PHBC July 13, 1997
Series: First Peter, Sermon #23
THE PERMANENT GLORY OF THE WRITTEN WORD AND THE PASSING GLORY OF MAN
TEXT: I Pet. 1:23-25
INTRO: When I first looked at these verses this week, I wondered why verse 24 was there. But, the more I studied the more I realized how perfectly God had arranged it between verse 23 which tells us that we are born again of incorruptible see which is the word of God which lives and abides forever and verse 25 which shows the permanent endurance of the word of God.
My subject is, The Permanent Glory Of The Written Word And The Passing Glory Of Man.
THE INSTRUMENTAL CAUSE OF OUR REGENERATION IS THE EVER-LIVING, INCORRUPTIBLE SEED, THE WORD OF GOD
It is evident that the word of God is, in the plan and purpose of God, used in the regeneration of those dead in sin. 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
The initial work of God in our salvation is regeneration, or the new birth, and the gospel is declared to be the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
James also declared that the word of God is the instrumental cause of our regeneration. James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Paul wrote that those regenerated under his ministry were begotten with the word. 1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Peter especially points out that the word of God by which we are regenerated is an incorruptible seed which lives and abides forever. 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
This is in contrast to the fleshly birth by the seed of man which is very much corrupted as we shall see in a moment. Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
The assurance of this verse is that our regeneration is a permanent regeneration.
We are born again by an incorruptible seed and just as the word lives and abides forever, we will live and abide forever.
Those thus born of incorruptible cannot habitually practice sin because his seed remains in him so that he cannot habitually practice sin. 1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
In a parable Jesus declared the seed to be the word of God and the seed which fell in prepared soil remained and brought forth fruit. Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Matthew 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
David said that the word hidden in the heart keeps one from sin. Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
God has promised to write his law in the hearts of his people. Jeremiah 31:33-34 But this shall the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
I am not suggesting that all that is involved in I Jn. 3:9 is the written word in the heart but it certainly is involved. 1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
The one believing on Christ shall never come into condemnation. John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
The one believing on Christ has everlasting life. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
The word of God is forever settled in heaven and those born of that word are already in heaven in the mind and purpose of the one who regenerated us.
We have been blessed in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
We have been seated in the heavenlies. Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
We have already been glorified and made fit for heaven in the mind and purpose of God. Romans 8:29-30 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. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
THE CORRUPTIBLE, PERISHING SEED OF NATURAL, UNREGENERATE MAN
Paul declared that man is a corruptible, perishing being. Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Peter likens man to grass. 1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away.
God showed the feeble state of the natural man by likening him to corn that is blasted before it reaches maturity. 2 Kings 19:26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.
David used a similar analogy in his description of the weakness of the wicked. Psalm 37:1-2 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Again the Psalmist used this analogy of the tenuous state of man. Psalm 103:15-16 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
In our passage Peter is taking a passage from the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 40:6-8 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
James also uses this figure of the fast fading grass to who how feeble and short lived men are, even the rich cannot escape. James 1:10-11 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
James used the vapor that appears in the morning and soon fades away to show the brevity of the natural life of man. James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble according to Godís word. Job 14:1-2 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. 2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
In the light of the extreme feebleness of our natural state we are warned not to count too strongly on tomorrow. Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
The great folly of the rich fool was his failure to realize the tenuous nature of his existence on this earth. Luke 12:19-21 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
That is why it is so urgent that any who are lost heed the warnings and come to Christ now. 2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
THE WORD IS ETERNALLY ENDURING AND THE GOSPEL IS EVERLASTING
This is an unequivocal statement set forth by Peter. 1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
David declared that Godís word is forever settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Isaiah preached the eternal endurance of the word. Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Jesus declared his word to be more enduring that the material universe. Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Jesus declared that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the most insignificant aspect of this law to fail. Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
IN VIEW OF THE CORRUPTIBLENESS OF THE NATURAL MAN AND THE BREVITY OF HIS LIFE, WE ARE IMPRESSED WITH THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BORN AGAIN OF THE INCORRUPTIBLE SEED OF THE WORD OF GOD FOR IT LIVES, ABIDES, AND ENDURES FOREVER
Its eternal, incorruptible nature is one of the reasons God is pleased to use and has chosen the word as the instrumental means of our regeneration. 1 Peter 1:23-25 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Its eternal, incorruptible nature is a reason he has chosen the gospel as an instrument for begetting souls. 1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, (KJV)
Its eternal, incorruptible nature is a reason God has chosen the foolishness of preaching the gospel as the instrument in the salvation of his elect. 1 Corinthians 1:21-24 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Its eternal, incorruptible nature is one reason the gospel is declared to be the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
That is why all the prophets and preachers of God feel so compelled to preach the gospel.
Let false teachers and number-motivated preachers substitute gimmicks and bribes as a means in their evangelism; these may beget crowds but they do not beget true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every prophet preached the gospel because it has always been Godís instrumental means of the salvation of sinners. Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
The gospel was preached to Abraham. Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed. (KJV)
One of the reasons it is so sinful to pervert the gospel is that a perverted gospel does not produce the purposed results. Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (KJV)
The true and Biblical gospel is not after man; it is not something man concocted; nor is it a message which would have been coceived by man. Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (KJV)
To them that are perishing it is foolishness. 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness.
To us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 . . . but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (KJV)
Paul knew the absolute necessity of the preaching of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
God has spoken and we must proclaim his Word, the incorruptible, everlasting, enduring gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amos 3:8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
The necessity of the preaching of the word is why God has made his word a burning in the bones of his preachers. Jeremiah 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
The night I surrender to preach I told my wife before the service that I was either going to surrender or just let God kill me. In my mind it was either preach or die . . . his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
This is why we must declare the word of God even when men do not want to hear it. Jeremiah 1:17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.
This is why Paul was determined to preach the Gospel in the wicked city of Corinth when something else would have been more pleasing and acceptable to the pagans in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
This is why Paul was so willing to suffer in order to preach the gospel. 2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Paul knew there was no substitute for the preaching of the word, the everlasting gospel of Christ.
He would suffer whatever was necessary in order to proclaim this all important message from God. Acts 20:22-27 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I [am] pure from the blood of all [men]. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (KJV)
The gospel made effectual by the power of the Holy Spirit is Godís ordained means of calling his elect to salvation. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 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: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The gospel is the incorruptible, everlasting, enduring good news that Christ came into the world to save the very worst of sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
CONC: Beloved Pilgrims, I could go on and on with this for it is almost as inexhaustible as the eternal word. Men who have not been born of the incorruptible, ever enduring word of God will soon be cut down as grass and will burn forever in the lake of fire that is the second death.
That is why it is so urgent that you be born again of incorruptible seed by the word of God that lives and abides forever. If you reject this word, if you reject the gospel, if you do not trust the Lord Jesus Christ, you have no hope. You are without God, without Christ, and without hope. I pray God the Holy Spirit will use this word to cut the very marrow of your heart and bring you running to Jesus Christ, if you are not saved.
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