A Living Hope
“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.” 1 Peter 1:3
Text is 1 Peter 1:3, 3:15, 5:10
Along with 1 Cor. 13:13 Which is: Now these remain: faith and hope and all is based in love.
Can you handle my editing of that passage?
The text says that three remain: faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love.
How about basing everything in, on, because of LOVE.
Nothing gives hope like love does.
Think about that.
Nothing makes you feel more alive than being loved.
I am not talking about the sexual aspects of love making but the knowing that you are loved.
Being loved makes us matter to another.
It gives us importance.
Makes us worthy.
Everything God did, does and will do is based on his love for creation.
That is why we are to love as Jesus loved.
For it was love that brought Jesus to earth and love held him here and we know that love held him on the cross.
I think we need to hear 1 Peter 3:15 again.
“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.”
I am constantly amazed at how Scripture encompasses so much in a few words.
Once you have made Christ Lord of your life you then need to be ready to explain the hope that you now have.
Remember to do so gently and with respect to the other person.
It is easy to proudly state that we, now that Christ is Lord, have the truth, the life, and the hope that each person needs.
And do it in a way that puts the other person off instead of inviting them in to fellowship with us.
Can we say, do all in love with gentleness and respect?
I think so.
Have you ever been asked to explain the hope that carries you through the hard times?
I have been asked why I am always cheerful.
Kathy was asked to explain the hope that we had while in the hospital with Heather but the lady did not want to hear about religion.
But that is where the hope comes from.
The condition to not speak about religion made it difficult for Kathy for God was our hope when all seemed hopeless.
God is always our hope when it seems hopeless.
For God is our light in the darkness.
God can be our hope in this pandemic.
For whether we live or die we live or die unto the Lord.
We cannot lose.
To live is Christ, to die is gain.
We read such words, we claim such words but do we live such words?
Can I say that without God there is no hope?
What does one hope in if one does not have God?
The only hope left is self pleasing.
You can hope to be wealthy, famous, important or to have what ever you want.
With God there is the hope of pleasing God, assisting others and being with God in His Kingdom for eternity.
Our hope comes from the fact that Jesus did not stay dead but rose again and is with the Father interceding on our behalf.
That fact gives us great hope for we can ask anything in the name of Jesus and he will do it for us.
Hope, along with faith and love, is one of the three permanent graces of a Christian.
Peter was there when Jesus was killed and he saw him resurrected.
Peter praised God that he has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Hope was lost when Jesus was killed on the cross but it was revived when Jesus was seen alive again.
The hope of the disciples was in the person of Jesus who was the Christ.
They had come to believe that this Jesus, who was with them, was the one from God to save Israel.
He was the Messiah promised by God for so many years.
They were not prepared for Him to die in front of them.
How could this bring in the Kingdom of God?
They misunderstood the nature of the Messiah.
They did stay loyal to him, waiting to see what God would do.
For Jesus had predicted this event but it was not to be seen as the end.
Those who crucified Jesus mocked him saying that he saved others let him save himself.
If he can come down from the cross we will believe in him.
Yet Peter and the disciples stood by to see what God was going to do next.
Did Peter think that Jesus would come down or call down the heavenly host to assist him and usher in his kingdom instead of dying?
If so when Jesus expired their hope must have expired with him.
You cannot blame them for no one had come back from the dead.
Death, up to this time, was the end of life.
Even though Jesus had said that he was to suffer but it was not the end it would be hard to understand and believe that this terrible, cruel death was not the end of him.
When told that Jesus was alive it was hard for Peter to believe for he had seen Jesus die.
When the tomb was empty and Jesus not there, the angel reminded them that Jesus had said that he would live again on the third day.
He is risen just as he said.
When the women came back and said that the tomb was empty and one had spoken with Jesus the disciples did not burst into praise but ran to see for themselves.
John claims that he was the first to believe.
When he saw the cloth lying where Jesus had laid he believed he was alive.
The struggle to believe is depicted in the words of Peter in Luke 24 where Peter states: “We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.”
Then Jesus began to appear to his disciples.
First to the women who went to the tomb first.
The to Peter and the others.
To the group when Thomas was not there.
Then to all and Thomas was invited to feel, see and believe.
Then to the disciples at the Sea of Galilee.
Then there is the appearance to the multitude, most likely at a mountain. Math. 28
Then as he went to the Father to intercede for us.
We call this the ascension.
And they are told, as he left he will come again.
After these appearances the disciples believed and were ready to carry on the work of Jesus, except they feared the authorities.
This fear was overcome by the infilling of the Holy Spirit and they were off to witness even when it cost them great persecution.
It is stated that while with them after his resurrection, Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures about him and his suffering.
And what it all meant to the kingdom of God.
Then Jesus commissioned them to preach the gospel to all nations.
Starting in Jerusalem, then to Judea and Samaria, and then to the whole world.
But they were to wait for the Holy Spirit to empower them for the task ahead.
They obeyed and at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came as promised and the ministry of the Gospel was started.
Christian hope is reasonable.
Every reason for believing in God the Father and God the Son is reason for hope.
Every experience of God the Holy Spirit is reason for hope, including one’s salvation and the witness of the Holy Spirit.
And the witness of Peter and the others whose hope was revived by Jesus’ resurrection is reason for hope.
But most of all it is God's presence with us each day that gives us the hope and power to be victorious in our witness and lives lived for God and His Kingdom.
Because Jesus is alive, we live in, and for him, this day and evermore. Amen!