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Real Security

April 5, 2009

1 Peter 1:1-2
Well if you were writing to people who were suffering, what would you write?
Probably most of us would write words of comfort and encouragement and hope, and
surely those words are in this letter, First Peter. But in a real way, the words of Peter are
shocking and surprising.
Theyre shocking, first of all, because theyre written by Peter; this man who denied his
Lord, that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ and that he's writing this letter filled with the
Gospel is itself an argument for the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
We could really just, tonight, preach a sermon on the first word Peter and celebrate
what grace is alone able to do.
But the words are shocking because of where the content in this letter goes. It's much,
much more than a hymn of comfort. It really is a call to action. These are marching
orders; these are fightin words that Peter writes.
And maybe that's exactly what suffering people need to hear. I mean, what is it that
suffering does to you? When you're disappointed, when you're discouraged, when youre
hurt, when you're fearful, when you're sick, what is the temptation?
The temptation is to turn inward; the temptation to become all too self-focused and all
too self-possessed, all too self-aware. And when that happens (would you not agree with
me), you suffer your own suffering? Were real good at troubling our own trouble.
And so Peter does something that shows wonderful pastoral wisdom. He takes suffering
people and he blows them beyond the walls of their suffering. He gives them a vision of
something that's greater than the things that they're going through.
He calls them to consider what they have been drawn into by the grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ. And he gives them, literally, a vision, a calling for every aspect of their lives.
And in that, there's hope and there's comfort. My life isn't over.
I remember once I was complaining to my brother, Tedd, about another thing I was going
through as a young pastor, and he said, I know, Paul; once again the world has ended.

I got the point! And he followed that by saying, Get up and do what God's called for
you to do. There is still a need, and God is still on the throne.
That's the message of 1 Peter. Let me read for you these first two verses:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and
Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the
Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:1-2, ESV)
Peter does something in these first verses that is a theme throughout this letter. He
again and again is going to remind these people of who they are.
Suffering people sometimes forget. Sometimes your pain, at whatever you're going
through, looms so large that it produces in you identity amnesia - you just forget who
you are. And so Peter starts, right away, with reminding these people, as they are going
through the persecution that theyre facing, who they are as the children of God.
These locations are in Asia Minor. You want a location? South of the Black Sea.
Theyre lined up in the kind of order that you would take a journey through Asia Minor.
And these were Gentile and Jewish congregations, mixed congregations, who were
suffering persecution.
Where is real security to be found? Where do I look for that inner sense of well-being?
What provides stability when the things around me arent stable?
Oh, if you are not in one of those situations, you will be. Maybe it's a job, maybe it's a
loss of funds to go to university, maybe it's a physical sickness, maybe it's financial
difficulty, maybe it's a struggle with a friend. Somehow, someway, your world will seem
disordered, and where is stability to be found?
I was thinking about security this week, and I thought of what must be the best name
ever for a government program. You probably know what I'm going to mention: Social
Security. Wouldnt you like that?
You can have Social Security! A tremendous name, that pension program signed into
law, August 14, 1935, by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Well, security probably cant be
found in a check that the government sends to you, although it is an awesome name.
Where is security to be found? Security is found one place: in relationship to the Savior.

