1 Pet 1:3-13
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Father, these are packed verses and so we ask You to help us to understand through the illumination of the Holy Spirit the relevance of these verses, not just for today, not just for present salvation, but for final salvation. Teach us about faith. Teach us about hope. Teach us about love. We ask you, Lord in the precious Name of Your Son. Amen
The one point for today is that in light of the end, put your absolute faith in Jesus, hope in Jesus, and love Jesus. Very simple.
1 Peter 1
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
It is the way we begin every prayer – Father. We start by blessing the Father. It’s because He has shown us such great mercy. How has He shown His great mercy? He sent His Son and through the help of the Holy Spirit, we believe in the Son. And from that point you were born again.
That’s the beginning. That’s when salvation begins, but the point of 1 Peter is we cannot stop there. We cannot stop with I believe in Jesus, therefore, I’m fine. There’s a lot more going on for the Christian in our spiritual journey. Because if we fast-forward to verse 10…
1 Pet 1
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
This is a summary statement of the entire Bible. From the Old Testament, the prophets were prophesying about a coming Messiah and they had little glimpses of who He would be, what kind of Messiah He would be, that this Messiah would have to suffer, and after He suffered, there would be a glory that follows.
For us today, we actually know who this Person is that was prophesied about. We actually know this Messiah because it was preached to us and in the preaching of the Gospel of the good news, something came alive in you you were born again.
We might think that the Bible is just the word written down and that’s all we have. But if you look at the end of this chapter, it says in verse 23…
1 Pet 1
23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Unfortunately, in the English, all we have is “word.” But in the Greek there are multiple words for the word “word.” It says in verse 23, the living and abiding “word.” That is “logos.” That is the written word. But you can’t stop there. You are not saved by the written word by simply agreeing with the written word. That is not salvation.
As it continues, but the “word” (verse 25) of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news. That was preached here. It is not logos in these last two references to “word.” It is “rhema,” the “spoken word.”
Christian life begins when the written word comes alive. And in a group of people, every person might just be listening to a spoken word, but for most, it’s as if it’s just words on a paper. It’s just written words. Just principles. It’s just a Bible story. But one day, you might not be able to locate it, but if you are a believer, there was one moment when the word of God was spoken and it was not just spoken because a pastor spoke it. It was a word that was spoken to your spirit and your spirit came alive. That is when you were born again.
In the Old Testament, they are prophesying about the coming Messiah. In the New Testament, now Jesus is on the scene and the good news is being preached. And for us, two thousand years later, we hear that same word and we are born again.
And it’s God’s mercy. Because remember what state we were in before we were born again? The Bible says, we were dead. The Bible says, we were dead in our transgressions and sins. We were corpses. We could not respond. A corpse cannot respond to any stimuli. But God in His mercy brought a corpse to life and we were born a second time, this time in our spirits.
The same way that physically we grow up, from infant, to toddler, to little boy, to adolescent, to young adult, to adult, to grandfather, the same way that we grow physically, spiritually, we are born again and in that born-again moment, you’re just a spiritual infant. And God raises you up. In the same way that we grew up physically, we grow up spiritually.
It is the Father’s mercy. He sent His Son, and by declaration, by His word, by the “rhema,” this spiritual corpse, you and I, came alive. And we were born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Peter was reaching the end of his life. And he is sensing, in his spirit, that the end is upon him. And we have to remember that in the in the first century under Rome, there was such intense persecution. I bet the believers thought Jesus could come back in their lifetime. It was so bad. It was so difficult.
When Peter wrote this, I bet he felt such an urgency in his spirit. He looks out. The brothers and sisters are in hiding. They’re in caves. They’re being sawn in two. They are being crucified, burned alive, eaten by animals. And Peter, he knew the end for himself was near.
This is an end time letter. And he’s talking about not just his salvation, or or a particular believer’s salvation. He’s talking about the final salvation of every believer of all time. And he says, this final salvation is going to be revealed one day soon in the last time.
And this salvation is being guarded. By two things. One, by God’s power. It says, who by God’s power, God Himself is guarding you. He’s not guarding the inheritance that’s kept in heaven for you. It is imperishable, unfading, the inheritance is safe. He’s not talking about the inheritance. He’s talking about you and me. That we are being guarded by God’s power. And how do we have access to this power? It says, through faith.
