1 Peter 1:3-8 (Easter 2023)

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Today for us, we celebrate the greatest day in history, a day that changed everything, Jesus’s resurrection from the grave. And we of all people should celebrate today if we don’t get excited about this. Nobody’s getting excited about this, but we understand how important this day is and what it means for our lives both now and forever, that God would pursue us and give His life for us and the Apostle Peter during a time of persecution. He chose to write to the first century church, and he used the resurrection of Christ as a way to encourage believers. And so we’re going to look at first Peter, chapter one today to to look at this section where Peter wants to spur the believers on in the midst of their persecution. And we’re going to talk about three reasons to celebrate the resurrection. If you have Alpine Bible Church, the app and you click on notes, you’ll see today’s notes as well as at the tent. We handed those out. So if you received them, you can follow along in that. But point number one in your notes, three reasons to celebrate the resurrection is this There is a God who lives forever. And Peter starts off this way. And in first Peter chapter one, verse three, you’re going to have to click for me, Shalom, because I don’t have the power, He says. Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Peter starts off this letter by encouraging believers to remind us that there is a God who lives forever. Right? The resurrection in verse three of Jesus Christ from the dead, that Jesus, God in the flesh overcame the grave and conquered sin, Satan and death. And it’s the physical proof of the resurrection that gave the Apostle Peter the opportunity to go from a coward at the cross to a courageous Christian who would give his life for the Lord. If you remember the stories in the Gospels that the early followers of Jesus, once they once they saw Jesus crucified, they assumed that the story was over. In fact, there was a concern for their own life, knowing that Jesus had been crucified, they were identified as followers of Christ, and now their concern is for their own life. What would happen to them because of Jesus’s death? But Peter, excuse me goes from a coward to courageous because Peter could not deny the fact that he had seen a dead man walking and Peter was no longer afraid of death, but rather Jesus’s life over death gave gave Peter the courage to face adversity in the midst of the obstacles of persecution that others put before him. And Peter, in seeing this dead man walking, stood upon that and used it as a profession for others to come to, to know the Lord and live in light of him.

And the resurrection is what led Peter to write these words of rejoicing with Christians who were facing persecution. Not not only is there a God that lives then, but also therefore there is a hope that never dies. Point number two in your notes, there is a hope that never dies. In fact, in verse three, Peter also acknowledged, he says, Jesus has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection. The Easter story is all about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. But in that story, we find the redemption of our own souls that Christ would pay the price for, for our life, that he pursues us, that he forgives us, that he gave his life for us, that we could find freedom in him, a God who who loves us. And with a love that a love that nothing in this world can compare to that God gave his own life for you, that you could find freedom in Him. The Bible tells us that he did that while we were yet sinners in Romans five eight, that he gave his life for us, that Jesus willingly chose the cross. Some people may make the accusation that it was the first century Jews that crucified Jesus. Some may say it was Rome at fault for crucifying Jesus, but truth be told, no one was going to crucify God unless he was willing to lay down his own life. And Jesus and Jesus’s entire life was about his death.

In fact, starting in the very first book of the Bible from Genesis chapter three and on, it’s the story of the promise of God who would give his life and suffer a mortal wound for us in order that we might have freedom in him. Genesis Chapter three, verse 15, tells us that Christ would suffer the the fatal heel wound in order to give us life. And Peter uses this to remind us that that it was God who willingly chose the cross. His life was about his death. And not only was God willing to choose the cross our sin. Put him there. Jesus died for you and for me. You think about the reasons for which Jesus was crucified or the cause that led Jesus to be crucified, one he was willing to lay down his life. And two, he was willing to do that because of your sin. Jesus lived for the purpose of death, and his resurrection brings hope. He thinks some people in this world, they struggle to find worth and value and meaning, but there is no greater worth or value that can be placed on your life than than God’s alone. God gave up everything, leaving His throne in heaven to come to this earth, to live as a man and become the servant of servants in order for you to have freedom in him. There is a God who lives forever. So we celebrate the resurrection and there is a hope that never dies because Jesus overcame the grave for you and for me.

