1 Peter 3: 13-15 A Reason for the Hope
Intro Now I remind you that Peter was writing to people who were going thru difficult days & troubling times .
A)Persecution against them had already begun & it would become more intense in the days to come in fact over 6 million brutally killed
B) Fed to Lions / nailed to Crosses / Ignited as human torches in Neros Garden / dunked in boiling oil
1) In the coming yrs Over six Million would go thru intense persecution culminating in their death
C) But Peter says to them in v.14 If you are suffering for righteousness sake you are Blessed HAPPY ARE YOU
D) See Peter Knew something that would make them happy and this is it
1) The DARKER it becomes around a Christian the GREATER is the light that shines from a Christian
See Peter knew that they were living in dark days that were going to get darker still
A)But he also knew that those dark days were going to give them an opportunity for their LIVES to shine Brightly for Jesus
B) Illustrate: If you travel out into the Country on a clear day or in Oregon Idaho / Montana - night over a thousand stars visible naked eye
1) But in the day time you dont see a single one accept the sun
C) Because the Brightness of the day Obscures the beauty of the Stars
1) But when the sun goes down the darker it gets the more visible the stars
D) That is how it is w/ Gods Kids the Darker it gets around us the greater the opportunity to Shine !!!!!
Dan.12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
E) Here is how to be a Star Lead others to Righteousness Share w/ People the Truth about Christ / Salvation / their eternal destiny
1) You will shine like the Stars in the Heavens
F) But Here is the deal the stars are going to shine even more intensely when the situation around us Gets the Darkest ( Willis family )
Dad is Scott 47 school teacher part time minister / Wife Janet Home school mom / 9 Kids ( 3 of which are older & out of house )
A)One day Scott & Janet & all six of their younger kids Rd. trip
Large piece of metal from truck fell pierced fuel tank
B) The van Immediately exploded into Flames engulfing everyone inside
1) On fire Scott & Janet tumbled from the van & after rolling on the grassy Knoll to extinguish the flames
C) They sat there in horror staring down the Fwy where all six of their Children still in the van burned to death
D) Bruised / Burned and Bandaged / Scott & Janet spoke at a news Conf. From the Hospital We know that God has purposes & God has reasons. God has always demonstrated his Love to us & our family - And there is no question in our minds that God is good & He will see us thru this time
Incredible Faith - Their Dark day was an opportunity for this family that few had even known before to shine brightly for Jesus
A)This is what the reporter for the Chicago tribune wrote about this couple
The couple displayed extraordinary grace & courage Wed. as they calmly presided over the news conf. Explaining how their unquestioning faith has seen them thru the loss of 6 of their 9 Children
There are only two kinds of response to the kind of loss that Scott & Janet Willis suffered last week: Utter Despair or Unquestioning faith for the Williss DESPAIR WAS NEVER AN OPTION!!!
Barclay A Saint is someone whos life makes it easier to believe in God
See here is the thing to realize the world watches us more in our defeats & Struggles than in our Victories
A)FCA- Guy Jesus helped me Win - Successful Ok
B) But even more powerful Guy I fell / I was out Hopeless / Jesus helped me back
1) Career over injury Jesus helped me thru the difficulty
C) Why is the world more interested in our defeats / than our Victories
1) The world is FULL of LOSERS Wait How many win Lottery
D) NBA Champs ___ teams lost 1 winner
1) More lose / More dont Fulfill their dreams than those who do
So the people that Peter was writing to were going thru dark days but those dark days were an opportunity to Shine
A)We too are living in dark days not so much because of persecution in our Country although persecution still happens
B) Christianity Today since 1900 every yr. in this world over 300,000 Christians are martyred for their faith Still going on / Sudan / China
1) But we dont experience that type of Persecution here in the U.S.
C) But we are Living in Dark times Marked by Darkness of Immorality & Injustice Society is Crumbling
1) People are Hurting know the DARKNESS around us is getting darker &
Over 3,000 children and teens a day see their parents' marriage end in divorce.
