Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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Message #2: Salvation
Last evening we simply introduced the theme of the book Sustaining Strength for Suffering Saints. It is a tremendous theme that Peter deals with in each of the five chapters of this first epistle. We pointed out that I Peter is written to comfort the afflicted. II Peter is written to afflict the comfortable and in the ministry of the Word of God both such things are necessary. I am sure you know that in your own life, there are times you have needed to be comforted, and there are other times you have needed to be afflicted to be stirred up. Youve been too comfortable. I Peter is written primarily to comfort those who were truly afflicted.
Im going to give you an outline of the book that I hope will be helpful to you. The book begins with a Salutation. Thats a word of greeting and thats verses 1 and 2 of chapter one. Then beginning in verse 3 with the word Blessed there begins a section that goes through chapter two and verse 10. If you have a paragraphed Bible such as the American Standard Version of the Scriptures or other Bibles that are paragraphed, youll find that there is a distinct paragraph break, indeed a section break, after verse 2 and after chapter two and verse 10. I call this first major section in one word Salvation. Were going to see some of the things involved in our great salvation. In fact, if we have time to unfold all of it, well see that there are four things in regard to our salvation. First, we will consider the blessings of salvation in verses 3-9 of chapter one. The basis of our salvation is in verses 10-12 of chapter one; then, our behavior because of our salvation in chapter one verses 13-25; then in chapter two 1-10 the benefits of salvation. Now, when you come to the second section of the book, and that begins at 2:11 and goes through 4:11, a word that I think can describe this section is Sanctification and it begins with the word, Beloved. The word dearly is not in the revisions but it is not wrong to have it. You have blessed that begins the first section, dearly beloved that begins the second major section of Sanctification. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. If we get time to deal with that, well give you a breakdown on that. The last section begins in 4:12 with again the word beloved and thats Glorification 4:12-5:11. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christs sufferings, that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. Then verse 16, let him glorify God on this behalf. So its the matter of glorification. Chapter five, verse 1, a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Verse 4, Ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. It ends with verse 11, To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Then verses 12-14 a word of Communication. By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which ye stand. May I indicate that from that verse there is something of the content of the whole epistle. When you are faced with suffering, as suffering does come to the child of God, remember the true grace of God which has provided your salvation, your sanctification, and has in store for you your glorification. In the midst of suffering, remember what God has done for you, what He is doing for you, and what He will yet do for you. All suffering then falls into proper perspective because of Who God is, because of what God has done, what He is doing, and what He will yet do for you.
There are some in the day in which we live who are retreating into a purely experiential type of Christianity. They say, Well, just cast yourself upon the Lord and seek earnestly after Him and all that . . . I tell you folks, you will find the Lord in His Word, in the written Word of God. It is in the Scriptures that you find assurance and comfort and hope. Just to establish that fact, turn a moment with me to Romans chapter 15 and verse 4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of (What? Experience? No, experience must be based upon Scripture exposition) that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope. This is why a Bible conference such as this and your personal Bible study is so profitable for you, not only for times that are good but for times that are bad, so that in all times we might have patience and comfort of the Scriptures and through that we will have hope. Out of this the God of patience and consolation will grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus, That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I trust that the result of our study together here in I Peter will result in the comfort and encouragement and hope that comes to us, it will also bring a unity of the Spirit to us, and will result in the glorifying of God through His Son.
