1 Peter 1:4-5


Sermon preached on August 25, 1996 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.


It's horrible to lose something. If you lose something of great value it's even worse. You look and look and try desperately to find it. Last year Marg was teaching school and she felt her ring on her finger and the diamond was missing from the engagement ring. It had fallen out. It wasn't that big a diamond, but it had a lot of sentimental value and we were sorry to lose it.

But what's even worse is when something is stolen from you. Three years ago our van got broken into and some things were stolen. I don't know if something like that has ever happened to you, but it's a sickening feeling. It wasn't that the things were so valuable, but it was like someone had hit you—it was like a personal injury.

How do you protect your valuables? I know that some stores sell
fireproof safes where you can put your valuables. Or you can put your money into a bank. They have safety deposit boxes and savings accounts. I think that banks are federally insured up to $100,000. so even if they go under, your money, at least up to that amount, is safe. And you've all heard of Swiss bank accounts, which are supposed to be very safe. I don't know how many of you have heard of Oak Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia. Some people believe that there's still great treasures hidden there. They think that it's Treasure Island. And people that have looked for treasure there have found all kinds of traps, tunnels that would flood with water and so on. Supposedly they were designed and built by the people who hid the treasure there to keep it safe.

And it's difficult to keep anything in this life safe. Banks have elaborate security systems but they are routinely robbed. Museums try very hard to protect their valuable works of art, but sometimes priceless works of art disappear without a trace. A few years ago there was quite a bit of concern about the Social Security system and there were people saying that it would run out of money a few years down the road.

So what is certain and what is secure? Hardly anything in this life. People say that death and taxes are the only two sure things. But actually, we Christians have something that is even more sure than that. For Peter here talks about something that is absolutely safe. He tells Christians that

your inheritance is absolutely safe.

Peter wants the Christians that he is writing to to be successful in their Christian living. He wants to ease their mind about their reward.

Peter wants us to know that our inheritance is sure. He writes that we have been given new birth,

"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."

Now what Peter is doing here is trying to strengthen Christians so that they would not become discouraged and disheartened by what happens to them in this world. This world can be a terrible place. In his letter here Peter speaks about suffering for doing good, about being persecuted for being a Christian, about being in the position of a slave and having a master who is harsh and cruel. He speaks about being in positions where you will be unjustly insulted, of people doing horribly evil things to you, of wives living with an unbelieving husband who has authority over them. He even speaks about how life is so fragile and he compares our glory to that of the grass of the field, and how it withers and how the flowers fall. And such situations are very difficult to take. They're not easy at all. Their natural effect is to make us discouraged and disheartened, or take cause us to repay evil for evil, or to become bitter.

So right at the beginning Peter gives us something to help us rejoice even in spite of all kinds of sufferings. We see this in verse 6 where he writes,

"In this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while
you make have had to suffer grief
in all kinds of trials."

Of this epistle John Calvin says, "the main object of this epistle is to raise us above the world, in order that we may be prepared and encouraged for the battle of our spiritual warfare.... it's like the Lord cries to them from heaven, "Behold, your salvation is in My hand, and is kept for you."

Peter extols the wonderful grace of God in Christ so that we will
not be broken by present troubles, but patiently endure them. The knowledge of God's benefits can be of great help to us, for when we appreciate their value, all other things will fall into place.

So let's look at what He says. Our inheritance described three ways. It is said that it can never perish, spoil or fade. Someone has said that
every word here has weight. And that is certainly true. Every word is important and tells us something wonderful.

First of all, the Holy Spirit tells us that

our inheritance will last forever. It can never perish.

The problem with some earthly inheritances is that they can run out or be wasted and you end up with nothing. You all know the Parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11f) The son took his inheritance, went to a distant country, and there squandered his wealth in wild living. And then he had nothing. He found himself feeding pigs and he wished that he could fill his stomach with the food that he was feeding the pigs. He had a great inheritance, but it never lasted.

But our heavenly Father tells us that our inheritance is not like that. Indeed, He tells us that it can
never perish. It is everlasting. He is telling us that it will last forever. The inheritance that we have is incorruptible. It is not subject to decay and dissolution. It is absolutely imperishable. It belongs to the heavenly realm where (Matthew 6:20)

"where moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves
do not break in and steal."

