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5 Rock-Solid Truths for Obtaining Grace and Peace

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Peter lays out why Christians should have abundant grace and peace, even in the most dire of circumstances

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Good morning. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to stand before you today. I’ve been given the wonderful and humbling task to preach God’s Word to you, so that we may all grow as God’s revelation to us penetrates our hearts. I possess a great expectation that you will leave here today not merely more knowledgable, but convicted and encouraged to live your life differently, and to walk forward in the peace only God can provide.

Good morning. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be standing here before you today. I’ve been given the very important and humbling task of preaching God’s Word to you, that we may all grow as His revelation to us penetrates our hearts. I possess a great expectation that you will leave here today not merely more knowledgeable, but convicted and encouraged to live your life differently, and to walk forward in the peace that only God could provide.

Good morning. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be standing here before you today. I’ve been given the very important and humbling task of preaching God’s Word to you, that we may all grow as His revelation to us penetrates our hearts. I possess a great expectation that you will leave here today not merely more knowledgeable, but convicted and encouraged to live your life differently, and to walk forward in the peace that only God could provide.
Good morning. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be standing here before you today. I’ve been given the very important and humbling task of preaching God’s Word to you, that we may all grow as His revelation to us penetrates our hearts. I possess a great expectation that you will leave here today not merely more knowledgeable, but convicted and encouraged to live your life differently, and to walk forward in the peace that only God could provide.
Good morning. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to stand before you today. I’ve been given the wonderful and humbling task to preach God’s Word to you, so that we may all grow as God’s revelation to us penetrates our hearts. I possess a great expectation that you will leave here today not merely more knowledgable, but convicted and encouraged to live your life differently, and to walk forward in the peace only God can provide.
To begin, I’d like to ask you to open your Bibles to 1 Peter, Chapter 1, Verses 1 and 2. Now, 1 Peter is a short letter, only 5 chapters long, and you can find it toward the back of your Bible immediately after the books of Hebrews and James…and predictably right before the letter of 2 Peter. If you didn’t bring a Bible with you, or you don’t own a Bible, please feel free one of the Bibles from the back of the pew in front of you, and take that home as our gift to you.
To begin, I’d like to ask you to open your Bibles to 1 Peter, Chapter 1, Verses 1 and 2. Now, 1 Peter is a short letter, only 5 chapters long, and you can find it toward the back of your Bible immediately after the books of Hebrews and James…and predictably right before the letter of 2 Peter. If you didn’t bring a Bible with you, or you don’t own a Bible, please feel free one of the Bibles from the back of the pew in front of you, and take that home as our gift to you.
Now, before we read these verses together, let me provide a just little bit of background as to what has prompted Peter to write a letter to some fellow believers a thousand miles away from his location in Rome. Rome had just suffered a terrible fire. The emperor at the time was a man named Nero. And it was Nero himself who was most likely responsible for starting those fires. As the blame and backlash started to pile up against Nero, he decided to deflect attention and responsibility away from himself and towards an innocent group of people. He decided to blame Christians. And with that accusation, widespread persecution of Christians began throughout all Roman empire.
And so with waves of persecution spreading outward from Rome, Peter writes this letter to a group of believers who could see the chaos and the injustice quickly and inevitably heading in their direction. So keeping that context in mind, please follow along with me in your Bibles as I read the opening two verses of 1 Peter.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
by the sanctifying work of the Spirit,
to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood:
May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

According to the last phrase of these two verses, Peter confidently expected these thoughts to help bring the readers, who were about to encounter the most difficult and faith-testing time of their lives, to a real and overflowing sense of peace and comfort.
Surely, if these truths were powerful enough to comfort and strengthen Christians on the verge of tremendous suffering and persecution, then they can certainly be of great value to us in our times of distress. Now, we may not be facing the threat of torture and death for our Christian convictions, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t experiencing trials. Take a quick look at the prayer list in your bulletin. This stands as a stark reminder that pain, suffering, and loss are never far from any of us. None of us are immune. We are sinful people, living in a fallen world, so the curses of those realities affect each of us, in some way, on a daily basis.
So what information did Peter supply in these two verses that could possibly provide such comfort and encouragement? I’d like to share with you 5 Rock-Solid Truths for Obtaining Grace and Peace: The first truth is...
The first truth is:

I. A Rock-Solid Messenger (1a)

Peter is probably the most well-known member of the 12 disciples. But what is it about Peter specifically that can help instill peace in a troubled heart? First, Peter has...
First, Peter has...