And therefore we have reason to rejoice. In fact, there was a second century writer, a Greek writer. His name was Lucian of Samosata. And Lucian said about the early church that they believed so much in the resurrection that that they believed they were immortal and therefore had no concern for death. The resurrection changed everything and it gave hope for God’s people to the point number three in your notes is this We have a place to always belong. In verse four, it goes on and shalom, give me another one. Click there, verse four. It goes on into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for you. It’s a reminder for us that what you have in God can never be taken away. You think in the early church there was the fear of persecution and they could be robbed of the things of this world. But the things they had in Jesus could never be destroyed. In fact, God promises to reconcile every wrong ever done against his people. He tells us in Romans eight that all things work together for good. To those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. A beautiful promise for his people. When you think about the obstacles that you’ve gone through in your own life and the adversity that you’ve faced in your world, and sometimes we even ask the question, God, where are you in the midst of this? God, how can we endure? God do you care? But God gives us the promise that He will reconcile all wrong and wipe away every tear from your eye.

And if we ask the question, how do we know that confidently? How do we know that God can work that out in my life? How do we know that God cares about me in that moment? The answer for us as believers is always the cross of Christ. If God could take the worst day in all of history, the day that God dies and turn that into the emblem of triumph and rejoicing for God’s people, imagine what he can do with your life. The darkest day of history becomes the greatest day of celebration. We call Friday Good Friday. Why in the world would we ever call it Good Friday? If it’s the day that God died, it’s because it’s also the day that Jesus hung on the cross and said, In John 1930, it is finished, paid in full. Thinking about your life. Jesus gave his life for your life so that you could have freedom in him. And because of that, what you have in Christ will never be wasted and you will always belong. And so in verse six, he says this, in this, you rejoice, though, now for a little while if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. Peter doesn’t run away from the adversity that we face as people, especially in the first century, as Christians are being persecuted. Peter comes to those believers and he reminds them that God cares in the midst of that adversity and the way that we see the evidence of his care is that he becomes flesh like us.

He meets us in our deepest of needs, and he willingly gives his life for us so that we can have freedom in him. God cares for our struggles, and God shows it by entering into our suffering and pursuing us in our sin. And your ugliest moments of life. God did not give up on you. God continued to care about you. God continued to reach out for you. God gave his life for you. God. God knows the worst of the worst that you’ve done in your life. And yet he died willingly for you. I know sometimes when we struggle, we. We ask those questions. God, where are you? But the cross reminds us. That it’s never in those adversities are we absent from his love. We may not understand always why until we get into eternity and we meet him face to face. But we know in the midst of those struggles, it’s never without a God who cares. His life. For yours. In this world. We will face adversity. For the early church on this first Easter. They were certainly experiencing adversity. The woman who first witnessed the empty tomb are described in scripture as being afraid. And Matthew Chapter 28. Matthew 28 It says for us and give me another one. So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

You see, in this passage there they had just experienced the resurrection of of Jesus, but they didn’t entirely know what was taking place. They had just experienced the gruesome death of their friend and their leader, and they were extremely concerned. They were concerned with what they saw. They were concerned for their own life. They were afraid. And yet they went to the empty tomb anyway. And in an act of boldness. And when they got there, they discovered the tomb was empty and an angel had told them that Jesus was no longer there. And so there was this reluctance and fear within them. But at the same time, this confusion with joy. And they were told to run and tell the disciples. And so they ran. And in verse ten, in the midst of that fear, it tells us that Jesus met them. And it said, Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. There they will see me. And in the first century. Beginning with the women. They embraced the hope they had in Christ and therefore they were comforted. And this propelled the church to extreme growth in the first century, rapid growth in the first century. Because when you study early Christianity, what you discover in the first 250 years of Christianity, the first 120 or 125 of those 250 years could lead to your death because you followed Jesus.

Why in the world would people choose to follow Christ if it could lead to your death? The only explanation. Is that the early church experienced a dead man walking. Jesus overcame the grave, and because Jesus overcame the grave, they had the hope of knowing that they could overcome the grave too, because of the Lord. Under the Roman Empire, Christians went through seasons of persecution. One of the places Christians were persecuted was in the coliseums. The coliseums weren’t necessarily a predominant place where Christians were persecuted, but nonetheless they were sometimes drug to this place. And at the coliseums you had thousands of people, spectators who would show up for the events as well as political leaders. The political leaders loved being at the Coliseum because this was the greatest gathering of people, and so they could be in front of the masses and have influence. So the political leaders would show up in order to to be around thousands of people. And the spectators enjoyed hearing from their political leaders. It was a place they could get news from what was happening in Rome. It was a place they could get news from, what was happening in their own local areas where their rulers were leading. But the coliseums attracted thousands and the leaders of the regions where these coliseums would existed. They would walk through a special entrance into the arena in Rome. That entrance was referred to as the Emperor’s gates during persecution the Christians that would refuse to deny their faith.

They were dragged into the coliseums and they were fed to the wild animals and some of the Christians would survive the attack of the animals. They would be maimed and they would be hurt and wounded, and the emperor would stand over the proceedings of these games and he would look down upon the Christians that would be torn apart. And Christians like if you want to ever look this up, there was a lady who was a slave named Blandina. Another lady named Felicity, who was also a slave, a noblewoman named Perpetua, whose stories are shared about the events that took place in these coliseums and how they met a martyrdom faith. But the emperor would stand over this Colosseum looking down at these Christians. And he would respond by either giving them a thumbs up or a thumbs down. If the emperor would give a thumbs up, they were allowed to live. But if the emperor would give a thumbs down, they were executed. You know what’s interesting today? If you were to go to the Roman Colosseum and visit. There is an emblem that stands at the entrance of the Roman Colosseum next to the Emperor’s gate. And it’s the cross. It’s a reminder of all the believers who went into that Colosseum with the greatest of expectation that what they had in Jesus would endure forever because what they had in Jesus could never be taken away. Jesus overcame the grave and their leader had promised them that they could overcome the grave, too.

And so Peter says to us in First Peter chapter one, verse eight, he goes on and says, Though you have you have not seen him, you love him. And though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. The evidence of the first century Church points to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus so that throughout the centuries, God’s people can continue to hope and the goodness of what Christ has delivered to us. And so when you get to an end of of a message like this, can I just tell you my concern as a pastor? That people, when they understand what Jesus has done, they typically approach the message and they respond one of two ways. There’s three ways you can respond, one of two ways I hope we do not. One is, before I come to God, I need to be good. And two is to think that you’re already good enough. And friends. Can I tell you this morning if one of those two is you? You have no idea what Jesus has done for you. You have no understanding of what the gospel really is. If you think you’ve got to be good before you come to God, you have no understanding of the love and grace that Jesus has poured out for you at the cross. My hope for you this morning is that you understand Jesus is enough.

You don’t come to Jesus having cleaned up first. You come to Jesus where you are. Because what Jesus has done on your behalf is more than enough. It’s why Jesus stood on the cross and said it is finished. Paid in full. Jesus is expectation of your soul is not that you perfect yourself before coming to him or do some sort of performance in order to be accepted by him. His performance on the cross for your life was more than enough. What Jesus calls you to. And it tells you in first Peter Chapter one, verse five. Faith. Trusting in what Jesus has already done in your behalf, to come to Christ as a sinner and say, Lord, I am a sinner, but God, thank you for dying for me. If you think you’re already good and that Jesus is just for other people. Can I tell you, you as well have no understanding of what Jesus has done for you. If your goodness is all that was needed. Jesus would have never died on the cross. His willingness to suffer for your life is evidence of how dire your soul situation is apart from the Lord. And so for all of us, all of us, the cross is the place where we get to experience a relationship with the Lord forever. Anyone who enters into eternity enters through the cross of Christ. It’s not about how good you are. It’s about what God has done for you. Certainly when we come to know Jesus, we want to live for His glory in this world.

But we, by our our living, do not save ourselves. It’s the evidence of the cross that communicates to us. Jesus was in. He lived during the most religious time, among the most religious people. And if all that mattered was that you were good. When Jesus appeared before them, he would have said, Good job guys at being good. But. But Jesus knew. Jesus knew in order for the soul to be saved, he had to die for your sins and for mine. The only way to experience a relationship with God is through the cross. But the beauty of the cross is that communicates to you that God desires a relationship with you. That you would surrender your life to him, to know him for all of eternity. Can I tell you the number one thing that keeps us from knowing Jesus? It’s not evidence for the resurrection. If you want evidence for the resurrection, if you click on Open Bible Church app and look on the notes, you’ll find a blog article there for you for the evidence of the resurrection. It’s not evidence for the resurrection. There is one thing that keeps people from coming to know Christ. It’s pride. It’s our pride. It’s our unwillingness to surrender ourselves to Jesus, calling him savior and giving him our lives as Lord and following after Him. It’s pride that destroys our walk with God. But it’s when our hearts are humbled before him that the Bible promises that he will save us.

Romans 12:1-8

Romans 12:9-21