Praise God For Salvation - 1 Peter 1:3-5 (Sermon)
I am pastor Rob. It is great to worship with you today.
In 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson published a classic novel about a poor 17-year-old country boy named David Balfour. It began with him as a recent orphan. A lawyer came to him with a letter concerning his inheritance. His uncle would be able to disclose the details. David walked two days to get to what he anticipated was a mansion. His palace grew in his mind as he got closer and closer. He had never met this uncle. Unfortunately, this palace has lost its luster. He knocked at the door. No one answered. He pounded and pounded for two minutes, and finally, his uncle appeared with a gun. After figuring out this solicitor was his nephew, he invited David into the house. It was getting late, and Ebenezer had David stay the night. The next day his uncle offered him what he said was an inheritance of some 37 guineas or what some have said was eighty dollars in our day. David, out of politeness, asked if he could help around the house. His uncle said he had some papers upstairs in a tower that he could fetch. David asked for a light to climb the stairs as it was getting dark. Ebenezer refused. So, this teenager wound his way up five stories. Bats assailed him. It was oddly drafty, and he heard a storm brewing outside. He kept climbing up and up and up. Suddenly, he slipped, his hands gripped the next step, but there was none. He heard another loud peal of thunder closer now and realized the tower stairs were unfinished nor the roof. His uncle was trying to kill him! This was a fool’s errand. David survived only to be kidnapped the next day. Why was his uncle so wicked? Ebenezer wanted to stop David from getting his true inheritance. There was more truth to the novel Kidnapped than we think. Not only was it based on an actual legal case in the 1700s, but it also parallels our own. You see, brothers and sisters, we followers of Christ, are heirs of something far greater than we can ever ask or imagine. And the world, the flesh, and the Devil would love to prevent us from getting the inheritance that is rightfully ours. Friends, this inheritance exists. It is as real as the person next to you. Do you believe they exist? Well, the inheritance is just as real. And this is the reason Peter, the apostle, praises God of the Bible amid trouble.
Last week, we began our series in 1 & 2 Peter. We saw how God, the Triune God, chose us, knows us, purified us, and caused us to obey. Today, Peter continues his letter with praise to God for the inheritance we have in Christ.
1 PETER 1:3–5
I am going to have the V.L. kids read the text this morning. They will read from the ESV Bible. We are reading verses 1–5. Would you stand with me in honor of God’s Word, if you are able?
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Thank you. Let’s pray. God, thank you. We love you. You are great and glorious. You do amazing things. You save us. You called us out of the darkness into the marvelous light. You have given us an inheritance that won’t perish, spoil, or fade. You preserve us. You are kind and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. We praise you, Lord of all creation, for all you do. AMEN. You may be seated.
You may recall the big idea of the book. Let me give you a revised edition.
Peter calls God’s dispersed people to live their lives for God’s glory in all circumstances because of their sure hope in Christ.
Let me say that again; Peter calls God’s dispersed people to live their lives for God’s glory in all circumstances because of their sure hope in Christ.
Peter was writing to the suffering church in Turkey. Persecution was prevalent. It came in many forms. Persecution is broader than just violence. It is suffering in various ways. Families could kick out the Christian, employers may fire the Christian, communities may beat, imprison, and kill the Christian. The church Peter wrote to, suffered for their faith. In such circumstances, in any situation, Peter calls the church to glorify God. Peter was no stranger to this calling or suffering. He likely wrote from his prison cell in Rome. He, like his readers, was an exile spiritually speaking with a treasure in heaven suffering for what he was believing. Yet, he wrote to fellow sufferers with a focus on what God had promised, not the particular circumstance of his time.
Peter’s perspective reminds me of Job’s. You might remember the story. Marauders came and killed Job’s servants and stole his oxen and donkeys. That same day, Job got word from another servant that fire from heaven struck his sheep and attendants. They all died. That same day another messenger arrived, telling him that a different enemy came and ran off with all his camels and killed more servants. That same day a final messenger arrived and said a high wind collapsed his house where all his kids were having a dinner party. Everyone died. Job was left with grief, loss, heartache, pain, and sorrow. And how did he respond? He said,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
HOW DO WE HAVE JOB’S RESPONSE?
How do we praise God in suffering? Job was not perfect. The story goes on to describe him complaining. But his initial response to pain and Peter’s, help us join them in praise.
Look at verse 3 to hear Peter’s praise and begin to see the way to join him.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
VERSE 3 EXPLAINED
Peter’s focus was not on his or their suffering but on God’s blessing. It was not even on their blessing. It was a prayer of blessing to God. It was an extension of verse 2 describing God, the Father, and what he had done. In verse 2, God, the Father, knew in advance whom he chose. Peter believes that God, the Father, chose his readers. Peter added to that in verse 3, the Father gave great mercy, new birth, and living hope. This birth wasn’t deserved. Old birth, new birth, fast birth, slow birth, all birth is not earned birth. Birth was done to us, not done by us. Peter contends this new birth was mercy.
