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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

1 Peter1:8&9 What is true joy?



Praise to God for a Living Hope
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.



Introduction:
The word that we have read are the words of the Apostle Peter. They were intended to encourage his readers and as we read them some 2000 years later we are struck by the emotion that they portray.
We are reminded that the writer just a few years earlier was a humble fisherman who met Jesus and was elevated to being a son of the living God. He was converted in much the same way as all of us Christians in this room have been. It is by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who is God the Son that we are saved. He became a shame before God on our behalf by taking the sins of all of His children upon Himself and taking the punishment that we deserve. It was more than a death upon a cross; many other innocent victims died such a death but could not accomplish forgiveness of sins for themselves let alone for the entire church. Jesus death was a shame to God; He cannot have sin in His presence and so for God the Son to become as if He were the worst of all sinners was an abomination to God. Due to this Jesus invoked the whole perfect wrath of God upon Himself which means that the wrath that we deserve has been redirected or (if you want to be theological about it) propitiated. We are completely forgiven of all of our sin and so we are a very special people but so often we do not live in the light of what we have become. Peter was a man who knew how much he had been forgiven; remember his encounter with Jesus after the resurrection! He was re-instated by Jesus after he had been quizzed as to how much he truly loved the Lord. That incident brought deep sorrow to his heart but taught him how to write these words that we have before us. Are you forgiven? Do you love as you ought to love? Let us consider briefly what Peter teaches and be inspired to be what God demands of us!

v  You have not seen Him. But.
You do love Him.
We are different to Peter. He did see Jesus! Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven people have been saved by faith but not by sight. Peter’s seeing Jesus did not save him it was his faith in Jesus as Lord that brought salvation. It is by the Word that we know about Him, it is the application of truth into our hearts by the Holy Spirit that we believe in Him and it is by God’s grace that we are saved by Him and so Peter reminds us that even though we do not see Him we really ought to love Him.
But do you?
What does love for Jesus look like? I have over the years seen much of what love for Jesus is portrayed to be. In some circles it is hippy-love! What do I mean by that? Remember the days of flowers in the air, the end of war and free love towards all. Mostly drug induced soppy sentimentalism!

"All You Need Is Love"
Love, love, love (X3)
There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy

Nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yee-hai! (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)

Yesterday (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Oh yeah! (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)
This type of sentiment has infiltrated the church and so we can all live out a dream that says everything is well and we end up singing dreamy love songs to Jesus with our hands waving like trees and our eyes looking into the back of our heads making us look more like zombies than lovers of Jesus. Well of course that is not the problem with us here but we are equally prone to displaying false love. Read the reformers and the puritans: they knew about heart felt love for God!
As reformed believers emotions are so well and truly planted into our pockets. How much have we been forgiven, our great and wonderful theology tells us plainly. Does it not move yours hearts?
"In the very beginning, when this great universe lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in the acorn cup; long before the echoes awoke the solitudes; before the mountains were brought forth; and long before the light flashed through the sky, God loved His chosen creatures. Before there was any created being --- when the ether was not fanned by an angel's wing, when space itself had not an existence, where there was nothing save God alone --- even then, in that loneliness of Deity, and in that deep quiet and profundity, His heart moved with love for His chosen. Their names were written on His heart, and then were they dear to His soul. Jesus loved His people before the foundation of the world --- even from eternity! and when He called me by His grace, He said to me, 'I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee’”

- C. H. Spurgeon said that. God’s love through Jesus is set upon us; do we truly reciprocate His love to us or is our love a careless love? It is pathetic to see the face of a parent who loves their child but the child has only contempt for them. God must feel broken by our lack of true love for Him!

v  You cannot see Him. But:  You believe in Him.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen!”
We are so often told that if only God would reveal Himself, if only He would leave heaven, come to earth and visit us then we would believe. That is utter clap-trap, He did come and even His own would not receive Him. Jesus the very representation of God become man and man not only would not believe in Him but they murdered Him. Jesus will only be believed if a work of grace has already taken place. It is a gift of God: Ephesians 1:8-9 “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
The gospel has done its work in our hearts therefore we believe in Him. We believe in all that He is, all that He has done and all that He is yet to do. We believe that he is the creator of all things that has brought to life our dead souls and has made us alive in Him. We may not see Him until we have done with this life and we are transported into the presence of the Father. Our guide on that day will be our Saviour Jesus who will present us to God who will see righteousness given by the One carrying the scars of sacrifice.
We believe this don’t we??
Do you?
You have not seen Him but you love Him and you believe in Him.  

The result being:
v  You are filled with joy beyond compare! Because: The end is coming.
Joy unspeakable fills every part
Life is wonderful, yes it's wonderful
Life is wonderful now to me
I let Jesus in, He changed everything
Life is wonderful now.
Since His blessings came into my heart
Joy unspeakable fills every part
Now I want to live for my Lord
Life is wonderful now.

I can pick holes in the theology; in parts it is plain wrong but the one thing that it can teach us is about Joy. Joy unspeakable; do you know what that means?
That is what Peter is saying that salvation means to Him and it is what it ought to mean to us. There is no room for manic Jesus loves me grins but joy unspeakable is what we have. How does that come out? Jesus for the joy of the Lord which was set before Him beyond the cross endured the pain, suffering and rejection of death! It was a joy to Jesus.
What is our joy? Belonging to Him eternally, does that not at least warm your heart even if it cannot raise a smile?

Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

He sits at God’s right hand till all His foes submit,
And bow to His command, and fall beneath His feet:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home.
We soon shall hear th’archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!

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