Summary: We are safe and secure in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
1. You never really think about pain & suffering & receiving salvation through faith in the same breath.
• Yet that may be the way we came to Jesus, in great pain & suffering. Our lives were a mess. Situations were overwhelming.
• Look down at v18, Peter describes our lives as aimless wanderings! -- Paul says in Ephesians… 2:1ff
NOW OF COURSE… some of you guys skipped that part of life altogether to which I offer a HEARTY AMEN!
• That’s the desire of my heart for my kids. Don’t go that way Son. It’s too painful. It’s too hurtful. Jesus has a better way!
• BUT for some… the difficulties & deepness of sin has touched and tainted you so that salvation is pure joy!
AND by the way, it is pure Joy! Jesus promises life!
John 10.10-11 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
• That abundant life is ours today, right now, in this place.
• Yet, there is also the battles & pains of living in this world!
• That’s who Peter is writing to… PILGRIMS!
• Why are they pilgrims? Because they were being persecuted for their faith and they were kicked out of their homes!
• They lost EVERYTHING in this world, to gain Christ!
• And Peter the pastor is speaking words of encouragement to them both to where they are and where they will be…
YOU SEE The Holy Spirit knows that in just a few years, NERO will set Rome of fire & blame the Christians for it.
• Instead of putting out the fires, he ordered that they burn!
• And as they burned, he used the 500,000 plus Christians in Rome as scapegoats.
• The citizens were enraged against the church and thus began a tortuous time of pain & suffering!
• A Christian historian named Sulipicius Severus tells us:
Nay, even new kinds of death were invented so that, being covered in the skins of wild beasts, they perished by being devoured by dogs, while many were crucified, or slain by fire, and not a few were set apart for this purpose, that, when the day came to a close, they should be consumed to serve for light during the night. In this way, cruelty first began to be manifested against the Christians. Afterwards, too, their religion was prohibited by laws which were enacted; and by edicts openly set forth it was proclaimed unlawful to be a Christian. —Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)
So the survivors are scattered, and Peter wants to uplift them…
APP: It’s not easy being a Christian in the world today.
• The world is not made for a Christian witness.
• At high school, or college, to work, even to the supermarket & there are dozens of attacks upon our Christian faith.
• Words. Images. The world’s system, the world’s values.
• It’s hard and you feel like you really don’t belong!
NOTE: EVER FEEL LIKE AN ARMY OF One?
• You’re the only person in your class who will speak up for Jesus.
• You’re the only one at your workplace, in your neighborhood, in your family, who is an outspoken Christian.
• You know there are others but you never hear from them.
• You seem to be the only one who will stand up for Jesus!
AND IT’S NOT EASY TO DO in our day and age!
• It’s much easier to NOT STAND UP, because you don’t want to come off as some kind of religious nut…
• So maybe when that dirty joke is told you might laugh along with everyone else.
• You might wink at that little indiscretion for fear of coming off as that ‘holier than thou’!!
• You might even lie to get that promotion, or make that compromise to be with the in crowd… to be accepted.
BUT THE TRUTH is that if you’re looking for acceptance and a sense of belonging anywhere other than in Christ, you’ll be discouraged!
• If you’re a Christian, you are not going to be happy any place on earth unless it’s around God’s people.
• We’re the only ones that understand! We’re different.
• We believe different. We live, act, talk, love differently than this world! It’s not weird, it’s normal Christian living!
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
• We don’t belong here! We’re waiting to be evacuated! AMEN?!