A Living Hope

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Good morning church family greetings to you from covenant Presbyterian Church here in Holland, Michigan. Greetings to you on this glorious Easter morning. He is risen. He has risen indeed. Well, this morning is obviously a different Easter morning. We are not able to gather together. But I do hope that despite our circumstances, the word of the Lord would find you and the Holy Spirit would enjoy himself to the word this morning and that he would bring comfort and assurance that he would bring saint vacation and that he would apply the word accordingly to each and every one of your lives. This morning. Our text that we will be preaching through is found in First Peter First Peter chapter one, verses three through nine. First Peter chapter one three through nine. Before we read together God’s word, let’s come before the Lord in prayer and ask for his blessing upon the reading and upon the heralding of God’s Word this morning. Let’s pray. Almighty God and Heavenly Father, we thank you for your abundance, mercy. We thank You, Lord, that you continue to care for your people. Or Lord on this day that we are called to gather and meet you have in your Providence, decided in your infinite wisdom that we should not gather together. Even on this day where many churches around the world celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. You have not allowed for us to gather together and so we are Providing this through video. And I pray, Lord, that the reading of your word, the preaching of your word this morning might bring great comfort to your people. I pray Lord, that Peters words here that were inspired by the Holy Spirit would indeed, give assurance that it would provide the right. comfort for your people. Oh, Lord, would you enjoy yourself now to the reading of this word? Would you bless our time together? Would you bless the preaching of the word this one and we pray in the name of the one who has risen from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ, who rules and reigns with you in the Holy Spirit when God forevermore Amen. First Peter, chapter one, verses three through nine. Pay careful attention to these words for there are the very words of our Lord. Bless it be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to in inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith, for salvation ready to be revealed and the last time in this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that parishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him, though you do not now see him You believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls, cousins a reading of God’s holy, infallible inspired word this morning. Well, when I was right out of high school, I joined the United States Coast Guard. And when I was in the Coast Guard, when I was in boot camp, I was required to fill out a dream sheet. This dream sheet was a piece of paper where you were to fill out from your most desired location coming out of boot camp to your least desired or four spots, and you needed to put four, four locations down. Now it was be a called dream sheet because that’s precisely what it was. It was wishful thinking. You could put it down, but at At the end of the day it was and continues to be the needs of the service. So you will go wherever the service things you are needed the most. Now you could put it down and hope that you could put it down, you could hope that you would get that spot. But it was indeed wishful thinking. That is how I ended up in Bayonne, New Jersey. Now, if you don’t know where band New Jersey is, that’s okay. Nobody knows where that place is. It has been referred to as the armpit of America. And for those who are native to to New Jersey, I apologize. It ended up being a decent time in my life being out there, but nevertheless, it was wishful thinking. Now I say all that because Peter, in this epistle that he writes is writing to Chris Who are scattered throughout Asia, and they are in various places, and Peter is writing them in a letter of hope he’s writing them a letter of comfort, because persecution is rising, suffering for Christ’s name suffering for Christ’s sake, is on the horizon. Now this is not a suffering unto death, not yet. It is a suffering that is limited. In its in its scope, affliction and is limited in its in its scope. But nevertheless, Peter writes this letter to Christians, to encourage them, to ground them in their faith in Christ to ground them and who they are in Christ. So that when this affliction comes, when this trial comes upon them, they will not be shaken they will not be moving from all over the place and wandering. They would rather rather than would be anchored in their faith in Christ in fact, Peter Taylor At the end, precisely what he, what his whole purpose is, and all of this, he says, I have written briefly to you exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God, stand firm in it. Peter wants us to stand firm in the grace of God. And the way he does this, and these opening words of this letter is by doing by grounding our hope and faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. It is a living hope that we have. It is not merely wishful thinking. We don’t have to wake up in the morning and and turn on the news and be fearful of all the things that are going on right now. Rather, we are able to be grounded in the fact that Christ is living he is ruling and reigning now as the living King and Savior. This is the hope that Peter has for us in these verses. And so for the remainder of our time, this morning together, I want us to see three points. From our text three points followed by two points of application. Peter again, wants to ground us in our hope in the living, resurrected, glorified, ascended Christ who is upon his throne, and it is his It is he who is our hope, in the present time of our affliction. And so three things three things God has given us new life. Second, God has given us living hope. And third, God has given us an inheritance, new life, living hope, and inheritance. My hope for us this morning is that we would find true hope in all of God’s work, so that we would rejoice and praise God even in our various travels. Our first point then to consider this more is Peter Peters prays for God giving us new life? Here we see that God has given us new life Peter tells us that our relationship in society is one of exile sojourning the opening part of this and verses one and two, which we did not read, Peter says to those who are elect exiles, to those who are sojourners to those who are not there your your resident aliens here in this life. He tells us that our relationship to society is one that will be in conflict, because of our faith in Christ because of our allegiance and our service to the Lord Jesus because Christ has changed us through the work of his spirits. Therefore, our relationship to the site system