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The Trinity at Work

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1 Peter 1 Sermon

“The Trinity at Work”


Big Idea:  We rejoice in the work of the Trinity in salvation.

I.              Introduction

A.            Reasons to rejoice – circumstantial or eternal?

B.            Where can we find joy?  In what can we rejoice?

II.           Transition

A.            Read 1 Peter 1:3-12

B.            This section of Scripture is a wonderful doxology

1.             A doxology is a hymn of praise to God

2.             This helps give us context in how we are to see the rest of the epistle.

3.             One author said, “The first section of 1 Peter is the foundation of the entire epistle” (Barbieri, 50)

C.            This doxology is one long continuous sentence in Greek, and starts off in a powerful way: Blessed be God

1.             This is a traditional Jewish formula of blessing

2.             It is also very Christian, because it identifies God as the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:3)

3.             It is offered here as both a recognition in the sovereignty of God and as a praise for all that He has done for us.

III.        Body

A.            We rejoice in the Father’s gift of hope (1 Pet. 1:3-5)

1.             Exposition

a.              Based on God’s election, foreknowledge and grace, He has chosen to grant us the greatest of all gifts: the reality of eternity in heaven.

b.              Biblical hope

i.               Biblical hope is not like the word “hope” as we use it today.

ii.             Biblical hope is sure and secure; something we can have confidence in.

a.)           Romans 5:5 says that biblical “hope does not disappoint”

b.)           In Hebrews 11:1, there is an “assurance of things hoped for”

iii.           Biblical hope is “living” because Jesus is alive; resurrected from the dead.

a.)           Different than any false hope that any religion or worldly system will try to sell.

b.)           Those hopes are based on dead leaders and prophets: Buddha, Muhammad, Mao, Freud and Darwin.

c.)           They are dead and there is no hope that can come from them.

d.)          “We … have a living hope, because our hope is based in a living Savior!” (Barbieri, 46)

c.              Eternal inheritance

i.               Inheritance

a.)           Refers to the promise of heaven and to dwell in the presence of God for eternity.

ii.             Eternal (four-fold description):

a.)           Free from death (will never perish),

b.)           Free from sin and immorality (will never spoil)

c.)           Free from decay (will never fade).

d.)          Kept = being vigilantly watched over and protected by the God who never slumbers nor sleeps.

iii.           This is completely different than what Peter’s readers would have been experiencing.

a.)           They were strangers in the world, scattered about away from their homeland of Israel.

b.)           They knew full well the suffering the people of the Old Testament went through when their inheritance of the land was taken away from them because of sin, and they had to live in exile in foreign lands.

c.)           This inheritance is far superior, because it is sure and eternal.

iv.           Is this inheritance for everyone?

2.             He has caused us to be born again.

a.              Just we were all once born into our physical family, not by anything we did to earn or manufacture it,

b.              The child of God enters into the family of God to receive the inheritance of God through the new birth, which comes from God.

i.               As a member of the family, we have a right to the inheritance, and it will be ours.

ii.             Romans 8:17 says, “If we are children [of God], then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ”

c.              More specifically, it comes from His great mercy.

i.               Mercy is a word that describes the unfailing lovingkindness of God in allowing the unworthy sinner to share in His righteousness through salvation.

ii.             It is completely undeserved and unearned, like grace

iii.           Often, in the NT, it is connected with His grace

a.)           First & Second Tim. 1:2 – “Grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father”

b.)           Here, we have grace and peace in Peter’s opening, now he includes God’s mercy.

3.             He guards us through faith

a.              Just as our inheritance in heaven is being kept for us, we are being kept for heaven.

b.              Within these three verses we see both the divine initiative and the human response.

i.               God gives us new birth by His mercy

ii.             We are shielded or guarded by His power, through our faith in Christ.

c.              We are protected until that day, at the end of time, when we fully receive our inheritance by God’s power through our faith.

i.               Even now, that inheritance is ready to come, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

ii.              And when it does come, we will receive our salvation.

