Sermon: Preparing for Obedience1 Peter 1:13

Preparing for Obedience

1 Peter 1:13

Truth Taught – We are to prepare our minds to be ready to obey God in all He tells us in His Word

 

Introduction

God always has a pattern when seeking obedience from us.  He shows us what we have been forgiven by grace.  Peter has laid out the salvation that God has given us by faith. This salvation is extremely valuable and amazing.  We have reviewed it about every week so far.

We have been brought to life by God and now have a living hope. We are guarded and so is our inheritance. This salvation is ready to be revealed; prophets longed to see it; and angels long to understand it.

So, based on all that we have been given by God through faith, what is an appropriate response?

This world is full of takers.  Those who always want handouts and free things are everywhere.  Our society has created a society of consumers.  Whether its generational welfare, those who refuse to work or those who live in their parents’ basement till they’re 40 years old or those who think that they are entitled to something just because they’re breathing is a terrible perspective.  This plays right into our fallen self-centered nature.

We’ve been given salvation but not for free.  Someone had to achieve the demands of God through His law.  Salvation was given to us, but not for free.  It cost Jesus His life to give it to us for free.

If you’ve received this salvation, then God desires obedience and service.  He desires His people to follow Him as Lord and not just Savior.  So, what does Peter do to help motivate God’s people for service?

It would be very easy as Christians in the first century to simply be concerned with themselves. Applying these situations to ourselves, suffering such intense persecution could cause us to be very secretive and self-focused.  How could we even think about others when our lives are hanging in the balance?

What does Peter tell us to inspire Christian living and service to others no matter what the circumstances?

He does this in verse 13 by using three Greek verbs.  These verbs will make up our outline for today.

  1. Prepare Your Minds
  2. Be Sober-Minded
  3. Set Your Hope Fully on Grace

Prayer

1 Peter 1:13–17 (ESV)

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  1. Prepare Your Minds

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action

Verse 13 is the transitional verse going from the explanation of our great and infinitely valuable salvation to what God expects now from us.  It sets up Peter’s fuller teaching on Christian living found in the rest of the book.  See verse 13 as a bridge between the introduction to our salvation and the following application of our salvation.  God does not just give us salvation to make us welfare cases, but He expects godly living as the manifestation of salvation given.

1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)

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,

Because God has given us such a great salvation, and since we currently possess it, and since there is more to come, does God require anything from us now?  Peter explains to us that salvation is free, but it does come with great responsibilities.  Here is where many Christians today miss the mark.  They think that they can get by in this world without serving Christ and His church.  They think that all they have to do is simply sit back and reap all the benefits at no cost to them.

Luke 12:48b (ESV)

48 Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Jesus teaches that when God gives us things, especially salvation, then we are required to be the steward who is awake and ready and working for His Master—not the one sitting back and simply taking without serving.

The first thing we must do if we are going to follow Christ in faithful service and obedience is to 13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action

This phrase literally means to gird up the loins of your mind. So, to obey and serve takes some mental preparation.  The reason it does is because we don’t normally think of obeying Christ and serving others because we are too focused on ourselves.

So, we must see that if God is to have our heart and our obedience, He must also have our mind.

This language of girding up our loins comes to us from the Passover event found in Exodus.  In Exodus 12 we are told that the Hebrews were commanded to eat the Passover meal in haste.

Exodus 12:11–12 (ESV)

11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.

The point is that eating the Passover meal with their loins girded up meant that they were ready to move forward in their pursuit of the Promised Land.

When we gird up the loins of our mind, we are preparing to move forward in godly obedience preparing our minds to live out God’s commands.  It’s a moving forward in obedience.   For us, the Promised Land is obedience to God’s Word.

We live in a day when we don’t prepare to live in obedience but simply react to situations.  One scholar said it this way, we simply think with our eyes.  As a result, our minds are never really made ready for obedience and service.  What God desires is a determined mental preparation toward obedience to His Word.

I want to challenge you with this because it seems we too often use our minds to seek a way out of obedience and service.  When we react rather than plan our thinking most often will be in the negative.  We will reason our way out of obedience rather than a way into it.  Therefore, we must make mental preparation beforehand rather than at the spur of the moment.

So, how do we gird up the loins of our minds to get ready to obey God? Or we might say it this way—how can we turn the robe of our mind into running shorts?

We must prepare our minds or gird up the loins of our minds with truth. What does Paul tell us in Ephesians 6?

Ephesians 6:14 (ESV)

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

This is the exact language of girding up your loins.  He says but on this belt of truth.  Beloved, we must be saturated in truth.  We must be influenced by truth rather than what the world would tell us.  If we are to obey God consistently, we must be influenced regularly by His truth.

