Friday, May 06, 2011

Power of the Resurrection (a.m.)

1 Peter 1:3 – 9

Power of the Resurrection

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, [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, [5] who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, [7] so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [8] Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, [9] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I. Some times life is not easy.

A. [v 6] Sometimes it is necessary to be grieved by various trials.

1. Necessary means there is a need.

a. What need could we possibly have?

b. Problem is we tend to understand things from two perspectives:

1.) What we have. (More is the measure of better or blessing.)

2.) What we want/don’t want. (Prosperity vs suffering.)

2. Grieved means to be “heavy/sorrow of heart.”

a. What Peter is describing is not a simple hurt. It is a hurt that runs through the very core of who and everything we are.

b. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” [1 Peter 4:19]

3. The various trial we face mean we are “put to proving”

a. We are put to the test.

b. We put our faith to the test.

***** Notice the idea of “various” is MULTIPLE. In other words we should expect multiple tests not “one and done.”

B. [v 7] Sometimes it is necessary to verify our faith.

Ronald Reagan “Trust but verify.” (Faith trusts then puts us and itself to work in a verification process we call “suffering” or “trials.”)

1. The idea of this “test” is simple: Training increases strength.

a. Without depending on God, we lack a sense of expecting God to work.

b. When we see God at work we learn to depend on Him.

2. Gold is precious but genuine faith is everything.

a. We are obliged to trust God with/for our salvation.

b. Can we trust God for salvation if we don’t trust God in times of suffering? Or need?

II. Inexpressible joy comes with hard times.

A. God is not abusing you.

1. Life is a shadow, a dream, an illusion compared to eternity.

2. We are given to believing our illusions.

a. “Optical illusions” our eyes are tricked.

b. “Slight of mouth” our ears are tricked.

c,. Simple idea: “belief in truth.” We believe that how we interpret what we experience is “true.”

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.” [Romans 5:3]

B. Notice that Paul states that “suffering produces”

1. Endurance is the first thing in a long list of things that are produced.

a. It starts with suffering. It starts with the test. It starts with the training.

b. All of it is for nothing if we resist what God is trying to accomplish. We miss: endurance, character, hope, knowing God’s love poured out in our hearts/lives.

2. If we focus on ourselves, we think God is abusing us.

a. First, this is selfish thinking. (If that offends you it means deep down you know this to be true.)

b. When we focus on what we want we can miss the good God is doing.

Choice: Enjoy feeling miserable with all your excuses or grab on to the trial for all it is worth and watch what God will do with you!

(Ill. Joni Erickson-Tada. Paralyzed as a teen... Comes across as joyful because that accident has given her a unique ministry and a door of evangelism that very few people have. She has stated that she would not trade that for normal legs and a normal life.)

III. God has unleashed two unstoppable forces through the Resurrection.

A. [v. 3] “His great mercy.”

1. God has “caused” us to be “born again.” (Explain)

a. The idea of “born again” is the theological idea “regenerated.”

1.) This means we become NEW. New people, new lives, new futures.

2.) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]

b. This means a change so radical that life is started all over.

2. This is through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.” [Ephesians 2:4 – 5]

a. Notice that God’s mercy and love know no limits (that’s what Ephesians 2:4 is saying).

b. Notice that we are made alive TOGETHER with Christ.

B. [v 5] “God’s power.”

1. We have an “inheritance.”

a. This was the word used to refer to “a secure possession.” Something we have now. (Image of salvation)

1.) It was the word used to refer to the “Promised Land” in the Old Testament.

2.) When we talk about “hope” we do NOT mean wishful thinking... confident expectation.

b. This inheritance is untouchable!

1.) “Imperishable” is a military term that means it cannot be invaded by any army. (We take it to mean “cannot decay.”)

2.) “Undefiled” simply means unpolluted. Nothing unclean can touch it.

3.) Unfading gives us the impression that it cannot be touched by the chances and changes of life.

2. Secured better than “Fort Knox” (old gold depository)

a. [v5] “being guarded” (military word)

1.) Notice this is something that is in progress...

2.) The key to this is “through faith.”

b. God secures it through His mercy and power then makes us responsible for it... (Faith is our response to God’s initiative.)

IV. That leaves us with a choice.

A. Faith is a source of joy.

1. Faith makes the invisible reality of God’s work real.

2. Faith makes us able to feel and act with certainty that exceeds circumstances or sight.

B. Faltering as a source of misery.

1. We look to other and deceptive things for explanations.

2. We short-circuit the object of our faith [v 9] “the salvation of your souls.”

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