1 Peter 1:7(b)


Sermon preached on September 8, 1996 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 1996. 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.


One of my favorite boxing matches was the Ali-Forman fight in 1974. George Forman was heavyweight champion and he looked invincible. He would just about always knock out his opponents in the first or second round. Just about everyone expected him to knock out Ali. In the first round of that fight, Ali had a difficult time staying away from Forman's great punches. But then in the second round Ali threw away the tactic he had used all his fighting life. Most of you know that his strategy was to "Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee." But in the second round he gave that up and he basically just sat on the ropes, covered up as much as he could, and let Forman punch away at him. And Foreman wore himself out. And after a few rounds the tide had turned and Ali came off the ropes and knocked Forman out.


Ali completely turned the tables on him. Everyone thought that Forman was going to win and for awhile it certainly looked like that. But then everything was turned upside down and Ali won.

There's a game that is sometimes like that. It's called
Othello and one of the characteristics of the game is sudden and dramatic reversals. The game can change very rapidly. White can be winning and then all of a sudden, with one move, black can turn everything around.

And what I want you to see this morning is that Jesus is doing precisely that. Satan designs trials to harm us, to cause us to curse God, to get us to sin and leave off doing good. But what we see here is our text is that
when trials come you Christians have a great opportunity.

When trials come you have the opportunity to overcome trials so that there will be praise, glory and honor on the last day.

That's what Peter tells us here. We go through trials so that it

"may result in praise,
glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed."

If you successfully undergo trials, there will be praise, glory and honor on the last day, praise, glory and honor for you, praise, glory and honor for our great Savior.

Now the first thing I want you to consider is just

how wonderful praise, glory and honor are!

Praise, glory and honor—these things have to do with the new order of things. Praise, glory and honor are the opposite of what sin brings. Indeed, what we see here is that Jesus is going to reverse the effects of sin in us.

So when we think of praise, glory and honor we are to think of what we are saved from.

Praise, glory and honor are three of the greatest things in existence. On the last day there will be praise, glory and honor and it will be absolutely astounding and absolutely wonderful. And what the Holy Spirit is showing us here is that

Jesus is going to totally reverse everything that is negative in the lives of His people.

Sin brought so much that was negative. And if you think about it you'll see that much of what it brought is the opposite of the praise, glory and honor.

Praise

What's the opposite of praise? Probably the line that exemplifies it best is from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, (Act 3, Scene 2). Mark Anthony is speaking and they say,

"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him"



Shakespeare puts 'bury' as the opposite of praise. With burial comes corruption, decomposition and dissolution. With burial we put something odious out of our sight.

But because of Christ, on the last day
—instead of condemnation, instead of the true insults that we so richly deserve—there will be admiration, commendation and approval for us. We get a glimpse of this in our Lord's Parable of the Talents. On the last day Jesus will say to some, (Matthew 25:23)

"Well done,
good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share
your master's happiness!"

We will receive words of praise from none other than God Himself. Jesus words in Matthew 25:34 are also telling. On that day Jesus 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."

Those will words of praise and honor for Christians. We will be praised by God Himself and we will be greatly honored. There will be celebration and bliss.

Instead of being condemned, we will receive praise. Instead of being denounced, we will be praised. Instead of having our heads cast down in shame—they will be lifted high.

Honor

What is the opposite of honor? It's shame? I think the most horrible question in the Bible is one that was first put to Adam and Eve, and then repeated to many others,

"What is this
that you have done?"

Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden. They were driven from paradise and not allowed back. There are many famous paintings that depict the scene—it's a scene of shame and disgrace.

That was asked so often in the Bible and the question often carries the implication of great fault. It was said to
Jonah by the men on the ship. God's wrath was being poured upon the sea and the ship because of Jonah's sin.

Think what it would have been for us on the last day if it had not been for Jesus. We too would have heard the words, (
Matthew 7:23)

"Away from me,
you evildoers!"

We would have been cast out. We would have been like the man at the wedding without any wedding clothes. When the king saw him he told the attendants, (Matthew 22:13),

"Tie him hand and foot,
and throw him outside, into the darkness,
where there will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth."

