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Summary: Advent Themes - HOPE (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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SERMON OUTLINE:

(1). Hope (vs 3)

(2). Faith (vs 5)

(3). Love (vs 8)

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

• 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!

Ill:

• 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.

Ill:

• 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!

Ill:

• 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.”

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