Our Great salvation
Reality check….Our Great Salvation
1 Peter 1: 1-7
Reality check one is called; Our Great Salvation…our great salvation. And not surprisingly, Peter can’t wait to get the gold on the table so he starts with our great salvation.
3 things I want to do
So I want to do three things with you and then I want to detail it, and then I want to challenge you to demonstrate it and then finally teach us what it means to delight in it…those three tings about our great salvation.
So lets’ start with 1 Peter 1:1…and when you’re ready to go say; go….go…1) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion…the dispersion was the scattering of all the Christians out of Jerusalem across Asia Minor because of persecution. To escape suffering, the Christians scattered…they were called, “the dispersion”. He said to those who are elect, exiles of the dispersion. The idea of exiles there is a little bit difficult to translate. The NAS calls them aliens…that’s a little weird. the NIV translates them; strangers…the NKJV calls them pilgrims…it’s the idea that when you come to know Christ, when you experience His great salvation one of the things that happens to you is that you’re just like; I don’t fit here anymore…people think differently than I think, people handle things differently than I do, their whole outlook is different and since I began following Christ, I just don’t see things the way that other people see it anymore. You know what I’m talking about? So then you know what he means when he says; to those who are elect; exiles. Well, there’s the first part of our great salvation, it’s all tied up in that word; elect. You might make a note of that as we are detailing our great salvation and the first word is election. Election…he says you are a chosen race….that’s the same word; elect. That’s a big part of our salvation identity.
Let’s get a definition of salvation on the table…are you good with that? Salvation is the spiritual state of a convicted sinner who is eternally resting, by faith, in the forgiveness that God freely offers in Christ. All right. It’s the state, the spiritual state, of a convicted sinner who is eternally resting, by faith, in the forgiveness, freely offered in Christ. Salvation is not earned, it’s not merited, it’s not deserved or ultimately even discovered it’s revealed by the grace of God. This is the idea of being elect, being chosen…the idea that if you’re in Christ today, if you have this great salvation it’s because God chose you. You say, what are you talking about? Well, I’m talking about what the Bible says. Ephesians 1 says; according as he has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world. You are a chosen race…
1st Part of Great Salvation; Election….chosen by God (4 parts)
Peter says; starts off his book…elect…to those who are elect….God chose people. Now, how many people would agree that if this is true, and it is true, that those who are going to inherit salvation God chose who would get it….how many people would say that’s a bit cold? OK; from our human perspective that’s a bit cold but part of the deal there is that we think everyone should get it. The shocking thing is not that everyone doesn’t get it, the shocking thing is that anybody gets it. And hearing Peter, we get a little insight into how this election took place. Notice in verse 2 according to the foreknowledge of God…you see; well what does that mean exactly? Well that means; back, back, back, back, back…before Adam, before Abraham, before Eden, before there was anything, there was God. And God, who’s not limited by time, in eternity past, He looked forward into future and He knew some things and based on what He knew He chose who would be saved. And you say, but this doesn’t make sense. It’s for everyone but only those who are chosen will receive…but…you say well I don’t understand it, well, I don’t either…I just write across that; mysterion. There are just some things about God that we can’t understand them. God understands it and listen; He’s not looking for analysis; ok. All through Church History people who have tried to resolve this tension have ended up into false teaching on one side or the other. God just wants us to live with it, God just wants us to live with it…He not looking for analysis, He’s looking for adoration. And God, You are awesome how does this work that we are chosen…man when we’re coming into the kingdom we feel so much like we’re making this choice but looking back we’re like; whoa, he chose me. I don’t understand it. One of the great things is that this should cause worship to come forth from our hearts and what you ought to do is not well, what if my brother wasn’t chosen? No, no; he’s invited and if he responds he will discover that he was chosen. That’s the best I can do. So let’s just worship this great salvation as we have been elected…we have been chosen by God.
