Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Living in the Power of His Resurrection: Worship 5/08/11
Sermon Text 1 Peter 1:1-25

After an introduction to the man Peter last week, we now continue in the letter of this Apostle, who was called by Jesus to be a fisher of men, taught by Him, restored by Him after Peter's disownment of Him during the time of Jesus' trial, was commissioned by Jesus to feed His lambs and sheep and was in a state of transformation by Jesus until the day that He was received into glory after he had finished his course here on this earth. Being somewhat familiar with the life of Peter as it is recorded in the Scriptures enables a person to see within Peter's letters (there are two of them) the changes that came into the thinking and the actions of Peter as a result of being tested, tried and taught. We recognize even as Peter wrote that "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost". 2 Peter 1:19-21 We recognize that it was through the inspiration and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that Peter wrote his epistles, but also we recognize that his experiences of life and his personality somehow entered into the content of the letters that he wrote. But we must always remember that what he wrote and what we have before us today is God's Word.

In the first nine verses of this letter, we are given an introduction to the theme of this writing. We understand this since we have the ability to have read the entire letter, we have the ability to organize and separate different themes, and so in a sense we have the big picture already before us. Let us place before us here the first nine verses so that we can see for ourselves the preamble to this letter, or the thesis, or shall we say, the theme of this letter. Personally, I have taken as a theme for this letter: "Living in the Power of the Resurrection."

KJV 1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

After his introduction of himself, after denoting to whom he is writing, after reminding them that they are chosen of God, through the consecration of the Holy Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, he greets them with the wonderful greeting which we never get tired of hearing. "Grace unto you, and peace, be multipled." Not just grace and peace, but grace and peace multiplied!! He then pours out his heart in abundant praise and worship to God the Father as he recounts that victory that has come to us through God's abundant mercy by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! He continues to pour forth praise as he recounts for them/us of the inheritance/possession that is reserved in heaven for them/us, that cannot perish like the things of this life, cannot be soiled or defiled, or cannot fade away, it being permanent and unchangeable! Wow!! This is waiting for them/us. God not has only prepared the inheritance, He not only has given us the eyes of faith to see what is prepared for us, but He also guards the faith and hope that we have by His power. The word "kept" in the the King James is taken from the word which means "to guard." It is used in a similar situation to denote the sense of protecting and preserving as in KJ Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your (guard) hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. All this is waiting for us and will be shown to us when it is time, as it is written, 5 Who are kept (guarded) by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. That is what is ours by faith. It is a done deal, there is no doubt of it!

Let us stop here and think. Let us not rush by these first five verses so quick that we lose the power of what has been written here. It reminds me of something that my brother in law told me many years ago concerning the allowing of the meaning of the Word of the Lord to be understood and thought upon before going to the next part. He said when we rush too quickly through the Word it is like a stream running rapidly through its course with no impediments to stop its wild rushing, but he said that when we allow the Word to sink into our hearts or into the hearts of our listeners (if we are preaching) it is as if in the rushing stream big boulders have been placed which have slowed the water's rushing and pools are created in which the water may swirl around for awhile before falling over the falls that have been created. May we allow this Word before us today to swirl around in our minds and in our hearts so that we will not lose the impact that the Holy Spirit intends to bring to us through the Word. Let us do that before going onto the next verses, which introduce the main theme (It seems to me) of this entire epistle: Suffering is the entry to the joy of the Lord in this life. What? What? How can that be? How is that possible? Let us consider the next "pool of water."

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

This is a big pool, one which we need to stay in for sometime. Rejoice in trials? Have joy in suffering? Yep, that is what it says, but let us notice that "it is for a season" that this heaviness is experienced and not necessarily for the rest of one's life. Yet, it may be or it may not be. But it is important, oh so important, to not forget what Peter has just written in verses 3-5 and for which he is praising our God for! We have been raised with Christ in His resurrection, we have the eyes of faith that see beyond the difficulties of life all the way to heaven, and we live in the expected and confident hope of a better land. It is ours! Peter compares this trial/testing/proving of our faith with the testing that is done to the natural element of gold. There is no comparison to the worth of our faith vs the worth of gold. Even though the price of gold today is close to fifteen hundred dollars an ounce, it does not compare to the value of faith. Gold will allow us to have things, it will allow us to feel somewhat isolated and protected from financial losses, but it does nothing to provide us with the security of knowing that our inheritance is waiting for us.

Peter understood this testing and examining process. He thought that he had faith, but it proved to be found wanting. It was when he had nothing left of himself that he was able to see that which Jesus had been trying to tell and to show him as He walked and talked with him. He looked at this testing and examination as a positive matter, for it had shown to him his need for real and living faith, one that trusted in Christ and in Him alone. As a result of his conversion and restoration to Christ, he worshipped the Lord by laying down his life for others, so that they might see and come to experience the grace of God as revealed through Jesus Christ. It is encouraging for us to remember that even though Peter was restored and in the power of the Holy Spirit he became a preacher of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he nevertheless, like us, was yet a work in progress in that he had issues that the Lord needed to work through in his life. The two most notable ones are found in Galatians 2:11-2 and Acts 10:9-48. In the first one Peter needed to be rebuked by Apostle Paul for his duplicity and in the second one God from heaven dealt with Peter's remaining prejudice toward the Gentiles. All this had occurred (as best as I can determine) before he wrote the epistle that we are meditating upon.

Yesterday we spent some time in fellowship with our brothers in the Lord in another congregation. At the meeting a man who had grown up in a Christian home gave his testimony and as he did this passage opened up even wider to me concerning the role of suffering in our lives as Christians. He had grown up in a church, but he considered himself a Sunday Christian and it was his getting cancer that "I got a wake up call from the Lord. " Early on he had asked the question of the Lord, "Why me?' but as he was tested and tried by the Lord, his question became, "Why not me?"

He was healed of his cancer by the Lord through the prayers of faith of the elders and he gives thanks to the Lord yet today for the grace of God, saying over and over again in his testimony, "We have a gracious God." "We have a gracious God"

Before we drop into the next pool, I wish to leave some of the things that he left with us concerning of that which the Lord showed and taught to him during that time and yet today continues to show and teach him. Here they are.

1. Getting cancer was the gracious hand of God and was a wakeup call for me,

2. We may learn not to trust in self, but in God.

3. We may learn in everything to give thanks, even in suffering and pain.

4. We may be equipped to comfort others. (2 Cor 1:1-7)

5. We may grow in humility, compassion and patience.

6. We may be unified in our church

As I wrote these things down, I noticed that he kept saying "We may learn, we may be equipped" instead of just saying "we learn" or "we are equipped." As I think about it now, it comes to me that he says that in that way because that is how grace works. Let me explain what I am thinking and of how it applies to this part of our meditation. When we are faced with testings and trials, it is the Lord's intent that things of ourselves would be melted away so that which we have of Christ would shine brighter and clearer for others to see. Grace always teaches us, but never demands of us. When this man said "we may" he was exhibiting his knowledge and experience of grace through the way that he presented that which the Lord had/is showing him. Note that he spoke of his experience as personal only in item one, and after that he said, "we." Christianity is a corporate experience.

This is a man in whom the incorruptible Seed lives and abides. This man lives in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and it is evidenced by his life and his words.. Praise the Lord for His wonderful grace!!!!!!!

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Still in the same pool of water, as Peter writes further about the rejoicing with joy that is not able to be described with words, but is full of glory, of honor, of splendour as our heart is filled with praise towards our Redeemer and Friend, Jesus. Even though we have not seen Him with our eyes, we love Him, even though we do not see Him today, we believe!! For we see the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls. In light of that our trials are reduced, as if put into a shrinking device. We see with the eyes of faith that which God has said is waiting there for us. Lord, we bow before you in adoration and praise.

