Delivered on 2/12/17
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
Funny Story Of Chances:
I heard about this man who bought a parrot. It was a beautiful parrot but he had a really bad mouth. He could swear for five minutes straight without repeating himself. The man was embarrassed because the bird was driving him crazy in front of people.
He tried to appeal to the bird by asking him to clean up his language. The parrot promised to change but nothing happened. In fact, his swearing increased in both volume and frequency.
It finally got to be too much, so the guy grabbed the bird by the throat and started shaking him and yelled, “Quit it!” But this just made the parrot angry and he swore more than ever.
Then the guy got really mad and locked him in a kitchen cabinet. That really aggravated the bird and he started clawing and scratching and making all kinds of racket. When the guy finally let him out, the parrot let loose with a stream of swear words that made the man blush.
At that point, the guy was so ticked off that he threw him into the freezer. For the first few seconds the bird squawked and screamed and thrashed around. And then there was silence.
At first the guy just waited, but then he started to wonder if the bird was hurt. After a couple minutes of not hearing anything, he was so worried that he opened the freezer door. The bird calmly climbed onto the man’s outstretched arm and said, “I’m really sorry about all the trouble I’ve been giving you. I make a solemn promise and vow to clean up my language from now on.”
The man was astounded. He couldn’t believe the transformation that had come over the parrot as a result of being in the freezer for only a couple minutes. The parrot then turned to the man and said, “I just have one question…what did the chicken do?”
The Bible tells us that Jonah bought a ticket to Tarshish in an effort to escape from the presence of the Lord and thereby avoid a God given assignment. From our text, we can see that God told Jonah to preach in the city of Ninevah, but Jonah was disobedient and ran away. We read here that he fled to the city of Tarshish from the seaport of Joppa. The distance from Joppa to Ninevah was nearly 700 miles; however, the distance from Joppa to Tarshish was about 2200 miles! Tarshish was on the Spanish peninsula and Ninevah was in Assyria; therefore, these two cities were on the complete opposite sides of the world.
Jonah did a complete U-turn and went in a totally opposite direction of God’s will. Because the Lord asked him to do something that he didn’t want to do and that he didn’t understand, he deliberately disobeyed. When Jonah fled to Tarshish he went three times the distance that God had asked him to journey when he was commanded to preach in the city of Ninevah.
You see, when we are in deliberate defiance to God, our guilt can sometimes result in running as far away from the Lord as we can possibly get. We will try to run from God, because we are hoping we can hide from His face. And think that, we can continue to live a life in disobedience. Outside of His will.
Apparently, Jonah forgot what King David knew about our God, and this is what he said…
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
We may choose to run from the Lord… but even if we do, we will still have to come face to face with God at some point or another and give an answer.
Jonah 1:3 - 1:5
3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.
I want to briefly point out what happens when we run from the Lord. In verse 3, we read that “He went down to Joppa . . . and [he] went down into the the lowest part of the [ship].verse 5” We are going to notice later in the story that he also went “down into the sea,” and “down into the belly of a great fish.” Whenever we run from the Lord we wind up going down, and still farther down, until we hit rock bottom. And guess what? Gods WILL…will allow it!
Whenever we do our own thing, outside of Gods will…although in our minds, we can say its harmless, I’m not hurting anyone…it ok? But still outside of Gods will.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
Acting apart from the will of God is what the Bible calls sin….
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As you can see from the story of Jonah, he did just that! God gave Jonah a command, and Jonah chose to disobey. He chose a different direction thinking that he can run away and all will be okay.
Jonah is about to have a brush with death, because of his behavior. But our God is a God, who gives “A Second Chance”
Please bear with me, I have chosen certain verses to go with this message. If not, I have to put the whole story of Jonah on the powerpoint. But please, on your own studies the book of Jonah only has four chapters, but has very deep impact. I would encourage you to read it.
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said:
“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.
10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Here we see Jonah’s brush with death that resulted from his disobedience to God. As Jonah sailed for Tarshish, a terrible storm arose that threatened the lives of everyone on board the ship.
You would think that things couldn’t get any worse for Jonah, with the storm and being tossed overboard, but next we see that Moby Dick came along and gobbled him up. We read here that a great fish swallowed Jonah. We don’t know exactly what this fish was, however, most children stories calsl the fish a whale. This great fish swallowing Jonah was not God’s punishment,as some believe it to be.