Second part Regeneration (Justification) (Redeemed)
Here’s the second part of it…look at vs. 3, Regeneration, regeneration….blessed be…or the NIV says 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be (The NIV says; Praise be to) 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. This is the conversion part of salvation, this is the point in time when you turn from your sin and embrace Christ, by faith, by Bible calls it a lot of different terms. Sometimes the Bible calls it; Justification. It means to be legally forgiven by God. Sometimes the Bible calls it redeemed as in lovingly bought from slavery to sin by God. Sometimes the Bible calls it regeneration; as in eternally made alive by God.
How Great is God’s mercy
That’s what He does here; Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again. What do you think about that; God’s mercy? It’s really an amazing thing to think about how great God’s mercy is. I just want you to think about the one most difficult relationship you have, whatever that it, and every time that person does something that you don’t think they should do, man, you want them to get what they deserve. And, I’m going to make sure they don’t get away with this and you think how much you we feel about one person….mercy is withholding from that person what they deserve. How hard is that, to withhold from somebody what they deserve, is that hard? Man, we want to see people get what they deserve and I want you to think for a moment about what it means for the God of the universe, not to withhold from one person in time what He thinks they deserve, but to be willing to withhold from all of us what we truly do deserve, through all time….no wonder Peter said…
According to his great mercy, he, (what) he has caused us to be born again. Born again, born again…what is that born again thing, I hear that all the time. Well, you have to be born two times because…well why? Because when you’re born physically your born dead spiritually. Every bouncing beautiful baby in our nursery in our nursery is dead as a door nail, spiritually. You say, don’t say that about my kid. OK, well, God’s Word says that about your kid, ok. Born physically, that’s just part of it they got to be born spiritually. Jesus said to Nicodemus; marvel not that unto you, you must be born again…a second time. I heard this a long time ago and I’ve always remembered it. Born once, die twice. Right? You’re only born one time but you’re going to die twice. Physically and spiritually…eternally; but if you’re born twice; physically and spiritually…you’re only going to die once; physically. But you will live forever. Born once die twice born twice die once.
A living hope…Jesus must be primary focus
God, According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again…here it is…to a living hope…What’s the living hope? The keyword there; a living hope, notice through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Christianity is first and foremost is a relationship with a person…it’s Jesus Christ, Himself. Accept no substitutes. Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, He’s alive and His followers we love Him and believe in Him and we’re living for Him…isn’t that what Christianity is all about? Isn’t it about Jesus Christ? Accept no substitutes. You say, what are you talking about?
Well, here are some substitutes for Jesus Christ and you can find these right here in the church.
- Music. And we sing songs here and I love that song….oh man, lead us in that song I love that song and we get all caught up in the music but listen, who it is about and who is it for and whose it to? In a moment of honesty, we could all admit that’s it’s easy to go through a whole service and sing a bunch of songs but not focus my attention on this living hope, this person; Jesus Christ. Music….la, la, la….accept no substitutes, Jesus Christ the living hope. Here’s another substitute;
- Ministry. Some people; oh my thing is that I like to work for God. I just love to get over to the church and work and roll up my sleeves…we had a big day the other day as we cleaned up the parking lot and the grounds…I like to usher, I like to work in the children’s ministry, and I fold both ends whenever I get a chance because I love to work for God or do you love God who you work for. See, it’s Jesus Christ; accept no substitutes. Not music, not ministry, not….here’s one, watch out for this,
- Fellowship. You know what I really love….I love the people of God and I do love you guys. Some people are like; man, I can’t wait to get to my small group this week, man I just love those people. Before I started coming to this church, I didn’t have many friends but now I’ve got so many friends and I just love this church because I have all these people now that I love….well, what do we love about the people? This is not the rotary club…all right. We don’t love each other in that sense we love Christ in one another. The thing about you that’s praise worthy, the thing about you that’s amazing is not you, you…it’s the way you were up there singing last Sunday and the way that Christ was coming out through you. That’s what we love. God protect us from anything being central in the life of our church but Jesus Christ, the living hope, by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Got it? Born again to this living hope; that’s regeneration.
