Well, good morning church family. We are so happy to be celebrating what this day means for us, for the church. Easter is the day that changes everything. The resurrection of Jesus is that day that changes every day. And so this morning we’re going to celebrate that. Here’s what I want you to do. We’re going to be in the book of 1 Peter, so if you want to go to 1 Peter, you can find that. Also, I want to invite you if you’ve got some grape juice or some crackers, tortilla shells or just some bread to grab that because at the end of this message today, we’re going to partake of communion together in celebration of what this represents for God’s people. And so just take a moment and gather that if you would like and I get ready because here at the end we’re going to do that together.
But we want to talk about what this event is for us that took place in history because this becomes the pillar of everything that Christianity stands upon. If you want to build a healthy structure, you need a healthy foundation. And the bigger the building, the more significant the foundation. And the foundation of Christianity is rooted in a fact. It’s rooted in an event and that being the resurrection of Jesus. In fact, the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that if the resurrection did not happen, we’re to be pitied out of all people. And Christianity stands on this event. If it didn’t happen, ignore it. But if it did happen, embrace it.
Jesus really gives us two choices when it comes to him. It’s either crown him or kill him, and there’s nothing in between. Jesus didn’t leave us room for that. He declared himself as God. He introduced himself in the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the week in which he was to be crucified as King of Kings. And Jesus went to the cross for our sins. And so today I want us to see how the resurrection of Jesus shapes us and it sustains us through all the obstacles life can bring.
It shapes us in such a way that we simply don’t just endure the hardship that we go through, but rather God gives us the opportunity through the resurrection to overcome. And so when you think about the importance of what Jesus did for us, he’s teaching us more than just how to take a punch. Jesus is showing us how to celebrate in victory because he has triumphed over everything. This day is a game changer. This is the day that changes everything for us. And this is exactly what Peter begins with in his letter that he writes in the book of 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 1, Peter is writing to a persecuted church. And he wants them to see how in this persecution that God is giving them something that changes everything.
Just like Peter in the first century writing to this church, when we go through hardship, it brings us to a place where we sometimes go into panic mode. Where we try to reorient the circumstances around us. It was the great theologian Mike Tyson that once said, “Everyone’s got a game plan until you get punched in the face.” And from then on out, who knows what happens. But for us, it’s the resurrection of Christ that shapes everything. And that perspective from the resurrection that helps us to align all things in light of who he is.
Trials bring us to a place that when our our world gets rocked, and storms start to blow, a solid foundation becomes important. Where is your structure? What have you built yourself upon? When we face adversity, the tendency is in our lives to reorient ourselves to what we know endures. To go back to square one. When we faced hardship, I think it’s important for us to recognize as people what should orient us is not feeling, but fact. When we start with feeling, it’s important to recognize feelings come and go and we go through all sorts of seasons of life. And if you base your life on feeling, you’re going to go through all sorts of transitions because you’ll have nothing that sustains you. Because feelings are always changing.
But when you are rooted in fact, and you establish your convictions on those facts, regardless of what happens around you, there is something that sustains, something that endures. And this is where Peter drives the early church in 1 Peter, in the midst of the hardship they face. Peter wants to encourage them to see how this day changes everything for us.
And so he reminds us in 1 Peter 1:3-7. He carries these two ideas, and you’re going to see this in verse three, we’ll read in just a moment, into verse seven. But his encouragement for us is to be refined by the resurrection. Be refined by the resurrection. Look, I think it’s important in life that all of us find something that defines us and that something needs to sustain us. When we go through hardship in life, we need to orient ourselves to what defines us.
But when you’re a follower of Jesus, you no longer have to answer the question of what defines us. Because that definition is found in Jesus, in the centrality of the resurrection that demonstrates all things in him. It’s no longer about being defined, though it is important to define who you are, in light of who he is. But rather as a follower of Jesus, we no longer look for that definition. Because the definition of who we are is centered in him. And so rather than be defined, we are refined in Jesus.
And Peter in this story through the resurrection isn’t just teaching us how to take a punch, but rather he showing us what is the knockout punch. That Jesus didn’t just get crucified, but Jesus also hit back and he conquered sin, Satan and death. And we live in that victory through him. And so with this, we are no longer defined by the circumstance of the world or the emotions that we experienced, but our identity is rooted in a fact.
And that fact is in the resurrection of Jesus because he lives, he now promises that we can live too. And this shapes how we see the world around us. This is our victory and this is our anthem. If no one else could get excited about today, let it be God’s people. Because the resurrection defines who we are and then it continues to refine us in the circumstances of life.
