Sermon Notes & References

The Imperishable Seed

1 Peter 1:22-25

April 7, 2019

22 Having cleansed yourselves by attentively listening to the truth unto brotherly love, without hypocrisy, from the heart you shall love one another intently . 23 having been regenerated, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and abiding Word of God. 24 For, as it is written, ‘All flesh is as grass and all its glory as the blossom of grass; the grass is dried up and the blossom falls off; 25 But the thing the Lord says endures forever.’ And this is the spoken thing which was preached as gospel unto you. (RGH)

A. Introduction

    1. Spring Activity

    2. Milkweed & Monarchs

    3. The Gardener’s Goings-on

B. Purified Life (v 22)

    1. “Raised to Newness of Life” Footnote

    2. Filled with New Love Footnote

C. Eternal Life (v 23)

    1. The Seed of Adam Footnote

    2. The Seed as of Christ Footnote

D. Guaranteed Life (vv 24-25)

    1. Vanity of Man’s Promises Footnote

    2. Certainty of God’s Promises Footnote

E. Conclusion

Endnote  1 Peter 1:22-25                                           The Imperishable Seed


A. Introduction

    1. Spring Activity

        a. winter is leaving

            (A)    slowly, in fits and starts, winter is loosing its grip on the landscape

            (B)    the snow, piled up in places is melting away

        b. cleaning up its traces

            (A)    but there are some of winter’s remnants that will not go away on there own with the snow

            (B)    rather she who is the gardener is out at every opportunity

                 (1)    gathering the twigs and branches broken by winter’s storms

                 (2)    raking up the leaves now discovered under the snow

                 (3)    cutting off the stems of last year’s flowers – and maybe those of a weed or two

            (C)   all in anticipation of the new life this spring will bring


    2. Milkweed & Monarchs

        a. one of the items left from the fall was a milkweed pod

            (A)    you probably know that the caterpillar of the monarch butterfly is very particular in its diet, needing the milkweed for food

            (B)    so to help them along – monarchs are a diminishing species – I took the seeds out of this milkweed pod

            (C)   and on a rainy day, went out and planted them in the ditch in the front of our house, thrusting them into the ground with a stick

        b. but, even as I did this, I did so with some pessimism

            (A)    because I am afraid that I am rather casual respecting gardening

            (B)    but my lady is a much, more conscientious gardener!


    3. The Gardener’s Goings-on

        a. for some time now announcements from the seed house have been appearing in our e-mail

            (A)    then starting a few months ago, catalogues arrived

            (B)    there were opportune periods of the gardener huddling over these

            (C)   out came the order sheet as some items were written and others were erased

            (D)   the stock of seeds from last year was checked – ‘would these still be good? ... not these, better order new ones’

        b. finally the order was sent – or telephoned – in and payment made

            (A)    then the various packages arrived

            (B)    some seeds for flowers, some for vegetables

            (C)   everything was sorted, put into tins to keep them dry, safe

        c. but that was only the start

            (A)    planting trays were brought in from storage in the garage

            (B)    planting soil was obtained

            (C)   from time to time, as the date demanded, the seeds were planted

            (D)   trays were put in the dark to germinate

            (E)    in another room, the shoots were put under a special light to grow

        d. despite my demeaning jokes, I am sure there will be results harvested

        e. the planting of the gospel seed is intended to bring a harvest, too


B. Purified Life                                                         Verse 22

    1. “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,”


    2. “Raised to Newness of Life” (Romans 6:4)

        a. it is to the harvest of fruit from the planting of the gospel seed that the subject of Peter’s letter now turns.

            (A)    this is not an evangelistic message to the lost

            (B)    but an instruction to Christian pilgrims in journeying through life

            (C)   for these are they who have obeyed the truth

                 (1)    the word rendered obedience, literally is ‘hearken’

                 (2)    that is, not merely to hear, but to listen, to pay attention with care, and then act in accordance with what is heard.

                 (3)    sadly, salvation doesn’t come to those who know the truth of the gospel, but to those who obey by entrusting themselves fully to Jesus Christ

        b. that this is the case is shown by that phrase ‘purified your souls

            (A)    the word ‘soul’, psuche, often simply means ‘self’ in the Bible and is often so translated – no matter what translation

            (B)    most of us purify our outward selves at various times during the day and week

                 (1)    when we get up, when we come to a meal

                 (2)    or, when we get dressed in order to come to church

            (C)   but here, it is the inward self that is being spoken of

                 (1)    it is a cleansing that reaches our heart, mind, real inner being

                 (2)    that is what demonstrates a person has indeed hearkened, paid real attention to the gospel truth

        c. to such purification there will be outward evidence


    3. Filled with New Love

        a. Why is it easier to criticise than to comment a Christian brother or sister? That is certainly not a mark of a purified life.

            (A)    in the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus spoke to the disciples these words: “34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

            (B)    and in his first letter, John confirms this, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3:14)

        b. let me point out a couple of things Peter has to say about such love:

            (A)    it is sincere:

                 (1)    literally, without hypocrisy

                 (2)    it is not shown by a mask over our face behind which is hatred

                 (3)    it is real, to the very core of our being

                 (4)    it is demonstrable in every attitude and action

            (B)    it is fervent:

                 (1)    or intent, or earnest

                 (2)    the word was used of reaching out to someone as a sign of friendship

                 (3)    and one picture is that of a runner approaching the finish line who stretches out and strains his body forward to reach it

        c. may this be the love we have and show as individuals, as a church body


C. Eternal Life                                                          Verse 23

    1. “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.”