Indeed, what Peter says here reminds me of Jesus' words in John 10:28 where Jesus talks about his gift to His sheep. He said,

"I give them eternal life,
and they shall never perish;
no one can snatch them out of my hand."

You see, our inheritance is sure. When the end comes we will receive our reward.

The second thing the Holy Spirit tells us about our inheritance is that

it is free from spoilage.

Things in this life can spoil. They can go bad. We know that food is like that. Time can pass and things can spoil. And that's what the root of this word means. It means to color something by staining or painting it. I think we can get an idea of what he means if we think about something that time has had an adverse affect on.

Briefcase that Nelson gave me. Part of it was discolored from sitting in the sun. It was not as good anymore. The years have defiled it.

But what Peter assures Christians is that our inheritance is free from anything that could defile it. It is undefiled. It is morally and spiritually free from stain. It is uncontaminated by sin. It is free from defilement.

The third thing that we see about our inheritance is that

it will never lose its beauty.

It will not fade away. We will never tire of it. Computer games. Some of them are really a lot of fun for an hour or two, or for a day or two. But then you never want to play them again. They have no staying power. But with others, there is something about them that you never tire of them. There's something about them that you just don't get tired of them. They don't fade away.

The picture of a lively flower that never fades. The attractiveness of the inheritance will never diminish or lose its charm.

MacDonald- an inheritance that
is 'death proof, sin proof and time proof'.

But perhaps Peter saves the best for last. He says that it is,

"kept for you in heaven."

Where's the safest place for your valuables? We think of Fort Knox. But all earthly safekeeping is nothing compared with how God keeps our inheritance.

Our inheritance is kept for us in heaven.

This is an important point. Our inheritance is not here. If it was here something might happen to it.

Reserved for us in heaven. Kept for us in heaven.

The main thing here is that it is beyond the reach of danger.

But it is not here. It is kept for us in heaven. Heaven, the place where God's presence dwells. Purity. Holiness. All evil is kept away. Isaiah's vision in Isaiah 6. The seraphs around God's throne. Isaiah's reaction,

"Woe to me."

His reaction was to depart, to flee. Revelation 21:8, no sinner can enter. It is God's dwelling place.

God knows all things. God sustains all things. He uses this expression 'kept for us in heaven' to convince us that our inheritance is absolutely sure
. What more could He say? This is the ultimate. It is kept for us in heaven. It is absolutely safe. Our inheritance is immune from the disasters that often befall an inheritance on earth. In order to place us beyond all fear, he assures us that our salvation is placed in safety beyond the harms which Satan can do.

Peter here also uses the
Greek perfect tense. The inheritance was placed under safekeeping and that the preservation is still in force.

How long will our inheritance be kept for us?

Our text says that we will be shielded by God's power,

"until the coming of the salvation
that is ready to be revealed
in the last time."

We are going to be kept until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Reminds me of
Philippians 1:6. We are going to be kept until the day of Christ Jesus.

"being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion
until the day of Christ Jesus."

How long are we going to be kept? Right up to the end. Up until the day we are made perfect, up until the day we enter into our final glorious state.

Our inheritance is certain.
Matthew 25:34,

"Then the King will say
to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father;
take your inheritance,
the kingdom prepared for you
since the creation of the world."

What does this mean for us?

You should place great value on your heavenly inheritance.

You should think about it often.

Think about it often, if you do, it can help you in a great many ways. It can help you deal with hardship. It can help you place things in their proper perspective.

That's what Moses did.

Hebrews 11:26,

"He regarded disgrace
for the sake of Christ
as of greater value
than the treasures of Egypt,
because he was looking ahead
to his reward."


Secondly,

it means we never have to fear doing what is right.

We are chosen by God. We have an inheritance that can never perish. It is kept for us in heaven.

It's like God is saying,

I will take care of the consequences. You don't have to worry. You just make sure that you do what is right.

Your inheritance is beyond the reach of your enemies.

Thirdly,

what an encouragment to live for Christ!

Our reward is certain.

Jesus words in
Matthew 6:19-20,

"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 moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves
do not break in and steal."

2 Timothy 4:8

"Now there is in store for me
the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day
—and not only to me,
but also to all who have longed for
his appearing."

As members of God's family, we are already heirs, yet our full possession of the inheritance awaits the future. (See Rom 8:15-17, Ephesians 1:13-14)

Benediction

Acts 20:32 "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.