A growing number of fathers forsake their family. Tonight, 40% of the kids in America will go to bed in a home without a father. And two and a half million kids will become fatherless this year.
Does it matter Does it matter? Pediatricians are seeing huge increases in the number of emotional problems, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, learning disabilities, and depression among America's kids. New research has linked such problems to fatherless homes !!!
Doctors have noted
There is something comforting and secure for a child who knows that Daddy's around. Dad provides a solid foundation for their lives. Even Dad's snoring can be reassuring, because all's well in the house -- Dad's home.
Commonly held standards of right and wrong are being shattered by a new wave of moral relativism.
66% of the population believes that absolute truth cannot be known.
The pain of growing up in today's world has left many kids hopeless. A)Suicide rates among American high school students have quadrupled in the last four decades.
B)Sadly, 10% of adolescent boys and 18% of adolescent girls have made some attempt to take their own life.
1) There has been 93%. a juvenile homicide offenders /
2) Reported An estimated 270,000 guns are carried to school each day.
substance abuse among children and teens continues to climb A) AP report - The number of high school students
who report that drugs are used, sold and kept at their schools continues to
inch up, from 72 percent in 1996 to 78 percent this year.
B) 38% of all eighth graders have experimented with illicit drugs. Over 80% of today's graduating seniors will have used alcohol,
42% will have used marijuana, and 52% will have used illicit drugs.
C)Heroin use among teens is on the rise - The proportion of high school seniors using heroin doubled between last 4yrs.
More than one million teenage girls in the United States become pregnant every year.
A)Over 2.5 million new adolescent cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur every year.
B) By the time they graduate from high school, 7 out of 10 girls and 8 out of 10 boys will have had sexual intercourse.
C) We are Living in Dark days Morally / Socially /
So Peter would say to those living in the darkness of persecution or to us Living in the mist of Darkness of Immorality
A) Blessed are you because it gives you the opportunity to give to man an Answer for the hope that is w/ in you
B) See People would look at these to whom Peter was writing / those living in this Hopeless situation amazed because they had this hope inside them
1) ASK How can you Christians have such Hope when being fed to lions /boiled in oil?
C) Answer Apologia Apologetics Giving an explanation or a Defense for the Hope that we have
1) Now the Study of Apologetics is something that every Christian needs to have a basic understanding of
D) Know what You Believe & why? Paul Little
But Apologetics is intimidating to some people
1) Some complain I just cant remember all those facts / figures /
scriptures / Brain freezes
E) Or I know what I believe but sometimes I have the hardest time expressing it
1) Skeptics they just get me Confused - Adam Belly Button
Cain wife I would tell you if I was Able
Apologetics is important and this Passage is often used to encourage studying Apologetics Be ready to give Answer Theological discourse
A)But that is not what this is talking about primarily Peter is writing to people in the Context of their suffering
B) He is not talking primarily about them giving an answer to the theological or Doctrinal positions that they hold /
1) But rather the spiritual hope that you have in the mist of Suffering
C) In other words people are going to look at you and me going thru difficulties / wonder how can you have so much Hope
D) Your situation looks so Hopeless so how can you have such hope
1) People are being slaughtered around you / friends are being taken from
you how can you have such hope/ Joy / Peace
It happens when the Doctor Cancer / Boss says fired / Landlord says you have to move / Job Transfer / Company shutting down
A)Situation looks so bleak how can you have such hope
B)Peter answers that question by quoting here from Isa. Ch.8 in v.14 &15 : SCENE -the Mighty Assyrians were coming down from the north
1) Assyrians were brutal people put fish hooks in the mouths of their
prisoners lead them 100s of miles thru the desert back to Assyria / slaves
C)Stack up the skulls of the people they slaughtered in from of cities they conquered WARNING dont mess w/ the Assyrians
1) They skinned people alive JUST BRUTAL
D) So the Assyrians were coming down & the King of SYRIA & the King of ISRAEL came to Ahaz king of Judah & said join us to fight
1)But the Lord sent the Prophet Isaiah to Ahaz to tell him not to join them
E) Now when Ahaz told them they revolted Syria & Israel launched an attack against Ahaz & Judah
So the Assyrians are on the way and Syria & Israel are already attacking / Judah was getting it from all sides
A)At that time the Lord says to Isaiah speak thus to Ahaz & the people
12Do not say, A conspiracy, Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.13 The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.
