Sermon: Earnest Love from a Pure Heart 1 Peter 1:22–25

Earnest Love from a Pure Heart

1 Peter 1:22–25

Truth Taught – God’s Word purifies our hearts and brings us eternal life.

 

Introduction

In this section Peter began by telling us to set our hope fully on the grace of God (13).  Then he continues down that path concluding to set our hope fully on God’s grace which will lead us to sincere and consistent obedience as we seek to walk in fellowship with God step by step acquiring His character as we live in godly fear of Him and as we consider the great cost of our redemption. He has shown us the proper working relationship we must have with God as His people.

Since we have been born again and have God as our Father, we also have all others who have experienced the new birth as brothers and sisters.  Peter has shown us the proper attitudes and love we are to have toward God our Father so now it seems very appropriate that Peter would share with us the proper relationships we are to have with our brothers and sisters, especially our church family.  When we love God properly, we will be able to love our church family properly.

Let’s jump into the text and discover what proper relationships within the Christian community should look like.

Prayer

1 Peter 1:22–25 (ESV)

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

       “All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

       The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

25    but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

  1. Obeying God’s Word Purifies Our Hearts and Enables True Brotherly Love

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

God calls every one of us to love one another sincerely and earnestly.  Not only are we commanded to do this, but as we obey God’s Word in various areas, we are enabled to actually love one another as God desires.  The church loving like this is what God has always intended.

What exactly is this type of love the apostle refers to?  It’s not warm fuzzy feelings.  It’s not romantic type love.  It’s a love that refers to righteous and pure relationships with each other that are based on God’s character, which we are seeking to develop within our own lives. It’s a family love; based on God as Father, we are a spiritual house in which our Father is worshipped.

1 Peter 2:5 (ESV)

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Older people are spiritual parents, younger people are spiritual siblings, and younger people are spiritual children.

I want to pause here a second and ask you to consider whether or not Peter’s description resonates with you?  Is this a description of your relationship with others here or not, and if not, why not?

If the answer is No, then we must work our way backwards to troubleshoot why this is the case.  To do that we first must ask ourselves is there something wrong with my relationship with God?  Am I obeying His Word?  Peter tells us that if we obey God’s Word, it has a purifying effect upon our very souls. We are freed from guilt, to have a clean conscience.  We are freed from certain self-centered agendas so we can love sincerely without trying to gain something for ourselves.

Peter tells us that obeying God’s Word has a lasting effect on our character; we begin to actually become the person God desires us to be.  So, an act in obedience to God’s Word doesn’t just bring us immediate blessings from God but also brings long-term character change.  To explain this, Peter uses the same word found when the Israelites would prepare to enter the temple to worship God.  In those days they would consecrate themselves ceremonially to be acceptable to God.

We see this early on in Jewish history…

Exodus 19:10–11 (ESV)

10 the Lordsaid to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lordwill come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

The Greek word translated either to consecrate or to purify is found in the perfect tense, meaning that as we continually obey, we are continually being made holy.  It’s an ongoing process.  Obedience to God and His Word is washing your stained garments and preparing to meet with Him.  As we do this, our minds are changed into what God would have them to be.  The manifestation of this process is seen when we have an earnest brotherly love toward one another.

James 4:7–10 (ESV)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Since we’ve been set apart by our new birth and since God is our Father and since we’ve been added to His family, being taken out of the world and placed into a new family, our closest relationships with other people are earnest close relationships with our Christian family.  One writer says this: This begins his teaching on how the community of believers, and not society at large, is to be the Christian’s primary social context, for their faith in Christ has brought them into the eternal fellowship of God’s people.[1]

  1. Because We Are Born Again We Can Practice True Brotherly Love

23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

Peter gives us a declaration in this Word of truth.  Another effective principle to enable earnest brotherly love comes from our new birth. Peter’s point here is the new birth, but he zeroes in on something specific regarding our new birth.  He writes that it has come about not by perishable seed but imperishable seed.  He is speaking of something else besides our first birth and the fact that through procreation we were born into this world.  That first birth came about through perishable seed.  In contrast, our new birth did not happen through human procreation but by some other means.  He calls this other means, imperishable seed.

The life of the believer has come about by divine imperishable seed, namely the Word of God. The Word of God brings about the new birth and Peter calls it the imperishable seed because God’s Word is living, active and eternal.

The logic goes something like this: Our first birth came about through perishable seed so our life is perishable and fleeting.  Our new birth or second birth comes about by divine eternal seed so our new life in Christ and is imperishable and eternal.

In the same way God’s Word brought about creation in Genesis, so His Word creates life within the believer.

Now let’s see Peter’s picture of what He is referring to . . .

  1. Two Seeds Compared and Contrasted

 24 for

       “All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

       The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

25    but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

He compares mankind to the grass of the field.  At his best much like the flower that rises above the grass and looks beautiful in the sunshine so is mankind.  Yet at our best we do nothing of lasting significance.  Our lives are here and tomorrow we are gone.  The grass withers and the flower falls to the ground and that is God’s assessment of humanity in its natural state.  Perishing seed brings us to life.

The best that man can achieve in natural life may look glorious and beautiful for a short time. However, like the flower, it eventually falls off the plant and dies and so does the plant.

God’s Word creates life now here specifically; the Word Peter is referring to is the Gospel.  In contrast he tells us,

25    but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

God’s seed that brings us to life spiritually is imperishable.  God’s Word never perishes or fades away.

James teaches the same thing in his Book:

This new life that we have in Christ by faith is a life that God brought about by His Word.

James 1:18 (ESV)

18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

 

What is the Gospel? 

There is no greater message to be heardthan that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications.People think they’re preaching the gospel to youwhen they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problemthat you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another.The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well-being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself.But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son.So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead–so that Christ died for us; He was raised for our justification.So, the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone.The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.[2]

John 20:30–31 (ESV)

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

When we have this imperishable life that Peter speaks of, we will genuinely love and obey God, which leads us to a genuine love for all who are in Christ.

Application:

We must make sure that what we do in this life has eternal results.

We can do a lot of things. We can be very busy in this life. Are the things we spend our time doing things that are like grass that will wither away?  Even if we do something really great it may look like a flower, but it still will fade away.

Beloved, we must be engaged in eternal things not earthly things.

Parents be focused on eternal things with your children.  Peter tells us that these will be things having to do with God’s Word. Teach your children the things that matter and the things that will endure.

For us as a church we must avoid flashy programs and the latest greatest things.  These are the grass and flowers of man’s achievements. If we are to be a biblical church, we must preach and teach God’s Word.  We must be diligent and purposeful as we steer clear of grass and flowers and look to the unfading, eternal Word of God.

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

       “All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

       The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

25    but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

 

 

 

 

 

*Resources Used:

Teaching 1 Peter by Angus MaCleay

1 Peter by Karen Jobes

1 Peter by David Helm

1 Peter by John MacArthur

1 Peter by Peter Davids

1 Peter by Wayne Grudem

1 Peter by Edmond Clowney

 

[1]Jobes, 1 Peter page 122

[2]https://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-is-the-gospel/

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