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1 Peter 1:1-5
WHY BAPTISTS OUGHT TO SHOUT
Intro: Have you heard any good news lately? Here is an example of the news that made headlines this past week.
• Iraq - 3 more US soldiers are dead today. Rebels shell Kirkuk Oil Company. Car bombs hit two Iraqi police stations.
• Afghanistan - Rocket explodes, hitting upscale hotel, in capitol city of Kabul.
• Israel - Gunmen Kill Two Israelis at Construction Site for Disputed Barrier. Incident occurs hours after Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians in West Bank.
• England - London Group Tries to Buy Toxic Chemicals.
• California - Singer and teen idol Michael Jackson is arrested on child molestation charges.
• Washington - The Senate is grid locked over a Medicaid bill.
That, unfortunately, is just the tip of the ice burg! I didn’t mention the fact that the economy is faltering. I didn’t tell you that we are sinking lower and lower on the educational ladder. I didn’t speak of the upturn in violent crime. Well, I could literally stand here for hours reading you news stories from around the globe that paint a picture of terrible social upheaval and moral decay. I think it is very clear from just the few headlines I have share today that our world is in a mess! It is also safe to say that good news is hard to find in today’s sin-cursed world. In fact, this world could rightly be described as one trouble piled upon another!
The sad part of all this is the fact that when we read the headlines and ponder the news that is happening in our world, and when we think of our own problems and burdens, we tend to get caught up in it to the point of losing heart. Sometimes, we are guilty of allowing the world around up to steal the glory that God has placed within our hearts. This should not be!
In the first verse of our text, Peter addresses his letter to “the strangers scattered”. He is writing to Jewish believers who have been forced to leave their homeland and have found themselves dispersed into other parts of the world. These people, because of their beliefs and faith, are being subjected to persecutions and sufferings that you and I cannot even begin to imagine. Peter is writing to them, against this backdrop of pain and suffering, to encourage them in the faith. He is reminding them that in the midst of their trials, there are some reliable reasons for real rejoicing! One cause for rejoicing lies in the word “strangers”. This word refers to one “who travels through a strange land.” You see, Peter is reminding these folks that they are not home yet! They are merely strangers passing through a foreign land. One day the journey will end and they will be home!
While we are not being persecuted today, there are still battles to fight, valleys to cross, dark nights to endure and pain to suffer. In the midst of it all, it is easy to lose perspective. It is easy to forget who we are in Jesus and where we are going because of Jesus. This passage serves as a reminder of Who’s we are and where we are going. So, for a few minutes today, put the headlines out of your mind, forget your troubles, look up out of your valley and let me show you Why Every Baptist Ought To Shout! You say, “Why did you single out the Baptists preacher?” Because we are just about the only ones left who really believe everything I am about to tell you tonight! Allow me to show you the reasons Why Every Baptist Ought To Shout.
I. V. 2-3 WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE
A. The Procedure - If you are saved today, it is not because you did anything to deserve it! These two verses are filled with the truth that salvation is a work of pure grace. Notice what Peter says:
1. We Have Been Chosen By God - Peter tells us that we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God.” We don’t have time today to go into all the details of foreknowledge, election and predestination, but suffice it to say that foreknowledge means far more than that advanced knowledge on the part of God. It refers to advanced planning on the part of God! In other words, if you are saved today, it is because God chose you in Jesus, before the world began, Eph. 1:4. That is a work of grace! Not a one of deserves to be chosen by God!
2. We Have Been Called By God - Peter speaks of “sanctification of the Spirit”. Part of the process of bringing us to Jesus was the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God awoke us to our need of salvation, He spoke to ours hearts about our lost condition, He called us to repentance and He gave us to faith to respond to God’s free offer. This, too, is a work of grace! Not a single person in this room deserved to be called to salvation, but no one is ever saved apart from it, John 6:44; 65.
3. We Have Been Cleansed By God - According to Peter, God did not stop with choosing us and calling us, but He also cleansed us when we came to faith in Christ. The precious blood that Jesus shed on Calvary has the power to wash away to vilest of sin! Surely, the blood of Jesus is the only hope the sinner has of being cleansed, 1 Pet. 1:18-19. Surely, no sinner deserved for that blood to be shed. But, it was the grace of God that lead Jesus to Calvary, to die there on the cross for our sins, Isa. 53:1-12. It was grace that allowed Him to take upon Himself the sins of the world, 2 Cor. 5:21. It was grace that parted His parched lips to utter three remarkable words that will ever reverberate down the halls of time, “It is finished!”, John 19:30.
Now, that blood has been shed and any sinner who hears the call of the Spirit of God can come and have his sins washed whiter than snow in the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is nothing less than a work of pure grace!