DEFINING NEW BIRTH
What is this new birth? What is Peter referring to? The concept comes from a conversation between Jesus and a pharisee named Nicodemus. Late one night, early in Jesus’s ministry, Nicodemus came to Jesus. Pharisees were teachers of the Jewish Law, and word had spread that Jesus was an extraordinary teacher and an incredible miracle worker. What was remarkable about that was that he had no formal education. Jesus was a humble carpenter’s son from a small rural village. When Nicodemus tracked him down, he honored him saying,
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” (John 3:2).He compliments him. Jesus dodged that compliment and went to the heart. He responded,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).Nicodemus saw something in Jesus. He hid behind the dark and impersonal observations that people thought Jesus was a Rabbi, a teacher from God, and doing signs. Hearing Jesus’s direct dealings with his desires for the kingdom, Nicodemus proceeded to ask, “How can that be? You can’t climb back into your mother’s womb.” He took Jesus literally. Jesus responds by contrasting physical birth to spiritual birth, between the work of men and the work of God. Jesus concluded, saying,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”Friends, the Spirit gives life, new life, eternal life to those who believe. That life is the kingdom of God Jesus referred to was the new birth that Nicodemus needed. Paul put it this way, in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”God makes his followers new. He gives them a new lease on life. God predicted this new life hundreds of years before saying to his wayward people,
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. (Ezekiel 36:25–29)
Peter was saying in verse 3 that God, by his great mercy, has given his suffering people new life in him.
Do you want a clean slate? Do you want a fresh start? Do you want a redo? Every day is a new day. If God didn’t want you here, he could take you out. It is that simple. God has a purpose for your life. For those who believe, God grants mercy through this new birth to a living hope and inheritance.
If you are taking notes, I see four things in these verses that define our inheritance. They are:
First, it is imperishable.
That means your inheritance won’t go away. It can’t be destroyed. It can’t be torn up, burned up, blown up. Paul uses this word for imperishable as well frequently in 1 Corinthians. He wrote,
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:50–53)
The inheritance you are getting is an imperishable one.
Peter is not done. Do you want to know why he praises God in suffering? It is because of the undefiled inheritance.
That means your inheritance is pure. It is not like some gold mined out of the Earth that needs to be refined. No. It is 100% crystal clear living hope. You get an inheritance that is not diluted or polluted. It is not stained or maimed. It is yours and yours alone. You don’t have to split it between the siblings. You don’t have to go to probate court to take other names off the inheritance. The paperwork has your name all over it. You are the primary beneficiary. It is undefiled and pure that is a reason to worship God.
This inheritance is also unfading; that is why Peter praises God.
This means that over time your inheritance won’t decrease.
There is a painting by the water fountain. It looks so great. It is a bald eagle flying in front of a mountain. It has been there for as long as I have been here. It has a print date of 1996 on it, and it looks that way. Things fade, but not your salvation. Your inheritance won’t lose vibrancy. The property of heaven doesn’t decay or break down or diminish. This hope is an unfading hope, friends. Let us praise God for it.
KEPT IN HEAVEN
Finally, this inheritance is kept in heaven for you. It is
It is a reservation with your name on it. No one is going to say, ah, I was here first, get to the back of the line or find another place. There are no squatter’s rights on this salvation, bump you out. It is yours and yours alone. It can’t be canceled, returned, or rejected. God is guarding it.
Romans 8 communicates the power of God and the certainty of this inheritance in terms of God’s affection for you. It says,
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39)
God is guarding and keeping this inheritance safe.
Peter and Paul are not the only ones who talk about this living hope, great mercy, and future inheritance. John, the apostle, had a revelation from God clarifying it further. He wrote,
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1–5)
Consider that! We are citizens of heaven, strangers, aliens, exiles waiting for that day. God will redeem and remodel this Earth too. It will continue. The beauty we experience in lakes, seas, oceans, mountains, fields, forests, rivers, valleys, and skies will pale in comparison to the future glory we will one day enjoy on this planet Earth.
NO MORE SORROW
Not only that, Revelation tells us our future hope is one without tears. Sadness will be banished. Depression will be no more. We will need no more Prozac or serotonin. There will be no more worry, anxiety, disorders, or dying. Everything will be new.
SIN AND SICKNESS NO MORE
The former things like sickness, Covid-19, cancer, and HIV or sins like abuse, murder, theft, slander, gossip, lies, hatred, pride, jealousy, impatience, and selfishness will be wiped away.
Revelation goes on to describe this inheritance writing,
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3–5)
This greatest treasure we will see is the face of God. The greatest thing we will experience is being in his presence. If we enjoy the creation, the creator must be better. God will be with us, and that is a reason to Praise God in good times and bad.
Peter puts a word on all four of these blessings in verse 5. Look at it.
Who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
He calls this inheritance, this great mercy, this living hope, salvation. It is not here yet, but it is absolute. It is coming and ready. We are almost there.
How much longer? Blink. Would you blink for me, right now? That is how fast time moves. Do you know that? All your suffering, all your problems, all your difficulties will be over in a flash for those of us who have faith in Christ. Verses 4 and 5 tell us that God has given us salvation in the future that can’t be destroyed, contaminated, decayed, or stolen. It is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept for you.