It was actually, Gods provision to redeem Jonah of His disobedience. Think about it. Jonah was thrown into the ocean, in the midst of a great storm. Even the most professional swimmers wont be able to survive such a storm. I don’t even think, Michael Phelps can survive that storm. Jonah was just a regular guy, just like you and me.
God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, to save him from drowning. I know that science will tell you that…that is just completely impossible. Jonah would have been chewed up, digested and died. But…we are not dealing with science here. We’re dealing with God, where nothing is impossible.
The Lord revealed here that, he gave Jonah “A Second Chance” Yes!!! God was the One that made a Way! Jonah ran away from the Lord. Chose a life of disobedience, and God made a way for him to be redeemed. Same way that God made a Way for you and I to be saved.
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
This is a reference to Jesus lying in the tomb for three days and nights after His crucifixion and burial. God’s mercy toward us is so great that He gave His one and only Son to die for us and enter the place of death on our behalf, so that we may have eternal life. We can now relate to Jonah right! How many times have we disobeyed? Gone through a time of discipline, and even through that, God will still make a way to get us to the right path. It may not be a “great fish”, but God will make His point.
We read that Jonah was in the belly of sheol. Sheol is the Hebrew word for the “grave.” Jonah realized that his path of disobedience was leading him toward death and destruction, he was on his way to a spiritual grave. However, God had heard him in his state of spiritual distress, and answered him by having the fish spit Jonah out onto dry land. Whenever we are in a state of spiritual death and the grave, God hears us too… when we call out to Him.
As we read from the Book of Acts…
And it shall come to pass. That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
Saved from what? Spiritual death, or – to be more exact – “hell.” The King James Version translates Sheol as “hell.” Spiritual death leads to spending eternity in hell, which is a place of never ending torment. If you end up there…there will be no second chance. Its too late, make your walk right with the Lord here and now. As you can see from Jonah, he cried out while he was still alive. He knew he was facing death, and cried out God.
Jesus broke free from the tomb. Broke the sting of death. And so can you through Christ, and Christ alone.
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Is it just that simple? I just have to believe…as scripture tells me to? Yes!!! Jesus took the punishment for you and I. God gave us His Son, as He gave Jonah “a great fish”, for what? So that we too can be redeemed! We too can be saved. We are told that if we will just believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, that we too will be raised from spiritual death into eternal life. Out of the belly of the fish. Out of the sting of death!
Lets continue with Jonah’s story. Jonah received mercy. Obeyed the Lord, and preached to Nineveh.
3 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. 4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? 10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
God showed them…gave them great mercy. We read here that the people of Nineveh and their king repented and obeyed the word of the Lord. What could have made the people of Nineveh listen to a foreign god and then repent. Whatever happened, it’s interesting to note how quickly they repented. And believed in the One True God.
Jonah preached to the city of Nineveh for three days straight. His disobedience had taken him great distance away from God, however… the Lord revealed that His mercy was greater than Jonah’s disobedience. Once again, we are being reminded that God’s mercy is greater than our sin. The Lord wanted to make sure that the Ninevites heard His message and had the opportunity to repent.
I want you to notice how there is a contrast presented here between Jonah and the Ninevites. God spoke a word to Jonah, who was an Israelite and one of His own chosen people, and yet he became immediately disobedient. However, after the Ninevites, who were foreigners, had heard God’s message they were immediately obedient. They had forty days to think it over, but it appears that their repentance was immediate, and because of their immediacy in repenting of their sinful ways, God spared them His wrath. The Ninevites called out for mercy and they were saved from death and destruction.
But as we continue with the story of Jonah. We can see that he finally obeyed, and preached Gods word. But it seemed as though, Jonah was not happy with the result. Here lets continue…
4 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. 6 And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.
We see here one of the saddest accounts in the Bible. Jonah was hoping the Lord would destroy the Ninevites, and we read here that he was displeased that God had spared them. Its different from, when we witness someone being saved. We rejoice, we’re happy, when one come to Gods saving Grace. But not Jonah he left Nineveh pouting, and he journeyed to a safe vantage point so he wouldn’t get singed when God rained down His fiery judgment on the city, and there he sat, watching and hoping for their destruction. God had shown Jonah mercy for his disobedience, but Jonah didn’t feel like anyone else deserved it. The Lord had extended compassion and rescued him from drowning at sea,however, Jonah didn’t learn that he needed to show compassion on others in return.
Jonah was in Israelite, even then, before we start reading the New Testament, to them no one else deserved to be saved. The Ninevites were foreigners, they believed in other gods. Remember from our Bible studies, there’s Israel, and there’s everyone else. ( Gentiles ) outsiders.