We would have been cast out. We would have had to hold our heads in shame and walk away. In Luke 14:34f Jesus referred to salt and said,

"Salt is good,
but if it loses its saltiness,
how can it be made salty again?
It is fit neither for the soil
nor for the manure pile;
it is thrown out."

And that's what we would have been like without Jesus—not even fit for the manure pile. We would have been so small, so insignificant, so downcast, so useless.

But instead of that—what will be our lot?

We will be great. We will be lifted high. In Revelation 3:21 Jesus spoke of the future honor that will be bestowed upon us.

"To him who overcomes,
I will give the right to sit with me
on my throne..."

Christians are going to sit with Christ on His throne. We also read about this in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 where the apostle Paul spoke of the high positions we will hold in the future. He said to Christians,

""Do you not know that
the saints will judge the world?...

Do you not know that
we will judge angels?"

We will be noble. We will be members of the family of God. We will be children of the King! We read about that in Hebrews 2:11,

"Both the one who makes men holy
and those who are made holy
are of the same family.
So Jesus is not ashamed
to call them brothers."

We will be joint heirs with Jesus. (Romans 8:17) Greatness will be ours. We will have a true dignity and will be greatly elevated.

Glory

Sin results in defilement. Sin results in nakedness and shame.

When I was in school, the bad kids used to get the strap. They would have to stand up in front of the class and they were publicly humiliated.

I suppose if you think of the shame that we have been saved from—

think of Jesus on the cross.

On the cross Jesus was naked. He had all his clothes taken from him. They cast lots for all of his clothes. He was exposed for all to see. And they paraded in front of Him. They passed in front of Him and they mocked him. He was hanging there in front of them, naked, exposed, suffering, dying.

But instead of shame for us there will be glory. Majestic beauty and splendor will be ours. We will be made new. As the apostle Paul said in
Philippians 3:20f,

"our citizenship is in heaven.
And we eagerly await a Savior from there,
the Lord Jesus Christ,
who, by the power
that enables him to bring everything
under his control,
will transform our lowly bodies
so that they will be like
his glorious body."

And Romans 8:18 tells us that our present sufferings are not worth comparing,

"with the glory that will be
revealed in us."

But on that day we are going to be made new, we are going to be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. As Jesus said in Matthew 13:43,

"Then the righteous
will shine like the sun
in the kingdom of their Father."

We read much the same thing in Daniel 12:3, where we read,

"Those who are wise will shine
like the brightness of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness,
like the stars for ever and ever."

How wonderful it will be for us on the last day.

But the primary reference to praise, glory and honor is not to us—but to Jesus.

What I've said so far is only a slight glimpse into the praise, glory and honor that is mentioned here. That's only the minor part. The praise glory and honor that we will partake of will only come to us because we are associated with someone.

The real praise, glory and honor relates to Jesus Christ.

After all, what day will the last day be? It will be the day of Christ. (See Philippians 1:6, 1:10 and 2:16) It will be His day. You see, we are going to be glorified because of what Jesus did. We are going to be honored because Jesus made it possible for us. We are going to be praised because we belong to Him. Any praise, glory and honor that comes to us will be a result of our connection with Him.

You see, Jesus is going to be given praise, glory and honor because of what He has done in us and through us.

We see this quite clearly in 2 Thessalonians 1:10 the apostle Paul speaks of the second coming of our Lord and he refers to that day as the day in which,

"he comes to be glorified
in his holy people

and to be marveled at
among all those who have believed."

Jesus is coming to be glorified in you. He is coming to be glorified 'in his holy people'. It will be His day. Indeed, we will be His work. Ephesians 2:10 tell us that,

"we are God's workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus
to do good works,
which God prepared in advance
for us to do."

God will receive glory for our works, for our being faithful under trials.

In
Galatians 1:24 the apostle Paul speaks about how the churches heard about his conversion and how they praised God because of him. And it will be the same on the last day—Jesus will be praised because of what He has done in us. He will receive praise, glory and honor for who and what we are.

Now what I want you to note here is

how worthy are these objectives of your fullest energy.

