************ Sermon on 1 Peter 1:3 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on February 28, 2021


1 Peter 1:3-5
"Praise God for our Inheritance"

Introduction
Peter is writing to Christians who have been scattered by persecution, hostility, rejection, hatred. They have been blamed by Emperor Nero for the burning of Rome. The world can't tolerate them. The world is hostile towards them. Peter has already written there is nothing unexpected about this because they are strangers or aliens in the world, their citizenship is in heaven, and they are elect children of God.

I Our Inheritance Leads to Praise
A Now, how are Christians to respond during difficulties and trials? Not with fear. Not with anxiety. Not with embarrassment or shame.

After introducing himself and his audience, what is the first thing Peter says to persecuted believers? Peter encourages them -- and us -- to look beyond difficulties and trials by praising and blessing and worshiping God. Do you see what Peter is doing? Peter lifts up souls with a call to praise: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." (1 Pet 1:3).

Praise. That is, God is worthy of praise, worship, blessing, adoration. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." This is both a statement and a command by Peter to God's elect.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." God wants this, God commands this. God wants and commands our feeble and puny praise and worship and blessing; feeble and puny, that is, when compared to His blessings of grace and love.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." Peter calls for praise, blessing, worship, joy no matter what is going on. Persecution. Hated by the world. Trials. Financial difficulties. Marriage problems. COVID. Heart attack. Death. Cancer. Business loss. You name it. Regardless of what is happening, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ..."

B How can Peter say this? How can Peter command this? Because of a word we hear in verse 4: the word "inheritance." Peter's audience may be strangers and aliens in the world, they may be persecuted, but they have an inheritance.

We all know what an inheritance is. It is what is passed on to you from your parents' estate. A gift. A legacy. You don't earn it. You don't buy it. It is a gift of love because you are a member of the family.

I remember reading an article in the 1980s that talked about the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. Those who lived and fought through WW II bought homes, started businesses, contributed to retirement accounts and all this wealth was being inherited by their children as they were dying off. Forty years later it is a different story because today's parents are living well into their 80s and 90s and spending down their kid's inheritance. More than one set of children have been surprised to find out there is nothing left. By the way -- and I am speaking as a pastor here -- there comes a time when parents should sit down with their kids and explain their finances so there will be no surprises.

In contrast to this kind of surprise, God's elect have "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade -- kept in heaven for you" (1 Pet 1:4). An inheritance that is not spent down. An inheritance that is still there whether it is twenty, forty, sixty, or eighty years later. An inheritance that cannot be taken. An inheritance that cannot be stolen. An inheritance that never loses its value.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." Praise God. Bless God. Worship God. Do you see why? Because God's elect have "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade -- kept in heaven for you" (1 Pet 1:4). The world may not accept God's elect. The world may not want God's elect. The world may be hostile and persecute. The world may take away rights and privileges. But God's elect have an inheritance that can never be taken away.

We go through trials. We face problems. During such times it is essential we remember our inheritance. It is essential we remember that as children of God we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).

C Inheritance is very much an Old Testament concept. The Jews in the Old Testament had an inheritance. Do you know what that inheritance was? It was the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. This inheritance was first promised to Abraham even though the Canaanites were in the land:
Genesis 12:7 (NIV84) — 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”

Genesis 13:14–15 (NIV84) — 14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.

And then the waiting began. Abraham died. Isaac died. Jacob died. Jacob's sons died. Israel endured years and decades and centuries of bondage in Egypt. And then forty years of wandering around the wilderness. They waited and waited and waited for their inheritance to become a reality.

Finally they entered the Promised Land. Every tribe, every clan, every family, every household was given a piece of the land. Every tribe, every clan, every family, every household was given their inheritance.

Peter takes this idea, this concept, and applies it to the church. Even as God's Old Testament people received an inheritance, so too will God's New Testament people receive an inheritance. With a difference, of course. Israel's inheritance was physical. The church's inheritance is spiritual, kept in heaven.

Praise God for this. Bless God for this. Worship God for this. Proclaim His worthiness:
1 Peter 1:3–4 (NIV84) — 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us ... an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you ...