Jonah’s heart wasn’t right with the Lord and at this moment he was in sin, but God still showed him compassion by causing a plant to grow up and shade him from the burning sun. You see, God loves us even while we are still in sin, for we read in…
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s mercy is unlimited. We saw that His mercy was great when it came to Jonah sinning. Even after Jonah obeyed and preached God words, Jonah continued to sin as we have read. Jonah was not happy with the results of Gods compassion. God showed Jonah mercy, and gave the Ninevites mercy. Here…lets finish Jonas story.
7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
10 But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”
God has provided so much for Jonah, and yet he could not see it. Jonah disobeyed, and faced death. God came to the rescue, when he heard Jonahs prayer. Jonah continued to be disobedient, but God out of his great love and mercy, showed Jonah His compassion.
The people of Nineveh was lost, God wanted to save them from their mistakes, from sinning. Gave them a chance to repent.
Church…if God were to ask you, Did you have to labor for your salvation? What would you say? If God were to ask you, when you sin, do I not provide for you a way of forgiveness, what would you say? God did it all through His Son.
We cannot be saved…redeemed without the sacrifice of His Son. ( Jesus Christ )
No amount of good work can ever pay for our sins to receive forgiveness.
God provided forgiveness through His Son.
You an I have been given “A Second Chance” in this life, because of Jesus Christ. No one else.
There is a Jonah in all of us. I hope that you have noticed through the message. This afternoon we have learned about God’s unlimited forgiveness for those who are living in sin. The Lord has shown us the ultimate act of mercy by giving up His one and only Son for us.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
I want to encourage you today to turn from your ways of running from the Lord and accept His unconditional love for you. If you have not already done so. If you have, and at some point in your walk, you have turned to the wrong path, cry out to God in prayer, he will hear you. If God heard Jonah from the belly of the fish. Will He not also hear you? Yes He WILL!
Delivered on 1/29/17
There Is Always Hope
1 Peter 1:3-7
3 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, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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.
Joke: Life Sentence
A criminal with a long record of transgressions was on trial for his latest crime. The jury found him guilty on 33 counts and the judge sentenced him to 189 years. Realizing that even with time off for good behavior he would be over one hundred when he was released, the prisoner burst into tears.
Noting this display of remorse, the judge reconsidered. He said, "I didn't mean to be so severe. Thinking it over, I can see that I've imposed an extremely harsh sentence. So you don't have to serve the whole time." The prisoner beamed with new found hope until the judge leaned toward him and said, "Just do a much as you can."
The Apostle Peter aims to equip the saints with the power of hope. If they…or we, are going to live and love like Jesus commands us, even in times of great stress and worry, then they… and we, must be filled with hope. Peter’s letter has been called the gospel of hope. A great characteristic of the Christian life is that we live in hope. Christian hope sustains in the midst of difficulties, for hope is born out of full confidence, belief, and trust in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Living in the light and life of Jesus’ resurrection does not exempt us from life’s evils, and tribulations. Yet…resurrection hope does diminish the debilitating power of distress in trials. We can not only endure, but live victoriously as we experience the life and joy of Christ, and His divine glory.
The Living Christ is the source of our new birth and our living hope. If you have a living hope in Christ you can deal with your past failures and present difficulties because of your future blessings. God’s glorious best for you still lies ahead. Anticipating what God has in store for us can release joy in our soul and put a smile on our face. Hope gives us confidence and lets us live with inner strength, and peace, for we know that one day we will be radically different than how we are now.
From our text…Peter addresses those who are feeling discouraged, displaced, depressed, or in danger, and tells them that they need to take hold of their living hope through the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You are alive, and made new in Christ!
Peter begins the main body of his letter in verse 3 with praise for the wonder of salvation. “3 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”.
Because we do not have a dead Savior, we have a living hope, and hope does not fail. The resurrection of Jesus guarantees that God will honor all His promises to His faithful children. That hope keeps us going, even through our darkest times. This emphasizes that salvation is based entirely on Gods loving initiative.
1 Peter 1:20-21
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Now…what is living in hope? What is the hope we now have, that only through the resurrection of Jesus Christ can give us? A living hope is a hope that never dies. And will never fail. ( Have you ever heard any Christian say…I hope God doesn’t hear my prayers. I hope, I don’t get the job that I applied for. I hope I fail my tests, and never have a rewarding future. And so on…) You name it. Hope is never meant to fail!