And so there’s an exchange. There’s an interaction. First, it’s our faith. And then, it’s God’s power. And together, we are being guarded supernaturally. To be kept on this path of salvation until you and I reach final salvation.
And then he goes on to say, that some of us, if necessary (verse 6), will be grieved by various trials.
The purpose of the trial is to test the genuineness of your faith. And this tells us that you and I can have faith that is not genuine. You and I can have a faith that is counterfeit. You and I can have a faith that is mixed. Some of us have a pure faith, which means that we can bypass trials. The trials are not necessary if your faith is pure. But if your faith is mixed, if your faith is counterfeit, if your faith is insincere or inauthentic, then most likely, you will go through a trial.
And when it comes to trials, you are either tested or you’re tempted. Same word. So a trial hits. It’s meant to purify. It’s meant to test you and to purify you. So the end result is your faith is pure. Satan uses that same trial and he tries to tempt you to give up. If he succeeds and you give up, that purification does not happen and not only do you stay mixed in your faith, your faith actually falls and eventually you fall away.
It says in v7, the pure faith, the genuine faith, the sincere faith, the faith that has been tested by fire, at the end, this kind of faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. So at the end, when Jesus is revealed to the entire world and we have a new heaven and new earth, what will produce praise, glory and honor? it’s your pure faith. It’s your absolute trust in Jesus.
Absolute faith or trust – it’s hard to know whether you actually have it or not. It’s not so simple. If it was so simple, we would not need trials. If it’s just a matter of agreeing with the written word and that’s enough and I’m set for final salvation, then we wouldn’t need trials. We would need to ask ourselves the question, is my faith pure?
I think when I was saved, I had a pure faith. 1993. But over time, it got mixed. That’s the best way I can explain. Over time, yes, I had faith in Jesus. But there was also faith in church. There’s was also faith in people. There was faith in myself and my abilities. Faith in my bank account. There was faith in my career. There was faith in so many things. Many things I trusted. Because faith equals trust.
And I would say that my faith journey, especially in the last few years, has been a purifying journey of faith, a refining journey. And you might think well if I have faith, why does it have to be purified? I believe.
Absolute trust in Jesus. Absolute Faith. Do you have it? I didn’t have it and so for many years. I had a mixture and I thought I was on the right path. But I wasn’t. So, over time, God had to strip away all the mixture. He’s been taking away all the impurities through trials, through waiting, through repenting, through seeing that I was not going the right direction. And it’s been purifying.
I think, sadly, most people require trials. Because it’s so easy to become impure in your faith. So when the trial happens, know the reason. Yes, Satan is trying to tempt you give up. He is tempting you through the trial, but know from God’s perspective, He wants to raise you up. He’s trying to purify your faith.
Look back on this year. What or who did you trust in? Was it Jesus? Did you trust him? Like when things got stressful, who did you turn to? Did you turn to Jesus? If so, that means your faith is pure. When things became burdensome, who carried those burdens for you? Did you give them to Jesus? Or, did you just take care of it yourself? Or, did you just call your friend? Who do you trust? Who do you turn to first? These are clues. If it’s not Jesus, your faith needs to be purified, your trust needs to be purified.
So my first encouragement is to double-check, do you trust in Jesus? Absolutely? If so, then you are on the path toward final salvation.
And then it says in verse 13, set your hope fully on the grace. That will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In verse 10, it says concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully. And so just the fact that you met Jesus and that He saved you, that what the prophets prophesied about has been fulfilled in your lifetime, you know the Answer, you know the Person you should turn to. So much grace has been shown to us. Even the angels longed to to see what we see. The mystery of the universe has been revealed to us in Christ.
And that is a lot of grace that you and I have been shown to live at present, to know Jesus Christ personally. That is a tremendous grace. But that grace is so small compared to the grace that will be fully bestowed upon us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. There is so much more grace that we will experience in that moment and for eternity. At the revelation of Jesus Christ. And we as believers, men and women of faith, we put our hope fully on that moment.
It’s like Simeon in Luke 2. He’s an older man. He’s been faithful. He’s righteous, he’s devout and and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. It says the Holy Spirit was upon him. And he was looking forward to the consolation, or the comfort of Israel and I’m sure for him as a faithful, righteous man, he knew the Old Testament. He knew Isaiah 40 – Comfort, comfort, my people. And he knew Isaiah 60 – what the Messiah would one day do and what kind of Messiah He would be.