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Sermon: Rejoicing Through Suffering 1 Peter 1:6-9

Rejoicing Through Suffering

1 Peter 1:6-9

Truth Taught – We can endure present suffering and even rejoice as we wait for our salvation to be revealed

Introduction

Peter reminds us that because of the New Birth, we have great joy because we presently have a living hope and an everlasting inheritance in the life to come.

At the same time, because we are Christians we will also have present suffering in this life.

So, let’s think through what Peter has already told us. In our present life right now as Christians we have New Birth, a Living Hope and Trials. It’s the very reason we are born again that we have trials. As God’s elect exiles we are brought into conflict with this world and the result is suffering and trials. As we currently endure trials, we also have a living hope at work within us. This hope, which is fueled by the Holy Spirit, is always pointing to the future and saying things like, you can endure this present suffering because you have a salvation that is being guarded until the day when Jesus returns.

The things that keep us going and cause our perseverance are our future salvation/inheritance and our love for Jesus Christ. Listen—the specific way we might suffer really doesn’t matter that much. We all suffer differently with different things and ways, but the things that keep us going in this life are the same for all Christians, namely, our love for Christ and our salvation that is ready and waiting for us.

Prayer

1 Peter 1:3–9 (ESV)

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. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 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. 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, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

  1. As We Long for Salvation We Can Rejoice Through Our Trials

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials

We are called to rejoice through our trials, and we can as we look forward to the salvation that God promises is waiting for us. Remember it is guarded in heaven. We long for salvation to be fully revealed. We long for the promises of God to be realized. As we do, we can endure trials with joy. This is not just a silly wishful thinking joy I’ve seen some people try to maintain but this is a founded joy. It’s a joy that comes to us as we believe the promises of God. Even though we have not experienced the fullness of salvation yet, we know it is coming because God tells us it is.

The living hope Peter told us about leads us to this true and lasting joy, and it is not possible for a trial to remove the joy that comes to us because of our living hope. This kind of hope leads us to joy. The rejoicing that Peter tells us about is not due to the fact that our trials have ended because the rejoicing has nothing to do with this current life. Whether in good times or hard times this rejoicing will not end because the thing we are rejoicing in has not changed.

Another reason for rejoicing is that whatever the situation is; whatever the trial looks like compared to eternity it’s not even a blip on the radar. At the same time, we do endure real and painful trials while in this life. Do you experience trials in this life? Peter reminds us that the suffering is just for a little while. That’s good to hear. Sometimes trials seem to last forever and seem to be more than we can bear. Beloved, stay focused on our future salvation and our eternal life with Christ, and we can rejoice through the trial instead of whining through the trial.

He also adds a little phrase to assure us that this trial is not random and without meaning. Do you see it in verse 6? if necessary

We can be assured that to get us where God wants us to be, there has to be suffering because it is necessary. Trials are on purpose to achieve in the believer endurance, perseverance, growth and maturity. We can rejoice because God is at work moving us to maturity and toward our final salvation.

  1. As We Rejoice Through Trials Our Faith is Proved Genuine

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.

The only reason Christians can rejoice in suffering is that we understand that our salvation is real. As we continue to believe while under immense pressure, our faith is proved to be genuine. Next to being insane, that’s the only explanation.   Remember, it’s not the suffering itself we rejoice in but the end result that the suffering achieves in our lives.

James 1:2–4 (ESV)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Where do we get real assurance that our faith is real? When we endure the trial and come out on the other end beat up some and maybe even a little bloody and worn but our faith is still intact. Low and behold we may have lost other things, but our faith still remains and it is even stronger than before. James tells us that these things make us perfect lacking nothing.

Peter captures the thrust of biblical truth like James does using the language of gold being refined through fire. After gold comes out of the refiner’s fire it has lost its impurities and is now closer to perfect and pure.

Isaiah 48:9–11 (ESV)

   “For my name’s sake I defer my anger;

for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,

that I may not cut you off.

10    Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;

I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

11    For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,

for how should my name be profaned?

My glory I will not give to another.

Remember, the trial does not make our faith genuine, but it is prove it to be real. Another amazing reason to rejoice is that not only is it proven to be real but what proved it real was that faith was demonstrated to be genuine while in the middle of the trial. God is glorified as others see your faith. His worth is shown as we cling to Him through it all.

Peter is not a health/wealth preacher, is he? He knows what suffering looks like; he has endured it. He knows what it’s like to come through it with a faith that shows itself as genuine.

