This post is a summary of the notes taken from the most recent sermon preached at Morningside Baptist Church (MBC) by Pastor Dave Sowers. The audio of the sermon can be found at the "Sermon Audio Podcast" link of the website http://www.morningsidebaptist.us/. Pastor Sowers pictured to the left.
MBC's PASTOR SOWERS IS BEGINNING A SERIES OF PREACHING THROUGH 1st Peter.
1Pe 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Although we know of persecution here in the states, yet much more are Christians being persecuted in other countries. Headlines report violence against Turkish Christians is on the upswing - click here. Another headline reads: Turkey's Mistreatment of Christians Becoming More Brazen click here.
This article reads:
"But that evening at the shop, his supervisor angrily accused him of "missionary work" and "brainwashing." With the help of two employees and a relative, he beat Erdogan for two hours. The men repeatedly struck the designer's head and face with their fists and the butt of a pistol. Three times Erdogan's boss attempted to shoot him, but the gun failed to fire. He really wanted to kill me. It wasn't just to scare me," said Erdogan, who told Compass that he prayed for help and meditated on Bible verses while his attackers threatened to murder him and hide his body."
Another headline reads of three turkish believers brutally killed click here.
How would you write a letter to encourage Christians in Turkey?
We are now beginning to study just such a letter, written to persecuted saints in northern Turkey by a man who was himself persecuted, Peter.
To alert us to the content of 1 Peter, subject matter covered, and how this letter is to be an encouragement to a persecuted church soon to be much more persecuted. See Grudem's Preface from page 9 of 1 his Peter Tyndale commentary. Click here
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ:
As an apostle, these are not his own thoughts, much more, this is the Word of God. Peter writing as an Apostle, called and commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself.
aliens scattered: people who are not living in their homeland.
Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Citizens of heaven, living as aliens - there is some conflict.
This epistle written 60-62AD during a time of persecution, but also on the verge of much more persecution coming. In 65AD there was and is recorded in history a major outbreak of persecution for the Church of Jesus Christ.
An epistle written to Christians who were suffering some hostility and for them it was going to get worse.
Regarding persecution, do you think it's going to get better or worse in America? Based on what is going on around us - the sense of our times - trends in our culture it truly seems that it is going to get worse.
1 Peter can be used to strengthen our heart - give us some backbone - and prepare us for the persecution coming - that we may stand in the evil day.
1Pe 1:2 also teaches that these are aliens who are loved and chosen by God.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1Pe 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Now you are a people of God, Now you have received mercy. This is amazing stuff. Precious Stuff.
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
How is it that the people who were not God's people are now God's people?
How is it that now we are recipients of God's mercy?
The Answer involves each member of the Trinity.
Verse 2: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God. 1Pe 1:2
Foreknowledge: What does this mean? Is it God foreseeing who would believe and then choosing them?
Acts 4:12 No other name ... and John 14:6 I am the way - these are the verses from which the persecution will come.
We must believe in Christ.
But why is it that we do believe in Christ?
Is it self-initiated?
Be a Berean, submit what is said in this sermon to the scriptures, not just trusting my words but test them by the Word of God.
FOUR THOUGHTS ON UNDERSTANDING WHAT ELECT ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD MEANS
1. This verse does not say God foresaw our faith. No verse says that in any version of the bible. neither does Rom 8:28-29
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
It does say he foreknows people.
The first rule of bible study is to ask and answer the question: "What does this text actually say?"
Example: "The bible says Money is the root of all evil -- so you better get rid of your money. Does the text say this? Don't add words -- Don't take away words. (actually says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil - so then stop loving money. editors note)
So the phrase: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God does not say expressly this that "God foresaw our faith."
2. We don't find a cause/effect sequence that teaches: "Us first and then God responding."
We do find God's first gracious initiative to us. Note the SUBJECT and the OBJECT in the following passages:
GOD is the Subject - HE hath chosen. US is the object - of whom God chose.
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
and again God is the subject, God hath...chosen the object, you.
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Thanking God, because God has chosen.
The ones ordained/appointed believed. Not, they believed, then appointed. It says the opposite of that. The appointing comes first then those are the ones who believed.
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
Depends on God who has mercy.
Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
And so based on these texts I should be careful not to be too quick in thinking God is responding to me.
3. The meaning of the word "Foreknow."
Amos 3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Known here translated as chosen in some translations.
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
1Pe 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
Same word as found in 1Pe 1:20, translated variously as foreordained, foreknown, chosen.
In verse 1Pe 1:20 we learn, God from eternity past ordained this -- this is what foreknown means there in verse 20, surely a few verses earlier in verse 2 it means the same thing.
This word means more than an awareness ahead of time. Fore-Loved, in advance setting regard upon, in advance acknowledging as one's own.
Jer 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
ESV Study Bible includes a note explaining in this way: They are God's people because of god's foreknowledge - He set his covenantal affection upon them in advance.
4. What is it about our faith that God would foreknow?
God would foresee that we are blind and unable to open our own eyes.
God saw unless he gave us faith as a free gift we would never believe in Christ.
We don't have the wherewithal to bring ourselves to life.
It is "BY HIM" that we believe.
1Pe 1:21 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.
We have "received" faith. We received it -- we did not generate it.
NAU 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
It is given to believe, granted to believe:
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
We must believe.
No one is saved apart from Faith.
But why faith happens is because of grace.
Spurgeon's own experience in coming to grips with these truths click here:
I can recall the very day and hour when first I received these truths in my own soul — when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron: I can recollect how I felt that I had grown all of a sudden from a babe into a man — that I had made progress in scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God.
One week-night when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, "how did you come to be a Christian?" (...I sought the Lord). But how did you come to seek the Lord? — (the truth flashed across my mind in a moment) — I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him.
I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, "How came I to pray?" — I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. I did read them; but what led me to do so? — Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith; and as the whole doctrine of GRACE opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make it my constant confession.
Also Wayne Grudem who writes in his Systematic Theology click here:
"Election based on something good in us (our Faith) would be the beginning of Salvation based on merit.
The Answer to our original question comprising the three persons of the Trinity began with:
1. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God
and continues as follows
2. through the sanctification of the Spirit
3. And and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
As we prepare to partake of the Lord's supper let us dwell further on this sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
The application of all the benefits of Christ's death - including cleansed from sin.
BLOOD OF CHRIST:
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
GLORY TO GOD. By His Grace and for His Glory.