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Summary: Christians are called to live changed lives, lives that share hope!

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SHARE A LITTLE HOPE

I PETER 3: 8-17

SUNDAY AUGUST 25, 2002

INTRODUCTION: An older sister was sitting next to her younger brother in Church one Sunday morning unsuccessfully trying to keep him still and quiet. Finally she said, “I wish you would calm down.” “I can’t”, he said, “it’s just so boring.” With that his sister turned and said, “It’s supposed to be boring.”

Maybe you have thought that this is the purpose of the Church, be let me share something else with you.

Bill Hybels writes, “Recently, I saw a letter written by a relatively new Christian to the person whose life had influenced hers so greatly. She actually lists about a dozen qualities she found contagious in the life of this older Christian. Listen to some of what she wrote:

You know when we met; I began to discover a new vulnerability, a warmth, and a lack of pretense that impressed me. I saw in you a thriving spirit - no signs of internal stagnation anywhere. I could tell you were a growing person and I liked that. I saw you had strong self-esteem, not based on the fluff of self-help books, but on something a whole lot deeper. I saw that you lived by convictions and priorities and not just by convenience, selfish pleasure, and financial gain. And I had never met anyone like that before.

I felt a depth of love and concern as you listened to me and didn’t judge me. You tried to understand me, you sympathized and you celebrated with me, you demonstrated kindness and generosity - and not just to me, but to other people, as well.

And you stood for something. You were willing to go against the grain of society and follow what you believed to be true, no matter what people said, and no matter how much it cost you. And for those reasons and a whole host of others, I found myself really wanting what you had. Now that I’ve become a Christian, I wanted to write to tell you I’m grateful beyond words for how you lived out your Christian life in front of me.

Basically, she was saying, "Thanks for being a Contagious Christian." Reading a letter like that motivates me to live as a contagious Christian too. How about you? I’ll bet you want your life to count for a whole lot more than trinkets and toys and zeros on a paycheck, too.

From Becoming A Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg

TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for today talks about a life that matters. It talks about living a changed and a different life than that of the world outside of knowing the Lord as Savior. It speaks of having an impact within the culture you find yourself. In short, it speaks of sharing a little hope with a world that seems so hopeless. It is about NOT BEING BORING! It’s about sharing hope!

THESIS SENTENCE: Christians are called to live changed lives, lives that share hope!

So, what does it look like to live a changed life, one that shares hope?

I. SHARING HOPE IS HOW WE RELATE TO THE CHURCH [(EACH OTHER) VV. 8-12]

A. RELATING IS ACTIVE

1. Live is a verb and so is love.

2. Look at how Peter tells us to live (vv. 8, 10-12)!

B. RELATING IS NOT REACTIVE

1. The opposite of active is not inactive, but reactive.

2. Must of us live like this and Peter says to cut it out!

3. Verse 9 explains the difference.

4. Reactive is repayment!

ILLUSTRATION: Zig Ziglar writes:

My brother, the late Judge Ziglar, loved to tell the story of the fellow who went next door to borrow his neighbor’s lawnmower. The neighbor explained that he could not let him use the mower because all the flights had been canceled from New York to Los Angeles. The borrower asked him what canceled flights from New York to Los Angeles had to do with borrowing his lawnmower.

"It doesn’t have anything to do with it, but if I don’t want to let you use my lawnmower, one excuse is as good as another."

[Excuses: Any Will Do?, Citation: Zig Ziglar, Something Else to Smile About (Thomas Nelson, 1999)]

5. How we treat each other within the Body of Christ not only matters to the church, it matters to the Lord. HE TAKES NOTICE!

TRUTH: WE FIND HOPE TOGETHER!

II. SHARING HOPE IS HOW WE RELATE TO THE LORD (VV. 13 – 15A)

A. FEAR AS A WORLDLY TERM

1. Suffering a no, no!

2. Humiliation is out of the question.

3. Notice this insane question, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good (verse 13)?” The reality is there are those who don’t like goody two shoes! 4. Suffering is the call of the Christian, but what about health and wealth? What does the SCRIPTURE TEACH, OR AM I JUST MISSING IT?

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