Sermons

Summary: The living hope of the new birth springs not only from believers¡¯ future inheritance & present joy but also out of their faith in God¡¯s written Word. Here Peter examines the Great Hope of Eternal Salvation from the viewpoint of 4 divine agents involved wi

1 PETER 1: 10-12 [Renewing Hope Series]

THE HOPE OF ETERNAL SALVATION

[Matthew 13: 16-17 / 2 Peter 1:20-21]

The story began one summer's day toward the end of the nineteenth century when an English city boy was on A VISIT TO RURAL SCOTLAND. That afternoon the boy went swimming in a small countryside lake. After swimming quite a distance from shore, a severe cramp seized him so that he could not continue swimming. He was in great pain and soon cried out at the top of his voice for help. A farm boy working in a nearby field heard the city boy's screams and ran as fast as he could to the lake. There the farm boy threw off his shirt, dived into the water, swam to the imperiled city boy, and brought him safely to the shore.

Several years later the two boys met again. The city boy, still filled with gratitude that the other boy had saved his life, was thrilled to see the farm boy again and asked him what career the boy had decided to pursue. The farm boy said he had chosen a career in medicine. Since the city boy's parents were quite wealthy and were greatly indebted to the other boy for saving their son's life, upon hearing of the farm boy's career choice they immediately promised to pay for his medical education. They followed through on their promise and the young man went on to have a brilliant career in scientific investigation.

In 1928 that farm boy, then both a physician and bacteriologist, discovered the famous wonder drug penicillin. In 1945 he shared the Nobel prize with two other scientists for the discovery and development of that antibiotic. That Scottish farm boy turned scientific researcher, who died in 1955, was Alexander Fleming.

The rescued city boy also gained great renown. During World War II he contracted a life-threatening case of pneumonia. He recovered at a hospital after receiving penicillin, which meant that indirectly the one-time farm boy Alexander Fleming had saved his life twice. The city boy's name was Winston Churchill, the famous wartime British prime minister and world statesman. Interestingly, just like Fleming, Churchill won a Nobel prize. But in his instance, he won the 1953 award in literature for his incisive writings on the history of the Second World War.

It's wonderful to save a life, and even more wonderful to save a someone's life twice, especially when the one saved was such an influential person as Winston Churchill. But the hard-working, selfless contributions of Alexander Fleming are nothing compared to the greatness of saving people's eternal souls. That great salvation is the heart of the apostle Peter's concern. He wanted his believing audience to focus on that full, final rescue from sin, Satan, death, and hell that God so graciously chose to give them through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Peter celebrates salvation's great hope by reminding his readers that no matter how difficult the circumstances or how severe the persecution, they can confidently hold to the Hope of Eternal Salvation. [MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary. 2004. Moody Press. P. 49-51]

Peter never allows us to lose sight of the priority of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It was this basic message that Peter proclaimed to the Sanhedrin when he and John were arrested for preaching the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter declared, "Nor is there salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

There is hardly another word as blessed, hopeful, comforting, or assuring as salvation. The message of the Bible is that even though man cannot save himself from the eternal consequences of his sin (Gen. 2:17; Jer. 2:22; 18:12; John 3:19; Rom. 6:23; Eph, 2:1-3; Col. 2:13;2 Tim. 2:25-26), God will rescue from condemnation all those who trust in Him and believe His Word (Mt. 11 :28-30; Luke 19: 1 0; John 1:12-13,29; 3:14-17; Acts 10:43; Eph. 1 :7; 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 7:25; James 1: 18). The apostle Paul wrote,"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). [Not only does God love sinners, but He alone is able to rescue them since "salvation belongs to the Lord" (Ps. 3:8).] Furthermore, God is willing to rescue sinners; He "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4).

As discussed preciously, Peter noted the joy of the church in the glorious gift of salvation (1:6-9). No matter how adverse their circumstances, Christians should never stop rejoicing over the greatness of their salvation. "Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day" (Ps. 96:2; also Pss. 9:14; 21:1; 40:16; 71:23; 1 Chron. 16:23; Isa. 25:9; 35: 10;.1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Thess. 5: 16; Rev. 5:9). [MacArthur, p. 52]

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