IIT UBF - University Bible Fellowship at IIT





Date: Mar. 20, 2016

Author: Bob Henkins

1 Peter 1:3-4

Key Verse: 1 Peter 1:3-4

“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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,”

This past week the Chicago White Sox’s first basemen Adam Laroche suddenly retired from baseball. He retired because the team’s management said that he could no longer take his fourteen old son into the club house every day. I’m sure it’s more complicated and there are more details than we know but the short of it is, Adam chose to retire and spend more time with his family rather than to collect the thirteen million dollars left on his contract for this season. This story caught my ear because people in our time usually don’t walk away from this amount of money, especially for about 6 months’ worth of work; playing a game. I admire him because he stood firm upon his principals and didn’t bow to temptation. Thirteen million is more than I would ever see in my lifetime and yet it he walked away from it just like that. This made me want to know more about him, “Who is this guy and how could he do it?” So I googled him and what I found out was, is he’s a devout Christian and tells those who ask about his church, “I am a follower of Jesus.” They say that he is the most vocal member of his team about his faith and he organizes faith night at the ballpark. When I heard his I thought, “Ahh, now I understand how he could walk away, it’s because he knows that he has an inheritance that is more valuable than the money he left behind.”  And that’s what I want to talk to you about this morning, “inheritance.”

An inheritance is something that is given to the heir when the owner dies. Some may call it your birthright. We generally think of it as the parent’s belongings that are passed down from one generation to the next. Like the Rockefeller or Walton family fortune that was passed down from the father to his son or daughter. The Bible mentions the word inheritance 220 times mostly in the old testament. And when it talks about inheritance in the OT, usually it was in reference to the land that God promised to Abraham. The promised land that flowed with milk and honey was to be their home. However, that focus changes a bit in the NT where it begins to point to heaven.

An inheritance is something that is given to you, you can’t earn it and you can’t buy it. To receive it, you have to be part of a family. As we know from this conference we are all sinners and because of our sin, our relationship with God was broken. But when we look at verse 3 we see something amazing, it says, “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…” Because of Jesus and his resurrection, all those who believe in him have been born into a new family. We go from being sinners, who are the enemy of God, to sinners who are the children of God. And because we are now part of this new family we have an inheritance that we never had before. It’s like being born into the Walton family and you suddenly have this wonderful inheritance. The top four Walton heirs are #6,7,8,9th richest people in the world. The Walton family is so wealthy that they have more wealth that 42% of all Americans. Who would like to have an inheritance like that? But did you know last year the tax code was changed and the estate tax went up to 50%. That means if you were to receive an inheritance from your parents, the government gets to take half of it. However this points out the problem with earthly inheritance, it never lasts, it’s temporal. One way or another it slips away. And ultimately we can’t take it with us because the nature of inheritances is they are to be given away when the person dies.

However, the inheritance Peter is talking about in this passage isn’t one that we receive on earth, this one is kept in heaven. Our inheritance is God and heaven itself. Once Jesus told his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3) Jesus told his disciples about his death before it happened so that they would be prepared for it when it did. He said, “Don’t worry, I’m going there to prepare a place for you.” Last night David Henkins gave us a picture of what kind of leader we have in Jesus. Not only did he give his life for us to save us, but he is also preparing a place for us where we will live with Jesus forever.

Do you know what would this inheritance is going to be like? God gave Apostle John a vision to catch a glimpse of its beauty of what it’s like. Close your eyes and try to picture what this is like as I read what John wrote, “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” The Holy City shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. (Rev 21) Not even the Walton’s can afford to live in a place like this. And it can never perish, spoil or fade. And the government can’t take half away from you. It’s not like the expiring coupons Jim talked about, it’s like the object the coupon is for.

This is the overflowing grace of our God. For we did nothing to deserve it and yet he does it you and you and you. In the past, Peter was a fearful man but after he experienced the love of Jesus and the power of the resurrection, he could finally understand that he has such a wonderful inheritance waiting for him in heaven. After this he was changed and no longer fearful. He became bold and courageous. He was compelled to share all the blessings he received from Jesus with others. And Paul, who we heard about through Jimmy’s message, he used to persecute those who followed Jesus, even to the point of murder. However, he experienced God’s grace of forgiveness even as he was on his way to attack other Christians.  When Paul experienced the love of God he was compelled to love others instead of attack them. To share God’s word with them as Jesus did for him. Even Paul’s view of the world changed. All the things of the world that he used to chase after, money, power, prestige, he considered them garbage compared to the inheritance he would receive in heaven. As Steve mentioned, Jesus said to the criminal on the cross, today you will be with me in paradise.

When we are sure of our inheritance it changes the way we live. We don’t have to be afraid for our future, we don’t have to live in conflict with others, we don’t worry about what they think of us, because our future is secure for we have an inheritance that can NEVER perish, spoil or fade waiting for us in heaven. It will last forever, and we have Jesus to thank for that.

So let me ask you, do you want this to be your inheritance? Then you must follow Jesus.

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Daily Bread

Prepare the Way for the Lord

Luke 3:1-20

Key Verse: 3:4

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

  “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight.

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