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If you got a Bible this morning, I want to encourage you to turn to First Peter, where we’re going in together in the series that we’re on and on the topic of Jesus. And this is our last message in this series together. And the reason we’ve been going over it is because the centrality of of who Christ is, the Christology, understanding the biblical picture of Christ is central to the Christian faith, because everything that we are as a church is found in who Christ is. Jesus is the one that said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. He is the one that has established the church. He is eternal God and he has come for us. Life is foundational in him. In fact, he says, I am the way, the truth in the life. And so this message, this last topic that we’re going in together, we’re we’re you may be wondering if we’re talking about Jesus, why are we not continuing in the Gospels? Well, it really has to do with the message that Christ shared with us that we have now been called as a church to go forth into this world and, and share for him. And, uh, this, this message we’ve seen together. Christ was a king who came for us, served us though he was a king and rules and reigns, and he has called us to represent his kingdom in this world. And so when you turn to the book of acts, it’s going to give us a little bit of backdrop to First Peter as we get ready to dive into that.

So let me set up. You’re going to have to get there for me. Set up a little foundational backdrop as you find your place in First Peter chapter one. But in the book of acts, in chapter one and verse six, it gives a response to the early church. As Jesus has been resurrected, he’s about to ascend into heaven. And it tells, that tells us that the group of disciples are gathered together, and it says this. And they gathered around him and asked him, Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? He said to them, it is not for you to know the times or dates the father has set by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem. In all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Jesus is outlining for us his calling upon his church in which he has built. There is a redemption story that now we are all a part of, and declaring to this world what Christ has done for us. In fact, in a in the very basic sense, the word apostle, which Jesus called the the 12 and the 70, it really means in its root terms one sent forth if we’re just to maybe correlate that to an expression that we use today, it would be maybe the terms missionary, someone that you send forth in the proclamation of the gospel.

But the reality is, based on this passage, God calls all of us to proclaim the good news in which he shared the word gospel is is a message of proclamation. It’s something that we declare. It literally means good news. And so the idea of God calling the apostles to go forth in this world, to share this good news, if you if you picture him for just a moment as a king, when a king would go into battle, if a if a king was victorious, the first thing that would happen, or if he wasn’t victorious, he would send someone out ahead of the army to go back to the cities to declare the victory. And Jesus, being king, called his apostles to go forth throughout the world into the cities among the people, to declare the victory of the King. It is a proclamation of good news. It’s the reason for which the church has the opportunity to rejoice and all that God has done for us. We turn to the Book of First Peter. It’s important for us to see how this message, this context, when God calls his people to share His Word, just plays out throughout the rest of Scripture. And first, Peter is a is a beautiful book that really defines for us the essentials of living for Christ because of God’s redemption story on our behalf, how we become a part of it.

The reason I love the Book of First Peter is because Peter is writing his book to believers who are enduring significant hardship because of their faith in Christ, even in that adversity. Peter’s encouragement to them. Is to live for their king and kingdom. This message of redemption we refer to as the gospel. Is sacred. I want to start in verse ten for, for just a moment. We’re going to look at verse ten to verse 12 and this section of Scripture. I want to kind of give an idea of how this portion lays in the chapter for just a moment. So as you’re as you’re looking at it, verse ten to to verse 12 is sort of an interruption statement. So verses 3 to 7, Peter gives his explanation of living for the gospel and why we should live for the gospel. He goes on from verse 13 and does it again, but in verse ten to to 12 he kind of gives this interruption statement, and he’s almost kind of presupposing in his mind, as he’s writing this letter to the church, that they’re they’re asking these questions within their mind, these thoughts that they’re wrestling with over the significance of the gospel. And he interrupts his story. And I think good speakers have the tendency to do that, to anticipate what what someone’s questions may be, to interrupt that thought, to answer those questions, to relate it back to the text of why it’s important for our lives.

And so when Peter writes in First Peter chapter one and verse ten. It says as to the salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that you would come, 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 preach the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit, sent from heaven things into which angels long to look. Now Peter starts his message as he as he’s laying out for the church the significance of living for Christ in light of what Jesus has done for us. And he just points to the importance of this message, how God has laid this redemption story throughout time on earth. From the from the beginning of Genesis three, people have been proclaiming this message of Christ. And and in the Old Testament, when you think of the prophet prophets that have given this proclamation, it tells us they were carefully. Searching. These inquiries about the gospel of which God was laying on their hearts to share. This. This search in the Greek text means one is one that’s done diligently, one that’s done anxiously, one that’s done carefully.

