The Treasure we live and leave – 16/04/2023
1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 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. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Peter breaks into praise years after those heady days of the resurrection as he writes to encourage his people.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
He speaks of a trusted inheritance that reaches back into the present struggle of life to give joy and hope in that struggle.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us ….. an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 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.
Peter begins with that great event – the Resurrection from death by Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah.
Everything he says and everything good and worth struggling for is founded on that resurrection of Jesus.
I think a lot of people who do any serious thinking about Christianity soon bump into the news of this resurrection. They then realize that because Christian faith is founded on the resurrection, it is an all or nothing faith and life. Accordingly so many choose the ‘nothing’. It is easier and safer.
The close circle of people around Jesus got that truth right up close and personal when the resurrected Jesus appeared and greeted them with the all- encompassing peace of God for their new life with him.
This faith we live is not something you manufacture on your terms. It comes by the grace of God on his terms and for his purposes in your life.
Jesus is a matter of the heart, not just of your thinking or your will.
I reckon a lot of people know this and stay away. They don’t really want a Saviour because that would overtake your heart and that would shape your thinking and your will, your decisions, your choices, your decisions – and that is a direct challenge to your very self and your whole life.
Jesus always knew this. Do you remember that day on the grassy slopes by the Sea of Galilee when he launched into a description of how things would eventually be in this new creation he was here to inaugurate? It is called the ‘Sermon on the Mount.
“You’ve heard it said … But I say …”.
“You have heard it said (by your parents, your synagogue leaders, your legal people, your priests and your whole community all your life) that that it is an eye for an eye…. But I say, love your enemies,,,,
Jesus is telling them what the new creation life will like before he begins it. He is giving them their inheritance that has not yet been achieved but will be.
He calls this new life, this inheritance, ‘treasure’. It is as valuable as a gold medal to an Olympian, a grand final medallion to an AFL player, as grandkids to grandparents, as a golden box of pearls, silver and gold to a pirate….
This life he will give them is to be treasured in the very centre of your heart, mind and body….
19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So, our hearts follow what we truly treasure. What we treasure determines our heart and that will shape our decisions, our efforts, our intentions, our goals, and it seems our life now and after death.
If our heart is fixed on leaving a huge collection of something we love, then that ‘treasure’ will be as good as it gets for us and those to whom we leave this gift.
If our heart treasures leaving a legacy of good values for living life well then that is the treasure our children will inherit.
Whatever we treasure will indicate where our centre truly is. This thing or idea or vision or value will be what we leave for those we love and for the world.
The question then is;
Where is your heart?
This will show you what you are treasuring and what you are leaving as in inheritance for children, grand-children, loved ones and world.
Peter has received great treasure – a ‘pearl of great price’, a box of treasure in a field that he sold everything else to possess…..
We know his story in these Easter days. He does not do well at all. None of them do. But the new day still dawns. The inheritance promised by Jesus is still given to them all, including Peter, as the risen Jesus enters that fearful room and says “Shalom” to them. He gives what he says.
And so, peace-filled Peter now church leader and pastor writes to people of the new kingdom now established… and seems to recall those words of Jesus about life in him being ‘treasure’ that won’t spoil or fade or be stolen from us.
I wonder if Peter is saying something like: ‘People, I was there. I saw and heard and loved him and he loved me enough to forgive me my shameful fear-filled behaviour that abandoned him when he needed me the most.
I have been made new, given a new start and a new life and now live in this new kingdom, this new way, this new future of forgiveness and joy and it is my greatest treasure. He has my heart and his heart shaped everything about me now….
Be like that, people. Be like me’.
I think he is saying that it is wise and best to set your heart on that treasure, the treasure of love and hope in Jesus the Messiah now alive, because he is THE inheritance we have already received, and yet will one day receive even more fully…
This inheritance (of forgiveness, kindness and hope for living your life now that came to you in that resurrection day of Jesus) is kept in heaven for you, 5 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. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials
Peter knows the testing of trials. He knows what it is to deeply disappoint, to fail, to feel the shame of it. But he surely knows the forgiveness, the freedom, the future hope that brings joy to his day as well.
He is saying that this sure treasure is gold. He says that faith in this resurrected and alive Saviour is;
… of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire –
And that leads us back to that question
Where is your heart?
What are you treasuring?
What inheritance are you leaving?
Is it worth leaving?
Here is what Peter holds up as THE inheritance we Christians can be leaving
“ … the praise, glory and honour of Jesus Christ … (v7)
That is what the world will receive from you as you treasure this Jesus and his new day every day.
This is what inheritance you will leave those you love and this world as you truly treasure Jesus; his word on your lips, his promises in your suffering, his presence in your darkness, his love among his community, his power in your weakness, his honouring of you when everyone else is shaming you.
And just in case we think that this is all easy to say for a person like Peter who was actually there and saw all this and experienced all of this face-to-face with Jesus, and not so for us who are a long way off from that, Peter helps us.
We don’t need to be Thomas! We don’t need to stick our finger in that wound and touch those hands to stop doubting and believe. Jesus speaks across time and space …
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Friends, the Savour says to you, “Shalom”, “Peace be with you”, despite your flaws and failings.
The inheritance of his continuing forgiveness, hope and peace are still yours.
It may be time to reconsider what you are treasuring, what and who your centre for life is, what you want to leave those you love.
He is all or nothing for us. He held nothing back. He gives everything he has.
Lord, help me treasure you so that above all, I leave you for them.