And as a Jewish man, he’s seen centuries of oppression, leading all the way to the present day under Rome. He’s read about the Assyrians, the Persians, the Egyptians, and all the oppressors of God’s people. And now he’s living under Rome’s thumb.
And so he’s in the Spirit, he’s praying for the comfort for his people one day. We will be liberated. One day, we will be set free from Rome.
And then the Holy Spirit revealed to him, you will see the Messiah before you pass. And so, there’s a clarification. Yes, comfort for my people. That’s part of it. But what’s actually far more important is to meet the Messiah.
And then, he finally sees baby Jesus. And we have to know – this was a setup. Everything that we’re reading is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Jesus fulfills everything. And I was just blown away as I’m starting to piece together things I never saw before. Because the whole reason Mary was there is because it says in Leviticus 12 that after you give birth, the mother who gave birth is unclean ceremonially.
And so she has to go to the temple and she has to give a lamb and then either a turtle dove or a pigeon. And the lamb is for the burnt offering and the turtle dove or the pigeon is for a sin offering. And she has to give both in order to be cleansed and to be declared clean by the priest. And that’s why she’s there and it says, if you are poor and you cannot afford a lamb, give two turtle doves. And we already can see that Mary and Joseph are poor because she cannot afford a lamb, and instead, brings two turtle doves and she’s going to participate in this ceremonial cleansing.
Cleansing, but there’s even more than that. In Exodus 13, God says to Moses, all the firstborn of the livestock and of your family, all the firstborn males are mine. And so the the animals you sacrifice, but the firstborn sons you redeem. And so, because the firstborn sons are our the Lord’s because the Lord says they’re mine, as an act of dedication, the parents were supposed to go to the temple. And they were to buy back the son because the sons belonged to the Lord. So you have to pay like five shekels of silver to buy back your son, to redeem your son.
And so not only is Mary going to the temple for her own ceremonial cleansing, she’s also going to dedicate her first born, to redeem him. And some like Hannah didn’t redeem her son. She gave her son, Samuel, to Eli in the temple. She actually gave him, dedicated him to the Lord and Samuel grew up in the temple. And here’s Mary going to out of obedience to dedicate her firstborn son because he belongs to the Lord.
Others bought back their firstborn sons. This is a setup. Why did the Lord have to do this? Why did he go through so many centuries of doing this weird ceremony of only the firstborn sons being redeemed? Like why are the sons special and why the firstborn son and why do we have to pay to redeem him? It seems unfair. It seems like a weird tradition, but it’s all a setup. Because when Mary and Joseph go to dedicate baby Jesus in the temple, God from the beginning was saying all along through centuries of tradition, He was saying, this Son belongs to Me. Jesus is mine. Yes, He came through your womb, but Jesus is mine. And this Son will save the world from their sin.
So we have absolute trust/faith in Jesus. Secondly, we put all of our hope in Jesus. Because Simeon, he saw the baby Jesus. Remember, it was all a setup just to get Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus to the temple. And Simeon was there, he witnessed the answer to what the Holy Spirit promised to him, that he would see with his own eyes the Messiah before he died. And now here’s the day.
He’s seeing the baby Jesus. He is receiving such grace, such encouragement, such strengthening of his conviction – the Lord spoke and now I’m seeing the fulfillment of it. Such grace, what privilege!
However, Jesus was veiled. Jesus was humble. Jesus was like a Lamb. Jesus was so limited.
When Simeon sees him again at the revelation of Jesus Christ, at the final salvation of all believers, Jesus will no longer be veiled. Jesus will be the Lion of Judah. Jesus will be full glory, unveiled face, glorious beaming light.
So he caught a glimpse. He was given grace, but think of the hope of the tremendous grace that not only Simeon, but all believers, we’re going to receive in that moment when Jesus is finally revealed. So that is why we not only put our absolute faith in Jesus. We also hope in Jesus. And lastly, we love Jesus.
1 Pet 1
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…
Peter saw Jesus with his own eyes. But he’s speaking to the audience, to all future generations of believers who are not privileged like he was. And he understands, most, if not all of the audience that he’s writing to, have not seen Jesus. But he says, you haven’t seen him. Yet, you must love Him. It is possible to love somebody you’ve never seen. And then he includes himself in the second part. He says, though you do not now see Him – he’s talking about himself and the apostles and all those who saw Christ previously – he says, I saw Him once, I don’t see Him now, but I still believe.
