Summary: This sermon was based on the outline by Randy McWhorter for the California Mission Offering.
Introduction: 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.” “Wow,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” the little boy replied. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!”
The ultimate cure for discouragement is hope. When any situation is placed in the proper perspective discouragement gives way to hope. The team may be losing but there’s hope for a comeback. You may be overwhelmed by life’s difficulties but there’s hope as we trust in the Lord.
Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe says, “It is not the fact of life that determines hope, but the faith of life.”
Today our text comes from 1st Peter. The people to whom the Apostle Peter wrote his epistle needed hope. They were discouraged. Because of their faith they were being persecuted. At least 15 times in his letter Peter refers to their suffering. Peter was writing to offer them bright hope for their dark days. Peter opened his letter by saying:
“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.”
We all need hope. Our Nation, our State, our Community, and each one of us needs hope. It’s easy to be discouraged as we look at our situation. But God wants to bring a bright hope for dark days. Today, just like the day in which Peter wrote, a bright hope will come as believers are reminded of who they are, where they are and Whose they are.
Text: 1 Peter 2:9
I. The Problem of Dark Days
1. Our world faces the problem of moral darkness
What is “right” and what is “wrong” these days? I guess it depends on who you ask. We live in a world where right and wrong have become matters of opinion, it becomes a matter of who you are or where you are. The problem is that it isn’t true. There are absolutes. The 10 Commandments didn’t somehow become the 10 Suggestions. The Bible is “a” book about living it is “the” Book about life. Sin isn’t new, it has been around a long time, we just keep finding new ways to justify it as socially or culturally acceptable. Listen to how Jesus characterized the world of His day:
“This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.
Why is it that many of what we would call “moral” problems happen at night? Because darkness seems to “hide” them while the “light” will expose them. I don’t need to give you a huge laundry list of the moral failures of our world, lets face it, we know what they are, and some of us within the Body of Christ as just as responsible for the moral problems as those outside the Church.
We need to do one of two things:
1) For those of us who know Christ, we need to Step into the Light so that our failures can be exposed and we can confess them to God and receive His forgiveness.
2) For those who don’t know Christ, we need to Shine the Light so that others can see what is right and turn from sin and to the Lord.
I believe we, as Christians need to take the responsibility on us. We can’t expect the world to change on its own. Listen to how Paul describe the lostness of the world:
21For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.
While every person is ultimately accountable to God, and must answer to Him for their sins, I believe we as Christians need to be living reflections of how God wants people to live. We have to be willing to set the standard, and set it high. But we also must be willing to apply that same standard to our own lives.
The 2nd problem of dark days is that…
2. Our world faces the problem of spiritual darkness
Moral darkness is a reflection of spiritual darkness. While the morality issues in our world will always get the most press, they are really just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the problems that we face.
There is no moral problem that is not at heart a spiritual problem. Which means that facing and fixing the moral issues in our lives, and in the lives a millions of folks just like us, require a new kind of treatment plan.