Luke 22:31–32 (ESV)

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter’s faith remained through his sifting process because Jesus prayed it would. In John 17 Jesus prays a very similar prayer for all God’s people. He prays that we would remain steadfast; he prays that truth would change us and make us stronger. Beloved, our faith remains because Jesus prays for us.

How does genuine faith endure suffering?

  1. Genuine Faith Sees the Unseen Savior

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, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Genuine faith endures because of an inheritance that is secure. Genuine faith endures because of a salvation ready to be revealed. Genuine faith endures because we are longing to see Jesus face to face.

Notice how Peter specifically points directly to Jesus as the means of an enduring faith. Jesus, not our inheritance, is the object of our love and affection. Jesus and not even our salvation is the focus of our love and affection.

Our faith sees the unseen Savior doesn’t it? I remember the first puritan book I ever read was titled, The True Christian’s Love to the Unseen Christ by Thomas Vincent. It was based on 1 Peter 1:8. Throughout the book he explains how vital it is that the professing believer love the unseen Christ.
Peter, of course, had seen Jesus. What he stresses is that there is a level of trust and faith that he could not attain but that all Christians after him could. We can by faith trust the written Word and receive blessings that Peter never knew.

Here’s an example:

John 20:26–29 (ESV)

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We can also see the same type of thing in Hebrews:
Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Beloved, we can trust in a way that those who actually saw Jesus in the first century cannot. We believe in and trust Christ whom we have never seen because God has told us through the Word all about Him.

Faith accepts the revealed, written record in the Gospels and epistles.

As we see Christ through the eyes of faith in the Word of God revealed to us, we have a faith that endures trials of various kinds so at the end of the day we can rejoice in Christ because He is our treasure.

If someone ever asks you, can you explain how it is that you can rejoice in the middle of your suffering? You might be able to tell them a few things, but you cannot fully explain it because it is in a real sense supernatural.

rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

The gospels are better than being there!

But how do we come to crave the preciousness of Christ and trust the reliability of Christ if we can’t see him? How do you love him and believe in him, if you can’t see him?

We see Him in another and more important way.

I think the answer to that question is that even though we don’t see him face to face with our physical eyes, we do see him in another way that is even more important

For example, in Romans 15:20–21, Paul described his mission to unreached peoples (who could never see Christ physically) like this: “I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named . . . but as it is written, ‘They who had no news of him shall see, and they who have not heard shall understand.'” In the preaching of the gospel Christ can be seen in a way that is more important than seeing him physically.

Hundreds of people in Jesus’ lifetime saw him physically and never really saw him. “Seeing they did not see,” Jesus said. There is a seeing that is infinitely more important than seeing with the eyes. In 2 Corinthians 4:6 Paul describes it like this: “The God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” There is a spiritual seeing in the heart of the glory of God in the face of Christ, and without it no one is saved.

How does this kind of seeing happen? It happens through the Word of God. When the gospel of Christ is preached, we can see Christ more clearly for who he really is than many could see in his own lifetime. If you read the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, with openness to Christ, you can see the true glory of Christ far more clearly than most of the people who knew him on earth could see him

The gospels are better than being there. You are taken into the inner circle of the apostolic band where you never could have gone. You go with him through Gethsemane and the trial and the crucifixion and the resurrection and the meetings after the resurrection. You hear whole sermons and long discourses—not in isolated snatches on hillsides but in rich God-inspired contexts that take you deeper than you ever could have gone as a perplexed peasant in Galilee. You see the whole range of his character and power which nobody on earth saw as fully as you can now see in the gospels: you see his freedom from anxiety with no place to lay his head, his courage in the face of opposition, his unanswerable wisdom, his honoring women, his tenderness with children, his compassion toward lepers, his meekness in suffering, his patience with Peter, his tears over Jerusalem, his blessing those who cursed him, his heart for the nations, his love for the glory of God, his simplicity and devotion, his power to still storms and heal the sick and multiply bread and cast out demons.[1]

Peter understands that there is something more trustworthy than even being there.

2 Peter 1:16–21 (ESV)

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

What is the result of seeing Christ by faith?

obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

We learned today:

As We Long for Salvation We Can Rejoice Through Our Trials

As We Rejoice Through Trials Our Faith is Proved Genuine

Genuine Faith Sees the Unseen Savior

Are you anticipating with great excitement the salvation that’s ready to be revealed?

Are you rejoicing through trials waiting on Christ to be revealed? Are you seeing the unseen Savior?

