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HOPE FOR THE FUTURE!
I PETER 1:3-9
Please turn in your Bibles this morning to I Peter chapter 1 as we gather together and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now I know some of you are thinking that this is not normally where we go for our resurrection study.
But, as you will see, this is so important for us to know and understand and apply to our lives. I have called this study, “Hope for the Future!” And I think that is so important in the days we are living in.
Maybe, after hearing the title of our study this morning, you are thinking, “Are you kidding me? Hope for the future! I don’t even have hope now!” I do understand but the problem isn’t that you have no reason for hope. The problem is that you have chosen not to have hope and it is affecting your life, how you look, what you say.
Do you know what is missing in the life of someone who has no hope? It is easy, JOY! And when I speak of joy I am speaking of our praises unto God, He is our focus, He is our joy! David said in Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
David is asking God to show him the path of life. Now think about that for a minute. Where does the path of life lead us to? This is simple, it leads us to God and thus, as we are on this path we are moving towards God, we are in His presence.
And the wonderful thing here is that in the presence of God we find “fullness of joy.” The Hebrew word for “fullness” is SOBA, (so’-bah) and it speaks of satisfaction. Remember what Mick Jager use to sing, “I can’t get no satisfaction!” Guess what? The reason he could not find satisfaction, even though he tried, yes, he tried, was because he was not walking in the path of life, he was not walking with God!
There is that complete, that full satisfaction as we walk with God on that path to everlasting life and as we do we find pleasure in Him forevermore or to the most distant view, to the end. In other words, our pleasure in the Lord is eternal and thus, we have that fullness of joy in Him!
Think about Solomon, he had it all. Wine, women and song you might say. As you go through the book of Ecclesiastes you will see this phrase, “under the sun” used some twenty-nine times. That truly is the key to this book and if we understand that then we will understand what Solomon is saying. Solomon is telling us what life is all about from an earthly perspective, apart from God and it is not good. Thus, we see the word “vanity” used some thirty-seven times because life apart from God is empty, it is like trying to grasp at the wind and you can never grasp the wind! I think William MacDonald gives to us some interesting insight into this book of Ecclesiastes. He wrote the following regarding this book,
At one time in his life, Solomon set out to find the true meaning of human existence. He was determined to discover the good life. Richly endowed with wisdom and comfortably cushioned by wealth (1 Kgs. 10:14-25, 2 Chron. 9:22-24), King Solomon thought that if anyone could find lasting satisfaction, he was the one.
But there was a self-imposed condition to Solomon’s search. He was going to do this on his own. He hoped that his own intellect would enable him to discover fulfillment in life, quite apart from divine revelation. It would be the exploration of a man without any help from God. He would search “under the sun” for the greatest good in life.
- William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, p. 877
Tragically, after all his pursuits, he was left empty, there was no joy, there was no hope for this man who had everything in life. He tried to grasp at it and he came up empty! And that is what many today are doing and they, in the end, come up empty.
Did Solomon ever find what he was looking for? Yes he did. But it was not until he comes to the end of his journey that he finds the true meaning to life and he says, “. . . Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13. You see, apart from God you will never find the meaning to life; you will never find satisfaction because there is that hole in your heart that only God can fill. You can try to fill it with other things as Solomon did but they just don’t fit and you will find yourself empty.
Let me share this with you, it is kind of a more modern day view of the life of Solomon, who had everything and yet, in this you will see that various people had various things and they did not find that fullness of joy in them, in those things. You see, I guess they just couldn’t get no, SATISFACTION! We are told,
Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
Not in Unbelief - Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”
Not in Pleasure - Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”
Not in Money - Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
Not in Position and Fame - Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”
Not in Military Glory - Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”
Where then is real joy found? - the answer is simple, in Christ alone.
- The Bible Friend, Turning Point, May, 1993
Obviously, the answer is Jesus but there are so many today, even Christians, who struggle with having a hope for the future and they have lost that joy that the Lord has for them. And so this morning, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are going to look at five points here in I Peter chapter 1. They are:
1. THE REASON FOR OUR HOPE? – I PETER 1:3-4
2. HOW CAN WE BE ASSURED OF THIS HOPE? – I PETER 1:5
3. BUT WHY DO WE HAVE ALL THESE TROUBLES? – I PETER 1:6-7
4. WHAT IS THE RESULT OF THIS HOPE IN OUR LIVES? I PETER 1:8
5. WHAT IS THE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE? – I PETER 1:9
So with that as our introduction, let’s begin reading in I Peter chapter 1 beginning in verse 3 and see what the Lord has for us as we look at, “The Hope for the Future!”
