Summary: We can live in great expectation because our expectation is centered in Jesus, who never disappoints!
Living In Great Expectation
Text: 1 Peter 1:3-12
1. Illustration: As a Cleveland sports fan I know all about expectations. All of my life I have expected the Browns to win a Super Bowl, and I got Red Right 88, The Drive, and the Fumble. All my life I have expected the Indians to win the World Series. I got one out away from winning the World Series in 1997...and still lost! All my life I have expected the Cavs to win the NBA Championship. What I got was losing to Michael Jordan and the Bulls, and let's not even talk about LeBron and the Decision!
2. However, Peter tells us that we live with GREAT EXPECTATION!
3. In fact, unlike being a Cleveland sports fan, our expectation is so certain that we can praise God for it now.
4. Peter says we can...
a. Praise God For Our Inheritance
b. Praise God For The Testing Of Our Faith
c. Praise God For Realized Dreams
5. Read 1 Peter 1:3-12
Proposition: We can live in great expectation because our expectation is centered in Jesus, who never disappoints!
Transition: First, we are to be...
I. Praising God For Our Inheritance (3-5).
A. Priceless Inheritance
1. In the Introduction to his letter Peter tells us we are foreigners and strangers in this place. Not exactly something that leaves one all warm and fuzzy. However, in this next section he changes everything.
2. He says, "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation..."
a. Peter assumes it is necessary for believers to bless God. The intention is so implicit that the Greek text omits the word be, which some translators added (although you will notice the NLT does not).
b. In the original, the sentence literally begins, “Blessed the God,” which conveys Peter's expectation that his audience “bless God” as the source of all spiritual inheritance. The apostle adores God and implores others to do the same (MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary – 1 Peter, 30).
c. This God and Father is blessed because he has given us a new birth.
d. This new birth is the result of his mercy, which grows into a living hope; that hope is defined as an inheritance.
e. Put differently, Peter blesses the God and Father because of salvation and its manifold benefits.
f. The new birth God has given to Peter and his readers, changing their status before God and their lifestyle before others, theologians call regeneration (McKnight, The NIV Application Commentary – 1 Peter, 69-70).
g. Regeneration: The Holy Spirit’s work of giving new life to the sinner who repents and believes in Jesus (William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton, Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective).
h. Peter tells the readers that they have benefited from this new birth because of God's "mercy."
i. Mercy is that pity God shows toward humans in spite of their sin and because of their total helplessness to right their wrongs; God permits them to be part of the special people of his favor (2:10).
j. Mercy is not the same as grace. Mercy concerns an individual's miserable condition, whereas grace concerns his guilt, which caused that condition.
k. Divine mercy takes the sinner from misery to glory (a change of condition), and divine grace takes him from guilt to acquittal (MacArthur, 31).
l. This great new birth sets off a chain reaction in his plan of redemption: His mercy stimulates their new birth, and their new birth stimulates a "living hope."
m. It is not so much that believers are now liv- ing "full of hope," but that they have a fixed "hope," a clear vision of what God will do for them in the future (McKnight, 70).
3. Peter then says, "...and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay."
a. The chain reaction continues: Not only does the new birth stimulate a "living hope," but that living hope is defined by "an inheritance that is beyond the reach of change or decay" (1:4).
b. That phrase translates the word a word, which was used in secular Greek to describe a flower that did not wither or die.
c. The term in this context suggests that believers have an inheritance that will never lose its magnificence.
d. None of the decaying elements of the world can affect the kingdom of heaven.
e. None of the ravages of time or the evils of sin can touch the believer's inheritance because it is in a timeless, sinless realm (MacArthur, 35).
f. So much so that Peter says it is "kept" for us.