Tonight’s sermon will eventually be out of 1 Peter 1. I would like to speak tonight about Jesus, gather that! Jesus our living hope, and our example of living a life of the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
I really love this portion of scripture; because what the Apostle Peter is speaking about our inheritance as he says, “kept in heaven for us.” And there is so much to that statement. Inheritance comes from a Father to those in His estate. And concerning us, that estate is everything. Everything that is available now, and in the future. But do we understand or and if we do, do we live in that inheritance established for us from the beginning of creation. The glorious riches of our salvation?
As I have said probably in the past, many who confess Christ appear to live in a separate world from Christ and His Word. They do not live in what is freely given, and seem to allow the world to dictate our thought, and not Jesus, and we seem to act on our feelings and perceptions of those feelings, and not by the fundamental truths of the Word of God directed by His Spirit. Inheritance concerning our Father in Heaven is receiving all the promises of His Word now, and forever.
But some thoughts before I really begin.
As we grow here at The Furnace, and we will, because I trust God, and when God has given a vision, He always follows through with His vision when His people continue to walk that vision out to the end in faith. He does not go back on His Word, and that is a good word for us in all situations.
As we grow to be the church that He has called this church to be, a church that has been created and called to assist in the change of the culture of Kenosha, both within the Church and outside the church; He will call us through unction of the Holy Spirit to live a culture of Jesus Christ, and live a culture of His Word to teach by example the truth of that Word that He wants established here in this church, Kenosha and in the region. Did you get that. We will live the culture, and God will bring in more who want to live that culture too so we can cause change. That culture will be a culture of not only holiness, righteousness, which He is calling the church back to, but a church that with others, we’re not the only ones, who will display the power of God through His love.
I truly believe in my heart as I have said before, that Jesus wants the church to operate in the basics again. He wants to be our first love again, with nothing close in second. He wants us to walk in the elementary Spirit led life He laid out to us in His Word and what He showed us while He lived, so we will not waste our time in vanity of life, being inspired by worldly ideals of growth and power, through vain teachings, vain programs, and anything else that removes us from operating purely in His Word and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And please don’t get hung up on the word elementary. We have convoluted the Gospel and teachings of Jesus to a point that people have a hard time wading through all the different belief structures of the church, and Jesus just wants us to preach and teach what He actually said without all the human thought, that we have put into it.
Jesus was all about relationship, and living a Holy life. Because through relationship, through Him directing us to the Father, it would cause us to live that holy life, honoring the Father, and fruit would appear through our lives through that relationship.
And through that relationship in the Spirit, we would receive revelation of the deep things of God and have true understanding what He said, and not an understanding what a man may think who does not know God intimately. The deep things of God are definitely not elementary.
1 Corinthians 2 speaks of the wisdom of the Spirit that are only received while we are in the Spirit when we are in contact and connected with a Holy God.
I guess some like the life of arguing doctrine, “working” the Gospel, and setting up locations for people to come to them so they can be programmed to fit into their model. But as we can see, it does not work, and we continue to see numbers fall for those who attend church, or who now actually believe. Very little transformation is happening inside or outside the church today and that needs to end.
As we have started this work here in Kenosha, we who are placed here should set the ground work and be the foundation, that will be built upon. Personally I have struggled with seeking what needs to be attained through Christ to lead in this journey we are on.
As I will speak of here soon about trials, and personal tribulation, I know it is God who is putting me through the wringer so I can shed any preconceived thought or notions, or past anything I have learned through the organized church so I can look ahead with clear eyes, having a clear head, and ears that will only hear the Holy Spirit who will give revelation to walk the path that God has in front of me and us.
I need to totally dispose of Brad to look forward, and its hard after living with Brad for 60 years. And being in the church for almost 60 years too. But my God is much larger than me, and I am willing to be completely emptied. so that is a start. And it’s funny saying my name as though it is a different person, but as I have asked the Lord, I want to be a different person. I want to be in the imagine He saw before I was born, before I messed it up. Well, He knew I was going to mess it up, but now to attain His standard set for me and my life. A standard that glorifies Him to the utmost.
