Sunday 7 February
To listen to the talk click on the link below.
Sermon introduction into 1 Peter
Today we begin a study through the Bible book known as 1st Peter. In many ways it is the book for the world at this time as we are struggling with a pandemic, and the church is not being permitted to operate as it ought.
1 Peter was written to those who were experiencing exactly that – believers were being prevented from worshipping God in His house and many were dying prematurely. They had to come to terms with who they were in Christ and what that meant for them in life each day.
More generally the pressures and temptations of living the Christian life in the context of godless, secular society is a factor here too, and it is true for most generations, but particularly so for the decadent west in the 21st century. Yet, it is a book which offers hope; not just a possibility of something brighter, but a true and attainable much better reality for each and everyone who wants it.
In 1 Peter the words aim to strengthen and encourage believers during a time of disconnection, trial and confusion.
To aid us in this study it is helpful to understand that it contains a number of key words that are important topics for us to hear and learn about. e.g., Being Called, Suffering, Revelation, Glory, Imperishable and Perishable, Fire, and a few others including todays key word – Salvation.
Here is a helpful skeleton of the part we will study today: -
A. The introduction and greetings 1 Peter 1:1-2
B. Thanksgiving for our great salvation 1 Peter 1:3-5
1. The description of salvation 1 Peter 1:3-12
a. The source of the salvation 1 Peter 1:3a
b. The explanation of the salvation 1 Peter 1:3b
c. The nature of the salvation 1 Peter 1:3c-4
d. The certainty of this salvation 1 Peter 1:5
2. The experiences with this salvation1 Peter 1:6-9
a. The contrasting nature of the experiences 1 Peter 1:6-7
b. The sustaining power amid the experience of trials 1 Peter 1:8-9
Called For LIFE
Life is not normal at this time and there may very well be a new normal or very different normal beyond this pandemic for many of us.
There are two particular questions that God has asked me during the past 12 months.
1. Do you know who you are; and
2. Do you know what you are doing?
I cannot deny that my wife’s’ terminal illness and death challenge me still about who I am and what I am doing.
When a man leaves his parent’s home and a woman leaves her parent’s home, as the Bible succinctly puts it, and they are married; then the two become one flesh. We often hear a spouse talking about their other half. Well, there are a number of us who have lost half of our identity once our partner dies. It also means our tentative plans have evaporated – so what will whoever I am now, do?
Nevertheless, these same questions are relevant to us no matter what we have been facing or what we will be facing. Put a little stronger - who are you and what are you doing in life that is meaningful? We really need a sure and steadfast anchor in life. The only secure anchor in this life is living faith in God. (1 Peter v1, 2)
It is to those who have this living faith that Peter is predominantly writing. He calls them pilgrims and the elect (which means chosen by God to follow God’s good plans); those who have been sanctified in the Holy Spirit and sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ.
A dear minister friend I knew spoke of the thrill of knowing that God chose him and all of us who know this truth. I hope we all have the assurance, and the comfort of this wonderful truth: being called for life, life in all its fullness.
Verses 3-5 begin by describing that God is the source of this Salvation. His loving and merciful nature provides the way for this living hope through His good plans including making the ultimate sacrifice by His only begotten Son’s obedience to the cross.
In addition to this comes an explanation of what this salvation is and what it entails.
So, salvation is:
Surely God’s grace is sufficient as we endure hardships (2 Timothy chapter 2 verse 3)?
Suffering is meant to lead to something positive for believers, experiences created for growing our faith, and for sharing it. The LORD provided two opportunities for me this week to witness to others who had lost their spouse to cancer – and now I really understand far better what it is like to stand in their shoes – we could weep and connect together on a deeper level than previously.
There is a 'now and not yet' element to our salvation by faith. The fullness of it will be revealed when we are face to face with our God verse 8. Likewise, our joy will be fully complete then too. The invisible majesty and wonder of salvation will become visible, and we will not be able to convey the words that express how magnificent and wonderful it will be then when we receive the end outcome of our faith—the fullness of salvation of our souls. verse 9.
The Sabbath Fellowship time is a gathering of like-minded believers and other curious explorers coming to express gratitude and worship or to find out the reality of what salvation offers to us. We are training to learn to praise God more aptly and beautifully, with deeply sincere gratitude, full of vibrant joy – sometimes joy unspeakable or inexpressible in natural form and full of glory.