And in verse three to seven the question is what determines how you respond to the trials that you go through? And Peter’s answer be refined by the resurrection. Look in verse three says this, blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
What Peter is saying to us is, look, the thing that you’ve found your hope in, continue to find your hope in because this is a living hope. He points to us that what brings us hope is the resurrection of Jesus. And in verse four, as he explains this resurrection, he goes a little further and he says this, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. The promise that you have in Jesus isn’t going anywhere, he says. It never fades.
Some of you even know over the last couple of weeks when winter ends and spring begins, what do you have to do? Well, you’ve got to go outside and get rid of everything that the seasons destroyed. The things that have faded. But in Jesus, the thing that you carry in him never fades. And so Peter wants God’s people to cling to what they know is true and cling to the hope that they have in it because it never fades. In verse five, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last day. He’s saying, God holds it. In the adversity, remember, the destination is worth it.
And so in verse six he goes on, in this, you greatly rejoice even though now for a little while it is necessary you have been distressed by various trials. Yes, he’s saying, you go through hard things. We all experience difficult seasons of life. But trials can’t take away what you possess in Jesus. And so it’s with that thought, he gives this statement in verse seven he says, so the proof of your faith being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire may be found to the result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus.
What’s he saying? He’s saying when you walk in this resurrection through adversity, it’s testing the validation of this resurrection as though tested by fire. This is the idea of refinement. That circumstances don’t define you, but rather Jesus does. And when you cling to the truth of the resurrection of Christ above any pressure that the world might throw at you. Any circumstance, any emotion that wells up within you. What he’s demonstrating here is that this foundation continues to be refined in you.
You show over and over again the consistency of what this truth is that sustains you and gives you your identity. It’s Jesus. And this can never be taken from you. This is your victory. The declaration in your life of all that you have in Christ because here’s what happens in the world. It fades away.
We need something that endures. And Jesus who has overcome death now promises us life in him. And you know the question that we could ask when we look at this passage, this is all the things that we have through the resurrection that Paul’s identifying for us. He wants us to remind us when our world is rocked, we have to reorient ourselves and let ourselves be refined to what gives us identity. And it’s not in feeling. It should be rooted in fact. Because it’s rooted in feeling, it’s going to change. We’re going to look for something constantly to define who we are.
But rather when that definition has already been declared in Jesus, we’re refined in him. And when we go through hard things, we need reminded of those things in circumstances. In fact, I would even say for us, it’s important before the adversity even comes to determine in our minds what defines who I am as a human being. What will I make my life about? What will prove in the midst of adversity, where I consistently look for my identity?
Paul is saying to this church going through persecution, before they even begin to endure persecution, let yourself be shaped here and it will consistently be refined over and over again in your life to show the goodness of who Jesus is. And so here comes the question then, how do we know? How do we know that our life can be really rooted here? And Peter gives an interesting statement in verse eight, let me just read it. Verse eight and nine he says this, and though you have not seen him, you love him. And though you did not see him now, but believe in him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Now I’m going to be honest and just say his statement in verse eight to me is awkward. Though you don’t see it and though you don’t have it right now, yet you walk in faith. It is what Peter’s telling us to do with the resurrection is just to be foolish and blind and just simply believe. Is that what he’s saying? I don’t believe that’s what Peter’s telling us in this passage. But let me just encourage you. If you look at a verse like that and you think that this is what it’s saying, that Peter’s just simply saying, okay guys, be ignorant and just have faith. Just believe me that it’s true and you believe it’s true and just ignorantly walk forward in that.
Let me just say if your heart does not resonate with that verse because you think that this what this verse is saying, I love the skeptic. I love those that are willing to just pause at a statement like that and just ponder over what Peter could be saying here. Because if you’re not questioning, you’re not really seeking. I think God creates us with a mind. And those that think question, and Jesus encouraged us with our minds to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. God created you to be a thinker. And if you’re not questioning, you’re not thinking.
Peter’s not just simply saying in this statement, just be blind and just believe that the resurrection existed because someone told you so. In fact, if you look in 1 Peter 3:15, our main theme to this passage of scripture, this section as we go through together, we’re calling this series, “All In.” And our theme verse is in 1 Peter 3:15, listen to what Peter says. But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. Look, he’s saying, you’ve got to give an account for the hope that’s in you. Make a defense for the hope is in you, and I love the attitude he says with gentleness and reverence.