A Strong Name

says, “He (Jesus) said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
He (Jesus) *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
So Jesus intentionally and purposefully changed Simon’s name to Petros, or more commonly Peter, which in Greek means “a stone or a rock.” Peter was symbolically being designated to serve as a foundational stone in the building of God’s church, of which Christ is the cornerstone. Along with this endorsement from Jesus, Peter has...

-A Powerful Pedigree

This gives Peter...

A Powerful Pedigree

-A Powerful Pedigree

Peter spent three years walking side by side with Jesus. He saw countless miracles. He heard the divine teachings . He walked on water with Christ. And after he denied Jesus three times, He restored Peter to the position of pastoral leadership shortly before His ascension into heaven. These facts should give us great confidence and trust in Peter’s words. His credibility is ultimately proven by...
These facts should give us great confidence and trust in Peter’s words.
His credibility is ultimately proven by...

A Divine Appointment

Peter calls himself “An apostle of Jesus Christ.” The word “apostle” means “one sent forth, or, one sent on a mission.” Those who were to be apostles had to meet 3 specific criteria: They had to be specifically called by Christ to the task, they were to have accompanied Christ for his entire 3-year ministry, and they were to be a physical witness to Christ’s resurrection. These three distinctions disqualify all but a very small group of men, of which Peter was one. And not only was he an apostle, but he was the undisputed leader and spokesman of the group.
So when Peter writes a letter, and appeals to his position as an apostle, he does so not out of arrogance or superiority, but out of leadership and trust. If Peter says, it then we can have confidence in its truth and its value to our lives. Peter even says so much in the last chapter of 1 Peter when he writes, “I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!” If 1st Century Christians could stand firm in Peter’s teachings, then so can we.
The second truth that can help us obtain grace and peace today is:
I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!

II. A Perspective-Changing Reminder(1b)

In the second half of verse 1, Peter calls these Christians “aliens.” He chose this word to express a very important idea. Which is...

We are temporary residents

Christians are not supposed to feel at home on earth. Earth is temporal. We, as followers of Christ, are temporary residents, strangers on earth. The things that happen on earth, while important, ultimately pail in comparison to our eventual purpose and residence. Which is...

We are citizens of Heaven

The original readers of Peter’s letter would have immediately understood his reference to them as “aliens” to mean that because earth is not their home, Heaven and the things of God should capture their primary focus.
Let’s look at it this way: When you go somewhere on vacation, do you immediately involve yourself in the regulatory minutia of that place? Are you concerned about the quality of the school systems in the Bahamas? Are you worried about the trash can pick-up schedule in Vermont? No, cause it’s not your home. Peter is gently and lovingly reminding his fellow brothers and sisters not to fix their attention on the problems of this world, but to remember and look up to the things above. He has brilliantly, and very subtly I might add, given them an eternal perspective.
The third Rock-Solid truth is...

III. An Eternity-Defining Choice(2a)

Why does Peter point the attention of his readers heavenward? What does he know that his readers may need to be reminded of? That they were “Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” As the crux of Peter’s entire argument, he appeals the fact they were...

Chosen for relationship

To be chosen according to the foreknowledge of God does not mean that God looked into eternity future, before you were born, saw what kind of person that you would turn out to be, or saw that you would one day make a decision to love Him and obey Him, and thus He decided to pick you. No! It means that God, in his sovereignty and for His own purposes, predetermined before the foundation of the universe to have a relationship with a group of people, to whom He would provide salvation through the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In short, God chose you long before you ever chose Him.
The apostle Paul confirms our inability to choose, or to justify ourselves before God when He writes, “ There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.
There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
That stings the pride a little bit doesn’t it? “I thought when was saved that I made a decision for Christ.” In a small sense you did. But in a far greater and much more powerful sense, God decided to save you first. Pastor Virgil reminded us last week, that “ For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
There is none who does good,
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
There is not even one.
We can have no pride, no boasting, when it comes to being chosen by God. Salvation is gift. Given to those with whom God chose to have an eternal relationship.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), .
But as Peter shows a little later in his letter, we were also...

