1 Peter Message #14 “Present Foretaste of Future Glory” Ed Miller, May 18, 2022

Listen to audio above while following along with the transcript below (also available to download in Word from biblestudyministriesinc.com)

Welcome again to our meditation of our Lord Jesus in the book of 1 Peter.  Let me share a portion of a verse from Psalm 87:7, “All of my springs are in You.”  Isn’t that a wonderful verse?  “All of my spring are in You.”  Actually, it says, “All my springs of joy,” but “joy” is in italics, so that wasn’t in there.  So, it’s “All of my springs, including joy, are in You.”  There are many, many occasions of joy, but there’s only one source, and that’s our Lord Jesus Himself.  Family is an occasion of joy, the family of God is an occasion of joy, even the Bible is an occasion of joy, but all of my springs are in You; it’s the Lord Himself.

With that let’s commit out time to Him.  Heavenly Father, we thank You that we can gather in this place, and let the earth spin beneath us for a while, that we just focus and concentrate on the Lord Jesus.  We thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit, whose joy it is to ever turn our hearts to Christ.  Lord, as we continue our little meditation in 1 Peter, we would ask you once again to show us Jesus.  Thank you in advance, and we commit this session unto You, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let me just review a little bit.  As I said, we are here for one purpose, and that’s to see the Lord again.  That’s why we gather.  We want to see the Lord.  We’ve seen Him over and over again in this wonderful epistle.  The chief revelation of Christ, as I understand it in 1 Peter, is that He is the indwelling Pilgrim.  He’s the Pilgrim after God’s heart.  He’s called us to be pilgrims, but we’re not qualified to be pilgrims.  So, He lives in our heart to live in our place.  As we lay hold of His Life, His redemptive Pilgrim Life, then we become pilgrims that bring honor to Him.  Colossians 1:13&14, “He rescued us from the domain of darkness,” that’s when we became pilgrims, “and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.” 

As I told you, we aren’t qualified.  Peter calls attention to that.  Here’s one of the qualifications.  1 Peter 1:15, “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior, because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”  Now, if that’s a qualification to be a pilgrim, to be as holy as God is holy, do you see how in the flesh we’re disqualified?  There’s no way we can be perfect, but 1 Peter 2:22, speaking of Jesus, “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.  While being reviled, He did not revile in return.  While suffering He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”  That’s the message of 1 Peter; Jesus, the Pilgrim after God’s heart lives in your heart, and lives in my heart, and those Peter addressed who were suffering persecution, undeserved suffering.  As we submit to Him, as He submitted to the Father, we have victory. 

In our discussion we’ve been focusing on that principle, willingness to be done unto, subjection.  It’s absolutely impossible for us to be willing to be done unto.  We counterpunch, we resist, and we don’t like that.  For the past several sessions we’ve been focusing on that principle.  One reason I’m spending so much time here is that 3/5ths of the epistle of 1 Peter has to do with that principle.  So, I’m emphasizing what God emphasizes.  Let me just read these verses with very little comment.  1 Peter 2:13a, “Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,” submission.  And then in 1 Peter 2 at the end, verse 13 & 14, “Whether to the king, as the one in authority, or governors, as sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, submit to the government.”  And then 1 Peter 2:18, “Servants, be submissive to your masters, with respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also those who are unreasonable.”  And then 1 Peter 3:1&2, “In the same way, wives be submissive to your own husbands.”  1 Peter 3:7, “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way.”  And once again 1 Peter 2:22&23, that’s what Jesus did, “When He was reviled, He kept entrusting Himself to the Lord.”  He didn’t resist or retaliate.

Now, I’m going to skip over some of the things I had planned to say, because I want to spend more time at the end.  So, on your sheet you’ll jump down to chapter 3:1.  I was going to review the Sarah story, but I think you remember what that is.  There are still a couple of truths in 1 Peter 3:1-7.  That’s the mutual subjection in marriage.  There is a couple of truths that we haven’t touched on, and I’d like to just sort of finish that up, and then move to the climactic principle in all the book of 1 Peter.  We’re getting close to the end.  In fact, it’s my understanding that probably next week will be the last lesson in 1 Peter, and then, Lord willing, we’re going to do an overview in our last few lessons of 2 Peter, and we’ll just get the great theme of 2 Peter.