11The LORD has said to me in the strongest terms: Do not think like everyone else does. 12Do not be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors will be the end of you. 13Do not fear anything except the LORD Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else. NLT
B)The word Hallow is the word Sanctify = set apart the Lord in your hearts
1) In other words: Set your eyes on Him not on the circumstances or the Conspiracies going on around you around you
C) These people to whom Peter was writing were going thru a Conspiracy Nero was blaming the fires burned Rome on the Christians
1) Dont get all caught up in the conspiracies going on around you sets your eyes on the Lord and be in AWE OF HIM !!!!!
D)That is why I can have hope in the mist of the Darkest of situations when set our eyes on the Lord
V.13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?
Now this is interesting because it points to the Precedence that the Lord places on the Spiritual above the Physical / Heaven above the earth
A)Fact was: They were going to be harmed - Physically it was going to be tough
B) Reminds me of what Jesus said in Matt.10 :28
28Dont be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
C) See here is the thing to understand going thru tribulation / persecution the real you cannot be harmed Spirit
1) Paul 2 Cor. 4 :16
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18while 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.
D) Our Problem is the Physical is what we feel / the earthly problems & concerns are so tangible right in front of our faces
1) So how do we Keep that heavenly perspective ? Answer Sanctify the Lord in your hearts Set eyes on Him
Hope = Absolute expectation coming good Hope is based in 3 Things
A) 1st Hope is based in who God is FATHER Good gifts to his Children
( Just like You )
B) Jer.29:11 11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
C) God our Father Looks at each one of us thoughts sees / He has a plan for your Life ( May not know what future Holds .future)
1) Heart can rest assured - He is Good !!!
D)Thoughts more than the sand Scientist estimate there are One Hundred Billion X One Hundred Billion grains of Sand on the earth
1) That is How much the Father is thinking about you
In the catacombs in Rome, those tunnels under the ancient city, where many of the early Christians were buried, you can see the symbols of faith on their tombs. Three common symbols appear: the dove, the fish, and the anchor.
The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The letters of the Greek word for "fish," ichthus, stand for the words: Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior. The anchor came from the idea that as Christians were going through difficult, insecure times, their hope anchored their souls.
Romans 8:28 All things are working together for Good -
E) I may not understand how right now / may not ever know in this life but I believe that my heart is filled w/ Hope BECAUSE:
1) I BELIEVE THAT GOD IS GOOD !!!!!!
2NDLY My Hope is Based in what God has done Past faithfulness
A)Situations that he was brought me thru in the past His Faithfulness to others
B) The other day Doctor questionnaire ( Physical condition left you Depressed ? ) Weird question
1) then I thought about how I felt when first heard I cried my ability to Physically play w/ my kids walk w/ wife severely limited
C) Little things we take for granted until they are taken away
1) But didnt last long ( Gods faithfulness in my life in the past )
D) No matter the circumstance He has been there to see us thru
3rd Hope based in what God says: HIS PROMISES
A)Doctors appointment Date set for surgery pray for FDA
B) Gods word is filled w/ appointments Promises that assure our hearts that God is working / Jesus is coming /
C) So I walk in Hope when I am leaning on the promises of God Looking to the promises of God
In the early days of our country a weary traveler came to the banks of the Mississippi River for the first time. There was no bridge. It was early winter, and the surface of the mighty stream was covered with ice. Could he dare cross over? Would the uncertain ice be able to bear his weight?