I believe all of us should have introspection, or self-analysis, I have said that before, and that analysis should be through the Holy Spirit to root out anything that keeps us from viewing the truth of what Jesus intended for us, personally and for the Body as a whole. That will only happen when we humble ourselves before a Holy God and allow Christ to shape us for future glory that He offers us not only in the life to come, but now.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18, “ And the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (So we have freedom in the Spirit.)
18 But we all, with our face having been unveiled,
(so through the Spirit we have received revelation, we now see, have understanding because of encounter with the Lord.)
Continuing… having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, (I like the KJV, where it states, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
It basically says in the Greek, “even more, individually, or as many as would receive, through an opened presence, or a revealed presence from the Lord, we in time with intensity, look into gloriousness of the Lord. We will see it plainly before us. And because of that focus being able to see, we:
are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord who is a Spirit.
We now have the ability because of revelation to replicate what we have received through Spiritual understanding, and what we have seen through Jesus Christ who is our Lord, our teacher, and example. His reflection is on us.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 “To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.’
We cannot shape future glory for ourselves. A life in Christ is only Christ driven through the power of the Holy Spirit. And we cannot conjure up anything within ourselves to do great things for God. Self will only produce pride and eventually failure, and God will not allow pride. To do glorious things for God, we can only do it through supernatural means and not in the flesh.
God says in Isaiah 42:8, "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another.”
So everything that we do for the Lords glory, must first be directed by Him and through Him, thorough His Spirit for us to accomplish. That takes humility on our part. Much of the church and its leadership are not humble, neither are they focused. And because of the lack of humility we do not see much fruit.
James 4:10, “Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up!”
Proverbs 22:4, “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.”
Psalms 149:4, “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.”
Victory, for us, it is not only an overcoming life, but souls into the Kingdom. Influence through the Spirit to reach people.
Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!
Humility, with focus, living the Word of God because we are like planted trees in the Garden of God being watered and nourished by Him through the Holy Spirit because of relationship, we can accomplish anything. And by this word in Ephesians, more than we can ask. Why would we not pursue God in humility?
Let’s look at the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:1-8, but focusing on verses 6 and 8.
The Apostle Peter said:
1 Peter 1:1-12, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, In the Greek in verse 4, it says the inheritance is immortal. It’s forever and cannot change.
5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Through our belief, as the great Theologian Adam Clarke said, “God defends and guards us as if we are in a fortress or a castle.” Because of our faith, God stands as a sentinel keeping us under His watch.”
God has custody of us as we relinquish our rights to Him in faith. When we relinquish our rights, we come back into the first estate that we were created to function in, that God would be our Father and watch over us and take care of us, and we would commune with Him in love, as He intended from the beginning. So actually, we should not have worries anymore, right.
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
A little history to throw in here, the Apostle Peter it is assumed that he wrote this letter in Rome, between 62 AD and 64 AD. He was martyred there in ~AD 68 by Emperor Nero. His writing in Letter 1 was to the spread out churches of Asia Minor and it was for both the Jewish and Gentile Christians.
In this piece of scripture, as I said earlier he speaks to the Christians of their heavenly inheritance. A living hope in Jesus Christ because we are now connected into heaven, and it can never be taken away from us who believe.
Specifically, in verse 6 the Apostle Peter speaks of trials. And I bring this up because today, there are many who I am associated with who are going through them. Some for some time now.
We will all have trials of some sort, all of us. Us seasoned believers know that. Our faith will be tested, and we should want it to be tested, we should want the purification process that draws us nearer to our Father in Heaven. And with all of this testing and trials here lately, I believe some big stuff is going to come down. I believe we are being prepped for a big boom, and Jesus wants His Church to be ready. He wants us to be prepared to stand. An Ephesians 6:13 kind of a stand. In the evil day. But also in the day of great harvest as lightening rod for people who need a Savior to see, so we can reconcile people to Jesus.
