In this sermon Pastor Tim looks at 1 Peter 1:3-5 and the living hope of the resurrection.
Well we looked at the story of Peter last weekend and how that related to his greeting the churches with grace and peace.
- This had been his story…
- Called by Jesus and there through his 3 years of ministry…
- And then reinstated after disowning Jesus at his crucifixion…
- This Peter is the rock upon which Jesus chose to build his church!
- So he writes this letter from Rome around the year 62 AD to the newly formed churches in what is northern Turkey today.
But I had a good laugh at this video because after all something happened… haha!
- Something that gave these first disciple of Jesus a fearless authority in the face of trials and persecution
- To witness to what they had seen and experienced.
- And as we will read, that was the resurrection of Jesus that gave them a living hope.
- And an inheritance that could never perish, spoil or fade.
- Jesus had become their hope for salvation in a world that no longer felt like home!
So let’s continue reading this letter. 1 Peter 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Well Peter starts his letter giving praise to God for what he has done through Jesus Christ.
- Peter writes this letter to the churches, full of faith and thanksgiving for what they have all commonly received and become because of Jesus.
- They have received mercy
- They have new birth
- They have a living hope
- They have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade!
- Because Jesus has risen from the dead, their hope and our sure hope and destiny is heaven and eternal life.
It can be a bit of a morbid thing to think about inheritances.
- But the Greek word here Kleromonia which we translate inheritance is about what as Christians have our hope in receiving…
- So as we know, an inheritance is the portion of an estate you receive by virtue of birth or a special gift…
- One day… hopefully a long way away… my kids will receive an inheritance from Victoria and I. What we own, will go to them.
- And currently they must be thrilled to think about all of the faded V-neck Country Road t-shirts and scratched sun glasses that are heading their way!
- But more seriously, assuming we haven’t Ski’d too much… you know “spent the kids inheritance”
- They will get whatever Victoria and I have accumulated as a gift for being our children.
- Because they belong to the family, what is ours will be there’s…
Well Peter gives thanks to God for our salvation in this section and it relates to the inheritance that belongs to all of the children of God!
- So since you came to believe that Jesus is Lord, there are a whole bunch of things we inherit both now and at death.
Firstly, right now, our inheritance includes new birth, according to God’s great mercy!
- This, like the inheritance language is about family.
- Just as we all get born into a human, earthly family…
- What Peter believed is that through the mercy of God, we have been born again into God’s family.
- So as my last name is Giovanelli, showing which family I belong to…
- But now I am called a Christian, a child of God.
This new birth language in 1 Peter reminds me of Jesus conversation with Nicodemus in John 3.
- Do you know the one?
- Jesus says to him, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
- He goes on to say; “flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit.”
- What Jesus is saying is that you don’t get born into God’s family… instead you enter into the family by being born again.
In other words, when we come to believe that Jesus is Lord, we get the right to be called the children of God.
- John 1:21 “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
- Through repentance and faith… we now belong to God’s family and that comes with this inheritance Peter will speak about.
- But you get to get born again!
I remember when I lived in London, I gave a Message version of the New Testament to one of the ladies I worked with…
- And she said no thanks, I don’t want that… and I’ll never forget her reason. She said “my family are Church of England.”
- And obviously she wasn’t a Christian or a church goer…
- But she thought because she had been born into the faith and her parents had baptized her, she thought that was enough…
- And I remember thinking… ok… but being born into a Christian family doesn’t make you a Christian
- Right what’s the old joke? Being born at a McDonalds doesn’t make you a hamburger…
So in order to get this amazing inheritance as a child of God, we got to get born again!
- And that is the new birth into a living hope that Peter talks about!
I was thinking this week about one of my best mates Aaron.
- He came from a pretty dysfunctional family. His dad sadly drunk himself to an early death.
- All his siblings were rough and followed the family into dysfunctional relationships and lives…
- So really that was his inheritance. Right?
- But then something remarkable happened, Aaron became a Christian.
- And I love it when Aaron talks about getting saved… because he really did get born again into a new family!
- When Aaron talks about getting saved he talks about the mercy he received and his hope of eternal life… but he also talks about getting saved…
- Saved out of dysfunction and alcoholism and relationship breakdown.
- You know he was the first in his family to go to university, to have a stable marriage and family!
- That’s the inheritance of the children of God… new birth.
Well the next bit of the inheritance Peter talks about is “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
- And I just want to make this clear…
- Because what Christian believe is that because Jesus rose from the dead
- We who are the children of God will also rise again into eternal life.
- Although we die, we believe we will live.
- This is our inheritance… our living hope…
We had a bit of fun with that video… but it actually makes a good point…
- Because only the resurrection of Jesus makes sense of the birth of the church
- And only the resurrection could have changed the world like it has.