Notice the words here: To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion. Now the
church has been scattered. Now not just in Jerusalem, but that term elect exiles really
means more than location. It really is a term of identity. Maybe another way of saying it
is: Don't you understand youre chosen aliens?
I don't know if you've had this experience; I don't know if you've thought about this or
not, but if you're God's child, you are called to cross-cultural living. This world is not, for
you, the comfortable place that it once was, because you are now called by your Lord to
operate by a different set of rules. Your heart is motivated by a different set of
motivations. You serve a different King.
No longer is your goal to set up your own little claustrophobic kingdom, hoping that you
can be sovereign enough to get the things you want because you have been welcomed to
be a citizen of another Kingdom. You'll have those experiences where it seems like you
just don't fit because youre operating from a different set of standards, a different set of
Think about this. You were chosen to have the blessing of being not of this world. You
have been honored to no longer fit. You have been blessed to be just a little bit weird.
You have been graced to be misunderstood. You have been chosen to do things that, in
the normal way that the world operates, makes no sense whatsoever because you have
been welcomed to the Kingdom of God.
Oh, you shouldn't mourn that. You shouldn't hide that. You shouldn't wish that you fit
more. This cross-cultural existence is a sure sign of the fact that grace, transforming
grace, has been given to you.
It's a wonderful thing that your heart grieves at places where other people's hearts don't
grieve; your heart rejoices at places where other people's hearts don't rejoice. Its a
wonderful thing that what's important to you is different than what's important to those
people who don't know the Lord. All of that is grace. Its grace! Its grace! Its grace!
But youre going to hear this term from me as we go through 1 Peter again and again: it's
uncomfortable grace. It's not easy to be an alien, but it's grace.
Notice what he says next there in verse 2, according to the foreknowledge of God the
Think of this, that God placed His love on you before the foundations of the world were
set into place. You have a Father who knows you and knows everything about you. You
have a Father who has written every aspect of your story because every aspect of your
story is connected to the operation of His grace and the final completion of the work that
He is seeking to do in you.
I think, very often, when we think of God's foreknowledge, we just think of our salvation,
but listen: if the work of God is progressive, and it covers my whole life, finally even my

glorification, then the foreknowledge of God, God is something bigger than just my
salvation; it is in my entire life as His child.
Everything I ever face, I can say to myself, My Father knows this. Every place Im in,
my Father knows this location; my Father knows the situation; my Father knows the
circumstance; my Father knows what's going on with me, because all that I am, all that I
face, has been written into His book.
Think about this: you will never, if you are Gods child, step out of the circle of
knowledge of your Father. Your Father knows. And the things that are troubling to you,
and things that are mysterious to you, and things that are hard to understand, He is
working out His purpose.
You need to know that your Father knows, not because that will immediately make life
make sense for you, but because life won't make sense. And those moments where you
don't understand, where it's hard to sense His love, where it's hard to understand His
purpose, moments where it looks like the bad guys are winning, you can comfort yourself
with these words, My Father knows. The one who set the direction of my life long
before I took my first breath, He knows! He knows! He knows! He knows!
Look what's next, in the sanctification of the Spirit.
Oh yes, the power of sin has been broken, but the presence of sin still remains. You gave
empirical evidence of that this week, in words you said, in choices you made, in the
thoughts that you had, and desires that you had, and struggles that you had, and conflict
that you had. Maybe in private moments, maybe in public moments, you demonstrated
that there is still remaining sin in you.
And so what is your identity? One who just by yourself struggles with sin and somehow,
someway, you hope that you can defeat it? No! No! No! If you are God's child, your
Savior has come to you in the presence of His Spirit, and He lives inside of you. Paul
says in Galatians 5 that that Spirit battles with your sinful nature. There is a warrior
Spirit battling on your behalf.
You're not just a person who struggles with sin. If you are Gods child, you are
progressively being transformed by His grace. Are you hearing me? And He won't turn
from the work of His hands until that work is done, until you have been fully transformed
into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You know what that means? Husbands and wives it means there is hope for your
marriage because the transforming power of the Spirit of God is working on your behalf.
There's hope for difficult friendships. There's hope for struggles with thoughts and
desires. There's hope for sins that you seem to be unable to defeat. You are not in this
war alone! God has come to you, and He lives inside of you, and He battles on your
behalf, transforming you by His grace.

Next phrase, for obedience to Christ Jesus.

