faith in Christ? Are you in Adam or Christ?
- The gospel is not a suggestion, but a command. It is not a command to work for God, but rather a command to depend on the work He has done for you. What will you do with this message?
- Are you fully aware of the nature of salvation? Are you resting in the righteousness God has provided? Have you ceased to work at establishing your own righteousness?
- Do you have evidence of grace and spiritual life? Are you living in light of the logical connection between your position in Christ and your daily walk?
- May God give us the grace to see where we stand before Him, and to daily live in light of our position in Christ!