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We welcome you again to our look at the Lord Jesus in the first epistle of Peter. I want to share a verse and it will make more sense after our mediation today. It’s Colossians 1:18, “He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” KJV says that He might have preeminence in everything. It’s not in some things, and not in most things, and not in pretty nearly everything, but He wants preeminence in everything. When we look at 1 Peter 1, even if I lose you along the way, you know right up front, that chapter is designed to show you that Jesus is preeminent in everything. With that in mind let’s bow and give this time to the Lord.
Our Father, we thank You again that You’ve gathered us. We are your sheep, and we ask you to minister the Lord Jesus to our heart. Lord, we’ve come to see Him, and so we thank You that it’s Your heart’s desire, actually You desire it more than we do, but we ask you, Lord, to unveil Yourself, and meet us where we are, and take us where You would have us. We ask it in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
We welcome you again to this little flocking of His people. That’s why God inspired the whole Bible, and that’s why He inspired 1 Peter, that we might behold the Lord Jesus. As we’ve been looking at 1 Peter, the prevailing revelation of our Lord Jesus in Peter is that He is the ideal Pilgrim and He’s the true Pilgrim, Pilgrim after God’s heart, and He lives in me. As you go through 1 Peter that’s prevailing idea, the indwelling Pilgrim enabling me to live a pilgrim life. Of course, that’s not the only revelation. That’s the prevailing revelation, but there’s many others. You noticed in 1 Peter 2:9, “You’re a chosen race, a royal priesthood, holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The many revelations of Christ make up His excellencies. It’s not just one vision of Him; many revelations, and then we are privileged to proclaim the Lord Jesus.
As we begin chapter 1, I need to give a little introduction because I have a little problem here, and I’m going to ask you to in your heart pray as I go through this wonderful chapter. 1 Peter, in fact all five chapters, are written as a letter of encouragement. In fact, he ends with this idea in 1 Peter 5:12, “Through Sylvanus, our faithful brother, so I regard him, I’ve written to you briefly exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!” This is an epistle where he is exhorting. He’s trying to encourage Christians who are suffering, and he’s testifying, “This is the grace of God; stand firm in it!” It’s a letter; it’s an epistle. He sat down and wrote a letter to suffering Christians, to brothers and sisters who are going through a terrible, hot persecution, under Rome and Nero and some of the Jews who had not been converted, and so on. Some of the people he’s writing to are very confused about what is going on. Some of them are very discouraged about what is going on. Many of them are very fearful about what is going on in their life, and Peter is writing a letter to encourage them. He’s answering them, well, he is the answer to Jesus’ prayer, Luke 22:32, “I pray for you, that your faith may not fail, and once you’ve turned again, strengthen your brothers.” That’s what he’s doing. He’s written a letter to strengthen his brothers.
You might say, “Well, what’s their problem?” You’ll see it very quickly. When you turn to chapter 1, it looks like he’s writing a theology book, not a letter. You need to approach this as a letter of encouragement to suffering Christians who are going through unspeakable and undeserved suffering. It’s good theology that he has, but his point is not, “Let me teach you some theology.” It’s not a textbook that’s going to be used in a seminary. It should be, actually. The last thing a Christian who is in danger of being cast to lions or who is facing possible crucifixion or having their heads cut off or being set on fire needs is a theology book. I’m not blasting theology, but I’m just trying to tell you, Peter is writing a letter to those he loved. You’ve got to read it as a letter. He’s encouraging Christians, writing to those who are scattered abroad and residing as aliens and strangers.
We settled this long ago, you and I. I didn’t come here to give you solid theology, and I’m thankful that you didn’t come here to get solid theology. I came to give Jesus, and I’m sure you’ve come to receive another look at Jesus. That’s all our gathering is all about. Again, Peter is not writing to seminary students. It’s a letter of encouragement. In 1 Peter 1, it’s all about Jesus. Let me give you this as a little principle. When you see the Lord Jesus in reality, you’ll have good theology. When I see the Lord Jesus in reality, I’ll have good theology, and the more clearly I see Him and the more often, the more my theology will be adjusted. He’s going to change your theology as you go along. When I’m looking to Christ, in that moment I have all the theology that I need at that time. It’s possible to have good theology and miss Jesus. That happened to the Pharisees, the Word of God, remember John 5:39, “You search the scriptures, and in them you think you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.” Here’s the next verse, “..and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” They had the scriptures, and they were experts in the scriptures, and they missed the Lord Jesus.
