Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 1:3-9
Text: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Title: Joy in Salvation
Date/Place: LSCC, 5/1/05, AM
A. Opening illustration: Illustrations file- Joy—“Prescription for Joylessness”
B. Background to passage: These are Peter’s first words following the greeting to believers scattered all over Northern Galatia under the most intense persecution of Christians to date. He wants to remind them of the reason for the joy of the faith that will preserve them through trials and temptations, so as to strengthen their faith and their resolve to follow Christ, whatever the cost.
C. Main thought: In our text we will see three truths relating salvation to Christian joy.
A. Joy in Blessing of God (v. 3-5)
1. The word for blessed here means to celebrate with praise one who is inherently worthy of verbal praise. The original text is lacking the word “be,” and therefore literally is translated “Bless God” or “Praise God who is worthy.” The Message paraphrases this by saying “what a God we have.” Peter begins a huge 10-verse sentence talking about how suffering Christians can praise God. And he gives several reasons to find our joy in the person and work of God in our lives. We find our joy in God 1) because of His compelling great mercy in the new birth, 2) because of a lively hope (confidence) we have been given into that is based on the reality of the resurrection of Christ, 3) because of an inheritance now and forever that will never be lost, 4) because of the power and protection of God our salvation.
2. Ps 103:1-4, Heb 6:19, 1 Thess 5:19,
3. Illustration: One Sunday evening, David Livingstone sat in the Aberdeen Music Hall listening to a service rendered by a deputation from the London Missionary Society. When the service was over, Livingstone looked wistfully after the team as they filed out the door. The look on his face so attracted the attention of a congregational minister who was standing nearby, that he stepped quietly to the boy’s side and with a smile asked, “My boy, would you like to be a missionary?” Livingstone later said that it was that smile, questioning and tender, which led him to make his final decision to serve his Saviour as a foreign missionary, George Mueller would not preach until his heart was happy in the grace of God; Ian Ruybroeck would not write while his feelings were low, but would retire to a quiet place and wait on God till he felt the spirit of inspiration. It is well-known that the elevated spirits of a group of Moravians convinced John Wesley of the reality of their religion, and helped to bring him a short time later to a state of true conversion. The Christian owes it to the world to be supernaturally joyful. Many years ago when the great missionary Adoniram Judson was home on furlough, he passed through the city of Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy playing about the wharves at the time of Judson’s arrival was struck by the man’s appearance. Never before had he seen such a light on any human face. He ran up the street to a minister to ask if he knew who the stranger was. The minister hurried back with him, but became so absorbed in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about the impatient youngster standing near him. Many years afterward that boy—who could never get away from the influence of that wonderful face—became the famous preacher Henry Clay Trumbull. In a book of memoirs he penned a chapter entitled: “What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson.” That lighted countenance had changed his life
4. How could we not find life-sustaining joy in this God! We have a God who is His person and in His action is the most joyous, most wonderful, most satisfying, most sustaining, strongest highest, deepest, widest, most spectacular Being in the universe. And look at how He has blessed us. All of this with the reality of our own inherent unworthiness and sinfulness. We must constantly remind ourselves, or “preach to ourselves” the person and works of God. Our tendency is to become familiar, and thus unimpressed with God. Then our present situation seems less hopeful, more dependent on our own strengths and weaknesses, determinative for our future, and more devoid of God Himself.
B. Joy in Suffering (v. 6-7)
1. Peter goes on to elaborate on the joy that Christians can have through trials and sufferings. Rejoice greatly, or exceedingly means to leap and exult with great exultation. In the NT this word is always used of spiritual joy. This is the joy of salvation. It is not superficial, based on circumstances, purely emotional, nor fleeting. In fact Peter uses the present tense indicating that we are to continue rejoicing exceedingly. In addition to the person and the work of God, Peter gives us some other reasons to rejoice even in suffering: 1) Suffering is temporary compared to the eternal blessings that await us. 2) Suffering is controlled and mediated by God’s sovereignty. 3) And suffering is working out God’s purposes in us, namely testing. 4) Suffering results in the praise and honor of us, and therefore God. The picture here is of a refiner of gold (also found in Ps 66:10, Isa 1:25, Jer 9:7, Zech 13:9, Mal 3:3). Quality more important than quantity. Talk about the value of tested faith to us and to God.