Faithlife Sermons

Believe: Hope

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Turn to 1 Peter 1
There seems to be a perception about God and the Church in our society - that God and the Church exist primarily to fix problems. “If God’s is so powerful, and He can fix all my problems, then He should fix all my problems and the problems of the world” - or so goes the idea. Of course that bleeds over into the Church - that the Church should fix all my problems.
True - God can fix all problems and God will fix all problems - one day. Just because He can and just because He will doesn’t mean that He should right now. Furthermore, just because things are not being fixed right now the way we think they should be fixed, doesn’t mean that God isn’t at work fixing things. Make sense?
One day God will fix all things - but until then, we need to understand that fixing things (problems) is not the call of the Church. Not saying we shouldn't be part of finding solutions and fixing problems and helping people … we need to be active in that - but that is not our primary reason for existing. Our primary call is to proclaim Jesus Christ to the nations (make disciples). The Church, the people of God is His method for reaching the nations with the proclamation of the Good News. And the Good News (Gospel) is about freedom - we’ll see that in a moment.
One of the most effective ways of reaching the nations, and a community, and our neighbors is to build relationships. However, because of the cultural perception that God is here to fix problems, we have a tendency to present Jesus as a problem-fixer - more like a handyman, than a Savior, a rescuer, a deliverer ….
“You’ve got a problem? Jesus will fix it!” Not necessarily true. The Bible speaks more about enduring problems and suffering in this world than God fixing them. Again, one day God will fix it all! So, rather than presenting Jesus as a handyman for our issues, present Him for who He is - He is the Lord, He is our King, He is our Savior, He is God in the flesh, He is our High Priest etc. etc. … and one day He will return.
And when He returns, He will do many things -
× Ultimate destruction of evil and chaos
× Ultimate distribution of justice
× Ultimate deliverance of the children of God
× Ultimate reunification of heaven and earth (renewed Garden)
× Ultimate establishment of righteousness and order
× Ultimate healing of the nations
× Ultimate establishment of God’s dwelling place with humanity
… and all of that for eternity - and all of that can be wrapped up in one word - Hope! How so?
Well, our key question for the Believe series this week is:
Key Question: How do I deal with the hardships and struggles of life?
We’ve all asked that question in some way - how do I deal with it, who can fix this mess, my mess? One day … but what about now?
Key Idea: I can cope with the hardships of life because of the hope I have in Christ Jesus.
Rather than cope, I would prefer more Biblical words like endure or persevere - maybe overcome. I can endure the hardships - why? Because of the hope that Jesus Christ provides. And what is that hope? We’ve got that future hope - the destruction of evil and chaos; distribution of justice …. I can endure because I know God will do all those things.
What about hope for the present? All of those things we look forward to, we can have some of that now.
“Our future beyond death is enormously important, but the nature of the Christian hope is such that it plays back into the present life. We’re called, here and now, to be instruments of God’s new creation, the world-put-to-rights which has already been launched in Jesus and of which Jesus’s followers are supposed to be not simply beneficiaries but also agents” ~ N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense .
1 Peter 1. Peter wrote this to encourage believers who were experiencing persecution. They were asking, how do I deal with the hardships and struggles of life.
1 Peter 1:1–2 ESV
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
1 Peter 1:3–5 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
- regenerated - new life; spiritual life; made alive. Paul tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50). Jesus said, we must be born of water and of spirit (also adopted). If you’re not born of God, born again - this is it!
In Christ - no matter what happens to this body - I have life, spiritual life, eternal life … I will continue to live … (Have you been born again?)
… born again to a living hope … - our hope in Christ is not a dead end, not foolish or fleeting, not temporary …. People can hope in all kinds of things (temp; manmade) and gods ….
… only Yahweh is eternal / why put hope in something less - something created?
… through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
How does the death and resurrection of Christ provide hope now?
If it’s just forgiveness, if it’s just my debt has been paid - that’s great, that’s enough but that’s not all - so we’re shortchanging the gospel! We’re depriving people of the full power of the Cross and the story of God! When we talk about the death and resurrection of Christ it would behoove us to keep the entire picture in mind …. I can’t give you the entire picture in one sermon - but, let’s try! Remember, at the beginning I said the Good News (Gospel) is about freedom.