If I’m really looking to Christ, I’m not going to neglect this book, but I’ll tell you, I can be an expert in this book and miss Christ. We don’t want that. That’s why I fear when I come to this chapter. I’m just going to give you a machine gun style. This is in 1 Peter 1: he mentions election, he mentions the foreknowledge of God, he mentions the Trinity, he mentions the ministry of the Father, the ministry of the Son, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He mentions salvation. He talks about justification, sanctification, glorification. He mentions eternal security. He mentions heaven. He mentions the doctrine of angels. He mentions the inspiration of scripture. He mentions the new birth. He mentions the second coming. That’s more than a semester at seminary, and that’s not his point. That’s all in chapter 1. All those doctrines I mentioned are in chapter 1. So, I can see where the commentators get sidetracked, because they are saying, “Oh, this is election, and this is free will, and this is the Trinity, and this….” He’s writing a letter, a personal letter to hurting people, and if we read it as a theology book, we’re going to go in one direction, but if we read it as a letter of encouragement to those who are suffering, we’re going to have another different message all together.
So, all of that doctrine is referenced in 1 Peter, and as I said, it could be distracting, but when you read it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will see that Peter is squarely focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, and he’s saying, “Christians, if you’re looking to Christ, God is going to open to you and million and one things. You are going to get a ton, a truck load of doctrine.” Now, with that as background, I want to present to you the Jesus that filled the vision of Peter which led to all that doctrine, but we want to see the vision that Peter had. My only hope for solid theology in my life is to focus on Jesus.
Now, I want to say another thing about the relationship between Jesus and good theology. I say that if you look to Christ you are going to have good theology, and someone might come and say, “Wait a minute. How can that be true? I know Christians that are looking to Christ, and their theology is all messed up. How can you say that if you look to Christ you are going to have good theology? I know people who are looking to Christ, they say, and they are off on the Holy Spirit and they’re off on gifts and they’re off on church polity, and they’re off on the security of the believer, and God’s program for the Jews, and the end times, and tribulation, and all of that kind of thing. They are off on human responsibility and the place of women in the church. They’re all looking to Christ, and yet the theology seems to be everywhere.
I read this commentary once, and it said, “There are two kinds of people in the world: the righteous and the unrighteous. These divisions were made by the righteous.” What makes good theology? Is it because people agree with me? Is that good theology? The Lord always looks at the heart. If I’m looking in reality to Christ, He’s going to meet me where I am, deal with me as I am, and take me where He wants me. For example, if I’m a struggling Christian and I need a sense of His presence, if I need some sign, some wonder, some amazing miracle, or I need goose bumps, He’s going to give me goose bumps, and He’s going to give me goose bumps on goose bumps, if that’s where I am. Someone might stand up and say, “That’s not good theology. We go by faith and not by emotions, not by feelings. We don’t go that way. You’ve got bad theology.” That may look like bad theology, but that’s where he is, that’s where she is. If they need it, God is so gracious to give it. When God gives it, it’s good, even though you think it’s bad. It’s good even if I think it’s bad. How can I say it’s bad just because I disagree with them? He’s adjusting my theology. Every time I see Jesus there’s a new adjustment.
So, with these eyes it can look bad, but be careful. Somebody gets a revelation of the love of the Lord, and they make a little mistake, and they fall in love with the love of God instead of the God who is loving, and they get that little twist that He’s so loving and it’s so amazing, and He must be going to save everybody. Then we say that’s bad theology, universal salvation, don’t go there. Understand that God meets us where we are. There’s a double safeguard there. #1 it delivers me from thinking that I’m right all the time. #2 it makes me less critical of somebody else who might have a disagreement. We’re going to look at some theology, but God has not called me, and He’s not called you to straighten out anyone’s theology. He’s called you to encourage them to see Jesus, and the theology will take care of itself. How we need to see the Lord Jesus, because He’ll meet us where we are and take us where we need to go. I wanted to get that in front of us.