Chosen to obtain an inheritance

While not part of our anchor text, Peter tells us in verse 4 that were were chosen to “Obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” We have greater things to look forward to, amen? The glories and riches of heaven are not subject to the rust, and the weathering and the decay we find in this world. And the guarantee of our inheritance does not rest in our ability to stay a Christian, but in God’s steadfast faithfulness and ultimate unlimited power. Which Peter covers in the very next verse when he explains that we were...

Chosen once-for-all

Verse 5 says that we are “Protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” If God chose to you, and God prepared an imperishable inheritance for you, then you can rest assured that He will not let you salvation slip away. He will not let your faith fail. You will endure to the very end. Your status as God’s son or daughter rests on God’s great power, and not in your human ability. God securely keeps the ones He has chosen.
This is exactly why being chosen by God is so powerfully comforting. Because it is assured. It guarantees us an eternal future greater than anything we could ever imagine. Nothing on earth has the ability to shake it. Nothing on earth has the power to rescind it. What the sovereign and omnipotent God declares, happens.
The fourth key truth in this passage is...

IV. A Life-Altering Transformation(2b)

Another guarantee for those whom God chooses is that God, through His Holy Spirit, will do some very specific and powerful works within you. That’s what Peter is referring to when he says, “By the sanctifying work of the Spirit.” For the people that God chose according to His foreknowledge, the Holy Spirit initiates a transformation. First He brings someone from...

Unbelief to Faith

Each person is completely responsible and on the hook for his or her own disbelief in God. God does not cause anyone’s lack of faith in Him. He is however responsible for the moment we go from unbelief to having faith in Christ Jesus as our Savior and our Lord. Without the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of God’s chosen people, there can be no true conversion from unbelief to belief. But when the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, and someone realizes that there is no other way to be reconciled with God than by following Christ and accepting His death on the cross as punishment for their own sins, it is the Holy Spirit who is at work, making that deep spiritual truth known in the heart of that person.

Spiritual Death to Spiritual Life

The theological term we use for this miraculous work is called regeneration. When a person goes from unbelief to faith, their heart goes from spiritual death to spiritual life. They become a new creation in Christ. No longer are they destined for eternity in hell. The old heart of stone is removed and a new heart of flesh takes its place. This new heart desires the things of God. It craves to know God’s Word. And it submits joyfully to the lordship of Jesus Christ. And it is now destined to be with God in heaven for eternity.
The sanctifying work of the Spirit also brings someone from...

Unrighteousness to Christlikeness

When the Spirit sanctifies the heart of one of God’s chosen people, He sets that person on a course of gradual progression to be more and more like Jesus Christ. We are set apart to God, for God’s purposes. That’s what being sanctified means. To be set apart as holy. Now Pastor Virgil just spent more than two months walking us through the characteristics that a true Christ-follower will begin to demonstrate after being saved. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-Control. A true believer will be able to look back and notice an actual difference in their ability to exercise these characteristics. They will clearly comprehend just how different they are now compared to the past.
And if you can’t look back and see any progression...if, as Virgil said, your tastebuds for sin and unrighteousness haven’t changed, then your heart probably hasn’t been transformed. Now let me clarify for the record, lest I be misunderstood. Becoming a Christian does not instantaneously make you perfect and holy. There are no sinless men or women walking around the earth today. But becoming a follower of Christ does set you on a path for perfect righteousness, and that process, empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit, will come to completion one day on the other side of eternity.
The Holy Spirit does another incredible work within His people. He brings us from...

Empty-handed to Gifted

As if the gift of salvation were not enough, God the Father, through the Holy Spirit, gives us a spiritual gift. In 1 Peter Chapter 4, verse 10, Peter says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” When each Christian lovingly exercises their gift within the church, the church grows. The church doesn’t grow because of programs. It doesn’t grow because of guitar players…or singers or musicians. It doesn’t grow because the seats are comfortable. The body of Christ grows when the body of Christ exercises their spiritual gifts. Each individual part must do its job so that the body can grow!
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
How much better does our eternal future need to look for us to find peace? How much more does God have to give us before our temporal circumstances no longer have the loudest voice in determining how secure we feel? I argue that all of us who are followers of Christ are far more secure than we think we are. But on what exactly are we placing our faith? What is our end game? Is it retirement? Or are we seeking the opportunity to serve our God and King forever?
The Holy Spirit doesn’t give each believer a gift of gold. He gives us a gift of service to the body. Life here on earth is a training ground for serving God in heaven for eternity. If you can’t get yourself excited about serving God here on earth, then heaven probably wouldn’t be an enjoyable place for you. But for God’s chosen people, we find great peace in knowing our destiny as servants. We love it so much that we’re getting a head-start on it here on earth.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), .
The fifth and final Rock-Solid truth for obtaining grace and peace is...