Part 3 of our Great Salvation….Sanctification
Election, regeneration….did you notice that I skipped part in verse 2? I skipped it because I wanted to give it to you chronologically and Peter, he’s more like; he’s got this bottle full of salvation and he shakes it up and pops the cork and he like; woo hoo hoo…and he sprays it all over everybody. But I want you to get it in the order that it happened so we’re going back to vs. 2 for part 3 of our great salvation…we’re detailing it…election, regeneration, sanctification…1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit…The word sanctification there, after we are regenerated by God He begins to change us. That’s sanctification. To be set apart, to be made holy…God’s work of transformation to make us like Jesus and to bring God glory…that’s sanctification and that’s what your entire life is supposed to be all about. Do you know that one of the great sins in the church today is that so many Christians treat their spiritual journey like it has once they’ve been to the cross for all intensive purposes, it’s not…I’m going to heaven, baby, what else is there? There’s a lot more after regeneration in this great salvation it’s called; sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says; for this is the will of God, your sanctification. God doesn’t just want to save you He wants to change you…he wants to transform you. God forgive us for building churches that are ten miles wide and one inch deep. Not a quantity of disciples but a quality of discipleship. Less concerned about how many people are coming here but way more concerned about the depth and the quality and the reality of our experience with Christ. It’s called sanctification. We take care of the death; God will take care of the rest.
To go deeper with Christ
Challenging people to go deeper with Christ in sanctification as it‘s a big part of what God calls us to. So how are you doing in that? The process of sanctification, how’s it going? Um, you’re sitting there thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to try harder in sanctification”. No, no; that’s not it. Colossians 2:6 says; you’ve received the Lord so walk in Him. He does it. What’s the goal of it? It’s obedience to Jesus Christ…obedience to Jesus Christ. That’s sanctification. When Jesus says jump I say….how high? Yeah, I want to do everything he wants me to do. Whatever you say Lord; that’s sanctification. John 14:21 He who has my commandments and keeps them it is who loves me. You love me, you love me…keep my commandments. He who has my commandments and keeps them he it is who loves me; Jesus says. 2b for obedience to Jesus Christ…here’s the greatest part… and for sprinkling with his blood Cause as soon as I hold up the obedience thing, I can see it in all of your faces….oh that’s hard. It’s not easy to be all that God wants us to be, amen?
What do I do when I fail? Hey, has anybody here ever failed so big time that you’re like; hey, I can’t do this anymore, I just can’t be a Christian, I just like failed so big time…have you ever done that? So people fall like that. Or sometimes; have you ever fell so similarly? Man, I always fall in the same whole, man, man I go for a while and I’m doing so good and all of a sudden I’m in that stupid place again. I’m such an idiot; what’s wrong with me, man? You ever feel like that? OK, well, what’s God’s provision for that? Well notice in the text… and for sprinkling with his blood. God is so different than us. Man we can remember everything and every person who has disappointed us…my wife isn’t everything that I though she was going to be and my boss isn’t what he said he was going to be and we just carry forward our disappointment with people. You know that God doesn’t do that? The sprinkling of his Blood reminds me of 1 John 1:7 which says; if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanses us from all sin. Hey, how great is that? That we don’t stand in our past performance with God. Come now, let us reason together; Isaiah said, though your sins are like scarlet they can be as white as snow. Isn’t it good to know that we can go forward in the process of sanctification, not bearing the weight of our past. I know you’re not everything that God wants us to be because I know I’m not everything God wants me to me. But listen, we can step out in front of us is fresh, crisp snow…no one has walked in it, no one has messed it up…we can go forward today in a fresh, cleansing, in a new opportunity and God’s not bringing forward our failures in past months and years of sanctification. Amen. That’s what he’s talking about when he says; 2 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.
