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Resurrection Blessings

March 31, 2024 Preacher: Kevin Godin Series: Various Messages

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3–5

Sermon Transcript:

 

On the third day after Jesus was killed and buried, two of his followers were walking to a nearby town when the Bible says they met a man on their way. At first they didn’t recognize him but he spoke to them, their hearts burned within them and then they realized it was Jesus. He was alive! Luke 24:33–34 says,

33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

This led to a tradition in the ancient church where believers would greet each other saying “He is risen” and the response would be “___He is risen indeed.” That is what we gather on Easter and every Sunday to celebrate and give praise for. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates the power of God to save and gives us confidence that he will keep his promise that we also will be raised to eternal life. Since Jesus has been raised, those who believe have his Spirit at work in us already, and we have the assurance that we will also be raised on the last day. Romans 8:11 says,

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

The most extreme thing you can do to stop someone else from accomplishing what they are trying to do is to kill them. To kill someone is to take away all of their abilities at once. Satan used Judas to hand Jesus over to be killed and he was. He was tortured and killed, beaten and nailed to a cross. Jesus came from heaven to bring salvation and to try and stop that, the devil worked through sinful men to kill him. 

But that did not stop Jesus from accomplishing his mission. He took the best shot the devil had and then got back up to finish the job. In the surpassing wisdom of God it was this very act the devil intended to defeat Jesus that resulted in victory for Jesus and sealed his doom. Just as a jujitsu master uses their opponents power and aggression against them, God used the devil’s own tactics against him.

Believer, when the devil threatens us with guilt, shame, or even death and hell, we can point him to our savior who has overcome all these things and say, “I’m with him.” All the weapons of the enemy are useless against Jesus. So believers, even though our sin created a debt we could never pay, our loving Father has sent our brother to pay the bill. 

The price for sin is death and Jesus has carried our sins with him to the cross. Therefore, him rising from the dead proves that the price has been paid in full. That brings us to the main point of our message today:

Through the resurrection of Jesus believers have a living hope and an eternal inheritance. 

Nobody else can offer this to us. No priest or religious leader can accomplish this, not even the priests of the Old Testament law. Their office was merely to point us to what Jesus would do. Hebrews 7:23–25 says,

23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

There is no greater confidence than to know that once we have placed our trust in Jesus for salvation, it is impossible for him to fail. Nothing can stop him. He has overcome the world, he has defeated sin, death couldn’t hold him, and nothing can prevent him from keeping his promises. That brings us to our main passage this morning, 1 Peter 1:3–5.

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.

Peter emphasizes the amazing blessings that God gives to believers through Jesus. But this is actually not just an explanation or description of what God has done. Peter isn’t just sharing “fun facts”. He is proclaiming the truth in order to move us to respond in worship. He beings with,

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

 

This word translated “blessed” literally means to give good words. It means our praise and worship of God should be heard. The love of God and truth about what he has done for us should move us to proclaim his excellency and goodness. God deserves our praises. 

 

If someone paid off your mortgage and all your debts, no strings attached, and told you he would do the same for everyone else who comes to him I’ve got to think you would tell everyone you could. God has done far more than this. Just by virtue of the fact that he created and sustains this amazing world, including us, is enough to deserve praise.

 

But especially for those to whom salvation has come, there should be no end to our praises! If we gave 10,000 reasons it would be just the beginning. Peter gives us some reasons. He says let your praises to God be heard because…

 

“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…”

 

We should praise him because he has caused us to be born again. Christians like to use words like this, “born again” but what does that mean? Later this morning Dian will be baptized, which is a proclamation that she has been born again. What is the claim? What does that mean? In a way it can be confusing to claim we have become different people. I mean if you stink at math or can’t dance and you become a Christian, you are still going to stink at math and have no rhythm. So in one sense we are the same but in another way we become an entirely different person.

 

To be born again means our affections have been transformed regarding God and truth. We are changed from those who reject God to those who love him. We go from those who deny the truth to those who pursue it. That means the truth about the world, the truth about God, and the truth about ourselves. This begins a change in how we understand and experience everything.

 

Being born again doesn’t mean we are instantly perfect. It means we recognize our sin and are drawn to Jesus to save us. It means we are finally able to clearly see that we are more flawed and more sinful than we could ever imagine, but also that in Jesus we are more loved and more accepted than we could ever hope. 

