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Author:Rev. George van Popta
 send email...
 www.vanpopta.ca
 
Congregation:Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church
 Ottawa, Ontario
 jubileechurch.ca
 
Preached At:Ancaster Canadian Reformed Church
 Ancaster, Ontario
 www.ancasterchurch.on.ca
 
Title:Delivered Unto Thankfulness
Text:LD 32 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God The Son
 
Preached:2003-09-21
Added:2004-01-13
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-2:12
Text: Lord's Day 32
Singing: Psalm 26:1,2,3; Hymn 28; Psalm 26:6,7; Psalm 26:5; Hymn 2:2; Psalm 146:1,3
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ:

CHRIST HAS DELIVERED US FROM MISERY UNTO THANKFULNESS

1. Redeemed by the Blood; 2. Renewed by the Spirit; 3. Warned by the Word

1. Christ has redeemed us by his blood. Redeemed us from misery. Redeemed us from thanklessness.

Do you know what it means to be redeemed? To redeem someone?

To redeem someone is to set that person free from a bad, a miserable, situation, by paying the penalty for that person. A couple of examples.

In Exodus 21:29ff we can read about a case in which an ox gores someone to death. This ox had a habit of goring people. The owner knew that but did not keep the ox penned up. Then the law said that both the ox and the owner of the ox had to be stoned to death. The owner as well because he knew that his ox was a dangerous beast.

However, if the family of the person whom the ox had killed was willing to let the man live in exchange for a certain price, then the man could redeem his life by making that payment. The payment was not compensation for the life of the one the ox had killed; rather, the payment redeemed the ox's owner from death.

Another example of the principle of redemption is seen in the Book of Ruth. Boaz redeemed Naomi and Ruth. They had lost their husbands. They were impoverished. They had lost their ancestral piece of land. Boaz redeemed it. He married Ruth and redeemed the land for the family.

In 1 Peter 1:18, Peter said that the people to whom he wrote this letter had been redeemed. Christ had redeemed them.

Peter wrote this letter to believers scattered throughout a number of cities and towns in Asia Minor (opening of letter). Likely the readers were both Jews and Gentiles. They lived in a culture heavily influence by Greece. Slavery was part of the world they lived in. A slave could be redeemed for a price. Either he could redeem himself if he was able to save up some money. Or he could be redeemed by someone else. A friend or family could buy his freedom.

Well listen; our Lord Jesus Christ has bought our freedom. He has redeemed us. By our sin (original and actual) we brought horrible misery upon ourselves. By grace we have been redeemed from that misery. Christ has redeemed us.

a. Christ has redeemed us from our own wickedness. In our fallen, sinful nature, we are wicked. Apart from God and his grace, people are wicked. To be wicked is a miserable thing. To live an uncontrolled life, a dirty, a godless life-there is nothing nice about that. It is a form of slavery. Self-imposed slavery, and yet slavery. Misery. Christ has redeemed us from that. As Paul wrote in Titus 2:14, Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

b. Not only did Christ redeem us from our own wickedness; he also redeemed us from the curse of the law. By our sins and wickedness, we put ourselves under the curse of the law. The law, the commandments of God, come with a blessing and a curse attached to them. Those who obey can expect the blessing of God; those who disobey can only expect his curse. Because of our disobedience, we could only expect the curse of the law to hammer down upon our heads. Beloved, Christ has delivered us from that too. In Gal 3:13, Paul wrote: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."

c. Christ redeemed us from the misery of our own wickedness; from the misery of the curse of God's law imposed upon us because of our wickedness; but he has also redeemed us from emptiness.

That's what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:18. Redeemed from emptiness.

Apart from have a living relationship with the LORD God, a person is empty. There is no meaning to life without being in covenant relationship with God. Think about it. What is life without God? You live for 70 or 80 years, and then you die. And a lot of the time we live is difficult and troublesome. You suffer illness, disease, disappointment, failure, setbacks. Oh, life has its good things, but there's a lot of misery in this life too.

I saw a bumper sticker once (I've probably told you this before) that said: "Whoever dies with the most toys wins." What a motto for life! It makes sense to have a motto like that if you don't have God in your life. Without God, life is empty. So you try to fill it up with material possessions. Toys; stuff. If you don't have God, what else is there?

Christ has redeemed us from that emptiness. From wickedness, the curse of the law, and from emptiness. That's the misery from which he has delivered us. We could add more angles to the misery from which Christ has redeemed us, but let those three underline the misery in which we were held until Christ redeemed us.

Christ has redeemed us, not with money, but with his precious blood. Redeemed by the blood. The owner of the man-killing ox could redeem himself with money. A slave could be redeemed with money. Boaz redeemed Naomi and Ruth, and their ancestral land, by paying off a debt with money. Christ, however, did not redeem us with money. Rather, he redeemed us with his precious blood.

That was the redemption price God the Father demanded. The wages of sin is death. The price of our redemption was death. Blood had to be shed.

Christ came into the world as the perfect lamb. He shed his blood on the cross to redeem us from our own wickedness; from the curse of the law; from the emptiness of life. He redeemed us, delivered us, from our misery.

