Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Perhaps you've heard people say that there's freedom in Christ.
Maybe you've wondered what that looks like. Does that freedom only take effect after we've died? Or does Christ free us to think and live in a new way? How is living by faith in Christ liberating? Pastor Rich unpacks this question over a series of four messages, starting with today's, which is titled The Basis of Faith. Today's passage, 1 Peter 1, 22-25, shows us that freedom starts with God's Word, His self-disclosure.
Let's listen in now. This is the third and final part of the message, which was first preached on August 7th, 2022. Love, this love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, is the manifestation of God's life-giving, liberating truth in me, that it exists in me, that it has captivated me, that it controls me. This living and abiding Word of God, this seed, has been implanted in us. This is why John says, 1 John 3, 9, He that is born of God does not sin and cannot sin because his seed abides in him. He does not continue practicing sin because his seed abides in him.
He uses the word sperma in that verse. And this sin of which he speaks is the indifference toward others. Indifference. Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust, said it very, very well. We think the opposite of love is hate, right?
He said it better. The opposite of love is not hate, it's what? Indifference. When you see somebody and you say, I don't care, that is the opposite of love. It is the very opposite of what Jesus did when he looked at you.
He did not say, I don't care. He said, I care enough to go and please my Father because I love my Father, and I love those whom my Father loves, and I will lay down my life for you. That's the Gospel of grace. And when that reality is ours, then we live in that reality and the outflow of it. Hence, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.
Why? Because our souls have been purified through the living and abiding Word, that born again from this seed that has been implanted in us. The Word of God converts. So we need to grow in love. We need to grow in love as that seed grows and produces fruitfully and to grow in love. And if that's going to happen, you need to get close to people who are not like you.
This is a hard statement. Rachel gave testimony to that this morning, didn't she? Bless her heart.
Even at Bobby's expense, right? I love it. If you want to grow in love, it will happen by getting close to people who are not like you. Doesn't the world need that today? Christians, are you ready to do this? Are you ready to manifest the love of Christ?
To grow in love? It's not the focus of the sermon this morning because this is going to come. We're going to expand on this significantly in part four of this series, which will come in the last Sunday of the month, The Conduct of Faith.
So we've looked at two things so far this morning. God's Word communicates, God's Word converts. Thirdly, God's Word calls. Verse 22, having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love. Purified your souls by your obedience to the truth, God's Word calls. When it comes to God's Word, the encounter alone is not the point.
The encounter alone is not the point. For example, Galatians 3, verses 2 and 5 talks about hearing with faith. Romans 10, 16, 2 Thessalonians 1, 8, it talks about obeying the Gospel.
What does that mean? Let me tell you first of all what it doesn't mean. Okay, the Gospel says, I need to do this, this, and this, and this, so now for the rest of my life I just need to go out and try as hard as I can to live the Christian life.
That is not what it's saying. Obeying the Gospel is that initial submission to the Gospel where you have surrendered to God's self-disclosure. Take for example Hebrews chapter 4, verse 2. Indeed, we have had good news preached to us, just as they also, but the word they heard did not profit them because it was not united by faith in those who heard. You see, it's not just the encounter with the Word of God that is the point. When you encounter the Word of God, are you humbled by it and do you surrender to it?
That's when transformation happens. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. He says that in 1 Peter 5-5. James says it in chapter 6, and they're quoting Proverbs chapter 3, verse 34. And that theme permeates the Scriptures. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Striking statement this morning, very, very true.
Listen to this. The good news carries with it a command to repent and believe. The good news carries, it's good news, but it carries with it a command to repent and believe. Paul said this, Acts chapter 17, when he was speaking to the highly intellectual philosophers in Athens. Acts 17, verse 30. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now, listen to this, now God commands all people everywhere to repent.
It's a pretty universal command, isn't it? God commands all people everywhere to repent. It carries with it a command to repent and believe. So, you have purified your souls by your, it doesn't say you've purified your souls by your encounter with the truth. It says you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth. Again, that obedience is that initial submission to the Gospel, your surrender to God's self-disclosure. John says something similar to it, 1 John 2.17, it is not whoever knows the will of God that abides forever, it's whoever does the will of God that abides forever. And that initial does, that most important doing, is surrendering yourself humbly to God's self-disclosure.
Let me encapsulate this for you. John Oswald, I'm going to quote John Oswald, and then this is from his commentary in Isaiah, all flesh is like grass, all its glory like the flower of the grass, the grass withers, the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever. John Oswald says, if I insist I am permanent, then I become nothing.
If I admit that God alone is permanent, then he breathes his permanence on me. That's the Gospel of grace. It almost sounds like C.S. Lewis, doesn't it? Some of you are thinking that, I know, but Chris is thinking, no, that sounds like C.H.
Spurgeon, but anyway. Here's what that means, the seed purified your souls by the seed, you've been born again by the living and abiding Word of God, by the imperishable seed. The good news carries with it a command to repent and believe. That seed, the seed is the is the Word of God. It is the basis, the basis of our faith. That seed must go down into the soil of your heart and mind.
Is this bringing a parable to mind for you? That seed, the Word of God, God's self-disclosure, the Gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, must go down into the soil of your heart and mind. And so I ask you the question, what is the condition of your soil?
Is it hard so that there's no sinking into the ground at all? Is it rocky so that it's choked out by the heat and the tribulations? Or is it choked out by thorns, all the cares of the world? You're way too distracted by the cares of the world.
I don't have time for that. That's thorns. It chokes out the good news of the Gospel.
What is the condition of your soil? Because if there is good soil, first of all there is understanding. I understand what God is saying here.
You have to use your reason to do that. But not only do you understand what he is saying, but you humbly surrender yourself to it. And listen, when that happens, when that happens, God takes that seed and germinates it, and it grows. Life. Life in me, in you, that never existed before, because it is a living and abiding seed, the Word of God. This is what the Word of God calls us to. And when that is the case, that is the regeneration. New life existing in me. And that regeneration is what purifies our souls. And so this Word is the self-disclosure of a sovereign creator-redeemer. This seed is the Word, the communication, the call of your sovereign creator-redeemer.
Only through surrender will you be made free. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, 7 Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. 7 Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 14:11:07 / 2023-03-21 14:15:34 / 4