Who We Are in Jesus Christ
Who We Are in Jesus Christ
1 Peter 1:1-9
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - October 21, 2012
*Most of us are old enough to remember famous actor, Kirk Douglas. He is Michael Douglas’ father. And in his day, Kirk was perhaps more famous than Michael. Kirk Douglas starred in many movies including “Spartacus” and “Seven Days in May.”
*Once in an act of kindness, Kirk pulled over to pick up a sailor on leave who was hitchhiking. When the sailor recognized who his driver was, he excitedly asked, “Hey, man, -- do you know who you are?!?” (1)
*That's a great question for Christians to ask: “Do you know who you are?”
-Here in his first letter, the Apostle Peter helps us find out who we are in Christ.
1. First, Peter shows us that Christians, we are selected people.
*As Peter said in vs. 1&2:
1. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2. elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. . .
*All Old Testament believers and all Christians are part of the “elect.” God uses this same word 23 times in the New Testament, and it simply means “picked out” or “chosen by God.” Most of the time this word is translated as “elect,” but sometimes it is translated as “chosen.” One example is Matthew 22:14, where Jesus said: “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
*And here in vs. 2, God the Father can do this choosing, because He has “the foreknowledge” of all things. Peter says we believers are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. . .”
*Think for a moment about God’s perfect knowledge. He knows everything about everything, past, present and future. Time is not bigger than God. God is bigger than time!
*If time was bigger than God, then God wouldn’t be God. And if time was bigger than God, then God couldn’t have made all of the prophecies He put in His Word. Has God ever gotten anything wrong about the future? -- No, of course not. And He never will.
*Do you think the Lord had to squint as He looked down the corridors of time? -- Of course not. He really does see the end from the beginning. In Isaiah 46:9-10, God says:
9. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
*As human beings in this world, we are perpetually stuck in a moment of time, the fleeting instant that is always passing by. But God is not like us.
-He is bigger than time.
-He is not bound by time.
-He stands over time.
*God sees the end from the beginning, so He foreknew who was going to be saved. We see this truth in Romans 8:28-31, where Paul said:
28. . . We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
*God’s vision is perfect. -- As someone said, “We can’t see around corners, but God can.” Someone else said: “We can count the seeds in an apple. But God can count the apples in a seed.” (2)
*So when we believe in the truth about Jesus Christ, when we choose to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then at some point we will look back and see that really, it was God who chose us. Before the beginning of time, God looked into the future, and saw you and chose you to obtain His salvation.
*When Jesus Christ was on the cross, you really were on His mind.
-And before He even formed the world, you were on His mind.
*He chose to pay the highest price for your sins. Christian, He chose to save you for all eternity. We find great security in this truth! God has chosen to make something special out of your life for all eternity.
*As believers, we are selected people.
2. And we are sanctified people.
*As Peter said in vs. 2, Christians are: “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
*Peter said that we Christians are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? My wife Mary gave me one of the best definitions I have ever heard: “Sanctification is simply us being made holy by God.”
*So one idea of sanctification is that we are being made holy or separated from sin. The other idea is that we are separated from the world and separated to God. As the NKJ says in 1 Peter 2:9, we are God’s “own special people!” Praise the Lord for that!
*In 2 Thessalonians 2:13&14, Paul said this to those believers:
13. But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,
14. to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
*Christians, we are called to sanctification. We are the “called.”
*When I was a little boy we would wonder all over the woods around my neighborhood. And we never wore watches. But we would always know when to come home, because my Dad had a special way to whistle. And when he wanted us home, he would whistle. And we would know that our dad was calling us home.
*King Duncan thought about children being called like this and wrote: “Some of us can remember when as children we would be out playing when suddenly over the din of things someone would call our name. ‘It's time to come home,’ an insistent voice would say.
*Strangers rarely call out our name. Only people to whom we are important call our names. So, what a magnificent idea it is that the Creator of the universe would call our name. We are known. We are loved. Let no one says his or her life does not matter. The Lord of creation has called our name.” (3)
*So 1 Peter 2:9 tells Christians: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”
*As believers, we are called out by God. That means we are sanctified people.
3. And we are sprinkled people.
*Again in vs. 2, Peter said that Christians are: “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
*Peter says we are sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ. Of course he is pointing us to the sacrifice Jesus made when He died on the cross for our sins.
*Revelation 1:5 tells us that Jesus Christ “loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” As believers, we really are washed in the Blood of the Lamb. And when Peter talks about sprinkling the blood, he is also pointing us back to the Old Testament sacrifices. Peter is reminding us that all of the sacrifices in the Old Testament were just a picture of what Jesus Christ would do for us.
