In First Peter the author makes a slight reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. “In his great mercy he has given us a new birth and a living hope though the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead….” (1 Peter 1:3). This morning I want to spend a few minutes examining this great teaching of the church. What do we believe about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?
To begin I want us to read the Apostles Creed together. The Apostles Creed has been used in one form or another since the second century. It was written by the early leaders of the church to say: this is who we are; this is what we believe. Historically the Christian Church Disciples of Christ have disliked creeds. The early Church leaders believed they were divisive. This is why it is called the Apostolic Affirmation of Faith in our Hymnal. However, I think its time the Christian Church embraced it. Not as a test of faith for membership, or right belief, but as a starting place for saying through the ages this is what the church has believed. As well, as being a point of contact with other Christian traditions. Did you realize there are congregations who recite the Apostles Creed every Sunday in worship as an affirmation of their faith?
I believe in God, the Father
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
There is something you may find interesting here. Each of these historic beliefs is emphasized during a season of the church year. Of course, for our purpose we are interested in the Resurrection because we are in the season of Easter.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
1 Cor. 15:3-5
…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
1 Cor. 15:14
…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
1 Cor 15:17
More From Paul…
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
1 Th. 4:13 NIV
First Peter was written to prepare people for baptism. It could have been shared with those who were being baptized in a pastor’s class of sorts. Or, it could have been used as a text for preaching when the new believers were baptized. However it was used, it was written to instruct new Christians on the important matters of the faith. The author was very concerned about making sure that the teaching of the apostles was passed on form one generation to the next. The particular nine verses we read describe specifically what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.
Benefits of Being A Christian
I. New Life (1 Peter 1:3)
II. Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3)
III. Inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)
a. Kept in heaven
b. Does not perish
c. Does not spoil
d. Does not fade
IV. Hardship Does not Steal Our Joy (1 Peter 1:6)
a. Suffering is only temporary.
b. Suffering is fertile ground for growth.
c. Suffering is opportunity to test our faith.
V. The Salvation of our souls.
You believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:9
Here is where Peter pulls it together for us. These wonderful benefits of being a Christian we have listed are made possible through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead. Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead none of these blessings would be available to us.
The early followers of Christ preached the resurrection as fact, and they lived it as an experience. They had received a kingdom that could not be shaken, a life that could not snuffed out by death. That is the reason that, through the years, Christians have been willing to bear all sorts of burdens, make all sorts of sacrifices, take all sorts of risks to proclaim the gospel. That’s the reason that countless persons have been willing to literally die for the cause of Jesus Christ.
What can we learn about God then from all of us? There is a lot we can learn about God from what the Bible teaches about the resurrection. We learn…
I. Our God is a God of abundance – “Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”
1 Peter 3:2
II. Our God is a God of mercy – “In his great mercy…..”
1 Peter 3:3
III. Our God is a God who gives – “In his great mercy he has given us….”
1 Peter 3:3.
The real tragedy is our general lack of knowledge concerning the great teachings of the faith. Our attempts to reduce the teachings of the church to a bumper sticker cliché have not served us well. The blame here rests on the clergy for being more committed to church growth than actual teaching.
The real tragedy is that many of us are completely unaware of how blessed we are in Christ. We live our lives without utilizing the vast resources God has made available to us.
The poverty of our spiritual lives is a real tragedy when there are riches within our grasp. What would happen to us, our church our community if we began to make use of all that God has made available to us through Jesus Christ.
The real tragedy is that we waste our lives focusing on the things we don’t have. When in the end what we don’t have is not as nearly important what we do have. The difference between a Christian life that makes an impact and one that does not, is largely determined by what we pay closest attention too.
In conclusion, let us read 1st Peter together as an affirmation of our faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Pet 1:3-9