1 Peter 1:3-7: “Easter 2009: We Have Been Born Again To A Living Hope Through The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ”
1 Peter 1:3-7: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1. The purpose for the writing of 1 Peter:
Around 65 AD, Peter wrote this book primarily
to Jewish Christians from Asia Minor: ‘
1.2. After a recent outbreak of localized persecution (probably at the hands of Nero) Peter prepares his readers for further suffering.
1.2.1. The first persecution began with the stoning of Steven: Acts 8:1 (Fox believed that ‘2,000 died’ then).
1.2.2. World-wide persecution didn’t begin until 249 AD under Decius, the Roman emperor.
1.2.3. Perhaps the apostle Paul had just been martyred by Nero.
1.3. Peter wanted to show his support of the apostle Paul and his ministry.
1.4. A chance to build up the churches, especially the Jewish believers in them.
1.1. Peter seeks first of all to teach and remind his readers of the greatness and certainty of their eternal hope that they have in Jesus Christ. He seeks to show them that the Lord allows them to be tested greatly because of the preciousness of a faith that has undergone testing.
1.2. Peter goes on to exhort them to zeal, perseverance, devotion, action, and holiness.
2. In this world, we often see people who have no hope, and this is expressed to us by people all of the time and in so many ways:
2.1. There’s Murphy’s Law that we all laugh about, yet can relate to on some days, or the many catchy little phrases that you hear or see printed, like for instance:
· “If everything appears to be going well, you’ve obviously overlooked something.”
· “It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.”
· “Today is not your day, tomorrow doesn’t look good either.”
2.2. Famous artists, writers, poets, song writers, actors, and comedians are often expressing no hope and we often quote them, like these quotes:
Woody Allen—“More than any other time in history, mankind faces a cross-roads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”
No Hope: Erin Elizabeth Kelly-Moen
is no hope for Life’s disease. No hope,
For Life’s disease is life. There is no time
Like any other, no Timed reruns, hope
Succumbs to Life. There is no finer time
Than Life, there is no hope. There is no scope
To soul recovered, no hope delivered,
There is no time to Time. There is no hope
To Life’s disease, no ability copes
With hope’s decrees, there is no Time to hope.
There is no scope to what we see as Time’s
Disease, no hope to Life, there is no scope
As diseased as any other than Time.
There is no hope for Time’s disease. No hope,
For Time’s disease is Time. There is no hope…
Then, there are all of the social woes in our
culture around us here in America, all the crime, murders, gang activities,
juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, suicide, etc.
One out of every 100 adults in
They tend to copy their parent’s behaviors -- teenaged children become high school dropouts and disenfranchised from society and those who are younger often have poor school attendance and academic performance, are unable to build relationships and express no hope for the future.
2.4. The book of 1 Peter, in particular the first chapter, informs us of this great hope that we Christians have in Jesus Christ. Chip Ingram in a radio broadcast he gave defines well the hope that we who are Christians have: “Hope is the anchor of our souls, the absolute certainty that God's deliverance is certain. He will give you exactly what you need to handle your situation in a God-honoring way. He will give you sufficient courage. He will deliver you through your circumstances, out of a situation, or ultimately to himself. The answer to your problem is not a solution. The answer to your problem is a person, Jesus Christ.”.
2. What an incredible hope we who are Christians have in Christ and because of His resurrection from the dead. This hope Peter describes as being a “living hope.” That is, it gives us life and is itself the reason for life, or living, itself. Now that we are born again we have a reason to live this life, and a hope that sustains us in this life because of the anticipation of another life that Peter says is ‘reserved in heaven’ for us.
3. This living hope is a result of ‘the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’ Because Jesus was raised up from the dead He conquered sin, death, hell, the grave, and the Devil. And, because Jesus Christ raised from the dead we can face any trial with hope, we can endure any setback because we know it is only temporary, we can endure hunger, pain, homelessness, a failing economy, the break-up of a relationship, loneliness, isolation, when people misunderstand us, and even our own failure.
4. This living hope involves ‘an inheritance’ and it is one which is ‘incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away.’ Three adjectives are used here to describe the fact this ‘inheritance’ is something that we can rely upon and which will never go away for us. It is a perpetual promise for us as believers in Christ. It involves been resurrected to immortal glorified bodies, being in the presence of the Lord for eternity, a mansion in the New Jerusalem that Jesus is building for us, a reuniting with all of our saved departed loved ones, crowns and rewards for service performed for Christ in this life, and in fact God says we are co-heirs of all the He has given to His Son, Jesus Christ. Now that kind of an ‘inheritance’ will bring you hope.
5. Peter writes to his readers here that in this hope they ‘greatly rejoice.’ But, because of the greatness of this hope they possess they are rejoicing in this way even though they have been ‘grieved by various trials.’ Trials can be so “grievous” at times, can they not?
6. This inheritance we Christians have received is not just for us as an individual, but for us as part of a community, the body of Christ. The hope that is in Christ would be shallow and hollow if it were something that is merely an arrangement between us and God, or us alone. There is no way to have hope apart from being one of the redeemed amongst a community of the redeemed, and in fellowship with the Lord of the Redeemed, the Redeemer Himself.
7. We in the church are brokers of hope for those who are lost in sin in this world. We can instill hope in them only so far as we both show them the hope that they can have beyond the grave in Christ, but also as we give them hope in this life and communicate that we are with and for them, and that we are the family they have never had.
8. I would like to ask you this morning what kind of hope your life is reflecting to others? I’m not asking you what kind of hope you believe in your heart, but how are you reflecting that hope to others? What do others see coming and reflecting from you both by the way you live as well as the things you say?
9. I have thought a lot recently about conversations I have had in the past with people, and how that I was not really sensitive to what they were communicating to me about their lack of hope, and general desperation, and thus I was unsuccessful to share the hope I have in Christ. I am realizing more and more how that I need to listen and hear the pain and the lack of hope that people communicate all the time so that I can meet them where they are at with the hope that I have in Christ. Let me give you some examples of things that people have spoken to me in the past that opportunities to share hope both in this life and in eternity:
9.1. “Why shouldn’t I work 14 hour days at the company, and on the weekends too, I don’t have anything to come home to anyway.”
9.1.1. Some Christians might just completely ignore what is being communicated by people in statements like this that reveal that a person has no hope and nothing to live for.
9.1.2. Some Christians might ignore what this person is communicating about a lack of hope and commend them for their dedication to the company saying something like, “Its too bad more people don’t have your dedication.”
184.108.40.206. This type of response shows a callousness or obliviousness to people’s feelings and the fact that apart from Christ people often suffer greatly. It also does not convince a person that you really care for them apart from what they do for the company.
9.1.3. Some Christians might try to tell this person that they need an attitude change, saying something like, “Geez, it can’t be that bad!” , or “Hmmm, feeling sorry for yourself again, huh?”, etc., etc.
220.127.116.11. This type of response is to ignore the greater needs and issues that people have in their life, and again it makes us look shallow and uncaring. It makes you look like you are only concerned about a person’s attitude, not their real well-being, and certainly not their eternal destiny in heaven or hell.
9.1.4. Christians need to reach out to the person who has lost hope in this life, and be willing to become that community that the person needs and longs for. We could reach out to this person and invite them over to our home for dinner, invite them to a church social, invite them out for a meal somewhere, or even invite them to come with us to our church this weekend. This person has communicated that they are lonely and have no hope in this life, and thus they need someone to say to them that they will be willing to be there for them.
9.1.5. Christians also need to realize that a person needs to have a hope beyond this life in order for them to be fulfilled and live a happy life. This person is not prepared to live because they are not prepared to die. A Christian could ask this person the first of the two EE (Evangelism Explosion) diagnostic questions at this point, “Bob, can I ask you a question? Do you know if you were to die today that you would go to be with God in heaven, or would you say that this is something that you are still working on?”
9.2. “I don’t really have any family that I am on speaking terms with, and no real friends to speak of.”
9.2.1. People make these kind of statements sometimes that reveal that they have no hope in this life, or even the future life either. But, some Christians just ignore the opportunity that this statement opens to deal with a person’s hope.
9.2.2. Some Christians might ignore what this person is communicating about a lack of hope and make a comment that is not only callous but does absolutely nothing to help the person out, like, “Well, we all have family problems, don’t we?”
9.2.3. Some Christians might try admonish the person blaming them for causing their state of hopelessness, saying something like, “Well, if you would be a little more agreeable you’d have better family ties.”
9.2.4. Again, the person needs us to tell them that we will be their family and their friends and that they can find belonging with us. They may not have a father or mother, or a sister or a brother biologically, but in the church we are a family and we have those close family ties that are so important.
9.2.5. Again, a person is not ready to live until they are ready to die, and people need to have a hope beyond this life and they need us to lead them to it., and that EE diagnostic question is a very good one to ask: “If you died today, do you know that you would go to be with God in heaven?”
9.3. “I know if I die I’m going to hell!”