Just wanting to know how God would map all of this out for us, how this story would play out, knowing that they they weren’t the end of the story, but they they were a part of the story. I try to think about how we could even relate this to our lives. Maybe. Maybe you think, as a parent, for the first time when you have have a child, how how precious it is, how those moments you just savor how how the first time you change the diaper in the hospital room to the to the time you load the child in the car and you take it home. Just the significance of this moment, this this gospel is, is so precious. There’s redemption that God has brought is so important, so much so that when you even when you read the book of of Galatians, Paul opposes Peter to his face because he’s living a lifestyle contrary to what the gospel is. And how Peter’s reminding us of its significance. I think in, uh, in my life, I’ve, I’ve had two boys. Well, not me, but my wife did. And I’m responsible for them though, right. And, you know, both times she was, uh, going to have a child, I remember going in and we’re going to find out what, what gender the child is going to be. And I got to be honest, as we go into that room, both times we’ve done that, I’ve been extremely nervous because with a boy, I feel like in my heart I know this isn’t true for everybody, but I could relax a little bit more.

Okay, I’m just thinking I would be one of those obsessive, I know I would. I would be one of those obsessive dads. I could kill somebody, right? But, you know, I was thinking about it this week because I saw this picture online of this father that said it was a quote across the photo that said, whatever you do to my daughter, I’m going to do to you. Right. And and so it says this prom picture of this, of this girl with her boyfriend. And then it shows the next picture. It’s the dad having the same pose with, with the boyfriend. So it was whatever you do to me I want to do to my daughter lived to the max. But but the point is, there are things in our lives that are precious. That are sacred. Had her a gift, right? Things that we hold in high esteem. Things that you write fragile on when you transport with. Um, that’s the gospel. It’s the foundation of the Christian faith because of what Christ has done. It’s something that we take serious. Something that. That Peter even goes on from here and tells us angels long to look into. I would say to us, as we think about this text for, for just a moment in verse 11 and 12, he tells us how this message was delivered.

It was it was seeking to know what person or at the time, the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating, as he predicted, the sufferings of Christ and the glories of the father that was revealed to them, that they were not serving themselves but you in these things which now has has been announced to you through those who preach the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, which angels long to look into. Jesus. Paul’s identifying through the Lord here. Exactly how God’s Spirit works, right? I mean, you said last week, as we looked at John 14, Jesus would send his advocate that would enable the church to live for the Lord in this world. And the next two chapters, he continues to describe the aspects of the Holy Spirit and what it would fulfill. But listen to this for just a minute in John chapter 16 and verse 13. But when he, the spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own initiative. But whatever he hears, he will speak, and he will disclose to you what what is to come. He will glorify me, for he will take of mine and will disclose it to you. You know, we talked a little bit last week of what it looks like when the Spirit of God is working within our lives. There’s this fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness.

But, you know, the truth is, religious lifestyle can fabricate that apart from Christ, right? And when you can dive into religion the way a religion validates itself, as it says, you know I’m good, therefore I must be godly. But but the truth is, when, when, when God identifies for us the way that the spirit works, it says in John chapter 16, verses 13 and 14, the spirit is going to testify to the truth. It’s going to, uh, magnify God’s word. It’s going to proclaim the gospel, and it’s going to make much of Jesus. The point of the spirit is to glorify Jesus. In fact, when you go to first John chapter four and verse one, it says, brothers, believe not every Spirit of God, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone in the world. And then it tells us in verse two and three how that happens. It identifies for us again how that spirit makes itself known. It proclaims the truth and it makes much of Jesus. What Peter is saying to us is identifying for us that the spirit is at work here, because it is doing that very thing. The prophets long to look into this Christ. It was pushing to them the significance of who this Jesus is. The identity of who Christ is is. It is glorifying him. When Jesus, when the Spirit of God is working within your life, your desire is to make much of Jesus, because we understand as it relates to his redemption story.

Apart from Christ, there is no redemption. There is no hope. Jesus is everything. And so he says at the end of this, the angels long to look at this. This is this is the idea of just staring intently. Maybe as a kid, if you remember that moment in your life where you, you got that little thing that you would click on the side and the pictures would change, or, or the little kaleidoscope, you just spin around and you just look intently into that, or, or that awkward person that stares at you way too long and you’re like, stop looking at me, creep. Like that kind of that kind of gazing is happening here. One of the one of the, uh, speakers I’ve heard, uh, share on this passage by the name of, uh, of Tim Keller was talking about, uh, how we might view this passage of Scripture when, when it relates to the gospel, because sometimes we hear the word gospel and we have an incorrect understanding of what what it means. And he says, he literally said about this, this section of Scripture, he says the angels aren’t longing to look into this because they’re idiots, right? I mean, if you just look at the gospel as this, this story of information, the angels aren’t looking at this gospel and saying, you know what? That’s that’s a great story. And walking away and be like, oh, you know, I forgot.