 

This realization comes to us as an act of grace so we give God all the glory for it. We did not do that, he did it. No person is born through their own strength and initiative either physically or spiritually. It isn’t an accomplishment, we can’t put “being born” on our resume. It is something we experience but not something we do. God does it.

 

Peter says he does this “according to his great mercy”. That is the only way it can come. We cannot earn it. It is never owed to us. It is always undeserved. We think of our sins as mistakes, but the Bible reveals to us that our sins are not mistakes. We are not sinners because we make mistakes, we sin because we love things that God hates. 

 

We were all born with rebellious hearts that love ourselves more than what is good. Sure, we do the right thing so long as it is convenient, but when God’s perfect law gets in the way of what we want, we choose self, because we love self more than we love God. All of us are born this way. The Bible says in Romans 3:10–12,

 

10 … “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

 

We don’t like to hear this. Our hearts are deceitful and like to convince us that we aren’t really that bad by comparing ourselves to those that are worse rather than to what is righteous. We have to be careful of that. It is like people who post pictures of themselves on social media with all sorts of filters on. The pictures look great, but it is foolish to think that is what you really look like when what you really look like is a lot closer to your driver's license photo. When we come to the word of God we come face to face with what we really look like in the light of God’s holiness.

 

Our guilt and hardness of heart is so great that it requires great mercy to overcome it. But that is the good news. God, in his great mercy has overcome it through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Salvation is offered to all who will receive it as a gift of grace. So Peter says blessed be God. We not only celebrate the mercy of God, but even more so the God of mercy. As the song says, our sins, they are great, but his mercy is more!

 

Through mercy and grace Peter says we are born again to a “living hope”. It is a hope that breathes and moves and lives. It isn’t like the hope we have in the world. We use the word to mean something like a wish. I hope the Lions win the super bowl. I hope I get a raise. These are things we want to see happen but we aren’t sure they will.

 

That isn’t what Peter means. This isn’t a wish, it is a settled assurance because it is rooted in Christ himself. It is a living hope because it is centered in a living savior. Peter says it comes to us through the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus being alive proves we have these things.

 

Believers talk a lot about the death of Jesus but his life and death would not accomplish what they were intended to accomplish if he stayed dead. A dead savior cannot save. The bones of Buddha, Muhammed, Confucius, and Krishna are still in their graves. Only the tomb of Jesus is empty. It is Easter that proves he is who he claimed to be and his death accomplished what was promised.

 

We don’t just preach that Jesus died, but also that he is risen! Believers in Jesus are not just people who believe their sins were forgiven on the cross. We are people who, by faith, have been crucified with Jesus and have been raised to walk in the newness of life. We have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus. This is what is illustrated in baptism.

 

This baptismal tub represents a grave. When Dian goes under that water it is an illustration that she has died to the world and has been buried with Christ. When she comes up from the water she is testifying that she is a new creation, washed clean of her sins and born again to a new hope, raised to walk in the newness of life by the power of Jesus.

 

It is a testimony through outward symbols of an inward transformation. The water or the words I say aren’t magical. The transforming power is a gift from God that is received and guarded by faith. Her baptism is an illustration of the gospel through which Dian will testify to you what God has done for her through Jesus. That according to his great mercy, he has caused her to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

 

To be raised with Christ means we live as those who realize that God loves us and accepts us not because we are perfect and good, but because he is. The message of the world and man-made religion is that we need to try harder but God invites us to come to him to find rest. Friends, we don’t need to try more, we need to trust more.

 

Peter says, not only have we been born again to a living hope, but the joy and peace we have now in Christ is just the beginning of what the resurrection accomplished for us. Verse 4 says, through the resurrection we are born again…

 

to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 

 

Through faith in Jesus we also receive an inheritance. An inheritance means you receive the fruits of someone else’s labor. You get what they worked for. God says if you put your faith in me, I will not only bless you with new life now, but I will adopt you and you will become an heir of my kingdom.

 

This is astounding. Every one of us has tried in one way or another to push God off his throne and make ourselves the center of the universe. We are all sinners, all traitors. We deserve judgment, but instead God offers blessing. He now says to everyone, if you will humble yourself, give up your rebellion, and serve me… not only will I forgive you, I will receive you as a beloved son or daughter. You will receive as a free gift, all you were struggling to take and more.

 

How can this be? How can a righteous God forgive my sins when I am guilty? The answer is because Jesus endured the punishment in my place. Jesus died as a substitute for everyone who will put their faith in him as their savior. It is not my sinful life that is being rewarded, it is the perfect life of Jesus that was given on my behalf.