1 Peter 3:1, I’d like to home in on an expression, “In the same way you wives be submissive to your own husbands, so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives.”  I want to focus on that little expression, “Won without a word.”  That is in keeping with 1 Peter 3:4, “Let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”  The one who is submitting can win others without a word because the hidden Person of the heart is being revealed, and I pointed out that’s a reference to our Lord Jesus. 

It’s easy to imagine the opposite of a gentle and quiet spirit.  In other words, if you added words, many times there is not the willing submission, where you are trusting the Lord, but there can be words; a critical spirit and arguing, going back and forth, “You’re wrong.  You aren’t right,” and nagging and, “You need to straighten up,” and bringing up the past and, “This is what you did before, and don’t think I’m going to forget it,” and harping, harping and so on, and sometimes blubbering and trying to win an argument with tears, threatening and accusing.  Anyway, that whole idea of putting up a fuss is trying to win someone with words, and that doesn’t always work.  In fact, it never works.  But then you say, “Well, I’m going to do it without a word.  I’m going to give them the silent treatment and give them the cold shoulder.”  That’s not what Peter had in mind when he said, “without a word.” 

I have a friend and his wife is now in heaven, but it was a terrible time.  They lived under the same roof, but they did not live in fellowship with one another.  And for ten years they didn’t say a word one to another.  He said, “I will not divorce you because I’m a Christian.”  And that was the argument that he used.  They lived in the same house, and they didn’t eat together.  It was just a terrible, terrible situation.  That’s not what Peter means when he said, “Without a word.” 

In the background, of course, we’re talking about what a test it was for Sarah when her husband lied against her and she had to trust the Lord and submit.  1 Peter 3:1, “Won without a word.”  If you go on, this illustration of Sarah is in verses 1-7.  So, the question comes, what’s in verse 8?  What’s the very next verse?  “To sum up, be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead.  You were called for that purpose, that you might inherit a blessing.”  Actually, won without a word includes words, but they’re words of blessing.  The law of silence as far as bad words is on your lips, but it’s not total silence. 

Remember when Jesus was before Pilate, and Timothy 6 talks about “the great confession before Pilate.”  What was the great confession?  The answer is that He was silent.  Sometimes, if you’re in a situation it might be better to just close your mouth and walk away, and that’s a bigger confession.  Pilate said to Jesus, “Do you not answer me?  Don’t you know I have power to set you free?  I’ve got power to crucify you.”  And then Jesus did speak, “You would have no power at all unless it was given to you from above.”

So, this idea of winning without a word is not the cold shoulder.  1 Peter 3:9, “Giving a blessing instead.”  So, in the context, won without a word, I don’t think I’m doing damage to inspiration if I say, “Won without a negative word.”  I think that’s the idea.  “Won without a defensive word.”  I think that’s what Peter is getting at, “Won without a word of retaliation, but instead, blessing.”

Let me tie this in to the Sarah story and the power of her testimony to win without a word.  I want to begin by reminding you, and you’ll see that as you go through the record, Sarah called him “lord” with a little “l”, submitted, in a terrible situation, trusted the Lord, and God gave her peace.  She was not out to win her husband without a word.  I don’t think she had that in her mind at all.  That’s the last thing in her mind.  She just threw herself in helpless dependence on the Lord, and submitted to Him.  That winning without a word, that’s God’s part.  That’s what He’s doing.  She’s not saying, “I’m out to win my husband to the Lord.  She just trusted the Lord and then the secret Person of the heart was manifest through her.

I think there is a wonderful illustration of this silent witness in nature.  Psalm 19 begins in verse 1, “The heavens are telling the glory of God, their expanses declaring the work of His hand.”  Telling and declaring sounds like words.  Psalm 19:2, “Day to day, pour forth speech.  Night to night reveals knowledge; nature is speaking.”  It’s pouring forth speech.  Verse 3, “There is no speech, nor are there words.  Their voice is not heard.”  Nature is speaking without words.  It’s declaring the glory of God.  Verse 4, “Their line has gone out through all the earth; their utterances to the end of the world.”  Nature is not only speaking, but it’s speaking Russian, Italian, German, French, and every language is being addressed by creation.  Romans 1:20, “Since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse.”

