Faith Without Compromise
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Here we see the beginning of Peter’s letter meant to be distributed to the churches outside of the home land.
Remember many Christians were forced out of Jerusalem because of persecution occuring in Jerusalem and because of that occurrence several churches are being established in what is modern day Asia which was the target area for the audience of this letter
The purpose of this letter was to encourage the believers to grow in their faith and obedience to the Lord.
ESPECIALLY IN TIMES OF STRUGGLE
He does this by constantly reminding them of all that God has done for them through the life death and reseruction of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior
In his book, Six Hours One Friday, Max Lucado tells the story of how he and his boat survived a hurricane. An old sea man gave Max some sound advise and that was if you are ever caught in a storm in your boat take the boat to deep water, drop four anchors off each corner of the boat, and pray that the anchors held. Max survived that storm, but he says that he learned an important lesson, all of us need an anchor that will hold during the storms of life.
That anchor he refers to here is our Faith.
The Question then church is What have you put your faith in?
What we choose to anchor ourselves to matters
Peter knows how important faith is and he gives us a great picture of faith here in his letter
It’s a faith which will hold us during the storms of life.
When Peter wrote his letter, things were changing. In the beginning of the first century church, the government remained unconcerned about this new religious sect. As the church grew, the constrictions of the government increased and the persecution of the church grew.
Peter is writing to Christians who are finding it increasingly difficult to live their faith.
Does that sound familiar at all?
In today’s society is is becoming harder and harder for Christians to love out their faith.
It’s not easy being a Christian, but we must find a way to live our faith without compromise.
Peter Challenge to is that we would find a way to live an authentic Christ centered faith in the midst of some difficult times.
but here is the best part he does not just issue the challenge here in the first few verses of 1 Peter he gives us the answer and it all boils down to what we place our faith in
When we place our Faith in Jesus it is a timeless faith and tested faith, and it is a true faith
I. Timeless faith - 1:4-5
The question is not if we have faith, every one has faith.
The atheist has faith that his rational reasoning has removed the possibility of God.
He has faith in his intellectual ability.
Others have faith in their abilities, skills, connections, friends, family and themselves. Everyone has faith.
The question is where is your faith anchored?
Sooner or later the storms of life will begin to blow and then the question becomes will the anchor of faith hold.
Peter gives us three reasons that it is important to anchor our faith in Christ.
A. Faith in Christ is imperishable
How can that be?
Well look where faith in Christ is kept, in Heaven.
Jesus says that we are to put of treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy or the thief steal.
Why do people buy garment bags for suits.
because thee are valuable
Moths could destroy the suits in a short time, but with garment bags they cant get to them so they will natural last longer. In other words we try and make the suits imperishable
If you leave a suit out for to long and let the moths get a hold of it what will happen it?
You will have little holes all over it and it’s virtually ruined
If our faith is set upon the things of this world, then our faith will perish.
Countless kingdoms have come and fallen, economies have been built and destroyed, and nations have been established and vanished.
All that is left of some of those kingdoms are the ruins you can see in a museum.
Only the kingdom of God has remained constant in the past two thousand years.
Our faith is to be set in heaven, and not on the things of this world. That is the only way that we know our faith is imperishable.
B. Our faith will be uncorrupted
Have you ever heard the phrase
History is full of leaders who started off with the best intentions but pride, ego, or other flaws got in the way.
If we place our faith in a leader, it is but a matter of time before the corruptible nature of the individual is revealed.
But Christ has no sin, and our faith is in the power of God.
God has absolute power, but it is uncorrupted.
There is no pride or ego in the power of Christ. In the scope of eternity, Jesus is the only person who has absolute power, but not only that, He is also the only person for whom absolute power has not corrupted, even a little bit.
Our faith can only be incorruptible, when it is placed in Christ.
C. Our faith in Christ is unfading
I know of lots of people who are fad people. They jump on the latest trend or idea, and about six months or a year down the road, they jump on something new. Do you need a great example? Pull out your years books. Look at the hair styles the clothes you wore, and the tone of the culture. How much have things changed in the last 20 or 30 years?
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And the faith we have now will see us through the Last Days
II. Tested faith - 1:6-8
Our faith must be anchored in the timeless nature of Christ, but I can hear the question.
How do you know that a faith in Christ will hold up during the storms of life?
Why should I trust Christ?
Because, this is no ordinary faith, it is a tested faith.
Countless people have placed their faith in Christ and found the anchor holds.
Peter survived some incredible storms of life, and he says here is what I found the faith of Christ to be when it is put to the test.
Peter found a tested faith is valuable, revealing, and centered on love.
A. It is valuable (1:7)
Peter here plays upon a great image, the goldsmith. A goldsmith would melt the metal down until it became a liquid.
All the impurities would come to the surface and the goldsmith would scrape them off and allow the metal to cool.
He would then come back and repeat the process over and over.
His goal was pure gold.
