Richvale Church
Sunday, Mar 7
  • Good morning, welcome … it is so good to have those of you here in person and also those joining us online today… WE are starting a new series from 1 Peter… entitled “Stand Firm..”
    Have you ever been amazed at Historical buildings that have stood the test of time? Here in the United states we have a relatively recent history… we have been a nation for about 243 years…and we have some amazing structures and buildings…Just go to Washington DC — the state capital started CONSTRUCTION in 1793... The oldest building in the US is the Fairbanks house which is about 268 years old…
    What struck me when I visited my family in the Uk is how old some those castles were built in the 1200’s… amazing 800+ years ago… …But there are buildings that have lasted even longer if you travel to Greece you will find ruins of the Pantheon… where the apostle Paul walked in the 1st Century...
    It is amazing how some building or structures. have stood the test of time...
    When explorers first entered Peru, they discovered huge, impressive buildings that may have been standing for 2,000 years. These ancient Inca structures were built of hand-hewn rocks of different sizes and shapes. Some were 3-sided, some 4-sided, and some 7-sided.
    What is incredible is that these stones held together without the use of mortar, they were fitted together so perfectly that they stood for many centuries, even through major earthquakes.
    These building were built to last…
    In the Bible...
    Both apostle Paul and Peter talk about the church in terms of being a building — believers are called living stones— chosen or quarried by God himself are built into this holy temple… The church is built on the foundation of prophets and the apostles.. and Christ himself being the corner stone…
    The Church was really built to last...
    When you think about what the church has gone through... it is amazing that it lasted beyond the First Century ....but here we are 2000 years later…
    One of the reasons the church has stood the test of time… is that those who have gone before us ..men and woman who have been faithful to the message of the Gospel… …
    Peter had a unique calling to the church… remember Peter was among the inner circle of the Christs disciples
    Jesus called Peter to be a builder … In Matthew 16 Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was — Peter was alway a little impetuous responded first, “You are the Christ the son of the living God.
    Jesus then blessed Peter and said that Flesh and blood had not revealed that to him.. but rather the Father who is in heaven … Then there is this play on words… Where Jesus said You are Peter and upon this rock.. (Petra/peter) I will build my church… and the very gates of hell would not prevail against it.. He says to Peter I will give you the keys to the kingdom and whatever you bind on earth and what ever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven..
    God gifted and anointed Peter a Special and unique way. His gift was that he would be a master builder… He would lay the foundation stones.... the gospel that was TO BE built on the apostles and prophets and Christ being the cornerstone..
    After the church is empowered by the Holy Spirit.. It is Peter who stood up on the day of Pentecost and preached that first sermon — where— he explained the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.… He said…that what they were witnessing… was what the Prophet Joel prophesied about… that the Holy Spirit would be poured out all flesh… We are told that on that day 3000 people responded to the call to have Christ as savior…
    … What is interesting is that Peters message was not centered on the power of the gifts of the spirit but the power of the gospel… FROM THE BEGINNING PETER SAW THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION
    lets read our text..
    1 Peter 1:1–2 ESV
    1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
    We learn a few things from Peters Greeting - First of all these Christians are displaced…They are scattered.. Normally we use the word diaspora in speaking jews that were spread out.. Peter used it of the church.. Jews and Gentiles who find themselves. persecuted for their faith and find themselves living as refugees .. they living in these seven regions of Asia minor — modern day Turkey… - Peter calls them the “Exiles of the dispersion” —
    - They are scattered… but even in their displacement.. but they are not forgotten and alone..
    Peter reminds them that even though they find themselves in exile they still have much to Hope for... because the have been chosen…
    Peter calls them the elect Exiles those who have been chosen according to God’s foreknowledge…
    What he is talking about is Election..
    The idea of God’s election is that of being being set aside for specific task or purpose.
    We see this in the calling of Abraham - God called to be the Father of the Faith.that all the earth would be blessed through his seed. it was calling that led Abraham out of the Ur Chaldeans towards the promised land…
    Election is about the Sovereignty of God..
    God chose Israel to be the vehicle of God's blessing to the nations they were stewards of the message of Salvation...they were God's chosen people... .
    Peter sees the challenge of THE CHURCH being scattered as part of their calling… they would be like seeds in among the nations that would bare fruit..
    They are the elect exiles.. Peter reminds them of their heavenly citizenship.. that are sojourners in this world… he is going to build on that theme in the letter...
    C.S lewis called living as exiles as the normal condition of the Christian… We are sojourners in the world --- when we come to Christ we come to His Kingdom.. we are citizens of heaven… right now we are living as permanent residents…in the world.
    There are so many things that these Christians could have looked at... the hardship the persecution.. but Peter says focus on Praising God --
    T/S. How do we stand firm IN FAITH?

