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Our Privileged Position in God’s Saving Plan

1 Peter: A Living Hope for Holy Living in a Hostile World  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:20
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Peter helps us put our lives and our sufferings in perspective of our blessed era in God's saving plan. Through the lens of the O.T. prophets, we see that we are the recipients of fulfilled prophecy concerning Christ, who is the great exhibition of God's grace.

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Review: vv. 1-9
1 Peter 1:10–12 ESV
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
PRAY
Intro: I sometimes reflect on the sovereignty of God in placing me in this time and place to live and to serve him. (Not that he would be any less gracious and good in another time, place, culture, and circumstance… but I recognize his good and sovereign hand in my life and situation and thank him for his sovereign goodness.)
Peter helps us put our lives and our sufferings in perspective of our blessed era in God's saving plan. Through the lens of the O.T. prophets, we see that we are the recipients of fulfilled prophecy concerning Christ, who is the great exhibition of God's grace.
It is the magnificent unveiling of that plan of which prophets searched so intently to know more. It is the majesty of God at work in our salvation that causes angels to be watching continually and intently.

Our Privileged Position in God’s Saving Plan - 1 Peter 1:10-12

You know the saying, Walk a mile in another’s shoes… it seems to me that that’s what Peter’s up to here.
Peter explains the blessing of our current position in God’s saving plan through the perspective of the O.T. prophets. (And he’ll tag on even the past and present perspective of the holy angels.)

The prophets longed to fully grasp what you have now received. (v. 10)

Prophets - God’s agents who proclaimed his word - and here, who by their careful search bear witness to the greatness of salvation (the era of God’s salvific plan in which you live)
“The prophets who prophesied” I take to be an overall reference to those whom God used in the Old Testament scriptures rather than primarily a reference to any particular prophecies.
Jesus himself had this to say regarding the Old Covenant prophecies:
(In context, he’s speaking to the Jewish religious leaders…)
John 5:39–40 ESV
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
John 5:46–47 ESV
For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Unlike those whom Jesus is indicting in their lack of belief, these (of whom Peter speaks) are prophets of old who themselves believed God and trusted in his promises. So their searching and intently inquiring is sincerely motivated. They wanted to know the details concerning the Messiah because each generation no doubt hoped that the fulfillment would come in their lifetime.
(The two verbs, that they “diligently sought” and “made careful inquiry”…
The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (3) The Privilege of Revelation (1:10–12)

The two verbs should be interpreted together, indicating how ardently the prophets investigated the salvation about which they prophesied.

Now, we might also ask ourselves where or how do they search and inquire? No doubt they searched the content of prophecies God gave specifically through them, plus prophecies already received and recorded (the scriptures), plus likely in some cases even asking God directly…
(Before moving on, I’d like you to notice too that…)
We are the recipients of fulfilled prophecy concerning Christ, who is the great exhibition of God’s grace.
- Perhaps this Summary might help put it in perspective:
God the Holy Spirit —> Prophets —> Predicted sufferings of Christ and subsequent glories —> (Prophets tried to understand it all)
Christ’s Fulfillment
Holy Spirit —> N.T. Apostles and preachers of the gospel —> Announced to you (received by those who are being saved)
(Angels look on in holy curiosity and amazement at the progressive unveiling of God’s saving plan)
Christ’s Return
(more specifically, Peter continues...)

They searched to know the person and time of the promised Messiah’s advent. (v. 11)

While this could possibly be translated to say “which and what kind of time”, referring to time and circumstances (so NIV), I believe the best translation is what we have here in ESV and NASB. - Not only that, but it also makes sense that they would be wondering not only the when but also the who the Messiah would be.
The Spirit of Christ in context is certainly a reference to the Holy Spirit (bc human spirit makes no sense whatsoever). There are similar uses in the N.T. referring to the H.S. as being the Spirit of Christ:
Philippians 1:19 ESV
for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,
Galatians 4:6 ESV
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
So, a secondary point to be clearly noted here is that…
The Holy Spirit is the Divine agent of revelation.
Who did the predicting, testifying through the prophets? God the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:21 ESV
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
This concept is carried into the next verse as well, where Peter expresses that Gospel proclamation is by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Listen to Christ’s own description to his disciples of the importance of the role of the Holy Spirit in them and through them:
John 14:16–17 ESV
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:26 ESV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 15:26 ESV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Isn’t it simply amazing... and motivating... to know that God works in us even today by the power of his Holy Spirit so that we don’t have to count on our own feeble strength and intuition? - One of my prayers for being involved in ministry among you was and is… that I would preach and serve with the passion of a saved sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit, from the pages of God’s word, for the purity of His Church, to the praise of God.
… Finally, this discussion regarding the Holy Spirit is without going in depth about His role in saving faith: convicting, regenerating, adopting, and sealing. Perhaps that will be an emphasis another time.
So the Holy Spirit did the predicting, and what aspects of the prophecy does Peter mention particularly in v. 11? Sufferings and glory.
Peter does so here almost certainly because of the contextual significance this will have on his audience. - In v.6 we saw that now for a little while they have been grieved by various trials. And see too in v. 7 the result of the proving of your faith—resulting in praise and glory and honor at the revelation (the second advent) of Jesus Christ. It is because of your faith in Jesus, that he not only suffered death on your behalf but also rose again and ascended in glory… it is because of said faith that you are encouraged with joy in your suffering because you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls! - So he will say, get your minds ready for action: stay sober about the reality of what you are experiencing/facing, but set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus is revealed.
(Let’s transition back to the flow of the text.)

