Sermon Title: Prepare with Hope
Scripture: 1 Peter 1:1-12
Pastor Andrew Ogea
November 1, 2015

Sermon Outline:

Understanding Hope
1. Hope is Present (v.3)
2. Hope is Permanent (v. 4-5)
3. Hope is Persistent (v. 6-9)
4. Hope is Promised (v. 10-12)

Sermon Summary:

The Apostle Peter was a disciple of Jesus who followed him for three life-changing years.  Some highlights of Peter's resume includes walking on water with Jesus, denying he knew him, having breakfast with the Risen Savior, preaching a sermon in which 3000 men accepted Christ, being imprisoned for his faith and miraculously freed, and martyred for his faith.  And just a couple of years before his death, he wrote this letter (1 Peter) to encourage a group of churches and prepare them on how they are to engage their world as the body of Christ. He gives their Rules for Engagement if you will. He taught them how to live outside their Christian bubble that naturally formed because of their relationship with Christ.

His first Rule of Engagement is found in the first 12 verses of the letter.  He describes how they are to prepare with hope that has been given to them by God's mercy through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  This hope he provides is a living hope that is present today, and is persistent through the trials of life.  But, it also available to us as a permanent inheritance in Heaven.  God has promised all of this to us (his choice possession) throughout the ages and has lavished his love on us by fulfilling that promise and giving us the opportunity to settle our hope in him.

Community Group Discussion Questions:

1. The recipients of Peter's letter were called "exiles" or "outsiders" (v. 1) because they were marginalized and faced persecution by the society where they resided.  Describe a time in your life when you felt like an outsider.  Have you ever felt like an outsider because of your faith in Jesus Christ?  If so, explain.

2. Pastor Andrew said, "Hope without belief is empty."  What does that mean to you?  How has your belief in Jesus given you hope?

3. We learned hope is persistent and outlasts any circumstance or trial that we face as Christians.  How has hope in Jesus brought you through a difficult time in your life?

4. God has always planned and promised hope through salvation in Jesus.  The prophets of the old testament prophesied his suffering on our behalf, and the scripture says, "even the angels long to look into these things."  Explain how you feel knowing that we are that special to God.  How can that increase your hope?

Sermon Notes:

Good morning, I hope that you all had a great week. We are excited to start a new series that will go verse by verse through the book of 1 Peter. Before we start though, I want to give parents another notice that toward the middle of message, we will be showing a video that depicts the story of a persecuted Christian.

It has some violence and show his face after being beaten up. So, please know that we have our children’s ministry available to you if you would like bring your children there.

If you have your Bibles, please turn to 1 Peter. I encourage you to bring your Bibles with you over the next few weeks so you can follow along with us. If you don’t own a Bible, we have some available in our Harbor Shop in the Cafe.

But, let’s jump right in our text today because we have a lot of ground to cover. So, let start by reading 1 Peter 1

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

So as you know with any letter, there is an author, and those who will be the recipient. The first phrase of our text gives the author. It says Peter an apostle of Jesus. Who was the Apostle Peter?

Peter was originally named Simon and he was a fisherman by trade. One day as he was working on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he was approached by Jesus, who called him to follow him. So, this guys left his nets, his career, the family business, and followed Jesus on a 3 year journey which would would completely alter his life forever.

On this journey, he was the only one of the disciples to get out of the boat and walk on water with Jesus. He was the first to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. He also is known for denying that he knew Jesus three times before Jesus’ death. Presumably due to fear and shame, he is not listed as being present during the crucifixion of Jesus.

However, after Jesus rose from the dead, none of the other disciples believed the women that told them Jesus was alive. However, it was Peter, who got up and ran to the tomb! Later on, Jesus reinstated Peter ministry. The man who denied him was now the one standing before thousands on the day of Pentacost preaching to the them. 3000 men were added to the church that day.

Peter went on to become one of the primary leaders of this new congregation of believers. Later he was imprisoned for his preaching, but miraculously released from prison, and he continued to have a ministry that reached as far as Rome. And it was there in Rome that it is believed he wrote this letter. It was there in Rome, that he is believed to have been martyred for his faith. An astounding resume!

So, this is a summary of the Apostle Peter who writes this letter. And continuing on in verse 1 we find out who the recipients are,

to God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

So, Peter is writing to Christians, God’s elect. The scripture says that his elect are those who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. So God has known all along who will be recipients of his salvation. Those recipients are known as the elect or the chosen.

