I preached a sermon on April 23rd on the passage of 1 Peter 1:3-9. The theme was hope. The link to the 15 minute message is below if you’d like to listen to it. Below you will also find the transcript if you’d rather read it.
“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” Emil Brunner
*Feedback and constructive criticism welcome.*
Good morning. My sermon is on 1 Peter 1:3-9 which was read for us. But if you have a Bible I’d encourage you to open to the passage because I will go through it verse by verse.The theme of this sermon is HOPE.
I have 3 decorative bottles at home, called poet’s bottles, and each one has a statement on it. One says — Truth, caution: do not dilute.
Another says — Faith, danger: do not lose.
And the last says — Hope, warning: do not abandon.
Truth, Faith, and Hope are all important.
Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This isn’t always a popular truth today. Some prefer to think that any way will lead to God. But Jesus did not say he was a way, but the way – and the only way.
Where is your faith? It is critical that our faith be in the right thing. Ephesians 2:8-9 says
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
The apostle Paul emphasized that our only boast should be in Christ.
I think especially as Americans we have a tendency towards self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Sometimes these traits can be positive, but not when it comes to salvation. These traits will lead us down the wrong spiritual path.
Becoming a Christian, and living the Christian life, involves an acknowledgement that we are sinful people who need a Savior. Our faith or reliance must be in Christ alone – not in ourselves.
In this sermon, I want to focus on hope. 1 Peter 1:3 says:
“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.”
Hope is possible because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. I have 2 points about the resurrection:
- The resurrection proved that Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be. He claimed to be God, and that is what got him crucified.
The Jewish leaders considered it blasphemous outrage that Jesus equated himself with God. The resurrection proved the deity of Christ. Romans 1:4 says that Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.
And Acts 2:24 says that it was impossible for Christ to be held by death’s power. Impossible. He was God.
- Without the resurrection, we have no hope.
1 Corinthians 15 is considered the great resurrection chapter of the New Testament. Yes, 1 Corinthians 15 – not Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. The Gospels tell us the details of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but I Corinthians 15 expounds upon why the resurrection is so important.
Corinthians is very blunt and straightforward. It says if Jesus did not rise from the dead, our preaching is useless, our faith is worthless, and we are still in our sin.
We might tend to think of the Cross as defeat, and the Resurrection as victory. But I do not think that is accurate thinking. Was the cross defeat?
Think of what the cross accomplished for us. Jesus took the punishment for our sin upon himself, and delivered us from the punishment we deserve. Isaiah 53:5 says that by Christ’s wounds, we are healed. Think about that for a moment. His wounds healed us.
This is not a defeat; it is good news. If Jesus was just an ordinary man, his wounds could not have healed us. But Jesus was not an ordinary man, he was the God-man and his resurrection proved that. Death could not hold him.
The gospel, or the good news, includes both the death and resurrection of Jesus. The cross achieved our deliverance from death and sin, and the resurrection brought us an assurance of both – a living hope.
In everyday language, we often use the word hope in a non-hopeful way. Hope can be like “wishful thinking.” Your child or grandchild is getting all D’s in science class and you say “I hope they pass science” – and you are remembering that they failed math the previous year.
That is NOT biblical hope.
My favorite definition of biblical hope is “a confident expectation of the future we have in Christ.” Perhaps a synonym for biblical hope would be the word assurance. Our future is secure in Christ. And a realization of that can help us persevere through the troubles of life. And that is the theme we will see develop in the passage of 1 Peter 1:3-9.
Verse 3 set the groundwork or framework. We have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus. But are we living in light of that hope?
We can get so wrapped up in the here-and-now, or be so consumed with our problems – that we forget our hope. This living hope is a link between the present and the future.
As unredeemed sinners, we had no hope beyond the grave.
As Christians who have trusted Christ, we do.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)
Unless Jesus returns first, each of us is going to die. And for the Christian, our death will usher us into an eternity with Christ. And just like Jesus was resurrected bodily, one day our bodies will be resurrected too.
Verse 4 of 1 Peter 1 moves us into the future aspect of our salvation.
It says we have an inheritance in heaven that can never perish, spoil, or fade. It is secure. Time tends to destroy most hopes, doesn’t it? Things wear out, they fade away, they disappoint, they get stolen. Earthly things are uncertain at best. But not the living hope we have in Christ. It is time-proof.
Our divine inheritance is safely and securely kept in the vault of heaven – awaiting our arrival. And verse 5 says that through faith we are shielded or protected by God’s power until the coming of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Note there is a human and divine element here. Our faith is at the heart of it, but we are guarded by God’s power. Isn’t that comforting and reassuring? We are not kept by our own power or strength, but by the power of God.
I’m thankful for that. My faith can be weak at times, but God is faithful. The Scripture emphasizes this repeatedly – God is faithful and keeps his promises. Our hope is in God.
Psalm 16 is the Psalm for this Sunday, and it connects to these points really well. Psalm 16 begins “Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.” It goes on to say that God alone is our portion and in him we have a delightful inheritance. That word inheritance again.
The psalm comes to a close by stating that our body will rest secure, because God will not abandon us to the realm of the dead, and we will find joy and eternal pleasure in God’s presence.
Back to 1 Peter, we have been learning these wonderful things in verses 3-5 about our living hope, our future inheritance, and God’s power. And verse 6 begins with “In all this you greatly rejoice.”
How could we not rejoice? God has done so much for us, particularly through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But the remainder of verse 6 takes us in another direction.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” – Being a Christian does not make us immune to the trials and troubles of life.
We live after the first coming of Christ, but before the second coming of Christ. God’s plan for this world is not complete yet, and suffering remains a part of the present age.
Note verse 6 says that the trials are for a “little while.” Suffering is temporary, and one day all suffering will cease.
Verse 6 simultaneously speaks of rejoicing and trials. It is not one or the other. Joy and trials belong together. If we can’t be joyful until we have no trials and life is perfect, we will never be joyful. We will be miserable people.
That does not mean we have to put on a fake happy face all the time. We are humans, and we have emotions. The verse itself says we will suffer grief because of trials. Even Jesus wept.
But the living hope we have through the resurrection of Jesus should be the overriding framework or perspective for our life. Remember the definition I gave for biblical hope: “a confident expectation of the future we have in Christ.” As we encounter the hardships of life, we should be wearing glasses where the lenses are infused with hope.
An old song says “Who can mind the journey, when the road leads home?” As Christians, we have an eternal home that is more wonderful that our minds can fathom.
Verse 7 goes on to say that trials prove the genuineness of our faith. When life cuts you open, what flows out? Trials can expose a false faith. What do you really value? What do you really hope in?
As heat purifies gold, trials are the heat of our life. They strengthen and purify our faith. And a faith that endures the fire will result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ returns.
Verses 8 and 9 end this passage. It is in reference to Jesus, and I’ll read it. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Only a few people got to see Jesus with their own eyes when He walked this earth. Even the original people who received this letter written by Peter in the 1st century did not see Jesus with their own eyes. Much less us – 2,000 years later.
Faith deals with the unseen. Christianity is faith-based, and there is no way around that. Hebrews 11 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews also says that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Confidence in what we hope for.
We have a glorious future in Christ, and according to Peter this should fill us with an inexpressible or indescribable joy as we live our life now.
Emil Brunner said, “What oxygen is for the lungs, such is hope for the meaning of human life.” – As Christians, we are to be people of hope.
We worship and serve a risen Savior. It is not a dead hope, but a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
We have a message of hope for the world, and we are to exemplify this hope in how we live our lives.
I’ll close with a quote from a Billy Graham devotional:
“There is hope that mistakes and sins can be forgiven.
There is hope that we can have joy, peace, assurance, and security in the midst of the despair of this age.
There is hope that Christ is coming soon—this is what is called in Scripture “the blessed hope.”
There is hope that there will come some day a new heaven and a new earth, and that the Kingdom of God will reign and triumph.
Our hope is not in our own ability, or in our goodness, or in our physical strength. Our hope is instilled in us by the resurrection of Christ.”