Finally, after much hesitation and with many fears, he began to creep cautiously across the surface of the ice on his hands and knees. About halfway over he heard a sound of horses & a wagon behind him. Looked up & saw a man, driving a horse-drawn load of coal across the ice & singing merrily as he went his way.
Here he was--on his hands and knees, trembling lest the ice be not strong enough to bear him up! And there, as if whisked away by the winter's wind, went the man, his horses, his wagon & his load of coal, upheld by the same ice that he was crawling on!
Like this weary traveler, some of us have learned only to creep upon the promises of God. Cautiously, timidly, tremblingly we venture forth upon His promises, as though the lightness of our step might make His promises more secure.
He has promised to be with us. Let us believe that promise! He has promised to uphold us. Let us believe Him when He says so. He has promised to grant us victory over all our spiritual enemies.
Let us trust His truthfulness.
Above all, He has promised to grant us full and free forgiveness of all our sins because of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
And He has promised to come and take us to His heavenly home. Let us take Him at His word.
We are not to creep upon these promises as though they were too fragile to uphold us.
We are to stand upon them--confident that God is as good as His word and that He will do what He has pledged.
People today are Hopeless Primarily because of the emptiness that fills their hearts
A)Augustine was right when he declared Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee
B) Pascal put it this way: There is a God shaped vacuum inside the heart of every man that cant be satisfied by anything but God
1) Although men try ( the Play) - Round Peg in a Square Whole
C) Paul Echoed this idea in Rom. 8:20 People have been Created subject to Vanity or emptiness
1) That is why every one is essentially empty until they find Salvation in Jesus there is a Christ shaped Vacuum in hearts ( No satisfaction)
D) Why did God make us this way ? - Think of it like this Go today to N.County Ford New Expeditions gleaming in the SUN!!!
1) You can go sit in one hands on the steering wheel pump gas feel the leather seats Problem not going anywhere why?
E) There is a whole that needs to be filled in order for the car to go the whole is in the ignition & what you need is the Key
Now is N.County Ford mean for putting cars out there w/ holes in them
A)No they are not being mean they just want to have a relationship w/ You
B) So they make the car subject to emptiness there is a hole there that keeps that car from moving
1) So they can establish a relationship w/ you & once they get your money 25 30,000 Drive off they wave & smile
C) Well God made you & me & every human being w/ a hole in their hearts subject to emptiness
1) And just like the car Life doesnt go / life doesnt work w/out the Key JESUS IS THE KEY
Now why does God do that Does He want my LOOT no He wants Your LOVE
A) So God makes you w/ an emptiness in your heart so that you will turn to Him ( havent opportunity )
B) Rob I know this I have turned to Him : Here is what we forget Everyone that you come in contact w/ tomorrow @ school / work
1) Has a hole in their hearts Empty , Lonely, Plagued by Guilt
Anxious about death when subject comes hope
C) They have No Hope And you are there to give them a Answer for Hope that You do have !!!!!
A sea captain once related a thrilling incident from his own experience. "A few years ago," said he, "I was sailing by the island of Cuba when the cry ran through the ship, 'Man overboard!' It was impossible to put up the helm of the ship, but I instantly seized a rope and threw it over the ship's stern, crying out to the man to seize it as for his life.
The sailor caught the rope just as the ship was passing. I immediately took another rope and, making a slip noose of it, attached it to the other and slid it down to the struggling sailor and directed him to pass it over his shoulders and under his arms, and he would be drawn on board. He was rescued, but he had grasped the rope with such firmness, with such a death-grip, that it took hours before his hold relaxed and his hand could be separated from it. With such eagerness, indeed, had he clutched the object that was to save him, that the strands of rope became embedded in the flesh of his hands!"
Has not God let down from heaven a rope to every sinner on the earth? Is not every strand a precious promise, and ought we not to lay hold of it as for our very lives?