But, we also know that it is not his character to only select some and discard the rest. In fact God has chosen to give everyone the chance and the choice to believe in him. Peter goes on in his second letter to make this clear. 2 Peter 3:9,

9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

God gives everyone a choice to choose him—to choose to receive his salvation. In doing so we become Christians. We become his choice possession through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit seals our salvation and sets us apart. Sets us apart for what? Obedience to Jesus Christ. Pastor Larry is going to talk more about obedience, holiness, and actions next week.

The scripture says that the elect are also exiles scattered throughout provinces that make up a large portion of modern day turkey. Other versions of the Bible will use slightly different words to the original greek word, like strangers or foreigners. Basically, it means that they are Christians who for various reasons are outcasts in their current settings.

They are Christians from different backgrounds. Some are former Jews who have become Christians. A majority are Gentiles who have been converted from a life of Paganism, a life void of the One true God. But whether they are Jewish Christians or Gentiles who have accepted Christ, they are all in the same boat.

They are considered exiles, outsiders, or foreigners where they currently reside. So think about this…Have you ever felt like an outsider? Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Have you ever hoped to be included, but nevertheless, ended up being rejected? Have you ever been mistreated? Have you ever been discriminated against?

Most of us can probably answer yes to many of these questions, but is it a result of your beliefs. Is it because of your faith in Christ? The recipients of this letter felt out of place both socially and spiritually. You will see in the upcoming weeks that they were marginalized and discriminated against. Their world didn’t understand them and that caused great tension.

They didn’t understand them because they belonged to something different. They now belonged to someone different, and as you will see, it caused great problems for them. And Peter wrote this letter to encourage them and prepare them on how they are to engage their world as the body of Christ. He gives their Rules for Engagement if you will. He will teach them how to live outside their Christian bubble that has naturally formed because of their relationship with Christ.

Today, we find that the very first rule of engagement is to Prepare with Hope, and preparing with hope means that we need to first understand what Christian hope is all about. So lets read verse three to find out what we must first understand about hope.

3 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,

As we engage our world as Christians, we must first prepare with hope. And we do so by understand first that hope is present

Understanding Hope
1. Hope is Present (v.3)

Hope is present! And the verse said that God, our heavenly Father, is the author of it. Hope is present because God has given it to us. And he has given it to us by his great mercy. Mercy - means compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. We know that God’s wrath is poured out upon sin. Romans 1:18 says,

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people,

who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

But the verse in Peter in his mercy, he shows compassion toward sinners by withholding by withholding punishment or harm. And because of that the verse says we now have a new birth into a living hope. That means we have a new life into a hope that is present, active, and available today. It is living. How is this possible? The new life and living hope is possible through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Some of you may think that sounds far fetched, but that is the cornerstone of our faith as Christians. And this letter is written by one of the many witnesses that encounter the risen Savior. Peter and other disciples had breakfast with Jesus after he had been dead for 3 days.

Then he witnessed Jesus ascend into heaven. Peter writes from personal testimony that living hope is available through a risen and living Savior. We would not have living hope if he were still dead in the grave. Hope is Present and gives us new life now. Let’s continue in verses 4-5.

4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,

Understanding Hope
1. Hope is Present (v.3)
2. Hope is Permanent (v. 4-5)

Secondly, we must understand that hope is permanent. It is present and available today, but it is also permanently secured for us. As the scripture said, it is an inheritance that can never, perish, spoil, or fade and it is kept in heaven. In 14:2, Jesus said,

2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

The other day I was watching an interview on fox news. The reporter was talking to a pastor about a new book on heaven. The pastor described in detail what the Bible teaches about Heaven and what God has prepared for us in eternity.

At the end of the interview, the reporter said something to the pastor that stood out to me. She said, “I hope you’re right.” The way she said it, seemed to infer that she didn’t believe it, and what he just described to her was something too good to be true.

But she hoped he is right, because if he is, then what he was describing would change someone’s life for eternity. But, there is something tragic about this reporter’s statement. The truth is that you cannot have hope without belief. Write that down, you cannot have hope without belief.

The world says, “I hope heaven does exist. I hope God has prepared a place for me.” But the tragic reality is that hope is empty without faith. True hope comes from faith or belief. But belief in what? Verse 5 of our scripture says,

5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

In John 3:36 Jesus says,

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

It is only through faith…through belief in Jesus that we can experience eternal life. And the sad picture here is that who rejects Jesus will experience this new birth or this new life today, nor will they experience eternity with God after they perish. But, for those who believe, God shields them with his power and seals their eternity. Hope is permanent, but only through faith in Jesus.

