The Day Of The Lord
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
Ever since Christ promised that He was going to prepare a place for His own- and one-day return, Christians have been “looking up” and speculating as to when this glorious day will occur. When faced with a crisis or upon getting older human beings who are naturally curious about the future are more likely to speculate that the “end times” are near. While hearing many false case that Christ will appear during one’s lifetime is quite invigorating but, does not predicting that which not even the angels or Christ knows (Matthew 24:36) not only seem arrogant but foolish for when the predicted date comes and goes it often leads many to question the accuracy of the entire Gospel message?
In today’s passage, Apostle Paul states that since the date cannot be predicted then the best humanity can do is to be alert and self-controlled, always living one’s life in certainty that the Day of the Lord will come. While this will be a day of judgment and wrath for unbelievers, for God’s own they will rejoice for on that day they will receive their new bodies and be taken to spend an eternity in heaven with Jesus! The following sermon is going to look at Paul’s teaching on “The Day Of The Lord”.
Sudden: Will Come as a Thief in the Night (verses 1-2)
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
Paul told the believers at Thessalonica that he did not need to write about the date of the Day of the Lord because, as they were fully aware, such a date would inevitably come but at a time and hour that only the Father knows. The New Testament writers “for all intents and purposes identified the Day of the Lord with the Second Coming of Christ.” Since the timing of Christ’s return was to be compared to a thief in the night, who was unknown and unpredictable, Paul implored the Thessalonians to channel their theology away from estimating the date to responsibly serving the Lord continuously so that upon His return they would be found faithfully doing God’s will.
Sorrow: False Peace and Security (verse 3)
1 Thessalonians 5:3-5
3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
Paul warned the Thessalonians that when the Day of the Lord comes those who feel secured in their safety and peace would soon face sudden destruction and pain like that of a pregnant woman giving birth. In verse three Paul sharply critiqued the “slogans and propaganda about the Pax Romana ( Latin: Roman peace) of his time. It was a time that suggests, a long period of peace. The main importance was that all the land was at peace because everyone was under the Roman law.
In verse three Paul stated how foolish it was for the unbelievers, even if they were part the Pax Romana, to think that peace and safety could ever be secured by their accomplishments. “God in Christ is the One who will bring justice, peace, and security once and for all, not the emperor.” Like the people in Noah’s or Sodom’s day unbelievers of Paul’s day will feel they have peace right up until the moment Christ arrives and judges the living and the dead!
Anyone found on that day not “with the Lord”, will experience great sorrow and pain because it will be too late for them to escape the judgement of being eternally separated from God. Paul is not trying to scare the Thessalonian believers but to encourage them that the Day of the Lord poses no threat to them, but is only to be seen as assurance that their enemies will one day be judged and in the mean time they ought to pray for them that they might come to know the Lord.
Sound: Christians Know what to Expect (verses 4-5)
In verses four and five Apostle Paul used dark/light imagery to reassure the Thessalonians that as children of the light they knew what to expect upon the Coming of the Lord. Darkness and light are not to be taken literally but as metaphors contrasting those who are still spiritually ignorant and under the rule of Satan (darkness) versus those who have been born again through their faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ (light).
Light and darkness for Paul pointed to the truth that some people are “insiders” and others “outsiders” of God’s kingdom (Luke 16:8; John 12:36; Eph. 5:8; 1 John 1:6–7; 2:9–11). “Night for Paul was a time for thieves whereas daylight was the time for truth. The “thief in the night” suddenness of Christ’s return will not “catch insiders off guard” because when they walk in the truth as “children of the day,” darkness cannot overtake them! Since one cannot have fellowship with God while walking in darkness (1 John 1:5-6)
Paul implored the Thessalonians to not be “careless or indifferent to what they have received” but to “be ready” for Christ’s return by “putting on the armor of light” so that they might be found faithfully walking in the very steps of Christ who purchased them at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)!