I gotta go back and look. Oh yeah, that’s what it was. Okay. Oh I forgot that’s not that’s not what it’s saying. These angels are doing these these angels aren’t ignorant. What he’s pointing out in this passage is there’s there’s so much more to the gospel than just a story or or an event. It is for, for certain an event. But maybe you’ve even had a child, you know, in church. Or maybe you’ve been like this in church at some point in your life where they’re going to go to class and they know what the story is and they’re like, I know it. You know, I know David killed Goliath and Noah was on a boat. I know that story. Right? But but what he’s identifying for us in these angels, through Peter, is to recognize in our lives that the gospel, it is an event. But that event transforms not not just us. In a moment of saying, you get this, this ticket out of out of hell free card, but it transforms the identity of who you are as a person. The gospel, the gospel is more to us than that. It it it alleviates aspects of our life. It transforms us, transforms us to other parts of our lives. Let me just give you an illustration of what I mean. If you understand what the gospel is, then why do we as people that troubles overthrow us? Why do we take our identity from what others say? You can’t belong to Jesus, or you shouldn’t belong to Jesus and live life for the praise of others.

If we know what the gospel is about, why do we live for earthly kingdoms rather than for eternal kingdoms? Right? This message tells us in the Bible. In Second Corinthians chapter five and verse 17 is quoted right at the bottom. In Christ you are a new creation. It transforms your identity. It transforms the way you live life, the way you perceive the world, what you think is valuable versus what you think is invaluable. The gospel, the gospel, God’s redemption story involves you into a plan for a kingdom of which you didn’t belong, and gives you a new identity in him that is a of a broader scope than beyond. Today, it lasts for eternity. So how should we respond? See the profits looking into these things. The angels just gazing at what God’s doing in our lives. First Peter chapter one and verse 3 to 7. Peter goes on to describe just just how we should respond to the gospel and why we we don’t want to respond the way the gospel shares about our lives. But this is what he says in chapter one and verse three, 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, to obtain an inheritance who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last times.

And this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith being more precious than gold, which is perishable even though tested by fire, fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor. At the revelation of Jesus Christ. How does it tell us to respond to this message? In verse six it says that we greatly rejoice in what God has done. Why do we not respond this way? Why is it sometimes our heart finds adversity in rejoicing in the gospel? Let me just give you some thoughts. I’m going to share just an idea from from my life as I’ve wrestled with this tax, knowing some points in my life, I’m not rejoicing other points in my life, I delight in it. Why? Why is it I, I, I’m not rejoicing. I’m going to tell you, you can disagree with this because this is just a viewpoint from this passage. But in my own heart, knowing what God’s called me to do and looking at these angels and prophets, rejoicing in this, why? Why is it sometimes we struggle to rejoice? I think sometimes we have a hard time relating to a verse like this, because in our Christian bubble, we don’t take opportunity to step out of our comfort comfort zone and to begin to appreciate what God has done.

I think in this passage that we can intellectually agree to ourselves that what this verse says is true. But sometimes within my heart, or maybe our hearts were not rejoicing. We’re going to say it’s going to be great in heaven. But the truth is we we think it’s pretty good down here. And then rather than long to see Jesus, we’ll tell him, you know, give us, give us just a little bit longer. Christ. I’ve got it pretty good right now. Or praise God, we’ll think of someone as a new believer. You know, we’ll hear life transformed in Christ and someone’s a new believer. And we’re like, that’s great, rejoice. And now can I get back to the ball game right. Or or when, when hardships happen, we say, you know, heaven will be better, but really, really, we just want whatever’s going on negative in our earthly life to go away so I can get back to living my comfortable life. And the truth is, when I talk about rejoicing in the gospel, sometimes there’s adversity in that because I don’t like discomfort. And God, my God, sometimes could become comfort. Now, I’m not saying comfort is wrong, but in the book of Second Timothy, chapter three and verse four, talking about those that live godless lives, it says this about them. They love pleasure more than they love God. And to appreciate what the gospel is and what God’s redemption story for us is, you have to you have to call the facade of earthly pleasure what it really is a temporary place.