Lets go back and look at verses 1 and 2 in I Peter chapter one. The Salutation. There are three things here I want you to see. First, the destination of this epistle. It is from Peter to Jewish believers scattered throughout what we sometimes refer to as Asia Minor, now the area known as Turkey. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. It is interesting how Peter refers to himself in this first epistle and then how he refers to himself in his second epistle. Someone has said, A believer who grows in grace is like a church steeple, the closer he gets to the Lord the smaller he becomes. This was true of Peter. When he wrote his first epistle, he referred to himself only as that name which the Lord had given him and then also an apostle. Both of those were terms of exaltation because having been one who previously was small, the Lord had made him a rock and having been one who was just a servant, he was made an apostle. Notice when you come to II Peter chapter one and verse 1, he refers to himself as Simon Peter and then not just as an apostle but a servant and an apostle. I believe that Peter grew in grace from the time he wrote II Peter. I think that the Lord had brought a bit more of humility into his own life because rather than just referring to himself by his Christian name, he reminds himself and his readers of his pre-Christian name of Simon, which was something of a term of humility and then of Peter, a term of exaltation, and then a servant, one of humility, and an apostle, one of exaltation. May I say this, there is both humiliation and exaltation in relation to the Lord. You have to realize that you simply are a sinner. A sinner saved by grace and that whatever you have, you simply have it because of what God has made available to you. If you have a new name in Christ, as Peter did, you have that not because of what you are or were but because of who He is and because you have received of Him all that you need of life and godliness as Peter refers to that in his second epistle. If you go back to I Corinthians chapter four, there is a very interesting expression there that is always a challenge to me, because it makes me realize that whatever I have is only because of what He has given. I Corinthians 4:7, For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? Anything that we have or are is because of Who He is and because of what, in His grace, He has given to us. I am convinced that every believer has at least one gift, if not many gifts; and I believe that these come to the fore as we seek to serve the Lord and glorify Him in our lives, and He will use that which He has imparted to us to glorify Himself.
This word, Peter, and we could spend a lot of time talking about Peter, is a word that does mean either a stone or a rock. Peter was a rock. Sometimes I think he had many characteristics of a rock. He had some sharp edges, as many as you know as you study the life of Peter. You also find there was a certain protrusion about him, as rocks protrude, he could protrude into almost any situation with a word here and word there. Sometimes it was right and sometimes it was wrong. There was also a certain firmness about Peter for which we can be grateful but this came primarily for him after the Spirit of God had done a ministry in his heart and life and caused him to move from one who had previously been vacillating to one who was stable in the grace of God. Peter, an apostle. I believe that there was only one particular group of apostles. You only need the apostles when you have the foundation, and weve had the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the writers of holy Scripture. Now were in the midst of the superstructure. In fact, I think were up near the roof, and I think the roof is just about to come down and complete the church. We dont need apostles today, not in the sense that they were a unique group for the establishment of the church in the beginning. It is true that in the original sense the word apostle means one that is sent, and in that very general sense I believe that every Christian ought to be that very kind of general apostle. Now dont get me in the wrong way. Im a dispensationalist and I only believe we had one group of apostles, but I do believe that throughout the age of grace every believer is sent. In John 15, the Lord Jesus, I believe, expresses this not only on behalf of His disciples but on behalf of all who will believe on Him. In verse 16 of John 15, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you. To this extent, I believe that every believer is sent. Some are sent farther than others, some are sent to foreign lands, some are sent just across the street; but I believe that whoever you are and wherever you are, in that very general sense you are to be an apostle, a sent one, a missionary, for that is the Latin derivative of this, of Jesus Christ. Peter was that. He was one who was sent forth by the Lord Jesus. Peters ministry was essentially to Jewish believers.
In Galatians chapter two verses 7 and 8, Paul acknowledges this. He says, But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, (thats to Paul) as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles). Now that didnt mean that Paul never ministered to Jews or that Peter was uniquely an apostle to the Jews and so he addresses this epistle to the strangers. That word strangers is literally the sojourners of the dispersion, Jewish believers in Asia Minor. Peter was uniquely called to minister to the Jews, so those whom he addresses are Jewish believers. Thus, they had a background of knowledge in regard to Jehovah God of the Old Testament Who had revealed Himself in the pages of holy Scripture. It is to them that he could speak of the true and living God.