- You see what gave Peter hope was the historical fact that Jesus had been raised from the dead…
- That they had witnessed it…
- That they were the recipients of it’s blessings…
- And they became the witnesses of this amazing good news in Jerusalem, Samaria and the ends of the earth!
- What but the actual, physical, witnessed resurrection of Jesus could have turned the world upside down?
I find Charles Colson, one of Nixon’s special counsel who went to jail for his involvement in Watergate interesting on this…
- He became a Christian in jail and went on to be a defender of the Christian faith for 50 years.
- The lesson of Watergate he says, is that a lie cannot live for long…
- He says; “Take it from one who was involved in conspiracy, who saw the frailty of man firsthand,” he declared,
- “there is no way the 11 apostles, who were with Jesus at the time of the resurrection, could ever have gone around for 40 years proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection unless it were true.”
If the apostles’ story about the resurrection had begun to unravel, as the Watergate cover-up did, Colson said: “The apostles would have sold out to save their skins.”
- He concludes, “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison.
- They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”
So what happened?
- Well we are told… Mark 16:5-6 that 3 days after Jesus was crucified his disciples approached the tomb. We read…
- “As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.”
A week later after Jesus had appeared in the flesh to his disciples, there was still one who had missed these resurrection appearances. John 20 picks up the story…
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
This eventually leads the disciples to go into the world at great personal cost to testify about what has happened
- Acts 4:32 it says; “with great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- So this was there message…
And then of course It launched something into the world – and with power!
- It was a message that could not be contained. And everywhere it went, miracles started occurring as it was proclaimed.
- Of course the resurrection is the greatest miracle… but all of a sudden, verifiable miracles in front of large crowds like the lame walking and the blind seeing began to occur.
- Lives got turned upside down and restored.
- And the same people who testified to having met with the risen Jesus never faltered in proclaiming what they had seen as true.
But why is it called by Peter “Living Hope?”
Well beyond it being a remarkable story, Christians believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus were the decisive moments in human history.
- What gets dealt with in one weekend, is no less remarkable than the problems of sin and the finality of death.
- And what Christians believe is that without sin dealt with, we face eternal separation from the God who created us.
- In the cross and resurrection, sin gets dealt with and death gets defeated.
You know I thought I had a big weekend putting on a 10th birthday party…
- My main achievements were going to Bunnings, coaching a soccer game
- And getting a sermon written…
- Not quite as monumental I will admit as what we are talking about here!
One of my favourite authors, Leslie Newbigin puts it this way; (SLOW)
“The resurrection is the revelation… that Jesus who died on the cross is indeed king – conqueror of death and sin, Lord and Savior of all. The resurrection is not the reversal of a defeat but the proclamation of a victory.”
What he is saying is that Easter is not the story of a defeated King who makes a great comeback.
- What he is saying, is that the conqueror of death and sin did it through laying down his life as an offering of peace
- And that in the resurrection that victory is proclaimed to the world.
- For all that is evil and broken and wrong in this world threw its weight at Jesus on Good Friday
- But it could not hold him down.
- Because Jesus has risen from the dead, our inheritance as his children is that we will rise to eternal life too!
The great British preacher Spurgeon said;
“Our first birth brought us into sin and sorrow, but our second birth brings us into purity and joy. We were born to die; now are we born never to die, “born again” unto a life that shall remain in us for evermore, a life which shall even penetrate these mortal bodies, and make them immortal.”
Well, I just want to finish briefly how Peter started this passage and indeed this letter.
- Verse 3; “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
- Peter who had been with Jesus and who had witnessed the resurrection never lost his sense of awe and wonder and praise!
- Like the Psalmist before, Peter begins with the deeply felt and deeply resounding note of praise.
- “Bless the Lord oh my soul, and let all that is in me praise him!”
One of the best nights I have had in a long time was on Thursday at the One Body combined young adults worship night…
- It was cool actually, Kirrily, Anja and I snuck in as old folk…
- But there was well over 200 young people here at Manly Life worshiping and praising God.
- I think these young guys sung for about 2 hours…
- No real agenda accept to praise God for who He is and what he has done.
- And there is something in that atmosphere of worship and praise that changes us…
- It takes our eyes off ourselves and up to heaven
- And on to Jesus and the inheritance that belongs to us through faith
I remember many years ago a Minister said to me “Tim do you ever get a bit tired of worship?”
- And I remember thinking and saying no…
- I know heaven is more than this… but it is certainly never less than this…
- It will be joining in with the saints and angels and people from every tribe, nation and tongue…
- And it will be worshipful! And I want to join Peter in starting now and continuing on into eternity…
- Praise be to God!
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still, my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name