    1. Rejoice in The Depth of our Salvation

    Ravi Zacharias was prominent Christian speaker and apologist... He brilliant when it comes to defending the faith...  Ravi was once was giving a lecture at Ohio State U. As he was being driven to the auditorium, the driver went past the new Wexner Art Center.
    The driver said, "This is a brand new art building for Ohio State U. It a most fascinating building.It is designed in the post-modernist view of reality
    The building doesn't make sense. There is no pattern to it. There are staircases that don't go anywhere. There are pillars that don't join any surfaces. It is a random, mindless design.”  The architect said he designed the center to reflect what life was about. It didn't go anywhere, it was mindless, senseless.
     Ravi turned to the man describing it and said, "Did he do the same thing with the foundation?"
    RAVI POINT WAS THAT ...You can get away with doing random, senseless things with the infrastructure, but you can't do that with the foundation..
    Our worldview is the foundation ...
    Peter tell us set our Hope fully on the grace of God. That means to view life through the lense of Gods saving plan…
    1 Peter 1:3–5 ESV
    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.
    a Rejoice in our New Birth
    Peter says...Praise God... Bless God..why? because God has caused us to be born again Into a living Hope.. Notice that we didn’t become born again…
    but HE HAS CAUSED US TO BE BORN AGAIN… The idea is that we didn’t become a Christian… by choice… rather we are born into the kingdom of God...
    Remember the interaction between the Pharisee Nicodemus and Jesus… He comes to Jesus at night wanting to know more about Jesus teachings.. .. Jesus gets straight to the point — if you want to be my disciple you must be born again…this confused Nicodemus, how can a man enter the womb again when he is already old...... what Jesus was pointing to was not a natural but a spiritual birth… Jesus said unless one is born of the water and the spirit of God he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
    See, a lot of people think when you’re born again it means, “I didn’t believe in God, and now I do.”
    What Jesus and Peter taught was a radical change...
    To be born again means not that you just turn over a new leaf or you just change in one area of your life. It means every part of your life becomes new.
    It means a revolution in every part of your life. That’s what it must mean. To be born again means you become a whole new person in every area.
    To be born again means you get a whole new spiritual awareness that wasn’t there before. The language of a heart that’s born again, the language of a mind that has experienced a new spiritual awareness
    Peter says we have been begotten.. into a living hope.. we are to..
    b.Rejoice in a living hope
    What is the living hope?
    Peter tells us —God has caused us to be a born again to a living hope -- We have been reborn into living hope.. real hope… living hope is connected to the The miracle of Resurrection
    If we don't understand living hope as a miracle... the benefits in Salvation is not going to make sense.
    The living hope came to us
    ... salvation is a resurrection miracle... . it was more than a prayer to ask Jesus into you life.. at that moment .. there was a miracle of new life and new birth that took place…you were regenerated made new.. you were translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his son… It was as radical as the resurrection of Jesus… just as Jesus was resurrected from the dead…so were you and I...
    … When you understand the miracle of resurrection… you have a living hope…
    We rejoice that we be caused to be saved into a living hope and then we are to ..
    3. Rejoice in the Permanence of the gift
    We saw in Zimbabwe what inflation can do a country... Peoples whole retirement funds... came to nothing.... money became worthless… they started printing trillion dollar notes.
    Salvation is not a temporary gift... it comes with some permanence... everything in life has finite values..
    Peter says look to the heavenly realm where things are preserved forever... He calls it a perfect inheritance..
    Peter tells us that in Christ we have things that have eternal values.. He calls it an inheritance... (Eternal life, Eternal Rewards, Souls that come with you) Everything else stays ..
    This inheritance has eternal properties -- imperishable - not subject to breaking down…or not able to be destroyed.. (engine light doesn't come on). undefiled - can't be corrupted (if you ever had a computer virus.. you understand this idea), unfading - this speaks about beauty…\ but this life in Christ is unfading… it doesn’t loose its luster....
    It will never be subject to decay.
    What good news! When our own bodies, reunited with Christ on that final day, we will be made incorruptible forevermore, restored, new, complete...
    Peter says we can be sure of this because our salvation is protected by the very power of God… He will keep us until that day… when we see him and our faith becomes sight… here is the thing…
    People have different ideas of eternal security… once saved always saved.... and I agree that we don’t have to go up for every altar call to make sure we are saved… However, I believe that there is a faith side of eternal security… When we are in Christ… WE ARE TO STAND IN FAITH… Those who have faith inherit God’s promises…
    T/S.There are so many things that these Christians could have looked at... the hardship the persecution.. but Peter says focus on Praising God --
    T/S. How do we stand firm IN FAITH?
    1. Rejoice in The Depth of our Salvation

