Scripture: I Peter 1:3-9…NLT
Verse 3-9 in one paragraph in the Greek. I was struggling with the homoletics of this passage and New American Commentary gave me light. The theme of the passage is found in verse 3 where most translation read, Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ. The NLT and the NIV read…All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek word is familiar: it is eulogētos from which we get our word eulogy. It means to be blessed, adored, honored or praised.
In this paragraph, we find FIVE THINGS to praise God for…
I. FIRST, WE PRAISE GOD FOR HIS ABUNDANT MERCY [v.3]
The word abundant is an adjective that is used often in the NT and is translated many different ways:
- Matthew 3:7–But when he saw many G4183 of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
- Matthew 4:25–Large G4183 crowds followed Him from Galilee and theDecapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.
- Matthew 5:12–“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; G4183 for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- Matthew 6:30–“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much G4183 more clothe you? You of little faith!
As you can see, God’s Mercy is much more than we can imagine: it is great beyond our ability to comprehend. As the NLT reads, It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve which is death and hell. Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve which is heaven and eternal life. Mercy is an attribute of God: He is merciful and this mercy is in infinite supply which is how it can endure from generation to generation.
II. WE PRAISE GOD WHO IS OUR LIVING HOPE OR GREAT EXPECTATION
Due to God’s great mercy, our New Birth, and the resurrection of Christ: we now having LIVING HOPE. Peter says in 1:23…For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. We have a living hope based on the living Word and a living Savior.
Let me tell you why HOPE is so vital…Hope sees beyond the suffering, the pain to our future glory. The writer of Hebrews has some words of encouragement for us… So let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
- Jesus endured the cross: He didn’t enjoy it.
- Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that awaited Him afterwards.
- Hope enables us to look beyond our present suffering.
- A person without HOPE will give up.
Viktor Frankl, an Austrian Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist, survived two death camps. Those were horrible times but Frankl didn’t waste his sorrows. He learned from his sorrow and others and brought the world of counseling into a new era. Frankl said, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” A man needs a purpose to survive, he needs a hope based on something beyond himself. If a man loses hope, he is finished. Frankl witnessed the brutality against the prisoners who had given up. The guards beat them with rifle butts but to no avail, they might groan in pain but they would not get up.
We praise the LORD for His Great Mercy and for Our Living Hope…
III. WE PRAISE GOD FOR A PRICELESS INHERITANCE [v.4]
Peter tells us four things about this fabalous inheritance: incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
- It is incorruptible–it will not perish or die.
- It is undefiled–it can’t be soiled, stained or contaminated in any way.
- It is unfading–not subject to age or decay. It will not lose its luster.
- It is reserved–under guard. A friend and I drove to Dr. Graham’s visitation last month, we left after he got off from work and drove all night. He had made us a reservation at a motel. We got there at 2:00 in the morning: our paper work was all filled out; they were simply waiting for us to arrive and claim our room.
I don’t know what heaven is going to be like. I don’t have mind enough to describe and you don’t have enough mind to take it in if I could. I know it is INFIFNITE. I know it will not be a disappointment, not going to be anti-climatic. I know it will be a place of rest: no more battles with the flesh, Satan or temptation. I know that God saves the best for last.
IV. PRAISE GOD FOR PERSEVERING FAITH
I really struggled with verse 5…NKJV….Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time….NLT…And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. The same word is used here that is used in Philippians 4:7…And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard G5432 your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The question is: who is acting and who is being acted upon? The NLT makes it clear that God is the ONE protecting or guarding and our faith is the object. God is guarding our faith. Herein lies the doctrine of the PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
There are several things about this faith that are exciting:
- It’s a faith that leads to SALVATION [V.5]
- Its a faith that produces JOY [V.6]
- It’s an ENDURING faith [V.6]
- It’s a faith that can be TESTED [v.7]
- It’s a PRECIOUS faith. [v.7]
- It’s a PRODUCTIVE faith. [v.7]
- It’s a PERSONAL faith. [v.8]
We praise God for His Great Mercy, our Living Hope, our Priceless Inheritance, our protected and precious faith and finally…
V. FINALLY, PRAISE GOD FOR OUR EVERLASTING REWARD
I don’t know whether you realize it or not but the greater part of our Salvation is future; has not been revealed to us at this time. Salvation encompasses all three tenses of time: Past, Present and Future. Let me give you a little H.H. Hobbs theology…
- Salvation is past–I have been saved—regeneration/our spiritual birth/instantaneous
- Salvation is present–I am being saved—sanctification/becoming like Christ/progressive
- Salvation is future–I will be saved—glorification/final perfection
The first two aspects, the one we are experiencing now are earthly in a sense but the final aspect is heavenly. There is no comparison, the best and biggest is yet to come.
Remember the story of the Christian woman who was buried with her fork in her hand. She had been told most of her life by her mom to save her fork for dessert so she wanted to be burried with her fork in hand…symbolizing the best was yet to come.