I PETER 1:3-9
1. THE REASON FOR OUR HOPE? – I PETER 1:3-4
There are two main points in these verses that point to the reason for our hope. The first point is very simple and it is why we are gathered here today, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Think about this for a minute. If there was no death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we would have no hope!
Paul put it like this in I Corinthians 15:12-19, “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up - if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
This should just make sense. If there is no resurrection from the dead, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then our faith is worthless. We are still lost in our sins and there is no hope. When we die that is it. How foolish to believe something like this if it is not true. There is no hope at all in a lie!
But notice what Paul goes on to say there in I Corinthians chapter 15, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” I Corinthians 15:20-22.
Our hope is not in a lie, it is not worthless because our hope is in the risen Lord! Yes, we were born into sin and our sin separated us from God and thus, death came through sin. I know, that is not very hopeful but it does not end there. We are made alive in Christ and since He has risen from the dead all those who die in Christ will be raised as well!
That is a good reason for our hope, the evidence for the resurrection and Paul tells us in this chapter that the risen Lord appeared to over 500 believers at one time and many of those who witnessed this were still alive. Thus, if they didn’t believe, they could check it out themselves!
Let me share this with you to show you that there is plenty of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are told,
A. M. Ramsey writes: ‘I believe in the Resurrection, partly because a series of facts are unaccountable without it.’ The empty tomb was ‘too notorious to be denied.’ Paul Althaus states that the resurrection ‘could not have been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned.’
Paul L. Maier concludes: ‘If all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.’
Then how can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by a natural cause?
Based on overwhelming historical evidence, Christians believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected in time and space by the supernatural power of God. The difficulties of belief may be great, but the problems inherent in unbelief present even greater difficulties.
The situation at the tomb after the resurrection is significant. The Roman seal was broken, which meant automatic crucifixion upside down for those who did it. The large stone was moved up and away from not just the entrance, but from the entire massive sepulcher, looking as if it had been picked up and carried away. The guard unit had fled. Justin in his Digest 49.16 lists eighteen offenses for which a guard unit could be put to death. These included falling asleep or leaving one’s position unguarded.
Not only is our hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also we see that the Lord has given to us an inheritance. Now when we think of inheritance we think of money, homes, property, things like that. But those are all temporary. What the Lord has given to us as an inheritance is eternal!
I think we can all understand that. I think we probably have seen how an earthly inheritance is not safe, it is not everlasting, and it will eventually fade away! And when you think about it, nothing of this world will last, it is always moving from order to disorder, from new to rotting and decaying, from yours to someone else’s. You can’t take it with you.
But Peter tells us that our heavenly inheritance, it is “incorruptible” or it will not be destroyed, it will never be lost. This heavenly inheritance is non-destructible, it cannot be damaged in any way! What a precious promise to us and what hope that gives to us about the future! Not only is our heavenly inheritance “incorruptible” but our heavenly inheritance is also “undefiled” or it is unstained or unpolluted. Think about everything, and I mean everything in creation and you will see that it is stained with sin, it is polluted by sin. That is what Paul tells us in Romans 8:20-22, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”
Also, we are told in I John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” Make no mistake about it, all earthly inheritance is defiled but our heavenly inheritance is not, it is flawless, it is perfect. What a precious promise to us and what hope that gives to us about the future!
So we have seen that our heavenly inheritance is “incorruptible” and it is also “undefiled” and we are also told that our heavenly inheritance will not “fade away” which speaks of a flower that does not wither and die. The kingdom of this world, the things of this world, the things we tend to treasure and hold onto so tightly will all go away but what God has for us will not! It doesn’t matter how much time passes by, how much evil is around us, our inheritance is timeless and it will never lose its magnificence! Imagine, some billions or trillions of years down the road, what the Lord has done for us, what He has given to us, will still be precious and beautiful, it will not fade away! What a precious promise to us and what hope that gives to us about the future!