4.             Salvation

a.              What does that mean “We will receive our salvation?”  Isn’t a person saved when they believe in Christ?

b.              There are three aspects of salvation in Scripture

i.               Past is justification

a.)           One time event when a person accepts Christ as Savior.

b.)           Sins are forgiven, because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and God justifies this person, or declares them righteous, in His eyes.

ii.             Present is sanctification

a.)           Sanctification is a continual growth process where a believer becomes more mature in Christ.

b.)           There are ebbs and flows, but the overall trend is toward Christlikeness as the person “work[s] out [their] salvation with fear and trembling” in the power of God (Php. 2:12).

iii.           Future is glorification

a.)           One time event where a believer is ultimately delivered from sin and death and transformed into a glorified, sinless body that will last for eternity.

b.)           This happens in the “last time” when Jesus returns to bring history to a climax.

c.)           This is the completion of our salvation, what we will be brought to the moment we are justified.

iv.           All three senses of salvation are found in this passage

a.)           Justification – being born again.

b.)           Sanctification – being guarded through faith

c.)           Glorification – receiving our inheritance of heaven in the last days

5.             Application

a.              Have you been gripped by God’s grace and received His gift of salvation?

b.              Without this there is no hope, and no reason to praise God, either now or for eternity.

B.            We rejoice in the Son’s glorious return (1 Pet. 1:6-9)

1.             Exposition

a.              The next couple of verses gives us something else to rejoice in: the Son’s glorious return.  We can find joy today in the fact that Jesus is coming back.

b.              Jesus’ return, His Second Coming, is called His revelation (1 Pet. 1:7)

i.               It will be at a future time, unknown to us, when Jesus will come to gather believers together to Himself (2 Thess. 2:1).

ii.             In Matthew 25, Jesus says that day will be a time of judgment, when the decision people have made on earth will be solidified for eternity (read Matt. 25:31-34)

iii.           It will be the day when we finally receive the hope we have been promised: eternity in heaven (read John 14:1-3)

iv.           Peter describes it as the day when we will “receive the goal of [our] faith, the salvation of [our] souls” (1 Pet. 1:9)

v.             This is ample reason to “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Pet. 1:8)

2.             Although we are grieved by various trials

a.              That day is a glorious day, but it is a future day.

b.              Today we live in a time of trials and sufferings

i.               Peter helps us gain a proper perspective on our sufferings in two ways.

a.)           First, he tells us that compared to the eternity we will spend in heaven, where there is no sin, death or decay, what we are going through now can only be considered “a little while”.

b.)           Second, he tells us that there is a big picture reason why we need to go through these sufferings: to prove our faith.

i.)             He doesn’t mean that God is discovering where our faith it, because He knows all.

ii.)           It means that there is a testing to verify our faith as genuine faith.

ii.             God allows these trials into our lives so that as we come through them by faith,

a.)           We will not only “greatly rejoice”  and give Him “praise, glory and honor” when He comes to take us home, because the suffering is over.

b.)           But we will also have had the opportunity to show our faith to be genuine to those who are watching.

c.)           For the world is watching, and a person’s testing shows who are the true believers and who just give the Lord lip service.

iii.           For Peter’s audience, this was an especially important point.

a.)           They lived and worked in areas where people were largely unfamiliar with Jesus and were persecuting them as different.

i.)             The Roman government was in the process of starting a systematized persecution of Christians under the leadership of Nero.  Persecution that involved hideous demonstrations of evil.

ii.)           However, there were also sufferings, both physical and emotional, from their families and friends who either came from a Jewish or pagan background and didn’t understand the message of the gospel.

b.)           Peter wanted to remind them that their suffering, without minimizing or diminishing what they were going through, was serving a larger purpose: it was refining and proving their faith in Jesus.

c.)           Illustration

i.)             For impurities to removed from gold, the ore has to be first treated with harsh and toxic acids.

ii.)           Then it is heated to about 2000oF so that the impurities can come to the surface and be removed.

iii.)         Consequently, after this purification process, it is much more pure, much more valuable than how it went in.

iv.)         In God’s eyes, our faith is of greater value than gold or any precious metal.

v.)           All of the treasures of this earth will pass away, but we – including our faith – are destined for eternity.

d.)          Paul said in Rom. 8:17 (I read only part of the verse earlier)

i.)             There is a clear connection between suffering for Christ and receiving glory.

ii.)           Christ Himself is our example to follow.

