1 Peter 1:22-25

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1 Peter 1:22–25 KJV (WS)
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 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.


Going through persecution and trial.
Easy to become inward.
Easy to become selfish.
Not an excuse for unholy living, not an excuse for unloving living.

Peter commands the Christian community to show love to one another. v22

Peter has mostly been communicating to his readers as individuals.

Now, he addresses his readers as a group.
You can see the plurality intended through the use of y-words.
Ye and your in our passage clue us in that Peter is thinking of the Christian community rather than just the individual.
Christian community has as it’s primary expression the local church.
You may have a Christian homeschool group.
You may have a Christian sports team.
You may have a Christian non-profit.
None of these can replace the local Christian church in God’s plan.
The assembly of Christians is unique from other assemblies.
We share something in common.
Peter points out that Christians all have something in their past that happened at a distinct moment and yet carries continuing consequences.
The tense of Peter’s words indicates that this is true.
So what happened to all of us that is still affecting us?
We have been purified.
We have been born again.
We were saved.
It’s something that happened at a moment in time.
It is something that continues to have a profound effect on us.
One of the things that should set Christianity apart from other religions, besides the fact that it is true, is our ongoing adherence to it’s principles.
The active response of God’s people to His direction should be distinct among the world’s religions.
We’ve talked about God’s desire for us to be holy, but there is another area of obedience that God expects us to fulfill as His children.

We are to love one another.

Love is an essential part of the Christian life.
Jesus said this was the identifying mark of His followers.
John 13:35 “35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Paul warned that if we left this part out, we would be as nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:2 “2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
John seemed to think that love was pretty important for the Christian life.
1 John 4:7–8 “7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
Peter tells us, in this passage that love for the brethren is one of the outflows of salvation.
He again uses ye for plurality in directing all of his readers to love one another.
He describes our love for each other through two images that we should give careful consideration to.
We are to love each other with the unfeigned love of the brethren.
Those of you that have studied the topic of love in the Bible can probably identify the word that lies behind “love of the brethren.”
It is the word phileo or brotherly love.
Brotherly love exists between those who share commonality.
Common parents.
Common interests.
Common salvation.
This love is to be unfeigned.
This is a reference to an actor with a mask on.
An actor pretends to be someone he is not.
In this case, he pretends to be a loving brother in Christ.
There is always a danger that we pretend to love each other instead of actual affection for each other.
We are also to love one another with a pure heart fervently.
Love with a pure heart is translated from the word agape.
This is the love that God has for us.
It is the highest form of love.
It is completely pure in that it seeks nothing for itself.
If brotherly love is experienced through commonality; Agape love is expressed through difference.
Think about it, this is what God did for us.
This is what He expects us to do for others.
We are not to exclusively love those that we have things in common with.
We are to also love those in our church that we have significant differences with.
Which is easier?
Love people that we connect well with.
Love people that we really don’t prefer to be around?
That’s why Peter says we are to love them fervently.
This is a sports term.
It means to strive with full intensity.
It means to engage all of one’s energy to accomplish something.
In this case, to love each other despite our differences.
This is a big ask that the Bible is making of us.
We are naturally selfish.
That’s why it took a miracle of God to give us the capacity for this kind of enduring love.

Christians are born of enduring seed. v23

The kind of love that Peter is advocating requires a rebirth.

Peter is captured by the truth that the Christian has received a new life in salvation.
He’s mentioned it several times already.
Peter knows that we are not damaged in need of repair, we are dead in need of resurrection.

We have received that new life when we got saved.

Jesus is the one that came up with this phrase “born again.”
John 3:3 “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.”
John 3:7 “7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
Peter obviously pictures this new life in terms of a plant that grows from a seed.
Only, the Christian plant is not the product of corruptible seed.
Instead, we grow from incorruptible or enduring seed.
A plant from a corruptible seed will inherit the corruptibility of it’s source.
A plant from incorruptible seed will inherit the incorruptibility of it’s source.
A child receives the genetics passed down to him from his parents.
A plant receives his genetics from the type of see that is planted.
The Christian plant is a result of the seed of the word of God.
The Bible, according to Peter is the living, incorruptible seed that brings us to new life.
Aren’t you thankful for the living word of God?
Aren’t you grateful for the incorruptible word of God?
The Bible shares in the character of it’s author.
Love is the character and essence of God.
Like we talked about earlier.
It then passes that character on to us as we believe and receive it.
A character of love is something that we receive by virtue of the new birth.
It’s become part of who we are.
This leads Christians to a crossroads.

Will their expression of love represent their new life or their old one? v24-25

Peter quotes Is 40:6-8.

Isaiah 40:6–8 “6 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.”
This is meant to draw a stark contrast between the Christian’s new life and their old life.
Our old life was the life of the flesh.
All flesh is as the grass.
Whatever glory or goodliness that comes from the flesh is only fleeting.
Whatever is born of the flesh is destined to die and decay.
Even if it resembles brotherly love.
Even if it resembles fervent agape love.
If it is born of the flesh, it is corruptible.
Humans are without exception like grass.
Human glory is like the flowers.
They have their day and they are gone.
Christians are not exempt from attempting to act in the flesh.
If we try to build and foster a spirit of love and unity in the church on the basis of our first birth we will fail.
If we build upon the new life that we have received then we will succeed.
How do we love according to the new life?
Is our new life enduring?
Where did we get it from?
The seed of God’s word.
It doesn’t change.
The Bible’s definition of love doesn’t change with culture or technology.
Aren’t you glad, the Bible’s definition of love doesn’t change.
For God so loved the world.
God commendeth his love toward us.

Old life love vs new life love.

Old life love looks around the church and judges.
It shows fake love to our brothers and sisters.
We smile and exchange pleasantries to each other’s faces.
Behind closed doors we criticize and put down our spiritual family.
We put on a mask and pretend to be nice to people have experienced new life, just like we have.
Then we tear each other down when we think the other person isn’t listening.
Or, we see someone who is different than us in some way and withhold love from that person.
They haven’t been at the church as long as me, so they don’t deserve my love.
They made different education choices for their kids than i did for mine, so I’m going to withhold treating them with love.
They’ve got some skeletons in their closet, so I’m going to discriminate against them.
They haven’t paid as great a price for following Jesus as I have.
New life love looks around the church for opportunities to show love.
To those that have things in common with us.
To those that are different than us.
Any church can pretend to be loving.
We don’t want to be a pretender.
We want our love for each other to be genuine.
That will only happen if we reject the flesh and live in the new life we have received from God.
We cannot do that apart from God’s word.
It’s how we learned of the gospel in the first place.
It’s how we will live the gospel moving forward.
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