B. The Plan - Peter tells us that God’s plan in all of this was to effect a “new birth” in all those who come to Him. This is what Jesus told Nicodemus about in John 3:3, 7. Simply stated, when a sinner repents of sin and responds to the call of God for salvation, that person is literally re-born as a child of God. According to the Bible, when we were born the first time, we were born into the family of Adam. This first birth resulted in us all being born with a deformity. Not a deformity of the flesh, but of the spirit. In fact, we are all born spiritually dead, Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1. We were born with a nature that is pulled toward sin and away from God, Eph. 2:2-3. All humans are born into this world as vile, dirty sinners! But, it gets worse, not only are we sinners by birth, but as we grow and our sin nature matures, we become sinners by choice, Isa. 53:6!
As a result of our sins, we are separated from God, Isa. 59:2, and we are destined to suffer a second death in a place called Hell, Psa. 9:17. A place where sinners really do not die, but where they experience eternal separation from the presence of God and the awful pain of unquenchable fire forever, Mark 9:44, 46, 48.
However, Jesus lived and died to change that! When He died on the cross, He paid the sin debt for every person who will receive Him by faith! When a sinner repents and comes to Jesus, that sinner is instantly transformed into a saint. He gets a brand new start, 2 Cor. 5:17. All of his sins are forever forgiven, Col. 2:13-14. He is immediately adopted into the family of God, 1 John 3:1-3. And, his name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, Luke 10:20! Now those are some real reasons for rejoicing!
C. The Product - Peter tells us that the product of all this work by God is a “lively hope”. Simply put this refers to a living confidence that we have a bright future! Our hope is a “living hope” that is sure, certain, and real, as opposed to the deceptive, empty, false hope the world offers.
You see, many in our day are pinning their hopes on their 401K plan. Many have their hope in the stock market. Some have their hope in their health or their family. This is a hope based in wishful thinking! When the New Testament uses the word “hope” it does not refer to a fond wish or desire. It means, “a confident assurance based on the Word of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that produces an excited response.”
Do you get it? When we, as believers, speak of our hope of heaven, we are not talking about “pie in the sky, by and by.” We are talking about a sure thing! We are talking about something that is more solid that the ground under our feet. We are referring to something that is settled by the inerrant, infallible, Word of God! Friend, the world may be in turmoil today, but those who are saved possess a hope that is out of this world! This alone is enough to shout about, but Peter isn’t finished!
II. V. 4 WE ARE SLATED FOR GLORY
A. A Guaranteed Place - Peter says that we are the recipients of an “inheritance”. An inheritance is, of course, something left behind by one who has died. It is a gift to those still living from one who isn’t. In our case, however, we do have an inheritance provided by One Who did died, but Who now lives, Rev. 1:18. As children of God, we sill share in the inheritance of God, Rom. 8:17. We are mentioned in Christ’s last will and testament, John 17:22-24, and we will share that inheritance with the One Who gave it to us in glory some day! Don’t worry about Heaven being a myth as some might say in our day. I have it on good authority that Heaven is a reality for those who know the Lord, John 14:1-3!
B. A Glorious Place - Peter’s description of that glorious place warrants our looking at it a little more closely. He uses three negative terms to describe that inheritance to which we are headed in a very positive fashion.
1. It Cannot Be Destroyed - No enemy shall ever set his foot on that shore to destroy it. People in Peter’s day had seen the Roman legions destroy city after city. But, he tells them about a land that is beyond the reach of all invaders. Jesus said it this way, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”, Matt. 6:19-20.
2. It Cannot Be Defiled - This literally means that it cannot be “soiled or stained”. Heaven, unlike this world which has been raped, wrecked and ruined by sin, it untouchable by defilement and by the things which have destroyed the world. None of the wretched evils that mar earth will rear their ugly heads in Heaven! Things like death, sin, Satan, suffering, troubles, etc, will quickly pass from our vocabularies when we reach that land of eternal bliss and glory! Notice: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”, Rev. 21:4. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”, Rev. 21:27.
3. It Cannot Be Decayed - This phrase speaks of something that “cannot wear away.” All the great sites and possessions of this world are subject to decay. You home, your car, your body, everything you see around you is in the process of decaying and fading away. Not Heaven! That city will require no repairs, no fixing and no restoration. It will never wear away!
C. A Guarded Place - Ill. In New Testament times, many people grew olive trees. It took 23 years for a tree to mature to fruit-bearing age. These trees were often left as an inheritance, because the olives could bring large sums of money. However, the olive trees were always destroyed by invading armies, thus taking away the next generation’s inheritance and ability to provide for itself. Peter tells us that unlike an inheritance here on the earth, that may pass away through theft, mismanagement or decay, what we have in Heaven is “reserved.” This word means “guarded”. It could literally be translated “Kept under lock and key.” The bottom line is this: our heavenly home is as secure as if our feet were already planted on the golden streets, as if our eyes could already behold the Savior’s face, as if we were already living in glorified body!