How did he know when he had pure gold? When no impurities came to the surface or when he could see his reflection in the melted gold.
Peter says that our faith is like gold, as it is tested, it will begin to bring the impurities to the surface. When the impurities are removed our faith becomes more valuable.
(1:7) Gold is the standard by which we define value. We say things like, "worth it's weight in gold", "the golden boy", and "the golden age".
Our jewelry is made of gold and we trade with it.
In Peter's world and in ours, gold was considered one of the most valuable things a person could have.
While gold is valuable, it is secondary to our faith. Gold can perish, but our faith will endure.
A faith in Jesus Christ will carry us through this life and even into the world to come.
A faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of God's only Son is far more valuable than gold. Our faith is in something eternal, not in something that can be destroyed.
B. It is revealing (1:7)
The goldsmith knew that he has pure gold when he can see his reflection in the metal.
Our faith should reflect Jesus and reveal Him to a world.
As we grow in Christ, we learn more about Him and His love.
It is only through a life given to Christ, will we begin to see Him as He really is.
When I got married, I had spent some time dating my wife.
However, dating, is not being married.
There is a deeper stage of learning about each other in marriage.
We begin to see each other in a new light.
As our faith grows, more about the deeper nature of Christ is revealed to us.
The end result of a Christ centered faith is that our lives are shaped and molded by Him.
Our faith begins to reflect that deeper knowledge of Jesus, our lives will begin to change.
When you and I live differently, because our faith is growing, those around us will see the difference.
Quite literally, your life begins to reflect the image of Christ.
Just as the goldsmith knew he had pure gold, when he looked into the metal and could see his reflection,
Jesus desires His reflection in our lives.
That can only happen in a refined faith that has been tested.
C. It is is centered on our love for Christ (1:8)
Peter talks about how we love Christ even though we have not seen Him.
In Hebrews we have the definition of faith, "Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen." (Hebrews 11:1). The essence of faith is that it does not require our sight or proof. But notice that faith is "reality".
Just because something is not seen does not negate its existence.
If it did all of us would be brainless, for I doubt that you have seen your own brain.
But we know we have a brain. Peter says that real faith is loving a Christ, you have never seen, but still know exists.
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
III. True faith - 1:10-12
In our postmodern word, we often hear the statement that what works for you may not work for me.
Peter had a faith in Christ that was timeless. he ahd a faith that was valuable, revealing, and full of love.
But how does that mean, what worked for Peter will work for me?
Almost as if Peter anticipated your question, he writes about the faith of others.
(1:10) God spoke to the prophets and told them that the Messiah was coming. He gave them a hope that the One who could deliver them was on the way.
The message of the prophets can be summarized as, "Hang on. God is working and the Messiah is coming. Get ready, your deliverer is coming."
Doesn't that sound like a message for people at the end of their rope, for people who don't know where to turn?
It is a message of hope and encouragement.
It is a promise.
How many people do you know that need to be encouraged not to give up.
How many people in this room need to be told that there is help on it's way.
May be you need to hear that God's promises are for you. That is the message of the Old Testament prophets.
out faith is built upon the prophecies of the Old Testament, prophecies which said a Messiah is coming.
Our faith is built upon Jesus.
We believe that he is the Messiah, the embodiment of the Old Testament prophecies.
We believe that He died on a cross for our sins and that he rose again. We believe that he is coming back.
Our faith is not built upon philosophy, intellect, or creative speculations.
Our faith is built upon the historical fact that Jesus, God's only Son, died on a Roman cross, in Jerusalem, on a hill called Golgatha, in 30 AD.
Our faith cannot be recreated, but thank God it is a faith which has stood the test of time, proven itself faithful when tested, and is the only true faith which holds in the storms of life.
Peter then talks of how the faith of the Old Testament and the Gospels is for these present days. (1:12)
Peter literally says, "Angels desire to look into these things."
Can you imagine what that must be like?
Angels are leaning over the rim of heaven and looking down.
They have seen what God did with the prophets.
They have seen how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies with His birth, life, death and resurrection.
The angels have seen Lucifer kicked out of heaven, the resurrection of Christ, the dead raised, the Red Sea parted, and demons exorcized.
But what they desire to see, is what God is going to do now.
The angels are watching you and me, and they want to see what the next chapter will be like.
How will our faith and God's great actions meet?
As Modecia said to Esther, who know but that you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this?
Our time to live our faith is now.
All of us have faith, but will your anchor of faith hold in the storms of life?
Is your anchor of faith a true anchor?
Is your faith built upon the truth of scripture.
Is your faith tested?
Do you know how valuable, revealing and full of love, a faith in Christ is?
Is your faith timeless, or will the newest fad or the latest philosophy cause you to tie to a new anchor?
Only a faith in Christ is true, tested, and timeless.
It is not a question of if you have a faith.
It is not a question of if the storms of life will come.
It is the question, Will your anchor of faith, hold through the storms?
The time to anchor your hope and faith to Christ is now, before the storms show up.