Now we live with great expectation.

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3All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

6So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.  1 Peter 1:3-6

Peter knew what it was to cave under pressure. He knew how weakness had given  way to dread. He knew how the shame of failure could have become a weight dragging him back from freedom in His relationship with Jesus and from leadership among Jesus’ people.

But Peter also knew the healing, restorative work of Jesus in His life. So Peter writes to the church celebrating God’s mercy that gives us new birth! He says, “Now we live with great expectation.” We look forward to our inheritance: the full unveiled experience of Jesus and His Kingdom. Even as we endure pressure and struggle, we are drawn forward by faith. “There is wonderful joy ahead!”

This is how faith works. Even when others don’t see who we are. Even when other do not share the hope we have in Christ. And even when they may even be puzzled by what Peter later calls “our good behaviour in Christ,” we persist because there is a day coming when what we are will be revealed “for all to see.”

“Now we live with great expectation.”

“There is wonderful joy ahead!”

What if you lose your job?

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29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Luke 12:29-34

Yesterday I phoned up a friend who lives in Alberta. Eight years ago he moved from Vancouver and our church where we had shared the beginning years of his family’s discipleship journey with Jesus. His job was secure, but with the downturn in the price of oil, he like many others has lost his job.

What do you do if you lose your job?

Well no doubt its been hard. The internal struggles where apparent in his voice. But what he said next stuck joy in my heart.

He is pursuing Jesus.

He is studying God’s Word. He is taking Biblical studies classes.

He is assisting weekly with an outreach to students on a university campus.

And of course he is looking for work, not with panic, but with an ear on the heart of our Heavenly Father.

He showed me the delight of having Jesus as our treasure! In Jesus all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden (Colossians 2:3). Nothing can compare to the incredible worth of knowing Him. Jesus calls us out:

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  (Matthew 13:44-45)

Three Virtues Nurtured in the Fellowship of the King

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3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant.  Colossians 1:3-7

Often when the Apostle Paul uses the terms faith, hope, and love, he is using small words to gather up large amounts of information and cast a vision for the character of God’s people. Saved by grace we now are participatory creatures in God’s Kingdom and our growth. God wants us to become people of faith, hope, and love on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
Here are some questions to consider.

Faith: Who are you trusting?
Who do you know?
Who are you into?

Hope: What vision pulls you forward?
What promises create expectation?
What are you looking forward to?

Love: How are you adjusting your life to serve, honour,
and celebrate God and people?

Growth in faith, hope, and love is not automatic, nor is it quick and easy. Faith, hope, and love are not categories that can be divorced from Christ Jesus to serve as self-righteous forms of salvation and personal improvement. Christian faith has its object and the “object” is Jesus Christ our Lord. The Church is the fellowship of the King and we are nurturing and noticing Gospel-shaped growth as people of faith, hope, and love.

 

 

Swallowed Up By Life!

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“For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”  2 Corinthians 5:4-5

When we begin the journey with Jesus and receive His grace, the hope is that we are “all better” now. It doesn’t take long though, to realize we are not. The new reality of our forgiveness and new identity in Jesus Christ as His deeply loved child, is not completely apparent to others or ourselves.

For a new believer the disappointment can be devastating. The longing for growth into the character of Christ can be mistaken as despair under the barrage of Satan’s accusations.  The longing can be mistaken as a problem with God.

God is not done with us. The Holy Spirit Himself creates the longing to be like to Jesus. Now the Spirit is in conflict with the infectious decay of death. But we have this promise in Christ: our mortal lives will be swallowed up by life. Powerful language! We are looking forward to being  completely enveloped and engaged, as participants in the glorious life of Jesus Christ!

How Hope Works

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22“Turn to me and be saved,

all the ends of the earth!

For I am God, and there is no other.

23 By myself I have sworn;

from my mouth has gone out in righteousness

a word that shall not return:

‘To me every knee shall bow,

every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

24 “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,

are righteousness and strength;

to him shall come and be ashamed

all who were incensed against him.

25In the Lord all the offspring of Israel

shall be justified and shall glory.”

Isaiah 45:22-25

God’s said it.

“To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.”  Isaiah 45:23

God’s intention becoming reality through the humiliation and exaltation of Jesus Christ.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Now but not yet. Our daily confession, “Jesus is Lord,” pulls us forward into life with Jesus so we look forward to His full glory some day.

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”  Revelation 5:9-10