Google+ Followers

Saturday, 2 January 2016

What is true joy?


1 Peter 1:8-9


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.

1 Peter 1:3-12

Introduction:
The passage that we have read are the words of the Apostle Peter which were intended to encourage his readers. As we read them some 2000 years later we are struck by the emotion of the passage.
We are reminded that the writer just a few years earlier was a humble fisherman who met Jesus, from that meeting Peter was slowly becoming a new man. He was converted in much the same way as all Christians are. It is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who is God the Son that Peter witnessed that he was saved.

Jesus on the cross 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 of a man upon a cross; many other innocent victims have died such a death but none of them could not accomplish forgiveness of sins for themselves let alone for the entire church.

Jesus' became shameful to God who 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 the result of which means that the wrath that we deserve has been redirected from us or (if you want the theological term: propitiated.) God's anger is turned away from us and was fully directed to His One and Only Son. Due to His sacrifice we are completely forgiven of all of our sin making us to be a very special people. In the light of this it is surprising that we do not live as we ought as Christians.

Peter was a man who fully appreciated how much he had been forgiven. Remember how Jesus showed him what true love is all about. Whilst Jesus was on trial Peter had denied with curses that he had ever known Jesus. 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 Peter's heart but it was the foundation these words that we have before us.

Are you forgiven?

Do you love Jesus as you ought to love? Let us consider briefly what Peter teaches and as such be encouraged to be the church that God demands of us!

It could be said that Peter loved Him because he saw Him. There is a lot in that but Peter in our verse is saying that Christians Do really love Him even without the evidence of sight.

You have not seen Him. But: You do love Him.”

We are different to Peter. He did see Jesus and we have not! 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 him 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. 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 hair, 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 sentimentality has infiltrated the church in particular many of the songs that are sung. We can all live out a dream that says everything is well and we end up singing dreamy love songs to Jesus. Well of course that is not the problem with us here but we are equally prone to displaying false love. Jesus love is sacrificial love, it comes with a sword. To truly love Jesus immediately puts us at odds with the devil and his world. For some to love Jesus today means that there will be no tomorrow for them. For us it might mean mockery or the loss of promotion etc. Our love for Him has consequences but Peter is encouraging us to consider the cost of our salvation. Listen to these words of C.H.Spurgeon:


"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 was 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’”

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. Imagine how God must feel by our lack of true love for Him!

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 nonsense, He did come and even His own would not receive Him. Jesus as a man is the very representation of God and yet man would not believe in Him in fact in their contempt they murdered Him. Jesus will only be believed if a work of grace takes place. Grace is a gift from God:
Ephesians 1:8-9
It is 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 and 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 who 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. We will then see Him face to face, He will be our guide on that day into the very presence of God who will only see righteousness in us because His Son is carrying the scars of sacrifice on our behalf.

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:
You are filled with joy beyond compare! Because:

The end is coming.
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 some of the theology of this song but the one thing that it can teach us is about Joy. Joy unspeakable filling every part: 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. It is not about “smile Jesus loves you” but it is all about “Jesus is King and I will extol Him” “Jesus the joy of loving hearts
Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.
Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee all in all.

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,

And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Wherever our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.
O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed over the world Thy holy light.

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!

Death on our behalf was a joy to Jesus.

What is our joy?

Belonging to Him eternally ought to be our great joy and pleasure, does that not at least warm your heart?

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 Saviour, 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!

Callington needs to know that we are truly a people who are full of the joy of the Lord. That is the reputation of the church that we want to be in evidence.

What do our neighbours think of when the Mustard seed is mentioned? Joy unspeakable or ??????????

No comments:

Post a Comment