Here’s the best part; it’s the future part….glorification
That’s the part of salvation that’s not someday, will be eventually, it’s when all that God promised is actually received. Born again, To a living hope, Trough the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and verse 4; glorification; 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. I brought something with me to show you. It’s like my will; last will, you see it? It’s my will. Somebody said I should have one as it was the responsible thing to do or something but the bottom line is that if you read it over you would find out that if something happened to me it would just be like my wife and kid; their not really getting very much. You see, I don’t have very much so it’s really not that big a deal. But do you know as the son bought sons and daughters of the living God, do you know how wealthy we are? Do you know how awesome our inheritance is? What God has in store for us, who could imagine it? Peter tried to describe it here he says 4 to an inheritance (first of all, first of all) that is imperishable…imperishable; that means that it’s not subject of decay. A couple of years ago my grandma died and it was hard as she was so dear to our entire family. And then I found out I was getting this really cool clock as a part of my inheritance. And I had heard this clock growing up at my grandma’s house going off. It’s really cool when it goes off the low pitched gong sound…I grew up hearing this in the night and I was so excited about getting this as a part of my inheritance. I was so excited to get this clock but the problem was; I hadn’t seen it for a while and it was trashed. It had to be refinished, the hands had to be replaced, it didn’t even work and it cost me $400 to get it to work and this is my inheritance? And what he is trying to say here is this; your inheritance is imperishable, it’s immortal, it’s not subject to decay. You’re not going to get there and go; “how much is it going to cost me to fix this?” Ok, that’s not what God has for us. An inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, (Notice) kept in heaven for you. It’s for you, hey listen it’s for you…your name is in the Lambs book of life, your mansion is being constructed for you, no one’s going to live in it before you. What God has in store for you is perfect. It’s is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. No one else will get it, no one else is going to knock you out of your spot… it’s for you…tell me; who’s it for? It’s for you. That’s glorification. You’re like; well, you’re not really getting my deal because my concern is not God keeping it for me my concern is, you know, will I get there….that’s what Peter talks about next…5 who by God’s power are being guarded. through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
5 who by God’s power are being guarded…Aren’t you glad to know, not just the inheritance kept for you but you kept for it…who by God’s power are being guarded…and you’re like; well, can’t I do anything myself or is God going to do the whole thing? Well, you can do a little bit. Look at the text; what’s the part you can do? 5 who by God’s power are being guarded… through what? Through faith! OK, so that’s what I can do…that is what you can do…that is your part, that’s your part…faith. Every good step spiritually is a step of faith. Think of faith like a funnel. OK. Just like right in the top of your head. All Christian virtue flow through your life through the funnel of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11: 6)) In fact, Hebrews 4:2 says; that the word that they heard did not prophet them not being combined with faith. That kind of bothers me because what that means is that what I’m doing right now is for you, a colossal waste of time, if you’re not combining the word that you are hearing with faith. And as I’m proclaiming these things about Election, and regeneration, and sanctification and glorification…you’re like; yes, yes it’s true and I believe it and I’m resting in it and I’m building my life on it…exercising your faith toward truth. Otherwise, the word that you heard does not profit you because it was not combined with what….faith. All right. 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation (a great salvation) ready to be revealed in the last time. In this life we will never comprehend how great this salvation is. Ultimately, when God pulls the sheet off it, at the glorification stage, we’ll just be like; wow, what God has done for us. Great salvation; detail it…now this;
Demonstrate it. Demonstrate it…that’s where the text goes next look at verse 6…6 In this you rejoice, (In what, in what? In the great salvation and those four things) 6 In this you rejoice…that word rejoice there is different than the normal word. Remember when we studied Philippians? It’s not like the normal word for joy…this is like mega-joy. It’s the word that Mary used when she found out she was going to have Jesus…and she said my spirit rejoices in God my savior. It’s what the Philippian jailor said in Acts 16 when he and his whole family came to know Christ. It’s what Peter talks about in 1 Peter 4 in the second coming of Christ and the joy that comes with it. It’s what Revelation 19:7 talks about; this mega rejoicing when we’ll be with Christ, at the marriage supper o the lamb. Is that going to be a serious party or what? And we’re