Sleeping: Christians Should be Awake (verses 6-7)
1 Thessalonians 5:6-7
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
Paul now uses “sleep/awake” and “drunkenness/sober” as further metaphors to encourage the Thessalonians to be ready for Christ’s return that will come like a thief in the night. A thief can get away with a lot of stuff if the occupants are either asleep or drunk! Sleep for Paul does not mean physical death but moral indifference to the light in which one professes whereas drunkenness means a lack of moral self-control and therefore a lack of preparedness.
While sleep and drunkenness is natural to those perishing in their sins, Paul told the Thessalonians as children of the light they needed to be awake and sober at all times. To be drunk with the ways of this world and indifferent to the things of God is not acceptable because the “believer’s status as sons of the light demands a morality, a holiness, in keeping with Him who is light.
To constantly reject the views of those given over to their reprobate minds (Romans 1:28) is not an easy task but through the power of the Spirit of God it can be accomplished when one stays awake and sober. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians that they will be found faithful only if they constantly hold onto God’s standards by thinking about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable in His kingdom (Philippians 4:8).
Sober: Christians Should Always be Alert (verse 8)
1 Thessalonians 5:8
8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
To be found ready when Christ returns, Paul recommended the Thessalonians remain sober by putting “on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” Though darkness was all around them by wearing the right clothing the Thessalonians could be sober, self-controlled and walk in the light as God is light!
Paul implored the Thessalonians to imitate God’s example in Isaiah 59:17, where He puts on the breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation before doing battle against the ungodly. Faith and love helps “protect the believer from the attacks of doubt.” The helmet of hope helps protects one’s faith when life comes crashing down with persecutions and injustices by constantly reminding the believer one day Christ will return and make all things right.
By putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-17) the Thessalonians can remain sober and alert, conquering any conflict that the realm of darkness might throw at them. This armor was not to be put on so that they could sit in their houses with Bible in hand and be paralyzed with fear and inaction but to constantly walk in the light so that they might please Christ (Matthew 24:45-46) when He returns, immediately or sometime in the distant future.
Salvation: Christians Escape Tribulation (verses 9-10)
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
Once again Paul reassured the Thessalonians that “God did not appoint them to suffer judgment and wrath in the future, but rather to receive salvation through “our Lord Jesus Christ.” It was God’s initiative to send His Son Jesus (John 3:16) to live amongst us and ultimately to pore His wrath upon His Son so that through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice all who believe in Him may pass from death to life.
To empty the severity of God’s wrath from salvation is to rob “real life” of much of its meaning because grace has been minimalized. “God made He who had no sin to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Christ in His resurrection was the beginning of the new creation (Rev 3:14; John 1:1–5; 2 Cor 5:14–17; Gal 6:14–15; Col 1:15–18). Paul did not say that salvation came independent of the action of human beings but that through believing in the atoning sacrifice of the Son one becomes saved and subsequently a child of God (1 Thess. 5:10a; cf. Rom. 5:6, 8; 8:3; 14:15; 1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:14–15).
The fact that the return of Christ was nearer than when they first believed (Romans 13:11) should not scare the Thessalonians but should be a source of great joy that those physically dead or alive upon Christ’s return will eternally enter the new life that has been prepared for them by their Lord!
Solace: Comfort one Another with Hope (verse 11)
1 Thessalonians 5:11
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
Having put on the armor of God and having stayed fully alert for Christ’s return through holy living was to be both an individual and a communal goal. Within the bonds of the Christian community Paul commended and also encouraged the Thessalonians to never stop comforting and helping each other to attain spiritual maturity. The Day of the Lord will come suddenly like a thief in the night. Since no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return except God, the only way to be found faithful upon His return is to always be doing what is right in His sight.
Even as alert, sober children of the Light wearing the armor of faith, hope and love the Thessalonians still needed the helping hands of other believers who were also trying to attain the full measure of Christ. With all the trials and tribulations, persecutions and injustices one inevitable has to face living in this fallen world that is not our home, isn’t it nice to know that we can get great a helping hand from other believers who like us are trying to remain faithful until Christ comes again!
