OUR RESERVED INHERITANCE
Princeton Christian Church 1 Peter 1:3-4 Romans 8:16-17
As children of God we have a priceless and limitless inheritance. As children of God we are heirs of God and coheirs with Christ. We all have a trust fund. We can say that we are all rich kids.
The story is told of two friends talking with one another as they met on the street. One of them looked sad and seemed to be almost on the verge of tears. The other man asked him what was making him so sad today. The sad friend said, “Well, let me tell you what has happened to me recently. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me 50 thousand dollars.” The other man said, “I can see why your uncle’s passing would make you sad, but I would think that the inheritance would help to raise your spirits. The sad man said, “Hold on, that’s not all. Two weeks ago, a cousin I never knew died and left me 95 thousand dollars.” His friend again expressed his sympathy at the loss of another relative, but said, “Again, I am so sorry for your loss, but I am happy for your gain!” 7. The sad man continued and said, “There is still more. Just last week my grandfather passed away and I inherited almost a million from him.” Well, of course, his friend still couldn’t see why the man was so sad. So he said, “So let me get this right. Three weeks ago you inherited 50 thousand. Two weeks ago you inherited 95 thousand. And last week you inherited 1 million. So, why are you looking so sad?” The sad man replied, “So far this week, I haven’t inherited anything!”
Now, I hope that that was not a true story, but a situation we might find some people in.
Surely none of us would react in that manner if we had inherited that great amount of money. Most of us, of course, would be very sad for the loss of our family members, but would be very thankful for the financial gain.
So, let me ask you this question: Are you anticipating a substantial earthly inheritance? Are you in line for a big windfall from the passing of a wealthy parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle? That is possible for some. But if not, then you are in pretty good company, because most of us are not expecting that kind of earthly inheritance.
But here is the greatest news concerning an inheritance which we all can anticipate. If you are a child of God, then you have a priceless and limitless spiritual inheritance. This inheritance exceeds the value of any earthly inheritance.
This is one of the great promises that we have from God. Every child of God will receive an inheritance. Let’s see where that promise is clearly stated in Scripture.
We are going to focus this morning on 1 Peter 1:3-4, but let’s start with Romans 8:16-17.
If you and I are children of God, then we are heirs of God and coheirs with Christ. Let that reality sink into our hearts and minds – we aren’t merely slaves or servants of God, and we aren’t just saints of God. No, we are children of God and therefore heirs of God. Children are a large part of a family. As God’s children, we have legal right to the family fortune of heaven. We are beneficiaries. When you take out a life insurance policy you name someone, usually a family member to be the beneficiary. God has taken out a life assurance policy and named all His children as beneficiaries. His will has been executed and our spiritual account has been fully funded. Our Heavenly Father is rich beyond imagination with every kind of wealth imaginable.
1 Chronicles 29:11-13 includes a very descriptive picture of who God is, the kind of power He has, and what He owns. Hear these words: “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to you. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and you are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor come from you, and you are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in your hand, and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we give you thanks and praise your glorious name.”
We see there that God has all power and glory, splendor and majesty. God owns everything in heaven and on earth. God is the one who gives riches and honor, and gives power and strength.
Our rich and powerful Heavenly Father has fully funded our trust-fund accounts. He has planned for our future. Ephesians 1:3 says: “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.” Notice one little word in that verve which makes all the difference in what God provides in spiritual blessings, compared to what we can provide in our frail human efforts. That small, \ but very significant word, is “every”. God has not blessed us with just a few spiritual blessings, or some spiritual blessings. No, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.
Now let’s look at what Peter has to say about this inheritance in 1Peter 1:3-4. There are some very significant words in that passage. Look at them: new birth living hope resurrection inheritance imperishable undefiled unfading
You may have already received an inheritance when a loved one passed away. And you were blessed by that. But, as we compare the earthly inheritance and look at those words we just mentioned which describe the spiritual inheritance God has in store for us, our earthly inheritance seems woefully inadequate and unfulfilling.
The Apostle Paul describes our inheritance in 1 Corinthians 2:9 as this: “What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived—God has prepared these things for those who love him.”
Our imagination is too narrow and limited to understand God’s dream for us. We are too limited in our understanding of all that God wants to do for us and is providing for us. Our spiritual inheritance is so much greater and so much more valuable than we can even imagine. The song, “I Can Only Imagine” comes to mind as I think of the greatness of God’s planned inheritance to us.
Now, let’s consider this: Do we see ourselves as God’s heirs? Is that typically how we view ourselves? Is that typically how we live our lives? Do we see ourselves and God’s children with an unlimited trust-fund and inheritance? I think maybe not so much sometimes. We may think and act more like a man named Timothy Gray.
