Summary: God guards what He gives.
An Imperishable Inheritance
Rev. Brian Bill
September 20-21, 2014
Hope is Here video.
We kicked off the book of 1 Peter last weekend by learning that we’re scattered strangers living in a strange land and our job is to sow the gospel message. In order to reinforce this truth, I decided to scatter the staff during our staff meeting on Tuesday. We gathered in the parking lot and then fanned out on all points of the compass to do some prayer walking through the neighborhoods. I headed north on 38th Street and ended up at Augustana College where I prayed for every student I came across – that’s a mission field one mile away! I sent a message to an Augie student that I had met through a neighbor to let her know she was prayed for. I can’t wait to bring a millennial pastor on board so we can have greater impact on campuses in this community!
When we got back to the office I asked the team to email me their impressions, thoughts, insights and feelings. Here’s some of what they wrote.
• I noticed many religious statues in the neighborhoods and prayed that they would turn to Yahweh the one true living God.
• I saw many older people looking out their windows and prayed that they would be invited to Second Winders and meet Jesus face-to-face.
• I prayed that Edgewood would get a passion for the QC; may we turn it upside down for Christ!
• Invisible fences work.
• I asked God to be with people of the neighborhood to see our church as a shining light and that if there was one lost or in need they may call to God for help. Made me think of all the other neighbors we probably don’t know about who need God and a home church.
• Many homes had evidence that there are children living there. Prayed specifically that we would reach them for Christ.
• I was able to talk to a neighbor who was out watering her plants. She made the comment that we have a lot of people attending here and a lot of things going on. She mentioned that she is worried about all the things going on in the world today. I told her that was what Pastor Brian is speaking on currently.
• The thing that kept running through my mind was what do we need to do to reach the people in this neighborhood?
• Praying for young families moving into our neighborhood and the changing dynamics.
• Note to self: Don’t drink a large cup of coffee before going on a prayer walk…almost had to do some door-to-door canvassing just to ask to use the bathroom!
As I walked up and down 38th street I was struck by how many people drive right by our facility and see our church sign every day. I prayed that people would repent of their sins and seek out the Savior for salvation. I prayed for the hopeless to find living hope through Christ.
We’re continuing in our series from 1 Peter called, “Living Hope: Seeking Holiness in a Hostile World.” We’re going to discover today that God guards what He gives. Let’s stand and read 1 Peter 1:3-5: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
After his brief introductory comments in the opening verses, Peter busts out into praise in verse 3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” God is inherently worthy of being praised. We get our word eulogy from the word “blessed.” We’re called to speak well of God as we praise our Sovereign God and His Son. Peter uses a three-fold title here – our “Lord” refers to the Old Testament name Adonai. The name “Jesus” means Savior and “Christ” is the word Messiah, or anointed One.
Once Peter starts off praising, he can’t stop – in the Greek the section in verses 3-9 make up one sentence. I was greatly helped by John Piper’s insight into this passage. He points out that Peter begins with wonder and worship instead of with worry. He chooses to praise instead of focusing on problems and persecution. In short, he starts with God. As he writes to scattered believers he wants them to know who God is and what He’s done for them. Friends, when we see God as big, our problems are put in their proper perspective. When we allow our problems to control everything, we can barely see God.