I know we dislike trials, we dislike tribulation, and testing. Who does? It gets old after a while. But like Apostle James the half Brother of Jesus said,
James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. “
That steadfastness is a huge testimony and speaks volumes to people. Trials show us really what we believe. Do we just want to die, or give up, or whine? I am good at whining and getting angry when things don’t change. I am being truthful. What it comes down to, am I or we going to stand in faith no matter what. No matter what? We don’t like that at all.
It just happened that this week I met with whom I call my prophet. Concerning me, he is so dead on I shake my head and thank God. I was laying out my feelings of frustration this week to him. About this church, its growth, and the fire that I feel is missing within in me. He laughed at me. Some would probably get mad, but I understood. He said there is fire all over you. I said I don’t feel it, I used to feel the presence come over me, it was like I was being filled. He said you are filled. I can see it. And he said concerning everything, “what did God say?” He shut me up.
Trials are a time of hardening. Strengthening. Look at the making of a sword. In summary, a chunk of metal is heated up in the fire, then beat with a hammer. The steel is hammered into a shape, it is heated up and hammered repeatedly until it comes to shape. Then the swordsmith goes into the finishing process to harden the sword and the blade is heated up to a high temperature then plunged into a cold liquid. Then to finish it, the sword is heated up not so hot, and cooled slowly so the blade is now strong, and can be honed to sharpness.
When we are put in the fire so to speak, when God is forming and hardening us, like a sword, and He is preparing us for the future. An unhardened sword is brittle and it will break. God wants us strong, so He prepares us and makes us pure and hard, and that pureness and hardness is unbending faith in Him that all things are possible and a strong belief that what He says He will do, we know He will do it.
As we triumph in the test, praise and glory goes to God, and for us, a ton of revelation through the process.
And this leads me to verse eight, the reason for this sermon really. Verse 8 states:
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
When I look at the church and even myself, am I or we living this joy stated here?
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. This goes back to what I said earlier, Jesus want us to go back to our first love. If we do not love Him, we have an issue. We don’t know Him.
How could I love my wife if I did not know her? I love my wife more now than when we first got married. Why, because of time spent with her over these almost 31 years. She is my best friend. She is my love. From death us do part. She comes before everything, even if she doesn’t think so sometimes when I am running here and there, but she is still foremost in my heart and my mind. I am the groom; she is my bride.
Just as to all of us, Jesus is the groom; we are His bride.
We must foster a relationship with Jesus just as a close husband and a wife have relationship. Even as I was typing this, I was thinking I need to spend more time with my wife.
Jesus is saying the same thing. He is waiting for us. It is a two-way relationship. When we give, He gives. He should come before anything else in our lives. When we have relationship with Him, we have relationship with the Father, all through the Holy Spirit, the Trinity in action. All God.
The lack of intimacy of the Body of Christ to Jesus is stark and overwhelming and we see the effects of it every day. We do not know Jesus, because if we did, the world around us would be completely different if we did, and we know that is the truth.
We are here to cause change because of the relationship we have with Jesus Christ. That relationship not only changes us, but everything we come in contact with. This isn’t a new revelation. And really as our effort is in relationship with Jesus, we should not have any efforts in anything else because through our relationship with Him all life should flow out of that without effort.
Individuals who have complete focus on Christ aren’t swayed one way or another. Their sight path is very narrow, and it is very simple and focused. Conflict and issues of life even if they appear to be large don’t have much effect on them. Paul and Silas sung in jail like it was no big deal. You get my point don’t you?
It is easy then to believe in Jesus and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. Because our hearts are full, and the first love relationship we have with Jesus just opens doors to all kinds of revelation about Him and His Word. We know Him, His heart, and our worth. Love is known and can be given in the measure it is received.
We must move from a beginning salvation belief and experience with Jesus to a belief and life that is firmly rooted in Christ because of a steadfast relationship built through extended intimacy with the author and finisher of our faith. Being tested with fire, and persevering to be hardened for future glory now, and the age to come.
It is waiting for us. So what are we waiting for? This world as nothing to offer but failure, but Jesus, well He offers everything. The Kingdom of Heaven, and all we have to do is take it, and our joy will be complete. Amen!