God's elect 1 Peter 1_1-9
Between yesterday and eternity
Doxology: ”I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Repeat) (Mission Praise 267) Screen
Call to worship
I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 108:3-5)
The Lord’s Prayer
Hymn No 84: “Though Troubles arise”
Our Father, deal with Your servants according to Your mercy, and teach us Your statutes. We are Your servants; give us understanding, that we may know Your statutes. It is time for You to act, O Lord, for Your law is regarded as void. (Psalm 119:124-126) Please teach us. AMEN.
Children’s Address: “Honour your father and mother”
Hymn : “They are happy whose way is pure” (Psalm Praise 125)
Scripture Reading: Numbers 14:1-12
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Gracious Father and God in Jesus Christ,
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, We thank You and praise Your glorious name. We are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope. (1 Chronicles 29:11-15)
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight — that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:1-4) AMEN.
Declaration of pardoning
If I died with Christ, I believe that I will also live with Him, … the life that He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, may I consider myself to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:8–11)
Hymn No 410: “I am trusting You, Lord, Jesus”
Offering and Dedication
Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. (1 Chronicles 29:12)
While the offering is taken up, all remaining seated, sing:
Hymn (Screen): “I thank You Lord” (Psalm Praise 119)
Prayer for others
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:1-9
My dear brother and sister in the Lord,
May I ask a very personal question this morning? I keep asking myself this question – and believe it is a way by which the Holy Spirit prompts us to greater obedience. The question is this: Are you satisfied with your spiritual life? Or even better put: Is God satisfied with your spiritual life?
As parents of babies and toddlers, we are only satisfied with the physical and mental life if this is progression and growth. They begin to sit, and then to crawl, and then to walk. There are the first words, and later, even first sentences. That is normal. If all these phases don’t happen, it leaves us with concern for their well-being.
So, the question then is: Was their progression and growth in your spiritual life? And in the spiritual life of our congregation? The Bible teaches in Hebrews 6:1
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 6:1)
To understand what spiritual growth means, to understand what pressing on to spiritual maturity means and how it is achieved, we need to understand a few concepts from God’s Word. The sermon then this morning is “God’s elect: Between yesterday and eternity.” This message is from 1Peter 1:1-9.
1. 8 God’s elect – yesterday
I use the word “yesterday” in terms of the life which was once outside of the will of God, but by God’s grace drawn into a relationship with Him. It is not the purpose of this sermon to explain the doctrines of election, sanctification and salvation in depth, but as these terms are undergirding what follows in the rest of the chapter we need to understand our “yesterday” in terms of the redeeming work of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. So, briefly, follow along in your Bibles from verse 1.
a. 8 A chosen people
God’s elect, his church called from all eternity, is a people chosen by God the Father according to His perfect and immutable foreknowledge. This doctrine is referred to as predestination. We do not choose God; He chose us. He does it through the redemptive work of his Son, Jesus Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the Word.
b. 8 A sanctified people
God’s elect is a people sanctified by the Holy Spirit. This word also implies dedication. The Holy Spirit works in the lives of those whom God has chosen to present them to God as being holy. He sets us apart for service to God. As Moses and Aaron dedicated, purified or sanctified the sacred things to be acceptable to God in his service, so does the Holy Spirit sanctify us to service before God.
c. An obedient people
As the blood of the sacrificial animal, which brought about forgiveness of sin was sprinkled on the altar, so the blood of Jesus Christ puts us in a relationship of being forgiven, and therefore called to obedience to God.
8 The Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is active in making us God’s children – his elect, his own people. Out of darkness (our “yesterday”) we are now called to be a chosen generation, a holy people belonging to God. This gracious act of God flows into the repentance of man. Called by God, we turn away from sin, and turn towards Him to follow Him. We leave our “yesterday” behind us and we walk in the light of his mercy and grace.
8 As such, as his people, we are his church. We are now strangers in the world, because our citizenship is in heaven. We are still in the world, but not from this world.
2. 8 Gods’ elect – our future
But as we turned away from our “yesterday”, or our past, we now face a bright new future. We are put on a new path. 8 Therefore we are a people of hope, because we have and inheritance awaiting us. In short we have a future.
a. 8 A people with hope
The perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary was not enough to save us. The victory of the cross also became the victory over the grave. Jesus Christ was resurrected. And as such, He became the First-fruit, or the guarantee for all the elect to receive a new birth. As He was resurrected by the Father, so we receive from the Father as new birth, a new life. The old has passed away, the new has come. This gives us a hope. Now hope in the Bible is a sure anchor in the future. Christ ascended into heaven, and we learn from Ephesians 2:6 the following:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6)
You see the anchor in Christ? In principle we have already that hope, that anchor. It is in heaven in Jesus Christ. He is our hope.
b. 8 A people with an inheritance
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:17)
There is an inheritance. God’s will, written in the blood of Jesus Christ, stands firm. This inheritance is described with three words: Incorruptible means that it can never corrode, crack, or decay. It is death-proof. Undefiled means that the inheritance itself is in perfect condition. No tarnish or stain can dim its purity. It is sin-proof. That does not fade away means that it can never suffer variations in value, glory, or beauty. It is time-proof.
