As Truth Dies

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 9/20/2020

All of us are like these exiles—these aliens and strangers—Peter writes to in 1 Peter 1:1, “. . .To those chosen, living as exiles dispersed abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” We all find ourselves surrounded by, confronted as it were, peering/staring into the sheer darkness of the world. The turmoil, the cruelty of our world is indeed overwhelming.

But here is the difference. The non-Christian peers into the darkness and only sees more darkness. They are overcome with a sense of anxiety and dread. But the Christian is overwhelmed with praise. We hear the voice of the one whose “called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). We hear the one who calls us a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. 1 Peter 1:2. We realize that God the Father has “foreknown” us all along. We realize the Spirit of the Living God is at work within “sanctifying” us. We realize that our lives truly matter, our choices, our life, our “obedience”, our faith, all of it. The blood of Jesus Christ covers, and forgives us, completely! 

1 Peter 1:3. As believers we BLESS the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He’s given us new birth, into a living hope, into a resurrection hope from the grave. 1 Peter 1:4. He has given us an eternal inheritance that can never perish, be defiled, fade away, nor be taken from us. 1 Peter 1:5 God is guarding us by his power for salvation. 1 Peter 1:7 God is refining and proving our faith for his own glory through our adversity. 1 Peter 1:9 we are receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls. We’re rejoicing. We’re praising. We’re blessing God. 

But the non-Christian looks into the darkness and sees no greater light than his own self. I found this article about how, “The UK Has Been Facing Down COVID Without Turning to Religion.” I was curious! In the past, people always turned to religion during crisis. But now there is a better alternative—the “humanist” approach. Instead of turning to God, we're learning to turn to ourselves! 

“Now, with the fragility of life so clear to us all, we're emerging from a crisis with a desire for a new social morality - one that recognizes our interdependence and provides guidance, comfort and inspiration even during times like these.” “This is the first time in living history that a crisis has been met with out religion. In reaction to chaos, uncertainty, and great loss, society faced down the coronavirus pandemic with reason and science.” Through “human ingenuity…” through “our selflessness, bravery, and generosity”… we're “containing the virus, saving lives, preserving civilization.” “There is a more relevant way to live well in today’s secular world—it’s the humanist way!” https://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2020/08/27/the-uk-is-facing-down-covid-without-turning-to-religion 

Blessed be humankind. Praise be unto ourselves. God isn’t really there. We only have our interdependent selves. We only need to look for ourselves for guidance, comfort and inspiration. We can face down any threat through our own sheer reason and science, human ingenuity, selflessness, bravery, generosity! 

There are two profoundly different ways of being in this world. There is the way of humility, that puts faith in a marvelous sufficient God, blessing, praising his name! There is a way of humanism, of pride, that puts faith in humankind. There are two kinds of people. Those who peer into the darkness and see more darkness. Those who peer into the darkness and see the marvelous light of God’s salvation. 

I love the abrupt way the Apostle Peter ambushes his own train of thought in 1 Peter. This morning we’re looking at 1 Peter 1:10-12 (Week 3 in your study guide). But keep in mind in 1 Peter 1:8 Peter was just explaining the nature of faith. He says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with an inexpressible glorious joy.” 

Can we just admit what a struggle it is that our God is “Spirit”, and that he is “invisible.” The humanist has its reason and physical sciences built on observation, on the five senses, on the five senses augmented by mind-boggling technology, instrumentation, computers, and modeling, and “reason.” If the humanist were honest, he’d acknowledge the truth of Romans 1:20: “For [God’s] invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.” But “No.”, the humanist says, “There is no God. There is only what we can see and touch. There is only man with his thoughts.” 

I think Peter recognizes these exiles need their faith encouraged a bit more concretely than being told, “Just believe because I’ve told you so.” In 1 Peter 1:10 Peter begins, “Concerning this salvation. . .” How does the Christian come about such extraordinary beliefs and claims and understanding about salvation and life? 

First, Peter says the Prophets “Prophesied.” We shouldn’t confuse this word “prophesy” with preaching and teaching. To prophesy is to hear and speak a fresh new word of revelation from God. The Bible is a book of prophesy. It’s a written record of every new word God spoke at pivotal points in human history. Whenever we preach and teach, we're not speaking some fresh “new” word of revelation. No, we’re proclaiming what’s already been revealed. The test of prophet and prophecy is Deuteronomy 18:15-22—if what a prophet proclaims doesn’t happen or isn’t true, he has no authority, do not fear him, in fact, kill him. 