It sort of reminds me of the great hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”  What a marvelous hymn!  That’s all about the revelation of the Lord, the hidden Person of the heart, His revelation in nature, His revelation in salvation, His revelation proclaiming His return.  It’s a silent witness, creation, but when you go through that song, it’s not too silent, “I hear the rolling thunder.”  That’s in that song.  “I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.”  There is listening there.  “I hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.”  “When Christ shall come with shout of acclimation.”  There’s a lot of words in creation, and the only verse in that song that has no reference to sound is that third verse, “And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in, that on the cross my burden gladly bear it.  He bled and died to take away my sin.”  I’ll tell you, the only voice there is the voice in my soul saying, “How great Thou art,” and the voice in your soul responding to that great salvation. 

What I’m trying to emphasize is that “won without a word,” may include positive words, but consistent with the message of 1 Peter, God wins others redemptively by the manifestation of Himself.  He’s manifest in creation.  That speaks.  He’s manifest in a submissive life.  That speaks, and I think that’s what Peter is calling attention to.  Again, I’m not ruling out words.  Romans 10:7, “Faith comes by hearing,” so you’ve got to hear, but hearing by the word concerning Christ, the manifestation of Christ.  That’s how we hear.  So, I’m not knocking speaking and preaching and sharing and witnessing by saying, “Without a word,” but I’m saying that the power of witnessing is the Christ within, the life manifest, and the life is His.

When I was at Bible school, we were required to take a soul winning class, and we were taught evangelism.  Some of it was pretty bizarre.  We were taught how to litter.  I went up on Lawson YMCA and I took a thousand tracks because it’s the windy city, and I just threw them off the roof, and I prayed, because I was taught to do that, and I prayed that God would bring the tracks right to the feet of any sinner who was seeking the Lord.  I was awarded the soul winner of the week.  That was Moody Bible Institute. 

We were taught that salvation is primarily a plan.  Salvation is not primarily a plan.  So, when I went into my soul winning course we had to learn how to present the plan.  We had four spiritual laws that will present the plan.  Then we had another one, the bridge, that will present the plan.  Then we had another one, the Roman Road, and that would present a plan.  Then we had another one, two families, and that would present a plan.  I’m not saying there’s no place for that.  I’m just saying that salvation is larger than a plan, and it’s larger than a method.

Paul’s testimony, Galatians 1:15, “When God, who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the gentiles.”  Paul’s testimony was that God was pleased to reveal His Son; that’s salvation.  It’s not a decision; it’s salvation.  You’ll decide when He reveals Himself.  There’s no question about that.  1 Peter 3:15, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you with gentleness and reverence.”  What is the hope within you?  You’re only three verses deep in the whole book and he tells you, “the living hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead.”  The hope in you is the living Christ, because without the living hope, you are hopeless and I’m hopeless.  There’s no possibility.  So, as Christ is manifest when somebody comes in response and says, “Explain, how can you go through that situation like that?” tell them about the Living Hope.  When I share Christ now, I’m more interested in introducing someone to my friend than I am to show them a plan.  There’s a place for the plan.  They need to know that, but I have a friend, an indwelling Christ, and salvation is sharing Him, letting Him reveal Himself.  I think that’s what Peter is getting at.

How do I know that Christ will manifest Himself?  How do I know I have a Savior?  Well, how do I know I have a wife?  I know I have a wife.  Someone will say, “Well, you got a certificate.”  I think we do someplace.  I have no clue where that certificate is, but it’s written.  I know I’m married because I have a certificate.  I could call witnesses that were there when I got married, and I can share that.  I’ll tell you how I know I’m married.  I have a wife.  I’ll tell you how I know I’m saved; I have a Savior.  It’s not because of some document or something that’s written, but I have a Living Savior, and that’s what we want to share.  That’s the hidden Person of the heart.  1 Peter 3:2, when you allow Christ to manifest Himself without a word, you disarm all of their prejudices, and you silence all of their slanders, and you recommend Jesus and that’s salvation.  Like Sarah, being done unto, she wasn’t trying to win anybody.  She was just trying to trust Jesus, and when she did that, He was won without a word.