V. A Blood-Secured Covenant(2c)

Because God has chosen us according to His foreknowledge and for His purposes, and because the Spirit has transformed us into new life, we now have the...

Ability to Obey

To put it simply, God chose us, and sanctified us by His Spirit so that we would obey His Son. That’s exactly was Paul says in : “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” That’s the point of it all. Without God’s intervention and saving grace, none of us could or would obey. By God’s grace through the working of His Holy Spirit, obedience to Christ not only becomes a possibility, but it becomes a reality.
Jesus says in , “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Without the Holy Spirit’s
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
How about the phrase, “And be sprinkled with His blood.” This is a pretty obscure reference. Hebrews is the only other New Testament book that makes mention of it. How does it factor into this concept of obedience? What Peter is alluding to here is a major event found in . Let me summarize it for you.
Let’s look at the phrase
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
After hearing the Word of Lord that was given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai, the people of Israel pledged their obedience to doing what God commanded. Moses then builds an alter so that the people could further express their determination to obey God’s Law and symbolically seal the covenant agreement between God and Israel. After building the alter, Moses sacrificed a few young bulls as burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. He put half of the blood from the bulls into large containers and sprinkled the rest of the blood on the alter.
Then Moses read again the Words of God and the people again pledged to obey everything God had commanded. Following their second pledge, Moses took the blood from the containers and sprinkled it on the people of Israel. The shedding of blood between the two parties demonstrated that their commitment to the covenant was now binding. The blood that Moses sprinkled on the people symbolized their commitment to obey God’s law, while the blood sprinkled on the alter represented God’s commitment to reveal the law and to forgive His people when they failed to obey it.
So in what way Peter’s reference in verse 2 apply to New Covenant Christians? Well, when someone accepts Christ’s sacrifice, His shedding of blood, as the atoning payment for their sins, they in turn are also committing to obey Christ as Lord. It is the shedding of Jesus’ blood that seals the New Covenant promises. Christ is covenantally bound to redeem and justify sinners, while those who are redeemed and justified are bound to obey His commands.
So to be sprinkled with Christ blood in verse 2 means that we have entered into a covenant agreement where we receive eternal life through the forgiveness of sins, and we receive Christ’s perfect righteousness on our personal account. And Christ receives our obedience to His Lordship. This is exactly what we are talking about when we speak of amazing grace. That Christ would commit to loving and forgiving a sinner like me, while I try and inevitably fail to perfectly obey Him.
Finally, in my last sub-point here…not only can we obey Christ, but we can actually...

Live Out His Example

Let me call your attention to one last verse in 1 Peter. Chapter 2, verses 21-25 read, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;
23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
24 and He Himself abore our sins in His body on the bcross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Peter actually spends the rest of this letter showing his readers how to live out that command practically in everyday life. He knew that these Christians were going to be put in positions where they were going to encounter and endure horrible injustice. But Christ endured the greatest injustice of all. A righteous man, dying for the unrighteous. And He did not revile His accusers in return. Instead, He asked that God would forgive them. That’s what Christ was willing to do us. Can we not seek to do the same in return, so that God may be glorified?
As I close my message here, I want to tie all 5 of these core truths into one overarching thought. Grace and peace are ours to be had, even in the fullest measure. But it isn’t easy. You see, the reason that grace and peace are so often paired together in the New Testament is because of this foundational fact: The only thing that can enable us to have any peace, even the smallest amount, is to be reconciled to God. Because of what Christ did on the cross, we are no longer enemies of God. He has made us adopted sons and daughters, co-heirs of the riches of grace with Christ Jesus. And because this is true, nothing we could ever face in this world can diminish the incredible eternity that awaits us with God.
The next time you see the chaos and suffering coming your direction, remember what Peter has told us. You can have peace in the fullest measure, because God’s grace was poured out for us in the fullest measure.
I’m going to invite Pastor Virgil up to begin our time of invitation.
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