Summary: Our faith lives in a hostile world. When navigating the road of life, God’s power directs your road safely to Him.
Warren Buffett is 77 and is considered strong and healthy even at this advance age. He filed his first tax return at age 13, claiming a $35 deduction for bicycle. His net worth is valued at over $62 billion and in the summer of 2006, he donated $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has set up a foundation to seek cures for the world’s worst diseases and improve American education among other things. When Buffett gave the money he said a couple of noteworthy things: “There is no reason we can’t cure the top 20 diseases,” Gates said while appearing with Buffett during a donation ceremony at the New York Public Library. And then he said something significant to us for today: “There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way,” said Buffett. Had Buffett said “There is more than one way to skin a cat,” then perhaps PETA would have been knocking down his door. Yet the majority of Americans let such a comment on slide. Why? I suspect that most Americans believe such a notion. Actually, I don’t just suspect it, it’s been recently confirmed. A majority of religious people do not believe their religion is the only way to salvation. According to recent surveys, 57% of evangelicals (people who attend churches much like the one you are in this morning) agree with the statement that many religions – not just their own – can lead to eternal life. The survey asked Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Latter Day Saints, and Hindu’s. Overall around 70% of Americans believe that many religions – not just their own – can lead to eternal life.
This morning as we continue the series, Navigating Home, we will examine the words of Peter, one of the original twelve disciples with Jesus on how a person gets to heaven. Peter believes there is only way to get to heaven: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Our faith lives in a hostile world. When navigating the road of life, God’s power directs your road safely to Him.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:3-7)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1:3).
Peter’s response to God’s causing His people to be born again, raising his Son Jesus from the dead, giving us a living hope, providing us an imperishable inheritance in heaven is to bless God: “Blessed be God!” And if that is his response, it should be our response. What he is going to talk about makes him exult and bless God. He did not have to tell us that. He did not have to begin by letting his emotions for God show. He could have begun in a cool, collected, dispassionate, unemotional way. He could have said: "My lecture topic today is regeneration. I have several related doctrines upon which I wish to discourse. Let me list them: 1) God; 2) regeneration; 3) hope; 4) the resurrection of Jesus; 5) inheritance; 6) heaven. Let us give close attention to these things.” He could have begun that way. But he didn’t. Instead, He says, "“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” He does it in 4:11, “To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” He does it again in 5:11, “To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Peter breaks out again and again in praise and blessing.
Now if he believed like so many Americans that there was many ways to God, then there is no praise for God. There is respect for oneself. Instead, Peter writes about the greatest realities in the universe with a worshipful spirit. Peter writes with exultation and wonder and awe and marvel and heartfelt gratitude. WHY? Now what truth, what great reality brought Peter to this exultation? If we limit our answer just to verses 3 and 4 there are five great realities about God that gripped Peter’s mind and heart. I want you to see all five before we’re done, but for the moment, let’s simply focus on the first two.