Sermon Notes & References

God’s Great Purposes

1 Peter 1:2

January 20, 2019

A. 1 Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to those chosen, living as pilgrims in a foreign land, of a people scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 according to Father God’s predetermined counsel, God the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work, and unto obedience and sprinkling of blood of Jesus Christ (God the Son). May you have the fullest measure of grace and peace. (RGH)

    1. Short review

    2. Some key words

    3. Some other translations


B. Life changing salvation – we are …

    1. … (fore) known by our Father Footnote

    2. … transformed by our Resident Holy Spirit Footnote

    3. … cleansed to serve our Lord Footnote


C. Changed life experience – shown to us in Footnote

    1. … grace Footnote

    2. … peace Footnote

Endnote  1 Peter 1:2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . God’s Great Purposes


A. Introduction

    1. Review

        a. this letter is written to Christians in Asia minor - now Turkey

        b. these were the Roman provinces named in verse 1 along with others

        c. it was written to those who were sojourners, aliens, pilgrims

        d. that’s really a picture of the Christian life, we’re guests on this earth

        e. Abraham was a literal example; we are his spiritual descendants

        f.  verse 2 tells God’s great purposes in choosing them and us


    2. Key Words & Translation

        a. If you compare my translation given above, you will find that there is a general agreement with other, formal translations

            (A)    the AV & NKJV use the word ‘for’ instead of ‘unto’

                 (1)    both of these words are used to indicate the result of being one of the ‘elect’ (that is, the ‘chosen’)

                 (2)    but ‘for’ gives a little more emphasis on God’s purpose

                 (3)    we shall deal more specifically with the word ‘foreknowledge’ later, but note for the moment that it is more precise than the words, ‘predetermined counsel’

            (B)    NIV & NASB are comparable

                 (1)    although the NASB puts ‘chosen’ in verse 1, (as it is in the Greek)

                 (2)    they contain the same elements as AV & NKJV

                     (a)    foreknowledge

                     (b)    sanctification

                     (c)    obedience & sprinkling

            (C)   the NRSV and Philips

                 (1)    use somewhat of a paraphrased alternate to ‘foreknowledge’, as ‘destined’ or ‘knew long ago’

                 (2)    but otherwise contain the same elements


    3. Chosen, or, Elected

        a. election a big (and difficult) subject in the Bible

            (A)    our minds with their limited scope find it difficult to reconcile

                 (1)    the fact God choses those that are His

                 (2)    yet we as mankind have the responsibility to respond to the call of faith on our lives, the invitation to come to Jesus Christ

                 (3)    the Bible teaches both truths and it is best that we simply say, ‘God said it, I believe it.’ 

            (B)    we also find it as a big subject in Peter’s letters

                 (1)    perhaps because his own experience

                 (2)    the very striking way in which he was chosen

                 (3)    how the Lord singled him out as we looked at two weeks ago

        b. this word, ‘election’, implies a choice that is for a purpose

            (A)    for example, we choose a person to office with the hope that he or she will accomplish some necessary achievement, some change

            (B)    when you go into a shop and choose something from the store, you do so, for a purpose

            (C)   so God’s choosing of believers is for a purpose


B. Outline of God’s Purpose

    1. Verse 2 Summary

        a. there are three elements in relation to the Persons of the Trinity

        b. there are two elements (here; more elsewhere) related to our experience


    2. Life changing salvation

        a. we are known (and foreknown) by our Father

        b. we are to be transformed by our Resident, the Holy Spirit

            (A)    I was noticing this week the use of the term ‘holiness’ as part of the designation of some church groups – that is sanctification

            (B)    which really should be considered a part of every church’s ‘name’

        c. we are to be cleansed to serve our Lord

            (A)    reflecting the sprinkling that gives cleansing

            (B)    and the obedience that leads to service


    3. Changed life experience

        a. the experience of God’s grace

        b. the experience of God’s peace

        c. yes, these are the grace and peace of God, as one of the translations emphasises, but it is these as they are imparted to us that is in view


C. Life Changing Salvation

    1. Known by our heavenly Father God

        a. ‘according to the foreknowledge of God the Father’

        b. that word ‘according’ is of great importance, for each of the three elements in this verse, each relating to a Person of the Trinity’

            (A)    to be in accord is to be in agreement

            (B)    it means that these purposes are consistent with God’s character

                 (1)    that character is one of holiness: God cannot tolerate sin

                 (2)    yet God’s character is also one of love

                 (3)    how can both be simultaneously satisfied in relation to man?