Heaven isn’t a myth! It is a reality! It is a present reality being guarded by our heavenly Father, waiting for the day when we will arrive home to receive it unto ourselves.
(Ill. So far I would say that we have some reliable reasons for real rejoicing! Wouldn’t you?)
III. V. 5 WE ARE SEALED BY GOD
A. The Promise - Peter tells these early believers that they are “kept”. The word means “garrisoned, or protected by a military guard.” It refers to “a garrison within a city.” The power that keeps us resides within us, i.e. the Holy Spirit! Very literally, the child of God has much better protection that the president of the United States! He has the Secret Service, we have Sovereign Service. He has armed guards, we have Almighty God. He has present protection, we have perfect protection! The Bible is clear when it teaches that no one who has received Jesus as their personal Saviour need ever worry about losing their salvation! Friend, getting lost again, after you have been genuinely saved, is an absolute impossibility! Notice what the Bible says about this very important matter: John 6:37-40; John 10:28-29; Heb. 6:4-6, John 6:47; John 3:16; Heb. 7:25. Etc.
B. The Power - How is this possible? The reason we are secure rests in the fact that we are not liable for keeping our own salvation. The Bible is clear when it says here that we are “kept by the power of God.” It is the dynamic power of Almighty God that does the keeping. If it were up to you and me to do it, we would surely lose the fight. However, our salvation rests in the power of God. Therefore, we can rest confidently in the knowledge that what He begins He always finishes, Phil. 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” If a born again believer can lose his salvation and go to Hell, that does not say much for the power of God! I just want to affirm the truth that we serve a God Who is able to save anyone and to safely deliver that person home to Heaven when this life is over! In fact, whether you ever grasp it or not, if you are saved, you are already so sure for Heaven that you cannot miss it, Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 2:6.
What makes this truth so precious is the fact that I have been guilty of messing up lots of things in my lifetime. Have you ever messed anything up? But, friend, salvation is one thing that even I can’t mess up. I’ve got it now, I’ll have it forever, and that is God’s promise to you and me!
C. The Proof - Peter closes verse 5 by reminding his readers that they are partakers of a salvation that extends beyond the turmoil of today. He tells them that their faith in Christ has secured for them and eternal hope that will culminate in their safe arrival in Heaven at the end of the journey. My friends, has it become clear to you yet that we who are saved are indeed saved forever? Notice what Paul tells us about our salvation in Ephesians: 1.) Salvation is by grace through faith - Eph. 2:8-9. 2.) Salvation gives us the seal of the Spirit of God - Eph. 1:13-14. 3.) This seal remains intact until we are finally taken to be with the Lord in Heaven - Eph. 4:30. Since I am saved by grace, sealed by the Spirit and secured by the power of the Father, I can be absolutely certain that God’s salvation will last forever! Still not convinced? Notice this verse: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”, 1 Cor. 1:18. Did you notice the verb “are saved”? It is in the present tense, active voice. This means that salvation is an ongoing process! I was saved when I trusted Jesus. I am being saved as I pass through each day. I will be saved when I arrive home in glory. And, to cap it off, all of this is God’s work in me! If He were to drop the ball anywhere along the way we would be in deep trouble. But, since God doesn’t “drop the ball”, you and I have nothing to fear! He will finish what He has started! He will keep those whom He has saved! He will personally see to it that His children “ALL” make it safely home to Heaven!
Ill. Again, I am forced to admit that these are reliable reasons for real rejoicing! Has it dawned on you yet?
Conc: Truly, those who are saved by grace have many reasons to rejoice in who they are and what they have in the Lord Jesus Christ. And, I would encourage you to get your eyes off the troubles and turmoil that is going on in the world today and rejoice in your salvation. Learn to praise God for who you are, what you have and where you are going! When you learn the secret that you can rejoice when you want to, it will make the rest of life far more bearable! And, friend, that’s Why Every Baptist Ought To Shout!
• Maybe you want to bring a need or a burden to the Lord today and lay it out before Him.
• Maybe you would just like to thank Him that you are saved, sealed and sure of Heaven.
• Maybe there are others here who have never been saved! What I have been talking about today does not belong to you! You do not know God and you have not hope for your future whatsoever! I would like to invite you to come forward today and receive Jesus as your Savior. If He is calling you to come, you need to respond by coming to Him. He loves you. He died for you and He will save you if you will come. I know you want to! Will you do it? Just mind God today and He will do the rest.