Praise, glory and honor- for us, for Christ on the Last Day. Nothing greater than this. What an opportunity you have. You have an opportunity and privilege to bring praise to God on the last day. There is nothing greater than that. Your life has great meaning. Your trials have great meaning. You have been privileged to be working for the fulfillment of Christ's kingdom and if you are faithful on the last day He will be praised because of you, because of your works, because of His grace in you.

Sometimes we wonder if our lives have significance. We wonder if there's any point in what we do.
Existential philosophers tell us that there is no meaning to life, that everything is meaningless. We see a precursor of this philosophy in Ecclesiastes 6:12, which reads,

"For who knows what is good
for a man in life,
during the few and meaningless days
he passes through like a shadow?
Who can tell him what will happen
under the sun after he is gone?"

I can remember when I was in university some of my friends used to say, "What does it matter what I do? A hundred years from now it won't have made any difference at all. What does it matter if I skip this class, no one will know or care in 100 years. The attitude was that they could affect a few minor things here and now, but not much for the long term.

But our lives have great meaning.

If you live for Jesus your life has great meaning. If you meet trials successfully—then on the last day Jesus will receive praise, glory and honor. Revelation 14:13 speaks of our works following us after we die. And it's certainly true that they will do so—if we do good Jesus will be praised on the last day.

We see something of this in
1 Corinthians 3:12-15, where the apostle talks about the future trial of Christian workers. He mentions how Christ is the only foundation on which we can build. And then he says,

"If any man builds on this foundation
using gold, silver, costly stones,
wood, hay or straw,
his work will be shown for what it is,
because the Day will bring it to light.
It will be revealed with fire,
and the fire will test
the quality of each man's work.
If what he has built survives,
he will receive his reward.
If it is burned up, he will suffer loss;
he himself will be saved,
but only as one escaping through the flames."

You see, if a Christian's work is wood, hay or straw, he is still going to be saved, and Jesus will be glorified for saving such a wretch of a person. That's what Paul is telling us there. But, if a Christian builds on the foundation using gold, silver or costly stones—in other words, if he has been faithful to the Lord doing what the Lord wanted, then his works will result in much praise, glory and honor when Jesus comes.

There is a close connection between what we do and the praise, glory and honor that is given to Jesus Christ on the last day.

We see this quite clearly in 1 Peter 2:12. Peter writes,

"Live such good lives
among the pagans that,
though they accuse you of doing wrong,
they may see your good deeds
and glorify God on the day
he visits us."

The Holy Spirit is telling us that although right now unbelievers may falsely accuse us of doing wrong—they really know that their charges are false. And on the last day they will have to acknowledge our good deeds and give glory to God for it.

Seek to overcome trials.

"The relationship between suffering and glory also is one of cause and effect. Suffering is the instrument God uses to create glory; it is through the frictions and trails of life that God produces the graces in us that He will finally illumine in the beauty of the world to come and that He will display in our resurrection bodies. When we were small, we were fascinated by one of the regular household chores at home: cleaning and polishing all the items made from brass. Imagine a boy following his mother 'round the house', watching as she carefully poured liquid polish onto a cloth, smeared it over the brass objects, and then, after awhile, returned to rub the brass vigorously to bring out the shine. The same test was always applied: 'doing the brasses', as we called it, was completed only when we could look at the object and see our reflections clearly. Mother was satisfied only when she could see her own face. It is the same in the kingdom of God. He covers our lives with the polish of his providence; He creates the shine by the vigorous and often painful rubbing of trials and sufferings; He wants to see His own image beginning to emerge; He will be content only when its full glory is reflected in the resurrection."



From 'Ready to Go', by K. Scott Oliphint and Sinclair B. Ferguson. From the Westminster Bulletin, Vol. 34. No. 3 Fall 1995.

Hold on courageously until the last day.

Stand firm. Let nothing move you. The last day will be the day of glory. It will be a day when Jesus will receive praise, glory and honor because of you.

Unbelievers:

Non-Christians, you too have trials. Just as Christians can put them to good use, so can you. They have come for various reasons. Part of the reason they come is to show you that there is a better way, a better life than this.

You have two choices. On the last day there could be praise, glory and honor for both you and Christ. You in Christ and Christ in you. Or there will be praise, glory and honor for Christ, and shame, disgrace, misery for you. What will you choose? Trust in Jesus.