Summary: Foreigners in a Foreign Land Joy Inexpressible and Full of Glory, part 4
Foreigners in a Foreign Land
Joy Inexpressible and Full of Glory, part 4
Our current series, “Foreigners in a Foreign Land,” from 1 Peter, who describes us as aliens, strangers who are in a place that is not our home. Everything in this epistle relates to us because we are chosen by God to be exiles living in a foreign land. Today we look at how Peter describes what is left when trials and suffering has purified our faith. Trials have the potential to sift out all that is ingenuine, hypocritical, etc. Trials and suffering exposes the condition of our hearts – when suffering comes you either run toward God or run away from God.
Big idea – God saves us by working in our hearts love and confidence and joy.
Disciples See Jesus as Precious
Though you have not seen him you love him. There are two ways of seeing – naturally and spiritually. They had not seen him physically yet they loved him because they saw him with spiritual eyes; the eyes of faith. There were many who physically saw Jesus teach, perform miracles, cast out demons, even rise from the dead, yet they did not believe in him. That is why Jesus can say 'seeing they do not see' (Matt 13:13)' or 'one cannot see the kingdom unless one is born again (Jn 3:3).' Spiritual sight is a gift of grace and it is through suffering that you can see him as more precious.
Though you have not seen him you love him. What does it mean to love Christ? This love is not benevolent love, doing something for someone like the good Samritan but seeing Christ as valuable, precious, glorious, etc, because he makes you happy. We enjoy what we love. Our family loves sushi. We love to make it and eat it. We enjoy eating it because we love it and we love it because we enjoy it. It does not make sense to say I love something but do not enjoy it. I love my wife and so enjoy spending time with her. It is a love that moves us toward the object of our love because it fills a need. If you love Jesus, you enjoy him. This love is pictured in the woman breaking the alabster jar over Jesus (Luke 7:37ff). This love is characteristic of our lives - not an inconsistent quality or attitude - present active verb. Suffering brings this up front in our lives because it is in suffering that we see the precisousness of Christ more clearly. I have been drawn to Christ the most in trials and suffering. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him.
Disciples See Jesus as Reliable
Faith is confidence in the reliability of Christ. It is banking our hope on him. "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (Mat 13:44).” He sold all that he had because he banked his hope on the treasure; he had confidence that it was going to make him happy. He saw it as a source of security, happiness, he was joyful and sold all he had to secure the treasure. Joy found in the treasure is what freed him from his love of all his material posessions. Love and faith are inseperable from joy. People that love what they are doing are joyful; people that believe in what they are doing are joyful. What we have said of love can also be said about faith. It is also a present active verb, there is a faithfulness, consistency to our faith.
Disciples See Jesus as Enjoyable
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (1 Pet 1:8).” This joy is inexpressible and glorious. It is inexpressible because it is hard to express in words; words cannot define it adequately. It is glorious because it is supernatural and divine. It is the joy that the Father and the Son experienced for all eternity as they expressed their love and affection and we taste it. That is why Jesus says, 'well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master.' What also makes this joy glorious is the object of our joy, Jesus. What we enjoy tells us about our hearts. We expereince this joy because we are partakers of the divine moral nature of God (2 P 1:4). Genuine saving faith is more than intellectual understanding and more than being involved in religious activities. Dont confuse the two. It is loving Jesus as more precious than life and trusting that he is reliable to be enough for you. Some of you may be uncomfortable with emotions and affections. Yet God does not like weak affections (Rom 12:11, Acts 18:25; Rev 3:16). Genuine saving faith bubbles up and over so that we express it. We share it; cannot contain it.