 

 

*Resources Used:

Teaching 1 Peter by Angus MaCleay

1 Peter by Karen Jobes

1 Peter by David Helm

1 Peter by John MacArthur

1 Peter by Peter Davids

1 Peter by Wayne Grudem

1 Peter by Edmond Clowney

1 Peter John Piper

 

[1] 1 Peter 1:7-8 John Piper

Sermon: What Our Real Home Looks Like 1 Peter 1:3-5

What Our Real Home Looks Like

1 Peter 1:3-5

 

Truth Taught – All believers are kept and secured and have a glorious eternal inheritance that is also kept and secured

 Introduction

This next section begins the doxology. Peter praises God for what he and all Christians currently possess. My goal in today’s message is to give you adequate reason to praise God as well. Beloved, when we can walk by faith and not by sight our souls will rejoice in The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ regardless our current situation. This is exactly what Peter is shooting for.

Remember last time we looked at Peter’s recipients, namely, God’s elect exiles. Christians do not have a citizenship in this world but have their citizenship in God’s Kingdom via the new birth. You know how it works; you are a citizen of whatever country you are born into. God tells us the New Birth has given us heavenly citizenship.

Our true citizenship brings us into conflict with our current residence. We are in conflict because we are Christians and seek to maintain God’s values and worldview. The fact that we do suffer because we are Christians reminds us to whom we belong.

Suffering also proves that we belong to God because no one would choose suffering over ease unless there is a promise coming in the future. Beloved what we are called to is to live in such a way that will bring us into conflict with our current society looking to the future for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Peter teaches us that whatever suffering comes to us because of our obedience to God pales in comparison with our future reward.

Because we are elect exiles living away from our true homeland, Peter wants us to get a glimpse of our real home. The verses today, I pray, should make us long for our true homeland.

Usually, when we suffer in this life, it’s because something is being taken away from us. Because of our faith we may lose a job, wealth, status, home, family, even our very lives. Here Peter’s mission is to convince us that our inheritance is infinitely more valuable than anything we might lose, and what God has for us as an inheritance cannot be taken away.

Prayer

What does our real home look like?

When we moved away to go to Bible College we had not seen where we were going to live.

1 Peter 1:3–5 (ESV)

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.

  1. Praise God

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

“Blessed be God” is a very common praise in the Old Testament. Here are a few examples:
Psalm 68:19

19    Blessed be the Lord,

who daily bears us up;

God is our salvation. Selah

Psalm 68:35

35    Awesome is God from his sanctuary;

the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.

       Blessed be God!

Psalm 72:18

18    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

who alone does wondrous things.

Psalm 106:48

48    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

from everlasting to everlasting!

       And let all the people say, “Amen!”

Praise the Lord!

Here, Peter makes this Jewish blessing and praise entirely Christian. He identifies God as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Beloved, take Jesus’ God and Father as your God and Father. Embrace Him through faith and obedience.

2 Corinthians 1:3 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

What do the OT writers and Paul and Peter mean when they say “Bless the Lord” or “Bless be to God”?

My thesis is that in the Scripture when God “blesses” men they are thereby helped and strengthened and made better off than they were before, but when men “bless” God he is not helped or strengthened or made better off. Rather (with C. A. Keller in THAT, I, 361) man’s blessing God is an “expression of praising Thankfulness” (ein lobendes Danksagen), when the OT speaks of blessing God it does not “designate a pro­cess that aims at the increase of God’s strength” (THAT, I, 361). It is an “exclamation of gratitude and admiration” (THAT, I, 357).[1]

With this meaning clearly in mind, Peter is praising God for something specific. . .

  1. Praise God for the New Birth

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again

Peter blesses God for the specific act of his and all Christians’ regeneration. Salvation is brought about entirely by God because of His great mercy. God alone has the power to regenerate us, and He alone has infinite mercy, which is one of the reasons He does it. Because our New Birth is by God’s mercy it is totally undeserved and unearned.

Before we were born, God already loved us and chose us for regeneration. He has caused us to be born again. If we are to be His people with full rights of citizens in His heavenly Kingdom, then we must be born into that Kingdom to be a citizen. The New Birth is the means God uses to place us into His Kingdom.

Do you remember back in John 3 when Jesus and Nicodemus had their conversation about the New Birth? Nicodemus was discussing other things and Jesus simply said:

John 3:3 (ESV)

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Now, for some reason many are trapped in the mindset that somehow we can experience the rebirth on our own. Beloved, what say so did you have in your first birth? Did you tell your parents where you wanted to live or when you wanted to be born? Did you decide who your parents would be? You had nothing to do with birth number one. It’s the same with the second birth.

