Audio Sermon “God's Miniature”

Dec 04, 2016
“God's Miniature" No.16 by Rev. Toru Asai
1 Pet 1:22, Mat 16:24, etc.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)

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Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart (1 Pet 1:22).

This verse is composed of the following parts:

1) by obeying the truth
2) you have purified yourselves
3) you have sincere love for your brothers,
4) love one another deeply, from the heart

By 1), 2) has happened, and as a result of 2), 3) came to be the fact, which becomes the basis for the command 4). To love one another even in persecutions is the main theme of this letter.

Pay attention to the expression "obeying (hupakoe) the truth," which is not "knowing" or "understanding" the truth as we would normally say with the word "truth." Similarly, at the beginning of the letter (1:2), Peter says that Christians were chosen for "obedience (hupakoe) to Jesus Christ." Since Christ is the truth, to obey him is to obey the truth, which is more suitable to us today because Jesus is not here physically (cf. 1:8, 2:8). And it is by this obedience that sanctification comes. Holiness and obedience are inseparable: they are two sides of the same coin. Obedience to the word of God makes you holy, and disobedience to it indicates that you are not holy. Obedience involves two aspects: submission to the authority of God, and willingness to do his will and instructions. And it is through obedience and holiness that we come to have "sincere love" which is the most important spiritual fruit. With disobedience and un-holiness, there is only insincere love.

Obedience to the truth means to get rid of ideas and desires that do not comply with the truth, and to let the truth dominate in actions and words. It is to give yourself up and follow Jesus in his footsteps as he also made himself nothing for the fulfillment of the Father's will. Jesus said to the disciples:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Mat 16:24).

It should be remembered that Jesus had just said to Peter, "Get behind me Satan!" Peter was only puzzled by Jesus' reaction that time. His ignorance and attitude of disobedience continued and resulted in his denial of Jesus. Note that he said, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will," while Jesus said, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written..." And even at the time Jesus turned to Peter and said, "I tell you the truth. This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times," Peter opposed him and said, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." His pledge of obedience to Jesus was proven to be fake and failure. Realizing he was in the attitude of pride and disobedient, he cried bitterly. Later, he re-baptized and purified himself in the Sea of Galilee when he received another lesson on obedience.

The attitude of obeying the truth is best seen in the life of Jesus. He prayed to the Father, "... if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." He made himself nothing in obedience to the Father. Even for Jesus, it was by obedience that he sanctified himself: for he had prayed to the Father prior to the above prayer.

For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified (John 17:19).

And because of his holiness, he was exalted to the highest place.

... he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name (Phil 2:8-9),

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