Some Things We Can Get Excited About
I Peter 1:1-6
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Before the current baseball season began, the Atlanta braves announced that this would be a "rebuilding year". As a result I went into this season not expecting much. But when the season began they started out with 5 wins in a row. On the team Facebook page there were some naysayers who said "don't get excited it won't last!". And unfortunately they were right! But then a few weeks ago the team rallied and made it back to .500 winning 7 of 9. And those same naysayers were there saying "don't get excited...it won't last". That is just how some people are. And if they were to go on a 20 game winning streak these same "fans" would say "don't get excited...they will fall apart in the playoffs like they always do!" ...That is the nature of the game, a teams success if often unpredictable.
- In this world there are many things that will bring you down. Everyday we hear that ISIS is growing in strength. In recent weeks and months there have been people devastated by earthquakes all over the world. Some people are suffering from droughts while others are dealing with massive flooding. The economy is and has been stagnant for some time. We still have soldiers who are fighting and living in harms way. There are an increasing number for social issues and religious battles being fought in the courts. Jeff Gordon is retiring and American Idol has been cancelled!!! (Sarcasm intended). Yes, there is much disturbing news out there! But I am here to tell you today that the born again child of God has much reason to rejoice!!!
- We are told in Philippians 3:20 (that) "our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ". No matter what we face in this world, it is all temporary! We are strangers and pilgrims who are simply passing through this life! Our eternal home is in heaven! Here in I Peter 1:1-6, Peter shares many reasons that the Christian can ...and should REJOICE!!! I would like to take some time today and walk through the first 6 verses of this chapter and see "Some Things We Can Get Excited About!"
- The key to this text will be verse 6, where Peter says "Wherein ye greatly rejoice" The phrase Greatly Rejoice means to be exceedingly glad, with exceeding joy. This word has the idea of someone jumping for joy!
- Anyone who knows my Father will tell you that he doesn't get excited about much of anything! No matter what you get him for Christmas he will be very grateful, but don't expect much emotion. He loves sports but he is not the type to go crazy at a ball game. But every now and then (usually when he is watching Alabama football) he will get so excited that from the sitting position he can jump 3 feet into the air, cross his legs and land Indian style in his recliner. Sometimes...even the most reserved of people will get so excited that they cannot hide it! I am here to tell you, if you are truly born again there are some things to get excited about! And when you look to the scriptures and see what Jesus has done for you that excitement may boil over and spill out for the world to see!!
- In these 6 verses we see some things that the Christian can get excited about.
i. We Can Get Excited About Our Privilege
ii. We Can Get Excited About Our Hope
iii. We Can Get Excited About Our Inheritance
iv. We Can Get Excited About Our Security
- Obviously there is much more that we can rejoice about... but we don't have time to even scratch the surface. So let's just start in verses 1-2 and see that:
I. We Can Get Excited About Our Privilege v1-2
- There is no greater privilege than being a child of God. The fact that we could not get to Him, so He came to us is indescribable! The fact that He initiated this relationship is incomprehensible! And in these verses Peter reveals some exciting facts about our great privilege. Consider:
A. We Have Been Chosen - v1 ¶Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
- Peter addresses this Epistle to the "strangers who were scattered". The literal word is "sojourner". - He is speaking specifically to the Jews who had been scattered as a result of persecution. But this also refers to the fact that they were strangers and pilgrims in this world. Notice verse 2 "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father". - Here Peter declares that God knew them and chose them long ago. What a great privilege! My dear Christian friend, we too have that same privilege. We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth, our citizenship is in Heaven and we have been chosen by the Father! - Paul makes this verse clear in - Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
- God chose us! He called our name! And we can and should get excited about our privilege!! Not only have we been called...
B. We Have Been Cleansed - v2b through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ...
- In the Old Testament the blood of a sacrifice would be sprinkled according to the Law. This was a picture of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our only hope of being cleansed Peter reveals this fact in this very chapter - 1 Peter 1: 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
- Jesus came... Lived a sinless life... Was despised and rejected... He knew no sin but became sin for us... He went to the cross and shed His blood for you and me. And that blood has the power to wash away ALL of your sins! No one is too sinful...too wretched or too lost that the Blood cannot wash away their sins! Now, that blood has been shed and any sinner who hears the call of the Spirit of God can be cleansed.
- Not only have we been chosen and cleansed... we also see that:
C. We Have Been Changed - v v2b through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience
- To "sanctify" means “to consecrate,” or to “set apart.” The Holy Spirit makes us holy, by saving us and setting us apart from sin and unbelief. The Sanctification process begins with justification. Justification is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law. Sanctification is also a process of purification that continues throughout our life. Through "sanctification" we are not just set apart for salvation....we are changed, we are reborn...WE ARE TRANSFORMED!!! Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
- There is a change in the life of the believer! We will not reach sinless perfection in this life, but when Jesus saves someone THERE IS A CHANGE!!! John Newton, the writer of Amazing Grace once said, "I am not all that I should be or what I want to be, but thank God I am not what I used to be." - I know that I have a long way to go... but I know that I have been changed! Jesus brought me from death unto life!!! He Chose ME... He Called Me... He Cleansed Me and HE CHANGED ME!!! I don't know about you but for me that is something to get excited about!!!!
