Summary: Key Words in the Christian Life - Redemption (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 18-21.


• In the 1800’s there was a well known American Baptist preacher;

• Called Dr. A. J. Gordon.

• One day as he walked down a street in Boston;

• He met a boy carrying an old rusty bird cage,

• Inside the cage were several little birds;

• And the boy was swinging the cage in a very spiteful and cruel way.

• Dr. Gordon said, “Son, where did you get those birds?”

• The boy answered, “I trapped them out in the field.”

• The preacher asked “And what are you going to do with them now?”

• The boy replied:

“I’m going to take them home and play with them and have some fun with them and when I’m bored I’ll give them to my cat to play with and eat!”

• Dr. Gordon then asked the boy how much he would take for the birds and the cage;

• The boy not believing his look replied; “Two dollars”.

• “It’s a deal”, said the preacher;

• And the two of them exchanged goods.

• The next Sunday Dr. Gordon took the empty bird cage to the pulpit;

• And used it in illustrating his sermon - He said:

“That boy said that the birds could not sing very well, but when I released them from the cage they went singing away into the sky, and it seemed to me, that they were singing, “Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed.””

Honestly, I don’t know how those birds felt to be freed:

• We can only imagine how it feels to be caged up;

• With the possibility of death fast approaching.

• But I know what is to be freed from sin that leads to death!

• Question: Don’t you?

• Our passage this evening gives us the low-down on what it means to be freed by God.

• The key word that best describes this liberation is ‘Redeemed’.

To the people who first received this letter – the word ‘redeemed’ was very relevant

• There were at that time probably 50 million slaves in the Roman empire;

• Many in this local Church were probably slaves.

• A slave could purchase his or her own freedom;

• If they could collect sufficient funds;

• Or if someone else was willing to purchase them and set them free.

• Whenever this happened the slave was said to have been ‘redeemed’.

• Set free by paying necessary price.

• Redemption was a very pertinent and precious thing in those days.

Notice from verse 18 what has NOT redeemed us:


“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers”


• An employee asked for a pay rise;

• Telling his boss that several companies were after him.

• When asked which ones, he told his employer,

• “Well, there's the electric company, the phone company and the gas company.”

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