The Holy Spirit revealed to them that the fulfillment was yet to come. For you, the fulfillment has come—that is the good news preached to you regarding Jesus Christ. (v. 12)

Peter is here emphasizing the privileged position of his readers in the age of having now received the Messiah. They (and we) know not only the who and the when, but also the what and the how and the why! Thus the prophets, in their intense search, received sufficient revelation from God to understand that this what yet, for them, a future occurrence, and that some future generation would live in the days of the Messiah’s coming. And Peter says, that’s us, that’s you. The Messiah has come and the Messiah has suffered and been glorified! You are greatly privileged to live in such days and even to suffer like him in similar ways. (Hey, that rhymes)
Now, having already discussed that those who proclaim the gospel do so by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can also take an inference from this passage concerning Peter’s high regard for the authority of the N.T. (new covenant) message.
I agree with Schreiner who states, “We have an early indication here of the authority of the New Testament message, for the proclamation of the gospel is on the same level as the prophecies of the Old Testament. Indeed, the gospel fulfills what is found in the Old Testament, and in that sense the prophetic character of the Old Testament can only be grasped in light of the fulfillment now realized in Jesus Christ.” - Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 75.
(And to place another emphatic stamp on the privileged position of his readers, Peter adds that…)
Even the holy angels watch closely with amazement and anticipation.
Angels too have been active agents in God’s plan and even as messengers delivering his revelation. Here, though, they are unseen outside observers. They are not human, so they are not experiencing this world and God’s plan for it and for us the way that we are.
I always say I don’t like reality tv shows bc certain aspects annoy me and I think they’re kinda fake bc things are staged and edited a certain way, and so on. But I have to admit, if I watch, I tend to get sucked in too. Imagine the angels observing the unveiling of God’s plan and his incredible working in individual hearts and unite souls together in forming his church. (And so many other incredible angles…) There is no reality tv show like this one!
If even the angels look on with amazement and anticipation, what a privilege to be the people that God is saving for his glory in his eternal plan!
The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (3) The Privilege of Revelation (1:10–12)

Old Testament prophets saw it from afar, and angels also marvel when gazing upon what God has done in Christ, while the Petrine readers actually experience it

In order to conclude today, and to help summarize the significance that this should have to us, I’d like to go back to something in v. 10 that I didn’t emphasize the first time through, and that is…

GRACE TO YOU

Literally there, the text says, “the grace that is to/for you”
1. How is this grace “to you”? How is it applied?
(How do you receive this grace on your behalf?)
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Acts 16:31 ESV
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
2. How should the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ impact your purpose and perspective for today and tomorrow?
The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (3) The Privilege of Revelation (1:10–12)

Old Testament prophets saw it from afar, and angels also marvel when gazing upon what God has done in Christ, while the Petrine readers actually experience it.

Our Privileged Position Should Motivate Us:
We have joy/hope in anticipating salvation
strength for endurance
We can submit to God’s sovereign will
obey to God’s command
Benediction:
2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Discussion Questions:
What’s so great about grace?
How do we keep a balanced view and approach to studying and applying the Old Testament without thinking we’re under the Mosaic Law on the one hand but also not behaving as though we no longer need to study the O.T. because we live under the New Covenant?
What elements of the historical progress of God’s saving plan do you imagine the angels being astonished and impressed with? How does imagining their perspective enhance your own appreciation?
Is your salvation truly the greatest thing in your life? If not, why not?
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