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1 Peter: A Living Hope

1 Peter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus’ resurrection gives believers a living hope.

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Text: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Theme: Jesus’ resurrection gives believers a living hope.
Date: 07/17/2022 File Name: 1_Peter_02 Code: NT21-01
The prospect of suffering is one that we do not face willingly. A patient facing a major operation, with its accompanying pain and inconvenience, may experience apprehension and anxiety — even fear. We help them by assuring them that the painful experience will last a comparatively short time, and that a full recovery and return to health can be expected. This expectation helps the patient face the trial lying ahead of them with hope.
The believers Peter is writing to are facing an uncertain and perhaps an unpleasant response from the society surrounding them. One of the apostle’s aims in this circular letter was to encourage his readers by giving them grounds for solid hope in the ultimate future so that they might face the immediate future with courage, hope, and joy. In this passage Peter speaks of ...
Hope Discovered
Hope Assured
Hope Celebrated

I. HOPE DISCOVERED 1:3-4

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,” (1 Peter 1:3–4, NIV84)
1. we get our English word eulogy from the Greek term translated praise that Peter opens vs. 1 with
a. the word means well-spoken of or honored and the word Peter uses here was used only of God by the various writers of the Bible
2. in fact, these two verses are a doxology — a short hymn of praise to God
a. because of God’s great mercy, that has led to our new birth God is to be well-spoken of
b. Peter is saying, Before we get to the problem at hand facing the brethren, let’s remember to bless the name of God and our Lord Jesus Christ

A. OUR HOPE IS BASED IN THE GODHEAD

1. Peter writes, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
a. God is the Father
1) the Jews knew of God as Father
2) the Fatherhood of God is first implied in the Book of Exodus
“Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”” (Exodus 4:22–23, NIV84)
a) but the concept of the Fatherhood of God is a minor theme in the Old Testament
3) Jesus revealed the full-orbed majesty of the doctrine in his own ministry
a) the Creator of the universe is best known to His people as a Heavenly Father
b) it speaks of a relationship of intimacy rather than aloofness
b. Jesus is the Son
1) for the only time in his letter, Peter here uses the designation Lord Jesus Christ
2) this full Messianic title is only used by the Apostle Paul elsewhere in the New Testament
a) the title emphasizes his deity
ILLUS. The word translated Lord in the Greek New Testament was used to render the Hebrew name Yahweh in the Old Testament — God’s sacred covenant name. So every time you hear the early Christians call Jesus Lord, it is equivalent to calling Jesus God.
b) the title also emphasizes his redemptive role
3) remember the angel’s conversation with Joseph in Matthew’s birth narrative?
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”” (Matthew 1:21, NIV84)
a) the name Jesus or Yeshua means Yahweh is salvation and the title Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah meaning Anointed One
b) everything in this title Lord Jesus Christ screams that Jesus is not only Israel’s Messiah, but also the Savior of the World
ILLUS. Edward Mote became a Baptist minister in 1852 at the age of 55. He also became a prolific hymn writer, and over the next 21 years would produce just over 100 hymns. His most popular hymn is still in our hymnals. It is "My Hope Is Built" which refers to the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

B. OUR HOPE IS A LIVING HOPE

1. Peter writes, In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
2. our living hope comes from a merciful God
a. mercy is one of God’s attributes and refers to God’s kindness and goodwill and compassion toward people
b. but God’s mercy is not merely an emotion, but an action that leads Him to giving us new birth — literally it says to begat again
3. Peter reminds his readers that only God can give eternal life and new birth brings with it living hope
a. the New Testament word for hope does not convey wishful thinking, but confident expectation that is based on God’s ability and never dies
ILLUS. In western culture today, hope too often is based on human resources and has an element of uncertainty. Hope based on happenstance or human ability can and does die. Christian hope is based on the certainty of God’s ability to act, and to keep His promises.
4. we have a living hope because we have a living Savior
a. Peter tells us that our hope comes by means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
b. this is the heart of the gospel
1) in the very first sermon of the church, Peter said, “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:24, NIV84)
c. the good news is that the living Lord give new life and a living hope

C. OUR HOPE LOOKS FORWARD TO AN IMPERISHABLE INHERITANCE

“and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,” (1 Peter 1:4, NIV84)
1. the Christian’s inheritance is the sum total of all God has promised us in salvation
a. it’s heaven itself
b. it’s the fellowship of the saints
c. it’s a glorious resurrection body like the Lord’s
d. it’s reigning with Christ over a new earth, new heaven and new Jerusalem
e. it’s the eternal presence and fellowship of the Godhead
2. Our Inheritance in Christ Is Imperishable
a. what we have in Christ is not subject to corruption or decay
1) in contrast, everything on earth is in the process of decaying, rusting, or falling apart
3. Our Inheritance in Christ Is Unspoiled
a. what we have in Christ is free from anything that would deform, debase, or degrade
1) nothing on earth is perfect
2) even the most beautiful things of this world are flawed; if we look closely enough, we can always find an imperfection
b. but Christ is truly perfect
4. Our Inheritance in Christ Is Unfading
a. what we have in Christ is an enduring possession
1) as creatures of this world, it is hard for us to imagine colors that never fade, excitement that never flags, or value that never depreciates
b. but our inheritance is not of this world
1) its glorious intensity will never diminish
5. Our Inheritance in Christ Is Reserved
a. what we have in Christ is being kept in heaven for us
1) the word means to be closely guarded
2) the moment you came to Christ you were endowed with a heavenly inheritance that will be watched over until you can claim it in person
b. your crown of glory has your name on it

II. HOPE ASSURED 1:5

“who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5, NIV84)
1. the recipients of Peter’s letter were facing opposition because of their faith
a. the Apostle seeks to assure them of God’s presence and activity on their behalf

A. THE ARE SHIELDED BY GOD’S POWER

ILLUS. The words Peter choose here paint a picture of an on-going protection like that of a military detachment posted on continuous guard.
1. in other words, God Himself is like our personal bodyguard
a. God stands with and over His people
ILLUS. This is Nebuchadnezzar throwing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace , but when the king looked into the furnace he saw four figures walking unharmed in the flames, the fourth "like a son of God."
b. the fact that God stands with and over His people does not mean that they would not encounter difficulties, opposition, and pain
1) it does mean that their ability to harm us is sovereignly controlled by God
2) it also means that those who harm God’s people will not get away with it
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19, NIV84)
“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you” (2 Thessalonians 1:6, NIV84)
2. the believer’s new birth brings us a living hope, a sure inheritance, and a salvation to be revealed in the future
a. at the second coming of Christ, the depth, breadth, and height of our salvation will be fully revealed in Christ
1) we can read about the glory that will be ours, but how do we even begin to imagine what our resurrection glory will be like ... it is beyond the pale of our understanding
2) we can read about eternity and how time shall be no more, but how do we as time-bound creatures begin to comprehend a time when there will be now time?
b. Paul was right when he wrote “However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—” (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV84) (he is paraphrasing Isa. 64:4)

III. HOPE CELEBRATED 1:6-9

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6–9, NIV84)
1. because our hope is assured we can greatly rejoice

A. REJOICING IN AND IN SPITE OF OUR TRIBULATION

1. our tribulation will be manifested in all kinds of trials
a. the word all kinds literally means, colors of various colors and hues
1) in other words, no two trials are the same
b. the word trials can mean both temptation — an enticement to sin — and it can also mean tests — which are character-proving adversities
2. whether our tribulations come as temptations or trials the grief they cause is real, but they also some with purpose
a. what is the purpose?
1) that our faith, which is of incalculable worth, may we refined
b. whatever the degree or intensity of believers’ hardships, those difficulties are meant to demonstrate the character of our faith
ILLUS. It’s the centurion looking at how Christ died on the cross and concluding, “Yes. This was the son of God.” It’s the world looking at us and concluding, “Yes, this is how a Christian behaves in difficult times.
ILLUS. The first pandemic in the Christian era was the Antonine Plague of A.D. 165-180. Most historians believe it was smallpox, and it ravaged the Roman empire and caused more than upwards of 10 million deaths — roughly 10 percent of the population of the empire. It was followed sixty years later by the Plague of Cyprian — possibly a especially viral influenza — and lasted from A.D. 249-271. At its peak, this second plague caused 5,000 deaths per day in Rome alone and set off the political anarchy of the 3rd century.
How did the pagans respond? In both cases, at the first onset of the disease, those who could flee did so. Those who could not abandoned family, neighbor and stranger to the disease, exiled them from their homes, and left them to fend for themselves. They threw the dead and dying into the streets and roads.
How did the Christians respond? Dionysius of Alexandria wrote, “Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead.”
c. such faith will result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed
3. these same Christians faced the peril of persecution with the same forbearance
a. when Peter is writing this letter, Christians were just beginning to feel the weight of Imperial Rome’s wrath against it as an illegal religion
1) for the first fifty years most of the persecution of the church took place by Jews who were in theological conflict with the Christians
a) they believed them to be blasphemers who were worshiping a false messiah
b) during that time Roman officials saw Christians as a sect of Judaism and thought it was an internal squabble
c) that changed in A.D. 41 when the Emperor Claudius ordered all Jews to leave Rome because of the violent rioting that took place among them caused by the objections of Jewish community to preaching by early Christians and their insistence that Jesus was the Christ
b. that event began to open the eyes of Rome that these Christians were no longer a sect of Judaism though that’s how it had started
1) the Church had morphed into something else altogether, and was in ideological conflict with Rome
2) the result was often very intense persecution of Christians in different part of the Empire
3) these persecutions are what Peter is referring to
a) and for the next 300 years the church would face the hostility of the Empire only to emerge as the dominant force in the Roman Empire
4. but whether these various trials are temptations or persecution, the good news is that they are only for a little while

B. REJOICING IN A SAVIOR WE CAN’T SEE BUT WHO WE STILL KNOW

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8–9, NIV84)
1. none of the Christians Peter is writing to had been eye-witnesses of the life of Jesus, yet they had believed upon him and continued to love him
ILLUS. After the resurrection, Jesus appears in the upper room with the disciples ... this time when Thomas is there with them. Thomas was the disciple who had scorned the other disciples for believing the excited utterance of a bunch of women who claimed to have seen Jesus alive. Now, Jesus is among them, and he invites doubting Thomas to investigate his wounds. Thomas humbly responds “My Lord and my God!”
a. at this point Jesus tells his disciples ...
“ ... “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” (John 20:29, NIV84)
b. Christianity has always been about accepting a person and not the movement
2. knowing Christ, according to Peter, leads to joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory because, in the end, the outcome of your faith is the salvation of your souls
a. our joy is a settled confidence that we remain in God’s grace no matter what comes
In late 1735, a ship made its way to the New World from England. On board was a young Anglican minister, John Wesley, who had been invited to serve as a pastor to British colonists in Savannah, Georgia. When the weather went sour, the ship found itself in serious trouble. Wesley, also chaplain of the vessel, feared for his life.
But he noticed that the group of German Moravians, who were on their way to preach to American Indians, were not afraid at all. In fact, throughout the storm, they sang calmly. When the trip ended, he asked the Moravian leader about his serenity, and the Moravian responded with a question: Did he, Wesley, have faith in Christ? Wesley said he did, but later reflected, "I fear they were vain words." Wesley was confused by the experience, but his perplexity was to lead to a period of soul searching and finally to one of the most famous and consequential conversions in church history. After speaking with another Moravian, Peter Boehler, Wesley concluded that he lacked saving faith. Though he continued to try to be good, he remained frustrated. "I was indeed fighting continually, but not conquering. … I fell and rose, and fell again." On May 24, 1738, he had an experience that changed everything. He described the event in his journal: "In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."
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