And this is so critical. I mean, I’ve talked about faith, hope and love. The greatest is love. Because in heaven, there’s no need for faith. Faith is needed when you don’t see him. But when you see him, you don’t need faith. When you’re in heaven, you don’t need hope. Because you’re there. But love is the greatest because love will continue for eternity.
And though you have not seen Him, you love Him. And you might think how is that possible? I have a hard time loving people I see. You’re asking me to love someone I don’t see? I mean, have you ever seen Jesus physically? Have you ever shaken his hand? Have you ever given him a hug? Has he ever cooked fish for you? No, and so, how can we love someone we don’t see?
I remember when I was getting ordained in 2011. I compared my marriage to Jesus, my relationship with Jesus, with my marriage and my relationship with Jackie. And I said, I’ve known Jackie for this many years. I think at the time, we were married for 11 years and I actually knew Jesus longer because I got married in 2000, but I got saved in 1993. So I knew Jesus 7 years more. So 11 years that I knew Jackie. 18 or so years I knew Jesus.
I said, why do I feel like I know Jackie way more than I know Jesus? And it’s an odd thing to say at an ordination because I thought pastors were supposed to be confident about knowing Jesus. I thought that’s the whole point you go into the ministry because you’re telling people about Jesus and how great He is. And I just felt I needed to be honest. Yes, I know Him. But why do I know Him so little compared to how much I know my own wife?
I was crying out for help. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I looking back, clearly, I was lost. Because the whole point of the Christian life is, you are to love somebody you cannot see. How is that possible? You can’t see Him. But you can hear His voice. You can’t see Him, but you can feel His presence. And this takes a different kind of training. You actually have to spend time with Him. Like we always talk about seeking Him like it says in Hebrews 11:1.
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. It is possible to have assurance of things hoped for in the future, but the conviction right now of things that you can’t even see. That includes Jesus.
And the word for conviction is a testing, a proving.
How do you grow in your fait? Going back to the first point – absolute faith. How do you grow in your faith over time? You test the Lord. And He comes through for you. Like you stress about your finances. You can just take care of it yourself. Or, you can say, Lord, you promised in your word that food, clothing and drink – it’s all covered.
And you can bring that financial burden to the Lord. And then as you wait, somehow, He comes through in a way you could have never imagined or conceived. And now you have tested the Lord, the Lord came through, He proved Himself to be faithful. He’s passed the test and you have grown in your conviction and that’s how faith gets built up.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
It is impossible to please the Lord simply by offering sacrifices to the Lord, by going on world missions, and by winning people to Christ. If you don’t have faith, He is not pleased with you. It is impossible to please God unless you trust in His Son Jesus Christ. And the first part is you believe that He exists.
How do you believe in a God whom you cannot see? You have to hear Him. That’s different from reading the written word. You have to hear the rhema, the word of the Lord has to come alive in you. And this word is like a Shepherd leading His sheep. He actually guides you – go this way, not that way. There’s no verse that tells you – go this way and not that way, but the voice of God will lead if we recognize it. You have to hear Him.
And as you hear Him and you see how things pan out when you hear Him correctly, there is a blessing of the Lord. And your faith gets built up. And it says, you draw near to Him you believe that He exists and He rewards those who seek Him. To me, this is what love is. You seek the Lord Jesus. You don’t seek serving Him. You don’t seek Church. You don’t seek ministry. You seek Him. That’s what it means to love Him.
Like my kids, they can say they love me, but does that mean taking out the garbage, washing the dishes, and because they do these things, therefore, I know they love me. No, they can be good, dutiful sons and do all those things and still not love me. I know that my kids love me if they ask, Dad, you look stressed, what’s on your heart? How can I pray for you? It’s a relationship. And Jesus wants that.
Like in the morning, do you actually say good morning to Jesus? The first words out of my mouth every day is – Good morning, Father. Good morning, Jesus. Good morning, Holy Spirit.
Jesus wants to be addressed as a Person. You can’t love Him if you treat Him like He’s some force in the universe. No, He wants to relate with you.
Absolute trust/faith. Hope in Jesus. And the essence of the Christian life is you love Jesus.
