Summary: Advent Themes - HOPE (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(1). Hope (vs 3)
(2). Faith (vs 5)
(3). Love (vs 8)
• Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming.
• One second he was peacefully perched in his cage.
• The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
• The problems began when Chippie’s owner;
• Decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner.
• She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage.
• The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up.
• She’d barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.
• The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag.
• There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.
• Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the tap, and held Chippie under the running water.
• Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering,
• She did what any compassionate bird owner would do…
• She reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
• Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
• A few days after the trauma,
• The reporter who’d initially written about the event;
• Contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering.
• "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."
• It’s hard not to see why.
• Sucked in, washed up, and blown over!
• That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
TRANSITION: This letter First Peter:
• Was written to Christians who knew how Chippie was feeling;
• Life for them was tough, it was hard, it was dangerous!
• On 19 July AD 64 a fire began in the city of Rome which lasted for three days,
• Devastating much of the city.
• It engulfed the centre of Rome, destroying temples and houses.
• The citizens looked for a scapegoat, and found one in the Emperor Nero.
• They knew he had ambitions to pull down old buildings
• And put up new magnificent structures, so they assumed he was behind it.
• Nero, in turn, shifted the blame onto the Christians,
• And so began a serious persecution of the church.
• They faced awful times.
• They were tortured, some were sewn into the skins of wild beasts;
• And made to crawl round the amphitheatres on all fours,
• While they were set upon by lions and other wild animals.
• They were hunted by dogs and some of them were crucified.
• A number of years ago I was part of a tourist group in Italy;
• I remember visiting the Coliseum in Rome;
• We had a fantastic tour and were amazed at all that took place there.
• As we finished our guided tour;
• My friend turned to me and said; “Did you notice anything in what the guide said?”
• I replied “No, should I?”
• He replied; “Not once did he mention the fact the 100’s and 1000’s of Christians;
• Our fellow brother & sisters in Christ were butchered in that very arena”;
• Remember they were slaughtered;
• For no other reason than simply being a follower of Jesus Christ!
• Now next to the Coliseum in Rome is a low, green hill,
• Which used to be Nero's palace garden.
• On one occasion he had a garden party with a difference.
• He had some Christians coated with tar and bitumen,
• Tied them to posts around the garden and set them on fire.
• They were burned alive to provide lighting for his party.
• The news of this act of barbarism against God's people;
• Spread through the whole Roman Empire from church to church.
• But as the news spread,
• So too did a letter of hope sent from the apostle Peter.
Note: The major theme of this letter is suffering.
• It is a very short letter that contains only 105 verses,
• You can read it in less than 5 minutes.
• But as you read it that theme of suffering surfaces time and time again.
• e.g. Chapter 1 verses 6; “All kinds of trials”
• e.g. Chapter 2 verse 20; Beatings “for doing good”.
• e.g. Chapter 3 verses 14-17; Suffering “for what is right”.
• e.g. Chapter 4 verses 13; Participating “in the sufferings of Christ”.
• e.g. Chapter 5 verses 19; Suffering “according to God’s will”.
• If you want a key verse to this letter;
• It is probably found in chapter 1 verse 7:
“These (Trials) have come so that your faith…..………. may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”