Before we leave these seven verses, I’m not going to read all seven verses, but I want to make a couple of comments on verse 7.  When I read this, I want you to look at how pregnant, how much is in this verse, and much of it is controversial from some points of view.  “You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman, and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers would not be hindered.”  I have many commentaries on that one verse.

I want to look at the principles in that verse in terms of the message of 1 Peter.  Most of the time that verse is lifted out of context, and then people just go into all kinds of things.  I say that because this verse opens a wider discussion which is discussed other places, like a woman’s place and should she teach and the veil and all that kind of thing.  I think that teaching is quite clear.  It’s not the place to look at that today, but let me make three observations, and at least give you my heart on these three expressions; what does it mean when it says that the woman is the weaker vessel and what does it mean with the comment that she is a woman and what does it mean “fellow heirs of the grace of life?” 

In the context of 1 Peter, what is the most natural reading of the woman being weaker?  As I said, much has been written on this, and some say it’s the I.Q.  Let’s not go there.  Some say it’s muscles, because she doesn’t have as many muscles.  Some say that she’s just emotional, sentimental, and all that kind of thing.  I don’t think Peter had any of that in his mind.  When he’s writing 1 Peter, in chapter 3:1-6, the man was a jerk.  He was not believing the word.  And I think it’s a reference to Abraham in that case.  1 Peter 3:7, he turns it around.  This time it’s not the man who is a jerk, but it’s the woman who is weak.  I think that’s all he’s doing.  He’s saying, “Servants, submit to your masters.  Masters, submit to your servants.  Wives, submit to your husbands, even if they’re jerks.  And when a woman is a jerk, you’ve got to do the same thing.”  I think that’s basically what Peter had in mind.

Why the expression, “Since she is a woman.”  Once again, let’s go to 1 Peter, willingness to be done unto.  He’s not addressing husbands, and I think it’s a strong warning to the men.  He’s warning the husbands to live with his wife in an understanding way, since she is a woman.  In other words, if the government is oppressive, you’re sort of stuck.  You can’t fight city hall.  You have to deal with it, and it’s you can’t resist.  If you’re a slave and the master has authority over you, once again you’re overpowered.  You have no recourse.  But since the wife is a woman, she’s vulnerable.  I can’t stand up to the government, and if I’m a slave I can’t stand up to my overpowering master because he’ll kill me and throw me to the alligators, but to the woman, and this is against the husband, live with her in an understanding way.  Don’t resist just because you think you can, and you can get away with it.  Don’t take advantage of her because you can overpower her.  Don’t do that. 

One more, before we leave 1 Peter 3:1-7, I want to make a comment on that last expression in verse 7, “A fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers would not be hindered.”  Once again, in the message of 1 Peter he’s pointing us back to the indwelling Christ, and he’s saying, “Sometimes the husband is the weak one – submit.  Sometimes the wife is the weak one – submit.  But in the Lord there is no weak one or strong one.  They are on level ground.  As Thomas was saying, they’re equal.  We’re co-heirs of the grace of life and he’s encouraging both husband and wife, “Some time they’re weak, some time they’re weak,” and live on this level, you are co-heirs of the grace of life, on a spiritual level.  Peter is pointing out this, “Husbands, you may think you have a problem with your wife, but you don’t.  You have a problem with the Lord, and until you settle the problem with the Lord you’re never going to be one with the wife.  And wife, you might think you have a problem with your husband.  You don’t.  You have a problem with the Lord, and if you settle the problem with the Lord, you can live with your husband, otherwise your prayers are hindered.  You’ve broken fellowship with the Lord.

My Lillian has not one drop of responsibility toward me.  She has every responsibility towards the Lord in terms of me.  If she’s right with the Lord, we’re right with each other.  If I’m right with the Lord, we’re right with each other.  And I think that’s what Peter is saying.  The next part of Peter after this mutual subjection of husband and wife, we’ve already discussed in another connection, and that was the spirits in prison, and I’ll just give you the big principle, I called attention to the fact that the same Holy Spirit that ministered life in the days of Noah is the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and He’s the same Holy Spirit that lives in your heart now to preach the gospel to those who are dead.  So, that brings us to 1 Peter 4, and this is where I want to be this morning, 1 Peter 4:7 to the end of the book.  As we come to the end, there is one grand principle that pervades the rest of the epistle.  I’m going to introduce it this morning, and Lord willing, we’ll come back to this and wrap up the whole message.