In 2018, have you grown in your love for Jesus? That means it actually has to come out of your mouth. You actually have to say, Jesus, I love you. You say that to your loved one. You say that to your spouse. You say that to your kids. Can you remember how many times, hopefully it is countless times in 2018, you said, Jesus, I love you, Jesus. I thank you, Jesus.
You address Him like you would any loved one. Jesus, I come to You. Jesus, I seek You. I’m not seeking an answer to these prayers. No, I’m seeking Your face. I’m not looking at your hands for handouts. I’m seeking Your face. That is a Christian who is on the path of final salvation. Not only do you have your faith in Jesus, not only do you put your hope in Jesus, but you love Jesus.
From beginning to end, Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. Everything in life is about Jesus.
Don’t let false teachers out there confuse you that there are other things that are as important or on the same level as Jesus. No. Small group, missions, ministry – these are secondary things that flow out.
But too many times, we focus on the secondary things and we assume the primary. We assume there’s faith and hope and love for Jesus. And we do all these things and I can say from my own testimony, I did all the secondary things very well and I missed the primary. It’s all about Jesus. Old Testament is all about Jesus. New Testament is all about Jesus. And the end when Jesus is revealed, you will realize, it is all about Jesus.
And He’ll be pleased if you had faith in Him, if you put all your hope in Him, if you love Him. Matthew 7 – so many workers in the Church come to him and say, Lord, I did these things for you. I prophesied for you. I cast out demons in Your Name. I did all these things. Jesus says, I never knew you.
In 1 Peter, with Peter sensing the end, and actually he’s not wrong because the moment Jesus arrived, the final season began, the last age began the moment Jesus arrived. So we’ve been in the end for 2,000 years. And don’t let that confuse you, for a thousand years is like a day to the Lord. It’s only been two days from God’s point of view. It’s not been a long time. We’ve been at the end for 2,000 years. So for Peter to say it is the end, he is saying something that is theologically, correct.
For us, to say it is the end, it is actually more true today than it was then it’s ever been. We are coming to the end and when you’re reaching the end, you don’t worry about the secondary matters. If I want to emphasize one thing in my final breath, I’m not going to emphasize secondary things. I’m going to emphasize the number one thing. And as we sense the end of human history approaching when Jesus will be revealed, not to an individual when you pass and you see Him, I’m talking about the final end when He is revealed to all. When the dead are raised to life and we are given resurrected bodies and we are consummated and the engagement period ends and we are married with Jesus, our bridegroom.
As you sense the end, things get crystal clear. It’s all Jesus. It’s only Jesus. So I pray that in 2019, we can seek the Lord, trust in Him. And put all of our hope in Jesus. Not in college admissions, not in a spouse, not in a great family, not in a bank account. Put all of your hope in Jesus. And most of all, make sure you spend time with Him and learn how to love Him. Learn how to converse with Him. Learn how to hear His voice. Learn how to distinguish your own voice from the Shepherd’s voice. And certainly, learn how to distinguish His voice from Satan’s voice.
Okay, let’s pray. Just a simple message. Trust in Jesus. Hope in Jesus. Love Jesus. If that is the criteria to evaluate this past year, how did you do? Did you put your faith in Jesus? Did you trust in Him or did you worry? Did you stress? Did you put all the burden on yourself? Or did you trust in your friend, your family member, your church member more than Jesus? Did you trust in your bank account more than Jesus? This is a very practical question. Do you trust in Jesus?
Do you hope in Jesus? What do you hope for in the future? What would be a good life? What will be a good future? Do you want the consolation of Israel? That’s a good thing, but that is not ultimate. Simeon wanted salvation for Israel, but actually, what he was really crying out for is Israel’s true salvation. He wanted to meet the Savior and when he saw Him, he finally realized there is true Comfort only in the Savior.
Do you hope in Jesus? As we get older and our faith gets purified, may that directly translate into our hope becoming more firmly established to prepare us for the revelation of Jesus.
Faith in Jesus. Hope in Jesus. Ultimately, it is love for Jesus. Do you love Him? Do you say good morning to Him? Do you say good night to Him? Do you thank Him? Do you say, I love you to Jesus, or do you just ask for things? Do you merely serve Him? The essence of our relationship with Christ is that you love Him.
Let’s spend some time putting all of our trust, our faith in Jesus, and hope in Jesus, and let’s express our love for Jesus. Okay, let’s pray.