Notice the dilemma we are in: Jesus tells us that unless we are born again, we cannot see the Kingdom of God and yet we cannot be born again in our own power. So, Jesus has just made a demand that we cannot fulfill. This demand is not optional but a vital necessity, and yet it is completely impossible for mankind to obey the command.

This is why Peter blesses God. God is so merciful he has caused us to be born again. God has done for us what He requires and yet He knows we cannot do ourselves.

God is the Father of our Lord Jesus and also becomes our Father at the New Birth. We are not children of God by the fact that we are created by God, but we are granted a new birth through His power. At the New Birth we become God’s children, and in turn, He becomes our Father as well.

  1. Praise God for Our Living Hope

to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Peter tells us that our New Birth is a direct result of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Our New Birth is very much like Jesus’ resurrection. Just as the Spirit made him alive, we too are made alive and in a very real sense experience a resurrection from the dead ourselves. To those whom God has chosen and set His love upon before the foundation of the world, He has given a living hope. The hope God’s people possess is alive in contrast to the dead futile hope of the lost. Beloved the world in all its attempts at happiness and fulfillment ends up with no hope at all. The lost try everything to gain meaning and happiness and hope only to come up empty. Why is that the case—because only God gives the human this true and meaningful hope.

Ephesians 2:11–12 (ESV)

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

Do you see what God tells us? Seeking hope outside of Christ is a waste of time. Unfortunately, most have sought it all their lives and will die entirely without hope.

We live in a world of hopelessness and despair.

The Christians Peter was writing to had been suffering massive persecution and were being expelled from Rome. They had lost their jobs, their homes, their savings, and many had even lost family and friends. At the same time, Peter wants them to know that if the evil world should take everything you possess it cannot take your hope. Beloved we like the first century Church have all eternity to be at peace and joyful. So, suffering in this world because we are citizens of the world to come is a very good trade. Peter wants us to realize this.

What better way to encourage suffering Christians than to remind them? . . .

They are elect.

They are exiles.

They are eternally loved by God.

They are Born Again.

They are citizens of God’s Kingdom.

They have a living and vibrant hope.

And one more for now—They have an Eternal Inheritance.

  1. Praise God for Our Guarded Inheritance

to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.

Because we now have God as our Father, we are given an inheritance as His children. Of course, God isn’t going to die in order for us to receive it, but it’s waiting for us when we die. An inheritance is wealth or legacy that is passed on to a member of the family. Listen; if you are a believer, you’ve become a child of God. Because we are children of God via the New Birth, we are promised an inheritance. For those suffering Christians who have lost everything, this inheritance is especially sweet.

Peter adds three descriptions of our inheritance:

We have an inheritance that is imperishable.

Nothing can take it away from us. It will not leave or be destroyed. Our eternal inheritance will never be lost.

We have an inheritance that is undefiled.

It cannot be contaminated with sin or evil. It’s outside the realm of this fallen world and not contaminated with sin. Whatever our inheritance is exactly, it will only add to our ability to praise and glorify God.

We have an inheritance that is unfading.

None of the decaying elements of this world can touch it. It will never rust, corrode, rot, or lose its luster. This word unfading in the original language means it will never cease to be magnificent.

This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.

As Christians, our inheritance is already in heaven waiting our arrival. It’s literally being guarded and reserved for you.

Jesus referred to this inheritance when He preached the Sermon on the Mount. . .

Matthew 6:19–21 (ESV)

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  1. Praise God Because We Too Are Guarded

who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Notice how secure things are in heaven.

Our inheritance is currently divinely guarded waiting our arrival. But is there any possibility that our inheritance will go unclaimed?

who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Our inheritance is being guarded, and beloved, we too are being guarded.

Our hope is a living hope that will not fail. Listen, as believers it is an impossibility that we will ever lose what God has so richly given to us. We are secure and so is our inheritance.

How secure are we? who by God’s power are being guarded through faith.

Here’s where we must make sure we get things right. It’s not our faith that guards us, but God guards us, and our ongoing faith is the mark or manifestation of God’s power at work within us. He guards us; He keeps us; and this is proven as we continue to believe.

Christian, you are guarded by God’s power until you are ushered into a salvation that is now ready to be revealed to you. God has prepared everything. Our Lord has accomplished all things necessary. Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension have achieved everything. Peter in his book anticipates the day when salvation is presented to all of God’s children.