This principle has several parts, and the different segments of this principle we’ve already been touching on, and they’re spread throughout the entire epistle, but I want to give you the principle, and I’m biting my tongue to a stump not to give it right now.  I want to give it but I think if we look at the three parts first, and then bring it together, I think we’ll understand the principle more clearly.  Let’s look at each part, one at a time.  The first is summarized in this one word, future.  That’s the first part of the principle.  Peter emphasizes the future.  I’m just going to read verses almost with little comment or none.  1 Peter 1:4&5, “To obtain an inheritance imperishable, undefiled that will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.”  “An inheritance reserved in heaven.”  That’s future.  “To be revealed in last time.”  That’s future.  1 Peter 1:13, “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Christ.”  There’s a way to look at that “at the revelation of Christ at His return,” in the future.  1 Peter 4:5, “They’ll give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”  That’s future.  1 Peter 4:13, “To the degree you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exaltation.”  And clearly verse 4:5, “When the chief Shepherd appears, you’ll receive an unfading crown of glory.”  So, it’s future.  That’s a big emphasis.

The fact that Peter emphasizes the future had to be a wonderful encouragement to these people who are martyrs, and they’re getting ready to be killed.  It’s sort of the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore, we do not lose heart, though the outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed day by day, for momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory, far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen.  Things that are seen are temporal, and things that are not seen are eternal.”  He encourages these martyrs by holding before them their glorious future, when they die and go to heaven. 

Now hold that, and here’s the second part.  The present, it’s amazing, Peter talks so much about the present as he does about the future.  1 Peter 1:7, “That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Christ.”  That doesn’t have to be the second coming.  That can be now when He reveals Himself, when you’re reading the Bible.  Listen to 1 Peter 5:1, watch the blending of the future and the present in that verse, “I exalt the elders among you, as your fellow elder, witness of the sufferings of Christ,” now watch this line, “partaker, also, of the glory that is to be revealed.”  He’s already a partaker of a glory that is yet to be revealed.  So, he takes the future and the present and he brings them together.  Verse 7, “The end of all things is near,” another translation says, “at hand,” and once again, “the end”, and that’s future, “is near”, it’s here and it’s right now and it’s at hand.

What is he referring to when he says that the end is at hand?  Well, you know this was written during Nero’s persecution, probably four or five years before 70 AD, and you know what happened in 70 AD; Jerusalem was destroyed completely by Titus, the Roman emperor.  He might be saying, “You’ve got four or five years and the end is at hand,” or he might be saying, “The end of the world is at hand,” or he might be talking about any moment death, “You are about to die, and the end is at hand.”  That certainly would apply to them, because if they died, that’s the end of all of their honors, no matter how elevated those honors might be, and if they died, that’s the end of all of their prospects of success, no matter how well founded those prospects might be.  If they died then that’s the end of all earthly ties, no matter how intimate those relationships might be.  Or he might be talking about the return of Christ, that Jesus can come at any moment.  Whatever, he’s blending the future with the present, and after he says, “the end is at hand,” then he talks about the present, right after that, immediately after that. 

Alright, the first portion is the future, and the second portion is the present.  What is the third part of the principle?  We need all three to get to the principle.  This is a little surprising.  He talks about the future, talks about the present, and to those who are suffering, undeserved suffering, about joy.  They’re being done unto, and being crucified, and being persecuted, and being thrown to lions, having their heads cut off, and he not only talks about joy, listen to 1 Peter 1:8&9, he says, “You greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”  He’s talking about a joy, but he’s not talking about heaven.  He’s talking about, “Here’s the future, here’s the present, and somehow they come together, and it’s filled with inexpressible joy, full of joy.”  1 Peter 4:13, “To the degree you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing.”  1 Peter 4:14, “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of the glory of God rests on you.”  1 Peter 4:16, “If anyone suffers as a Christian, he’s not to be ashamed; he’s to glorify God in this name.”  This is the same paradox our Lord Jesus experienced.  Hebrews 12 speaks about Him going to the cross, “Who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.” 

