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Living Hope

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1 Peter 1:3–9 NKJV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
1 Pet 1
Written aprox. 64-65 ad just before Nero began his horrific persecution of the Church.
Written aprox. 64-65 ad just before Nero began his horrific persecution of the Church.
Prior to Nero persecution came from the Jews. There was also social persecution from the Gentiles. Christians did not participate in their pagan traditions, feast and holidays in honour of the pagan God’s. This set them apart as peculiar and they were slandered and discriminated against and sometime suffered physical abuse. However, all that they had experience up to this point was very minor compared to the persecution that came from Nero. The position of Roman government was that judaism was relatively benign. In fact, it was helpful in keeping the peace, and Judaism was no threat to Rome as they were not interested in making converts of the gentiles. In the early day Christians were thought to be a small sect of judaism. As Christianity grew under the apostles missionary efforts it became clear that it was something altogether different from Judaism. Further more it was evangelistic in nature and sought to convert both Jews and gentiles alike. This fast growing religion began to be seen as a threat to the Roman lifestyle and therefore the Roman government.
In 67 ad Nero ordered his soldiers to set fire to Rome and he decided to fix the blame on the Christians. Thus began a great persecution of Christians by the Roman government. Both Peter and Paul were martyred at the beginning of this persecution.
So this is the setting for the epistle of 1Peter. The church had already experience a level of persecution but they had a far greater persecution just ahead of them. Peter was writing to encourage the church under the suffering that they were experiencing and not knowing how bad things would get was let by the Holy Spirit to write this letter to prepare God’s people for a great suffering that was to come.
1 Peter 1:3–9 NKJV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
While the primary theme of 1 Peter is suffering the emphasis of Peter is to remind the church of the great hope that we have in Christ. Under persecution, under affliction, under sickness, when we are faced with pain and suffering, when we are faced with death, thats when we need hope. Thats when you must know where your hope lies.
1 Peter 3:15 NKJV
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
No one ever knows what tomorrow will bring. But now, more than ever in my life time, we live in uncertain times. People are afraid of this virus, over 100,000 have died. People are concerned about the freedoms we may lose. Governments have exercised more control over people than they have ever done in my lifetime. Churches have closed their doors, which under the circumstances may not seem like a big deal, I mean everyone has closed their doors. However, if you had asked me a year ago if the government were to order you to stop meeting as a church would you comply? I would have said no way and I would have quoted Peter and said we must obey God instead of man. And yet, we have have complied because of the circumstances. However, as a pastor it’s certianty not something I’m comfortable with. And pastors all over the world have had to make these hard decisions. And Christians all over the world have real concerns. And it is vitally important that we know where our hope lies.
So let me ask you this morning, where does your hope lie?
You may answer, “in my salvation” Great! what do you understand your salvation to be? What is Christianity?
Our answer is critical. If we have trials or tribulations ahead it is essential that we know what our salvation is.
For many, many professed Christians salvation means a place to worship that suits my preference, it means that a God will bless their business. It means God will heal any sickness that they may have or protect them from getting sick in the first place. For many professed Christians salvation means that they live inside a bubble protected from the evils of the world. I hate to pop that bubble but I don’t think that Peter saw it that way. And what do you have to say to these early Christians who suffered persecution and even death? If the hope of your salvation is a bubble from pain and suffering, sickness, and poverty then your hope is fragile and it will not stand the trial of your faith. That is not a living hope.
Peter said..
1 Peter 1:3 NKJV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
A living hope is a hope that is active, powerful and efficacious. a living hope is not a maybe it will maybe it won’t. it’s not a hope that says “well it sure would be nice if that happens I sure hope it does.” It is hope because it has not yet been seen, that is, it has a future manifestation. However, a living hope is accompanied by an unwavering faith and trust in the future fulfilment of the thing hope for. It is a joyful and confident expectation.
Romans 8:23–25 NKJV
23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Rom 8:23
This is the living hope that Peter is speaking of in our passage. So now that we have a definition of this living hope, I’d like to make three observations about this hope found in our text.

Living Hope is Founded on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ From the Dead

1 Peter 1:3 NKJV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1:
Peter blesses, that is he exalts, and praises God the Father because according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again. Not just His mercy but His abundant mercy. God in his mercy and much longsuffering endure all mankind. The fact that we exist at all is God’s mercy and longsuffering. But when God comes to us and calls us out of darkness and into His marvellous light, when we have been born both of water and of the Spirit that is mercy beyond mercy. If you have been begotten again then you have experienced the abundant mercy of God. The fact that God would allow a wretch like me to come into this world and to live and breath until I had an opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and that by His gift of faith I believed and was born again unto everlasting life, that is much more than just mercy that is the incomprehensible, abundant mercy of God. Grace which abounds much more than all my sin.
He has begotten us unto a living hope and He has done it through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
So what is the connection between the resurrection of Christ from the dead and our new birth?
Our new birth is based on our union with Christ particularly His death, burial, and His resurrection.
Romans 6:3–5 NKJV
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Rom 6:3-5
It is only through our union with the death burial and resurrection of Christ that we have new life. Paul says even so we also should walk in newness of life. That is the resurrection life which is the new birth or new life.
In Paul says
1 Corinthians 15:16–17 NKJV
16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
So this is why Peter can say that we have been begotten again unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Apostle understood that the hope of the new kingdom and our own resurrection was based firmly in the resurrection of Christ. For this reason everywhere they went they preach Christ raised from the dead.
The second observation I’d like to make about this living hope is....

Living Hope is Reserved In Heaven Ready to be Revealed in the Last Time

This is where we see what the living hope spoken of here is a hope of. God has begotten us again to a living hope
1 Peter 1:4–5 NKJV
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Pet
1 Peter 1:4 NKJV
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
1 Pet 1:4
This living hope has a future fulfilment. And I believe this of tremendous importance. Because he goes on to say....
1 Peter 1:6–7 NKJV
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
If the hope that is in me is fulfilled now then how can I rejoice through trials now? If my hope is that God will protect me in my little bubble now from sickness, and poverty, and suffering then my hope is shattered the moment that trails come. This living hope cannot based on current blessings otherwise it will be of no use to me when I face current trials. Peter’s whole message is to encourage Christians under fiery trials by reminding them of the hope of their salvation. If my hope rest on protection and blessings now then Peter’s whole message is of no value.
Now let me be clear here. I am not saying that God does not bless His people through health, and healing and finances and any number of blessings we might receive now before our future redemption. He certianty blesses His people and heals them and protects them and provides for them.
My point here is that the living hope that we have, the anchor that holds within the vale when the storms of life come. This hope is reserved in heaven ready to be revealed in the last time.
It is this living hope that Peter says...
1 Peter 1:8 NKJV
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
This is the hope that can say with confidence “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I have no fear because I have this Living Hope that I will receive the end of my faith - even the salvation of my soul!”
My final observation this morning about this living hope is...

Living Hope is Kept by the Power of God Through Faith

1 Peter 1:5 NKJV
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Pet
Peter, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit words this so perfectly.
“Who” who is who? Who is those who are begotten again unto a living hope.
They are “kept” that is secured, preserved. “by watching and guarding to preserve one for the attainment of something.”
“By the power of God” It is by the power of God that we are guarded and preserved until our salvation is ready to be revealed. So we are preserved only to the extent of God’s power which is limitless.
“by watching and guarding to preserve one for the attainment of something.”
Someone might say what about so and so who came to church got saved and then left church and now says he doesn’t believe anymore? Is he preserved by the power of God?
To answer that lets look at this verse, this is why I say that is is worded so perfectly. “who are kept by the power of God through faith”
Faith is essential to our being kept. but the way in which God preserves us and guards us until the revelation of our salvation is through faith.
People that struggle with this usually struggle because of a misunderstanding of where faith comes from. See if I generate faith then how can God keep me by His power through the faith that I muster up? You see that doesn’t make sense. That would mean that I am kept only by my ability to have and maintain faith. But if faith is given to me by God rather than generated by me then it would make sense. Then God keeps me by continuing to give me faith and therefore preserves me until my salvation is revealed.
And this is precisely what Paul tells us in
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:8
So that there is no boasting It is God’s grace it is God’s salvation it is God’s gift.
So we can join Peter in praising God the Father
by watching and guarding to preserve one for the attainment of something.
1 Peter 1:3 NKJV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1
Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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