This message was preached by Ranjit Rodrigues at Word of Grace Church on August 26th, 2018. Ranjit leads Good News Church in Goa and has been a friend of Word of Grace church for decades.To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.
1 Peter 1:3-7 “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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 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. In all 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 the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Peter is writing this letter to Christians who are scattered all over the known world at that time. He is writing when it was difficult to live as a Christian. The entire Roman army was opposing them. What we face now is nothing compared to what they were facing at that time. Secular rulers were against Christians. At such a time, he starts with these wonderful words. One of the ways Christians are different from everyone else in the world is that we don’t live our lives based on our circumstances. We are people who are praising God all the time.
The great thing about Christians is that they are rejoicing not because of external circumstance, but because of internal circumstance. It was wonderful to see the testimonies this morning. But there are times when the prayer has not been answered yet. So what is our attitude during that time. Miserable Christians are a contradiction in terms because Christians are people who rejoice even before God has answered our prayers.
We have new birth in Christ and that is an internal thing. Because of this, we have great mercy and living hope. New birth means, once you were an ordinary person but now you are extraordinary. The old has gone and the new has come. We begin to realise my life is not in the hands of the stars or tea leaves, but it is in the hands of a loving father. The Christian should never get too familiar with this great blessing called new birth.
1. Great Mercy: we are now living in a realm of great mercy from God. The air that we breathe is not the air of misery but the air of mercy. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones said when miserable looking preachers start sharing the good news, no one wants to listen. Each morning I say to myself, God is smiling on me today. I have done nothing to deserve it, but He is smiling on me. Keep your eyes on the favour of God that covers you each morning.
2. Living Hope: In the world, people have a ‘luck by chance’ kind of hope. There is no confident expectation of God’s blessing in that. That’s how we knew hope in this world. But we have a living hope. Living hope is a confident expectation that God’s plans for me will come to pass in my future. If you and I are a people of living hope, no one can short circuit the good plans God has for us. Maybe you haven’t put your life in the hands of Jesus. If you haven’t, all these things are available for you today. Jesus will not make us better, he makes us new.
That is not the end of the package. In verse 4 and 5 he says we have an inheritance that will never perish, never spoil, that is kept in heaven for you. The best news is not even the great mercy and living hope. The great news is that Jesus will be revealed on earth and our salvation package will be complete. He has kept mansions in store for us in heaven. He is coming to wrap up history and we will enter into our inheritance with Him.
Some of the inheritance we will have is new bodies, every eye will be cleaned of every tear and every heart will be cleaned of every pain. For your sacrifice the King is going to reward you. All these are a part of the inheritance when Jesus will be revealed.
In this little time between the time we gave our life to Jesus and the time we will see him face to face- we may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. If you look at what God has done for you and what is waiting for you in heaven, these trials will look like they are small. Mother Teresa said, from heaven, all of life on earth will look like 1 night in a cheap hotel.
1. You may have to suffer some grief. Use them to sharpen and perfect your faith. In verse 7 he means that whenever we face trials, the Lord allows these to overcome them by exercising faith muscle. Faith grows and becomes stronger the more you exercise it. Each time we pray we are exercising faith muscle.
2. Make praising God a habit. In this century we have become very feeling oriented. But make a decision to praise the Lord in every circumstance. As we do that our eyes will be fixed on things above.
3. Develop pilgrim thinking. We don’t belong here- not in this hall, not on this earth. We are not here forever. We don’t collect things on earth. Earthly decisions have eternal destiny implications. What we do here on earth has eternal implications.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.
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