2. Not only that; he also renews us by the Holy Spirit.

Specifically, by His Holy Spirit, he renews us to be His image. To be the image of Christ.

What does it mean to be the image of Christ? To be like Christ-Christlike?

What was Christ like while he was here on earth? If you read through the gospels, you get a very good picture of what Christ was like. If we listen to him we get a good understanding of what he was like.

In Matthew 11:29, he said that he was gentle and humble of heart. A gentle shepherd who reached out to the hurting. He had compassion on the crowds who were harassed on all sides-by the religious leaders who put burdens on them that God had never imposed; by the Roman authorities who taxed them almost to death. Christ was moved by the sick, by the sad, the blind, the grieving, the troubled. Out of his gentleness, his humility, his compassion, he reached out to the help and to heal.

But do not perceive the gentleness, humility and compassion of Christ to be weakness. Our Lord Jesus Christ had a backbone of steel. Perhaps the best evidence of that is when the Lord Jesus cleansed the temple. He came to the temple and saw that it had been turned into a marketplace. Men were selling cattle, sheep and doves (for the sacrifices). Others had set up tables for exchanging foreign currency. Filled with zeal for God and the temple, he picked up some strands of rope, twisted them into a whip, and began driving the cattle dealers and the money changers out. He turned over the tables of the money changers sending the coins rolling in every direction. He drove out all those buying and selling out of the temple.

Someone reading the account might say: "The man lost it! Here Jesus lost it!" But no; the Lord Jesus never lost it. He was always in control of himself.

And so you see an image of Christ: Gentle, humble, compassionate, but at the same time, very zealous for the honour of God. If we are to be images of Christ-renewed by the Holy Spirit as images of Christ-that's what we will be like. Gentle, humble, compassionate, but at the same time, very zealous for the honour of God.

Further in ch. 2, Peter says something else about Christ-about how Christ suffered injustice, and thereby left us an example. ... Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

We, rather, speak quickly and forcefully to defend our own rights. If we feel that we are being hard done by, we speak up and make our point. Look at Christ. Christ, who as Peter said, left us an example of what it means to suffer injustice quietly, without asserting ones right, but, rather, simply to entrust oneself to God. God, who, in his good time, will make things right.

O, to be like that. To be like Christ. Gentle, humble, compassionate, zealous for the honour of God, and not so concerned about ones own rights. May the Holy Spirit work in us that we may be more like that. More like the image of Christ.

As the Holy Spirit works in us, He will make us ever more thankful for our deliverance from misery. He will make us a holy priesthood that offers spiritual sacrifices. Sacrifices of thankfulness.

O, that we would be a thankful people. That the Holy Spirit would remove all bitterness, dissatisfaction, and discontent from us. That we would simply be thankful for the redemption and deliverance we have in Christ.

As thankful people, we will praise the Lord. The Holy Spirit will bring songs and sounds of praise out of us. As Peter wrote, we will declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.

With the Holy Spirit renewing our lives, we will live godly lives. Our talk and walk of life will be godly. We will be done with wickedness and embrace godliness.

Living godly lives, we will win others for Christ. As our Lord taught us in the Sermon on the Mount, we are to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. As Peter echoed in 1 Pet 2:12, We are to live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse us of doing wrong, they may see our good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

If you live in this way-as an image of Christ, thankful for your deliverance from misery, godly in the midst of a pagan world-if you are bearing these fruits of faith, you can be assured that you are a redeemed child of God. That the Holy Spirit is working in you and renewing you.

We spoke about being redeemed by the Blood; about being renewed by the Spirit...

3. We need to speak, yet, about being warned by the Word.

The Word warns us that someone who has not been delivered from misery unto thankfulness will not inherit the kingdom of God.Someone who rejects the blood of Christ for his redemption; someone who rejects the renewing work of the Holy Spirit-he will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who continue to live in wickedness remain under the curse of the law.

QA 87 repeats the catalogue of sin found a number of times in the Word: The warning of the word is that no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, greedy person, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Such sinners are the opposite of the image of Christ. The opposite of Christ. They have neither his gentleness nor his steel backbone. There will be no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for those who refuse to be renewed to be the image of Christ. For those who refuse to lead a godly walk of life. Who might well talk the talk, but who refuse to walk the talk (as they like to say).

If a person refuses to be redeemed by Christ, he will remain a slave. He will not know the beauty and wonder of freedom and thankfulness. It will be a self-imposed slavery. His thanklessness and slavery will lead to greater and greater misery and emptiness. The sins mentioned in answer 87 will lead to anger, addictions, disease, alienation, jail, death, and eternal death.

Let us all be warned by the Word. Let us not scoff at the warning. Let us live as those who have been redeemed by the blood. Who are being renewed by the Holy Spirit. As those who have been fully delivered from misery unto thankfulness. AMEN




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: http://www.ancasterchurch.on.ca/sermons/sept2103pm.html

(c) Copyright 2003, Rev. George van Popta

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