But we are not done yet, there is one more valuable point to this hope that we have. Peter tells us that our heavenly inheritance is, “Reserved in heaven for you.” Now this is important because there are those who believe that you can lose your salvation but Peter is telling us that is not true. Why is that? Because Peter tells us that our salvation, our heavenly inheritance is reserved for us in heaven!
And think about that one. If God has a place reserved for us do you think He will lose it or give it away to someone else? Of course not, because our salvation is based upon His finished work, His faithfulness and all we must do to receive that gift is to repent of our sins and ask Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our life!
Remember what Paul said in Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God began this work in your life and He will complete it because there is this heavenly inheritance that is reserved for you in heaven! What a precious promise to us and what hope that gives to us about the future! But how can we be assured for this hope? What if I don’t make it? What if I don’t finish this race? I need more hope! I am going to give you more hope because if you had to do it, you would fail. Let me clarify that, not only would you fail, but so would I and so would everyone! That is not very hopeful! Yes it is, let me show you as we read on!
2. HOW CAN WE BE ASSURED OF THIS HOPE? – I PETER 1:5
All this is reserved for us in heaven and Peter tells us that we “are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation.” The Greek word that Peter used for “are kept” is PHROUREO, (froo-reh’-o).
This word was a military term used to refer to a garrison within the city. (The same Greek word is used in Philippians 4:7). If God is on guard over our salvation do you really think the enemy is going to be able to take it away? Of course not. Remember again what Paul said in Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Do you see that, He will complete the work He has started in our lives! What peace that should bring to each of us! Meyer put it like this, “To have been told, as in the preceding verse, that our inheritance was reserved in heaven could have yielded us little comfort, unless that assurance had been followed and capped by this, that the heirs also are being kept for its full enjoyment.” Absolutely!
Now let’s put this into perspective for us. The One who has created the heavens and the earth and all of creation. The One who has numbered the stars and knows their names. The One who numbers the hairs on my head! The One who keeps all things moving, who sustains all things is more than able to keep me in this inheritance that He has given to me. Thus, I have great hope because it is God who keeps me and if it was based upon what I have done, me sustaining this salvation, I would be in trouble, I would never make it. But God is the One who keeps me and he is on guard over my salvation and your salvation and no one is going to take us out of His hands, NO ONE!
Now why is this so important for us to know, to understand? Because of what Peter speaks of next, these various trials that come upon our lives. Listen to what Peter says starting in verse 6 of I Peter chapter 1.
3. BUT WHY DO WE HAVE ALL THESE TROUBLES? – I PETER 1:6-7
The question for many is this, “Why all these trials?” And Peter is telling a group of people who were enduring very difficult times, why these trials are upon them.
Now here is the difficulty as Peter tells us, “In this you greatly rejoice . . .” In what do we rejoice greatly? We are told that we are to rejoice greatly in “various trials . . .” Are you kidding me? Rejoice in the many different kinds of trials we face? Yes, that is what Peter is saying.
One writer put it like this in regards to these various trials that come upon us, “Literally, it means ‘many-colored’ and was used to describe ‘the skin of a leopard, the different-colored veining’s of marble, or an embroidered robe.’” (Hiebert)
And we have all experienced these various trials in our lives and may be going through some now and will go through some down the road! Now think about that. How can that be when they seem to oppose each other, joy and trials?
Because of all that God has done for us, because our salvation is secure, because our inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, it does not fade away and it is not only reserved for us in heaven but our salvation is kept by the power of God. You see, in that we rejoice! Make no mistake about it, Christian joy is independent of the circumstances we face because our joy is based in the Lord.
But what about trials in our lives? James tells us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4.
Here’s the thing. God brings trials into our lives to test our faith, to see if our faith is real and to help us to grow as we look to Him to be the strength of our life.
We also need to keep in mind that these difficult times that come upon our lives are only temporary and as we endure through them, as we grow, we will bring glory to God, and when we are called home to be with Him, God will receive the glory for the work He has done in us and through us.
Remember the parable of the talents and what the Lord said to His faithful servants,
“. . . ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25:21. We too will receive praise from the Lord and rewards for our faithful service to Him!
And Spurgeon puts this into perspective for us as he wrote, “Indeed, it is the honor of faith to be tried. Shall any man say, ‘I have faith, but I have never had to believe under difficulties’? Who knows whether thou hast any faith? Shall a man say, ‘I have great faith in God, but I have never had to use it in anything more than the ordinary affairs of life, where I could probably have done without it as well as with it’? Is this to the honor and praise of thy faith? Dost thou think that such a faith as this will bring any great glory to God, or bring to thee any great reward? If so, thou art mightily mistaken.”
