Sermon Outline – Providence Reformed Church (Greenville, NC)

Preaching of the Particular Word: 1 Peter 1:4-9

Introduction – As 1:2-3 showed us, the Triune God has acted in history to save a people. Although these people are now “strangers” scattered throughout Asia Minor, they are still the special recipients of God’s predestination. God the Father is “blessed” because, out of his “abundant mercy,” he has “begotten us again”. God the Father has foreknown a people; God the Spirit has sanctified a people, sprinkling them with the blood of Jesus, making us an obedient people. We have a “lively hope” now because we are born again, through the “resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. What is the nature of this hope, and how does it help us deal with “manifold temptations” and “firey trials” of our faith?

Overview – We live in light of the Resurrection. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we are still dead in our sins (1 Cor. 15). But because Christ rose from the dead, we have a “lively hope”. We have an “inheritance” in heaven, an “incorruptible and undefiled” inheritance (v. 4). We are not merely saved from our sins, we are saved to this glorious inheritance. God did not merely cast our sins far from us, he filled us up with immense riches. We know we will not lose this heavenly inheritance because we are “kept by the power of God” (v. 5). We look forward a salvation which will be revealed fully “in the last time” (v. 5). Therefore we rejoice in the midst of earthly sorrows (v. 6). Though we may be burdened by temptations now, this is part of God refining our faith (v. 7). The faith God gives us is a precious metal, more precious than gold, which must be purified in the fires of affliction. This faith believes in Jesus Christ, and loves him, though we cannot now see him (v. 8). Because we believe, we “rejoice with joy unspeakable”.

Our Inheritance – Peter’s audience are addressed as “strangers” scattered throughout Asia Minor, and Peter also calls his readers “strangers and pilgrims” (2:11). We are strangers living in a strange land. We are pilgrims on a journey. In 1:17, Peter speaks of “sojourning”, which reminds us of Abraham and his sojourn through the Promised Land. Just as the Jews wandered far from the Promised Land, so Christians wander now. The Promised Land was only a type of the Heavenly Land. We no longer place any significance to the land of Israel. We hope for Heaven. Abraham, during his earthly sojourn, looked for heaven (Heb. 11:8-10). In Christ, we have already entered into the Promised Land. God, the Father, has already blessed us with “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), and has given us the Spirit as the “earnest” (pledge or down-payment) of this inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14), all to the praise of his glory.Although our inheritance is ultimately in heaven, we can’t be “so heavenly minded we’re no earthly good.” In the Great Commission, Jesus expanded the land promise into a world-promise. Through Jesus, we have inherited the world. Jesus told his disciples that “all authority” was given to him, “on heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:20). Therefore, since Christ has been given all worldly and heavenly authority as his inheritance, he can tell his disciples to go conquer to world. Christ gives us authority over his inheritance. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, are not fleshly. We exercise spiritual dominion, through the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments. We baptize and we teach (Matt. 28:19) all the nations. As we do this, we are confident that we are bringing disciples into the kingdom of God, where they also share our incorruptible, heavenly inheritance with us.

Perseverance – Because we do not walk by our own strength, we know we will persevere until the end. All that the Father has given to Christ will come to Christ. None can snatch us out of the Father’s hand (Jn. 10:26-30). A Biblical response to most theological problems is two-fold: (1) sin, (2) God’s glory. Why did a good God let bad things happen to the Apostle Paul? 2 Cor. 12:7-10.Whenever we are in midst of “heaviness” and “manifold temptations” and we are tempted to question God’s goodness, we need to focus again on the glory of God: Is. 40:25-31.Seeing, Believing, and Loving – As our faith is refined in the fire of temptations, we continue to walk by faith, not by our own crippled and blurry sight. Although we cannot see Jesus, we can see his Body: the Church (1 Cor. 12:27). Through loving the brethren, we love the Body. Through loving those in the Church, we love Jesus (1 Cor. 12:20-26). Through our love for one another, the world will know that we are Christians (Jn. 17:20-21).

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3 thoughts on “Sermon Outline – Providence Reformed Church (Greenville, NC)

  1. This is really a good point you make:

    As our faith is refined in the fire of temptations, we continue to walk by faith, not by our own crippled and blurry sight

  2. Really liked this: “Although we cannot see Jesus, we can see his Body: the Church (1 Cor. 12:27).” God gives us the blessing of being able to see the love of the Church to remind us of His love.

    Thank you for this excerpt! So good to remember we have a “lively hope.”

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