Today, we begin a new message series called Hope Restored. We’re going to talking a lot about hope in this series. What does hope mean? We often say things like “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.” Or, I hope the Blues win their next game. In those contexts, hope is a vague expectation of something we want, which may or may not happen.
However, the biblical concept of hope is quite different. In the Bible, hope is the confident and sure expectation of something good happening in the future. The something good expected is always a good gift that comes from God Himself. Therefore, by definition, believers are to always be filled with hope, for hope comes from God. On the other hand, those without Christ in their lives have no genuine hope.
Ephesians 2:12 (ESV) remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, … having no hope and without God in the world.
Paul writing to the believers in Ephesus, calls on them to remember the time before they were believers. At that time they were separated from Christ and they had no genuine hope because they were without God. Unbelievers may think that they have hope, but their hope is always misplaced in things that are not God. For the believer, hope is closely tied to faith.
Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
We are assured that the things we hope for will come to pass through faith. The good future that we hope for is not yet seen, but through faith we can be convinced that it will come in God’s time.
Hebrews 6:19 (ESV) We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
I love the imagery of this verse. Our souls are attached to an anchor that keeps us secure throughout life. This anchor is hope that is firmly fixed in the inner place behind the curtain. This refers to the Old Testament tabernacle where the glory of God’s presence resided behind the curtain in the Holy of Holies. So, our hope has it’s anchor in heaven, where God’s presence is. Nothing on this earth can dislodge that anchor as we place our hope in God through faith.
Let’s watch a short video called “Hope is Here.” Ultimately hope comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ, there is hope in no other place. The more that we know Jesus, the greater our hope. Today, God’s Spirit wants to ignite hope in your heart. Hope for fulfilling God’s purpose in your life. Hope for spending an eternity with Him. Today, we’re going to learn more about hope from the book of 1 Peter.
1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter was written by guess who? Peter. Peter was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. Peter was the one who said that he would never turn away from Jesus. Yet, that very night, Peter denied Jesus three times. But that was not the end of the story. Jesus later restored Peter. Peter became one of the preeminent apostles and was ultimately martyred for Christ.
In this opening verse of his letter, he speaks of God’s great mercy, which he had experienced. That mercy causes a believer to be born again to a living hope. This is a hope that is alive and will continue throughout eternity. This living hope is focused not on this life, but on eternity.
1 Peter 1:4 (ESV) to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
Every believer, according to Peter, has a hope that is fixed on an inheritance. This inheritance is not on this earth or in this lifetime. The inheritance that this verse talks about is being kept in heaven for us. Since it’s in heaven, it can never perish, be defiled or fade. The inheritance that God has for us gives us great hope for eternity.
1 Peter 1:5 (ESV) who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In verse 5, talks about what God is doing in our lives right now, in this life. You are being guarded by God’s power as you put your faith in Jesus. Nothing can take you away from your relationship with God because of this shield. God is guarding us because He’s got a wonderful present that He desires to give to us. We’ve already talked about that gift, described as an inheritance.
But now, Peter refers to the fits as a salvation, that will only be revealed in the last time when Jesus returns. The good news is that as believers, we can have hope in what God has for us in eternity. And we can have hope that God’s power will guard us through this life until we get there. We are born again to a living hope.
Hope comes through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. If you struggle with hope for tomorrow, if your circumstances are difficult, focus on Jesus and eternity. God does not promise that we’ll have an easy road in this life, in fact He warns us that the road will be difficult. Yet, He does promise us that at the end of the road is that living hope of an eternity with Him.
Reject the temptation to feel hopeless, it comes from the enemy. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with hope. Those around you who are not believers have no hope, no real hope. The hope of an unbeliever is a transitory hope in created things or idols that will no eternal value. We can grow in hope as we share hope with those who are hopeless.