Christ died so that His people might live … so with great faith and in an abundance of grace let’s build each other up so that upon His return we might hear the words “good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:14-30)!
34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation, whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
In Acts 10:34-48, we’re going to hear a sermon that was preached to a very enthusiastic and eager congregation. Just as Peter the preacher was getting into the meat of his message, the sermon was not only interrupted, it came to a screeching halt.
Before we reverently study this sermon, let’s put the text into context. Our main idea was God is always at work…and sometimes we get to see it. When we don’t see it…remember God is always at work. We learned the Holy Spirit wants to adjust our attitudes and align our actions. God worked in two individuals, who were separated by 30 miles and by cultural and religious distances and were brought together by God’s sovereign timing. Both Cornelius and Peter received divinely synchronized visions while praying. These visions prepared Cornelius for the gospel and prepared Peter to let go of his prejudices.
Since most of the first Christians had a Jewish background, it was natural for them to think that any non-Jewish person (Gentile) had to come to Christianity through Judaism.
The thought of a Gentile getting saved without coming through the door of Judaism was a foreign thought to them. God made it clear both Jew and Gentile can come to Christ by faith alone, without having to be circumcised or by celebrating certain ceremonies or following strict food rules.
Peter headed to the house of a Roman military officer named Cornelius in order to share the good news of the gospel with him. In Acts 10:33 we see how eager Cornelius was to hear the glories of the gospel: “Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” The phrase, “in the presence of God,” is the idea of being “before the face of God.” No preacher could have asked for a more eager or attentive congregation!
Listen to Peter’s sermon introduction in verse 34-35: “So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.’” The phrase “opened his mouth” was a solemn formula used to introduce something really important. It was commonly used to describe opening a door to some treasure. Because Peter’s attitude had been adjusted and his actions aligned, he was now ready to preach the grace gospel.
This is huge because Jews believed they were God’s favorites. However, God always intended to extend His favor to everyone who put faith in Him. This goes all the way back to what God said to Abraham in Genesis 12:3: “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Romans 2:11 says, “For God shows no partiality.” Listen to what the enemies of Jesus said about Him in Luke 20:21, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality.”
Verse 36 reminds us the message was first sent to the Jews: “As for the Word that He sent to Israel…” But it wasn’t supposed to stop there according to Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
After this brief introduction, Peter establishes seven essential elements of the grace gospel. These elements stand in contrast to what we often hear people say today.
• I’m sincere in what I believe.
• I’m working at doing good works. Good works are never good enough because no one is good enough to meet God’s standards.
• I’m trying to clean up my life. Come to Him now and He’ll do the cleaning.
1.The gospel alone brings peace. Look at the middle section of verse 36: “…preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ…” This brings us back to the message the sleepy shepherds heard from the angelic choir in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Romans 5:10 declares we are enemies of God and are at war with Him. Romans 5:1 says we can be at peace with God through Jesus: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Ephesians 2:17, we see Jesus brings peace to those from a Jewish background and to those who are Gentiles: “And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.”
Once we’re at peace with God, we can experience the peace of God and be at peace with others. That is why it is so hard for me to accept…when a Christian/claiming Christian, can have no peace at all. A lot of anger, misery, doubt, fear and so on. Everything negative in their lives, they dwell on. And none of the positive promises that Christ gives!
2. Acknowledge Jesus as Lord of all. Check out the five words found in the parenthesis at the end of verse 36: “He is Lord of all.” Jesus is Lord of Israelites and of Gentiles. 1 Timothy 6:15 says He is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Listen. There is no way to be saved unless we confess Jesus is Lord. Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Sometimes we fall into saying, “we make Him Lord” when we surrender to Him but actually, He is Lord, whether we submit to Him or not. Because He is Lord, as the song “Oh Holy Night” declares, we must “fall on our knees and receive the gift of heaven.”