Second, Peter says the Prophets “Foretell.” 1 Peter 1:10, they “prophesied about the grace that would come to you.” Throughout history humankind has taken some dark turns. Adam and Eve took a pretty dark turn. What about Cain? You start reading the Bible, and the Word of God completely obliterates any and every single shred of humanist optimism! The world becomes more chaotic, man becomes more utterly cruel, without knowledge and fear of God! Sin multiplies sin. Sin multiplies death. The wages of sin is death! Sin obliterates grace and peace. 

It’s hard to read the Old Testament without fear and trembling. No one should be comforted by the thought of us getting exactly what our sin deserves! But the way you “should” read the Old Testament is through the lens of grace. From Genesis to Malachi, the Prophets announced that grace was on its way. Carefully read even the gravest, darkest, meanest, apocalyptic books in your Bible and you’ll see sprinkled everywhere grace, grace, grace. Wherever sin multiplies, the grace of God multiplies even more. The blood of Christ atones. 

So how did all of these prophets foretell that the grace of God is coming? You know what humanists tell us? They foretell that hell and more hell is coming. The darkest most apocalyptic voices today are godless humanists. There is no hope, and not a shred of grace. And their doomsday scenarios never materialize. 

Third, Peter says the Prophets "Reasoned." 1 Peter 1:10b-11, “. . .[they] searched and carefully investigated. They inquired into what time or what circumstances the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified in advance of the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” 

Let me say this about the Bible. There is very little in this Bible you could ever uncover through wisdom alone. Humanists are so arrogant. The author of that article boasts of “a new (and vastly superior) social morality” unlike anything religion has ever conceived, that is emerging. Humanism is not providing superior guidance, comfort, and inspiration. It’s not producing selflessness, bravery, and generosity. It’s not containing the virus of sin and death, saving mankind from sin and death, or preserving human civilization. There is no greater utopian glory to be found in humanism, there is just more suffering following suffering. 

What a chaotic mess Humanism has made of God’s holy laws. What a mess Humanism has made of marriages, families, gender, sexuality, sobriety, basic human decency, responsibility, and common sense. Man doesn’t reason himself toward greater wisdom, knowledge, understanding, holiness, fear of God. Man reasons himself toward greater wickedness and depravity. 

You look at your Bible. Whether you are talking about God holy law, his holy commandments, or his holy words, or his holy prophesies, there is no way man reasons himself into multiplying grace and peace. Wake up and look around. The humanists are burning down our society. They only know chaos and cruelty, not the way of grace and peace. 

But let me say this. Just because we can't reason our way to God doesn’t mean the way of God isn’t reasonable. The prophets weren’t psychologically deluded individuals. Their mind, their reason, their faculties were fully engaged. In fact, as you truly investigate things of God, they take on a kind of beauty or winsomeness. God’s truth appeals to the deepest, best part of our reason. 

Psalm 119 extols the beauty of God’s law. John 5:39-40 Jesus says, “You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me. But you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.” In John 7:52 Jesus tells a couple of disciples, “Investigate and you will see.” In Matt 5:17 Jesus says he’s come to “fulfill the law and prophets.” 

The Spirit of Christ, in concert with the Prophet’s mind, intellect, reason—was pointing them toward truth. Events like Jesus birth, his death-burial-resurrection, his ascension, the glories that would follow his sufferings. We don’t come about faith by reason alone. We come about faith by revelation. God is really there, God has really spoken. But just because we don’t come about faith by reason alone doesn’t mean faith is unreasonable, or revelation is unreasonable! 

READ 2 Peter 1:16-21 Peter says, “For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!” 18 We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 

Fourth Peter says, the Prophets “Served.” 1 Peter 1:12, “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.” 

Okay Peter is being quite modest here. Hebrews 11. These Prophets were killed, maimed, bloodied for their message. Christ, crucified. The Apostles, Peter, martyred. Consider the enormous price paid for any one of us to have the luxury of hearing, much less preaching and teaching God’s word. Tell you what—every one of us, from the vantage point of the angels in heaven, are privileged. They long to get just a “glimpse” of our faith. The angels were mystified that we’ve not seen God yet love and believe. 


Scripture Verses

1 Peter 1:1-12; Romans 1:20; John 5:39-40, 7:52; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Hebrews 11

Worship Playlist

God of the Promise by Elevation Worship

Who You Say I Am by Hillsong

Christ Be Magnified by Cody Carnes

O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship

Study Questions

  1. Where does it seem to you that truth is dying?
  2. Why is truth so important to God? to the Christian?
  3. Read John 8:44. What are some lies Satan tries to impose on humankind? on you?
  4. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. How does the belt of truth help us stand firm?

Apply It!

Resources

Read and reread 1 Peter each week over this sermon series. One of the shorter books of the Bible, it takes just 16 minutes to read. The full text is in your Stand Firm sermon series booklet. You can also read it or listen to it read in various translations at www.biblegateway.com