google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Sermon - Living in the joy of salvation

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Sermon - Living in the joy of salvation (1 Peter 1:3-9)


1 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. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Introduction

The Apostle Peter was writing to a group of people, followers of Jesus, spread throughout what we know as modern Turkey. These believing sojourners were undergoing trials, suffering & persecution. Peter instructs them toward Christian stability, and the proper expression of this stability and growth.

Throughout the letter, Peter stresses a hope so alive, so glorious and so very certain, that any persecution, trial and suffering can be endured. These people are sojourners or pilgrims on a spiritual journey! Last week we discovered that Peter reminds them of the God they worship and live for - a missional & relational God of salvation. A loving God who is Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father has chosen and is calling all people to Himself, out of amazing love for them. God the Holy Spirit sanctifies and cleanses to allow people to enter God’s holy presence through the obedient sacrifice of God the Son.

Then we learnt together about how within the believer, that there is a battle. A spiritual battle – the old earthly human nature battling against the new nature of the believer given to them by God. Salvation is yours, Peter says, so go let the world know that this salvation can be theirs also, by living so devoted to God that it permeates every facet of your life. That people will know you are God’s possession and God lives through you! WOW! The believing sojourner is to live such a good life that they are good witnesses for the God in whom they believe! We also know that this group of people are undergoing various forms of suffering and grief. Not the least, sporadic events of persecution but also the possibility of systematic persecution to come.


1. God the Joy Giver!

  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (v3)
  • His great mercy he has given (v3)
  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ (v3)
  • Jesus Christ is revealed (v7)

2. Living Out Joy!

  • New birth (v3)
  • Living hope (v3)
  • Inheritance (v4)
  • Shielded by God’s power (v5)
  • Salvation – future (v5)


3. Rejoice! (v6

  • Faith’s genuineness (v7)
  • Faith’s love (v8)
  • Faith’s belief (v8)
  • Faith’s joy (v8)
  • Faith’s outcome (v9)


Conclusion

For those of us who would call ourselves a Christian - a sojourner of Jesus Christ – you believe in Him and have placed your faith in Him for new hope, new life and salvation of your soul.

I wonder what trials including alienation and persecution you have undergone in the past, are undergoing at the moment or will persevere through in the future. I don’t even know how I will suffer and grieve in the future. But I do know who has the answers to our trials and testing. It is my God and your God. Our God of love – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He knows the answers and I have to trust in Him. Are you currently undergoing any sort of trial - run to God! He will listen! He is your protector, your guard and your empowerer! Remember He lives within you! He loves you! He cares for you! He is a personal God who has your best interests at heart!

As Christians we worship and serve a God who knows intimately about personal suffering. Our God isn’t an inanimate and passive carving, to be placed on a shelf or a wall which is immune to the suffering of the world. No! Our God is a personal, dynamic and active God who knows the suffering we ourselves endure – because He Himself has suffered. He is an intimate, dynamic, responsive and living personal being who has shared in our sufferings through Jesus when He died on a cross 2000 years ago. This same Jesus who was resurrected and raised to new life and witnessed by our author - the Apostle Peter! WOW! The ineffable God made known to humanity in the man Jesus Christ.

As part of our new hope and new life as Christians, as sojourners of Jesus Christ, we await that glorious day in the future when He has come again. That day when Jesus Christ will take your face in his scarred hands, and wipe away your tears. Wipe away your tears – tears of pain released and tears of ineffable and inexplicable joy! WOW! You and I will know then, that it was all worth it – the sufferings and trials that we have endured in this life, in order to enter the new life to come. Amazing! WOW!

On that final day, when your faith is tested, will it be proven to be genuine? Let this faith of yours always seek to give praise, honour and glory to Jesus and Him alone. May it be a faith being worked out by you living a life which is worthy of Him alone – which is seen by those currently not in the faith. Your genuine faith being expressed with inexplicable joy to those outside.

As Christians here, just as it was last week, it is an imperative that we go and show our new life, new hope, empowered and safeguarded by God’s power alone. Persecution may come and we will in some quarters even now be rejected. But we persevere. As Christians, we have good news for the world – it is up to us to go out living in the joy of salvation. We will be alienated by some, but also embraced by others. God is for us – who then shall we fear? God is a mission God – Peter clearly knows that – and because He is a mission God, we too are also on a mission. We have to take risks in order to continue this mission. History is filled with churches that failed to adapt and take the mission opportunities available to them. Will we be like that? I for one certainly do not hope so. We need to be reaching out, including those forgotten people – the people who cannot get out of their own homes for what ever reason. Helping those people who are already Christians and helping those who are not yet Christian, to find this living hope in God.

God is a tri-unity of Love... The Father loves the Son and the Spirit. The Son loves the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit loves the Father and the Son. We as a church are also to be a community of love. A love which mirrors that of the God of love... A love which looks not to its own interests but to the interests of others... Let's go love... Encourage others - not just your friends or those you like... Let's go encourage others enduring all sorts of tests and trials, just as Peter has done to this group of spiritual sojourners... God loves you... Let's reflect the God we claim to love, follow and obey...

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