Seventh Sunday of Easter (2023)

Easter - He Lives  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:03
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Goal: To comfort hearers with the promise that in trials and temptations God will make us strong, firm, and steadfast.
Pericopal Series: Living in the Hope of Our Inheritance
1. Living Our Unchangeable Inheritance (1 Peter 1:3–9)
2. Living in Reverent Fear (1 Peter 1:17–21)
3. Living through Unjust Suffering (1 Peter 2:19–25)
4. Living as Holy Priests (1 Peter 2:4–10)
5. Living to Witness to the Hope (1 Peter 3:15–22)
6. Living through Trials and Temptations (1 Peter 4:12–17; 5:6–11)
This is waiting Sunday. The church in Jerusalem waited for 10 days during the time between Jesus’ Ascension and Pentecost. The church today waits through millennia between Pentecost and the second coming of Christ. Waiting Sunday is a time of prayer for God's plans and eager expectation of the gifts Jesus promised.
We live in eager expectation of glory! That glory is not dimmed by earthly suffering. Rather, suffering reminds us of the glory that awaits us. First the cross, then the crown. Our light and momentary troubles cannot mute the joy of living an eager expectation of glory.
In the midst of “LIFE” it is a natural tendency to view our light and momentary troubles — hardships — as of not much value. They may signal lost opportunity and wasted time, as people are forced, when they occur, to focus attention on them rather than on positive growth. Proper Christian thinking however, would dispute the logic of worldly people who view trials and tribulation as something of no value. The Lord, however, uses suffering to prepare and purify His people for the end, as well as to give them blessing and glory right now. So Christians may ask amid the trials and temptations how can you call this glory?
Well, it is an imitation of Christ suffering; it is an indication of Christ’s blessing; and it is proclamation of Christ’s Salvation.

It Is an Imitation of Christ’s Suffering

We count it a privilege to suffer at the hands of the world, even as He did.
The world may not kill us, but it despises our trust and love.
The world cannot understand how we can rejoice when we are condemned, because the world cannot understand our willingness by grace to imitate our Savior.
We remember the victory of one who suffered with purpose.

It Is an Indication of Christ’s Blessing

We know that the Lord will be at our side when we are insulted on account of our relationship with Him.
This presence is a great blessing.
This presence brings us glory.
We acknowledge our place in the “household of God” 1 Peter 4:17 “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” This will lead us to endure and rejoice.
(Apology AC) — As a rule, these troubles are punishments for sin. In the godly they have another and better purpose, that is, to exercise them so that in their temptations they may learn to seek God’s help and to acknowledge the unbelief in their hearts” (Ap XII, 151).

It Is Proclamation of Christ’s Salvation

We confess that the trial of this life are part of God’s plan of salvation by which He seeks to outfit His people for the life to come.
We rejoice to receive the judgment of our faithful God as He prepares us for the end.
This judgment strengthens us so that we can by His grace endure.
This judgment spares us so that we are graciously “scarcely saved” 1 Peter 4:18.
For us, the waiting church, Christ’s glory through suffering is an example of what we will endure while we wait in the time between His ascension and return. We live knowing that we will suffer persecution for our faith in Christ, but God will work it for glory.
Christ Jesus prays for his waiting church, a prayer not for the people of the world but for his people. He doesn't pray that we be removed from the world but rather that we be protected from the evil one. Because that is right where Christ wants us; In the world, suffering for our faith, eagerly expecting glory.
Suffering is part of our life here, but in it we live in eager expectation of glory. The God of all grace called us to future glory, and no suffering, emperor, or empire can make us lose sight of what awaits us. The cares we have we cast on him, knowing that any suffering can be born in joy with our eyes fixed on the glory that is coming.
Finally, a word to some of you who are here today: Whatever your burden, your cross, your suffering—if it takes great courage even to get up in the morning and face another day: “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD” (Psalm 31:24 NKJV).
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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