Its interesting that in writing to the Jews the very next verse in I Peter one is a verse that sets forth the Trinity, three in one. Notice you have, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father (theres the Father), through sanctification of the Spirit (Now its true its not in the normal order here of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but in this particular verse it is Father, Spirit, and then), unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: You have the three Persons of the blessed Trinity set forth here. The destination is in verse 1, and there is a doctrinal delineation here in verse 2. First setting forth the Trinity and then setting forth those who trust in the Trinity. In fact, the very first word refers to those who trust. Elect, that is, the chosen ones, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. Our salvation is based upon Gods design. God the Father designed our salvation in eternity past. I am convinced that the Trinity is a blessed committee in the best and most glorious sense of that term. There is only one chairman of the committee. While they are equal in Person and power, they are not equal in position. They have different positions within the Trinity. I challenge you to show you anywhere in the Word of God that the Father submits to the Son or to the Holy Spirit. It is taught that the Son submits to the Father and the Holy Spirit submits to the Son and to the Father, but the Father is always in charge in the blessed Trinity. Sometimes when I point out that, I point out that I believe there is a progression on earth in which I am convinced also that the Father is expected to be in charge in the home. In our salvation, we are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. God the Father in His sovereign knowledge determined in eternity past our salvation through His Son. I know a lot of people are quite disturbed about this matter of election. I want to say publicly that I do not have the last word on election. God does. I believe He has revealed sufficient in the Scriptures for us to know something about the matter of election, and the one thing I do want to say is that election is that which God has determined. He has chosen us. Im not going to go into all the ramifications of that. I think it is something we ought to rejoice in. It is not something we ought to criticize God for or that we ought to be critical of. The one thing I would emphasize is that if you ever seek God, you will find that He sought you first. If you ever desire God, you will find that He desired to have you first. In the sovereign plan and purpose of God the Father, He designed that we who believe on His Son would be His own, would come to Him, would believe on Him, would find life in Him. It is the blessed Holy Spirit who sets us apart for that. This through sanctification of the Spirit is the setting apart of individuals so that they might know the truth and be obedient to the truth through sanctification, the setting apart of the Spirit. This is the Holy Spirits dynamic. The Fathers design, the Holy Spirits dynamic, His power in setting us apart, and the, Christs deliverance. Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. God gave the Holy Spirit to them that obey Him. That is at the time of salvation when we obey the Word of God and receive the application of the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is the blood alone that makes atonement for our sins. In Revelation 1:5, John says concerning Jesus Christ, And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us (literally loosed us from our sins in His own blood. It is through the blood of Christ that we are set free. He provided fully and completely for our redemption on Calvarys cross. The blood secures for us all that our sin demanded as a cleansing, and all that the satisfaction of God demanded as a complete atonement The blood of Christ. Peter refers to this in verse 19 of this first chapter. He says, notice verse 18 by way of background, Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (or manner of life) received by tradition from your fathers, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest (or shown forth) in these last times for you. It is the blood that cleanses from all sins. If there is anyone here who has never had the cleansing power of the blood of Christ applied to his or her life, there is no better time than now to believe on Jesus Christ, to recognize that He paid in full the price of your sins on Calvarys cross and thank Him for the salvation that can be yours by faith in Him. A word to believers: I believe that we ought to avail ourselves every day of the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. If we confess our sins, (I John 1:9), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Whats the basis of that? I John 1:7, But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, (By the way its the light that reveals our need for cleansing. When you come to the Word of God, the light of the Word will reveal your need for cleansing.) we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His (Gods) Son (literally keeps on continually) cleanseth us from all sin. The basis for that is confession. The power to effect it is the blood of Jesus Christ. I know the modernists for years have talked about the blood as a slaughter house religion. I dont care what they call it. Im concerned about what God calls it. God calls the blood the precious provision for our cleansing, and Id rather be on the side of God than on the side of the most brilliant person on earth, because the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisest of men. Thank God for the precious cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. I am also convinced that there was far more blood shed than has been applied. I know that there are those who teach that He only died sufficiently for those who will believe, but I am convinced that He died and shed blood sufficient to cleanse the sins of all men everywhere. Unfortunately it will only be applied to those who believe. Like there in the Passover, the blood of the lamb was shed and the shedding of blood made a tremendous provision; but it was the application on the doorposts of the house that made the difference, the sprinkling of blood. I challenge you again to avail yourself of the power of the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ for your own cleansing. In this was the Trinity: the Father planning our salvation, the Holy Spirit promoting this, and the Lord Jesus providing it for us.
