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Summary: Christ followers realize that they are too blessed to be stressed. For the Christ follower, every Sunday is Easter and every day is a celebration of an empty tomb.

This message is an edited version of a sermon given at Loving God Fellowship. Copyright © 2008 Loving God Fellowship, Inc. http://www.LovingGodFellowship.org . Click to have messages emailed to you as they are made available. You are encouraged to share this message with those you know that are hungry for God’s Word.

Too Blessed to be Stressed

By Rev. Greg Johnson

1 Peter 1:3-9

For some, the Sundays following Easter is anti-climatic. They watch the Passion of the Christ on Good Friday, they take their kids and grandkids to an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, they get all dressed up for Easter Sunday and go to church for a celebration. The Sundays following Easter Sunday seem less important, but not to the Christ follower. Instead of a let down, the Christ follower is empowered and energized by the resurrection of the One they follow.

The religionist forgets about the stresses of life for one day on Easter Sunday as they remember an empty tomb, but on Monday morning the stresses become reality again. Not for the Christ follower. Christ followers realize that they are too blessed to be stressed. For the Christ follower, every Sunday is Easter and every day is a celebration of an empty tomb.

Check out these words of the Apostle Peter who knew firsthand as he had witnessed both the crucifixion and the resurrection. (1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, {4} and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, {5} who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. {6} In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. {7} These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. {8} Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, {9} for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

We have been given a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ! At the crucifixion, Peter lost all hope. His dreams were shattered and his possibilities were lost. After the resurrection, Jesus went looking for Peter and when He found him, Jesus gave Peter a new birth into a living hope. Jesus was not angry at Peter for denying that he knew Him at the cross. Instead Jesus reached out to Peter and changed His life with resurrection power.

Beloved, you didn’t find Jesus. Jesus came looking for you. He’s not angry at you for denying Him Lordship of your life and going your own way. No, He came looking for you to give you a new birth into a living hope. He touched you with resurrection power and your life is not the same.

We have a faith that is more valuable than gold! During the recession of 2008, Gold has hit record setting prices as people take their money out of stocks, banks and bonds buying gold in order to protect their life long earnings. I’m not doing that and in no way am I suggesting anyone does that, but I find it interesting in light of our paragraph of Scripture we are looking at. Right now Gold is the most costly commodity in the world. It set records last week as it went to over $1,000 an ounce and closed Friday, March 28, 2008, at $930 an ounce. I was watching CNBC on Friday and they were interviewing the CEO of IAMGOLD Corporation. IAMGOLD is the top mid-tier gold producer, with annual production of close to 1 million ounces from eight different operations located in North America, South America and Africa. In the interview, IAMGOLD’s CEO predicted that the price of gold would be $1,300 - $1,500 by year end as demand pushes the price up. In 1 Peter 1:3-9, we are told that Christ followers have been given a faith that is more valuable than gold. The trials of life come and the Christ follower does not lose faith, instead the Christ follower allows the trials of life to burn out the impurities of their faith leaving behind a faith that is greater and more pure.

Beloved you are rich today. You have something that no falling dollar, no recession or depression can touch. You have a faith that is getting greater and more pure through each trial and hardship as you follow Christ on this exciting journey from earth to glory.

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