March 3rd, 1974 @ 8:15 AM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 5:10-11
3-03-74 8:15 a.m.
And we are happy to share with you on television, on radio, the service this hour, and at the eleven o’clock hour on television also. And there are many of our people who come to this service who look at it also at the eleven o’clock hour on television. And your prayers and your encouragement, which are so often expressed to us in broadcasting these services, is a benediction and a help to us who try to make them a help to us all.
In our preaching through the Epistle of 1 Peter, last Sunday we left off with verse 9 [1 Peter 5:9]. And today the message is verse 10 and 11; 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 10 and 11.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that we have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish you, strengthen you, settle you.
To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
[1 Peter 5:10-11]
The apostle in his letter has been exhorting and preaching [1 Peter 1:1-5:9], and now he turns to praying [1 Peter 5:10-11]. His exhortation and his sermon is followed by his praying. And that ought always to be true in the work of the true minister of Christ. His preaching, his exhortation ought to be accompanied by praying.
In the twentieth chapter of Acts, after Paul had spoken to those men from the church at Ephesus, then the Scriptures say, “And he kneeled down, and prayed with them all” [Acts 20:36]. A minister’s office among other things ought always to include these two. One: he ought to declare the whole counsels of God. He ought to be a true and a faithful preacher of the Word of God. As Cornelius said to this Simon Peter, when Simon came up from Joppa to Caesarea, Cornelius the centurion said to him, “Now are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of the Lord” [Acts 10:33]. That’s why we’re gathered in assembly is to listen to the pastor, the preacher, declare unto us all the words of God. Does God say anything? If He does, what does God say? Is there a message from the Lord? That is an assignment of the true preacher of Christ.
But he also has another office. Having preached, having delivered his soul, he ought also to bear his people to God in intercession [Ephesians 6:18; 1 Timothy 2:1]. His office is not done. It is not completed. When he preaches he must also have a life that is hidden away and secret where he talks to God in behalf of his people. Do you remember how the high priest was dressed? After he was covered with those beautiful garments, “garments of glory” they’re called; a fair miter on his head, a beautiful flowing ephod, the bells and the pomegranates around the skirt; after he was completely dressed, there was one other thing added to his attire. He had on a breastplate of twelve jewels. And on the jewels were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, so that when he went into the Holy of Holies and appeared before God, he bore on his breast the names of his people [Exodus 28:21,29]. That is the true office of a servant of Christ. He is to preach. He is to bear God’s message to the people [2 Timothy 4:2]. But he also is to pray for them. He is to bear the people in intercession before the Lord [Ephesians 6:18; 1 Timothy 2:1].
So Simon Peter, after he has done his sermon and through with his exhortation, he starts to pray for them, and he prays, “May the God of all grace” [1 Peter 5:10]. Not little grace, not miserly grace, not barely enough grace, but, “May the God of all abounding grace, sustaining grace, supporting grace, keeping grace, convicting grace, saving grace, may the God of all grace.” When we come before the Lord we ought to appear before Him as in the presence of a great and mighty King who is able above all that we ask or think to give us the desires and the requests of our hearts. Ask and don’t be afraid. Don’t be timid. “Come boldly,” the Word says, “that ye might find help in the time of need, grace in the hour of trial” [Hebrews 4:16].
There’s a great famous sermon by William Carey, who began our foreign modern mission movement. And it is this. It is entitled “Expect Great Things from God, Attempt Great Things for God.” Dr. Truett, my illustrious predecessor in this pulpit, had a word that was so true: “If God be your partner, make your plans great.”
A courtier, because of his great faithfulness and valor, was spoken to by Alexander the Great, who said to him, “Ask what you will and I’ll give it to you.” And the courtier went to the treasurer and asked for so great a sum that the treasurer refused to give it until first he could see the monarch personally. So the treasurer told Alexander what the courtier had asked. And Alexander smiled and said, “It is too much, yes, but it is not too much for Alexander to give; let him have what he asks.”
I would think it pleases God that His people have in Him great faith, that they could ask from the God of all grace [1 Peter 5:10] gifts that stagger the imagination; ask that the bush burn continually unconsumed [Exodus 3:2]; ask that the barrel of meal does not waste, that the cruse of oil does not fail [1 Kings 17:16]. Ask. He is a great God, the God of all gifts, of all giving, of all grace [1 Peter 5:10].
We certainly have that spirit in the staff leadership of our church. As some of you know, I am preparing to deliver to the church sometime in this immediate future an outline of a five year program. And I asked each one of our staff members to gather together what they believe God will do for us in these next five years. And those summations are astonishing!
And you would say, “Why, such surely is not possible.” It all depends upon our God. “Be it unto you according to your faith” [Matthew 9:29], the Lord says. If we have little faith, little expectations, then our plans ought to be very minute. They ought to be small, and little, and insignificant, in keeping with the little God that we worship and the insignificance of His power and glory. But if we have a great God, one of all grace [1 Peter 5:10], of all gifts, and if He is mighty and able, and if He loves to give the kingdom to His children [Luke 12:32], then let’s make our plans large and let’s expect great things from God.
That’s the way Peter begins his prayer, “May the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory” [1 Peter 5:10]. Well, I would not quite have expected that, “May the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory.” But when I remember the trial, and the suffering, and martyrdom out of which Simon Peter is addressing his people, then I can understand: “The God who has called us to eternal glory” [1 Peter 5:10].
God calls us to look at ourselves. That’s one call that He makes. And looking at ourselves, we find ourselves sinners! [Romans 3:23]. We are lost. We need saving. As God calls us to look at ourselves, and that look is with conviction, we are convicted of our sins when we look at ourselves.
Then God calls us to look a second time. He calls us to look to Jesus, to look to Calvary [Hebrews 12:2]. And looking to the Lord we find forgiveness of sins, and salvation, and deliverance [1 John 1:7, 9]. Then God calls us, after we’ve looked at ourselves and found ourselves sinners, and we looked to Jesus and find ourselves saved in Him, then God calls us to look around us, to look at others [1 Timothy 2:1]. And this is our call to service.
All of us ought to share somewhere, somehow, in the work of the Lord, in the congregation of God’s people. There is something for which God has fitted each one of us, just for you. In the house of God there may be a great steeple. There may be beautiful windows. There may be great foundation stones, and joists, and timbers, and trusses. But there are also little nails, little hidden things clear through the temple of God. And all of us have a part. We are called into the service of our Lord [1 Corinthians 14:12].
Well, you think that would be all. No, there is another call. There is a fourth one. “God has called us unto His eternal glory” [1 Peter 5:10]. There will be one other call beside the call of conviction [Romans 8:29], and the call of salvation [Acts 3:19], and the call of service [1 Corinthians 14:12]. There is a fourth call that shall come to us in God’s time and in God’s day. And that is the call to eternal glory [1 Peter 5:10].
Isn’t that a magnificent way for the apostle to express it? Why doesn’t he say, “The call to worms, and the call to dust, and the call to corruption, and the call to disintegration, and the call to death,” why doesn’t he say it like that? Well, the reason he doesn’t say it like that is that is un-Christian! Never is death defined for the child of God in terms of darkness, and the grave, and the horror of disintegration, and corruption, never. “God hath called us unto His eternal doxa, glory” [1 Peter 5:10].
Well just exactly what is that? “God hath called us unto His eternal glory.” Well, here we’re going into a world that even God Himself says is inexpressible. In the twelfth chapter of the second Corinthian letter, the apostle Paul said, “He was caught up into the third heaven, where God is. He was caught up into Paradise, where the Lord is.” And he said, “There he heard things that it is not lawful for a man to utter” [2 Corinthians 12:2-4].
And in the first Corinthian letter, Paul writes in the second chapter–– we’re talking about this eternal glory––he says, “It is written,” and he quotes from the Old Scriptures, “Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things God hath prepared for them that love Him” [1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4].
“Eye hath not seen,” that is, no one of us but has seen some miraculous and marvelous things when God covers the sky with a glorious autumnal sunset. It’s one of God’s spectaculars. It’s just filling the earth full of glory or looking at an Alpine height, those great beautiful soaring mountains, covered with snow, piercing the blue of God’s firmament. Yet what we have seen is nothing compared to what God in glory has prepared for us.
“Nor ear heard”; and we have heard majestic things. Some of the great music of the world is as though a man were inspired. What the ear has heard, “neither hath entered into the heart of man,” his imagination, “the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him” [1 Corinthians 2:9]. The heart of a man, who imagines things; there’s no one of us but has lived in a dream world of fancy, the fair fantastic golden dreams of fancy. Sometimes these things that we have dreamed of, they are more comforting, and precious, and blessed than some of the triumphant actualities that we win and earn in life.
Did you ever hear of this poem from James Russell Lowell? He’s talking about the days when he was a boy and the days of his manhood. Listen when he writes:
When I was a beggarly boy,
And lived in a cellar damp
I had not a friend nor a toy,
But I had Aladdin’s lamp.