I think that makes sense even though we might not like it. So we all will experience trials in our lives to test our faith. And as the fires are heated the garbage from our lives is purged as God is refining us, sanctifying us.
Let me put this into perspective for you because trials can be overwhelming at times. And like I have said, we all will go through them many times in our lives, many times! This is called the acid test and we are told,
A severe trial is sometimes called an “acid test.” this term originated during times when gold was widely circulated. Nitric acid was applied to an object of gold to see if it was genuine or not. If it was fake, the acid decomposed it; if it was genuine, the gold was unaffected.
In God’s view, our faith is “much more precious than gold,” and it too must be tested (1 Pet. 1:7). But these “acid tests” are positive ones. The Lord is working to reveal genuine faith, not to expose false faith.
During hard times, though, we may feel overwhelmed with the fear that our faith is decomposing. Ronald Dunn, a Bible teacher who has experienced much personal tragedy, knows what we are going through. He writes, “I’m often mystified. I don’t understand why it is that as I endeavor to live for God and pray and believe, everything seems to be falling apart. Sometimes I struggle, and I say, ‘Dear Lord, why are You allowing this to happen?’” Dunn concludes, “It’s good for us to remember that God is not an arsonist; He’s a refiner.”
- Our Daily Bread, January 28, 1997
I like that and it is important for us to understand that. God is building us up and sometimes to build us up some things need to come down in our life, like pride, self-sufficiency, and the like. But in the end God will build us up, make us more like Him and just as gold is refined in the fire we too are refined in the fire of God to make us pure! Not for salvation but for identification. You see, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is a gift given to us by God and we receive it by faith, salvation!
Now what about these various trials in our lives. Remember what Paul said in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” We need to keep that in mind, we can KNOW this even though we might not SEE the good in the various situations we face or FEEL the good in the situations we face! But we KNOW that all this will somehow and someway work out for good because the God who said this is in control and thus, we walk by faith trusting in the Lord. Job tells us in Job 23:10, “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Amen to that!
One writer summed it up for us like this. He wrote,
Our willingness as Christians to endure earthly affliction says a lot about our trust in God. He is fashioning us into praiseworthy and honorable vessels for his glory. Malcolm Muggeridge, having come to Christ late in life, understood this well. His ability to embrace life’s woes was never put more succinctly than when he wrote:
I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have ever learned in my seventy- five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained. In other words, if it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by means of some drug or other medical mumbo jumbo, as Aldous Huxley envisaged in Brave New World, the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make to too banal and trivial to be endurable. This, of course, is what the Cross signifies. And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably [inevitably] to Christ.
It was this same belief – that God is at work in the muck of life – that enabled Dietrich Bonhoeffer to write the final stanza of his poem “New Year 1945.” That day was a mere three months and nine days before he was executed by Hitler at the close of World War II:
Should it be ours to drink the cup of grieving
Even to the dregs of pain, at they command,
We will not falter, thankfully receiving
All that is given by thy loving hand.
The responses of Muggeridge and Bonhoeffer are only made possible by embracing Peter’s words as divine truth. For without a deep and abiding trust in God’s words, we will try to flee trials at all costs and will miss out on the very lessons God has for us.
- David R. Helm, I & 2 Peter and Jude, pp. 42-43
How true that is. There are lessons in the trials we go through, the testing of our faith. Look at the life of Job for instance. In this book we are told of this man named Job from the land of Uz. He was a good man who loved the Lord but the story is just getting started.
You see, we moved from the land of Uz to heaven where we see Satan come before the Lord and the Lord tells Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job” and he goes on explaining what a great guy he is.
And Satan responds back saying the only reason Job loves you is because you bless him and if you did not bless him, well, he would not bless you but curse you! And God said to Satan that he can stretch out his hand upon Job but he can’t touch him, he can’t bring harm to Job’s physical body.
Now we go back to the land of Uz and we see devastation upon Job’s business and family. He lost everything, even his children in one day in a series of circumstances. And I am sure at this point Satan felt he has got Job where he wants him and he will curse God because of all this, how can he love and worship God when this has come upon his life?
