5 'R's in 1 Peter 1:18-25
[*] God's plan of Salvation is indeed a glorious thing! But the vastness of the task, can sometimes blow our minds! We are perhaps tempted to think - "What difference can little me make?"
[*] I recently read about an old man, walking the beach at dawn, who noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Catching up with the youth, he asked what he was doing. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. 'But the beach goes on for miles and miles, and there are millions of starfish,' countered the man. 'How can your effort make any difference?' The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves. 'It makes a difference to this one,' he said."
IT IS A PROFOUND TRUTH THAT COUNTERS ALL THE DEVIL'S LIES!
[a] So often we come across basic fundamentals of our faith, for which there can be no compromise or watering down, for to do so would actually be removing the very essence of our foundations!
[b] From our Bible reading, I want to bring out five points, all of which conveniently begin with the letter 'R', the first of which is found in verse 18, and is - REDEMPTION!
[a] REDEMPTION, or the state of being REDEEMED, is being BOUGHT BACK from sin!
[b] The picture is that of a slave, sold into the slavery of sin, with no hope of a worthwhile future, no chance of escape, and no means within themselves to buy their freedom.
[c] Then, they are bought by a new owner at great cost - His Own life's blood!
[d] Then they are set free, and can choose, whether or not to remain voluntarily and serve their new master, or go back to the old slave-driver, the Devil!
[e] We also say, how that in the modern context, we could also speak about being redeemed from the Devil's pawnshop, as the Lord had paid the price of our redemption on Calvary.
[f] We realise also, how that in the pawn-shop, the time factor is of great importance, in that if we are not redeemed within the allotted time - if we wait too long, then, like the article in the shop, we are lost!
[g] Scripture says, "Now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation."
[a] All important in the plan of Salvation is the RESURRECTION of Jesus, mentioned in verse 21!
[b] As the Apostle says, " If Christ be not raised, ye are yet in your sins!" (1 Corinthians 15:17)
[c] Had Jesus not been raised from the dead, then Christianity would not have survived into the second, let alone the twentieth century - it would have died the death very early!!
[d] Let us remember that it is said, 'THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYR IS
THE SEED OF THE CHURCH!'
Who in their right mind was going to be killed for proclaiming Jesus to be alive, if they knew He was dead???
It wouldn't make the slightest sense - unless Jesus WAS, AND IS ALIVE - WHICH, HALLELUJAH WE KNOW HE IS !!
[e] "The grave now is empty, the stone is rolled away!"
[f] We put such importance at Easter time, that Jesus ROSE BODILY, IN THE FLESH, and not as some kind of ghost or spirit - for such could in no way be termed as a RESURRECTION!
[g] When Jesus asked Thomas, to feel the nail marks in His hands, and put his hand into the spear-mark in His side, it wasn't some kind of cheap conjuring trick! IT REALLY WAS JESUS - IN THE FLESH!!
[h] After all, Jesus even cooked fish, and ate with them. How anyone could believe He was just a spirit eludes me!!!
[i] Jesus said of His body, "DESTROY THIS TEMPLE AND IN THREE
DAYS, I WILL RAISE IT UP!"
We would have to believe an awful lot of the Bible to be nonsense in order to believe that Jesus didn't rise again!!!
[a] Jesus told that very religious Jew, Nicodemus, "YE MUST
BE BORN AGAIN!"
[b] In verse 23, we see Peter taking up the same theme, and speaking about REGENERATION through the INCORRUPTIBLE WORD OF GOD!
[c] The Apostle Paul speaks of the same experience - or perhaps I should say the same NECESSITY, when he says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If any man be in Christ, He is a new creation; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new!"
[d] God uproots the old nature from our hearts, like a gardener with a weed, and He implants within us a NEW NATURE!
A NATURE, THAT IF CARED FOR AND NOURISHED, WILL BLOSSOM INTO ALL KINDS OF SPIRITUAL FRUIT.
[a] In this verse, we also see the REVELATION of God coming to the heart of mankind. GOD REVEALS HIMSELF!
