Summary: In His mercy, God has given us the gifts of a new birth, and inheritance, and a shield in times of trouble.
Gifts from Our Merciful God I Pet. 1:3-5
INTRO.: What is the greatest gift you have ever received from a loved one? We all love to receive a gift and we love to give them. We always want to give something unique and unexpected. We always want to give the very best we can to those we love. We want to choose something we know they will truly enjoy.
Imagine what God could give us if He chose to. He owns and controls the entire universe. He could give us anything.
He chose to give us the most costly gifts imaginable. Our forgiveness and eternal life cost Him the life of His son.
Let’s consider three very important gifts the Father has given us.
I. New Birth: 3 - the story of Nicodemus’ visit. Jn. 3:1-5
A. We need a new birth:"no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
1. "No one" because all are unfit to see the Kingdom in our natural sinful state.
2. It is impossible for us to be born again, so God gives us second birth as a gift.
3. It comes, as Jesus said, "Through water and the Spirit." John 3"5
4. The only connection between water and Spirit in the N. T. is in Christian baptism. Acts 2:38
5. We receive second birth when God’s spirit convicts us of sin, we surrender to Him in obedience, and He gives "the gift of the Holy spirit. Acts 2:38
B. The new birth brings us "Into a living hope."
1. This means hope that never dies. Eternal hope.
2. What hope? Surely not eternal life. We already have that when we accept Christ. I John 5:13
3. The "hope" is for the resurrection of the body when the Lord returns.
4. You may say it’s the same thing and you wouldn’t be far wrong.
C. The basis of this hope is the resurrection of Jesus
1. Did you know there were many raised from the dead when Jesus died? Matt. 27:51-53
2. The purpose is to let us know because of Jesus’ death, the grave can’t hold us.
3. He is the first fruits with many to follow. I Cor. 15:20-23
II. An inheritance 4: ILLUS.: I inherited my parent’s estate because I was born to them. The new birth makes us heirs of God. Our inheritance is much better because:
A. It cannot perish
1. An inheritance may include livestock. It can die before being claimed.
2. In Jesus’ day, many would inherit sheep and goats. They represented wealth.
3. What we inherit from God can’t die. It’s immortal.
B. It cannot spoil
1. ILLUS.: in our neighborhood, there is land passed on from former generations. Sometimes the heirs don’t care for it. Weeds & brush take over. Fruit trees die. The land is spoiled.
2. Such land may become a dump. It is spoiled.
3. Our eternal inheritance can’t be spoiled.
C. It cannot fade
1. Like an old empty house, inherited by someone who doesn’t or can’t care for it.
2. What was once a beautiful home ringing with laughter & filled with love will fade into rubble.
3. This happens because no one can or wants to maintain the inheritance.
D. This can’t happen because God cares for our inheritance.
1. It is kept. - in Heaven.
2. He has prepared it for us and He opened the way to it for us. He will not fail to keep it for us.
III. A Shield to protect us 5
A. We may suffer a little while v. 6.
1. "All kinds of trials" - Peter wrote to Christians scattered all over the world in all circumstances.
2. Trials may all be different, but the power and faith aren’t.
3. Even though trials may come, we can rejoice,
B. Suffering is a refining process. V7.
1. Gold must be refined by fire to purify it. Even so, the gold will perish at Christ’s return.
2. Our faith is even more precious than gold. It will live eternally.
3. Suffering we endure refines our faith and shows it to be genuine. God has a reason for allowing ir.
C. In our trials we are shielded by God’s power. He is able to keep us safe.
1. But, the exercise of God’s power is through faith. We must remain faithful.
2. Our salvation is not complete but ready to be revealed when Christ returns.
3. Angels, prophets have awaited it. We will see it.
CONC,: ILLUS.: a man was given the gift of a set of rings by his fiancee’s mother. It was the mother’s own wedding set, given to her by her departed husband. The understanding was he was to pass this gift on to her daughter when he proposed to her and at their wedding.
It’s the same with these gifts God gave us. He didn’t intend them to be simply enjoyed and hoarded. He expects us to pass them along to others by teling them about Jesus.