And even after all of this devastation upon Job’s life, at the end of Job chapter 1 we are told, “. . . ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” Job 1:21-22.
That is an amazing statement by Job. His love for the Lord was not based upon outward circumstances. If it was then Job would not be able to say these words, obviously! But Job was able to bless the Lord, to praise the Lord, to worship the Lord in the midst of all this devastation because his love for the Lord was based upon an inward reality of who God is!
And yes, God allowed Satan to attack him physically and he was a mess and yet, in all of that Job did not curse God. Make no mistake about it, Job had struggles but I don’t think he ever doubted his love for the Lord through all of this. You see, through it all, as we get to Job 23:10-12 we are told, “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.”
Here we see Job speak one of those golden nuggets of faith. You see, deep down inside Job knows the truth. It has just been clouded over by life’s experiences. Job understands that trials are used to purify us just as gold is refined in the refiner’s fire so that it can become pure, all the impurities can be removed.
Morgan put it likes this in regards to what Job has said, “Suddenly, in the midst of this bitter complaining, there flamed out a most remarkable evidence of the tenacity of his faith. He declared with conviction that God knew the way he was taking. He even affirmed his confidence that it was God who was trying him, and that presently he would come forth from the process as gold.” How true that is, we might not always know what is going on, but God does!
How can he know these things about God. This is amazing because even way back then, Job says that the Word of God is important to his life. It is even more important than physical food.
Looking at our bodies we can easily see that we are feeding them, but I wonder how many of us our feeding our spiritual bodies with the Word of God? And I will say this, if you are not feeding your spirit that will be seen in what you say, what you do! Are we spiritually malnourished? Remember what Peter said in I Peter 2:1-3, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
First you cast out those sins and then you take in the pure, uncontaminated, unadulterated Word of God so that you can grow, mature in the faith. Let’s see if you can answer this question. “When does a newborn baby want to eat?” A baby wants to eat whenever, wherever it wants. It has this inborn passion to eat and nothing will stop a newborn from getting the food that it wants! May we have that hunger for God’s Word!
You see, if you tasted that the Lord is good, that He is gracious, then you are going to want to know Him more and more, you will feed upon the Word of God!
It is as Grudem tells us, “To drink the milk of the Word is to ‘taste’ again and again what He is like, for in the hearing of the Lord’s words believers experience the joy of personal fellowship with the Lord Himself.”
Look at what Jeremiah tells us, “Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16. May we have that passion to know God!
Why are so many Christians slipping today in the faith, losing that joy, losing that hope? I believe it is because they are not holding onto the Word of God in their lives. We need to hold fast to His steps and the only way we are going to know where to walk is by following His Guidebook, the Word of God! The only way we are going to be comforted, have hope is to find that comfort and that hope in Him!
Look at what He has done for us. Peter tells us in I Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” Look at what He has done. He suffered for our sins. The perfect, the just suffered for the imperfect, the unjust. Why? In order to bring us to the Father.
Our sins kept us from a relationship with God! Jesus paid the price for our sins, the penalty for our sins so that His righteousness was given to us as He took our sins upon that cross of Calvary and gave us the victory as He rose from the grave on the third day!
And there should be a response to that kind of love that was shown to us and there is. As we read on we see Peter explain the result of this hope in our lives!
4. WHAT IS THE RESULT OF THIS HOPE IN OUR LIVES? I PETER 1:8
As Christians, having this living hope, this everlasting hope, this eternal hope in us that is based on the fact that Jesus rose from the grave, produces two important things in our lives and then there is this outward explosion you might say that takes place.
First of all there is that love and trust and they go hand-in-hand. First there is this love and even though we have not seen Him we love Him! It is an AGAPAO, (ag-ap-ah’-o) love or unconditional love. And this Greek word is in the present tense meaning that we are to have continual, constant love for our Lord!
Think about this for a minute. Because we have read His love letter to us, the Word of God, we have fallen in love with Him. It is as John said in I John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us.” We see how much He loves us as we read His Word and thus, because we see His love for us, the natural response is to love Him even though we have not seen Him but one day we will “be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
And out of that love we have for Him we can trust Him or as Peter put it, “believing.” It is the Greek word, PISTEUO, (pist-yoo’-o) and it means to have faith in or to put your trust in!