is going to be different. He says this because it’s precisely that relationship that is going to get these Christians, the various trials and tribulation that they will be facing. Christians have different ethics we have different code of conduct, so to speak. In verse 17, Peter tells us that we ought to conduct ourselves with fear and trembling throughout the time of our sojourning. Because we were ransom we were bought, we were purchased by the precious blood of Christ. We were called from the darkness into His marvelous light. We were once his people or we were once not his people, but now we are His people. We may be strangers in this world. We may look different to our unbelieving neighbor and we may receive trial because of that, but to God, we have Given a new birth, he has caused us to be born again, we have a different identity, we have now a different or an additional citizenship. This, of course has huge implications for us. It has huge implications for how we live our life. Our current cultural climate is is all over the place on issues of sexuality and race and identity and things like that. And not to speak lightly of these different issues. But this this reminds us that the ultimate identity that we have as Christians is an identity that is rooted and grounded in us being born again by the Father through the Holy Spirit’s placing us in union with Christ Jesus our Lord. Our identity is one that is above. We both To the father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we belong to the father of the Lord Jesus Christ through the new birth of the Holy Spirit’s. And it is in accordance with his great mercy that he has done this God’s mercy toward us is one that bestows life in us through the work of his spirits. And that ought to be a hope for us. Our second point to consider then this morning is that God has given us a lead Living Hope he has caused us to be born again he has given us new life, and he has done so through the resurrection of Christ. In a really very real sense. This is the whole point of our sermon this morning. This is the whole point of Easter. This is the whole point of salvation. Christ is risen, he has risen from the dead, he is alive and because you alive, we have a living hope in a living Savior. Peter tells us that this causes him to be born again is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is through Christ’s resurrection is because of Christ’s resurrection That we have a living hope. You see my dream sheet that I filled out in the Coast Guard. It was wishful thinking. But that is not what we have here as the source of hope for our Christian faith. Oftentimes, in training for the Coast Guard, we would go out and we would have all kinds of drills that we would do on the boat, fire drills, loss of steering drills, anchoring drills, all these different kinds of drills that we would have to do in case of emergency and every single one One of these emergency drills, we had to do one thing first, we always had to set the anchor. Because if the anchor wasn’t set, then the boat would continue to go to and fro and we could not solve the problem with a boat that continued to rock back and forth or drift out further into the sea. So it was with a steady anchor. We were able then to take our problem, take whatever was coming on and then and tackle that issue. Likewise, our hope is an anchor, because our hope is a living hope it is a living Savior, a living Lord. Hebrews 619 tells us that we have a short and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the Enter place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a foreigner on our beaches. Half, having become a hice is a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Our hope is a sure as Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s resurrection does not make salvation possible. It makes salvation. Sure. It is the resurrected and ascended Lord to whom our shore rests. This is Paul’s point in First Corinthians, chapter 15. First Corinthians chapter 15. Paul is writing about the resurrection of Christ. And this is what he says in this text. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futilely and you are still in your sense. Well, Friday was Good Friday where Christians all around the world contemplated the death of Christ. And what that means for our salvation, being cursed for our sake, hanging on a tree and receiving God’s wrath and indignation for our sins, his perfect substitutionary work hanging on a cross so that he would receive God’s wrath on our behalf. But what if that was it? That’s not good news. Good news isn’t a dead Messiah upon a tree that would be no good news at all. Now, the good news is what happens Three days later. The good news is what we celebrate this Easter morning that Christ has risen from the dead. The tomb is empty. That’s the good news. That’s what makes salvation salvation, secure. The fact that Christ is alive, He is ruling and reigning. That is Paul’s point. in First Corinthians 15. He has been raised from the dead, and we are no longer in our sense we have been given new life through the resurrection of Christ. Well, our last point then to consider is that because Christ is living because he has raised from the dead, He gives us an inheritance. Excuse me, he gives us an inheritance and inheritance. Verse four says to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for you. Peters hears were Christians who were displaced from their homes, perhaps scattered throughout the Mediterranean world. They were threatened and the threat of losing their homes loomed over their heads. And perhaps this is a very real situation that you are facing right now with the Coronavirus and the shutdowns that are taking place all around the world. But here’s specifically in the state of Michigan. Many right now are facing a loss of jobs, financial instability and insecurity at the moments like Peters hears. And so this this talk of inheritance would have been a great source of comfort for Peters hears and I hope it’s a great sense of comfort for you as well. You see it Christ we are born into God’s family and we have an inheritance is far greater than any earthly inheritance. any earthly inheritance that we can receive is far better to receive Christ’s heavenly inheritance. Usually, normally we don’t think a lot about inheritance in our culture. It’s not something that we necessarily base our livelihood on. Now, perhaps this is not true right now in our circumstance, and a lot of us are giving a lot more attention to our inheritance than we ever have in our lives. We have things like wills, but usually that’s not something that we give a lot of attention to. But in that culture in Peters culture in that day, and inheritance was everything. And so these were the these would have been sweet words of comfort to these Christians. The Old Testament, God gave Israel the land as an inheritance while they were wanderers in the wilderness, this