9.3.1. Sometimes people will make a statement such as this that belies the fact that they fear death, or that they fear having to appear before the Lord in judgment one day. Sometimes Christians will just totally ignore a statement such as this. They may excuse themselves for not speaking to thinking to themselves that the person wouldn’t ever care to know the truth and how to be saved anyway. In their minds they think about those times that the person told dirty jokes, or ridiculed church goers, or whatever. Some would hesitate to comment to this person because they feel like they don’t know their Bible well enough, or not know how to answer such a question or share the gospel with someone.
9.3.2. Sometimes Christians will make a comment about this that ignores the lack of hope it suggests, and maybe make it into a joking matter, saying something like, “Oh, that’s a funny one!”
9.3.3. Sometimes Christians will admonish a person who makes that statement saying something like, “Well, you deserve that don’t you!”
9.3.4. This person doesn’t really have much hope in this life, but since they have made this statement about their eternal state you could ask them a probing question to get them thinking about their eternal state, like, “What do you suppose that the requirement to get into heaven might be?’ This person has opened a door by making such a comment so we shouldn’t hesitate in stepping through it in love for that person.
9.4. “My wife told me last night that she is leaving me.”
9.4.1. People around us in this world have a lot of tragedy in their lives. The cries of their hearts are often being expressed by them if we are careful to listen. But, when someone says something like this many Christians will not respond at all. They may not realize the heartache that is expressed by a statement such as this, they may not even care, or they may care but either not be prepared and not know how to respond in a loving and caring manner.
9.4.2. Sometimes Christians will make a comment that ignores the lack of hope this statement suggests and maybe say something like, “Yeah, that happened to me once,” or “My brother went through the same thing a couple of years ago.” But, then they do not probe any further.
9.4.3. To give this person hope in their situation, we could say something like, “I am so sorry to hear this Bill. If you would like to talk about it I have been told that I am a good listener.” You could also just show your love and concern by asking the man what he is going to do, if his wife will talk with him about it, and even if he thought that a marriage counselor might help (you would probably want to suggest at that point a Christian counselor).
9.4.4. Finally, you could point this person to the most important things in life, a relationship with God through Christ that will last for eternity. You could say to this person something like, “You know Bob, my marriage was once on rocky ground. It was then that I realized that I needed God’s help and needed to learn to do things God’s way, and this friend of mine told me about how that I could have a personal relationship with Christ.”
9.4.5. We as Christians need to enter into people’s sufferings, and empathize with them in their sufferings. We even need at times to share our own short-comings and failures, our own lack of faith, the consequences we have endured because of our own stubbornness and sin, etc. Don’t feel afraid to share these things in a tactfully and using wisdom.
9.4.6. But, we must never leave our discussions with people about the hope that they can have merely in hope for this life, although the Christian community we have is so important to reach out with. We must always press on to help people to see their need for eternal life in Christ, and the assurance of salvation in Christ they can have.
10. Well known preacher Dr. Tony Campolo once told the story about an incident that occurred at the black church that he attended. Tony is Italian but said that he loved the black church because whenever you preached people gave you immediate feedback about how you were doing, good or bad. If you said something that was inspiring and the audience sensed God speaking through you they would holler out something like, “Yeah, preach it brother.” If you were struggling and not doing so well, they might holler out something like, “Lord help him.” Well, one time he had just finished preaching a good message and the more the people hollered out their accolades the more that he got fired up in his message. When he was done, he thought that he had preached about the best message he had ever preached. He leaned over to his pastor who was going up to preach next and asked him to top what he had done, and the pastor said, “You watch I’m gonna smoke you.” The pastor then got up and began to preach a sermon in which he kept on repeating this phrase, “Its Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” The sermon when on for about an hour and a quarter, and Tony conceded that the pastor did smoke him. I thought I would read the basis of this sermon preached by the pastor because it is a tremendous encouragement to the hope that we have in Christ and because of His resurrection:
Its Friday But Sunday’s Coming
It's Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter's denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of
It's Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. See Him walking to
It's Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, "Father, forgive them." It's Friday; but Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, "My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?" What a horrible cry. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. And at the moment of Jesus' death, the veil of the
It's Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that's because it's Friday, and they don't know it, but Sunday's a coming.
And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of
glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of
Now it's Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn't the only thing that was shaking because now it's Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it's Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it's Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.
It's Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated
death, hell, sin and the grave. It's Sunday. And now everything has changed.
It's the age of grace, God's grace poured out on all who would look to that
crucified lamb of
It's Friday! But Sunday's a Coming!
11. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you know that if you died tonight that you would go to be with God in heaven? If not, Romans 10:9-13 tells you what you need to do in order to have that assurance of knowing Christian and possessing the free gift of eternal life: “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.””