D So, what is our inheritance? According to verse 5, our inheritance is "salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet 1:5). "Hold it," you might say, "how can salvation be revealed in the last time if I am already saved?" Good question. Realize, congregation, that we can speaking of salvation as past, salvation as present, and salvation as future. Salvation is past: we were saved at the cross of Jesus. Salvation is present: we are saved when the Spirit makes us born again and we believe in Jesus. Salvation is future: we will be completely and fully saved from sin and judgment when the Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

When it comes right down to it, our inheritance is God Himself. To help you see this, let me remind you of the inheritance given to Israel's priests:
Joshua 13:33 (NIV84) — 33 But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.
Because they were priests, their inheritance was God Himself. Now, according to Peter, the church is a "royal priesthood" (1 Pet 2:9). Which means, like the tribe of Levi, our inheritance is God Himself. We inherit God. The prophet Jeremiah says, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I wait for him" (Lam 3:24). Our inheritance is God. Meaning what? Meaning fellowship with Him, His glory, His might, His grace, His power. In His presence always. To walk with Him and to talk with Him, like Adam and Eve. To fellowship with Him forever. This is the inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade because God can never perish, spoil, or fade.

This inheritance was promised to Abraham, the father of all believers.
Genesis 15:1 (NIV84) — 1 ... the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
Did you catch that? God is Abram's reward. Not money, not power, not position, not trophies, not possessions. God offers Abram the greatest reward possible: Himself! As children of Abraham, the same reward, the same inheritance, is offered to us who believe.

Praise God for this. Bless God for this. Worship God for this. Proclaim His worthiness:
1 Peter 1:3–4 (NIV84) — 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us ... an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you ...

II Our Inheritance Comes from the Father
A Peter makes clear that the Christian's inheritance comes from the Father.
1 Peter 1:3–4 (NIV84) — 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us ... an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you ...

Your Christian inheritance, congregation, doesn't come from the preacher or the pope. It doesn't come from the church. It doesn't come from your father or mother. It doesn't come from the person who witnessed to you. It doesn't come from your study of Scripture. It can't be bought. It can't be earned. It needs to be "given." It is a gift from God. It comes from God. God chose to give us an eternal inheritance.

B Now, notice God's title: "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." This is something new and different for those who have been raised as Jews. I say that because the Jews bless, praise, and worship God as the "Creator and Redeemer from Egypt." Creator emphasizes God's power. Redeemer emphasizes His saving work. Peter gives God a new identity. He says Christians bless, praise, and worship God as the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

At the time of Jesus no Jew would address God as "Father." But Jesus did. Check through the gospels. With one exception, every time Jesus addressed God He called Him "Father." The one time He didn't was those awful words from the cross, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" But every other time Jesus used "Father."

For Jesus, Father does not first of all refer to Father of the human race. Nor does it first of all refer to Father of believers. Rather, it means the Father in the trinity, the Father in the triune Godhead of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

Jesus personalizes this by often referring to God as "my Father." This terribly offended the Jews:
John 5:17–18 (NIV84) — 17 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father ...
Why was this so offensive to the Jews? John 5:18 explains Jesus was "making himself equal with God."

In another place Jesus makes this even more plain when He says, "I and the Father are one" (Jn 10:30). The Jews picked up stones to stone Him for blasphemy. They explained their behavior by saying, "you, a mere man, claim to be God" (Jn 10:33).

By calling God "Father," do you see what Jesus was saying? Jesus was saying, "I am of the same essence as God. I have the same nature as God. I am God." Whenever Jesus called God "Father," don't think first of all that God is your Father and my Father. He is our Father, of course, but that is not the point. Whenever Jesus called God "Father" or "my Father" He is saying that He Jesus is God.

So, who is the source of our inheritance? Who gives us our glorious inheritance? The God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The God who is one with Jesus. The God who makes Himself known through Jesus. The God with whom Jesus claims equality.

C Notice, too, the three titles or names used for the Savior. Peter identifies Him as "Lord Jesus Christ." One commentator calls this a concentrated confession. All that Scripture reveals about our Savior is crowded into these three titles. "Lord" means sovereign king. "Jesus" means incarnate Savior. "Christ" means anointed, promised Messiah. To say all three together is a concentrated confession.

D Now notice the little word before the three titles: "our." Not just "Lord Jesus Christ" but "our Lord Jesus Christ." Our. The sovereign king of the universe is ours. The incarnate Savior who was born, died, and arose is ours. The anointed and promised Messiah is ours. Jesus is not distant. He is not unapproachable. He is not unfriendly. He is ours. He is warm, friendly, close, approachable. He is "our Lord Jesus Christ."

"Our Lord Jesus Christ." We are connected to Jesus. And because Jesus is connected to God, because Jesus is God, this means we are connected to God and all His blessings through Jesus. We are one with Christ. We are one with God.

Conclusion
1 Peter 1:3–4 (NIV84) — 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us ... an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you ...

We have an inheritance, congregation, that comes from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. With Peter, we praise God, we bless God, we worship God for our eternal inheritance. Regardless of what else is going on in our life, we have every reason to praise, bless, and worship God. The only question is: do we? Do we praise, bless, and worship God?
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