Now what is the Christian…Biblical definition of hope. Lets see what Scriptures will tell us….
24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Biblical hope is a firm conviction that the future promises of God will be fulfilled. Hope is not a mere wish… “ I wish”, but an assurance of what will come to pass. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul… a hope that enters into the inner place of faith, which is in Christ.
Here’s another one…One of the three main elements of the Christian character.
1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Oh, by the way 1 Corinthians 13, if you have your Bibles with you. Its talking about the Greatest Gift…Love. As you can see, hope is also there. Hope takes its place alongside faith and love of the Christian virtue. Hope is faith directed towards the future.
The Christian’s hope in Christ is as certain and sure as the fact that Christ is alive! Here “living hope” means that the believer’s hope is sure, certain, and real, as opposed to the deceptive, empty, false hope that the world offers.
Those who have been born again, made new… have a living hope through their new life in Christ. This constantly living hope is that death is not the end, trials, sufferings and so on…are not the end.
A man had A CHECKUP and then went in to see his doctor to get the results. The doctor said, he better sit down – that he had bad news and worse news for him. Then the Doctor asked the man, “Which do you want to hear first?” The man was a bit puzzled and said he'd rather hear the bad news first. The doctor said, "The bad news is that you have only 24 hours to live." When he heard that, the man jumped up, totally shocked. He paced back and forth and said, "24 hours to live? I can't possibly get my affairs in order that quickly. I can't believe this! What could be possibly be worse news than this?" The doctor said, "The worse news is that I was supposed to tell you this yesterday, but I forgot."
Death is certain, but so is the Christian’s hope of eternal life. The Christian’s hope in Christ is as certain and sure as the fact that Christ is alive! This is what I meant earlier, of false hope that the world offers.
Because Jesus arose from the grave we know that Death is not the end. We know evil does not win. Worries and trials will come, but we know that it will end in victory. We know that God forgives. We know the blood cleanses and protects. We know new life is an option, a gift that can be given only by God. We know a better tomorrow is coming, because we are never alone.
Future hope includes the promises of a better tomorrow. Verse 4 of our first text tells us that…
1 Peter 1:4
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.
Church… we have a promise not only of living again, but also of a better tomorrow. We have the hope of a future inheritance. Here is another certainty. We will die, and we will gain a better inheritance. Sure…when the Lord returns soon, let say, within the next 5 years or so…then we may not face death. Still a better a future, we will be in the Lords presence.
This heavenly inheritance is better than any and everything this world has to offer. This inheritance is “imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you and I. It is kept in heaven for those who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Another short story:
In the classic novel Little Lord Fauntleroy, a young boy LIVING IN DEEP POVERTY with his mother in America learns that his father was a member of British noble family. The boy's grandfather sends for him, and the boy soon finds himself living in a fine estate in England. He is also the heir to the estate which includes the title of lord.
While I was working on this message and ran into this short story, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Hannah last Sunday, while we were having dinner back there at the fellowship hall. She said… “Hey Pastor Richard, do you know that we belong to a noble family?” I said, “we do?” She said…”YES, we belong to Jesus”. What!!! this was Hannah, Oh Men…she just made my hotdog taste better with what she said! She already knows who she belongs to!
This is our story as believers. Through Jesus Christ, we have gone from having nothing to having everything, new life, new hope, and an eternal inheritance in heaven that nothing can destroy. People who have an inheritance are called heirs. But being an heir only has value if the person leaving the inheritance has something of value to give. We're so blessed there, because the Bible says we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
This means that all that is God is ours, blessed by God. Heaven itself is part of that inheritance, our future home where all that is wrong on earth will be set right and we will enjoy God's presence forever. No more worries, pains, illness, trials, challenges, all the storms of life, forever gone.
How did we ever get in on something so good? Because God is so good. Though it cost Him what He valued most, the life of His dear sinless Son who died for our sins to make us His heirs. Jesus paid the price for our salvation on the cross, and His resurrection guaranteed that someday we will come into our full inheritance in heaven.
Peter used three distinct terms to get his point across. The things that God has in store for those who love Him will never "perish, spoil or fade." That is, our inheritance can't be destroyed, it won't decay like a piece of overripe fruit, and it won't fade like an old shirt that's been washed too many times. Even though the Christian life often includes fiery trials (vv. 6-7), the outcome is assured in Christ. Here…
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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.