 

My sins were placed on him, which is why he was crucified. He paid the price for me and for everyone who believes. God’s justice has been satisfied and his righteousness vindicated. God is now calling all people everywhere to repent and believe in his son. He promises that if we stop seeking our satisfaction in the things of the world and find our satisfaction in his son, we become partakers in the inheritance he deserves.

 

Peter uses three different words to describe this inheritance believers have:

 

It is Imperishable: It can never be destroyed, it will endure forever.

It is Undefiled: It cannot be polluted or made impure.

It is Unfading: It can never weaken or lose its vitality.

 

It is unlike anything else that can be experienced in this world and that is because it is not from this world. I am told the United States keeps 5,000 tons of gold at Fort Knox. This gold is locked up behind a 22 ton blast-proof vault door which is locked using a combination entered by at least 10 people, none of whom know more than their portion of the code.

 

But it is doubtful anyone would even get to the door anyhow because the vault is surrounded by concrete-lined granite walls, several security gates and other alarms and security systems. If that isn’t enough, it is located in the center of a secure military base protected by patrols of riflemen, attack helicopters, tanks, and other combat vehicles.

 

Brothers and sisters, our inheritance is more valuable than and more secure than the gold at fort knox. One day that gold will be worthless and those granite walls will crumble but the treasures of Christ never fade. The strength of nations was and wane, but God himself guards the treasures he promises to those who love him. In verse 5 he says believers are those, 

 

who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

 

Those who are born again are being guarded by God’s power through faith. God works through faith to bless. That is what it comes down to, will you trust God’s word or yourself? I don’t know what your sins are or what all you are struggling with, but I do know that there is more grace in God than sin in you. I know Christ is freely offered and so the only sin that can keep you from heaven is to remain in your unbelief.

 

This isn’t just my opinion, I’m just telling you what the man who rose from the dead says. In Matthew 11:28–30 Jesus says,

 

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Do you believe it? Do you have more confidence in yourself or the word of God?  

 

In John 6:37 Jeus says that he will not reject any who come to him and then in verse 40 he says, 

40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Do you believe it? 

 

That is all that is needed. As the puritan preacher Thomas Watson said, “even a weak faith can lay hold on a strong Christ.” We are not saved by our great faithfulness, but his. By the power of the Holy Spirit the same faith that brings us to Christ guards us in his care. We see this in  John 10:27–30 where Jesus says,

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Just as a shepherd protects and guards the sheep, Jesus guards believers. Look at how he does this. Believers hear his voice and they follow him and he protects them. Hear the word of God and believe and no power in the universe can snatch you out of his hand! When you fear your faith will fail, listen for his voice and run to him.

 

Several weeks ago I was at the airport and there was this little girl, probably 3 or 4 years old. She was wandering all over. Her mom never took her eyes off of her, but the little girl was walking up and down the row of seats. At one point, when she was a little distance away a man said hello and it scared her. You could see the confidence drain from her, although she was never in any danger. She immediately turned around and ran directly to her mother who gave her a hug. That is how it is with us.

 

Believers may face circumstances that are scary and uncomfortable but Jesus is alive and is watching over them. Our trials may be lasting, but they will not be everlasting. Stay close to the shepherd and he will keep you safe.

 

If you are not yet a believer, understand that God is offering you something of infinite value in Jesus. He is offering new life, a living hope, and an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. A promise that is kept by his unfailing power.

 

As one preacher put it, as we live our lives, each of us is writing a story. Some of these stories are happy, some are sad. Some are tragedies and some are comedies. For all of us there are some pages we would like to tear out. Some of us have whole chapters we wouldn’t want anyone to read. In Jesus, God offers to rewrite our story by including our chapters in his story, which is a story of perfect love and redemption.

 

Maybe someone is listening to me and is pretty happy with their story and doesn’t think they need Jesus to rewrite it. If so, that is only because they do not yet see how that story will end. You see, each of us is going to have to stand before God and give an account for the story we have written. He offers us a perfect story and if we do not accept it then we have to turn in a perfect story of our own and none of us can do that.

 

But Easter Sunday shows us that if we are willing to set aside our pride and hand over the pen, God will write us a story that takes our messy draft and turns it into a masterpiece of grace and redemption and we truly will live happily ever after, for eternity. I would like to finish this morning with the prayer of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:16–21. It is a prayer that I often pray for you and I pray it now.

16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 

Amen and happy Easter.



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