I’ll give a couple of Bible examples. Paul was dealing with Christians who were into ascetism, who were into worshipping of angels. Is that good theology? Who were into desiring visions? How did he deal with it. Colossians 2:18, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement, the worship of angels, taking stand on visions he’s seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, not holding fast to the head from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments grows with a growth from God.” He didn’t blast ascetism. He said, “You need to hold onto the head, and hold onto Christ. That’s where your life is going to come.” He didn’t blast the angel worship. That was wrong, but he didn’t blast that. He just said, “Look to the Lord,” because he knew that would take care of itself. It’s like in the Old Testament with Nahum, and he said, “I’m going to go into the house of Rimmon and I’m going to bow down, but I don’t mean it in my heart.” Do you know what Elisha said? “Go in peace.” Someone might say, “You need to correct him. Take a stand, take a bold stand, and go to the house of Rimmon and stand up.” He just said, “Go in peace.” Do you know why? God will take care of that. Eventually, if you keep looking to the Lord.
Romans 14:4, “Who are you to judge the servant of another. To his own master he stands or falls. Stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” I have no right to contradict what your master lets you do. I’ve got to answer to my master. I’ve got to do what my master tells me. But let’s say that you believe that you can go here and do that or drink that or whatever, and I don’t agree with that. You answer to your master, and I’lll answer to mine. That’s the approach that he’s taking.
I want to give one personal testimony and then I promise we’re going to 1 Peter chapter 1. A man once came to my door and my Lillian is a witness because she was very much involved in this. He had a theological problem. I’d never seen this man before. He was sent to me. So, he knocked at the door, and he said, “if you have time I’d like to talk to you because I want to know if I am saved. That was his problem, and then he told his story. He had gotten involved with a group called “The Way”, and they don’t believe that Jesus is God. This man told me that his brother who had come from another background was now a fighting Baptist, a fundamental Baptist. He said, “He’s giving me a hard time. He keeps saying that I’m not saved. Now, here’s what I believe. I believe that God has one way of salvation, His son, Jesus Christ. I believe that He sent His son to earth to save me, that he lived a perfect life, and that he was my substitute, and if I receive him, I can have forgiveness of my sin, and I don’t have to go to hell. I asked Jesus into my heart,” he said,” and I’m trusting him, but I don’t believe He’s God. I believe he’s God’s answer, and God’s provision, and God created him, and he’s a firstborn of all creation,” he said, “but I just don’t believe he’s God, but he’s my savior. There’s no other way, and there’s no other name. That was God’s deal. Am I saved?”
Can somebody be saved if they don’t believe that Jesus is God? I know one thing. I can’t say to anybody, because God has not allowed me to peak into the book of life, “Examine yourself whether you are in the faith.” I can’t say he wasn’t, and I can’t say he was. What would I say? Here’s what I told him. “I don’t know if you are saved, but I know this. You have an incomplete view of Jesus. He’s God. You have an incomplete view. I’m not going to try to prove it.” He said, “I’ll bring the book and you give me an answer to each argument.” I said, “I will not do that. I’m not going to argue. You look to Christ, and I promise you that your theology is going to straighten out. I know that you have an incomplete view of Christ. If an incomplete view of Christ kept us out of heaven, who would get there? Not me! We all have an incomplete view of our infinite Lord Jesus. So, I told him to keep trusting Jesus, and look to the Lord, and not to worry about it.
Well, shortly after he left and showed up at a conference we were holding in Quarryville, Pa. Without my knowing it he got involved at a dinner conversation with a dear brother from Altoona, Jack. The conference was over and later he comes to my house and knocks at the door, and Lillian and I together were there. It was Mike, the same guy, and he was a little bit emotional. His first words were, “I just wanted you to know, Jesus is God.” Isn’t that precious? I said, “Come in and tell me about it.” And he told me how Jack had taken him aside when he expressed that to Jack and opened up Colossians 1, and that was where the Lord used. Then he said to us, “I have a great advantage over you and Lillian.” I asked, “What’s that?” He said, “I knew Jesus before He was God.”
It’s just another illustration that our privilege is to point people to Christ. That’s our calling, and then everything will fall into place. Two verses, Ephesians 4:3, “Be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” and then verse 13, “..until be all attain to the unity of the faith.” That teaches that we’re not going to agree along the way. Let me finish that verse, “…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” May God help us to keep the unity of the Spirit, until we all come to the unity of the faith.
Let me begin 1 Peter 1 by reading the first two verses. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood. May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”
Just glance at the verse and you’ll see very clearly that he’s mentioning the Godhead, the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He speaks of the foreknowledge of the Father, the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the sprinkling of the blood of the Son. His point is not “the origin of our salvation belongs to the Father” and the “means of our salvation belongs to the Spirit” and “the goal of our salvation is through the Son, the Lord Jesus.” That’s wonderfully true, but he’s writing a letter of encouragement. I don’t want you to lose that.
I’m just going to now run through the chapter. He starts off with the Trinity, but then he can’t stop talking about Jesus. It’s an amazing thing. Verse 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” We’ve already discussed that wonderful truth, how Peter’s hope for living was the living Christ in him. 1 Peter 1:6-7, just look at the end of 7, “…to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:8, “…though you have not seen Him,” that’s Jesus, “you love Him,” that’s Jesus, “and though you do not see Him now,” that’s Jesus “but you believe in Him,“ that’s Jesus, “you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” Verse 11, the prophets, they were writing about Jesus, “… seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicated, as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” Verse 13, “…fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:20, “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times..”
That’s enough to make the point I’m trying to make. Who is the living hope? It’s Jesus. Who is the One who is not seen but loved, not seen but trusted? The answer is that it’s Jesus, the second Person of the Godhead. Who is the theme of the prophets, the ministry? It’s Jesus, Messiah. When will the grace be received for those who are suffering? It’s when Christ is revealed. Who was foreknown before the foundation of the world? He starts off with the Trinity, but then it’s Jesus, it’s Jesus, it’s Jesus. 1 Peter 1:19 again, who shed His precious blood? It’s the Lord Jesus.
Let me state the word that Peter is sharing, and then as I try to develop it I’ll give it to you as a principle. Peter is reminding persecuted saints that if they actually in reality look to Jesus, the whole Godhead is on their side. That’s what he’s saying. He said, “God is for you. If He is for you, who can be against you? He spared not His own Son, and delivered Him up, how will He not with Him give you all things?” That was his big point.
You know, we’re running a race. Hebrews 12:1&2, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside very encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” Fixing our eyes on Jesus. God the Father is intimately involved with your salvation, but you don’t run the race by fixing your eyes on God the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, is intimately involved in your salvation, but that’s not how you run the race, with your eyes fixed on the Holy Spirit. Fixing your eyes on Jesus.
I don’t want misunderstanding here. Let me sort of say this; there’s no jealously in the Godhead. Do you understand what I mean by that? I was told in prayer one time that you’ve got to pray to the Father in the power of the Spirit and in the name and authority of Jesus. That’s the protocol. One time a brother took me aside in love and said, “God is not going to hear that prayer. You addressed the Holy Spirit.” I was amazed because we had just finished singing a song addressing, “Breathe on me oh breath of God.” He was well into that, and that’s calling on the Holy Spirit. And we pray to the Holy Spirit… I was told that my prayer was vain because I addressed the Holy Spirit. There’s no jealousy in the Godhead. God doesn’t care if you call on the Father or the Spirit or the Son. He’s One. God is One. I’m sure in Acts 7:59, “They went on stoning Stephen, and he called on the Lord and said, ‘Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit.” I’m sure God didn’t say, “Oh, Stephen, I’m so sorry, you addressed the Lord Jesus. I can’t accept a prayer like that. That’s nonsense. There’s no jealousy in the Godhead.
Here is the second approach we need to get the principle Peter is mentioning. You will not neglect God the Father by keeping your eyes on Jesus, and you will not neglect God the Holy Spirit by keeping your eyes on Jesus. In fact, if you are focused on the Father, you may be neglecting God, the Father. If you focus on the Holy Spirit, because His ministry is to get you to look to Jesus, you can be working at cross purposes with God. If you’re looking to Christ, you have the whole Godhead. Here’s the principle. In God’s revelation of Himself to man, He has made Christ central in the Godhead. Boy, they needed to know that. They were being persecuted and he’s saying, “In relationship to God Almighty, Jesus is central in the Godhead. That’s why Jesus said to Phillip in John 14:8, “Phillip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father. It’s enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you’ve not come to know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” That’s why Jesus became man. That’s why He became flesh, because God, the triune God wanted us to know Him, and the only way to know Him is in the Person of His Son. Peter was encouraging His fellow Christian, suffering pilgrims to look to Christ, and you’ll find the whole Godhead and all of heaven is on your side.
There is a great commentary on that, not written by man. It’s the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:31-39, I’m not going to read the whole thing, but let me read verse 31, “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not with Him freely give us all things?” You read through verse 39 and you’ll see how wonderfully this passage ties in with suffering Christians and the message of 1 Peter. In God’s revelation of Himself, He’s made Christ central in the Godhead. 100% all God’s dealings with Ed Miller are through the Son of God. 100% of all Ed Miller’s dealings with God go through Jesus. What is true of me is true of you. All of His dealings with you are through Jesus, and all of your dealings with Him must go through Jesus. 1 John 2:23, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father. The one who confesses the Son has the Father, also.”
You might disagree with this, and maybe when I see Jesus it will change again. I think that even in eternity, even in heaven I don’t think we’ll ever see the Father or the Holy Spirit. I think even through eternity we’re going to know God in the Person of His Son. In God’s revelation of Himself, He’s made Christ central in the Godhead. That’s why in my teaching, when I’m in the Old Testament or the New Testament, it doesn’t matter, I’m going to begin by saying, “How does this book, how does this chapter, how does this passage, how does this verse reveal Jesus.” That’s what we want. We want to know Jesus. That’s the first thing I want you to see on this first page of Peter’s letter, how great Christ is. In His relationship to God, He’s central. He lives in your heart. This is an amazing thing.
Before leaving the truth of the Trinity, let me just show you how he ties it into their situation. In verse 20 &21, he talks about the Lord Jesus “foreknown before the foundation of the earth.” And in Revelation, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.” Last week I showed you a passage where because of the theological darkness that Peter was in because of his slight vision of Christ, he didn’t understand that. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Him, “God forbid it, Lord! This will never happen to You.” Now he looks back and says, “Wow, it happened before the foundation of the earth. I’m trying to prevent what already took place,” because God opened his eyes, and he began to see that, now that his eyes are opened, Jesus, before the foundation of the earth.
Why do you think he says in verse 2, “You have been chosen before the foundation of the earth.”? Why does he bring those two things together? Let me ask this. Jesus in the mind, purposes of God was already crucified before the foundation of the earth. How much when He stepped into history, was His suffering, His persecution, was an accident? How much of that just sort of came upon God as a surprise? He is saying that it was all arranged back there. And guess what, so were you? How much of what you are going through is an accident? Nothing, not one drop, not one pain, not one stroke, not one affliction, in the heart, mind and purposes of God for redemption. So, he brings this out; Christ in relation to God is central in the Godhead.
It looks like theology, but then he says, “Let’s just look at how Christ is related to angels.” 1 Peter 1:12, “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things,” that’s the prophet, speaking of Jesus, “in those things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.” The suffering and the glory, the ministry of Jesus—angels are scratching their feathers, their heads seeking to look into this finished work. When it says, “desiring to look…” that’s the same Greek word that’s used in Luke 22 when our Lord Jesus said, “I have such a desire to have the last Passover with you; I have that desire.” When Peter and John stretched to look inside the empty tomb, it’s the same word. They were inquiring and looking, “What’s this all about?” They wanted to investigate. So, the angels don’t understand salvation. They know all about the power of God, they know all about the wisdom of God, they know all about the authority of God, but they’ve never been forgiven. They do not know the tender side, the mercy, the love, the patience of the Lord. God has not redeemed them.
When Jesus was born, a little baby in a manger, Hebrews 1:6, “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.” How many angels are there? Do you know why you can’t count them? It’s because the Bible says that it’s an innumerable host. Not only you can’t count them, but they can’t be counted, trillions, trillions! When Jesus became a baby, every angel in heaven bowed down to worship Him. That’s the One who lives in your heart! In relation to God, He’s central in the Godhead! In relation to angels, He’s the object of their worship and their wonder and their adoration! Ephesians 3 says that the angels look at the church, and that they’re learning. I misunderstood that for a while. I figured that we have all these people in the room, and a bunch of angels in the back taking notes, because they want to hear what I have to say. No, do you know how they’re learning? When I got screwed up in Chicago and tried to go to a girlie show, rebelling against the Lord, and God forgave me. That’s what they’re amazed at! The reality of women wearing veils, the angels, that’s for them! They’re learning and they’re teaching, and they’re being taught the mercy of God, the patience of God, the grace… I’m teaching angels, all right. Every time I screw up, they’re learning.
Remember when we did Exodus and we looked at the Ark of the Covenant? Exodus 25:20, “The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat.” The blood-sprinkled mercy seat, God said, “As a picture, you make them looking down, things angels desire to look into.” That was a foretaste of all of this. Peter is saying, “Look, you’re being persecuted. Look to Jesus; He’s central in the Godhead. Look to Jesus; all the angels of God are worshipping Him. He’s the object of their adoration. And the One who is central in the Godhead lives in your heart, and the One that all the angels worship lives in my heart, and lives in your heart.” And then he says as he’s ready for closing, we’re not even getting near to closing this chapter, but the next point he makes is, “Jesus is related to the Godhead. Jesus is related to the angels. Jesus is related to the Christian. Jesus is related to the world. I need to see how He is related to the Godhead, because he lives in me. I need to see how He’s related to the angels. I need to see how He’s related to the Christian.” We’re only going to begin that at the end of our study. We’re going to look at it a little bit, how is He related to me? He’s central in the Godhead, He’s the object of worship to the angels, what about how does He relate to me?
There are at least two answers to this question in 1 Peter 1, and I’m only going to give the first one and begin that. Let me summarize it in one word. How is he related to me? One word… intimately! That’s how He’s related to me, but to expand on Peter’s approach, his vision was, gradually, little by little. We only see a little bit at a time. He increases our vision of Christ. 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy, caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ.” When Peter discovered that Christ was not only alive, but alive in him, a hope was quickened in his heart. He calls it a “living hope”, and it’s the hope that Christ has come. That’s my hope for being a Christian. Christ lives in me; that’s your hope, as well!
As Christ lives in you, you don’t always know what’s going on, and yet you have hope. I want to call attention to that. We don’t know what is going on, but we have hope. Notice what he says in verse 6, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed…” Who rejoices when they’re distressed? He said, “I wouldn’t have except I have a hope that makes me rejoice.” Sometimes we go through trials and sometimes they’re severe, and sometimes not so severe. Sometimes they’re chronic, and sometimes it’s for the moment and that’s all. Some are very painful. Some are not so painful. Sometimes it’s just annoying and frustrating, what we’re going through. 1 Peter 1:8, “…though you have not seen Him, you love Him,” because we have a hope. What am I hoping for? I want to nail that this morning. What am I hoping for? How can I rejoice when I’m going through a lot of stuff? I’m going through stuff. I love Jesus. I’m not able to see Him and I don’t know what He’s doing, but I love Him. Some will ask, “How can you do that? Why would God allow that?” We answer for the moment, “I don’t know. I don’t have an idea. I’m confused myself, but I have a hope. It’s a living hope. In fact, it makes me excited.” You might say, “How can you love Him when He leaves you in the dark?” “I’m not looking for an answer. I don’t care why He’s doing it. I don’t know the purpose. That’s His business. I’ve got a hope. I’m hoping for something else, not an answer.”
“Well, what are you hoping for?” 1 Peter 1:8, “… though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him..” I not only love Him in the dark, I trust Him in the dark. “Why do you trust Him in the dark?” Because I’m looking for something. “What are you looking for?” 1 Peter 1:7, “…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 Jesus Christ.” That’s what I’m hoping for. He promised me, when I needed it, gradually, He’s going to show Himself. When He allows some stuff in my life, do you know why I get excited? It’s because I’m going to see Jesus in a way I’ve never seen Him before. That’s what he’s saying. He said, “When you go through that stuff, keep loving Him and keep trusting Him, and when He reveals Himself, you’re going to rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” That’s the glory of the whole thing. He wants to make Himself known. I have an intimate relationship to Him.
This is not resignation, like some stoic resigns, and he’s indifferent to pleasure or pain. It’s not that kind of a resignation. It’s not the optimist or the novelist or the positive thinking of some social gospel preacher. It’s certainly not the false cheeriness of lying politicians. This is real and this is vital, and this is actual. He has promised that when he brings something into your life, it’s a foretaste. He said, “I’m bringing this in because I want to conform you to Christ. I’m going to use it for them,” and we’ll talk about that later, but for now, “I bring it into your life because I’m going to do something, and you will see Me as you’ve never seen Me before.”
Somebody goes bankrupt and says, “Oh, I lost everything. I went bankrupt.” If you had Peter’s mind you’d say, “Bankrupt! Wow, what a trial! Imagine how Jesus is going to reveal Himself through that!” That was his hope! His hope was that Christ was going to keep revealing Himself over and over and over again. Brother, what a privilege you have, and what a privilege I have, because we have been called for this. He’s saying, “You wait until you see Me!” That’s what it’s all about. That’s why he said to rejoice when you are being persecuted. The Spirit of God and glory dwells on you because… and it will be proved by your faith, the proof of your faith. We’re going to get into this next week, but faith is not more precious than gold. The proof of your faith is more precious than gold.
The whole point is, 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” When He enlarges your vision, and everything that’s going on in your life, it’s going to be for others. It’s all redemptive, but it’s also for you and me. It’s for us to see the Lord Jesus, and when we do, we’ll overflow on all sides. He says, “joy inexpressible”. What does that mean? It means that there is no language to describe it. “Full of glory,” what does that mean? That’s heaven. He’s saying, “It’s so exciting when something comes into your life, a trial, a trouble, an affliction, whatever, because you have a living hope that Jesus is going to show Himself to you in a way that you’ve never seen Him before.
As far a Jesus and God is concerned, He is central in the Godhead. As far as Jesus and the angels are concerned, they’re just bowing down and adoring and worshipping Him, seeing things they’ve never seen. As far as you’re concerned, He says, “I want to draw you into intimacy with Me. I want you to know Me better, gradually. And with everything that comes into your life, you have a hope, and you can rejoice in advance. You might say, “But I don’t see Him.” I still love Him. “I don’t see Him.” It doesn’t matter. I’m trusting Him. Why? Because He promised to show Himself. When does He do it? 1 Peter 1:6, “…if necessary,” or, “…if need be,” in the KJV.
We ask God to provide our needs. You might be in heaviness through manifold temptation, if need be. That’s part of your needs. I need to see Him over and over. My son, Daniel, always asks me, “How can I pray for you?” And I always gave the same answer, “Pray that I see Jesus more clearly.” I have no other need, and you have no other need. That’s all your need. We say, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Well, make sure you read Isaiah 30:20, “Although the Lord has given you bread of privation,” the bread of affliction, “and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.” That’s why He gives you the bread of affliction, so your eyes can behold your Teacher. He’s faithful; He’s going to meet you, if need be. He’s going to meet all your needs, and your need is to see Him.
I, for one, because Jesus is central in the Godhead and because Jesus is the object of worship of all the angels, and because He wants to know me intimately, and wants me to know Him gradually, as for me I refuse to wait forever to behold the Lord. I’m going to behold Him now, right now. I’m going to glory, but I have glory here. It’s already begun. I’m already drinking from the clear stream that flows from the throne and from the Lamb. I’m already being filled with that. I’m not waiting to die to be conformed to His image. Eternal life is not after I’m terminated. Eternal Life is a Person whose name is Jesus, and we have the Life of the Eternal One. I’m already breathing heaven’s atmosphere. Everyday is exciting, and I don’t care what comes. In fact, it’s a hope, it’s a hope when something new comes. It’s a guarantee. I’m going to see Jesus in a way I haven’t seen Him, and I’m going to experience grace in a way I haven’t had it. I’m going to heaven in a little bit of heaven, and I want you to look to Jesus who is central in the Godhead, the object of worship of angels, the One who wants to be intimate with you.
Father, thank You for the work that You have done in Peter’s life. What an enlarged vision from the Peter of the gospels, and now this Peter! Lord, we pray that we might study this, not as a theology book, but as an encouragement to us, that we might see where you might place Jesus in Your revelation of Yourself to us. Lord, give us the grace to run the race, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.