Not only have you been called to cross-cultural living, not only do you have a Father who
knows, not only is transforming grace at work in you: you have been called to a radical
new way of living.
No longer ruled by your desires, no longer ruled by your emotions, no longer lord over
your own life; you've been called to submit everything you are and everything you do to
the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That call is the highest honor you could ever be given.
As I thought of those words, I thought again of words of my brother Tedd. He said to me
once, Paul, youll never understand God's call to obey until you understand obedience is
itself a reward.
That I'm one of God's children, that I have been called, I have been chosen to be part of
what He's doing on earth, that I've been liberated from my bondage to my agenda, my
way, my self-sovereignty - is itself a grace.
I would ask you this evening: what motivates the actions you take and the choices you
make? The Lordship of Jesus Christ, the clear call of His Word? And do you do that with
a sense of privilege?
and for the sprinkling with His blood: an image of cleansing and forgiveness, an Old
Testament image.
By the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we stand before God as righteous. Yet because of the
presence of sin, we are people who are in daily need of forgiveness and daily need of
cleansing. And what a wonderful hope that is, that no matter how deep my struggle is,
no matter how great my failure is, no matter how strong my weaknesses, there is ongoing
forgiveness, and there is ongoing cleansing
I do not have to run in fear from God's presence; because of the shed blood of Christ, I
can run toward Him and not away from Him and once again receive His forgiveness, and
once again receive His cleansing. Are you running? Are you hiding in guilt? Are you
covering in shame? Are you running away from the only place of forgiveness and
Think about this identity: I have been chosen to be part of the operation of this Kingdom
that is not of this world. I'm the son or daughter of a Father who knows because He has
written my story. I am the object of His perseverant, unyielding, transforming grace, and
He will not relent till that work is done.
I have been chosen to be part of something bigger than the small borders of my own life,
to submit everything I am and everything I have to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I've
been blessed with continual forgiveness and daily cleansing.

I would ask you this evening, Do you live like you believe this? Do you live like this is
really your identity?
Husbands, does this identity shape the way you respond to your wife, the way you
respond to those difficult intense moments that every marriage this side of heaven has?
Wives, do you embrace this identity when youre so hurt by something your husband has
said or done, and you want to lash out and hurt him in the way he's hurt you?
Do you grab a hold of this identity when you've lost your job, and you don't know how
youre going to pay your bills, and you wonder what in the world God is doing?
Do you grab a hold of this identity as a parent when you face the strong will of a child
who seems unyielding and unwilling to obey?
Do you grab a hold of this identity when you feel alone at work because the things that
people share in there, you couldn't possibly share in as a child of God?
Does this identity give you rest as you lie down to sleep? My Father knows. His
transforming grace is in my life. He will not relent until He's completed His job. I am
blessed by daily forgiveness and cleansing. My world is disordered, but I have security. I
am a child of God.
I would say this to you as your pastor this evening: may the grace of these truths and the
peace that these truths can bring be multiplied to you, day after day after day. May you
never be an identity amnesiac! May you never forget who you are! May you never seek
for security in places where it can't be found. May you rest in the grace that you have
been given, grace that will complete its work. And may that give you peace.
Maybe you're here this evening and you say, I don't think that is my identity. I don't
think I know this One that youre talking about. I would welcome you, right here, right
now - confess that need. Confess that you've lived your own way, and cry out for that
grace so willingly purchased on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let's pray: Lord, there are many ways that our lives are like the people to whom this
letter was written. We do live in a fallen world. We suffer in various ways. There are
moments where we are misunderstood, and mocked, and persecuted for our allegiance to
the Lord Jesus Christ. And in those moments, it is so easy to give way to doubt, to give
way to fear, to give way to a litany of what ifs, to forget who we are and who we have
become as Your children.
Thank you that we have been called to be citizens of Your Kingdom, and in that way, we
are aliens in this world. Thank you that You know every detail of our lives because all of
it has been written in Your book. Thank you that we are the objects of ongoing,
transforming grace. Thank you that, for we who still struggle with sin, there's daily
forgiveness and daily cleansing. Thank you that You've given us something bigger to live

for than ourselves, and Youve called us to obediently submit to Your Lordship. Thank
May You multiply to us, again and again, Your grace and Your peace. May we rest in
You. In Jesuss name, Amen.

2009 Paul Tripp Ministries