Series: Don’t Be Discouraged [#7]
1 Peter 3:13-22
Each week, I hear about different people in our Church who are sick, tired, sick and tired, etc…; and most weeks I’m in all 3 of those categories. It is difficult to live in this body in this world and get it right. So what is it that keeps you going? What do you do to help others keep going?
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
What do you have? If you are a Christian, you have hope. Not only should your life be changed by the hope that you have through Jesus Christ; but other’s lives should be changed by the hope that you have through Jesus Christ. Christian hope is different than the world’s hope. The world hopes that the weather will be good tomorrow. The world hopes that the price of gas will go down. Christian hope knows that when this life is over that we will be in Heaven with Jesus. As a Christian, my hope isn’t wanting something to happen, my hope is waiting for it to happen. We are not to be discouraged, and one of the best ways to do that is to remember your hope that you have through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)
“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
A Christian’s hope…
1. Does not fear.
A person can spend their entire life in fear. How do you do that? It’s simple- Sit around and worry about everything. You can fear being broke, being hated, being cheated, being lied to, etc… Christians, don’t let those things get you. Stop worrying about what could happen or what someone might do and remember who you belong to. Look at what you have to look forward to- Heaven. Enjoy life and when challenges come don’t forget your hope. There is nothing that anyone can do to you to take Jesus from you.
1 Peter 3:15-17 (NIV)
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
A Christian’s hope…
2. Has answers for that hope.
Not reacting incorrectly to trouble is only part of the Christian’s task. We are to put Jesus first in our lives and when people ask us why, we need to be able to tell them why. Why do you have hope in Jesus? What has Jesus done in your life that gives you hope? We are to be ready to tell people about the hope that Jesus has given us and when we tell them we need to do it without attitude. There are some Christians that do more damage by telling others that they are Christians than if they were just secret about it. Please notice that it says, “When asked”. We are not to cram it down their throats; but be ready to answer when they ask.
I recently heard Dr. Ben Carson speaking and he was asked if he would consider running for President. His answer didn’t really answer that question but I loved his response to the next question. “Dr. Carson, if those against you check into your past, what are they going to find?” His answer- “Nothing and I encourage them to look at hard as they can”.
When people see the hope of Jesus Christ in our lives and we aren’t afraid to tell them why, our hope will shut them up; but even more importantly, our hope may change them.
1 Peter 3:18-22 (NIV)
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand- with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”
A Christian’s hope…
3. Is centered on Jesus.
What would you have if you didn’t have Jesus? For many people in the world, their sad answer to this question is they don’t have Jesus in their lives. Jesus Christ left a perfect Heaven and took on the form of man so that we could be given hope. He lived a perfect life and while dying on the cross became the sins of the world. When He died, He went to Hell. While there, He preached to the fallen angels that were already locked up in Hell. Many scholars believe that in Genesis 6, we are told about fallen angels that mated with women and had babies that were giants. Because of the people’s evilness, God decided to destroy the world and only save Noah and those that were on his ark. For a 120 years, people gave Noah a hard time about the ark that he was building. As far as they were concerned, there was no need for an ark. When it came time for Noah and those that were with him to be shut up in the ark with the animals, there were only 8 people. God saved those people.
Matthew 3:11 (NIV)
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
At the moment that we are saved, we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God resides in the life of a Christian at the moment they give their life to Jesus. We baptize with water to symbolize what Jesus has done in our lives and to be obedient to Jesus.
Christians, when you get discouraged remember where your hope comes from.