            (C)   God chooses to save sinners

                 (1)    in a fashion consistent with His character

                 (2)    that both satisfies His holiness, purity, wrath against sin

                 (3)    as well as His love, mercy, grace, pity upon man, His creation

            (D)   God does so in a way that is just, righteous, fair, equitable

                 (1)    at the judgement, no one can complain, ‘God is unfair.’

                 (2)    in the book of Revelation you find that is revealed

                     (a)    as well as being a joyous story of the heaven ahead

                     (b)    it is a sad story about mankind in that book of the future

                     (c)    the latter, because it shows that even when unbelievers can see their coming punishment, rather than repent, they become all the more hardened in their rejecting God

        c. it is true that God, in His foreknowledge,

            (A)    did know those who would come to believe

            (B)    long ago, before the world or sin existed, He knew

            (C)   but to take that as an explanation of God’s choice is a mistake

                 (1)    ‘He knew who would believe so He therefore chose them.’

                 (2)    this a a way that satisfies our human pride

                 (3)    it gives us a feeling of responsibility for the accomplishment of our own salvation

                 (4)    but that explanation is not what the Bible is saying

            (D)   the real truth is that those coming to believe is the result of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit

                 (1)    8 And He (the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit), when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me;’ (John 16:8-10)

                 (2)    that is what brings salvation: the convicting and transforming power of the Holy Spirit when He works in a person hearing the Gospel

        d. there is more about that word, ‘foreknowledge’ though, that we need to consider so as to understand better this verse

            (A)    we unconsciously limit the word ‘know’ as used in Scripture

                 (1)    by the concepts of our western civilization

                 (2)    the logical concepts inherited from Greece and Rome

                 (3)    and is for us a matter of intellectual perception

                 (4)    this shows up in what is commonly meant by ‘believe’

                     (a)    as being the intellectual acceptance of a fact

                     (b)    but the picture of belief or faith in the Bible includes the entrusting of oneself to that which is accepted as a fact

                     (c)    entrusting ourselves to God is more that saying ‘We believe in God the Father …’ as goes the Apostle’s creed

                     (d)    it is rather saying, ‘that God is the one on whom I am casting myself in full dependence.’

            (B)    but ‘know’ in biblical usage is more that just about facts

                 (1)    it implies familiarity and a relationship

                 (2)    as there is is in the example of the marriage relationship

                 (3)    another example is found in Amos 3:2, which literally says, ‘only you have I known of all the nations of the earth.’

                     (a)    does that mean that God didn’t know anything about all the other nations? ... of course not!

                     (b)    that is why some translations render it ‘loved’ or ‘chosen’

                 (4)    so the word describes of the ‘fore-loving’ of God

                     (a)    since with God, knowing means a special kind of knowing

                     (b)    consider Abraham: God loved him, foreknowing Israel who would descend from him, that out of that nation (despite its continual falling away) would come a remnant and the One who was to be the blessing to all mankind

            (C)   also in Scripture there is another aspect of God’s foreknowledge

                 (1)    what He foreknows, He takes active part to bring it to pass

                 (2)    such a case in point is in the matter of Jesus’ death on the cross as Peter preached on the day of Pentecost: ‘this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.’ (Acts 2:23)

                 (3)    God had planned Jesus’ death in eternity, precisely agreeing with this foreknowledge of exactly in what fashion that He would be rejected of man and nailed to the cross.

                 (4)    God took part in bringing that to pass

            (D)   another passage gives further insight into God’s foreknowledge

                 (1)    the explanation of Romans 8:28, as to why God is working all things together for our good who are the called according to His purpose: ‘29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.’ (Romans 8:29-30)

                 (2)    this is parallel to the verse before us this morning

                 (3)    we can get upset by that word, ‘predestinated’ ... until we read what it is; it is God’s purpose for our ultimate good

                 (4)    I don’t see anyone yet there, this morning! That’s God’s great purpose

                 (5)    what God foreknows, He brings to pass by His active working

            (E)    this brings us to the next part:


    2. Transformed by our Resident, God’s Spirit

        a. the Holy Spirit’s indwelling – although the Trinity indwells us as can be shown from various Scriptures

            (A)    it is that of the Holy Spirit which is especially noted

            (B)    it takes place on a corporate body, that is in the body life of the local church, ‘Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?’ (1 Corinthians 3:16) – the word ‘you’ in that verse is always in the plural – those using the AV will see that

            (C)   but it is also true on an individual by individual basis within the church, ‘19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.’ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), where ‘body’ is singular and has the sense of each one’s body.