“if need be” is the statement that Peter made, on v6. “ if need be, you have been grieved by various trials”, Although, God will never tempt anyone to sin ( As you can read on James 1) He will send or allow trials, when necessary, and in the right amount for strengthening. Or again, it may be in a form of discipline.
“tested by fire” as you can see on v7. Men uses fire to refine precious metals, removing its impurities. God uses trails to distinguish genuine faith from a superficial profession. ( Are you really MINE? ) Then you will persevere…faith stronger than it was before. Look into the life of Job, whenever you are going through some trials, and compare!
Being co-heirs with Jesus Christ means we have an inheritance reserved or kept in heaven that's beyond anything we can imagine. But it does not mean that we do not enjoy…or be thankful with the blessings that He is giving us here and now. Here is something to look forward too, something to hope for…
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Doesn’t that excite you!!! Jesus said “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me, that you also may be where I am”. (John 14:3)
So our Christian hope allows us to see our future in the most positive of ways, and so it should produce the most positive results in our present life. Because of our Living Hope we can place our faith in God’s protection, as mentioned on verse 5.
1 Peter 1:5
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In another translation…
1 Peter 1:5 (ESV)
5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Not only is the inheritance,” kept, guarded,” but heirs who have been born into that inheritance are shielded…protected by God’s power. God has promised to shield us with His power as we walk in faith with Him. What greater hope could be given to those undergoing persecution, and trials, than the knowledge that God’s power guards them from within, to preserve them for an inheritance of salvation that will be completely revealed to them in God’s presence.
Believers possess salvation now (Pres tense) but will experience its full significance at the return of Christ in the last time. This final step, or ultimate completion of “the salvation of the souls”.
It is God who holds on to us and will never let go. “no one can snatch them out of My hands” ( John 10:28 )
Peter encouraged his readers, that’s you and i, to put knowledge into practice. The response, if they truly grasped the tremendous theological truths taught so far, is that they would greatly rejoice. Knowledge alone cannot produce the great joy in the face of persecution. Christians are responsible to respond in faith, by faith. Put what you have heard and taught into practice. Believe, through faith, that everything you have heard and learned is all true. Faith turns sound doctrine into sound practice.
Don’t live your life with the feeling of defeat, hopeless life! Rejoice in the life of victory that you have in Christ. Live your life by faith, hope and love.
1 John 5:4
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
This kind of faith, enabled by our living hope can cause believers to rejoice even when we are called on to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. Peter is stressing that a Christian’s joy is independent of circumstances. If you heard the message from Pastor Morley last week…happiness comes from what is happening. But true joy only comes from the Lord. Though trials may cause temporary grief, they cannot diminish that deep, abiding joy which is rooted in one’s living hope in Christ Jesus.
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"God whispers in our pleasures, but shouts in our pain.” The Lord sometimes must force us by means of distresses to pay attention to His voice. While such times of testing aren't pleasant, We must wait patiently for Him to accomplish His purposes. If we refuse to become bitter we will learn the priceless lessons of grace that adversity can bring.
Those who accept trouble graciously grow rich by their losses, rise by their falls, and find new life- in Christ by dying to self. Anything suffered in the body can profit the soul.
The word distressed (heaviness, sorrow,) is the same word used to describe what Jesus felt in the Garden of Gethsemane when He sweat great drops of blood.
So Peter isn’t minimizing the reality of what his readers were fearing or feeling. “What you’re going through may be distressful,” he says. “But it’s only for a season. Heaven is eternal so rejoice greatly.” Don’t loose hope in the One who gives it, and live in faith for a better tomorrow.
Peter encouraged his readers to trust in Jesus, live obediently in hard circumstances, and keep their hope fixed on God’s ultimate purpose of deliverance and their heavenly reward. To those who are feeling discouraged, displaced, depressed, or in danger, Peter addresses the issue by saying, “We have a living hope based upon the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.” Jesus is alive…you are alive, and you belong to Him.
“There Is Always Hope” Living in hope means, that the believer’s hope is sure, certain, and real, as opposed to the deceptive, empty, false hope the world offers. The living Christ is the source of our new birth and our living hope. My question to you is simply this… are you experiencing the new birth and living hope Jesus came to give you? If so…rejoice. Live in victory. If your answer is NO. What is stopping you from believing in Christ. Are still waiting to see what the world can offer? Let me tell you right now…what the world can offer is only temporary. You will never be satisfied, and you will never receive true and everlasting Joy. Let go, and let God make you new.
So…if you heard God speak to you tonight, do not harden your heart. Come to Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
“There Is Always Hope”
Pastor Richard Santos
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