Reasons To Rejoice!

Reasons To Rejoice!

1 Peter 1: 3-9

Dr. Alexander Whyte of Edinburg was known for his pulpit prayers.
He always found something to thank God for, even in bad times.

One dark, stormy morning a member of his congregation thought to himself,
"The preacher will have nothing to thank God for, on a wretched morning like this."

But Dr. Whyte began his prayer, "We thank thee, O God, that it is not always like this."

Thanksgiving and rejoicing come naturally to a people of faith.
Thanksgiving and rejoicing are at the very heart of a growing relationship with God.
When we live a life of dependence upon God, we learn to rejoice in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

In his letter written to Christians scattered across Asia Minor,
Peter says life should be filled with rejoicing.
Even in the midst of trials, we can rejoice.
He calls these individuals in 1 Peter 1: 1 "pilgrims" or "sojourners,"
indicating their temporary residency status and their spiritual situation.
They were living their lives away from the support of the Jerusalem Christians.

In a real sense, they were spiritual sojourners also.
So are we!
This world really isn't our home; we are just passing through on our way to our eternal home.
We need to learn how to rejoice, even in the midst of trial.

Look at 1 Peter 1: 3-9 and consider "reasons to rejoice."

Here we see that God's people can rejoice because of their new life in Christ.
They can also rejoice because of their living hope and their eternal inheritance.
They can certainly rejoice because of their security in the power of God.

God's people can rejoice because of their new life in Christ.
Verse 6 says, "In this you greatly rejoice." (NIV)

Rejoice in what?

Verse 3 says God has "begotten us again."
This phrase refers to the new life we have experienced through entering into a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.
The God of Creation has made something new out of something old.
He has breathed new life into our empty spiritual condition.

Because Jesus lives in our life, we have joy and meaning, and we don't have to face life
with griping and complaining.

That is a reason to rejoice!

Verse 3 says the means, by which we have been begotten again, is through the resurrected Jesus Christ.
Peter says only through Jesus Christ can we have this new life.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me."
(John 14: 6)

We know people who think all they have to do is live a good life, come to church now and then,
maybe, even drop something into the offering plate, and they'll be all right.
We know better than that, and we can rejoice because we have new life in Christ.
Not only do we have new life in Jesus Christ, but we also have a living hope.

God's people can rejoice because of their living hope.
Peters says in verse 3 God has "begotten us again unto a lively hope".
Our hope is not empty or in vain because Jesus was raised from the grave and is alive.
Our hope is grounded in Jesus and in His resurrection power.

Many people put hope in some kind of material thing.
They put their hope in the stock market or in their bank account.
Some put their hope in a job or in a person.

The start market plummets, an emergency wipes out their bank account,
or that person fails them or their company dismisses them, and they no longer have a job.

Where is their hope?
The only hope that is alive is that which we put into a living Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul says we have reason to rejoice because our hope is alive.

Oscar Hammerstein, the composer of Rogers and Hammerstein fame, once said,
"I just can't write anything without hope in it."

When we have Jesus Christ in our life, our hope is not dead.
Our hope is alive because Jesus Christ lives!
For that reason we can rejoice!

Peter gives a third reason to rejoice.
God's people can rejoice because of their inheritance.

In verse four Peter uses four words or phrases to describe in detail this new inheritance that our new birth brings.

First, it is "incorruptible."
Our inheritance will never die or perish.
Earthly inheritances are eroded by time or devalued by inflation or lost through neglect or used unwisely.
Our heavenly inheritance will never perish.

He also says that our inheritance is "undefiled."
This word means that our inheritance will never spoil nor be stained.
Our life on earth is surrounded by contamination.
The air we breathe is polluted, the lakes we fish in are filled with rubbish,
and our rivers are dumps for sewerage.

Peter reminds us our place in heaven is undefiled.
Peter says our inheritance does not fade away.
Time wilts flowers or yellow clippings we placed in our scrapbook.
Leaves fall from trees, blossoms drop from flowers, but our place in heaven will never wilt or fade away.

Finally, this inheritance is "reserved" for us.

We have a mansion with our name on it, waiting for us.
Our salvation secures our place in heaven.

God's people can rejoice because of their security in the power of God.
Verse 5 says, we "are kept by the power of God."

Even though outward circumstances may hammer away at us and even though trials abound,
God is keeping us by His power.

This word, kept, can be translated, "being guarded."
It is the picture of a sentry stationed at the front of the city gates who keeps watch around
the clock guarding our lives.
The word suggests continuous action.
The guard is neither challenged nor does he go to sleep.
We are constantly being shielded by God's power.

This was good news to Peter's readers.
These new Christians were trying to live their lives in the face of persecution and harassment.
They may have felt insecure and endangered.
Peter encouraged them by saying that God was protecting them and undergirding them.

When facing the pressures of life, we need to remember
that "underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deuteronomy 33: 27)
Remember, we are kept by the power of God.

Our tendency in life is to complain about our circumstances, and to gripe about our situation.
Peter reminds us that we have good reasons to rejoice and that our lives must be filled with thanksgiving,
even in the midst of troubles and trials.

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White

An illustration that you might insert in this message.

Our automobile has a device called cruise control.
When you're on the highway and push that cruise control, you can take your foot off the accelerator.
You are not concerned about the hills and valleys on the highway.

When the car comes to a hill or mountain, the acceleration is automatic.
The car continues to move at the speed set on the cruise control, regardless of the terrain.

It is so for us, as Christians.

We can take life each day at an even pace,
whether the road leads to the rugged mountains or travels on a level highway.

When the going gets tough, we have strength for every challenge
because God is providing the power for us to live our life in Christ.
Regardless of what is happening around us, we can have joy and peace within.

This becomes possible, when we put our lives in Christ-control.