Let me put those three things together, and then we’ll get the great principle.  There’s the future, there’s the present, and somehow, bringing them together, there’s joy inexpressible and full of glory.  Let me state the principle several ways, and then at the end I’ll sort of bring it back together.  Sometimes we talk, and this is one of my favorite ways of expressing it, enjoying a present foretaste of a future glory.  That would give joy.  We need to unpack that, but that would bring joy.  Another way to say it is, “heaven now in the present.”  Another way is to realize eternity.  So, we’re going through life realizing eternity.  One commentator says, “It is life from heaven for life on earth.”  There are many ways to say the same thing, but it goes back to Peter expressing that we are pilgrims, and we don’t live here, and we have a whole new environment.  The Holy Spirit took great pains as He went through the New Testament to show the world from which we’ve been delivered and the world to which we now belong.  He says, “This was temporal, and this is eternal; this world is seen, and this world is not seen; this world is physical, and this world is spiritual; this world is external, and this world is internal; this world is beneath, and this world is in the heavenlies; this is the Jerusalem that was, and this is the Jerusalem that is not; this is present, and that’s future; this is shakable, and that’s unshakable.”  Over and over again the Holy Spirit is describing these two different worlds, and He’s saying, “The true pilgrim who is trusting the indwelling Pilgrim will be living on this side, in the spiritual realm.  He’ll be living there most of the time.” 

Many Christians many times, and I’m not excluding us, sometimes we don’t think about the eternal, unless a loved one dies, or unless we get a bad doctor report, and we’re about to die.  Then we start to think about it.  Or if some teacher or preacher gets up there and begins to warn you about the vanities of this world, and how short life is, then you begin to think about it.  Or some people get into such hard times that they just want out, “I just want to get out of here.  I want an escape.”  The principle we’re looking at is joy, inexpressible and full of glory, and for those who are suffering, and the illustration is extreme, being persecuted, does knowing your loved one went to heaven, and that some day you’re going to go to heaven, does that give the joy, the kind that he’s talking about?  Even if you knew that, would that give you that kind of joy? 

My thinking is, “No.”  When I’m being done unto, when I’m running from my life, when I’m about to be persecuted, even to death, thoughts of heaven come once in a while, and when they do come, it gives me hope, but it doesn’t give me joy.  And neither do meditations on the vanity of this world and the shortness of life.  If you discover by God’s revelation that there’s no value in this world, there’s nothing here for you, I think any time you can sit down any Christian and quiz them, they’ll say, “There’s no value in this world, and life is short, and the older you get the faster it seems to go.”  Lillian’s mother used to call life a roll of toilet paper; the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.”  If just knowing you’re getting old brings joy, I know a lot of old Christians and they’re not too happy.  They’re cranky.  Some Christians have entered in and they’ve seen what Peter is talking about.

Even the desire to escape doesn’t bring you joy.  If thoughts about heaven bring me hope, thoughts about the vanity of this world and the shortness of life sort of make me hopeless.  I discouraged more than encouraged.  But even the desire to escape from pain and sorrow and suffering makes you impatient.  It’s not joy.  You just want to get out of here and get done with this, more focused on deliverance than on the Deliverer.  So, here’s my question, if thoughts about heaven and eternity, if acknowledging that this world is empty and vain and vexing and life is so short, and if the prospect of being delivered from pain and sin and death and sickness and all of that, if that doesn’t bring me joy, what is Peter talking about?  That’s what we want to look at.

A present foretaste of future glory. What I’d like to show you now is that according to the balance of scripture, a present foretaste is a Person, and it’s not a doctrine.  Listen to “Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also after listening to the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise who is given as a pledge of your inheritance.”  The Holy Spirit of God, the life of God, the One who lives in you is a pledge, a down payment, an earnest of what is to come.  2 Corinthians 1:22, “Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”  It’s not the streets of gold, it’s not mansions in the sky, it’s not a river of life, it’s not a water of life, it’s not seeing angels.  The thing that makes heaven heaven is Jesus, and the thing that will make the pilgrim life heaven on earth is Jesus.  It’s a down payment, and that’s what he’s saying.  There’s a future, there’s a present, and you have an earnest right now, a Person, the Lord Jesus in the Person of the Holy Spirit, and that alone will give you joy.  “All of my springs are in Him.”  There’s no joy anywhere except in the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the context of 1 Peter, he set before them a wonderful hope, the any moment coming of the Lord, and he says, “Joy is brought when Jesus comes.  That will be true in the future and that’s true right now.”