Out of this the great theme and subject of salvation emerges and then, a delightful designation here at the end of verse 2, Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. I thank God daily for His grace. Not only for His grace that saved me initially, and we are saved by grace, Ephesians 2:8 and 9, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God Not of works, lest any man should boast. I am thankful also for the sustaining grace of God. Remember when Paul was besought by his thorn in the flesh and he pleaded with the Lord three times over as recorded in II Corinthians chapter twelve that this thorn in the flesh might be removed from him? Remember the response of God to it? It was this, II Corinthians 12:9, And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness. In response to that Paul said, Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. He goes on to say, Therefore, I take pleasures in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christs sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong. The grace of God that saves us. There is also the grace of God that sustains us in the midst of suffering and distress.
There is the grace of God that supplies for us. In II Corinthians chapters eight and nine, Paul talks about the matter of giving and he refers to giving as a grace in verse 7. He says,. . . that ye abound in this grace also. the grace of giving. The grace of supplying. Then in verse 9 of II Corinthians 8, he says, For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich. This is the greatest poverty program the world has ever known. Its the program of the grace of God in supplying the needs of believers day by day. It come essentially as we give. I make no apology for emphasizing the matter of giving folks. I think it is the grand and glorious privilege of the child of God to show the grace of God in giving. I want to add to that that God shows His grace to those who give. Notice as you go on into chapter nine, verse 7, Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. The word there in the Greek is a hilarious giver. You have heard people say, Give until it hurts. I dont teach that. I say you should go beyond that. If you go a certain distance, then it will hurt; but if you go beyond that, then it will feel good. I think that thats whats in view here a hilarious giver. You go even beyond the point of where you think you can give. You go beyond that and then it becomes a real joy to give. Notice what follows that. And God is able to make (What?) all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. I am convinced that this is the supplying grace of God. Saving grace. Sustaining grace. Supplying grace. I am sure that this is what Peter had in mind when he was talking about the grace of God to be multiplied to them, and it issues forth in the peace of God. So many times we think that peace can only be ours when everything is going all right, but I can assure you that Gods peace can be yours when to all outward evidences everything seems to be going wrong. In fact, this is the genius of Christian faith that though all things may seem to have turned against us, as with these believers to whom Peter wrote, yet the peace of God could be very evident and indeed multiplied to them. May I assure you that it issues forth from the grace of God. If you dont know the operation of the grace of God in your life, youll never know the operation of the peace of God in your life. God gives His peace to those who avail themselves of His grace. Both of these, His grace and His peace, will just be multiplied, just flow in as waves of the sea to those who are His. No wonder then in writing to those who were suffering saints, he talks about the power of the sustenance of the grace of God through the grand and glorious God Himself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Who make available to us all that we need for life and godliness. Its no wonder then that He begins right out after this, and were going to deal with this later, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. There is so much truth in these verses that follow, and I would like to address myself to them in our next message together, especially relating something here to our inheritance that we have in Christ. I dont know if any of you have ever come into an inheritance. Ill have something to say about that of what we have in the Lord Jesus. Lets thank Him and praise Him for His grace and for His peace which can be ours in any and all circumstances of life. May I add this concluding word. I an convinced that there is no situation in life in which the grace of God cannot be effective unless it is sin that is not confessed. The grace of God will not function in your life if there is unconfessed sin. This is a principle set forth throughout the Word of God. When sin is confessed, then the grace of God can and will function to such an extent that it will issue in His peace. I trust that you will meet that condition for cleansing and enabling by confession.
As it was delivered at
SANDY COVE BIBLE CONFERENCE
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
August 13, 1975