As a boy he had his imagination:
When I could not sleep for cold,
I had fire enough in my brain
And builded with roofs of gold
My beautiful castles in Spain.
As a boy, just full of all of the glory of imagination and wonder, the fanciful world of a child. Now he’s a man, listen to him:
Since then I have toiled day and night,
I have money and power good store
But I’d give all my lamps of silver bright
For the one that is mine no more.
He’s lost that childhood wonder and fancy of an imaginative heart. He’s a man now in the material, secular world, and he’s lost his Aladdin’s lamp. Then he closes.
Take, Fortune, whatever you choose,
You gave and may snatch again
I have nothing ‘twould pain me to lose,
For I own no more castles in Spain.
[from “Aladdin,” James Russell Lowell]
What do you think is the real world? “Oh, pastor, don’t ask me that! I know all about the real world. The real world is grime, and dirt, and filth, and hardness, and harshness! It treats you bad. It’s the world of materialism and secularism. This is the real world.”
Are you real sure? The Book says the real world is the world of imagination, of fantasy. It’s the world that you dream of and think about and wish it were yours. That is the real world. “Are you sure about that, pastor?” Well, that’s the sermon. I’ve just now gotten to it. This is my sermon; the world of glory, the world of a child’s imagination, the world over and beyond what any man ever thought of or dreamed of, the world of eternal glory [1 Peter 5:10].
What is this world that God has in store for those who love Him? [1 Corinthians 2:9]. What is that world? Well, we’re going to start first with an illustration that we could understand. The queen of Sheba came from afar to see Solomon in all of his glory. And when she looked at him she said, “Surely the half hath not been told” [1 Kings 10:7]; and there was no life left in her when she looked at Solomon in all his glory [1 Kings 10:5]. Well, it was a man of great wisdom, of immense riches and power. That is just a little token of this world of glory God has in store for us. “They that be wise shall shine as the stars of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the glory in the skies forever and ever” [Daniel 12:3].
And so rich are God’s children in heaven that they use gold just to walk on. That’s what they pave their streets with [Revelation 21:21]. And think of reigning with Christ, a joint-heir on the throne of God [Romans 8:17]. The glory of Solomon that Queen Sheba came from afar to see [1 Kings 10:1-7]. Now that is just a little of the beginning of the glory God is preparing for us who love Him [1 Corinthians 2:9].
And the apostle Peter here has four jewels of that glory that he spreads out on, say, a black velvet cloth. When a jeweler takes out a precious gem, if you put it on something black, then the light on it, oh, it looks ten times as beautiful. So the apostle Peter here takes four jewels, describing the glory, God’s eternal glory that He is going to give to us. And he names them here in four verbs [1 Peter 5:10].
The first is katharizō, katharizō. Well what does katharizō mean? It’s translated here, “God hath called us unto eternal glory, and after we have suffered a while, there in that glory He will make us,” and it’s translated “perfect” [1 Peter 5:10]. What does katharizō mean? It means to mend. It means “to put together, to repair.”
For example, in the Book of Matthew, Jesus went by the Lake of Galilee, and he saw Peter and Andrew, and He called them. And then He saw two sons of Zebedee, who with their father, were katharizō. They were mending their nets [Matthew 4:18-21]. They’d been broken on the jagged rocks, and they were mending their nets katharizō. Now that’s the word that he uses here. “In the eternal glory, God shall mend us, shall repair us, shall make us perfect,” absolutely perfect [1 Peter 5:10].
Adam was perfect. And when he fell he needed mending [Genesis 3:1-6]. He needed katharizō, he needed repairing. His body was fallen and his spirit was fallen. And we’re like that. In body and spirit we’re fallen. But in the glory of God we shall all be mended. We shall be repaired. There are not going to be any cripples up there in heaven. There’ll be no crutches and no staffs to lean on. And there won’t be any blind eyes. And there won’t be any broken hearts. God shall mend us inside and outside. We shall be perfect, katharizō. That’s the first thing in glory [1 Peter 5:10].
What is the second thing in glory? It is translated here, “establish you” [1 Peter 5:10], stērizō. What does that mean, stērizō? That means “to set firmly.” It means “to establish.”