In this life an heir may die before an inheritance is divided. But the same grace that preserves the heavenly inheritance preserves us as heirs to enjoy it. God’s election of His people can never be frustrated. Those who were chosen in eternity past are saved in time now and kept for eternity to come. The believer in Christ is eternally secure.
By God’s power our inheritance is kept safe. By faith we take hold of it. Faith is therefore the rope or chain connected to the anchor of our hope. By faith we are drawn towards our hope.
c. 8 A people with a future
Not only was Jesus Christ crucified; He was resurrected unto a new life. Not only was He resurrected; He also ascended into heaven. And He left us the sure guarantee that He will return again. Something of our salvation we already enjoy right now, but the full benefit of a new life in Christ will be revealed with his return.
3. 8 God’s elect – the present
Of course, between our “yesterday” and our “eternity” lies the “present”. So many people would like to escape the present to be raptured into glory with Christ right now. But that is not how it works.
a. 8 Grief and trials
The people Peter addressed this letter to were scattered, probably because of persecution by the Jews or even the Romans. To be a Christian is not always easy. Some are called to suffer for Christ. But, Peter said, compared to an eternity with God, the present suffering is only “a little while”. In Luke 12:4-5 our Lord says that times can be tough for Christians, but:
I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. (Luke 12:4-5)
So, Christians are not led past trails and tribulations, but through them. We are not exempt of hard times; the point is to not give up when those times come. Faith teaches us to trust God, even in difficult times.
b. 8 In refinement
Sufferings are neither purposeless nor fruitless. The sufferings of the ungodly are only a foretaste of the pangs of hell which they will endure eternally. This is not true for the Christian. One of the many beneficial purposes of afflictions in this life for the child of God is to test the genuineness of his faith. Peter contrasts our faith with gold. Of all the substances known to man, gold is one of the most imperishable. It can be subjected to intense heat and might seem to be indestructible. But the truth is that gold perishes through use, pressure, and fire.
When prevailing conditions are favorable, it might be easy to be a Christian. But when public confession of Christ brings persecution and suffering, then the casual followers drift away and are lost in the crowd. A religion which costs nothing is worth nothing. Faith which refuses to pay the price is counterfeit.
c. 8 Being prepared for glory
Genuine faith will result in praise, honor, and glory when Jesus Christ is revealed. This simply means that God will reward every instance of faith that stood the test. He will praise those who are joyful though surrounded by trouble. He will award honor and glory to tried and suffering believers who were able to accept their tribulations as a vote of confidence from Him.
4. 8 God’s elect – the past and the future, “yesterday” and “eternity”
a. 8 We look back on God’s election, our sanctification and our salvation in the blood of Christ. 8 It fills us with gratitude. We give our lives to the Lord to thank Him for undeserved grace. But it is here where we perhaps fall short. I cannot spiritually grow by constantly looking back. I don’t only serve God just because I and grateful for the forgiveness of sin.
b. 8 There is the problem that can so easily sneak in be stealth: it is the idea that I have to repay God for his mercies. My dedication to God is therefore nothing more than an action driven by some form of guilt that I actually owe God. He has dome so much for me, I have to do something for Him! This notion is nowhere to be found in the Bible – not explicitly in any case. How many Christians struggle with this problem! Their Christian walk before God becomes a series of payments because they feel themselves in debt before God.
c. 8 This leads to spiritual stagnation and paralysis. Some see themselves is being caught in the trap of grace. I have to, because I am saved. The only thing that counts is passed sin, or my “yesterday”.
d. 8 We have heard about the future. There is hope, there is an inheritance, and there is and eternity. That is our “eternity”! The child of God is called, not to attempt to “pay back” what is owed to God. We cannot do it. What the Bible is teaching is, is that there is even more grace stored up for us. 8 It is by faith that we take hold of it. Gratitude for salvation is necessary, but it looks back. Faith on the other hand builds upon gratitude and looks forward. 8 When the going gets tough, it endures. It doesn’t give up. It says: because God was good to me in the past, I hold on to the future which is sure. 8 More than that, in the midst of all the trails and tribulation, I rejoice. Paul says the present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is to come. And this verse talks about inexpressible and glorious joy. 8 He who sees the hope, he who takes hold of the future and serve God by faith, he grows.
5. 8 God’s elect – the present
a. 8A people of faith
b. 8A people of joy
c. 8A people of salvation
Dear brother and sister,
The Israelites were on their way to the Promised Land. Behind them was their “yesterday” – they were rescued from slavery. They looked back on their salvation. Ahead of them was the future – sure, because it was promised by God over generations. Then they struck the hard patch: they had to conquer and destroy the people who lived in their Promised Land. These were giants who made the Israelites feel like grasshoppers compared to them. And their eyes became fixed on the past. God said: How long will they refuse to believe in Me? They lost sight of the future, and they lost faith in God. God struck them with the plague and a journey that would have taken them a few months to complete became forty years of wandering the desert.
Are you happy with your spiritual life? Is there growth? If not, by faith and obedience take hold of the future. Serve God, not because you want to repay Him; serve Him because He’s got a job for you. AMEN.