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:
B. An Enduring Inheritance verse 4
Our inheritance is in Christ and in Him we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. But don’t think that the term inheritance applies only to heaven in the future. No it applies to our inheritance in Christ now. This inheritance is not material. And to emphasize that Peter uses 3 adjectives that it can never perish, spoil, or fade. That is, our inheritance is imperishable, it can’t be defiled or stained by filth, and it is unfading. Our inheritance is like a perennial flower.
The background for our enduring inheritance is the OT Hebrews possessing the land of Canaan all because God promised it to them. The focus for them however came to be on God’s faithfulness to His promise together with the rich blessings that He gives as their inheritance, not the physical land. It became spiritual. Our living hope causes us to look forward to an enduring inheritance. Because we have a new life, we have inherited a whole new identity and a host of other spiritual blessings – every spiritual blessing!
C. A Coming Salvation verse 5
Our salvation has come, is coming, and will come. Salvation is a continuous process. First, we are saved from the penalty of sin, that is death. We are delivered over from death to life and we will never die no matter how much we may suffer – we’ll never be separated from God. At the same time, we are being saved in the present from the power of sin that still resides in our body, that sin principle. So we still need to be delivered from the temptations that come as a result of the principle of indwelling sin. This part of the process we call sanctification which means we are becoming what we already are in Christ. Finally, we will be saved from the very presence of sin. We’ll be saved from the principle of indwelling sin with the new body we will receive when our salvation is revealed in the last times. So let me encourage you to appropriate by faith the assurance of your salvation today.