1 Peter 4:7 (ESV)

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

1 Peter 5:4 (ESV)

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Peter speaks of our inheritance and salvation in ways, which are meant to remind us of the Israelites anticipating the Promised Land while in Egypt. There are many parallels which include: Slavery-Suffering, Strangers or exiles waiting for their redemption. Being rescued from Egypt by God Himself. The big difference is that they did not receive the Promised Land because of their sin and rebellion. We will inherit the Promised Land because we gain access through a better covenant, which is the very blood of Jesus Christ. He makes the Promised Land ours through His life and death. This is exactly why and how we are guarded. The salvation that’s ready to be revealed is ours because it was purchased with the imperishable blood of Jesus Christ.

*Resources Used:

Teaching 1 Peter by Angus MaCleay

1 Peter by Karen Jobes

1 Peter by David Helm

1 Peter by John MacArthur

1 Peter by Peter Davids

1 Peter by Wayne Grudem

1 Peter by Edmond Clowney

 

[1] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-does-it-mean-to-bless-god

Sermon: Christians, Take Comfort 1 Peter 1:1-2

Christians, Take Comfort

1 Peter 1:1-2

Truth Taught – To encourage Christians who were suffering, Peter highlights their election and reminds them that this sinful world is not their home.

Introduction

The Apostle Peter writes his first epistle around the middle of the 60s A.D. This time period is a time of great persecution in and around Rome and the Roman Empire.

Emperor Nero was the perpetrator of this intense persecution.

In the summer of 64, Rome suffered a terrible fire that burned for six days and seven nights consuming almost three quarters of the city. The people accused the Emperor Nero for the devastation claiming he set the fire for his own amusement. In order to deflect these accusations and placate the people, Nero laid blame for the fire on the Christians[1]

Nero’s persecution against the Christians was extremely vicious. He murdered many through torture and threw them to the lions in the arena for sport.

So, what were the Christians to think about all this? How were they supposed to live in the midst of such intense persecution?

Those who escaped such intense suffering were being lied about and slandered. Their family relationships were being greatly affected. Their employment opportunities were becoming less and less all the time.

Peter’s focus in this letter is to encourage the Christians to live boldly and obediently while suffering for Christ and the Gospel.

John 21:15–19 (ESV)

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

The Apostle Peter spent his entire life feeding and caring for the Lord’s sheep. This epistle is food for all the Lord’s sheep . . . the sheep in the first century and Jesus’ sheep today.

How do you encourage Christian obedience and continued commitment to Christ during times of suffering?

Prayer

1 Peter 1:1–2 (ESV)

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.

  1. Christian Take Comfort—You Are Elect

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.

As we begin this Book just like any letter, there are the intended recipients. Those Peter were writing to are named, literally all of God’s elect. The recipients are the true Church, the ecclesia, the called-out ones. This is very important to understand because it is a vital aid in properly interpreting the Book.

Here’s an example:

I’ve had many people ask questions about God calling and/or choosing or electing people and they often take me to 2 Peter 3:

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Then they proceed to explain that it’s God’s will that all come to repent. Then I say all doesn’t mean all, and then they get a weird look on their face of disbelief. Then they say what do you mean all doesn’t mean all? Are you twisting the meaning to fit your belief? Then I say, no, you are.

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Sermon: Portraits of Risk Takers, Ground Breakers and Fellow Servants Romans 16:1-23

Portraits of Risk Takers, Ground Breakers and Fellow Servants

Romans 16:1-23

Truth Taught- Paul commends his fellow servants to us so that we will see their example and join in by loving and serving Christ with all our heart as they did.

 

Introduction

If we’re not careful we can forget that the Bible contains many accounts of regular people. The people we read about can take on almost a superhero aura and we can lose sight of the fact that they were people like us.

It may be that in our subconscious we begin elevating the people in the Bible to something more than human so that we won’t have to follow their example. After all God can’t expect me to do the things Superman does, right?

What if these people were postal workers, nurses, teachers, construction workers, salesmen, factory workers, hair stylists, stay-home moms? Well then, we’d be pressured to do what they did, and our excuses would be removed.

Here is a list of 36 or so common everyday people with an uncommon passion for Jesus Christ. These were some of Paul’s friends and some of his soon to be friends. These are folks who were not any different from us. They were everyday common people, some had means and some didn’t. Some were skilled and some were not. Some were male, female, Jewish and Gentile; they were different from each other in many respects, but they had one common denominator . . . the Lord Jesus.

As I read this section, notice with me the Apostle’s love and active relationship he had with each and every person mentioned. These were not just names to him but dear, beloved saints of Christ who meant the world to him. These were his companions, comrades, and friends. These were the ones who came to his rescue when he was in great need. These were the ones he could and did depend upon. These were his friends.

I’m so thankful that in much the same way we share similar relationships here.

My prayer for us is that as we get just a quick glimpse of these first century Christians, we will be encouraged to also be risk takers, groundbreakers and servants of Christ.

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Sermon: Paul’s Plans and Ours Romans 15:22-33

Paul’s Plans and Ours

Romans 15:22-33


Truth Taught – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8–9)
Prayer

Romans 15:20–33 (ESV)

20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

       “Those who have never been told of him will see,

and those who have never heard will understand.”

22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. 28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

  1. Gospel Passion

20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

       “Those who have never been told of him will see,

and those who have never heard will understand.”

22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you.

23 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.

I haven’t come to see you yet because I have had more important things to do. I’m not sure but I think this would probably only work for Paul. My desire to come to see you has not been fulfilled because I have a greater desire. What was his greater desire? To preach the Gospel and plant churches where Christ has not been named. For Paul, God’s call was to be a frontier missionary. God used him in a mighty way to begin Christianity because most places Paul went were places where Christ’s name had not been heard. He desired to visit Rome, but God had different plans for Paul. Priority number one was for Paul to plant churches where there were none.

Now, he believed that he could, at some point, visit them because, as far as he knew, his pioneer missionary efforts had been fruitful, and churches were started where there were none.

since I no longer have any room for work in these regions

24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain,

He’s at it again. I’ll come to visit you because I have no more work where I’m at, and you’re on the way to my next missionary journey.

While it may sound a little awkward, Paul was right. God had called him to a task. It was a hard task, one only he could do. His work didn’t involve visiting with friends for long. As much as he longed to see them in Rome, God had other things in mind.

In order to go to Spain (Paul’s next adventure) he needed to stop on his way to visit with those at the Church in Rome to be refreshed by them and to lend them aid. He needed resources to go the Spain. These were plans Paul had made but would they come to pass? I think they will but not in Paul’s timing and not in the way he thinks.

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Sermon: Grace Community Church, You are Ready for Gospel Ministry

Sermon: Grace Community Church, You are Ready for Gospel Ministry in 2019 and Beyond

Romans 15:14–21

Grace Community Church, You are Ready for Gospel Ministry

in 2019 and Beyond

Romans 15:14–21

Truth Taught – In Paul’s estimation the Christians in Rome were ready for Gospel Ministry and so are we.

 

Introduction

Are you ready for Gospel Ministry in 2019? The Apostle Paul tells us we are ready. We have been prepared for Gospel Ministry for our communities and family. Beloved, God says we are ready.

As we think about the Gospel and Gospel Ministry, we must know what the Gospel is and what God’s goal(s) are for the Church in sharing the Gospel with others.

1 Corinthians 15:3–4 (ESV)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

What is God’s goal as we share the Gospel?

It seems there are two main thrusts. First, it’s God’s desire to save those who have never heard the Good News that Jesus came to save sinners. Second, the people who have never heard come from two types. We have those from other cultures and nations who have never heard the Good News, and we have the next generation that has never heard the Good News. In both examples, other nations and other generations, we must include those who have never heard it accurately.

God’s goal is to create a new society made up of all nations and all generations coming together under the banner of Jesus Christ. Christianity is not just for certain people but for all people from all cultures and generations.

Revelation 7:9–10 (ESV)

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Now, I want to say that this last Sunday of the year I am so blessed to be your pastor, and as I was reading this section this week, my thoughts kept going from the text and the Church in Rome that Paul was writing to, to you here at Grace Community Church. None of us are perfect. I do believe, however, we are all very capable of being used by God to share the Gospel and instruct others. We are very capable of being used by God to bring other cultures and other generations to Jesus Christ.

We must never forget that the Gospel is the power of God to save sinners and to bring them into His kingdom.

Romans 1:16 (ESV)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

As we think about a Gospel Ministry, we must have the proper motivation. There is a humanistic way of looking at the Gospel. It is the power of God to save us. However, the Gospel message is not first and foremost meant to keep people from going to hell. We are not saved from hell; we are saved from our sins. Salvation’s purpose is to create a people who will make up a worshipping community for King Jesus for all eternity. We pray for our lost friends and family in hopes that they don’t spend an eternity in hell, but the Bible teaches us that there is a greater, more consistent, more God-honoring motivation. Jesus is worthy to have a people to worship Him. Gathering a worshipping people is a greater more biblical motivation than simply not going to hell when we die.

Revelation 5:12 (ESV)

12 saying with a loud voice,

       “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,

       to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

       and honor and glory and blessing!”