Look, we don’t take the truth of who God is to simply prove to people we’re right and other people are wrong or to beat people up with truth. We use truth to serve people because it changes our lives. So do it with gentleness and reverence, but the place that I think that we should fixate on here as it relates to what Peter’s saying is, he says to us, make a defense to everyone for the hope that’s in you. This word defense. Some of you may know is the Greek word “apologia”. And some think that it could be connected to apologize, you have to apologize for your faith. And he’s not telling us to apologize here. You don’t have to apologize for what Jesus has done. We’re not into that sort of apologetic for Christianity. That’s not what this defense means.
But rather when you think about this word, what he’s saying is point to the credibility. Make a defense. Why is your truth claim credible? Why hold to this? Peter is not simply saying to do this simply because you should just be foolish and blind. What he’s saying is people are going to try to power trip over you, but can’t take away what you have in Jesus.
There is a foundation there that’s been demonstrated. How do you know? I want you to know this morning, I can’t go through every reason of proving the resurrection. I just going to talk about a few of them to you this morning. I can’t give you every reason to validate the resurrection. Because of that, what I did this morning is if you go to alpinebible.com, you click on the blog page. The first blog will give you 13 concise reasons for believing in the resurrection. You can go to our Facebook page and see that as well. Or you can click on the app and click on blogs. And so you’ll see it listed there.
Last night I was just typing these up and I actually decided to cut the list at 13, even though I had more that followed that. But there are ample reasons to believe in the resurrection. And I think the first thing to just simply say to us, in order to have a resurrection as you’ve got to have a dead person, right?
And when you think about the significance of this day and what it represents in Jesus, Jesus died for us. And if there’s any question as to whether or not Jesus died, just consider the events of this day. Passover, Jerusalem packed. The people are just around. And then they’re surrounded even with Jesus, because Jesus has just declared himself as King. The streets are full and Jesus is brought on trial and the crowds come before the trial of Jesus. And when the judgment is delivered on Jesus, he’s brought before professional executioners. Everyone sees this on public display in the streets of Jerusalem and Jesus is beaten. Jesus is whipped.
Jesus after the whipping, which would even in Jesus’ day was common for people to die just from that Jesus has to carry a cross beam of which his strength was so weak, he couldn’t fully do it to the place it would be crucified. They had to get Simon of Cyrene to help him carry that. And when Jesus gets to the cross, he’s crucified. And after he’s crucified, he speared in the heart. And after he’s speared in the heart he’s thrown into a tomb for three days without any medical attention and the tomb is sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers.
Jesus died. Jesus is executed by people whose job is to be professional killers. There is no question Jesus died. And Jesus is resurrected and there’s so many reasons that you can point to in scripture. Some that are even silly to think about and some are interesting to think about. Like for example, silly, when Jesus’ tomb is rolled back, it tells us in Matthew 28, that when the ladies go to the tomb, the tomb is rolled back. Not to let Jesus out, but to show the people on the outside that there’s no one on the inside. And when they see the tomb, they see that the grave clothes are folded in a corner separated from the turban and his garment that wrapped his body. When you go to a grave to rob a body, you don’t take time to fold clothes, right? And maybe it’s just a miracle that a dude folded his clothes. But here they are.
And if you’re going to rob a grave, you want to take things of value. But Jesus’ clothing is left behind. And not only that women were the first one at the tomb. And when you think about the first century, the credibility of women weren’t allowed to be used in the court of law. They wouldn’t allow them to testify. And yet God doesn’t care about that because he sees men and women as equal. And so the first one’s to the tomb and the first ones to testify about the resurrection are the ladies. It’s beautiful to see how God elevated and honored humanity, especially women. Jesus never talked negatively about women. You see consistently, he used them as an example. You would look at a guy that would turn from Jesus and he looked to the ladies and he would say, be like them, because they’re faithful.
And on and on you could go with the idea, the credibility of the resurrection. Even to the point that Jesus appears to 500 people at one time it tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:6. And the reason Paul writes that in 1 Corinthians 15 is to say to people, look, if you don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus, go ask people. There are hundreds of people still walking the earth that saw the resurrection of Christ. You can speak to them. And not only that, you have the prophecy of Jesus. And when you read further on in 1 Peter, this is exactly the arguments Peter starts to use. He doesn’t go through every reason to believe in the credibility of the resurrection, but he does identify a few of them. In verse 10, listen to what he says.
