One of the many blessings available to the children of God is a very special kind of joy. For reasons we shall consider tonight, Christians are able to "greatly rejoice" (lit., "leap for joy"). They have access to joy that is "unspeakable and full of glory". A joy so great, so glorious, that it is impossible to truly express with words! Tonight we want to focus our attention on Peter's remarks in 1 Pe 1:6-9 concerning this "unspeakable joy".
I. THE BASIS FOR UNSPEAKABLE JOY
A. THERE ARE "PAST" GROUNDS FOR REJOICING.
1. We have been "set apart" by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. V2
2. We have been "sprinkled" with the blood of Jesus Christ. V2
3. We have been "born again" to a living hope. v3
B. THERE ARE "PRESENT" GROUNDS FOR REJOICING AS WELL.
1. We are God's "elect" or chosen. v2
2. We are "kept" by the power of through faith. v5
C. AND THERE ARE "FUTURE" GROUNDS FOR REJOICING.
1. We have an "inheritance" reserved for us in heaven. v4
2. We look forward to the "salvation" which will be revealed in the last time. V5, 9
All these blessings (past, present, future) serve as the basis for unspeakable joy. Because of them, we can "greatly rejoice! Exactly how great is this joy? In verses 6-7, Peter explains...
II. THE EXCEEDING GREATNESS OF THIS JOY
A. IT ENABLES ONE TO REJOICE EVEN IN TRIAL (1:6)
1. No matter what degree of suffering one may experience, in Christ there is joy to match it
a. As Peter explains in 1 Pe 4:12-13
b. As he and the rest of the apostles exemplified in Ac 5:40-41
"And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go." (Acts 5:40)
"And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." (Acts 5:41)
2. How can Christians find joy in such trials?
a. Informed Christians understand the purifying nature of such trials.
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Pet 1:7)
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor 4:17-18)
b. Knowing what trials can produce, it is possible to be joyful in trials.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
"But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:4)
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:" (Rom 5:1-4)
B. WHAT KIND OF TRIALS?
1. The word "divers" includes all kinds.
2. Primarily, it includes those which come as a result of living for Christ.
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Mat 5:10-12)
3. But we can also rejoice in the everyday afflictions of life.
a. sickness, heartbreak, frustration, approaching death.
b. For these things also provide an opportunity to test our faith, hope, love, longsuffering and patience
If we are able to rejoice even in the midst of such trials, surely they have a joy "unspeakable and full of glory"! But how can Christians possess this joy? For it must be admitted that all do not! In verse 8, Peter POINTS to two things which are necessary to:
III. POSSESSING THIS UNSPEAKABLE JOY
A. WE MUST LOVE JESUS
1. "whom having not seen you love"
2. Jesus is the ultimate source for being able to rejoice in all things. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." (Phil 4:4)
a. He has promised that if we truly love Him, He and His Father will be with us.
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23)
b. If Jesus is with us, we can receive that joy which is unspeakable!
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." (John 15:11)
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
3. How can we who have never seen Jesus, love Him?
4. As we learn about Him through His Word!
B. WE MUST ALSO BELIEVE IN JESUS
1. "Though now you do not see Him, yet believing..."
2. Through believing in Jesus we can "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory"
3. But such faith is more than a mental assent, or academic knowledge of Jesus.
4. It involves the key element of faith itself, which is "trust".
a. Trusting in His commands to be for our ultimate good
b. Trusting is His promises to fulfilled
c. The kind of trust that prompts us to obey Jesus wholeheartedly
d. This kind of faith comes from the Word of God. Ro 10:1
When we have this kind of faith in Jesus, and when we truly love Him with our whole being. A blessing we receive is that "joy unspeakable and full of glory"! A blessing that can sustain us till we reach the end (goal) of our faith: salvation! And that is because this "unspeakable joy" is based upon many other blessings: past, present, and future and enables us to joyfully persevere through all kinds of trials in this life
But again, this blessing is only for those who truly love Jesus and believe in Him. Do you love Jesus? If you do, you will keep His commandments? Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, you will do what He says.