Let me quote again that wonderful hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”  “When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation, bring me whom, what joy will fill my heart..”  When He comes, joy fills my heart.  Do you realize this, that is God’s final solution to all suffering?  It’s perfectly legitimate for any Christian in the time of overwhelming circumstances to ask God the Father to send His Son, because when His Son comes, there’s joy, fulness of joy, inexpressible joy.  His coming, the revelation of Christ, is God’s provision for any circumstance that overwhelms.  When He shall come, what joy will fill my heart.   Don’t wait for heaven, dear saints, don’t wait for the rapture, don’t wait for the second coming of Christ.  You have right now a down payment, an earnest, a pledge in your heart, the Lord Himself.  1 Peter 4:14, “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed.”  Why?  It’s because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  I’ll develop that a little bit more.

I want to give you a final illustration.  The future, the present, brought together, joy in the Person of the pledge, the indwelling Holy Spirit, a present Christ.  1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  Peter is now pointing to the source of their persecution.  He’s saying, “God has allowed it redemptively.”  You might ask the question, “How on earth am I to have one moment of joy in my life when Satan, my archenemy is at my heals prowling like a roaring lion and wants to devour me?  How in the world am I going to have joy?” 

Let me illustrate it from the Old Testament, Daniel the prophet.  If you were to ask Daniel at the close of days, “What was the high experience of your life, with you and the Lord?” I don’t think he would say, “God let me interpret dreams.”  I don’t think that was a high point.  And I don’t think he would say, “God let me see the future.  I saw the Medes and the Persians and the Babylonians and Greece and Rome.”  I don’t think that was it.  And I don’t even think he’d be that excited that, “God gave me the revelation to pinpoint the exact time in chapter 9 when Messiah would be cut off.”  I think if I were to ask Daniel, “What is the high point in your life?” I think he would say, “There was a night I was in the lions’ den.  Daniel 6:20-22, don’t forget that we get the picture that he was a young man in one or two lions.  There were probably three hundred lions, and they all had been starved and he was over ninety years old, and they didn’t put him down in a ladder.  It says that they threw him into the pit.  So, now you have Daniel in this pit.  In the morning the king comes.  Verse 20, “When he had come near the den to Daniel he cried out with a troubled voice, and the king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’ Then Daniel spoke to the king, ‘Oh king, live forever!  My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me.’”  My God sent His angel, that’s the angel of the Lord, and that’s the Lord Jesus.  The angel was Christ, and Daniel had a present foretaste of future glory.  God sent Christ to him in the lions’ den.

Someone said, “Well, he spent the night with the lions.”  He did not; he spent the night with Jesus.  He spent the night with the Lord Jesus, fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus, and God delivered him.  Instead of always looking for deliverance, let’s ask God to send us His Son.  We need the revelation, and that’s why He’s given us His word, to continually see Him, continually know Him.  That’s the joy that’s yours.  Now, no joy in heaven is going to be greater, well, it will be more, but we have the foretaste of it right now.  Who is Christ in this last illustration?  And the answer is that He’s the lion tamer in my heart.  He’s the lion tamer in your heart.  Dear fellow Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, I don’t know what is coming into your life, and I don’t know what is coming into my life, but I know this, that at any moment in my life I can trust God the Father to send God the Son, unveil Him and I will be filled with joy inexpressible and full of glory.  You can have your heart filled with joy and running over on all sides at all times.  If you start looking to Christ, I’ll tell you, Satan, you’ll terrify him.  It’s like a lion in a den of Daniels.  That’s what we are.  We look to Christ, and we terrify the enemy.  May God help us get that last principle, a present foretaste of glory by the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the future, the present, joy, Christ right now.

Let’s pray.  Father, thank You for Your word, not what we think it might mean, but Lord, You’ve inspired these things to take us forward and show us Christ.  Take us forward in a heart knowledge of Him.  We pray, Lord, that as wonderful as heaven is and as vain as this world is and as short as life is and how much we’d love to be escaping, we have You.  Oh, thank You.  Give us the faith to keep trusting You.  Give us that present foretaste of future glory, that we might realize eternity now.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.