Reminders are important!
I have come to realize that there are two types of people, those that use reminders and those that should use reminders.
Reminders are not only helpful for everyday life, but also they are helpful in spiritual things. This truth is seen throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament you have the feasts of Israel and the constant reminder in the law, poetry books and prophets to worship God.
One example is Psalm 103:1-5 which says,
1 A Psalm Of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
David was a worshipper and a man after God’s own heart yet he realized as he journeyed through life he needed a reminder to bless and worship God for His faithfulness, goodness and grace.
We see reminders in the New Testament such as the ordinance of communion. Also the writers remind to worship and serve God. We have an example in our passage this evening. Peter in these verses is going to give these believers four reminders of why they should bless God even in the midst of their trials and tribulations.
We see our first reminder in verse 3, we see were to bless God because we are born again.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Peter begins this verse with the word blessed. This word is an encouragement to worship God at all times, even in the midst of our trials and tribulations.
The reason we are to worship God is because of His great love and abundant mercy. The word mercy means not getting what we deserve. Justice is getting what we deserve. Rather than getting what we deserve, God gives us grace. He gave us what we don’t deserve.
That grace and mercy is revealed in the fact that God has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will talk about this living hope in verses 4-5 for now let’s discuss God’s abundant mercy to cause us to be born again.
God’s mercy and grace has been poured out on all mankind through the cross of Jesus Christ. Because of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden all mankind are born with sin. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. All mankind are separated from God and are enemies of God by our wicked works.
Yet while we were still sinners God sent Christ to be our sacrifice and substitute for sin. God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us. Jesus became our penal substitute, which means not that He literally became sin but that Christ bore the full punishment for our sin. The cross of Christ is not the end of God’s mercy. God gave objective proof of His mercy by raising Christ from the dead. The resurrection shows that Christ’s work which was done on the cross is sufficient.
A person is begotten again or born again when they realize that they are a sinner and that Jesus has died on the cross in their place and then rose again from the dead. If they are willing to turn from their sin and believe that Jesus did this for them then God causes you to be born again.
To be born again means that God comes and lives in you and makes you spiritually alive. Before faith in Christ all people are dead in trespasses and sins, we are separated from the things of God and are spiritually blind to the things of God. But through God’s grace, His spirit and the gospel God has made it possible for all to believe and be saved. Those who believe are made a new creation in Christ.
Not only are we saved and made alive in Christ, but we are also given a living hope in Christ. What is this hope?
This brings us to our second reminder is in verses 4-5, we are to bless God because we have a reserved inheritance in heaven.
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
It is a great honor to have someone famous reserve something for you whether it be the President or some senior official. We have that beat through our faith in Jesus Christ. When we check in to heaven we will be granted our full inheritance that is reserved in heaven for us.
Notice it is reserved in heaven. This means that it is not our rewards. It probably refers to the full revelation of our salvation and glory.
Whatever it is, it is Peter tells us it is something eternal that anything on this earth can’t come close to. Listen to this description; it is incorruptible which meaning it can’t corrode, crack or decay. It’s undefiled; it will always remain in perfect condition. It will never fade away; it will never diminish in it’s value and glory.
While we can be certain that this inheritance can’t change or fade away, how about us? Can those believers who Peter was writing to be certain that everyone who is born again will go to heaven and receive their inheritance? The answer is yes, look at verse 5.
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The believer has a living and certain hope that they will receive the full blessing of their salvation because we are kept by the power of God. The word kept I’m told is a Greek military term which means, kept safe, guarded and carefully watched. The phrase through faith does not mean that we have to work to maintain our salvation, after all we did not work to attain our salvation, it is by grace, therefore we don’t have to work to maintain our salvation. This phrase means that we are to believe and trust God that He can and will keep us.
The purpose of God’s powerful hold on a believer is to complete the work that God began in Christ. You and I are saved but our salvation is not yet complete. You were saved from the penalty of sin in the past when you received Christ, you are presently being saved from the power of sin as you are being sanctified and made into the image of Christ and you will one be saved from the presence of sin when you are glorified with Christ in the future. All along the way God is working in you an through by His grace and power.
Our third reminder is in verses 6-9, we see were to bless God because He is able to work all things together for good.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Notice four things that Peter teaches us as believers about the trials and tribulations we face as we journey this earth as pilgrims.
First it is possible to rejoice and worship God in the midst of them. These pilgrim’s that were scattered through out Asia minor were praising God even in the midst of their trial.
Second trials and tribulations are for a little while. “Little while,” can imply a time when we are on earth or the whole time we are alive on earth. A little while I believe is looking at our life on this earth which is like a vapor in light of eternity that is awaiting us.
Third God is still on the throne in our trials, notice Peter says, “If need be.” God allows trials for various reasons, we need to always fall back on the fact that God is our good and a loving Father, God knows what is best for us.
Fourth we can be honest trials are real and not fun, they are a grief. Jesus wept over Lazarus, Paul talked about his thorn in the flesh as a messenger of Satan, the believers in Thessalonica were sorrowing over their dead loved ones. Trials hurt, but we are not without hope.
Fifth God is able to work in our life through trials. God is the master craftsman who is able to refine our faith like pure gold. Just as gold is refined and purified through heat. Even so our faith is made stronger as we are put through fiery trials. One of the ways our faith is made “genuine” is confirming to us God’s power and faithfulness.
Notice the phrase much more precious then gold. Think about the attention that a craftsman puts when refining gold. Even so God is involved in our life, He cares about us and wants our best. God wants us to be found to praise, honor and glory when Christ comes.
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
It is easy to think of the people in the Bible in the first century are like the Avengers or some kind of supper heroes. These verses show us that these believers are just like us. They had not seen Jesus, but they meet Him through the gospel and they had were walking by faith in the word of God.
Yet while this was so God’s grace and word was sufficient to cause these believers to be dynamic pilgrims who forsook the things of this world and looked forward to the on of their faith and the salvation of their souls. This hope Just like for us can give us joy as we walk in the will of God.
The fourth reminder is seen in verses 10-12, we see were to bless God because of our privilege to know the mysteries of God.
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.
The church of Jesus Christ which was started on the Day of Pentecost has been blessed to know the mysteries of God. The mysteries of God were things that were hidden and are now revealed.
Peter in verse 11 gives us one of the mystery that we have been blessed to know, which is the relationship between the sufferings of the Messiah (first coming and the glory the Messiah (resurrection, ascension, rapture, second coming and Millennial Kingdom).
The Old Testament prophets were told spoke by the Spirit of God, therefore they studied their own writings to determine what God was saying concerning the Messiah or Christ. They sought to determine who the Messiah would be, what time would He come, what does it mean He will suffer, what does it mean He will reign.
You and I have been blessed to know all these things and experience the salvation that Jesus has brought. Not only that but the things that were written in the Old Testament were written for us, for our encouragement.
This reminds me f what Paul said in Romans 15:4-6
4For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
5Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
6that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The entire word of God from the beginning to end is to encourage and remind us as Christ to love others and to bless and glorify the God and Father of Jesus Christ.
In closing let’s pay attention to these reminders that Peter has left for us. Let’s bless God regardless of the circumstance or situation we are in. As we do we will be filled with joy and have victory in our pilgrimage for Jesus Christ.