Paul says it this way,
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)
Friends, this is temporary stuff. There will be a new earth. It will be categorically better. Hang in there, run the race, the fight the fight, of faith, brothers, and sisters. The pain will be over before long. Don’t let your flesh, the world, and the Devil lie to you. Don’t let them sell you short. God has something greater for you who are in Christ. He is worth it. Worship him alone.
If that is not all, verse 5 tells us, God, not only guards our inheritance, but he guards us too. I love that. What does that mean?
I have asked the K. if I could share this. Do you know their gargantuan German shepherd Kujo, I mean Baron? I love dogs. The first time I remember meeting Baron, I was dropping something off at their Bridgman house. I was joking around thinking, wouldn’t it be funny if I pull up and their new dog comes and is really nice and then attacks me. (I know I have a sick sense of humor.) I would be like, “Good dog, good dog, and then chomp.” It was dark and not well lit. I drove in, and the Baron ran to greet me. I scared myself. He may have barked and sniffed, and then it was all fine. He is one big happy dog. However, I would not want to make him mad. He is a good guard dog. Friends, God has a much fiercer stronger love for us than any man’s best friend or security system you can conjure up. God is not tame, domesticated, distracted, busy, or distant. He is the sovereign Lord of all and does whatever he pleases. And what does he do? He guards you. And your spiritual state needs God. We are under attack. Do you know that? The Devil, the world, and your flesh do not want you to understand the true inheritance in God. Here are 80 bucks, oh could you run up this tower and grab a note for me? Don’t buy into the lies of our day.
GOD’S GUARDING LOVE
Peter writes the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), and Paul says he shoots fiery darts at us (Ephesians 6:16). Jesus describes the Devil as a wolf seeking to eat sheep. Who are the sheep? Us? We are sheep. How can we be safe? Who will protect us? Peter is saying God will. Peter knows this because Jesus said it. Jesus called himself the good shepherd. In John 10:27–30, he said this.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
What is the basis of our hope? How can we be safe and worship God in suffering? Peter tells us in verse 3. It is
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Paul agrees. He wrote in Ephesians (1:18–20) that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in the church. What power raises the dead? It is the Holy Spirit's power giving us new life in God. God can do anything he wants. He made the world with a word. He parted the Red Sea. He walked on water. He calmed the storms. He cast out demons. He healed the sick, and he raised the dead. God keeps us and our inheritance safe. That is why we praise him in suffering. This inheritance can’t be obliterated, adulterated, evaporated, or misappropriated. Your salvation is sure. It is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept. That inspires praise. Can I get an AMEN?
MAYBE YOU DON’T
Or perhaps it doesn’t. Possibly you don’t have this inheritance, great mercy, new birth, a living hope, and salvation. If you die, where would you go today? Are you ready to meet your maker? You can be. You can know where you will go. How? Repent and believe this morning. Turn and look to Christ as your only salvation. Turn from sin. Reject it. Follow God and his word in your heart and mind right now. And join us in praise of God for his salvation, now. Today could be the day of your salvation.
MAYBE YOU HAVE FALLEN AWAY
Perhaps you have fallen away? You perhaps live for your praise, not God’s. Or, you live in shameful ways. Are you living in hidden sin? You know the right thing. You just got off track. Do you carry guilt and struggle? Repent and believe. Turn and praise God with us today. He is our only hope.
Today, we will have trouble. If tomorrow arrives, it will have its problems too. How do you praise God in troubled times? How do we worship God in suffering? Think of God’s inheritance, this great salvation that is yours by faith alone.
CLAP WITH ME
Let me illustrate this salvation in three ways.
- What would you do if you went to your mailbox, and someone put a check written to you for ten million dollars?
- What would you do if you contracted the coronavirus? Someone invents a vaccine that can save your life. There is one vaccine. It is not yours. Another victim has it. However, they give it up for you to live, leading to their death. What would you do?
- What would you do if you stabbed someone in the back and ruined their life? You feel bad. You know you did wrong. But you can’t undo it. Then they turned around and forgave you and embraced you with an undying friendship and affection?
What would you do? I bet a thank you card wouldn’t be appropriate. What would you do? Brothers and sisters, God has an inheritance that is far greater than any of those things. Greater than astronomical wealth, health, or relational reconciliation. You can’t imagine what he has for those who are called by his name and love him. The world, the flesh, and the Devil would have us neglect it, forget it, and exchange it for a knock off. God has given us an inheritance, a living hope, great mercy that is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven for you. Let’s give God honor now by giving him a round of applause. Let us clap to God for salvation. We clap for our favorite performers and teams, let’s clap for God, who is the greatest of all. Join me now.
PRAYER (Psalm 150)
Please, bow your heads and pray in your hearts with me, Psalm 150.
150 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Will the worship team come up here now, and help us continue in praise.
*All rights reserved. Use by permission only.
*All rights reserved. Use by permission only.
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