1 Peter 1:6 (ESV) In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
What are we to rejoice in? We are to rejoice that God’s power is guarding us for an eternal salvation. We are to rejoice, even though we often have to go through difficult trials. The believers of Peter’s day underwent severe persecution with many losing their lives as martyrs. Yet, they were able to rejoice, because through hope, they were able to look to eternity. What is the purpose of the trials that God allows into our lives?
1 Peter 1:7 (ESV) so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The trials that God allows into our lives are tests, they test whether our faith is genuine. A genuine faith continues to believe even in the hard times. A false faith on the other hand fails the test, it stops believing in Jesus and loses its hope. But those who keep on believing will have a wonderful eternity at the coming of Jesus.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (ESV) Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Faith and hope are about seeing the unseen and ordering our lives by it. We can’t see Jesus, nor have we ever seen Him, yet we love Him and believe in Him. Because of that we can rejoice, no matter what trials we are going through. The result of our faith will be our eternal salvation, which will make all the trials that we go through worth it. Hope endures through the trials of life.
Let’s think how we can apply these truths to our lives when we face a trial. If you look closely at these verses, you will see that where we look or fix are thoughts is very important. When a trial comes into our lives, the temptation is to focus on the trial. If we’re not careful, the trial can loom larger and larger as we focus on it. When the trial looms large in our minds, worry and hopelessness begin to set in. Those are red flags that something is wrong in our walk with God.
Rather than focusing on the trial, Peter teaches us to focus on Jesus and eternity. No matter what is going on in your life, no matter what trial you are facing, as a believer, your eternity will be wonderful. So, you can rejoice, despite what you’re going through. As you focus on Jesus, He grows bigger and the trial grows smaller. As you focus on Jesus your hope in Him grows and strengthens you.
1 Peter 1:13 (ESV) Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
You might think that if you focus on eternity, you won’t be prepared to do anything in this life, but that’s not the case. According to verse 13, as we set our hope on the coming of Jesus, what else are we to be doing? We are to prepare our minds for action, carrying out God’s plan in the here and now. Our hope in eternity transforms us to be more effective in living for Jesus now. Notice that Peter writes that we are to set our hope fully on God’s grace. We must have no hope in anything other than God and the things He is calling us to do.
1 Peter 1:14-15 (ESV) As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
Peter moves on to more practical instruction as to how our eternal hope should transform our lives. As God’s children we need to obey His Word and so walk in holiness in this life. We are tempted to be conformed to the conduct of the unbelieving society around us. But God commands us to be holy in all our conduct in this life.
1 Peter 1:18-19 (ESV) knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
As believers, we no longer need to live our lives the way that we used to live as unbelievers. Jesus ransomed or purchased us to be His bondservants. The price that He paid was the greatest price in the world, the precious blood of Christ. The understanding of the great price that Christ paid for us is a wonderful encouragement to please Him in our lives here and now.
1 Peter 1:21 (ESV) who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Not only did Jesus die on the cross for us, He rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Because Jesus is alive and only because Jesus is alive, we can have faith and hope in God, both for this life and for eternity.
There is a statement that is not found in the Bible and is not really true. It says that some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. As we’ve learned from Peter, we are to be heavenly minded, that’s where our hope is anchored. Yet, we are also to do earthly good, by being obedient in our actions and attitudes.
As we allow our hope in God to transform our lives in the face of trials, others are watching. Rejoicing and having hope in trials are not seen among unbelievers. So, we will stand out as being different in a good way. God will open doors of opportunities through the trials that He allows into our lives. Hope transforms us.
This morning God desires to ignite hope in your heart, so that it burns like a fire that cannot be quenched. When you are born again, God implants hope into your heart. A hope that looks past this life and into eternity. Yet, our hope will be challenged by the trials that God allows into our lives to test us. As you keep on enduring the trial, keep on believing and hoping, you past the test.
Finally, hope transforms us. Not just our attitudes toward eternity, but how we live our lives here and now. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, it purifies our actions and attitudes. Our love for Jesus results in increasing obedience. Others will notice how God is transforming your life and will want the same thing for there’s. May God ignite hope in each of our hearts this morning.