    2. The Seed of Adam

        a. there was God’s word and Satan’s lie

            (A)    concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God said, “in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)

            (B)    Satan lied to Eve and Adam who was with her, “you surely shall not die! ... you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

        b. but Eve took of the forbidden fruit, and Adam also

            (A)    Adam, to whom the command was given, on whom the duty lay

            (B)    “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)

            (C)   and with this act, the inheritance of death was bequeathed to all of Adam’s descendants

            (D)   “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—“ (Romans 5:12)

            (E)    that is the seed of Adam

        c. “For as in Adam all die …” (1 Corinthians 15:22)

            (A)    from that great resurrection chapter

            (B)    citing all the witnesses to, and certainty of, Christ’s resurrection

            (C)   comes this pronouncement of the fact and certainty of death


    3. The Seed as of Christ

        a. “… so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22)

            (A)    for there is another seed, found in the man Christ Jesus

            (B)    born of Mary, a virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit

            (C)   and therefore not of the seed of Adam

        b. and by His finished work we are made children of God

            (A)    of which we can be assured, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:16)

            (B)    not of natural, but spiritual, seed: “That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.” (Romans 9:8)

        c. of being children of the promises of God, there is more to be said

            (A)    “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:29)

            (B)    so those who are in Christ become part of God’s great people, which encompasses both the OT and the NT church – for in Christ all God’s promises are fulfilled (2 Corinthians 1:20)

            (C)   to which subject we shall return, Lord willing, if we should survive that long, when we come to Peter’s second letter: “2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Peter 1:2-4)

        d. Peter has a lot to say about perishable and imperishable in this first chapter of his letter – and here the lesson is

            (A)    our salvation is imperishable – eternal

            (B)    for the seed of the gospel that brings salvation is also imperishable

            (C)   for the subject & power of the gospel, Jesus Christ is imperishable

            (D)   “Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)


D. Guaranteed Life                                                Verses 24-25

    1. ‘24 ¶ For, “all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25 but the word of the Lord abides forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.’

        a. the context of this quotation is the book of Isaiah

            (A)    and not just anywhere in that book

            (B)    but in the opening verses of what has been termed the “Gospel”

            (C)   let us turn to Isaiah 40 and read what precedes this quotation:

            (D)   the promise of salvation: ‘1 “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. 2 “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.”’

            (E)    the forerunner, John the Baptist: ‘3 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 6 A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” …’ (Isaiah 40:1-6a)

        b. the context then, it the announcement of John the Baptist, who in turn announces Jesus the Lord, the glory of the lord that will be revealed – it has to do with salvation which is the very subject Peter is addressing


    2. Vanity of Man’s Promises

        a. man boasts great things

            (A)    that is true in whatever realm of knowledge and activity of man that you consider: political, educational, economic, so on

            (B)    nations: the first world war the war to end all wars; not.

            (C)   finance: how many promises that government will bring prosperity

            (D)   medicine: we shall be able to extend a person’s life indefinitely

        b. all these and many more promises and forecasts have failed

            (A)    because man is transient; here today, gone tomorrow

            (B)    man is ever changing: today’s fashion is tomorrow’s failure

        c. the Bible describes him like grass – the hay that grows for fodder in the fields and meadows, springing up quickly, dying, cut down

            (A)    and even less certain, the flower that forms on the grass

            (B)    which has died even before it is noticed

            (C)   so how can man keep any real promises?


    3. Certainty of God’s Promises

        a. but God’s promises are certain because He is certain

            (A)    His word is forever settled in the heavens (Psalm 119:89)

            (B)    did you notice that phrase in Isaiah? “For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” – His spoken and His written word are sure

        b. in the verses in Peter that we have been considering, there are two references to God’s word, using two different Greek words, but usually only translated ‘word’

            (A)    first, logos, in verse 23, “the living and abiding word”, mainly refers to the written word, the Scriptures, although it is used to speak of Jesus as the Word

            (B)    second, rema, in verse 25, “the word of the Lord abides forever”, mainly refers to a word that is spoken

        c. the point is that however God’s word is given, it is powerful and true, and can be completely relied upon

        d. it is that fact that gives us the guarantee that we have eternal life.


E. Conclusion

    1. Our Statement of Faith

        a. says “We believe the Bible to be the complete Word of God; that the sixty-six Books, as originally written, comprising the Old and New Testaments were verbally inspired by the Spirit of God and were entirely free from error; that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice and the true basis of Christian union.”

        b. and in that sense we hold that there is no further revelation to be given to man, nothing to be added to the Scriptures


    2. God Still Speaks

        a. on the other hand we believe that God still speaks to man through the Holy Spirit, convincing of sin, of righteousness and of judgement.

        b. it is His voice that applies the written word to an individual to invite to salvation and to command to service

        c. and that voice is to be disregarded only at one’s eternal peril.