*Hebrews 9:18-28 makes this perfectly clear, when it says:
18. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.
19. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
20. saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.''
21. Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.
22. And according to the law almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
23. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
25. not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another
26. He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
27. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
28. so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
*Christians, we are sprinkled by the Blood of the Lamb of God who died on the cross for our sins. And in this sprinkling we are reminded of the offense of the cross. The idea of someone sprinkling blood on us is sort of repulsive in a way.
*Would you let anyone else sprinkle blood on you? -- No, of course not. But we must let Jesus spiritually sprinkle His blood on us in order to be forgiven.
*As believers, we are sprinkled people.
4. And sometimes, we are suffering people.
*Peter reminds us of this truth down in vs. 6&7, where he started by talking about the joy we have in our salvation, but then he turned to our suffering. And Peter said:
6. In this (i.e. in your salvation) you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7. that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
 Notice that this suffering is sometimes necessary.
*Peter originally wrote to the Jewish Christians who were scattered around the Roman Empire. They were already being persecuted, and they were going to suffer more. In this short letter Peter mentioned the suffering of the Lord or the suffering of His people at least 15 times.
*He wanted to encourage those suffering Christians, and prepare them for the trials to come. Sometimes suffering is necessary. And we may not understand why, but our Heavenly Father always knows best.
 Sometimes suffering is necessary. -- And it can be a misery.
*Peter speaks about our faith being tried by fire. What a painful image that is. Burns hurt!
 Our suffering may be misery. -- But thank God, it’s only temporary.
*In vs. 6, Peter says it’s only “for a little while.” Then in vs. 7, he reminds us of the great things that will happen when Jesus comes back! There Peter’s desire is for our faith to “be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” And you may be struggling right now, but it’s only temporary!
5. Because as believers, we may be suffering people, but we are certainly saved people.
*Peter talked about our salvation in vs. 3-5. And there he shows us some great things about our salvation.
 First: In vs. 3, we are a new creation.
*As Peter said: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
*We are born again with a new life in Jesus Christ. We are spiritually alive, and our hope is alive, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, we are a new creation.
 And in vs. 4, we have a new reservation.
*Here Peter explained that our living hope is for “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,”
*If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, there is a place in Heaven reserved for you! -- It’s your inheritance. It belongs to you already, because Jesus has already died! And your inheritance is both incorruptible and undefiled. That means it’s permanent and perfect in every way.
*Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton left billions to each of his children. That’s nice, but they are not going to keep that inheritance. One day they will lose it all. But you will never lose the inheritance that belongs to you, if you belong to Jesus. As Christians, we have a reservation.
 And in vs. 5, we have never-ending preservation.
*There Peter said that we Christians “are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
*Christians, we are kept forever by the power of God! -- And in verses 8-9, Peter reminds us that our salvation came through our faith in Jesus Christ:
8. whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9. receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls.
*Salvation belongs to us, -- IF we belong to Jesus.
*Robert Morgan told about a lady who was the oldest member of their church. Her name was Agnes Frazier. She was a good and Godly woman with strong faith in the Lord. When Agnes was 95-years-old, her health failed, and Robert received a call that Mrs. Agnes was asking for him.
*Robert later gave this testimony: “When I entered her bedroom, she was almost too weak to look up at me. Her words were indistinct at times. But it soon became clear that she had wanted to see me because she was curious about ‘these men.’ ‘What men?’ I asked. ‘I keep seeing these two men,’ she said.
*‘What do they look like?’ -- ‘Two men, dressed in white from head to foot are standing at the foot of my bed. I don’t know what to tell them. What should I say if they ask me something?’”
*Robert thought about it for a few moments and then said, “Tell them that you belong to Jesus.” That seemed to satisfy Mrs. Agnes. “Yes,” she said, “I’ll tell them I belong to Jesus.”
*And Robert said, “Shortly afterward, she fell asleep in Christ and those two angels, I believe, ushered her to heaven.” (4)
*They took her home. And Christians, one day they will take us to that wonderful home, saved by grace through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
*“Hey, Christian, -- do you know who you are?!?”
*As believers, sometimes we will be suffering people.
*But through Jesus Christ we are:
-And we are saved people.
*Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
(1) “Postmodern Pilgrims” by Leonard Sweet - p. 1 illustration by Jim L. Wilson - http://sermons.logos.com
(2) Original source unknown
(3) Dynamic Preaching sermon “One Life to Live” by King Duncan - Isaiah 42:1-9, 17 - 2nd Sunday in January, 2002
(4) “Nelson's Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and Quotes” by Robert Morgan - Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville - Copyright 2000