In Christ, through the death and resurrection we can be …
× Free from the works of the devil (kill, steal and destroy and to separate us from God) - 1 John.
× Free from the authority and dominion of the cosmic powers, authorities of darkness - divine rebels - Eph 6.
× Free from the power and dominion of sin - don’t have to sin - Rom 5 - 8
× Free from condemnation and judgment - John 3 / Romans 8
× Free from death - 1 Cor. 15
× Free to live in eternity with God; to inherit eternal life - 1 Pet 1 / Rev 21-22
× Free to be adopted as sons and daughters of God - John 1 / Romans 8 / Gal 4
× Free from the flesh or carnal nature - Col. 3
× Free from ungodliness, sexual immorality, falsehood, anger, bitterness … Col. 3
× Free to live in godliness - truth, love, humility, peace … Col 3 / Gal 5
× Free to live in holiness - 1 Thes 4-5 / 1 Pet 3
× Free to worship the Sovereign Almighty God - Exo 20
× Free to be empowered by the Spirit of God - Acts 1 / Gal 5
× Free to have abundant life - John 10:10
× Free to have purpose in this life - Eph 2
× Free to commune with God, to pray and fellowship - 2 Cor 5 / Eph. 3
× Free to receive the unconditional, unending love of God and free to love our neighbor … Matt 22
I have yet to mention the big words like justification, redemption, reconciliation, restoration, play station …. This is just the tip of the ice-burg! So you tell me, how does the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provide hope now, today, in this life!
Do you know anybody …?
1 Peter 1:4–7 ESV
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In this you rejoice! If life is tough; and we’re persecuted - we rejoice because of the hope we have in all that Jesus accomplished! Listen, the world (the people in our lives who don’t know Jesus) doesn’t need to see Christians without hardships and struggles.
The world needs to see Christians who experience joy and exhibit hope in the midst of hardships and struggles.
They need to see that even if life is difficult and tough, we have hope in Christ!
And that my friends, is the call of the Church! If nothing else, if we can’t solve any problems in this world -
The Church should at least be the biggest and loudest proclaimer and giver of hope.
If I think that my job as a Christian is to have all the answers to people’s questions about God, to win spiritual arguments, if my job is to solve everyone’s problems … what a heavy burden! A burden that even Jesus didn’t carry. That’s not my job.
My job is to plant seeds of hope.
N.T. Wright - agents of hope. We’re to let people know and live in such a way that we believe this is not how it’s supposed to be - “I agree with you this world is messed up, but God has a plan and this is not how the story ends! You can be a part of it now.”
One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is hope.
Hope can be a game-changer. Hope can keep a person alive, keep them going, help them see a better day ….
We can’t give what we don’t have. If we’re going to give hope - we must have hope!
Where does hope come from? Love and trust.
1 Peter 1:8–9 ESV
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Do you love Him? Loving Him starts with believing you are loved by Him. When you receive His love - there is joy. Let me ask - have you received His love?
How do we become a people of hope?
1 Peter 1:13–16 ESV
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1) Upon what or whom does my hope rest?
2) How much hope do I have right now?
3) What, if anything, is blinding me from hope in Christ?
4) How does my hope in Christ influence how I live?
5) How much hope do I give away?
Accept / Believe / Confess
Help me, Lord, to see You are about me. You are my hope.
In my laying down and rising, in my travelling and arriving
Help me, Lord, to see You are about me. You are my hope.
In my sorrow and enjoyment, in my work and unemployment
Help me, Lord, to see You are about me. You are my hope.
In my health and in my sickness, in my strength and in my weakness
Help me, Lord, to see You are about me. You are my hope.
In my peacefulness and strife, in my going from this life
Help me, Lord, to see You are about me. You are my hope.
In my achievement and its waning, in my losing or my gaining
Help me, Lord, to see You are about me. You are my hope.
Celtic Prayer: “Help Me Lord”
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