Well, how does that apply what God is going to do for us in great glory? Well, to set firmly, to establish us—in the days of a Roman triumph, through the streets of the imperial city there would ride in his chariot the conqueror, great general or a Caesar and then behind him the soldiers of victory. And they’d be crowned with laurel leaves, and they’d be given gifts from the wagons of booty that was possessed and taken, the prey. And it was a great moment. But it was a moment and then it was gone.
Or a great beautiful arch in the sky called a rainbow; it floods the earth with beauty. Just look at it. It’s a tapestry of sunbeams. It’s a veil of shimmering water. It is gone and the sky once again is cloudy and dark. Is that the kind of a glory we shall have, momentary, fading? That’s what this word stērizō means. We’re going to be established and firmly set! [1 Peter 5:10]. It’ll be “a crown that fadeth not away” [1 Peter 5:4]. It won’t change.
Can you imagine the child of God if he were like a flower that fades? God must establish him. Can you imagine a blood-bought child of the King, who was like the grass that withers? God must establish him. Can you imagine the saint of heaven if he were like the smoke from a chimney, if he were like an autumnal leaf that falls to the ground, like the morning dew; just for a moment, then gone? Stērizō means we’re going to be established forever [1 Peter 5:10]. It’s something that is unfading and that never passes away.
What is his third jewel here? His third jewel here is sthenoō, translated here “strengthened” [1 Peter 5:10]. It means “to make able, to enable.” Look, look. How would it be for us if we were in the presence of God, the Holy Majesty before whom even the angels veil their faces? [Isaiah 6:2]. How would it be for us to stand in the presence of the great Glory such as we are, sinful, corrupting? Why, a man cannot even see the face of God, and live [Exodus 33:20]. God must enable us. God must make us of such character and proportion that we can stand in His presence, and live.
Do you remember? Moses one time said to Jehovah God, “Let me see Your glory” [Exodus 33:18]. And God put him in a cleft of the rock, and covered him there with His hand, and said, “No man can see My face, and live; but I will make My glory pass by, then I will take My hand from the cleft of the rock, and you can see My back parts; but no man can see My face, and live” [Exodus 33:18-23]. The great effulgence, ineffable, iridescent, burning bright glory of God, how does a man stand in the presence of the Almighty? That’s what that word means. God shall enable us to stand in the presence of the Sovereign of the universe, and live.
And there is another here, one other, and that is themelioō translated here “settle you” [1 Peter 5:10], themelios, is “foundation,” themelios, “is a foundation,” a foundation, a themelios. Themelioó is “to lay a foundation.” And that’s the word Simon Peter uses here, “And God lay for you a foundation,” translated here, “settle you” [1 Peter 5:10].
Well, what does he mean by that? When the child of God stands in the presence of the Lord, there must be a firm setting, not on the sand, but on the Foundation that abides forever. And when the saint of God appears before the Lord, shall he stand on his own feeble works; rotten? Shall he stand on his own goodnesses? No! Shall he stand on his own righteousness? No! That would be to sink. It would be to fail.
But the God of heaven themelioó; the Lord of heaven will put a foundation on which you can stand in the presence of the great Glory. And that foundation is our blessed Lord Jesus Christ [1 Peter 5:10-11]. “Therefore,” says Paul, “I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” [2 Timothy 2:10]. The foundation upon which we stand is the righteousness of Christ! [1 Corinthians 1:30, 3:11].
There are two things in that text that Paul has written here, “That we may obtain salvation in Christ, with eternal glory” [2 Timothy 2:10]. When I glorify Christ, Christ glorifies me. When I look in faith to Him, God looks in blessing to me. When I turn my heart upward to Christ, Christ turns His heart downward to me. With eternal salvation there also is a concomitant. It carries with it an eternal glory, one that fades not away [1 Peter 5:4].
Oh, what God hath prepared for those who love Him! [1 Corinthians 2:9]. This is the Christian faith. This is the Christian commitment. This is the Christian hope. This is God’s precious promises to us. What does the hymn say about that foundation?
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I’ll never, no never desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
[“How Firm a Foundation,” John Keene, 1787]
The foundation upon which the child of God stands in the presence of the King of glory, that’s where we stand. That’s the foundation upon which our hope is built [1 Corinthians 3:11]. And that’s the invitation to your heart: to stand with us.
Come. You are welcome. God says, “Come boldly” [Hebrews 4:16], you are welcome. In a moment we stand to sing our hymn of appeal, and while we sing it, a family, a couple, or just you giving your heart to Christ [Ephesians 2:8], coming into the fellowship of the church, as God shall press the appeal to your heart, make it now. Come now, do it now, while we stand and while we sing.