God has given me to be a steward to, to make much of him. To rejoice in this passage. Sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves in what God has done, because most of the world doesn’t live in the luxury of what a society in America experiences today. I think about even right now, Christians in Syria that are suffering because of their faith. Too many of those believers. This passage is all that they have to cling to, to to someone whose body may be wrecked with disease, to someone who who has just lost a loved one. The. This passage of Scripture is one to remind us of the hope of of what is to come. And for many of us, we have to fight the battle of not lying to ourselves that our earthly kingdom is more pleasing than our heavenly kingdom. And what I’m saying. I’m not telling you to go torture yourself. I think for us to appreciate what God has done. It’s not about torturing ourselves, but it’s about giving ourselves the opportunity to get uncomfortable. Don’t torture yourselves, but but don’t shelter yourself. In fact, in first Peter chapter four and verse one, a little later, when Peter describes the suffering of the Christians, he he says to them, if, if you’re willing to let your life endure, endure torture for Christ, or hardship for for Christ, or physical pain for Christ, there is nothing this world can hold over you because of your faith in Christ.

And I don’t think Peter’s encouraging the believers to pursue it, but I’m thinking he’s encouraging the believers not to turn from it if given the opportunity. I think if you allow yourselves in uncomfortable situations for Christ, it helps you to appreciate the gospel more. Were calloused by pleasure, and in that sense, pain becomes helpful. David Livingston, a Christian missionary from the 1800s from Africa, said this. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. It is emphatically no sacrifice. Rather, it is a privilege. So I think for David Livingston, the trials of Africa drew him closer to Jesus. You know what I think about how how even my family can learn to live and what it means to rejoice in this gospel. Uh, and I think about our church family and what it means to learn to live, to rejoice in the gospel. For us. We have to take a mentality of not looking at this place as a fortress to hide, but what we are equipped and called to do as a as a church family happens outside of these doors, beyond Sunday, that we go into a broken and hurting world representing who Christ is and in that brokenness, get the opportunity to rejoice in what the gospel is.

God’s plan of redemption. And one of the things that my family not encouraging you to doing this, but my family fighting to to figure out how to live this verse the way God has called me to and not rejoice. I know there’s some wisdom in protecting our children, but to still be in the reality of the world. As we we started to go through foster care classes for the purpose of getting with families and children in situations that are broken and just loving and helping mend families closer to Christ. Now, I’m not saying copy that. And I’m not saying praise me because I haven’t even started it yet. What I’m saying is, in our lives, the purpose of this gospel plays a significant role in the way that we choose to live as people. And the redemption of what Christ has done in our own brokenness. Sometimes we get to a place where the comfort of Judeo Christian society, we just forget of how broken the world might be around us. And when you get a look into the brokenness, rather than hiding from it, it gives you the opportunity more to be thankful of a God who cares so much that he has written you into his redemption story. And how, rather than running away from the battles in front of us and cowering from it, rather than hiding from that pain just to please comfort and pleasure, it gives us the opportunity to run straight into it as light for redemption, rejoicing in what Christ has done in our lives.

Peter goes on. How else? Verse 13. How to respond to the gospel. I think it’s by preparing our lives to see him face to face. It says this. Therefore, prepare your minds for action. Keep sober in spirit. Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance. But like the Holy One, who who called you, be holy yourselves also in all of your behavior, because it is written, you shall be holy, for I am holy. If you address as father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth. This word for fear is one that plays into reverence to God. One of the reasons we struggle to live a life like this that Peter describes is because sometimes we love our kingdom here more than we love the kingdom for which we were given in Christ. But what Peter calls us to here is this word of holiness. Holiness. It means separation. It means to recognize that you are a foreigner in a foreign land now that your kingdom belongs not here on earth. And so you separate yourself for that kingdom and preparing your mind to live your life for that kingdom. Now, now, this is what I don’t think this passage is saying, okay.

I don’t think this passage is saying, stop everything you’re doing and just go out and go, go be a full time missionary for Christ. Quit your job, quit everything, and just go be a full time missionary for Christ. Now. Now it may lead us, some of us to something like that, but what I’m saying is, I think this passage is encouraging us to the to the way we live our lives and what we’re doing in our lives to reorient it for the purpose of which we are proclaiming Christ. Let me let me give you an example. Martin Luther, not King Jr, but the one who led the Reformation was once asked, what would you do today if you knew it was the end of the world? And he said, if I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would plant an apple tree. Now here is a guy leading a reformation in the 1500s, and he’s telling us if he knew tomorrow was the end of the world, he would plant an apple tree of which we know he would get no apple from. Right? Why would you do that? The point is, I think Martin Luther understands exactly why God has called him in this world what he’s living for. When the Bible created us man. In the beginning it told us to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. And what I think it means for us is that God has called us to represent him wherever we are in this world, right? Whether it be in relationship to your family, whether it be relationship to coworker, whether it be how you work at your job.

God wants you to display the glory of who he is in all that you do. Right. And Martin Luther was living his life that way. God, I’m going to plant a tree because God has called me to take care of the earth, and I’m going to reflect his glory and goodness and be thankful for the opportunity to plant this tree. But, you know, we also know by his life he also stood up for Christ. He didn’t back down from the opportunity to proclaim his truth. He just lived in light of the kingdom. You know, I think in our lives that can go all the way down to get this, the way you take vacations as a person. Well, I think about the life of Jesus and the way that he took breaks within his life. Jesus would go up to the mountains and spend time by himself. It’s been time in prayer. But he didn’t work and live his life so that he could vacation, right? He took vacations so he could go back and live his life for the father. I know Jesus’s vacations were often followed by crowds of people, and it’s probably not fair to call it a vacation. It was more like five minutes away.

But even you in your life. Sometimes we get in the rat race of life, and we work so hard to get stuff so that we could go on vacation. The truth is, those are opportunities for you to refresh yourself in the Lord so that when you get back to the to the life in which God has called you to live on a daily basis, you can reflect his goodness. And things don’t necessarily have to change in the way that you structure your life. But what what is important is that when you orient your life, it is to the glory of God. Prepare your minds for action. Keep sober in spirit. Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lust which you were in your ignorance, but like the Holy One. Who who called you. Be holy yourselves and your behavior. How do we respond? Reality is with a pure heart. Respond with a pure heart. At the end of the Book of Revelation in chapter 22 and verse 20, the desire of the end of the Bible. Is to want to see the return of Christ. Our lives are so oriented that the goodness of his kingdom in which we live for that we we just can’t wait to experience the freedom of the from the suffering and the oppression of the world. God’s redemption story is bigger than me.

When God talks about his return, there’s a recreation of, of all things, all things restored in him. No more pain, no more sorrow. And so the Book of Revelation ends, just longing for that return. But as Christ tarry, so in our hearts we live for that kingdom of redemption, and and going rejoicing in what the gospel represents. Because for us as people, it is hope that we root ourselves in our King and His kingdom. Sometimes we don’t long to see him. See him? It’s one we love. What we have more than we honestly love him. Or two. We don’t really want to see him face to face because our lives have not been wholly. We’re not ready yet. We we we know we’ve been living for something other than him. So rather than rejoicing at the presence of Christ, we want to cower away from it. But but the Bible for us as individuals, sometimes we get in this mentality of of the good old days are behind us, right? Well, it’s not like it used to be, but the reality is the good old days are in front of all of us to those who hope in Christ. I think David Livingston quoted him earlier, but I think he understood this picture. Listen to what he says here. If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a heavenly king be considered a sacrifice? This message that the angels long to look into this event that transforms our lives and God’s redemption to us.

It is sacred. If you if you were to read the story of David Livingstone, he was he was born in the early 1800s in Scotland. He he went on to become a doctor. He studied in England. He eventually was trained in some Bible training and he went to Africa as a missionary. He started off in South Africa and he traveled into the interior parts of Africa itself. He he was an incredible, godly individual. Both he and his wife living for the Lord. He was a a strong abolitionist against slavery. In fact, he gives in one of his biographies, it tells a story of of him going into the inner parts of Africa and seeing this horrific accounts of of those that were captured into slavery and what was happening. And he became a strong abolitionist. He he was an individual that he was mangled by a lion at some point because of his faith in Christ that took him to Africa. He he lost an eye. His wife passed away from from an illness as a missionary in Africa. At one point he he no one had contact with him in Africa for a while, and they thought he had lost his life in a battle that was fought there. And they sent a man by the name of Henry Stanley into Africa, from from the, uh, from England to find him. And when he walks in and finds David Livingstone, he makes it known that he is an atheist.

He doesn’t want anything to do with with David Livingstone. He spends a year with him, goes back to England, reports he’s he’s still alive within that time, spending his life with David Livingstone. Henry Stanley put his faith in Christ, became a believer, and wrote one of the best biographies on the life of David Livingstone. When he was 60 years old, Livingstone lost his life to malaria. He was in the country of Zambia. And, uh, the story goes that when he lost his life, two of his companions carried his body over a thousand miles through Africa to the coast so that he could be placed upon a ship and his body sent back to England, but before they carried his body out of Zambia. It’s kind of a graphic story, but those individuals cut out his heart and they buried it beside a tree where David Livingstone lost his life. Why? Because they knew David Livingston started his life in England. But David Livingston gave his heart for the Lord in Africa. The opportunity you have to rejoice in the gospel is found in carrying a similar heart to what David Livingston did. Giving himself for the sake of Christ and a world of brokenness and finding opportunity to rejoice in the Lord.


Persecuted Church