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April 4, 2021 Sunday Devotional

A Brief Update

For those of you who are unable to gather corporately with us this Sunday, you are loved and missed! If this is you, we are providing the songs we are singing together this afternoon and a devotional based on the sermon being preached.

Songs We are Singing Together

Devotional on 1 Peter 1:3-5

Larry Malament

Before there was a resurrection of life, there was a death on Good Friday.

On that Friday, Jesus was betrayed by Judas and then arrested.

He was flogged on Pilate’s order.

He was beaten with rods by soldiers.

He bled from the crown of thorns shoved down on his head.

He was mocked.

He was spit on.

He bore the weight of the cross on bloodied shoulders as he made his way to Golgotha.

He was laid on that cross and nailed to that cross.

He hung on that cross, bleeding and dying.

He suffered horribly when God’s wrath was fully poured out on him for our sins, and then

he suffered the most when God, his very own father, turned away from him because of the filth of our sin that he bore on our behalf.

In Mark 15:33-39 we read that “when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” …And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.”

When he breathed his last, he died a death that we deserved. This truly was the darkest hour. This moment was a huge blow to every one of his disciples because their friend and Teacher hung dead on that cross. They were frightened, they were confused, and they were without hope because he was gone, and as far as they knew, never to return.

But return he did, and return he will do again! John MacArthur writes, “[Easter] begins with the resurrection of the redeemer and ends with the resurrection of the redeemed, and in between lies the spiritual resurrection of those called to eternal life, so we live between two Easters. In the power of the first Easter, we head towards the second Easter.”

The first Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

[Read Luke 24:1-12]

This same Peter who ran to the tomb and looked in fifty years later pens the words that we know so well.

[Read 1 Peter 1:3-5]

Peter still marvels at Jesus’ resurrection because, now more than ever, he knows what it means for every follower of Christ. The gospel that saves sinners, sanctifies believers, and promises to one day glorify them in eternal life is only true because Jesus rose from the dead.

In his greeting Peter draws our attention back to Jesus’ resurrection and what it means to us. The first Easter has come, we have been spiritually resurrected, and now we await the second Easter when the redeemed will rise in Christ. Until then he wants us to marvel not only at Jesus’ resurrection but the effect of the resurrection in order for us to remain firm in our faith in a world that is still so dark. He does this by showing how the resurrection is central to the gospel.

In these three verses Peter recounts God’s saving work through the resurrection that we might always marvel at all that God has done for us in the gospel.

Through the resurrection, Jesus gave us new life: “We have been born-again.” Nicodemus marveled and struggled with this reality when Jesus told him in John 3:3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” But God has brought us into his kingdom!

Through the resurrection, Jesus poured out his mercy upon us. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:4 of his great mercy: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ.” God’s love for us is revealed in his son coming to earth to suffer and die for our sins. He raised Jesus from the dead, and “according to his great mercy he does the same for us. 

Through the resurrection, Jesus alone saved us: “He caused us” to be born-again though we were dead in our trespasses and sins. Paul tells us this in Romans 6:4 that “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Christ’s resurrection brought about our resurrection from the dead.

Christ alone has the power. He alone took the initiative. He appointed us to eternal life, and he predestined us before the foundation of the world.

Christ’s resurrection gives us hope, but not just any hope. We have “a living hope.” Peter characterizes Christian hope as “living” because it comes from the living God. He watched his friend and Teacher die, and for a moment so did his hope. But Peter’s hope did not remain in the grave because Jesus did not remain in the grave but rose again. Christian hope stands in stark contrast to the empty, frustrating, and deceptive false hopes of this world. 

This is our gospel: born-again by God because of his great mercy to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That is the first Easter—Jesus rose from the dead that we might be raised from the dead to newness of life.

The resurrection, Easter isn’t just for today because it’s the gospel, the gospel that should shape our lives every day in every circumstance we face. It should shape the way you respond when sin looks attractive and feel too weak to resist. Or when you been betrayed by someone and you want to retaliate. It should make a difference when you’re struggling in your marriage and struggling to love, or when your child has turned away from you and the Lord. It should shape your response even when you’re facing an illness that could take your life.

Jesus suffered, died, and rose again that you might walk in newness of life, no longer enslaved to this world and its false hopes, but alive to Christ, empowered by the Spirit, able to resist the devil, flee temptation, so you can live for the glory of God. This is what the first resurrection—the first Easter has done for you.

But there is a second easter yet to come. A resurrection we will experience when our physical bodies are raised to new life at Jesus’s second coming. That Easter we will be brought into the fullness of our salvation, and that salvation comes with an amazing promise that Peter describes for us here.

God promises us life after our death

[Read 1 Peter 1:4-5]

This inheritance is the believer’s share in the heavenly kingdom. We have been born-again to an inheritance that is fulfilled in the eternal city of God. As members of God’s family, we are already heirs, yet our full possession of our inheritance awaits the future. Peter uses three adjectives that give full expression to the inheritance we have received because of Jesus’ resurrection.

Our inheritance is imperishable. We will live in a place forever, a place that can never be destroyed or experience decay. It is because God is eternal.

Our inheritance is undefiled. Our inheritance can never be stained by sin or contaminated because it has the very character of Christ. It will always remain free from defilement unlike the world we live in.

Our inheritance is unfading. It has permanent beauty. A flower that never wilts or fades. It will never lose it attractiveness for Christians. Everything in this life will over time lose its beauty and grow dim, but not Jesus.

Peter is clear. Our inheritance is death proof, sin proof, and time-proof because Jesus is alive! Having never been to heaven Peter can only tell us what heaven is not like. But when we rise again, we will see and receive the full inheritance of our salvation. There are no adequate words to describe what we will experience.

He closes with a stunning promise that affirms the resurrection is real and Jesus is truly alive: Our inheritance is being “kept in heaven” for us by the one who eternally lives. God is carefully keeping your inheritance until the second Easter.

D. Edmond Hiebert writes, “The inheritance is certain because of God’s watchful care. It is immune from disasters that often befall an inheritance on earth…It is safely beyond the reach of all destructive forces. Its preservation in heaven indicates that the inheritance is not merely the believer’s arrival in heaven but all the fullness of our salvation promised to us in Christ.”

What a glorious gospel we have received through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Song of Response

Sermon Audio from Recent Sundays

March 21 - Matthew 5:21-26 (Devon Kauflin)

March 14 - Psalm 125:1-2 (Larry Malament)

March 7 - Matthew 5:17-20 (Larry Malament)

February 28 - Matthew 5:13-16 (Devon Kauflin)