3.             Although we don’t see Him

a.              Not only is Peter speaking from experience as someone who has endured several testings, even failing at times, he is speaking as someone who walked and talked with the Risen Christ.

b.              He’s mindful that his original audience, and us here today, have not seen Jesus in the flesh as he has.

i.               Peter encourages them to confidence because they believe in Jesus and love Him, even though they have never seen Him.

ii.             Jesus acknowledged Thomas’ belief, but He commends those who believe without seeing (read John 20:29)

c.              Even now, in the midst of suffering and trials, we can be filled with “inexpressible and glorious joy”.

i.               One author said that this joy is a little taste of heaven that God permits us to enjoy while we are still here on earth.

4.             Application

a.              Privilege of pasturing and seeing people’s faith lived out through tough times.

b.              What trials are you going through right now?

c.              Are you stepping out for Christ?

5.             We have plenty of reasons to rejoice:

a.              We’ve been given the gift of hope from the Father.

b.              We have the promise of the Son’s glorious return.

C.            We rejoice in the Spirit’s gracious gospel (1 Pet. 1:10-12)

1.             Just as God the Father and God the Son have their respective roles in our salvation, so does God the Spirit.

a.              Peter introduced all three members of the Trinity last week in verse two, this week he spends a little more time discussing them.

b.              According to Peter, the Spirit’s role in this salvation is to guide both Old Testament prophets and present day evangelists.

2.             The Holy Spirit guided OT prophets and revealed truths to them about God and His purpose that the rest of humanity was unable to see, and guided their writing of these truths.

a.              This is where we get our doctrine of inspiration: men did not simply write the books of the Bible, they were guided by the Holy Spirit to do so.

b.              In 2 Peter 1:20-21, he writes (read 2 Peter 1:20-21)

c.              As the prophets began to understand the truths

i.               that there would be a final Day of Judgment when all wrongs will be righted and that God will rule and reign in fulfillment of all his promises,

ii.             and that Gentiles would be saved by grace and included into this future salvation,

iii.           they inquired of God to reveal when, and under what circumstances, this would happen.

iv.           The twelve disciples asked the same question of Jesus Himself on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24:3.  They said “Tell us when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  Time and circumstances.

3.             What the Holy Spirit revealed to them was not so much the time and circumstances, but rather, it was what was to happen first: the sufferings and glories of Christ.

a.              Read Isaiah 52:13, 15; 53:3-5, 12

b.              These sufferings are what He experienced while He was here on earth.

i.               Being beaten and bruised, spit upon and slapped, humiliated and hung on a cross.

ii.             All of this was necessary for the forgiveness of sins.

c.              But, after these sufferings, He experienced the glory of the Resurrection.

i.               Where He gained a glorified body, which will never fade or see corruption (Ps. 16:10).

ii.             He ascended into Heaven (Ps. 68:18), where He now sits at the right hand of the Father where He is building His church and interceding for believers.

d.             Although the prophets didn’t necessarily find what they were looking for, they did see that this good news of forgiveness of sin through the sacrifice of Christ was meant for people at a later time.

4.             He preaches good news to us.

a.              The Holy Spirit of God takes the message that He proclaimed through the prophets of the Old Testament, and uses others to spread that message today.

b.              If you are a believer today, it is because someone told about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that person was used by the Spirit of God.

5.             We can rejoice, because the same Spirit that worked in the Old Testament, was working in the New Testament and is working today as well.

6.             We have been given such a treasure: a message that will give people living hope and an eternal future.

a.              Our responsibility is to go and share that treasure with others, just as someone shared it with us.

b.              To watch with joy as someone receives the gift of salvation.

i.               Something even the angels desire to see

ii.             Rejoicing with every sinner who believes and repents (Luke 15:10)

IV.        Conclusion

A.            We see the entire Trinity at work in salvation in this text.

1.             God the Father gives us new birth to a living hope, guarding us until that Day comes.

2.             God the Son promises to return, bringing our salvation to a consummation, even though we go through trials today.

3.             God the Sprit uses people today to preach the gospel; the same message He gave the OT prophets, so that people would be saved.

B.            All of these are reasons why we should rejoice.

1.             And not just rejoice, but rejoice with joy inexpressible and glorious.

2.             Joy that looks past the present day sufferings to God who will deliver us.

3.             Joy that compels us to share this good news to others.

4.             Joy that reminds us that we are gripped by God’s grace.

V.           Prayer

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