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Pastor Brant Seacrist

April 1, 2018

"THE ASSURRANCE OF A LIVELY HOPE"

TEXT: 1 Peter 1: 3-5
READING:  John 20: 1-18

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SUBJ: The integral connection of the resurrection of Christ to regeneration (the New Birth) and the living hope of believers.

AIM: That we might be the more in awe of Christ and the power of His resurrection and that we might be more caught up in the life we have because of His resurrection.

INTR: We come again to the observance of the day of our Lord’s resurrection. We do so with the realization that the things the world draws attention to are realized in a living hope in believers and is the cause of ongoing celebration in them.
1. Our concern is with more than a mere historical event such as July 4th in that while history records the event, it is the Holy Spirit who reveals the wonder of that accomplished on Calvary and realized in the resurrection of our Lord.
2. We should pray that those engaged in the religious imagery would indeed come to know our Lord in that resurrected life.
3. There is an unmistakable connection to the experience of true believers and the resurrection as declared by Paul: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Philippians 3:10.

THESIS: The deaths of many have been witnessed, some in similar appearance to that of Christ. But, only with Christ do we witness resurrection from the dead. Given the reason and manner of His death, His resurrection is the best news of all.

I. The Blessed God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ
1. He is so declared as our covenant God with Christ in all the issues of redemption.
2. The desire of true believers is to Bless God – that is to declare and rejoice in the revelation of His majesty, His wonderful works, His infinite glory, to attribute to Him alone the ability to save.
3. This is He who has acted in mercy to distinguish a people unto Himself (see vv. 1-2).
1) Compare Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 2 Corinthians 1:3 AND Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Ephesians 1:3.
2) Mercy is everywhere seen in salvation: from its determination in eternity to its consummation in Glory!
4. The abundance of mercy seen in what is given us.
1) It is easy to express unworthiness even regarding material provision and blessing.
2) It is not so easy in reckoning the eternal weight of Glory (see 2 Corinthians 4:17).
5. It is especially so as we see what is given us here:

II. The reason we may bless God
1. Is that He hath begotten us.
1) Regeneration (the New Birth) is either neglected or perverted by the masses.
2) This is owing to, that like all the expressions of mercy, it is of grace and by the Spirit.
3) The thought of many is that it is the result of a decision and this text and many others clearly denies any such idea.
2. It is not merely a conditional promise; not is it a mere change of mind.
3. The declared necessity of it (Ye must be born again) demands a work from above:
1) Spiritual identity is given
2) Christ is formed in us
3) We are made partakers of the divine nature and so constituted as separate from the world.
4. And it is unto a lively (or living hope) indeed
1) Hope as an experienced provision of grace (now abideth faith, hope, and charity).
2) Described as living, there is a sensed relationship with Christ by which we are truly alive and connected with eternity in Him.
3) It is thus we experience spiritual reality – He is alive and in us forever more.
4) Such hope is spiritual, holy, and heavenly!

III. By the Resurrection of Christ
1. Christ self-identifies as risen: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:18.
2. The Apostles (Peter here speaks as an eyewitness to the resurrection) declare it.
3. In understanding all that proceeds from the resurrection of Christ, if Christ had not risen all before declared and the hopes of the ages would have been declared null and void – but Christ arose!
1) Without it none are raised.
2) By it (having merited it by virtue of the cross) the elect ones are and shall be raised in that there is nothing to hold them either.
4. By His resurrection Christ not only enabled the resurrected life of the saints, He became the exemplar of resurrection:
1) Having been found in the process of the crucifixion and cut off from the Father and
2) Physically dead at the hands of men
3) The impossible occurred – He was raised from the dead: And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: Ephesians 1:19-21.
5. Where He was is where we were and so we are delivered from death and the fear of death and have been raised up together with Him and made to sit together with Him in heavenly places.
6. May we then with Paul ever turn towards Him with the aim: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Philippians 3:10-11.
7. The end of it all in the purpose of God is the promise that follows in vv. 4-5.