Second Sunday of Easter – April 23, 2017
Pastor Don Ninmer – I Peter 1:3-9
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not see Him now, yet by believing in Him, you are filled with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:8-9)
It is interesting that in verses 6-7 Peter talks about our faith. He makes an interesting statement when he says that our faith is more valuable than gold. What do you think about when you think about gold? Perhaps you think of a color, gold. Maybe you think of a special piece of jewelry or a ring that you have which is 14 or 22 Carat gold.
When we talk about gold, we remember that most of us do not have a gold piece that is 24 carat. Gold is a soft metal and wears away easily. If you brush your pure, 24 carat, gold necklace against something, a small particle of gold will wear off each time. After a certain amount of time, you will not have all the gold that you started with. Some of it has worn away. That is why other metal must be combined with the gold, to make it strong. 14 carat gold is 14/24 gold. 22 carat gold is 22/24 gold. It does not take much other metal to harden it.
When I think about gold, I think of a place in Kentucky called For Knox. It is a 109,000 acre army post. It also is the home of 147.3 million ounces of gold. In 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued executive order 6102 which outlawed the private ownership of gold coins, gold bullion, and gold certificates. Citizens had to sell them to the federal government.
Between 1933 and 37 the federal government was left with a large gold reserve and no place to store it. They built the storage place at Fort Knox, Kentucky. There gold is “stacked inside massive granite walls, topped with a bomb proof roof.” Few people have been inside this massive building since 1937. It is off limits to most everyone. It is ringed with fences and is guarded by the United States Mint Police. “It is guarded by soldiers. It has layers of physical security, alarms, video cameras, microphones, mine fields, barbed razor wire, electric fences, heavily armed guards, and the Army units based at Fort Know.”
Some people have questioned whether there really is all that gold there. Some say there isn’t. Many say it doesn’t matter anyhow, because the United States went off the gold standard in 1971. That precious gold is not so precious any more.
That is a lot of history to absorb in a few minutes. You don’t have to remember any of these statistics or the history of Fort Knox. But you should remember the statement that Peter makes in our text which tell us that our faith is more valuable than gold. People say about something, I would not give that up for all of the gold in Fort Knox. Would you give up your faith for all of the gold in Fort Knox?
Isn’t that the temptation that satan used against Jesus in the wilderness? We are told: Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you, he said, if you will bow down and worship me. Satan was talking about all the gold in Fort Knox. It was on this earth even though it had not been mined yet. It was here long before the gold rush. God created it. Satan was also talking about all the other precious things in the world which God had created. You can have it, all of it. Just trade for your trust and confidence in your heavenly Father and it is yours.
Today Peter reminds us that our faith is more valuable than gold. He shows us two important reasons. He says of gold: which passes away even though it is tested by fire. That is what we talked about. Gold passes away. If you take that gold from Fort Knox and handle it – if you set it out in the elements, it will wear away.
The second reason that our faith is more valuable than gold is in verses 8 & 9: Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not see Him now, yet by believing in Him, you are filled with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
If you had all the gold in Fort Knox, you could not buy forgiveness for your sins. In fact all of the gold in Fort Knox would not buy forgiveness for even one sin. But it is our faith in Jesus that does bring forgiveness. It is our faith in Jesus, more valuable than gold, that will open for us the door to heaven.
Please note how Peter describes what is in store for us believers after this life: An inheritance that is undying, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…you are filled with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Our theme for today is PROOF AND PEACE. What is the proof of all this? Some doubt that there really is all of that gold in Fort Knox. They say, we want to see it. What is the proof of our salvation? It is stated in verse 3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By his great mercy he gave us a new birth into a living hope THROUGH THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD, into an inheritance that is undying, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.
We notice in the Bible how often the Lord uses the picture of gold in heaven. As gold is such a precious metal, so heaven is such a precious place prepared for us. In Revelation we read: They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. The Lord uses another picture to describe heaven. He uses picture language that we can understand: The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. It is good place, but unlike Fort Knox, we can get in. We get in by faith – our souls when we die – and our bodies on Judgment Day when all the gold on this earth, including all that in Fort Knox will be destroyed.
Would you like to get into Fort Knox? Would you like to see all of that precious 24 carat gold? As you think about that, remember that some day that will all be gone, burned up with fire. But you will enter the fort prepared by Jesus with His suffering, death and resurrection. We call it heaven. It is a solid fortress. No evil will be able to enter in. It is guarded by God’s army of angels. That is why we say that our faith in our crucified and risen Lord is more precious than gold. All of the gold in Fort Knox could not buy that which God has prepared for us through all eternity.