Understanding Hope
1. Hope is Present (v.3)
2. Hope is Permanent (v. 4-5)
3. Hope is Persistent (v. 6-9)

The third things we need to understand about hope is that is persistent. Through Jesus our hope is present and permanent, but it is also persistent, or enduring through even the toughest of trials or circumstances. We get this understanding from verses 6-9.

6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 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, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Peter knew what suffering was all about. Most scholars believe he was writing this letter from Rome, where he had done extensive ministry. Peter was a personal witness to horrific persecution of Christians under the reign of Emperor Nero. It was this persecution that eventually led to Peter’s death.

Tradition tells us that Peter crucified for his faith in Jesus, and the preaching of salvation in his name. But, Peter asked not to be killed in the same way Jesus was, so the Romans, thinking it humorous, crucified him upside-down on a cross instead. So, when Peter writes that they may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, he knows what he talking about.

We live in a country that doesn’t know this kind of persecution or even discrimination due to faith in Jesus. We think our discrimination is increasing, and it is, but nothing like what our brothers and sisters around the world are facing today. In fact, I want to show you a video which will give you a better picture of what I am talking about.

VIDEO

Today is the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church. People like Suta are being persecuted for their faith every single day. Today, I want to encourage our church to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering because they follow Jesus.

We too face trials and suffering. The Christian life is not easy. We are going to talk about that in a few weeks, but what we can learn from our passage today is that through trials our faith is proven genuine.

And, because we believe in Christ, no matter what comes, we can be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy knowing that Christ is with us. Remember, he is present, giving living hope, but he one day our burdens will be over when he is revealed either upon our earthly death or his return.

On December 17, 1927 a US Submarine was patrolling off the Atlantic Coast
when it accidentally collided with a Coast Guard Cutter. The submarine was so severely damaged that it sank and came to rest on the floor of the Atlantic about 100 feet down.

A rescue ship was dispatched to the scene of the collision and immediately divers were sent to investigate. The first diver to go down was a Commander Ellsberg, who came up reporting the submarine was on her keel with a large hole in her side ... and no sign of life.

The next morning, however, two more divers went down again to survey the situation, and as they did they heard tappings coming from inside the damaged vessel. The tapping turned out to be in Morse code. From the signals the divers learned that there were six men who survived the crash. The last message they tapped out in Morse code was: "Is there any hope?

Sometimes, we can feel like those men trapped on the ocean. The problems we face are insurmountable and all we can see is the struggle around us. And, through this passage we learn that we who believe in Christ have hope that can outlast any circumstance. We don’t have send morse code God asking him if there is any hope.

We rejoice in hope, knowing that he has won our salvation. He has come to our rescue! And we know this fully, yet for a little while we may have to endure struggles. But our hope in Christ is persistent in trials.

Understanding Hope
1. Hope is Present (v.3)
2. Hope is Permanent (v. 4-5)
3. Hope is Persistent (v. 6-9)
4. Hope is Promised (v. 10-12)

Lastly, we need to understand that hope is promised. This present, permanent hope that is persistent in the storms of life has been promised throughout the ages and for all time. Look at verses 10-12,

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

God has always had a plan to forgive the sins of mankind and give them hope of eternity within that salvation. It says here that his Spirit worked through the prophets, who thousands of years ago predicted and pointed to the sufferings of Jesus and the glories that would follow. And the whole time, the Spirit of God helped the prophets to see that they were doing a service to us.

They worked to share the Good News of Jesus and prepare the way for him to enter the world. And then the scripture ends with an interesting statement. It says, “Even angels long to look into these things.” Given the opportunity, they would love to look into it. Angels are curious about God’s plan to save humanity, but they don’t even comprehend it.

Do you realize how special we are to God? Our sin separates us from God. But, God rich in mercy provide a way for us to be right with him. And this plan He promised was fulfilled and made possible through Jesus Christ, and even the angels look into these things and see how special we are to God.

Before we can maneuver through this life, and effectively engage in our society and our world as Christians, we must first understand our hope that is found in Jesus. Do you understand hope? Our scripture says, that if you believe in Jesus you will have living hope as a new creation, forgiven from your sin.

So, if you are a Christian, continue to live in this hope, knowing that even through the storms of this life, our hope sustain us until we experience our permanent hope. And later we will talk more in the weeks to come about how we then can engage our world and give them a response for the hope that we have within us.

Today, if you are no a Christian. If you have not embraced Jesus as your Savior, then God makes it clear that if you believe, if you have faith that Jesus Christ is Lord and the only one who can forgive you of your sins, then you can have a living hope for the rest of your life and permanent hope that is secured for you for eternity in Heaven. Today you can settle your hope. Let’s pray.