Hard to Have Hope

1 Peter 1-

Today you can turn on any media device and in a matter of a few minutes you’re either mad or disheartened. With all the political trash. All the ethnic group after ethnic group rising up against the other. A pandemic and all that comes with it. 

Then add into that our daily stresses. Married life, children, and work, even church. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming and we begin to lose sight of the truth.

Remember last week I spoke of buying in? This is what happens, we get trapped into everyone’s passionate plea for protection and provision and buy into these mirages of purpose. A clearer way of saying it is: WE EXCHANGE THE TRUTH FOR A LIE.

Many are looking for ways to cope with all of it. Some offer up a “successful gospel”. Meaning, God meant for you to be prosperous. Under the cynical eye of the baby boomers. Who, by the way, have developed a disdain for such.

Others offer a serious but yet unrealistic gospel of no pain, no problems, no personal anguish. A Disney approach to life. 

We need to get back to offering the real gospel. One that came from the God of Joseph, Daniel, Elijah, one that carried the disciples and the early church. One that gives us boldness in the times we live in, a Gospel that does not always deliver you out of or remove you from crisis but supports you through them. 

Peter is writing to some folks who understand crisis and he gives some solid advice.

  • Who He is writing?
    • History shares with us during this time period that persecution had already begun under the terrible hand of Nero.
      • Nero blamed the Christians for setting fire to Rome. Several were arrested and under torture quickly gave up many more. As these were tried and found guilty Nero devised some of the most heinous means of executing judgement. From being torn apart by dogs as they were draped in animal skins to being lit on fire to illuminate his garden at night as they partied. Any bad thing, floods, droughts, earthquakes, sickness, bad hair, was blamed on the Christians and more would be rounded up and put through this nightmare. 
      • So as he is writing this, he understands those who are receiving this letter are facing some of the worst persecutions ever.
    • The first few verses are reminding them of whose they are and who they are. Then we get to the instruction.
  • It is important to know who you are and who you belong to.
    • All of us belong to one or the other.
      • Truth is truth rather you agree or believe it or not.
      •  We either belong to God to be used for good and great or to the devil to be used for evil and deception.
      • There is no in-between.
    • One of many verses, Paul shares with the church of Ephesus. Eph 2:2-5, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”
      • Knowing whose you are is the only way you know who you are!
  • Instruction (V3)
    • It is marked by what he declares Jesus’ resurrection brings. A living hope.
      • Peter insists that we can live in hope if we understand and believe the truth concerning the risen Christ.
      • Some might say I believe but have trouble. Listen to this.
    • Most of us relate to Peter because he was pretty open with his problems. Maybe we should say his problems were pretty obvious.
      •  Peter loved the Lord and all his hope was pinned on Jesus being the messiah that would deliver them from Roman rule.
      • Then one day it happened. The plan was set in motion. A late night raid, trumped up charges, a mock trial, the beating, the cross, the crown of thorns. 
      • Everything he believed in, everything he hoped for was taken down off the cross wrapped up in burial clothes and laid in a dark, cold tomb. Gone!
    • Peter understood what it was to have all hope lost. The gospels paint a picture of a man who was at a loss, dumbfounded, in shock.
      • Then he got news. He’s alive. Peter being raised in Missouri, of course said show me. And He did.
    • When Peter saw Jesus alive it overwhelmed him.
      •  The one whom he saw die, who laid dead three days then exploded from the grave by His own power conquering man’s greatest fear and enemy, death.
    • Peter here says I have got something to tell you about hope.
      •  His name is Jesus. He did what no one ever did. He is our Living Hope.
  • Then as if that isn’t enough He shares with us how sure our hope is.(V4)
    • Incorruptible.
      •  Our hope in Jesus cannot be tarnished.
      • Cannot be corrupted. Cannot be deceived or misled. 
    • Undefiled. 
      • It cannot be contaminated. It is pure, undefiled.
    • Fades not. 
      • Cannot be diminished. Perpetual. 
        • The energizer bunny has nothing on our Hope that is in Jesus of Nazareth.
    • Why because it rests in the powers of heaven not in the influences of man.
      • It is reserved, held fast for you!
    • If you choose to place your hope on the temporal it will become corrupted by the desires of man. 
      • If you choose to trust the things of this world it will become polluted with the fleeting times you live.
      • If you choose to pin your hopes here you will watch them slowly dwindle.
  • Security.(V5)
    • The thing most want out of life is security.
      • But we place our confidence in unsecure ways.
        • We continually buy into the lie of this world.
    • God is not asking us to be ignorant, naïve.
      • On the contrary He tells us: Mt 10:16, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
      • He is asking for confidence, trust, buy in to His Truth, which is the only Truth.”
    • The word kept, here carries with it an idea of being guarded by a garrison.
      • Nothing or no one can ever steal, destroy or mar it in any way.
    • (V6-9)
      • As Peter shares in the next few verses though we suffer for a time we can have a blessed hope to secure and support us.
    • It doesn’t matter what we are facing… 

Jesus walks through it with us caring for us, loving us, using us so others can find this Blessed Hope.

Do you really know Him? Trust Him? You can.

I know you have faced some difficult days. We can live in confidence if we place all our trust, buy in. Dive in and follow Him.

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