[b] We are inclined to make the terms of reference through which the Holy Spirit can work in REVELATION to us - much too narrow! John Taylor, in his book 'The Go-Between God', gives the following illustration;
The first missionaries to preach in the Muslim north of Nigeria, were greeted by a handful of people who were already believers in Jesus and claimed to follow Him!! They were the disciple of one Malam Ibrahim, a teacher of the Koran, whose studies had slowly convinced him that the Jesus of Whom he read in it's pages, was the Mediator through Whom all prayers
of the faithful are offered up to the All-Merciful. So he gathered around him a group who began to pray regularly in the Name of Isa Masih, Jesus the Messiah. When the Islamic authorities discovered this, he was charged with heresy, refused to recant, and was crucified in Kano market place
thirty years before a Christian preacher arrived in the country!
[c] Would we say that this is unscriptural? Would we say, "Oh no, God doesn't work like that"? But, it is the Spirit's work to convict men of sin, righteousness and Judgment to come.
[d] Can we doubt that it was the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit which brought Martin Luther into his experience of God from the darkness of Rome??
We do not set the ground rules in which God is to work!!!
We cannot limit Him!!
[e] Did He not bring revelation directly to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road?? Instead of the murderer of Christians which he was, he became the great Apostle Paul, risking his own life again and again for the Gospel!!
[f] Perhaps it is good to remember that, because he wasn't converted in the CONVENTIONAL manner, the Apostles and early Christians had great difficulty in accepting him as being genuinely converted!! They were afraid it was all a ploy to trap them!
[g] God the Holy Spirit works DIRECTLY, IN PERSON, upon the heart of an individual!! WE MUST NOT LIMIT HIM BY SQUEEZING HIS MODE OF OPERATION INTO OUR POULTRY GUIDELINES!!
[h] We must be very careful what we reject!
A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco. “Mom and Dad, I’m coming home, but I’ve a favour to ask. I have a friend I’d like to bring home with me.”
“Sure,” they replied, “we’d love to meet him.”
“There’s something you should know the son continued, “he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mind and lost an arm and a leg. He has no where else to go, and I want him to come live with us.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live.”
“No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us.”
“Son,” said the father, “you don’t know what you’re asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can’t let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He’ll find a way to live on his own.”
At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him. A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn’t know, their son had only one arm and one leg.
[a] In verse 24, we see something of the RISK involved in sinful mankind, either rejecting, or simply neglecting God's way of Salvation!
[b] So many today, live their lives, as if life is not the fragile thing that it is!
[c] The bible tells us, that there is in Heaven a book, called the Lamb's Book of Life, and it contains the name of every person who has found Jesus as their personal Saviour! They are the only people who will be saved.
[d] Is YOUR name there? DON'T TAKE A RISK WITH YOUR SOUL!
[e] Life in this world is a very temporary thing!
[f] Not one of us has any idea how long our life is going to last! It could be short - it could be (as we measure it) long, but one thing is sure - "It is appointed unto men once to die!"
[g] James says, "Life is like a vapour!" (James 4:14)
[h] Job says, "Life is like an eagle swooping on it's prey!" (Job 9:26)
[i] Again, Job says, "Life is like a shadow!" (Job14:2)
[j] King David says, "Life is like a span!" (Psalm 39:5)
[k] Isaiah says, "Life is like a shepherds tent!" (Isaiah 38:12)
[l] How can anyone work it out that, whenever they have no idea when they will be called upon to meet God, that they don't have to make any preparation for the occasion??
[a] It's a changing undependable and unreliable world in which we live - so what is there to rely on - WHAT IS GOING TO LAST??
[b] There is still one more little 'R' to squeeze out of this passage - in verse 25!
The RELIABILITY OF GOD'S WORD!!
"The Word of the Lord endureth for ever!"
KINGDOMS MAY RISE, KINGDOMS MAY FALL,
NATIONS REFUSE TO HEAR GOD’S CALL,
BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURETH FOR EVERMORE
[c] It will not fade away! It will not dissolve! It is ETERNAL!!
[d] It is with that total reliability that I dare to bring His Word to you.
You will know in your heart, if the Lord needs a response from you.
Salvation Army Song Book
PRAYER CHORUS 2 All that you need is a miracle.