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The Power of God’s Word

Notes & Transcripts

The Power of God’s Word

1 Peter 1:17-2:3

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - June 27, 2012

*As you’ve already heard, our theme for VBS this year is “Amazing Wonders Aviation,” and it’s all about the amazing power of God. Against the backdrop of some of the world’s great natural wonders, the children will look into the Bible to see God’s amazing power over nature, our circumstances, sin and death. We will also explore the amazing power God wants to have over our lives.

*“Amazing Wonders Aviation” is all about the amazing power of our God, so today we will focus on the power of God’s Word.

*Please open your Bibles to 1 Peter 1, and we will start reading in vs. 17, where Peter is speaking to everyone who has trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

17. And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear;

18. knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,

19. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

20. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

21. who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

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,

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.

1 Peter 2:1-3

1. Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,

2. as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

3. if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

*There is no other book like this Book. The Bible is the amazing, miraculous Word of God. And it is saturated with the power of God.

1. First this morning, the Bible has the power to give us salvation.

*This is why in Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel (or good news) of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

*The Word of God has the power to give us salvation. And in today’s Scripture, Peter shows us 3 basics of our salvation.

[1] The first basic is freedom.

*Salvation sets us free. We must know this essential truth, so starting in vs. 18, Peter tells believers:

18. knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,

19. but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

*Being "redeemed" means to be delivered or liberated or set free, because someone else paid a ransom for your freedom. And Jesus Christ redeemed or paid the ransom for everyone who trusts in Him.

*That’s why in Matthew 20:28 Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And the New Living Translation puts vs. 18&19 this way:

18. For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver.

19. It was the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

*Salvation sets us free. The blood of Jesus Christ has the power to redeem us from spiritual slavery. But that doesn’t make sense unless you understand that every person who has ever been born, was born a slave to sin and death.

*You were born a slave to sin and death, but Jesus Christ came into the world to set us free. This is why Hebrews 2:14-15 speaks about Jesus and says:

14. Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

15. and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

*Every one of us was born a slave to sin and death. But on the cross, Jesus paid the price to set us free. On the cross, Jesus died to take the punishment for our sins.

*One preacher put it this way: "The cross is the place where grace and sin collide with a crash, but the wreckage is suffered on the heart of God. The sinner walks away free: Free from sin’s penalty, free to walk with God, free to live in His heaven for all eternity." (1)

*Salvation sets us free.

[2] But we could never get this freedom without the Word of God. That’s because salvation requires our faith.

*So in vs. 20&21, Peter said this about Jesus:

20. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

21. who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

*Peter had a lot to say about faith in this chapter. Look starting up in vs. 3:

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4. to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

5. who are kept by the power of God through FAITH for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,

7. that the genuineness of your FAITH, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

8. whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet BELIEVING, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

9. receiving the end of your FAITH -- the salvation of your souls.

*Salvation requires our faith, and there is only one place to get this saving faith: from the Word of God. As Paul said in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

*After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples on the first Easter Sunday, but for some reason, Thomas wasn’t there, and he refused to believe. Eight days later, Jesus appeared again, and this time Thomas was with the disciples. In John 20:29, Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.''

*Then the Apostle John wrote:

30. . . “Truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;

31. but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

*Salvation requires our faith.

[3] And it puts us in a family.

*Peter reminds us of this truth starting in vs. 23, where he talks about believers being born again. Peter said that Christians have:

23. . . “been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

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.”

*When we hear the good news about Jesus Christ from the Bible and turn to God, when we open our hearts to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are saved by God. This means our sins are forgiven, we receive God’s gift of eternal life, and we are spiritually born again into the Family of God.

*You may not have another blood relative in this world. But if you are saved, you are part of the best Family of all! And all of this comes through the Word of God.

-No one has ever been saved without the Word of God.

-It has the power to save our souls.

*When Tony Campolo was a professor at Eastern University, many of his coworkers were atheists. So Tony tried to be logical and persuasive in standing up for his Christian beliefs. Sometimes he went too far, like the time Tony made a joke that not all Christians were like those guys who hold up Scripture signs at ballgames.

*One of Tony’s coworkers replied that two years before he was watching the Super Bowl, and noticed a man in the stands holding up a sign that said, "John 1:12." Tony’s coworker looked the Scripture up, and found that this verse says, "But as many as received Him (i.e. Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."

*That afternoon while thinking about this verse of Scripture, Tony's coworker opened his heart to receive Jesus. That is the power God has put into His Word. (2)

*In 2007, Southern Baptist VBS led to over 88,000 children and adults being saved. That’s the power of God’s Word! (3)

*The Bible has the power to give us salvation.

2. But it also has the power to give us purification.

*The Word of God has the power to purify our hearts and minds. Peter stressed this truth in vs. 22 where he told the church: "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."

*God wants us to have pure hearts. And He uses His Word to help us get there. That’s why on the night before the cross, in John 15:3, Jesus told His disciples: "Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."

*Then in John 17:17, Jesus was praying for His followers and made this request to our Heavenly Father: "Sanctify (or make them holy) by Your truth. Your word is truth."

