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The Goal of Our Obedience

The part of love in our salvation

First Peter 1.22–25

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 13, ad 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Lake – First Peter 1.17–21


  1. In honor of mothers on Mother’s Day, here is a poem.

    Where’s Mother? By Hugo McCordOur little one lay mid snow white sheets
    And smiled in peaceful slumber sweet,
    Soon he opened his blue eyes wide,
    And saw me standing by his side.
    His baby lips quivered, loud he cried,
    “Where’s Murver?”Small Anne was playing in the yard.
    She ran too fast and fell so hard.
    Up the steps she ran past me
    With bleeding hands and aching knee.
    Tears in her eyes, she could not see;
    She cried, “Where’s Mother?”

    When Jack comes in each day from school
    Throws his coat and cap upon a stool,
    Into the kitchen he quickly flies,
    Thinking of cookies and apple pies.
    If she’s not there, he always cries,
    “Where’s Mother?”

    I was their Dad and could not see
    Why they asked for Mother instead of me
    But the next day when I came from town,
    Before I laid my burden down,
    I asked the children standing round,
    “Where’s Mother?”

  2. Tell me what experience surpasses having a loving mother, and a loving family? 
    1. I can think of one, but
      1. let me mention this first.
        1. If you did not or do not have a loving family,
        2. I am guessing that you wish you had.
      2. Now make your family the best it can be.
    2. Here is the experience that surpasses a loving family,
      1. being a member of the family of God.
      2. I have a loving family, but
        1. being a member of God’s family surpasses anything earthly.
        2. Therefore, I want to show you more about God’s family.


  1. First Peter 1.22, 23 – Incorruptible Love

    22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth [through the Spirit] in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever… (1Pe 1.22, 23).

    1. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth.”
      1. By obeying the truth we have set ourselves apart,
      2. for consecrated service to God.
        1. In verses 2 and 14, Peter spoke of our obedience, and
        2. he does it a third time, showing the vital role it plays.
    2. We obeyed the truth to purify our souls, and
      1. one of the impurities we removed,
      2. was lack of love, or hatred in some cases, for other people.
    3. Therefore, Peter explained that we did not just purify or consecrate our souls,
      1. we obeyed the truth to love the brethren.
      2. Peter tells us to expand on that love.
    4. Are we doing as he said?
      1. Do we love the brethren?
        1. We would say yes, but
        2. we need improvement, because
          1. there are some who are easy to love, and
          2. there are some who are hard to love.
      2. Do we love the brethren sincerely?
        1. We have to do the right thing, but
        2. God wants us to want to do the right thing. (We cannot be two-faced)
      3. Do we love the brethren fervently?
        1. How do we know if we are?
        2. Can you measure it?
          1. Later in First Peter, the apostle will show fervent love, for
          2. it does something that is very difficult without love.
            1. For now, since you are thinking of your mother today,
            2. see her love for you as fervent love, and
              1. that is the kind of love we should have for one another.
      4. Do we love the brethren with a pure heart?
        1. Sincere love would be true love.
        2. Love with a pure heart refers to motives.
    5. It shall be easier to have the love of which Peter wrote,
      1. if we remember to whom he wrote, “To the pilgrims…” (v. 1).
      2. We are foreigners on earth.
        1. Even in our own nation we are pilgrims, for
        2. this is not our home.
          1. If you have been outside our nation,
          2. you found that you stuck closer to your fellow Americans.
            1. So, it should be with the church,
            2. we will stick closer to our spiritual family.
    6. Remember that we have been born again (v. 23),
      1. we cannot live as we did before,
      2. as Peter had said back in verse 14,