- Not only can we get excited about our Privilege, as we move further we see that:
II. We Can Get Excited About Our Hope - v3 ¶Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
- Jesus went to the cross and die for our sins... but we know that He rose again. Peter declares that because God raised Jesus from the dead, we (the Christian) can live with Hope. The word "hope" here is not wishful thinking. Hope in the bible speaks of a confident expectation of things to come. Our hope is in a bodily resurrection of our own. Our hope comes from the fact this life is not all for us! Our hope is eternal life. Our hope is in Christ. And this blessed living hope was supplied by the Father... Notice "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope"
- Apart from Christ we are pitiful, desperate, wretched sinners who lived with NO HOPE!! But God In His "abundant mercy" God provided a way of salvation for mankind. One of the benefits of this salvation is this "lively hope" that Peter speaks of. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead we live with the hope of a literal, bodily resurrection. This hope of a resurrection is promised to us in the Word of God. I Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
- That is not wishful thinking! It is the confident expectation that we possess as believers!!! And that is something we can get excited about!!! Not only can we get excited about the hope of a resurrection, we can get excited about what comes after the resurrection! In verse 4 we see that:
III. We Can Get Excited About Our Inheritance
- Peter says that there is a priceless inheritance that is reserved in Heaven for those who are saved! An inheritance is something that is received as a result of a personal relationship. You would not leave your estate to someone that you do not know. The inheritance that is waiting in Heaven is only available to those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Let's consider a couple of this about this inheritance.
A. The Assessment Of Our Inheritance -v4a To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled,
- Our Inheritance Is "Incorruptible" - The people that Peter was writing this letter to had watched as the Romans had destroyed their cities. He wanted them to understand that they possessed an inheritance that could not be taken away. It was a valuable... in fact a priceless inheritance! Our inheritance is in a place that cannot be invaded by the enemy. The Greek word for "incorruptible" literally means something that is unravaged by an invading army. Not only is our inheritance incorruptible...
- Our Inheritance Is "Undefiled" - Undefiled speaks of something that cannot be “soiled or stained”. Our inheritance is and will remain unpolluted and unstained by evil. Heaven will not and cannot be touched by the things that defile this world. This promise is reiterated in Revelation 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”
- This shows us the importance of heeding the words of Jesus in - Matthew 6:19 ¶Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
- Don't waste your time storing up earthly treasures. They will all pass away. Why not focus on laying up those eternal treasures that will last throughout eternity?!?!?! We not only see the assessment of our inheritance, we also see:
B. The Assurance Of Our Inheritance - v4b and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
- This is really exciting!!! This inheritance is "reserved in Heaven for you" - In New Testament times, many people grew olive trees. It took 23 years for a tree to mature to fruit-bearing age. These trees were often left as an inheritance, because the olives could bring large sums of money. However, the olive trees were always destroyed by invading armies, thus taking away the next generation’s inheritance and ability to provide for itself. (Source: http://www.sermonnotebook.org/new%20testament/1Pet%201_1-5.html)
- Our inheritance is "reserved" for us. This word literally means that it is "guarded". Peter is saying that our inheritance is as secure as if we had already passed though the gates of pearl, inside those walls of Jasper, on the golden street and standing before our blessed Savior in our glorified body.
- Keep in mind, the people Peter was writing to were suffering persecution. This is expounded in the following verses of this chapter. His goal was to point them to the eternal hope that they possessed in the midst of their current circumstances. You may be facing great difficulty in this life. Can I encourage you to press on! Keep fighting! Remember what is waiting with this life is over. Heaven is not a myth or a fairytale. You have an inheritance... It will not fade away... and It cannot be taken from you. It is reserved, kept, guarded and just as much yours as if you were already there!! I don't know about you but that is something I can get excited about!!!!
As we continue there is one more exciting fact that I would like to consider. In verse 5 we see that:
IV. We Can Get Excited About Our Security - v5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
- Peter not only revealed that their inheritance was reserved...He also proclaims that they themselves were "kept by the power of God." If you are truly saved you are secure!! There are many who do not know that they are secure, BUT THEY ARE!!! Jesus put it this way - John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
- We are not saved because of what we do...we are saved because of what Jesus did!! We are not secure because of what we do... we are secure because of Who Jesus is!!! Simply put, you did not work to earn your salvation and you cannot work to keep your salvation!!! You couldn't if you tried! Peter says that we are “kept by the power of God.” We are told that when God begins something HE FINISHES IT! - Phil. 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
- If you can lose your salvation and go to Hell, that does not say much for the power of God! We can be secure in the fact that God saved us! And God will KEEP US!!! I don't know about you... but I know me! And I know every fault, failure and sin in my life! And I know that if it were up to me to "keep myself saved". I would lose my salvation before I descend this pulpit. But I also know the promise that I am "KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD!!!" ...And that is something for us to get excited about!!
Conclusion: Notice the progression in this text. Peter tells us that we can rejoice because we are chosen by God Then he reveals the hope that we possess in this life Then he speaks of the promised inheritance in the next life. And he tops it off by showing that we can have security and assurance that nothing and no one can take that away from us! Yes, there are Some Things That We Can Get Excited About!
- We who are saved have many reasons to rejoice . In this world there is no shortage of troubles. And these troubles will often discourage us. There are many sufferings in the Christian life... but they are temporary! And as we will see in the next sermon from this chapter, they are beneficial as well. But we must focus on who were are...as well as Who we serve. And we must remember the promises that have been given to us. Maybe you have been focused on your troubles, trials and those heavy burdens. Why don't you take the opportunity to bring them before the Lord today. Do as Peter says in - 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your cares upon him; for he cares for you. Maybe you have seen some things that excite you today. Won't you come and thank Him for your privilege, your hope, your inheritance and your security?
- Maybe you are here and you don't know Jesus in the free pardon of sin...If so, you do not possess these things that we have examined today... but you can!!!! As we see in this text, through His abundant mercy He has made a way for you. Maybe He is calling you to Him right now. Why don't you come and accept His offer of salvation today? If so then I can assure you, you will find "Some Things To Get Excited About"!!!