REJOICING IN SALVATION
1 Peter 1:3-9 Princeton Christian Church 04 June 2023
Peter, in this passage, speaks about the mercy which has caused us to be born again into a living hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
He speaks of an inheritance that we have reserved for us in heaven. That inheritance, he says, is imperishable and undefiled – it will not fade away.
Peter also tells us that the power of God protects us through faith.
And then, in verse 6 he begins by telling us that we have reason to rejoice – to experience joy. Following that he says something which might put a damper on our joy.
He says that although we have joy we also have been distressed by various trials.
Sometimes we get confused or just plain wrong when we consider happiness and joy to be equal emotions.
Before we go further let’s define what each of those really mean:
First, let’s look at happiness and what it is: the world defines happiness as - the pleasurable experience that springs from the possession of goods; or, the gratification of desires.
Joy can be defined as rejoicing; or, to enjoy; a lively emotion of happiness.
Joy is more intense than happiness is; joy is deeper than happiness; deeper than simply being glad; joy Is nobler and more enduring than happiness or pleasure.
In the history of the church and Christianity, there is an old idea that the Christian life must express itself in a gloomy atmosphere; always seen in a solemn attitude.
Is the Christian life, to you, a burden, or is it a bridge? A bridge that brings you from simple happiness into a state of joy?
We are reminded of a statement in the writing of Nehemiah after the Law of Moses had been read to them, (8:10) when he says:
“…. the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The Christian life must be a joy for those who practice it.
I. There is a difference between worldly happiness and Christian joy.
The world is seeking happiness.
And any happiness someone out in the world receives depends upon the outward circumstances that each one encounters in daily life.
So much of our happiness depends upon whether we have as many of the world’s goods as our neighbor does.
In that case, our happiness depends not upon how we have been blessed, but by how it compares to what our neighbor has that we don’t.
Someone has said, “Unhappy is the man who is not so much dissatisfied with what he has. He is more unhappy because of what the other fellow has, but he does not have.”
As long as we remain in that state of unhappiness and for that reason, we can never be satisfied with our life.
Here’s a little rhyme for you.
“As a rule, a man’s a fool.
When it’s hot, he wants it cool.
When it’s cool, he wants it hot.
And he always wants what’s not”.
Happiness is neither within us only, nor without us. It is the union of ourselves with God. And that union with God leads to a higher plane of happiness. That on that plane is where we will find happiness – the happiness which is JOY!
Did you ever experience anything that you really wanted, but it always seemed to be just out of your reach?
For many of us, it seems that happiness, or sometimes prosperity, is like that – it seems to be just around the corner – just out of our reach. And then we begin the “if only’s. Oh, if only, I had this or that, I would be happy…. but…….
Even if worldly happiness is reached it can be temporary at best. And, why?
Simply because we want the one thing we want. Then, we want something else. Our wants are always increasing. The more we get, the more we want.
Matthew 6:19-21 gives us a great lesson on these things:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.”
“Things” of this earth are temporary, not long-lasting.
“Oh, the world is full of sighs;
Full of sad and weeping eyes.”
Because of depending upon the things of earth to satisfy and bring happiness.
Christian joy is different than the joy of the world.
It is inward. It does not depend upon outward circumstances or material things.
Christian joy is real. It is ever-present. It does not depend on the future.
And the greatest truth about Christian joy is that it is within our grasp. It is available to us always. But we have to grasp it and embrace it and enjoy it.
II. Christian Joy comes to us after we begin to be obedient
to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Acts 3:1-10 gives us an example of joy one who was obedient to the invitation to experience the healing power of the Apostles. READ Acts 3:1-10
And further in the book of Acts, chapter 8:39, we read of the Ethiopian eunuch who went away rejoicing after he had been obedient to the Gospel.
And, even further into the book of Acts, chapter 16:34, we find the account of the Philippian jailer who, along with his family were obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and were filled with joy.
The lesson in all these and many millions of accounts of people who have been obedient to the Gospel is this – Assurance of forgiven sins will bring pure and true joy.
III. Let me ask a question: Who rejoices when someone becomes obedient to the Gospel?
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit rejoice as well, along with the angels in Heaven.
Jesus Himself answers that question for us; In Luke 15:4-7 READ
The church – the Body of Christ – rejoices over one who is obedient to the Gospel.
The person who has been obedient to the Gospel rejoices because he or she has moved from a life lacking direction or purpose to a life of happiness and joy.
What about you today? Are you happy? Do you experience joy at things that pass away quickly? Or do you have a lasting joy? Lasting, because it comes from your love and devotion for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
That joy – that rejoicing comes when we accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the only salvation that brings joy. That rejoicing comes when we are, like the Ethiopian eunuch, obedient in baptism, forgiven of our sins, and begin to walk with the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.