Summary: We are strangers in this world, on vacation in a foreign land, with advantages the natives of this world don't even begin to understand. But do we realize what those advantages are, and what difference those blessings can mean to our lives?
OPEN: (Video of MercyMe’s “Shake”)
How many of you have ever been on a vacation?
Me too. Going on Vacation can be a very pleasurable experience…as long as you know where you’re going and what to expect when you get there. But not everybody does.
Travel agents have told stories about people who misunderstood those things:
* One agent said: “I had someone ask for an aisle seat on their airplane so that their hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.”
* Another said he had a client who called inquiring about a package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost information, she asked "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"
* Still another agent he got a call from a woman who said she wanted to go to Cape Town. He started to the length of the flight to Africa and the passport information when she interrupted saying: "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts."
He explained, "Cape COD is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in South Africa."
She hung up.
* One man called his travel agent, furious about a Florida package they’d done for him. The agent asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. The man responded that he was expecting an ocean-view room.
The agent tried to explain that wasn’t possible - Orlando is in the middle of the state.
The man replied, "Don't lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state."
* A very nice lady called her agent. She wanted to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am. The agent tried to tell her that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois but she could not understand the concept of Time zones.
Finally he told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!
* Then there was the businessman that called and had a question about the kinds of documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, the agent reminded him he needed a visa.
"Oh no I don't, I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those."
The agent double-checked and sure enough, he told the businessman his stay needed a visa.
The businessman scoffed: "Look, I've been to China 4 times and every time they have accepted my American Express."
APPLY: My point is this – a Vacation can be a very pleasurable experience as long as you know where you’re going and what to expect when you get there.
These folks didn’t, and so they ended up getting frustrated.
In our text this morning, Peter reminds us that we are “strangers in the world.” I Peter 1:1
We don’t belong here.
This isn’t our home.
We were REborn to live somewhere else.
And IF we don’t remember that, we can get truly frustrated in this life.
Jesus told us – “In this world you will have trouble” John 16:33
And here Peter tells the Christians he’s writings to the same thing:
“…for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1 Peter 1:6
Peter acknowledges the pain... but then he explains WHY we should rejoice about that.
He writes: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 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.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
In other words, EVEN our present difficulties in this life have value for us. And the reason they have value for us is because we have so much else going for us.
Notice (in these opening verses) all the things Peter says we have as Christians:
1. We are the “elect” – God has chosen us out of this world to be His people (vs. 1)
2. We have been sanctified by the Spirit - set apart from the world (vs. 2)
3. We have been saved by being sprinkled with the blood of Jesus (vs. 2)
4. We have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ (vs. 3)
5. We have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us (vs. 4)
6. We are guarded by God’s power are for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (vs. 5)
We’ve got so much going for us that it should make us want to stand up “shake like we’re changed”