going to be there! It’s like mega joy and Peter says; ih this, we rejoice. Now how many of you, just honestly, have sensed a stirring of joyfulness in your heart, even as we’ve been talking about this great salvation? Have you sensed that? But you know there are some people who might have to honestly say; no, you know what? I’m listening but, but I’m not feeling it right now. Make a note of this ultimate praise…even when I don’t feel like it….even when I don’t feel like it…that’s what he is talking about right here. That the most amazing praise6 In this you rejoice now for a little while,(How long do trials last for? A little while. They don’t seem like a little while, right? Hebrews 12 says; no trial seems to be joyful for the moment but afterward…it’s not while you’re in it but when you look back….how many of you can remember a time in your life when math class would never get over….it’s over right. And how many can remember a year in school that you thought; this year will never end….but it’s over and then you were like; and high school…and it’s gone. It seems like it was long… but I couldn’t wait to get on my own, I couldn’t wait to get married, and I couldn’t wait to start my family and it is all happening so fast. Right! And that’s the perspective that God’s Word is giving here on trials that in the midst of them….well, he says; 6 In this you rejoice though now for a little while if necessary, you have been grieved (I love the honesty in that) you have been grieved by various trials, Have you ever been grieved by a trial in your life, a difficult circumstance allowed by God to shape your character. I love the honesty of God’s Word where it says; it’s just hard…amen…it’s just hard, it’s not easy and I was grieved…not for a year but for an hour and a day and even a couple of weeks sometimes…just grieved.
If necessary…notice there’s a purpose in trails…
I’m just going a word at a time here; In this you rejoice though now for a little while if necessary…I’m so glad to know that God doesn’t just put us through a trial if it’s not…what….necessary. If necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…God what are you doing in all of this?
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 … so that the tested genuineness of your faith…God’s testing the genuineness of my faith. You know a lot of people go through trials and they just walk away from the Lord and they walk away from church and they never come back…tested genuineness of your faith (I love that) more precious than gold (how’s that?) Gold perishes…even though it is tested by fire (it perishes)—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Three words; Praise, glory and honor…God’s purpose for trials
Let’s talk about those three words for a moment; praise, glory and honor. That’s God’s purpose for trials…praise, glory and honor. Praise is the first thing….I express worship to God even in the midst of trials….Glory; I don’t just express praise…I experience the presence of God…that’s glory; the manifest presence of God…so I express it, I experience it and then the ultimate goal…praise, glory, honor is the elevation of God….
At the revelation of Jesus Christ
Three steps; praise—good, glory—better, honor—best! Back to the text…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…and uh, when does that praise, glory and honor happen…At the revelation of Jesus Christ. Cause I’m going to guarantee you that most of you were thinking…while I was talking about that…you were thinking, well; I try to really praise God through my trails….I tried to really bring praise to God through my trial…it’s not talking about that, now that’s a good thing…but it’s not talking about that, not at all.
Stand before Jesus…roll the tape
It’s talking about a day, when we’re all going to stand, the revelation of Jesus Christ is when He returns, when we meet him and we’ll all be there and all of a sudden somebody’s going to be like; Cindy, come forward please….and their going to be like…roll the tape. And then we’re going to get to look at a trial in your life. And you say; is that really going to happen? Yeah it really is and uh, this is why it is so, so , so important that we cease those difficult opportunities in our lives to honor Christ cause you’re going to have to see it again. You say; I’m going to have to see it again. You’re going to have to see it again. This is the crucible of life; God is honored and glorified in the way that his children handle adversity differently than people who don’t know him. And far from being the worse moments in our lives they are our premium opportunities to honor Christ. And you’re like; that’s just too hard to do. And because it’s too hard to do…in fact can we all say impossible? Everyone say it’s impossible…that’s why God gets glory through it. It’s when we draw down in His strength and live in that way that honors Him. People are like; that was so not you…I know you and that was not you…I know you…that was God in you. Don’t you want your trials to result in praise and glory and honor at the appearing or the revelation of Jesus Christ? Don’t you want that? When they call out your name and say; roll the tape…don’t you want to demonstrate the power of Christ at work in the life of one of His children…one of his followers? That’s an amazing privilege….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…that fires me up! Roll the tape.
Vs. 8…Ultimate praise even when I don’t feel like it, Ultimate practice even when I don’t see it
He goes in a very interesting direction with the tape…he almost anticipates a person who would complain and say; man, you’re so jazzed up about Jesus and man, you have not even seen Him. And you’re so worked about Him, what is your deal….vs. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. (Amen?) Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…hey, hey, I haven’t seen Him but I’ll tell you what; I believe in Him, I love Him, I believe in Him and I love Him with a joy that is inexpressible.
Now look at verse 9 obtaining (that’s a present active participle…as in I am now in the process of obtaining) the outcome of my faith…What’s the outcome of my faith? Well, there’s four parts to it but I forget what they are again….What was the outcome part? Election, Regeneration, Sanctification, and the outcome…the ultimate outcome is; Glorification….which is heaven and all the things that God has promised to those who love Him. Right; so when he says; obtaining the outcome you’re not obtaining the outcome of your faith…that’s like; oh what a wonderful, wonderful day…heaven came down and glory filled my soul. That’s what he talking about. You can have some of heaven now as you are already in the process of obtaining the outcome of your faith. You don’t have to wait for it some day. As I said earlier…Spurgeon said; a little bit of faith can take your soul to heaven a lot of faith can bring heaven to your soul. Obtaining the outcome of your faith; the salvation of your souls; detail it, demonstrate it…and I’ll just read this part to you…delight in it…delight in it.
Once you understand this great salvation and are committed to living it out, how could you not delight in it? The prophets, they pursued the message….notice the verse 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully… So, picture Isaiah, writing in the Old Testament…vs. 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was…so he’s be writing these things; He was wounded for our transgressions and the Spirit of Christ is guiding his pen and he’s like; who is it? When’s it going to happen? Just keep writing….and, and, and he was bruised for our…the chastisement for our peace was upon….who is it? When is it going to happen? Just keep writing….Listen, they didn’t get to know these things. They wanted to know…11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves…and the Spirit of God was like…it isn’t you. Now how great is salvation that we get to know all about this and those faithful prophets…it’s not for you, it’s for someone else….and they’re like; well, OK, 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached ….that’s the second thing… through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, (prophets pursued, apostles announced. The Apostles proclaimed this Gospel. In fact he closes the section by saying the angels, they agonized over it….this great salvation; pursued by the prophets, announced by the apostles…things into which angels long to look. Angels; they’re just like messengers right? They just do what they are told, like; we, we have some questions…just go do what you are told….Well but we want to know what this is as it all seems so exciting and now we see that the second person in trinity is now going into the world, what’s happening? We want to know. Just do what we told you to do as all of this is reserved for a special and unique group of people…the human race….but not the entire human race. This great salvation is for only those who turn from their sin and embrace Christ for their forgiveness. And I make you this promise to close; one hundred years from today; nobody going to talk about the war in Iraq, 100 years from today nobody’s going to be talking about the economy, 100 years from today nobody’s going to be talking about who the next president is going to be….all we’re going to be talking about is this one thing; our great salvation. The theme of the universe, the Creator, who reached out to a fallen man and offered to pull them back freely, through the work of Christ; changed for eternity through faith in Him, our great salvation.
Do you have it, can you detail it, are you living it out, are you delighting in it?