    2. Rejoice In The Realities Of Faith

    When it comes to Faith people want to see proof…If we can see it we will believe… If lines up with the scientific method… If it can be observed, measured, evaluated… repeated --- then I will believe it.... We want Physical evidence… If God is true… show yourself...… we want to see him…
    In other words ... if something is invisible it must not exist or is not true.…
    But here is the thing...
    — 95 % of matter is invisible to the naked eye… We have only explored 5% of the universe is observable matter (the rest is dark matter and dark energy)
    For example we have only explored a tiny fraction of our visible ocean…There other invisible things that exist let me give you some examples.
    Radio Waves
    Atoms
    Dark Matter
    Air and Oxygen
    Ultraviolet light
    Gravity
    Infrared (heat of the human body)
    The entire Universe - we can’t fathom the extent or whether it actually ends.
    Peter encourages the Church to not look at what they can see… their circumstance but to rejoice in the UNSEEN realities of Faith…
    For Peter the Key to standing strong…
    1. Rejoice in the struggle of Faith
    1 Peter 1:6–7 ESV
    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.
    PETER SAYS IF YOU FIND yourself grieving, sad…and struggling — REJOICE…
    He is not denying their state of sadness.. Nor is he encouraging us to go looking for trials… but when trials come… Rejoice......not because of the trial - But that God is present even n the most difficult of times… He tells us that trials have a way revealing our genuine Faith...
    PETER TELLS US THAT TRIALS PRODUCE OUTCOMES .that reveals the true value of the metal... THAT ULTIMATELY bring praise and honor to God...
    THE PASION TRANSLATION SAYS these trials only reveal the sterling core of your faith which is far more valuable than gold that perishes.. Your authentic faith will result in even more praise to God...
    Their faith has become evident not just through trials BUT because of their faith. REJOICES IN THE STRUGGLE
    2. Rejoice in the object/person of Faith
    1 Peter 1:8–9 ESV
    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.
    One of the interesting things about faith is that we can love God who is invisible... we don't see him but we love him. Even though we don't see him we believe him... this is part of Faith...
    Faith fills a need in the human heart... it is in our believing that we are filled with joy.. Peter says this joy is hard to explain it is inexpressible joy that can only be down to the glory of God.
    They have not seen but they have loved... they have not seen him but they believe... and what has become evident is that there is joy that is inexpressible and filled with Glory.... You can't manufacture this kind of Joy... this is the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit... it part of the outcome of your faith... indwelling of the spirit.. the seal of our salvation…
    Their faith has become evident not just through trials because of their faith. REJOICE IN THE STRUGGLE
    2. Rejoice in object/person of Faith
    3. Rejoice in the Mystery of Faith
    1 Peter 1:10–12 ESV
    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.
    Peter shares with the church that what has been revealed in Salvation was a mystery the prophets foretold about the grace that is ours...
    The mystery was revealed to the prophets that they were not serving themselves.. but were looking forward to a new day... they were announcing the grace of salvation... the things that they longed to see and experience has now been realized in THE CHURCH.. PETER SAYS the things that even the angels desired to look at.
    The verbal form translated as “look into” is a marvelous word in the Greek. It is parakúptō, and it means to “stoop down to take a peek.” Isn’t that wonderful? The angels of heaven want to take a peek at this wonderful salvation that we have today.
    HERE IS THE THING SALVATION.. IS NOW.. IT PAST —HISTORY - BUT IT IS NOW.
    If you were to look on you news PAPER today..
    By tomorrow, new developments will replace those things which seem so urgent today. Within a week, most of the news will be out of date. And if you save that newspaper for several years, it will have historical value and your grandchildren will enjoy reading about the good old days, but it will have little contemporary news value...
    But the message of salvation is always relevant and urgent. It is appropriate for every generation, every culture, every person. It is a heavenly message brought by the Holy Spirit and will never become outdated..
    Conclusion
    HOW DO WE LIVE AS THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE GRACE OF GOD..
    1 Peter 1:13 ESV
    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.
    PETER SAYS IN LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL..be sober --set your hope fully on the grace of God…brought at the revelation of Jesus…
    Our world is desperate need to see the kind of Christians -- who don't necessary have it all together... but those who like them have struggles... sojourners in this life... struggles -- pressed on every-side but not destroyed... those who have placed their hope in Christ.
    Prayer.
    Our Heavenly Father, blessed is your name! The inheritance you have planned astounds us. Help us, even before we receive it in full, to live lives that are undefiled. It is in your Spirit and the power of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead that we place our hope. Amen.
      • 1 Peter 1:1–2ESV

      • 1 Peter 1:3–5ESV

      • 1 Peter 1:6–7ESV

      • 1 Peter 1:8–9ESV

      • 1 Peter 1:10–12ESV

      • 1 Peter 1:13ESV

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