ONE CHURCH – One Hope
1 Peter 1:1-9 (p. 850) July 3, 2016
Satan is the god of “immediate gratification” and “the quick fix.”
Here’s what I mean by that…“Suppose you’re having a rocky time in your marriage…You begin to think, “I’m not sure I love him or her anymore…and a co-worker or the opposite sex begins to commiserate with you…They listen, and all of a sudden you meet for coffee, privately…“After all, it’s just coffee.” But you recognize feelings of attraction…feelings you’ve missed…and you choose to act on them.
Instead of doing the hard work of making your marriage what you “hoped” it could be…you choose “the immediate gratification” of a new relationship…you choose the “quick fix.”
Maybe an even better example of “immediate gratification” is when we go deeply into debt to buy something we want or can’t afford…We buy things we can’t afford, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like…our house owns us instead of us owning it…our new car makes us feel good when we drive it, but the crushing payment steals the joy.
Why would we do stuff like this? Because we aren’t willing to “wait.” We believe that this new relationship…or new possession will fix the dissatisfaction and pain we feel right now.
It’s not a new scheme…but it’s Satan’s most affective one, and it’s what he used to cause our spiritual grandparents, Adam and Eve, to sin.
GENESIS 3:1-6 (p. 2)
“Did God really say “You must not eat from any tree in the garden.” Doubt is planted…the focus is directed at what is not available…not what is…was it successful…Eve replies.
“We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say Don’t eat fruit from one tree, in the middle of the garden…and you must not touch it, or you will die.”
I’m not sure if God said you can’t touch this tree, but the Liar and Deceiver has started the thought process…“God is withholding from me this thing…and I want it.”
The Serpent lies… “You won’t die…God knows that this will make you like Him if you eat it…you’ll have your eyes opened…you’ll know the difference between good and evil.”
It looked good…it was tasty…so she ate, and so did Adam who was with her. “Immediate gratification” and “the quick fix.” Satan’s not a one trick pony, but this is his first trick and his most successful trick.
Hope is defined as “The anticipation and expectation of something to happen.” “Faith is the choice to wait for it to happen.”
For God’s children, faith and hope walk down the same road holding hands…This is the encouragement Peter expresses:
I. WE ARE TO BE GOD’S ELECT IN EXILE
Peter’s first letter is written to believers scattered throughout the world because of their faith…Many who are scattered because of severe persecution…men and women who have been called by the Holy Spirit to surrender their lives to Jesus…and they answered that call.
God’s plan…one He had before creation, was to save us through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood. The elect are those who experienced the Spirit’s conviction for sin…and chose the sacrifice of Christ as the answer.
But the hard truth for those who become the elect is: “We still live in a world of sin…temporarily under the control of Satan…the god of this world.”
Our place as God’s people is with God…our home. And our hope is that “we have a place prepared for us, Jesus opened a way for us to be with Him in our Father’s house…He promised to come back for us so that we also may be where He is.”
That’s our hope…an anticipation and expectation to be with Jesus, and our Father…an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…an inheritance kept in heaven for God’s elect.
But what does this hope do to help us while still in exile? Well, God’s Word reveals two ways:
II. IT HELPS US DEAL WITH DEATH AND SHIELDS US DURING DIFFICULTIES
No one likes to talk about death…we’d rather ignore it…we’d rather have distractions that keep its apparition on the peripheral of our everyday lives…But scripture describes it as… “The last enemy to be destroyed.” (1 Cor. 15:26)
Peter praises God the Father of our Lord Jesus because in His great mercy He has given us “new birth” into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Without the resurrection there is no living hope. Jesus paid for our sin, all sin, with His sacrificial death on the cross…but the resurrection proves His authority over death…He conquered the greatest and last enemy…and God’s Word says, “The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you…He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.” (Rom. 8:11)
Death doesn’t win…Death isn’t the end…the same sanctifying Spirit given to us at our baptism into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection is God’s guarantee that we share with Jesus as co-heirs of His inheritance in heaven. Paul says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:17)
Everyone is God’s creation…but not everyone is a child of God…you must be born again spiritually to be adopted into the family of God…a new birth into a living hope.
How can you know that birth has happened? “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God…The Spirit you received brought about your adoption…and to Him we cry “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16)
With this being a reality you don’t have to fear death…or the difficulties of living a life in Exile.
The Apostle Paul echoes this same hope when he writes to the Corinthians.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:1-5 (p. 805)
This body is temporary…no one wants to live in a tent forever when there’s a mansion waiting for them…especially when the tent starts to fall apart…and your mate or best friend has moved out of the campground.
God made us to live with Him forever…we can’t do it in this sinful temporary body…so He gives His Spirit as a guarantee of our forever home.
That forever hope for the child of God is our “shield of faith.” Our choices are made, not with a view of immediate gratification and a quick fix…but an assurance of things hoped for and a conviction of what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1)
Faith isn’t a noun…it’s a verb…It’s an active living truth…It’s a shield we take up as we fight our way home. We trust the power of God until the coming of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time…It’s during this short time here on earth that we prove:
III. THE GENUINENESS OF OUR FAITH
Peter says trials come so that the genuineness of our faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though its refined by fire may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus is revealed.
God doesn’t tempt anyone…He doesn’t try to trick us or trap us like the Evil One. But He certainly allows us to be tested so we can grow to be more like Jesus.
And often, for this purpose He will intervene when we have worldly priorities above Kingdom priorities.
Corrie Ten Boom, who survived a Nazi Concentration Camp said, “I’ve learned not to hold onto anything too tightly because it hurts when God has to pry my fingers from it.”
Gold is refined by fire to make it genuine…and pure.
God will seek to grow our trust…our faith…our hope…And He does so by allowing all kinds of trials…and He watches to see if we depend on Him through them…even if we don’t understand…even when he doesn’t immediately take us out of the fire…The revelation of His plan and purpose won’t be revealed until later…and sometimes in heaven…The school of life is a tough university…we get the test first…and the lesson afterward.
I want to see Jesus face to face someday…either after I’ve died or upon His return…either way is OK with me. He rescued me…He saved me…He gave my life purpose and has blessed me more than I could ever testify…Has it been easy? Has there been times of suffering and difficulty…you bet ya!
“Now we see only a reflection as in a minor; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part then I shall know fully even as I am fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)
I love that scripture! Peter’s words seem the same thing:
1 PETER 1:8-9 (p. 850)
The finish line is Jesus…the end result of our faith…the salvation of our soul is Jesus.
[The most powerful reunion I’ve ever had, took place on an army base in Killeen Texas…for almost 2 years my son had been the gunner in a fighting vehicle, he’d had it blown out from under him by an T.E.D…I couldn’t see him for the better part of 18 months…while he was in the most dangerous part of the world at that time. We wrote…we emailed…occasionally we had a phone call…I just wanted to get him home…so when he stepped off that white bus my heart exploded with joy and inexpressible gratitude.
As I read Peter’s words of hope that is the emotion I feel…one day I will step off the bus…walk across the field…and the war will be behind me, and I will see my Father face to face. A father that loves me more than I love Tyler. That’s the finish line!]