Summary: Part two of a series in 1 Peter.
A REAL REASON FOR HOPE
Preached HPC Sept. 18, 2011
A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, "Eighteen to nothing--we’re behind."
"Boy," said the spectator, "I’ll bet you’re discouraged."
"Why should I be discouraged?" replied the little boy. "We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!"
I love the attitude expressed by the boy but it would seem that his hope might just be in vain.
Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all...As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.
G.K. Chesterton, Signs of the Times, April 1993, p. 6.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that your hope was in vain? I think we have all been at that point at some time in our life. I think that our church should be a beacon of hope in a hopeless world.
As we continue our study from 1 Peter, we have learned that the believers who received this letter from Peter, were in great need of hope.
They were suffering in many ways. They were suffering physically emtioanlly and spiritually. Persecution was rampant. There were many who were suffering financially trying to make ends meet foer their families. It was affecting their work relation ships, marriage relationships, and their church relationships.
Warren Weirsbe in his book, BE HOPEFUL, says this about the recipients of this letter.
The important thing for us to know about these ‘scattered strangers’ is that they were going through a time of suffering and persecution. At least fifteen times in this letter, Peter referred to suffering; and he used eight different greek words to do so. Some of these Christians were suffering because they were living godly lives and doing what was good and right…Others were suffering reproach for the name of Christ….and being railed at by unsaved people…Peter wrote to ancourage them to be good witnesses to their persecuters, and to remember that their suffering would lead to glory.’ ( W.Wiersbe BE HOPEFUL)
So Peter, begins by reminding them of the incredible hope they each possess as followers of Jesus.
( READ 1 Peter 1:3-12)
How do you cling to hope when your life is undergoing these kinds of tests? What do you do when life seems to have more questions than answers?
There is a hope this world has which is no more than a fancy or as Churck Swindoll calls, a Disneyland hope. The hope the Christan possesses, is unlike anything the world has to offer.
POWER POINT: The believer has a living hope that gives us the strength to rejoice in the midst of the most difficult challenge.
I. REAL HOPE NEVER DIES (3-5).
Peter reminds us that, we have a LIVING HOPE.
3 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,
The New Testament idea of hope is different from the way we use the word hope today.
Chuck Swindoll writes in his book, HOPE AGAIN,
To the unsaved, hope is nothing more than mental fantasy, like wishing upon a star. It’s the kind of Disneyland hope that says, I hope I win the lottery,,,,I hope my boy comes home someday…I hope everything works out OK. That’s not a living hope. That’s wishful thinking.’
Do you know how you can tell the difference between a funeral for a believer in Jesus and someone who does not know the Lord, or whose family are unbelievers?
When a believer dies, and his/her family know the Lord there is a pain of loss. But that pain is softened by the confidence that death is not the end of the story. There is more for the believer, since we have confidence in God. This confidence is secured by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
As followers of Jesus we have been promised a living hope . So if you want to smile through the tears, as Chuck Swindoll says, just keep reminding yourself that, as a Christian, what you are going through is NOT THE END OF THE STORY.
We can also rejoice through suffering because we have a PERMANENT INHERITANCE.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!(B) According to his great mercy,(C) he has caused us to be born again…, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
Our home in heaven is secure. As one writer puts it, ‘Our place there is reserved under the safekeeping, under the constant, omnipotent survellience of Almighty God. Nothing can destroy it, defile it, diminish it, or displace it.’