promise of their inheritance sustain them, I gave them hope to preserve. It ought to be a hope then that we have as well as we are struggling with great affliction right now in this time and our present circumstance, this inheritance that we partake in now, it is an inheritance well that will be revealed in the last time in the last day and it is something that should keep us moving forward in our pilgrimage now as Christians. We have witnessed the destruction that has been caused by the Coronavirus all around the world and it has greatly shaken almost all of our sense of security. One day we have good health the next day. We are plagued with this disease. One day we have our family and friends and loved ones. We have the ability to gather together and worship as God’s people. And another day it’s taken away from us one day we have our savings and financial stability in the next, our jobs are taken away the stock market crashes. Peter is reminding you and me that we are to place our faith in Christ, living Savior, because Christ is where the apex of God’s mercy is found. And because of Christ because we have new life, because of the fact that Christ is raised from the dead, he is able to give us an inheritance and inheritance Since that is able to withstand any earthly inheritance and any shaking of earthly inheritance, look of the look at the words that are used with respect to this inheritance. It is imperishable, it cannot perish. There is nothing that can take away this inheritance from you. It is undefiled it is pure, it is kept holy and clean because of the righteousness of Christ. And it is unfading it can never fade away. It will last forever eternal in the heavens where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father because of Christ’s work because of what he has done for you because he has died for your sins because God’s anger and wrath was placed upon his son that Friday afternoon because he hanged on a tree and was cursed for your iniquities for your transgressions. Because his work was perfect. He was vindicated. Three days later, he was raised to new life, so that you would have eternal life so that you would have an inheritance that is undefiled, unjust, unshakeable and imperishable? Well, I want us to leave. I said at the beginning of this two points of application, but I think for the sake of time, this morning, I will end with one point of application. And I think that this point of application is one that we ought to contemplate. Very, sincerely, in our great time, our own personal time right now that we’re living in, and the affliction that we are receiving right now. And that point is that we could have Have Joy In Our affliction, Joy In Our affliction. Again, many of us may be experiencing all kinds of affliction. Some of us may be receiving a decline in health, some loss of a business, loneliness, despair, brokenness, all kinds of trial and tribulation has befallen God’s people. Some of some of us are facing a normal trial tribulation just because we’re Christians. Maybe we’re being harassed by our unbelieving family members as we are seeking to place our trust in God in His sovereignty. Perhaps you’re being attacked by your unbelieving family member friend, because of your faith in Christ during this time. Peter’s Christians were at odds with their society and culture. And they were no longer fit or they no longer fit in with the society at large. And they were culture pressures to abandon their Christian faith and perhaps, likewise, you might be pressured to abandon your Christian faith during this trial. Peter reminds us that our heavenly citizenship, or through our heavenly citizenship, we have a new birth from above. A birth that unites us to the risen Lord Jesus gives us an inheritance far more glorious than any other earthly riches, so that they would be able to find joy in our affliction. So with time that we have left three, three things about joy and affliction, first, suffering is for a little while suffering is for them. A while, we have a momentary affliction, but compared to our inheritance compared to our new life compared to the blessings bestowed upon us through Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. Compared to that, these momentary sufferings and afflictions are only that momentary, and they are light, when we consider them, in light of what we have in Christ. Secondly, there’s a purpose to our suffering. There’s a purpose to our suffering, it is to strengthen us. It is to purify us, it is to for us to cry out to the Lord that He would have mercy upon us it is to strengthen our relationship with our great Lord and God it is to strengthen our relationship with each other of the body of Christ. affliction that is brought upon us is for us to strengthen us. In our suffering, you see, gold that is used here in our tax is being used because it is one of the most precious resources for them. But Peter tells them that compared to our inheritance received by God, gold is perishable. We know this, we see this, our own time bears this out, our finances can be hours one day and gone the next. But that is not the case. That is not the case with our status, and our inheritance that we have through Christ Jesus, it can’t be lost. And why can it be lost? It can’t be lost because Christ is raised from the dead and he is upon his father’s throne. We cannot lose anything that we have in Christ. And if we do that means that Christ is insufficient. Savior and that is just blasphemous. So, we can be comforted, we can have joy in our affliction because of this. Lastly, there are various kinds of trials in this age various kinds of trial. But the one trial we will all face is the trial death. All will face death. The Coronavirus confronts all of us with this reality because of Christ’s victory over the cross, over send over death over Satan on that first Easter morning, we have Living Hope and we can praise God, we can praise God. And I hope the rest of this Lord’s day you do that. You praise God. For he has given you new life. He has given you living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And he has given you an inheritance and because he has done all of that, you can have joy in your affliction. Even now, you can have joy, and you can praise your heavenly Father through Christ and by his spirits. And so now this morning, as we end our time together, reflect on your own trials reflect in this time of trial and affliction, and ask yourself What are you hoping in in this moments? What are you placing your hope and your confidence and your assurance and see Peters hope is not merely wishful thinking No, it is anchored in the resurrection of Christ. It is anchored in the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. Christians May the Lord bless you and keep you this morning. I pray in the name of the one who is alive, who rules and rains are Precious Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen.