Printable PDF: 4-26-2020 Easter 03 Sermon
David R. Clark ~ 1 Peter 1:17-21 ~ May 26, 2020 ~ Easter 3
REJOICE IN YOUR RESURRECTION HOPE
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Brothers and sisters in our living hope,
I know it wasn’t our usual Easter celebration a couple of weeks ago, but it was still stirring, wasn’t it? It was great to hear music and sing. The readings and the sermon were joyous. Even if the celebration was not as big outwardly, Easter was in our hearts, the place it matters most. We were lifted up by Easter joy!
But that was two weeks ago. Do you see how hard Satan is working to take that joy away with cancellations and physical distancing? This is nothing new. Every year he tries to make us think that Easter is important only when we die.
So how do we show that Easter is more than an eternal life policy? How do we keep the joy? The believers of Peter’s time didn’t know what COVID19 was, but they still had struggles. Peter’s encouragement to them is still very good for you and me today.
- By showing what is perishable.
People have to make decisions/judgments every day. People raise their children the way they were raised. They treat their spouse the way they saw their Mom and Dad treat each other. Success is usually how well they measure up or improve on that standard.
People also make decisions/judgments about their personal lives. Their attitudes and morals are shaped from those same traditional places or from our society. That is powerful.
But as popular as such decisions/judgments are, they can’t be ours. Why? A resurrected Jesus. Easter changes the very fabric of our lives. It makes what the world says, what is traditional, what is popular, not what is most important to us.
This is how Peter says it: (17-18) Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,
Those traditional measurements are a problem. As common as they may be, God doesn’t judge you based on what your parents did or said. He judges you impartially according to his standards. Living according to those former standards he calls an empty way of life. They are no better than taking an opinion poll with all the people of Glendale asking them how someone gets to heaven. It doesn’t matter what the poll says. It’s worthless.
Peter wants Christians to see that all of these kinds of things are perishable. In other words, they don’t last. If you go into a grocery store and buy something that is perishable, you know it won’t last. They have to be refrigerated or they have a date on them because they don’t last. The world’s way of looking at life is perishable.
But how do we show such things are perishable? We live as if these things are not as important as everyone else does. That will make us stick out. Peter says it means living here like we are “foreigners.”
Think what a foreigner is: they speak a different language and don’t quite fit in. For us that means we are not led by fear and dread. We don’t look at the government as the solution or the enemy. We are not led by rights, but by love. We don’t take people’s words and actions in the harshest possible way.
We recognize that we have a judge who will judge us on whether our lives show what is perishable in reverent fear.
- By showing what is precious.
If this was easy we wouldn’t need this encouragement. (19-21) [For you know that that you were redeemed] with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Peter pointed his Jewish believers to a sacred symbol of God’s love. They knew a lamb without blemish or defect was a symbol of delivery from slavery. The blood of the Passover lamb was painted on the doorframes to keep the Angel of Death away. But Peter wasn’t pointing them to Passover. He told them that the lamb is Jesus Christ.
Jesus, a man without any sin whatsoever, shed his blood not on a doorframe, but on a cross. His resurrection proved that our slavery to sin and its result, death, had been overcome. That makes his blood the most precious commodity in the world.
Rejoicing in resurrection hope means showing how precious that blood is. We live knowing the resurrection is a factual event that happened in the past that keeps our focus on the future when we shall live even after we die, just as Jesus did.
But that guides us every single day until we die or He comes again. It makes every single day a day of rejoicing, another day of Easter hope. Every day is a day to recognize that what the world considers normal or precious, their silver and gold, is not the most precious elements in our lives.
It’s ironic that one thing this virus has done is forced us to see the difference between what we like and what is crucial. It has forced us to see what is necessary and what is unnecessary. Jesus’ resurrection has been doing that for 2000 years.
Easter may be gone for another year but our joy is not. Keep Easter in your hearts and in your lives so you continue to REJOICE IN OUR RESURRECTION HOPE. Amen.