Summary: This sermon is an expository message on brokenness from the perspective of The Exchanged Life which encourages believers to embrace their suffering and sorrows.
Today is Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey in triumphal procession to the shouts of “Hosanna... and the waving of palm branches. This victorious day was followed by a week of suffering, the final week in Jesus earthly life. In theological circles we call this week “Passion Week” as I read in our local paper on the devotional page the article entitled “The Passion of Passion Week.” More commonly on the Christian calendar we refer to this week in Jesus life as “Holy Week.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s the week of suffering that Jesus went through climaxing with the crucifixion on the cross. In the balance of this one week we find “The Assurance of Salvation and Suffering.”
First Peter is an epistle written to people suffering some form of persecution. They were facing dark and difficult days. Trials and temptations were the daily diet of their lives. So Peter wrote to encourage these scattered and confused Christians with the assurance of their salvation and suffering.
Perhaps this is a good time to talk about suffering. It’s something that’s been on my mind for quite some time now to talk about. And it’s something that all of us deal with – though we may not talk about it readily. Oh, we may complain and murmur about the suffering we go through and endure, but we never stop to really talk about it and look at the root causes and reasons we may be experiencing the particular difficulty at the present time. To intentionally talk about our suffering today I want to share with your “The Assurance of Our Salvation and Suffering.” So let’s begin by talking about:
I. The Assurance of Salvation verses 3-6
The first thing we need to be able to do in our suffering is to honor and praise God in our suffering because it’s in His mercy that He’s given us the privilege of being saved, born again. God initially has held back the punishment of death we rightly deserved and has provided new life for our suffering souls! So that, in whatever you may be going through as a child of God just remember you have the assurance of salvation and nothing can get to you that doesn’t go through God first because verse 5 says you’re shielded by God’s power. In the assurance of salvation, God has given us new birth into:
A. A Living Hope verse 3b
In spite of the frequent suffering and persecution Peter refers to in his letter he assures us that we have been born again into a hope that is alive, sure, certain, and firm. It’s a hope that’s grounded in God himself and in his promises. In fact, this letter could be called a letter of hope in the midst of suffering; a hope which is able to survive the various trials which you and I suffer. Yes, suffering is sure to come, but don’t lose sight of the living hope we have been birthed into. Always keep your expectation and desire for better days ahead alive! Why? Because, “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” we have been resurrected with him. That’s why it’s a living hope. We have hope that things will be better and that even if we die we will live on, we don’t really die in Jesus because we’ve already been resurrected with him. The Assurance of Salvation is seen also in: