Summary: Part 2 of a series on faith, hope, and love. As God’s children we have a living hope of an inheritance; an inheritance of mercy, grace, and life eternal with him.
The Great Trilogy Part 2—An Inheritance of Hope
a. Part 2 of a 3-part series on faith, hope and love. Last week we discussed the strongest part of this “trilogy”—love. We learned that if not used in love, none of our spiritual gifts have worth. Today we are going to look at the second part of that trilogy — hope.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:13—And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest.
There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband. (Gary Thomas, in Christianity Today, October 3, 1994)
c. We all have hopes. But our hopes are ethereal when they are based on our ability to fulfill them.
(1) Webster’s—noun: a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; someone or something on which hopes are centered.
(2) Webster’s—verb: to cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment; to long for with expectation of obtainment; to expect with desire.
d. Scripture, however, tells us that from a Christian viewpoint, hope is a promise.
2. It’s a Merciful and Living Hope
a. Read 1 Peter 1:3
b. Peter recognizes God as the author of salvation and the source of a new hope.
c. The phrase “in His great mercy” refers to God’s unmerited favor toward us as sinners in a hopeless condition.
d. This favor takes on the form of a new birth. The implications of a new birth are astounding—we can literally start over, making amends for our deeds of the past.
e. Peter tells us it is a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Read 1 Peter 1:21—Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
f. But, how can we be sure it is a living hope? The Christian’s assurance in Christ is as certain and sure as the fact that Christ is alive!
A story making the rounds concerns a Biology I examination in which the students were asked: "Suppose you could take to Mars any of the laboratory equipment used in this course. How would you determine if there was life on Mars?" One student responded: "Ask the inhabitants. Even a negative answer would be significant." The student got an A. (Carl Sagan, Other Worlds.)
(2) We don’t have to ask Peter, he tells us. Six times throughout this epistle, Peter compares and contrasts Christ and the world as living vice dead.
Read 1 Peter 1:23—For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Read 1 Peter 2:4-5—As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Read 1 Peter 4:5-6—But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
(3) Here “living” means that the believer’s hope is sure, certain, and real, as opposed to the deceptive, empty, false hope the world offers.
3. It’s An Imperishable Inheritance
a. Read 1 Peter 3:4
b. This hope is of a future, imperishable inheritance.
c. This same word was used in the Septuagint to refer to Israel’s possession of the land; it was her possession, granted to her as a Gift from God.
d. Hostile forces cannot destroy our hope, our inheritance, and it will not spoil like over-ripened fruit, or fade in color.