This post is a summary of 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. As much as is possible it is hoped that these notes honor both the intent and the content of Pastor Sowers' original message. Please compare to the sermon audio podcast. [This post partially corrected for grammar and spelling from orig posting on 3/2/09]
Continuing in our Series on 1 Peter, and being reminded that this letter written to aliens, those who are not in their own homeland, whose citizenship is in heaven Phil 3:20, those who are facing opposition and persecution, was written to them and to us to give us assurance, hope and encouragement. This also is the design of today's text in our second look at 1Peter from 1Pet 1:3-5.
1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Note the verb tenses from this passage:
Have been born again (past)
To Obtain an inheritance (future)
Are being kept. (present)
Q. What does it mean to be born-again?
Referred variously in different translations as born-again, born from above, born of the Spirit.
KJV John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
It is not simply a "starting over."
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
In John Chapter 3, Jesus stresses the absolute necessity of regeneration, new-birth, to be born-again. Note the words: "YE MUST..."
That to be born-again is radical, and that being good does not come naturally, the following words from the Minnesota Crime Commission, a secular organization confirms:
"The Minnesota Crime Commission ... issued this report appointed by the governor back in 1926: "Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it: his bottle, his mother's attention, his playmate's toys, his uncle's watch, or whatever. Deny him these and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He's dirty, he has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children, not just certain children but all children, are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in their self-centered world of infancy,given free reinto their impulsive actions to satisfy each want, every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, a rapist." click here for possible source reference, Grace-to-You website.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
For additional quotes, see online book by John Piper, Finally Alive. Click here
(search on "apart from amazing grace" or "our present condition")
In answer to the question, "what is it to be BORN-AGAIN?", some teach baptismal regeneration, while others teach there is something you must do to initiate this process. But Peter and the rest of the scriptures teach that this is a work of God.
God has caused us to be born again:
NAU 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Three times in John 1:12-13 John says it wasn't ultimately the excercise of my will to initiate the new-birth but God.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Peter also stating it was God's abundant mercy given to us even when were were dead.
1Pet 1:3 "according to His great mercy"
We were dead - God makes us alive:
Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
This new birth produces a living Hope. Before regeneration, we were without God and without hope.
1Pet 1:3 "born again to a living hope "
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:
Note the text says in the Past-Pefect tense: Have been born again. But now with a look to the Future. Shall obtain -- in the future an inheritance -- reserved in heaven.
NAU 1 Peter 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Q. What is our inheritance? A. God Himself.
Psalm 16:5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
From Thomas Brooks, A String of Pearls: click here for reference
"If all these things will satisfy souls, then surely the inheritance reserved in heaven for them will satisfy them; for that inheritance takes in these things, and many more. The good things that this inheritance is made up of are so many—that they exceed number; so great—that they exceed measure; so precious—that they are above all estimation; and therefore it must needs be a soul-satisfying inheritance. "
Inherit a kingdom prepared:
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Paul is praying we should get a taste of how glorious this inheritance truly is.
Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
An Imperishable Inheritance - that does not perish.
It as Undefiled and Untainted by sin.
An Inheritance that does Not fade away - it does not grow old.
Titus 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
What about now -- I have been born again -- there is an inheritance I shall obtain. But what about now, can I blow it?
Now being kept:
1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Being kept - present tense -- by the power of God.
Kept: garrisoned or guarded as the city in 2Cor 11:32
2Co 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
The city was surrounded by a military guard around it. Note -- God is using His power to KEEP us.
Both doctrines are true: We must keep believing to the end if ever we hope to be saved and God indeed will keep His Own unto the end - they will be the ones believing. He will lose none. They belong to him.
Verses affirming this truth of God's keeping power:
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (editors note: Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ by John Bunyan is an excellent extended exposition of this verse - highly recommended. click here for online version)
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
Q. Can Christ lose one of his sheep given to him by the Father?
A. How can Christ lose what the Father has given.
Paul is convinced that God will keep:
2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
The Lord will rescue, the Lord will preserve:
2Ti 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Preserved in Jesus Christ:
Jud 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
God is the one who can keep us from falling:
Jud 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Jud 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
God starts the work -- God completes it:
Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
He is the author and finisher:
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising
Q. How should we respond to these realities?
First: Ask, "have I partaken? Do I have a living hope? Am I hoping in God alone? Not hoping I will make it but biblical hope which is a confident expectation? This is a question I cannot afford to be wrong on. There are eternal consequences.
So acknowledge you "I have forfeited all rights because of sin."
It is not good deeds, good intentions, nothing to offer to God for acceptance. Trust in Christ alone who is the only saviour. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
Secondly for the child of God by Faith now: Note the language in 1Peter 1 and Eph 1, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be like Job, blessed be the name of the Lord who gives and takes away.
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Peter is rejoicing in what he is writing about and he wants us to join him in rejoicing.
The same with Paul in Eph 1:3, rejoicing in the content of what he is writing -- join him in blessing God, worshipping and praising God.
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:
Such a message as the one you have heard this morning is not merely to pass on information. As though you were preparing for a quiz, making ready to answer the following:
1. What does it mean to be born-again?
2. What does it mean and what is a lively hope?
3. What inheritance awaits us?
No, our intention this morning is much greater. Knowing these things let us respond WITH WORSHIP. Thank you Lord, bless the Lord our God. Praise him. Praise to the Glory of His grace.
Yes, there ought to be praise and worship and blessing to God.
Glory to God, by His Grace and for His Glory.