Here is Timothy Gray’s story. The 60 year-old body of Timothy Gray was found under a Wyoming overpass 2 days after Christmas in 2012. There was no sign of foul play. It didn’t appear that a crime had caused his death. He was simply a homeless cowboy who had died of hypothermia. Timothy Gray was a victim of bad breaks and bad luck. But there was one difference which could have allowed Timothy’s end to turn out more positively. That little detail is this: Timothy Gray stood to inherit millions of dollars. His great-grandfather was a wealthy copper miner, railroad builder, and the founder of a small Nevada town you might have heard of: Las Vegas. The old man’s fortune was passed down to his daughter, Huguette, who died in 2011 at the age of 104. She left a $300 million fortune. At the time of Timothy Gray’s death, the execution of the will was tied up in court. And as things turned out, the man found dead under the railroad overpass wasn’t poor after all, he may have been worth $19 million.
So, how does the heir to a fortune die like a pauper? Surely Timothy Gray knew his family history. Had he been in touch with his great-aunt over the years? Did it ever occur to him to investigate a potential inheritance? I think it probably would occur to most of us. Wouldn’t we make it our aim to access our inheritance? It would, of course, be our right as a family member. I think that would be our attitude about earthly, physical, financial matters.
But, what is our eagerness to find out about spiritual matters? Do we have an appreciation for and an anticipation of our spiritual inheritance? Are we as intent to access our spiritual trust-fund and as we would be in anticipation of our earthy inheritance? You and I are children of God and as people of God’s promises we are blessed with an abundance of supernatural resources. With that knowledge, why is it that we often live like spiritual paupers under a bridge?
In our daily living circumstances and commitments become overwhelming. We often find ourselves focusing only on our own strength and resources. In those moments we sometimes forget about God and His strength and resources. Anytime we fail to consult God, and neglect to turn to God, and don’t depend on God, we come to the end of ourselves. And, that is because we are so limited. In ourselves we have nothing substantial to bring us up out of the pit. It is in those especially that we must remember God’s promise: We are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ! In those moments, we must remind ourselves that our fuel gauge may be on empty, but God never runs out of fuel – He does not grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28). We must remind ourselves that we are children of the living and loving God, and help is available and help is on the way.
Let’s go back again to Romans 8, and look a few verses (14-17) that talk about us being heirs:
There is so much truth in those verses as we learn that as God’s children we have protection from fear. We find that we are adopted children. We have a Father we can cry out to and we know that He will hear and help because he has made us his heirs. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ.
Now there is a new thought. We are co-heirs with Jesus Christ. Think about that! Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and is the natural “heir” of the Father. In Hebrews 5:5, the Bible says: “God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
In Hebrews 1:2, the Bible says: “In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him.” Jesus’ inheritance is the whole universe; all that is in existence. As God’s adopted children we are co-heirs with Christ, and as co-heirs, we will share in the inheritance of Jesus. Therefore, whatever belongs to Jesus, belongs to us. Everything that Jesus has a share of, we can have a share of as well.
Let’s look at some of those benefits of Jesus’ inheritance which we will share:
Jesus’ peace can be our peace. Jesus’ joy can be our joy. Jesus’ love can be our love. Jesus’ faith can be our faith. Jesus’ hope can be our hope. Jesus’ rest can be our rest. Jesus’ life can be our life. Jesus’ wisdom can be our wisdom.
Jesus is the Son of God, just as we are sons and daughters of God, and the same heavenly inheritance and trust-fund that He has set up for Jesus is also ours. The same angels of heaven who ministered to Jesus in His trials on earth will also help us. Speaking of angels the Bible says: Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation? (Heb. 1:14)
Had we known Timothy Gray, and had we known about his inheritance, we could have said to him: “Hey, Mr. Gray, you are a descendent of great wealth. You are an heir to a fortune, so get out from under this bridge and go call upon your resources.” How much greater, though, would it have been if one of God’s children residing near Timothy would have told him about the inheritance which is far greater than that his relative would have left him?
We must never forget our place in the family of God – we are children of God and heirs of God. We should never approach God as strangers, but as heirs to the promises of God.
Some of you may have seen the musical play “Annie” contains a wonderful illustration about becoming an heir of God. This, of course, is also the Annie of “Little Orphan Annie” in the comic strip.
When little orphan Annie moves from the orphanage to the Warbucks Mansion, it’s an incredible change for her. She leaves behind a spiteful, alcoholic caretaker and enters a relationship with a caring father. She goes from having no possessions to having a fortune at her disposal. The hard-knock life is overcome by the brightness of a sunny tomorrow. Seen from a Christian perspective, Annie pictures what being a co-heir with Christ looks like.
God took us, as poor orphans in this lost world, and adopted us and made us a part of His family through faith in Jesus Christ. God has showered us with blessings and promised us an eternal inheritance, based on the grace of God that He has lavished on us. This may sound too good to be true, but it is true. You and I don’t have to be orphans any longer – we don’t have to sleep under the overpass anymore. We have been adopted by the King of the universe, and we now we can move into the mansion. We have new and abundant life, and it is time to live out our inheritance. It is time to draw upon the provisions of our heavenly trust-fund – provisions of wisdom and power.
May God open our eyes to the reality and the greatness of our spiritual blessings.
The hope of our calling.
The wealth of our inheritance.
The power for us who believe.
We are somebody special – God has made us in His image, and we are special to Him. And we have something special – we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. How blessed we are! You can take that to the bank and deposit it for safe keeping.