*God’s Word is able to purify our hearts and minds. Pastor Clyde Turner told about a little boy in Sunday School during the pastor’s time at FBC in Greensboro, KY.

*This little boy was an unholy terror, and nobody knew what to do with him. Finally, he stopped coming to Sunday School. Dr. Turner later admitted, "I am ashamed to say it, but I think we were all glad of it."

*Nobody made a special effort to get the little boy back. But one day they were having a meeting in the sanctuary. And that boy came running down the aisle with a violin case under his arm. "Dr. Turner!" he exclaimed, "They gave me a fiddle for being good."

*Dr. Turner thought, "In the first place, I could imagine nobody giving him a fiddle. And in the second place, certainly not for being good." The little boy sensed the wonder on the pastor’s face and explained, "You see, doctor, I’m gooder than I used to be."

*Then as the boy raced down the hall, Dr. Turner thought, "Yes, thank God, by the grace of God a lot of us are gooder than we used to be." (4)

*That is the power of God’s Word! -- It can purify our hearts and minds.

*But Peter reminds us in vs. 22 that purification is not just about the things we shouldn’t do. It’s about the things we should do. So Peter said, "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."

*Love here is not just a feeling. It’s a verb. And the essence of a pure heart here is love in action. God wants us to do the same kind of things He does for us. He wants us to treat one another with kindness and compassion.

*That can be hard to do, but God’s Word will help us.

-The Bible has the power to give us purification.

3. And it has the power to give us completion.

*Peter reminds us of this truth in chapter 2, vs. 1&2, where he said:

1. Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,

2. as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

*When we get saved, we are born again as spiritual babies, and God wants us to grow every day.

*It’s hard to comprehend how much we have grown physically. We all started out as eggs so small that I could hold over 300,000,000 of them in my hand. (By the way, thinking about that, is it any wonder that God can hold the whole universe in His hand?)

*But we all have grown so much physically. Even short people like me have grown exponentially. And that’s the way God wants His children to grow spiritually. So in 1 John 3:2, the Apostle tells Christians: "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

*Christians, God wants us to grow up to be like Jesus Christ. And nothing can help us grow more than the Word of God. That’s why in vs. 2, Peter said: "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby."

*God’s Word has the power to help us grow up into all the Lord wants us to be.

-It has the power to give us completion.

4. And it has the power to give us satisfaction.

*That’s why in vs. 2&3, Peter said:

2. as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

3. if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

*Most of us have been around hungry babies. They won’t be satisfied with a toy or a TV show. They won't be satisfied by being held or rocked or ridden in the car. The only thing that will satisfy a hungry little baby is milk. And the only thing that can really satisfy our souls is the God we encounter on the pages of His Word.

*We live in a day when people go to all kinds of extremes to find satisfaction.

*But God can satisfy our souls like no one else can!

-As Psalm 34:8 says: "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"

-Psalm 119:103 declares: "How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

-And in Jeremiah 15:16, the prophet gave this praise to God: "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts."

*Through His Word, God wants to be our satisfaction. And if you will let Him be your source of satisfaction, then you will be more satisfied in every area of your life: More satisfied at work, more satisfied at home.

*You will be satisfied with the smallest pleasures in life: To hear a bird sing, to see a beautiful tree. You can be satisfied with your Master in every situation.

*One of the worst storms of the last 20 years was Hurricane Andrew. It was a terrible storm that devastated south Florida. Pastor Steve Brown tells a story about going through this killer storm. Steve and his family hid in the closet, as the roof began to fall down into the house.

*Just then their dog, "Quincy the Wonder Dog," came running into the closet with a ball in his mouth. He dropped it on Steve’s lap and started wagging his tail.

*Steve said (not too nicely), "Quincy, you stupid dog! The house is falling apart. We are going to die! This is not the time to play catch!"

*But Steve later got this insight: "Quincy didn’t understand that. As long as his master was there, as long as the source of all his security was there, as long as he trusted me, the hurricane didn’t matter."

*Once the hurricane was over Steve thought about Quincy wanting to play ball., and Steve prayed this prayer: "Father, make me like (Quincy). Teach me to have that kind of trust." (5)

*God can do that. He can keep you satisfied, even in the worst storms of life, and He does it through His Word.

Conclusion:

*God’s Word has the power!

-Let it save you and purify you.

-Let it help you grow.

-And let it satisfy your soul like nothing else can.

(1) Source: online sermon, "Open Arms" by Rebecca Eisenhart - John 13:1-17 & 31-35

(2) Story told in "Following Jesus without Embarrassing God" by Tony Campolo - Dallas: Word Publishing, 1997, p. 271-272 - Adapted from illustration found in Dynamic Illustrations - Other bio info from Wikipedia

(3) http://lifewayvbs.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/why-vacation-bible-school-matters/

(4) SermonCentral sermon "The Grace of God" by Steve Shepherd - John 1:14

(5) "Approaching God" by Steve Brown - p. 56 - Moorings, Nashville, TN - Copyright 1996

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