        b. the Holy Spirit’s work in our salvation

            (A)    that salvation in what makes us a child of God

            (B)    and the Holy Spirit it is who brings that salvation to pass

            (C)   there is the matter of regeneration – or more simply rebirth or birth from above

                 (1)    ‘He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,’ (Titus 3:5)

                 (2)    that is the first step in our transformation by the Holy Spirit

                 (3)    the giving of new parentage and new nature

                 (4)    this is absolute necessary for salvation as Jesus told Nicodemus: ‘3 … Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … 5 … Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ (John 3:3, 5)

            (D)   the Holy Spirit has another part in this matter

                 (1)    He is the Spirit of adoption

                 (2)    ‘For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"’ (Romans 8:15 NAS)

                 (3)    signifying God the Father’s choice of us as His children

        c. arising from His initiatory work in making us God’s children, the Holy Spirit undertakes a life-long project with us

            (A)    this is the work of sanctification – that is a long word but in short the meaning is of accomplishing that which we already read in Romans 8:29, conforming us to the image of His Son.

                 (1)    by this work we are being made fit for God’s heaven

                 (2)    Romans 21:27 tells us that nothing and no one that is unclean can enter there

            (B)    there is a most illuminating verse concerning this transformation, ‘But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.’ (2 Corinthians 3:18)

                 (1)    ‘from glory to glory’ – is describing this as a step by step process

                 (2)    we had a coffee table in our family room, a room that was blessed with some 20 years of teen-agers,

                     (a)    it had also been used outdoors for our VBS programs over the past several years with the results as expected

                     (b)    so this past summer I decided to refinish it

                     (c)    remove the old varnish and some of the dents

                     (d)    and then apply very thin varnish coats one after another

                     (e)    finally, it now looks, if not like new, at least like furniture

            (C)   so 1 John 3:2 describes the final end of the Spirit’s work, ‘Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”

        d. one of God’s great purposes.


    3. Cleansed to Serve the Lord

        a. being saved is intended to lead to a saved life

            (A)    ‘that if you confess with your mouth Jesus [as] Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;’ (Romans 10:9 NAS)

            (B)    it is founded on fact: the resurrection is one of the best attested events of history – this has been demonstrated more than once

            (C)   that confronts us with unavoidable decision

                 (1)    we either obey in faith – act upon trust – or we reject

                 (2)    we cannot be neutral – He must be Lord, our Lord to serve

        b. that saved life has a purpose

            (A)    ‘8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’ (Ephesians 2:8-10 NAS)

            (B)    by the Spirit we are recreated unto good works

            (C)   God’s purpose is service to our Lord

            (D)   we are to grow from the confession of words to confession in works

        c. that is why there is this need of sprinkling

            (A)    in the OT all the vessels used in the temple had to be sprinkled with blood – literally, ‘bloods’, the plural implying blood shed

                 (1)    that was symbolic – saying it took death to cleanse from sin

                 (2)    we are physical vessels to be used in service of Christ

                 (3)    it took Christ’s death to cleanse us as physical vessels

                 (4)    and it takes day by day continued cleansing to be fit vessels

            (B)    this is not a physical matter, but spiritual

                 (1)    blood stands for His life given, paying for our sins – ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ (Leviticus 17:11 NAS)

                 (2)    that is what allows us now to stand before God

                 (3)    cloaked in Christ’s righteousness

                 (4)    that even now we are justified and one day we will be made perfect

            (C)   and we are in need of continued cleansing – listen to this

                 (1)    ‘6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and [yet] walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ (1 John 1:6-9 NAS)

                 (2)    so you can see the need of this daily cleansing

                     (a)    the refreshing of our fellowship with God

                     (b)    making us acceptable for His service

        d. these are God’s great purposes, that we have …


D. Changed Life Experience

    1. Peter’s Blessing

        a. “May you have the fullest measure of grace and peace.”

            (A)    a common NT greeting – by Paul, by James

            (B)    God is not niggardly in his blessing

            (C)   Jesus’ words on liberality describe how God blesses: ‘Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.’ (Luke 6:38 NAS)

            (D)   the figure is that of filling a bushel with grain, say: filling it to the top, tamping it down.


    2. Grace

        a. may you realize to the fullest the greatness of the acceptance by God that is yours through His generosity


    3. Peace

        a. that you experience that peace to the fullest

        b. that peace you enjoy as part of God’s family

        c. that is to be realised in the church, that imperfect as it may be here on earth, the sweetest relationship upon this earth