As to the salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the spirit of Christ within them was indicating. As he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you and these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. What’s he saying to us? He’s saying cling to the credibility of Christ. And here’s where we see it. You can see, as Paul says, prophetically.
It used to be argued years ago in the 1940s and 50s and previous to that, that the prophecies of Jesus were so clear and concise as to the time of his birth, the place of his birth, details of his life and even of his death. To the point that Jesus’ crucifixion was predicted before the cross even existed, Isaiah 52 and 53. They used to argue about Jesus, well, because these prophecies are so concise to the life of Christ and the death of Christ that they had to have been written after Jesus his days. And then in the 1940s and 50s in the Qumran Hills, what do they discover? The Dead Sea Scrolls. And what does that give us? Manuscripts that date as old as 200 years previous to Jesus. Literally the Bible Jesus would’ve read. And it predicts to us the life and death of Christ.
And Peter’s coming to this section of scripture and he’s saying to you, how do you know this resurrection is real? Sometimes when you go through hard things, you want to validate the foundation that you rest upon. And so what does he say? Look to the prophets. Even the prophets were looking forward to this day, longing for this day. And what he’s saying to the church, what he’s saying to us, think about how exceptional it is to live in this day and time. That in the Old Testament people looked forward to this day in great anticipation. And here you are right now on the backend of it, having experienced the goodness of Jesus made known in your life. What a beautiful story.
Not only can you look to the idea of the prophets does Peter say, but there’s even something unsaid about Peter’s own declaration of the resurrection. And I would even say it’s founded in Peter’s life. Think about the person who’s writing this letter to you.
You remember Peter’s own story that he went from cowardly fleer to boldly follower. Or boldly leader. Peter went from a coward that ran on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion to one who leads boldly. And he leads so boldly that he leads in a martyrdom. When Peter writes the book of 1 Peter and 2 Peter, these are months away from Peter’s own death. What caused Peter to go from coward to leader? A fact changed everything. He saw a dead man walking.
If you think about the significance of the resurrection. You know when you think about belief systems in this world, people give their lives all day long for ideologies. People will fly planes into the side of buildings over an ideology. But the disciples didn’t give their lives for an ideology. They gave their lives for a fact. And what was that fact? They couldn’t deny that they had seen a dead man walking. And Peter is saying to us, when we go through hardship, not only is this foundation refined within us and how important it is to let this foundation be refined through us in the resurrection of Jesus, but there is credibility to what you stand upon. And he just gives this example of the idea of the prophets. And even his own life by writing this letter.
Why is this credibility important? Because Christianity has a cost. If it’s not true, why pay the price to lay your life down? But if it is true, why not lay down your life? We don’t follow Jesus because it’s easy. We follow Jesus because it’s true. Because this event defines us. Through every circumstance we experience in life we continue to allow it to refine us. That because he lives we live too.
When you think about the example that Peter uses here, I think he concludes in these last two verses at the end of verse 12 and 13 for this purpose: information is intended to bring transformation as it relates to Jesus. This isn’t a truth that we just didn’t accept intellectually. This is the truth that gives us completely new identity. It transforms our lives.
And he says to us, at the end of verse 12 that even the angels long to look into this. Let me just say, if you read the Bible and you see the angels provoked by a circumstance, it’s a good reason to let that light a fire under your rear end too. And what he says at the end of 1 Peter, verse 12 is that even the angles are longing to look into this moment. This unfathomable reality that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would become the servant of servants and give his life and to love up people that would reject him and even crucify him.
You know what’s astounding for me in all of this as I consider it? That even in the last days of his life as Jesus was going to go to the cross, he goes to the upper room and he spends it with his disciples. And even after he knew Judas was going to betray him and he pronounces it. Do you know what Jesus does? Matthew 26:50, he refers to Judas as his friend. Even after he just finishes a statement saying, Judas I know you’re going to betray me. Jesus looks at his enemy and he calls him friend.
You think about in your own life, how well do you even love the people that like you? How well do you love the people that hate you? And Jesus never stopped loving you. Jesus never stopped loving Judas. Why? Because his love is what transforms you. That’s why he went to the cross. This isn’t just information. This is for life changing transformation. The significance of the cross and the resurrection of Christ is the foundation of all of Christianity. Understanding the validity of this event helps us be defined and continue to be redefined.