Would we not wish to stay in this warm pool of faith, of hope and of love? Yes, I think so, but we must move to the next one, but never forgetting this huge pool which always remains upstream of every other pool that we will drop into as we go through this chapter. Let us not forget this pool that is the Fountain of Life, Jesus Christ Resurrected and Living. We worship you, Lord.

There are four more pools to drop into, and we will briefly go through them as they seem anticlimactic to that which we have meditated upon to this point, but of course, recognizing that that is not so, for all Scripture is all important.

10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

That which had been prophesied in the Old Testament was now brought to pass, as the grace of God came forth in the incarnation of His Son and in the Gospel message, the Good News of salvation. It was not for themselves that they preached, even though they were partakers of it by faith, nevertheless they longed to see that which now had come to pass. As they struggled with the prophecies, perhaps not understanding the very things that they were preaching, they looked also for the city whose builder and maker was God. They spoke those things for the strangers who were scattered in Peter's day, they spoke those things for us today, and we speak the revelation of Christ into our world today through our lives and our words, which point to the grace of Christ.

The angels who have remained unfallen and will remain unfallen crane their necks from heaven to peer into the mysteries of the Incarnation of their Creator, observing the Gospel that is being preached and the effect it has had and is having upon the world. They are not able to understand the power of the Gospel as we who are fallen humans who have been restored through the Incarnate One, Jesus Christ. We marvel at this verse, as we think of the wonders of His love.


13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

We are called to get ready for action in our lives, remaining level headed in our hope in the grace that has been given to us. We are not to fall back into self, looking inwardly at our imperfections, but we are to look at His perfection in which we have been raised into through the His resurrection from the dead. Because He lives, we live. We have been freed from the guilt of sin, we are bring saved from the power of sin and one day we will be free from the presence of sin. Therefore, as obedient children we live in both the imputed holiness of God, but also we resist the temptations to live in that which we lived in when we did not know any better.


17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Here in verse 17 we see a hint of what Peter had been taught by the Lord concerning his prejudice concerning one nation over another, as he writes that the Father is no respecter of persons, something he had spoken of earlier in one of his sermons in the book of Acts, He had said, 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

He reminds them/us that this is not our permanent dwelling place, but that heaven is our home and that we are to pass our time here in fear. Not in a slavish fear, but the fear the is reverent, trusting and a fear that recognizes that He is God and we are not. He has the Word of grace for us, but He also has the Word of Truth, and He is Christ our Creator, Redeemer and Judge. In Him there is no slavish fear, but a reverent and trusting and fearful respect. Can it be compared to a child who before learning how to swim fears the water, but after learning how to swim yet fears the water, but now enjoys the water as she swims in the warm embrace of the water....



22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

In closing this first chapter, Peter writes to them/us that since you have believed the Gospel through the Spirit, their/our souls have been purified by faith, and as a result we are encouraged to love one another with this same pure heart that we have been loved with. We have and are loved fervently, so we are to love fervently, since we have been born from on high through the Word of God, which never dies, but abides forever. The things of this earth are passing away, even the gold that we may store up as a hedge against our nations collapse, but yet that which the Word has brought to us will never fade away, for it cannot wither or fade away. The Word of the Lord will remain and this Good News of Jesus Christ has been preached to us by this Word which alone remains.

Oh, Lord, for this we fall on our knees, we praise your Name, your Mighty Name, which is mighty to save. Thank you for saving us, for giving us faith, which guards our hope and which flows out of our lives in love towards you and towards one another in gracious thoughts, words and actions.

May this hope of what is yet to be seen encourage us, sustain us and inspire us to continue moving forward in the mighty army of Jesus Christ. The army that does not use guns and ammo, but instead carries the cross of Jesus Christ before us. It is in the cross of Christ that the power of the resurrection is understood, in that in dying to self, we live for others. May it be so today for us......

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 08 May 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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