Two centuries ago the Moravians were a band of amazing missionaries. They were not like missionaries today who won’t go to the hard places nor go anywhere without proper funding. No, these missionaries went to places that they knew they would never come back from. One account is of two young men boarding the ship to take them to the deepest darkest regions of remote Africa. There was an island off the coast made up of slaves. These were people who had committed crimes or for other reasons were made to work as slaves. In order to have permission to enter this remote island they had to sell themselves into slavery never to return home. As the ship left the port, and their families waved goodbye, and as the ship got smaller and smaller on the horizon, one of the young men shouted to his family . . . May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of His suffering. That cry became the motto for Moravian Missions. They believed Jesus was worthy to have worshippers even from the criminals who lived on that island.

Prayer

Romans 15:14–21 (ESV)

14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

       “Those who have never been told of him will see,

and those who have never heard will understand.”

  1. GCC, You are ready

14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God

a. GCC, you yourselves are full of goodness

Our church like the Church in Rome has been shaped by grace. We are not good by ourselves, but as God is working in us to make us like Jesus, we are good. We’re good in the sense of knowing how to treat others who are like us and also those who are not like us. Remember what God told us about loving others and caring for them?

Romans 12:9–13 (ESV)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

It’s so good to pastor a church that knows how to love each other and others. You do a wonderful job in this area . . . you’re ready for Gospel Ministry.

b. GCC, you are filled with all knowledge

You don’t know everything; neither do I. This is the perfect tense, which means we are knowing more and more all the time. Beloved you are filled with the knowledge sufficient for the task of sharing the Gospel. You are full of goodness. You are full of the knowledge needed to share the good news.

c. GCC, you are able to instruct one another

I see this often in the life of our church. You are equipped to instruct one another. We don’t know everything but we know enough, and when we are equipped with true love for others, we can then instruct each other with truth.

All this is true of the Roman Church that Paul wrote to and I see this in you as well.

It’s so amazing how Paul’s perception of this church has changed. When he began this letter, he was on the Gentile Christians hard because they were playing around with the Gospel and not treating their Jewish brothers and sisters correctly. He was on the Jewish Christians because they felt superior to the Gentiles. The reason he is speaking differently to them is because he knows that when they read God’s Word (Romans) they will change. I’m confident that as we read God’s Word we too are changing.

Noutheteō (to instruct/admonish) carries the ideas of encouraging, warning, and advising. It is a comprehensive term for counseling. In this context, it refers to coming alongside other Christians for spiritual and moral counseling. Paul is not referring to a special gift of counseling but of the duty and responsibility that every believer has for encouraging and strengthening other believers.[1]

  1. GCC, See Paul’s Heart

16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

       “Those who have never been told of him will see,

and those who have never heard will understand.”

Here, Paul explains his ministry with the prayer that we will copy what he did.

a. The Acceptable Sacrifice

Paul served figuratively as a priest

16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit Since the sacrifice Jesus made, the OT earthly priesthood has been done away with because Jesus is now our High Priest. There will never be any more God-acceptable sacrifices. Here, Paul tells us that he also performed a priestly function. He uses symbolism to try to explain how he saw his own ministry.

1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV)

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Jesus is our High Priest, and like Paul, all Christians in a very real sense are priests as well.

1 Peter 2:5 (ESV)

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

As Paul ministered figuratively as a priest the gospel of God to the Gentiles, he did so in order that his offering of believing Gentiles to God, as it were, might become acceptable to Him, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In faithful fulfillment of his unique apostolic calling, Paul’s supreme offering to God was a multitude of Gentiles, who by virtue of the Holy Spirit’s power had been sanctified and thus made acceptable for fellowship with the Father.

Like Paul, every believer who is instrumental in winning a soul to Jesus Christ presents that convert, whether Jew or Gentile, as a priestly offering to the Lord.[2]

b. The Whole Counsel of God

17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;

Everything Paul did, he did through grace and the power of God. That’s why he wrote that he was proud of his work.

Colossians 1:28–29 (ESV)

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

c. You Will Be My Witnesses

20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

       “Those who have never been told of him will see,

and those who have never heard will understand.”

Paul quotes Isaiah 52 here in verse 21. His point is that we should be willing to share the good news with everyone. We are not all called to be evangelists, but we are all called to be a witness.

We pray this year that GCC will be a witness to others of the amazing work God is doing in our lives. Through fervent prayer and an active Gospel Ministry those who perhaps have never heard the good news effectively will come to an understanding of the Gospel of God.

Grace Community Church, You are Ready for Gospel Ministry in 2019 and Beyond.

*Resources Used:

Romans by Christopher Ash

Romans by Douglas Moo

Romans by John Stott

Romans by John MacArthur

Outline of Romans by Steel and Thomas

.

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Ro 15:14). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (p. 331). Chicago: Moody Press.