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This World Is Not Our Home - Part 1

January 21, 2019

 

One of the great tensions that every Christian lives with is this: Though we currently reside in this world, this world is not our home.

 

Jesus puts it this way: As his disciples we are to live in this world, but not of this world.

 

What does it look like to live for Christ in this world that is not our home?

 

The Apostle Peter has much to teach us about this throughout his letter of 1 Peter in the New Testament. I am so grateful that in God’s kind providence, our pastors have been preaching through 1 Peter, verse by verse, as our family has been walking through this trying and difficult season together. What encouragement and hope we have found in this short letter. I know many others have too.

 

In this letter, Peter is writing to Christians whose lives have been radically transformed by Jesus. But because of their new faith in Jesus, they are now being persecuted. They have lost respect from friends and family members. They are being oppressed by those they work for. They are being ridiculed and made fun of by their neighbors. Some are even being killed. These individuals are suffering for their faith in Christ. And as a result, they are trying to figure out how to live as faithful Christians in this broken world that is not their home, just like you and I are.

 

Now, Peter is a great pastor. And as their pastor, he is writing this letter both to instruct and to encourage his readers. He wants them to see that even in the face of great suffering and pain, we can praise God and rejoice in God's goodness in the face of it! 

 

In fact, in chapter 1, verses 3-9, Peter provides 5 reasons we can rejoice through suffering. Consider the first two of these with me. 

 

 

The first is this…

 

#1: We can rejoice through suffering because we have a living hope (vs. 3). 

 

I’ve heard it said that “to those who don’t know Christ, hope is nothing more than wishing upon a star.” It sounds like this: “I hope I win the lottery.” “I hope my kids shape up someday.” “I hope I get that new promotion.” “I hope we get the house.” “I hope I make it to the next paycheck.”

 

But this kind of wishful thinking isn’t the same as the living hope Peter is talking about. Look at verse 3…

 

3 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.

 

Notice that Peter is emphasizing that it is by God’s mercy that He has caused us to be born again to this living hope. This new life and this living hope that we have in Christ is completely a work of God’s mercy in our lives through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In other words, this is God’s doing, not ours. He is the primary player here, not us. And this is good news!

 

You see, Peter is not talking about some new self-help strategy to make your life better.

 

The world that we live in is constantly telling us that the problem is outside of us. That the problem is “out there” and the solution is inside of us, it is “in here.”

 

This is a joke. Because if we’re honest, you know as well as I do that we’re not that smart. We’re not that strong. On our own, we can’t overcome anything that comes our way. We need serious help.

 

This is why Christianity is so unique and different from every other worldview and world religion. Unlike other systems of thought and belief, Christianity alone says this: 

 

The problem is inside of us and the solution is in Christ. 

 

Our problem is sin and the solution is the cross. 

 

Jesus is the outside help you and I need. This is why we call Him Savior! He died in our place and was resurrected so that we might be saved, that we might be rescued and healed through Him alone. Once we realize this, once we humble ourselves before God and surrender to Christ as our only source of true life, only then can we begin to understand what it means to have the living hope Peter is talking about here in verse 3.

 

Look at it again…

 

3 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.

 

Now, this “living hope” that Peter is talking about here is the full assurance, or strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in the future, because of Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf.

 

Here’s what this means practically for us. In the face of trials and suffering and cancer and loneliness and fear and anxiety that are sure to come to everyone of us in this life, living hope says: “I don’t totally understand why I’m going through this trial right now, but I know that this is God’s world and He is in control, and He is good. In the midst of this pain, my ultimate hope, my living hope is in the living Christ because of his death on the cross for my sins and His resurrection that has guaranteed me life with God now and forever.”

 

Friends, this is living hope and this is the one thing we can bank on in this life. We cannot set our hope on some “thing” or some “person” in this world other than Jesus because we will be let down. 

 

But if our hope is in Him, then our hope is certain and sure.

 

This leads us to the second thing we see in this passage. Along with a living hope, the second reason why we can rejoice through suffering is this…

 

 

#2: We can rejoice through suffering because we have a permanent and eternal inheritance (vs. 4). 

 

Look at verses 3 and 4 together…

 

3 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, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you… 

 

One common thing about any kind of inheritance is that we don’t earn an inheritance, do we? Rather we receive an inheritance. It is given to us. What we know is that an earthly inheritance given to us in this life, no matter how great it is, it won’t last forever. When we die, our earthly inheritance is left behind because we can’t take it with us.

 

This is not the kind of inheritance Peter has in mind here in verse 4. 

The kind of inheritance we have to look forward to, according to Peter, is one that is eternal. One that is a source of everlasting joy.

 

This inheritance is not a bunch of money or a sweet car or a new house or set of golf clubs. No, the inheritance Peter is speaking of is eternal life and joy and satisfaction in Jesus and with Jesus forever in heaven.

 

This is our great reward! This is the inheritance we have to look forward to! For those who trust in Christ, we receive an inheritance that is guaranteed forever.

 

Notice that our permanent and eternal inheritance is beyond words for Peter. It is almost too wonderful for him to fully comprehend or explain. He can only tell us is what it is NOT.

 

Peter says three things about our inheritance in verse 4…

 

1. It is imperishable: It cannot be spoiled.

 

2. It is undefiled: It is unstained, pure, perfect.

 

3. It is unfading: Time does not hinder it’s beauty and perfection.

 

 

None of us have anything in this life that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, unless we have Jesus and life in Him. If we have Jesus, and He has us, our salvation in Him is secure forever.

 

Forever.

 

All the suffering and pain, tears and heartbreak we experience in this life, cannot hinder, change or destroy this wonderful reality. 

 

It cannot take away this precious promise of eternal life in Christ and with Christ forever.

 

In the valleys of life, this truth makes us sing! 

 

This truth might even make us shout for joy!

 

In the darkness, this truth brings light!

 

This truth is cause for great rejoicing in our glorious Savior and King who is worthy of all our praise!

 

 

While this world is not our home, as we journey there…

 

Christ is with us.

 

Christ loves us.

 

Christ gives us a true and living hope.

 

Christ promises us a permanent and eternal inheritance in our heavenly home.

 

All because of His mercy, His grace, His Gospel.

 

What a Savior. 

 

What a King. 

 

What a friend we have in Jesus. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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