So he says this in verse 13 therefore, prepare your minds. Think. Think. Because Peter knows that the church is going to go through adversity. We’re all going to face it. And what are you going to let live out of you in the midst of those circumstances? What will you align your life with? What will be demonstrated in this world as to what defines you and continues to refine you? Is it the circumstances that the feeling? Think, prepare your minds right now for action, he says, keep sober in spirit.
This idea of sober is, look, when you go through adversity, it’s easy to get caught up in those moments. It’s easy to go through this emotional exercise and to panic and have anxiety and to worry. But this idea of being sober is saying calm and collected. And what allows you to be calm and collected? The thing that you know is consistent and the thing that gives you your identity. It’s Jesus.
Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter’s not just teaching his people how to take a punch. He’s showing the people how to walk in victory because Jesus didn’t just take a punch, but rather he counter punched to the point of victory over sin, Satan and death and we belong to him.
Which brings me to this thought of communion. For us as people, communion is so important because it represents the body and the blood of Jesus for our sins. The love that never stopped giving. And the resurrection for us is a game changer. This is the day that changed everything. And if you think about what this day is for God’s people. For centuries the Jews had celebrated Passover.
And Jesus in the upper room with his disciples is now celebrating the Passover and fulfilling the old covenant. He now institutes the new covenant and changes the Passover to what some call sacrament, but I think it’s more appropriate to call it communion. And the reason is, sacrament acknowledges that you need to do this to earn God’s grace. But we aren’t doing communion because we want to make God love us. We partake in communion because God has already loved us in our sin. Jesus gives his life for us.
And here’s what I want us to think about as we get ready to partake of communion, Communion is for believers, those who have put their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and what it represents for you. And if you think about the day Jesus was crucified on a Friday, the Bible tells us that in Luke 23, Jesus is crucified between two thieves. Luke 23:39, 43. And one thief in Luke 23:39 represents really the rest of the crowd. If you remember at this time, Jesus is being insulted and they are hurling insults at him. And one thief looks at Jesus and says, look, if you are King, save yourself, come down off the cross.
And the reason the crowd turn on Jesus is because they had this preconceived idea of who Jesus should be as a political leader. They wanted Jesus to physically rule and reign and dominate. But Jesus didn’t give them what they wanted. And because Jesus didn’t give them what they wanted, they turn their back on Jesus. And guys, we have the tendency to do that too. When we come to God, we say, God, if you do this, then I’ll do this.
Jesus doesn’t operate that way. To the thief on the cross who said, come down off that cross. The thief’s expectation is that Jesus would rule and reign according to their agenda. Jesus, give me what I want. But instead of giving you what you want, Jesus gives you what you need.
And that’s the picture of the other thief on the cross. The other thief begins to recognize in Luke 23, he says to us, God, I deserve where I’m at. But Jesus, remember me when you’re in paradise. 2 Corinthians 12:1-2 reminds us that paradise is the celestial kingdom. It’s the place where God rules and reigns and Jesus promises the thief that he will be there. Not because the thief came to Jesus because of what he wanted. He came to Jesus because of what he needed.
Jesus gives you a hope that transcends, and the way he does this, it’s through his own body that took your place by paying for your sins on the cross. And this is exactly what communion represents for us. Jesus’ body that was broken and his blood that was shed. And so Paul writes for us in 1 Corinthians 1,1 if you have not put your faith in Christ, here’s the opportunity for you today because of the validity of the resurrection. Listen, even if you count yourself as an enemy of God, we all were. And here’s the moment because of what Jesus has done for you, where you get to bow yourself and say, Jesus, I’m a sinner. Just like a thief on the cross who never could do a good work because his hands were nailed and yet it gives them a promise of life.
God, you died for my sins too. Save me, rescue me, give me the hope of this resurrection. If you’ve done that in Jesus, then we partake of communion together. All you have to do is just cry out to him for that salvation.
And in 1 Corinthians 11:23, for I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you. That the Lord in the night in which he was betrayed, he took bread. When he’d given thanks, he broke it and said, this is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. The same way he took the cup also after supper. And he said to us, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.
And then he ends up with a promise. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Jesus leaves us with the promise. Paul writes the promise in 1 Corinthians 12 and so does Peter.
Here’s the encouragement for all of us. When you face adversity in life and yes, those things can be hard, they don’t have power over you because Jesus has already given the victory. Don’t let your circumstances define you, but rather continue to let the resurrection of Jesus refine you. Because who you are in him you never lose and his love will never end for you.