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The Gift of Salvation - An Easter Message

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The depth of the Bible has always amazed me. When I was looking through my Bible to see what I could bring as an Easter Message I was led to 1 Peter 1:3-5. I put that in the bank to look at later. When I looked at the passage again, I was in truth, a bit lost as to why I was led to this passage. I started looking through all sorts of books to try and make sense of everything. I have prayed about it and I believe that prayer was answered. I kept thinking about what was important and 3 things stood out:
What is it that God wants to communicate?
How can I preach a faithful message, a short message that gives the essentials without any extra fluff? Short messages are often the hardest because you have to pack so much into a small space.
What is the best example of so much packed into small areas I have ever observed?
The last question was a penny-drop moment for me; the answer to all 3 questions was “The Bible”. What I want to do was really open up the Word for you this morning - to make it fresh for you - to give you a sense of newness about the Gospel, about Easter in which we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Instructions - for some optional activities

I also wanted to show you an example of expository preaching - that is - preaching out of the Bible - seeing what it is saying. I have given you with this message what is called a Sentence Diagram. It looks really complicated, but I assure you it is not. At this stage, I encourage you to only read the the verse and ignore the “commentary” or the text next to the arrows - read those after you have finished the sermon. All the diagram does is split the verses into ideas and and flow to help you. It is an aid and a supplement and you don’t need it or read it or understand it to understand the sermon, but for those who want to, it should deepen your understanding.

Giving Praise to Him

The Bible’s central theme is Jesus Christ. He is at the center of everything, and many times through the Bible God we are commanded to thank Him and praise Him for what He has done (Hebrews 13:15)
Hebrews 13:15 NKJV
15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
This is how this verse begins by identifying that God is worth to be praised by using the word “Blessed”. The obvious question is “why?”. Why is He worthy of praise? The passage goes on to give the reason: the magnitude of what was accomplished on the cross - the preciousness of the gift of salvation that He bought for us on the cross.

Born Again

Peter, moved by the Holy Spirit, is telling us about this wonderful gift of God - he gives us this deep description of the qualities of God’s mercy towards Mankind, which is our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ who died and rose again on the third day for the forgiveness of sin.
Peter uses the word “begotten” - it means to be reborn spiritually because the trans-formative power of the Gospel has on the believer can’t be described in a better way - from belief out comes a completely new person. The idea of birth, or new birth is that the transformation is such as people who knew the believer before salvation would not be able to recognize the person - so radical is the transformation - he is a different person, made alive into new life - an adopted Son of God, new personality as Christ lives through the believer who transforms and sanctifies us as we live our life to more closely resemble Jesus Christ.
We are born again from death to life, from this world into heaven, from these bodies to new bodies given to us after we die, from sin to salvation.

The Nature of our Salvation

Peter then gives us a description of what our salvation looks like:
First of all it is ABUNDANT in mercy. It is more than we could ever need. You can’t outrun or out sin God’s mercy. This is not a licence to sin, but rather an illustration that all of mankind, no matter his or her previous state will always be able to turn to the Father and find mercy in abundance from the Father, if He repents and turns away from their sinful lifestyle and puts on Christ.
It is a a LIVING HOPE - it is a hope that brings life in the believer - joy inexpressible at know the love and mercy of God
It is an INHERITANCE - during our life on earth we have a part of that inheritance - the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in us - it seals us as adopted children of God, enabling us, keeping us and building us (sanctification) in God’s Word. Like Israel, and like I have shared in the past, the land of Israel as an inheritance to the descendants of Abraham, it is a forshadowing of the inheritance we would receive under grace/salvation. The interesting thing about inheritances is that it only comes to you after the death of something. I think it means any one of the following and all of the following at the same time:
The passing away of the law - this was fulfilled by Jesus Christ on the Cross, and a New Testament was given in which we inherited eternal life
After dying to sin, being made alive by indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the newness of Christ’s Resurrection.
The death of Christ - for a New Testament to come, so the death of the testator is necessary (Heb 9:16-28 - I encourage you to read this).
It is INCORRUPTIBLE - that is it is not subject to decay or death - not even time can corrupt. It is held for you, that is reserved for you by the POWER of the ALMIGHTY GOD Himself in heaven.
It is UNDEFILED - it has been untouched - it is without stain or blemish, untouched by sin or immorality - kept for you by the power of God in heaven.
It won’t fade away - time has no meaning. It will not rust, will not lose it’s brightness, colour, it awe - neither shall diminish the price for which it was paid - that Jesus, the perfect Son of God, died for your sins and the sins of the world. It remains forever new. Your salvation should remain new to you every morning. It is kept for you by the power of God in heaven (Lamentations 3:22-26)
Lamentations 3:22–26 NKJV
22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.

Conclusion - The Magnitude of the Gift

Salvation is no mere thing - it is not a whimsical thing. It is the power of God to save us from death to life, from an eternity in hell to an eternity with God. Peter uses the word revealed here, with specific reference to the last time. What we have recieved will reveal itself in the fullness of time - the “last time” or the “time of the end. The wisdom of God will triumph over the folly of mankind - Satan will be thrown down into the Pit and all the evils of this world will be laid bare, and finally the magnificence of what Christ achieved on the Cross will be revealed to all, and the whole earth and all of heaven will (Philippians 2:10-11 ),
Philippians 2:10–11 NKJV
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer

Pray that this Easter from here on out that the Gift of Salvation will be made new every morning. That you wake up know you are saved and have a thankful heart for all He has done to the glory of God the Father.
That others will come to know Christ and be saved from a terrible fate - an eternity separated from God and His mercy.
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