By Pastor Rob Bloss
This Sunday we kick-off a new sermon series in I Peter. The message of this letter shows how Christians are to live in a hostile environment and live in such a way that they not only endure but also have lasting impact for good. Sound relevant?!
Peter wrote to a suffering church. He writes with the love of a pastor who is caring for his flock as a shepherd cares for his sheep or a mother cares for her children. Peter identifies with their pain without being evasive or fatalistic. He speaks very directly, referring to their suffering some sixteen times as he brings them comfort and practical counsel.
And within this context, Peter speaks about hope. In fact, hope is the central theme of the letter. When we live as sojourners on earth, and in constant communion with God, we can enjoy the life of hope regardless of the external circumstances and present sufferings.
I’m not sure we in the Western church understand or can identify with suffering. We have it pretty easy, probably too easy for our actual good. But still, I know we have all faced seasons of feeling hopeless. It’s an awful feeling! Fear, anxiety, uncertainty are all emotions peddled by Satan and they can be extremely depressing and debilitating.
In contrast, HOPE – real and living hope – is powerful and empowering!
1. Hope moves us forwards: Christian hope is a realistic expectation of and joyful longing for future good and glory based upon the reliable word of God. Hope diminishes drag and increases momentum.
2. Hope energizes the present: It is worth living today because the eternal tomorrow is so much brighter. What’s doomsday for most, is coronation day for us. What most dread, we desire.
3. Hope lightens our darkness: Hope does not deny nor remove the reality of pain. However, it does shine a bright light into these valleys and points to the sunrise at the end of them.
4. Hope increases faith: Faith fuels hope but hope also fuels faith. The greatest believers are the greatest hopers…and vice versa.
5. Hope is infectious: Just as we can drag others down by our recriminations and moping, so we can inspire and motivate through our inspiring hoping. It even impacts depressed unbelievers who cannot but ask a reason for the hope they see in us.
6. Hope is practical: Hope motivates action. When we hope for better days for the church, we serve the church. When we hope for the conversion of our children, we are motivated to share the Gospel with them. When we hope for God’s blessing on His Word, we listen to it much more avidly. Hope produces action.
7. Hope is healing: By definition, depression is a sense of hopelessness, a feeling that things cannot and will not get better. Hope itself is a huge step towards healing.
8. Hope stabilizes in the storm: As one puritan put it: “The cable of faith casts out the anchor of hope and lays hold of the steadfast rock of God’s promises.”
9. Hope defends: Paul depicts hope as a defensive helmet that must not be taken off and laid aside, until the battle is over. The helmet also points us to the area of greatest vulnerability and danger – our mind or thoughts. That’s where Satan usually works to present reasons to doubt and despair. And that’s why we need our minds daily renewed by the power of hope.
Join us as we open up I Peter for a dose of much needed hope!
I Peter: A New and Living Hope
Oct. 11 | 1 Peter 1:3-12 | Rob Bloss
Oct. 18 | 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 | Rob Chifokoyo | Lord’s Supper
Oct. 25 | 1 Peter 2:4-12 | Andrew Poe
Nov. 1 | 1 Peter 2:13-23 | Rob Chifokoyo
Nov. 8 | 1 Peter 3:1-7 | Rob Bloss
Nov. 15 | 1 Peter 3:8-22 | Rob Chifokoyo | Lord’s Supper
Nov. 22 | 1 Peter 4:1-11 | Dr. Doug Logan
Nov. 29 | 1 Peter 4:12-19 | Rob Chifokoyo
Dec. 6 | 1 Peter 5:1-11 | Rob Bloss