And this should just make sense. It is hard to trust someone, to put your faith in someone you do not know or can’t trust. But with the Lord, we can know Him through His Word. We can trust Him as we read His promises to us and see His faithfulness in our lives.
You see, as we have seen the goodness of God in the past experiences we have faced, that gives to us the strength and assurance for our present situation – that God will see us through it and as He does He will teach us lessons of faith. It is as David said, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8.
And Peter says that love, that knowledge of God and what He has done in our lives gives us joy that is inexpressible. It doesn’t get any better than that! It is as Jesus said in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” God wants our joy to be full and that only comes as we spend time with Him, as we keep our eyes upon Him! This is what should explode forth from our lives, this tremendous joy!
Keep in mind that the word translated “joy inexpressible” occurs only here in the New Testament and it is speaking of a joy that is so profound that it goes beyond the power of words to express!
What is this joy all about? It is the hope for the future as Peter goes on to say.
5. WHAT IS THE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE? – I PETER 1:9
And notice the end result – the salvation of our souls! Praise the Lord and a big AMEN to that! That is our hope and not, “I hope I make it” mentality. No, this hope is sure, it is based upon the fact that Jesus rose from the grave and one day so will we! Death has no power over us and thus, may we live for Him today!
May we reflect that kind of hope, that joy in our lives today. Too many Christians are so negative that you almost get the feeling that it is not worth being a Christian. And please understand that I am not minimizing what you are going through or saying that it is not difficult.
What I am saying is that this is temporary, it will pass either in this life or as we go to be with Jesus because we will take none of this with us. Paul puts this into perspective for us as he tells us in II Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Yes, things can be hard in this life but this is temporary compared to our eternity with the Lord and thus, don’t negate what you are going through because God is working in you so He can work through you. Also, don’t hold onto the temporary but grab hold of the eternal, focus on the Lord! I think that is a good perspective to have!
Let me give you an example of what we should be manifesting in our lives. We are told,
As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians -and I am one of them.”
- Today In The Word, June, 1988, p. 18
That is what people should be seeing in our lives. This wonderful joy, this hope that is based in the Lord and is manifested in our lives! Turn to Luke chapter 24 and I would like to read to you beginning in verse 1 this story of the resurrection, our hope for the future. (Read Luke 24:1-43)
Notice the empty tomb, the words that Jesus spoke about His death and resurrection they now remembered, Jesus walking with the men on the road to Emmaus and giving them a Bible study from the Old Testament regarding the Messiah from the books of Moses and all the prophets, He appeared before His men, ate with them, spoke with them!
The resurrection of Jesus happened, and it should give us hope for this eternal inheritance that God has for us.
This morning, if you have not come to Jesus and asked Him to forgive you of your sins, you have not repented of your sins, I will give you a chance to do that as we pray. And if you haven’t, please don’t pass this opportunity up.
Think about it. What hope for the future do you have? Apart from Christ there is none. You don’t even know if you will make it out the door this morning, none of us do. We are in the hands of God whether we agree with that or not.
And here is the problem. Your sins have separated you from God and make no mistake about it, when you stand before the Lord in your own righteousness, they will be like filthy rags before His brilliant purity! The only way you can stand before God is in the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed into your life by faith.
Paul put it like this, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:1-9.
This inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, that does not fade away and is reserved in heaven for you, is being extended to you by Jesus. All you must do is come before the Lord and repent of your sins and ask Him to be Lord and Savior of your life and thus, you are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and once you make that confession of faith you are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls!
For all of us who have made this commitment to Christ, may we have so much joy in our lives that it is not just bubbling out but gushing forth and touching those around us. I know it is tough, but this is not our home, we are just passing through and may we gather with us as many as we can into God’s Kingdom!
As I begin to close this morning listen to this story. We are told,
An English soldier was converted in the trenches during the first World War and wrote home to his mother, “This war had to occur that I might be saved.” The mother showed the letter to her minister, remarking that her boy was unduly magnifying the importance of his salvation.
The minister agreed with the boy. “Madam,” he said, “not only was this war, but Calvary, had to occur to save your boy.” God used the wrath which raged both at Calvary and through that awful war experience to bring the lad to his Saviour.
- Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, 5350
As Peter told us this morning, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls.” I Peter 1:3-9. May we live it out in our lives!