        14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance (1Pe 1.14).
    7. We were not born again of corruptible seed, but incorruptible.
      1. Verse 4 says we have an incorruptible inheritance in heaven.
      2. Verses 18 and 19 says we were not redeemed with corruptible things.
        1. Verses 6 and 7 speak of our genuine faith, which is incorruptible.
        2. Verses 15 and 16 command holiness, which is incorruptible.
        3. Verse 22 mentions our purified souls, which are incorruptible.
    8. Verse 23 We have been born again through the incorruptible the word of God.
      1. Men and churches, secularists and other Bible-haters
        1. have tried over the centuries to corrupt the word of God, but
        2. they have failed every time.
      2. Psalm 12 pictures just how incorruptible the word of God is, and
        1. the psalmist promised that the word shall stay incorruptible,

          6 The words of the LORD are pure words,
          Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
          Purified seven times.
          7 You shall keep them, O LORD,
          You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
          (Psa 12.6, 7)
        2. David promised in verse 7,
          1. that the Lord shall keep His words,
          2. preserving them to eternity.
      3. Jesus spoke of the incorruptible nature of the word of God in a similar way,

        31 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13.31).
    9. James echoed Peter’s teaching,
      1. when James refuted the teaching that says God tempts us to sin;
      2. no, James taught, rather God does the opposite,

        18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures (Jam 1.18).
      3. We are born again when we hear or read the word of God, because
        1. it reveals why we need to be born again, and
        2. it reveals how we can be born again.
  2. First Peter 1.24, 25 – Incorruptible Scripture

    24 because
    “All flesh is as grass,
    And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
    The grass withers,
    And its flower falls away,
    25 But the word of the LORD endures forever.”Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you (1Pe 1.24, 25).

    1. To back his claim on the word of God,
      1. Peter paraphrases Isaiah 40.6–8,
      2. which teaches and prophesies, that:
        1. All flesh is as grass.
        2. All the glory of man is as the flower of the grass.
        3. The grass withers and its flower falls away, and so with man.
        4. However, in contrast to man and grass, the Scriptures endure forever.
          1. What plant and man from the days of Isaiah endures to the present?
          2. What of Isaiah’s writings endure to the present?
    2. Why did Isaiah say those things about the word of God?
      1. In Isaiah 40.1, 2, God spoke comfort to His people, because
        1. He had pardoned them of their sins, and
        2. they had experienced punishment.
      2. Then the prophet wrote,

        3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
        “Prepare the way of the LORD;
        Make straight in the desert
        A highway for our God.”
        (Isa 40.3)

        1. You may recognize that as a prophecy of John the Baptizer.
        2. In verse 5, Isaiah prophesied that all flesh would see the Lord, because
          1. the mouth of the Lord promised it.
      3. Therefore, verse 6 has a voice commanding, “Cry out,”

        6 The voice said, “Cry out!”
        And he said, “What shall I cry?”
        “All flesh is grass,
        And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
        7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
        Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
        Surely the people are grass.
        8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
        But the word of our God stands forever.”
        (Isa 40.6–8)

        1. Then verse 9 says that he was to declare, “Behold your God!”
        2. This is what Peter and his fellow-first century preachers did.
          1. This is what we have heard, and
          2. this is what we have obeyed.


  1. Tensions increase daily between 
    1. political leaders and their adherents,
    2. the races of various colors,
    3. secularists and believers, but
      1. in the church Peter shows
        1. what it should be and
        2. what it is.
      2. Love prevails because
        1. the Father has brought us into His family, and
        2. we love the members of our family.
  2. Join us in the family of God, the family of love, but 
    1. purify your soul first,
    2. by obeying the truth.
  3. Go home today with the peace of mind 
    1. that heaven is your home, and
    2. that you have become a member of the family of God.
  4. I want all of you to be part of this family where love reigns. 
    1. What can I do, or what can the church do, to persuade you to join us?
      1. Peter said you are born again through obeying what you hear preached.
      2. Jesus had told the apostles what to preach,

        15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16.15, 16).

        1. The Gospel is that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
        2. Jesus said that whoever believes that good news, and
          1. is baptized shall be saved,
          2. whereas, whoever does not believe shall be condemned.
    2. Which choice shall you make?