The distortion is particularly clear in evangelism. In modern practice the call to repentance is usually called an ‘invitation,’ which one can obviously accept our refuse. It is offered politely. Seldom do we hear presented God’s sovereign demand to repent or His demand for submission to the authority of His appointed King, Christ Jesus.”
3. Absorb all Jesus said and did. Before someone can be saved by the Savior, they must know about the Savior. In verses 37-39, Peter summarizes what Jesus said and did, following the outline presented in the Gospel. “37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.”
Peter tells Cornelius and his friends that they knew enough about the life of Jesus to submit to His Lordship. The phrase, “you yourselves know” is emphatic. Jesus ministered throughout the land of Israel and even into the surrounding countries.
The word “anointed” is the word for “Messiah” in Hebrew and “Christ” in Greek. Jesus is the long-awaited Savior, the one who fulfills prophecy and exhibits the very power of God. By the way, all three members of the Trinity are evident in verse 38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit.”
If you don’t know much about Jesus, read one of the four gospels. I recommend you start with Mark or John. Then when you’re done, read all of them. If you hope to know Jesus, you must first know about Him.
4. Agree that Jesus died on a tree. The key part of the gospel is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Because of grace, He died in our place. Listen to the last part of verse 39: “They put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree.” Peter picked up on this when he later wrote these words in
1 Peter 2:24: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree.”
In Galatians 5:13 Paul writes: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” Here’s a deep thought. Jesus took the curse which belonged to us by becoming the curse for us. The curse is reversed when we repent and receive Christ into our lives.
5. Affirm that Jesus was raised from the dead. Aren’t you glad we don’t serve a dead Savior? Jesus has conquered sin, Satan and death itself by rising from the dead, validating everything He claimed. We see this in verse 40-41: “40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.”
The reality of the resurrection is the foundation of the Book of Acts. Listen to Acts 1:3: “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”
Jesus appeared to well over 500 people and even ate and drank with some of them to show He was raised from the dead bodily. Peter himself is one of those witnesses.
6. Admit you deserve judgment. While some churches have stopped preaching about Hell or judgment, in verse 42 Peter is given a direct order to preach that Jesus is the ultimate Judge: “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” He is the One appointed by God Himself and He needs no hearings… He is confirmed.
Because of our sins, each of us deserve judgment, condemnation and a sentence resulting in eternal separation in Hell. 1 Peter 4:5 says everyone will have to appear before Judge Jesus: “But they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”
7. Accept Christ by faith alone for forgiveness of sins. The order here is important. If we don’t first believe in coming judgment, we won’t be interested in the coming of Jesus. If you know you are a condemned sinner, you’ll be eager to hear how you can be saved. Or to say it another way, you must know you are lost before you’ll want to be found. The bad news is bad, but that only makes the good news really good!
Look at verse 43: “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” I love how all the prophets in the Old Testament pointed to Christ and to the message of forgiveness. Let’s pause and ponder the phrase, “whoever believes in Him”. The offer of forgiveness goes out to those from a Jewish background and to those who are Gentiles.
Forgiveness is available for Jew, Gentile, Samaritan, American, Armenian, African, prostitute, adulterer, Democrat, Republican, and Independent. Luke 24:47: “and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
So, here’s the deal. You will either face Jesus as Judge or you will face Jesus as Justifier. You will either be condemned because of your sins or you’ll be commended because the Savior has forgiven your sins. You’ll either go to Heaven because Jesus has taken on your curse or you will be cursed forever in a hot place called Hell. Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Baptism was their first step of obedience. As we’ve already seen in the Book of Acts, baptism always follows belief. Look at verse 47-48 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. The expected answer is a hearty “no.”. Baptism is the next step after belief.
Both Jew and Gentile have free and full access in Scripture alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, for the glory of God alone! That’s exactly what we read in
1 Corinthians 12:13:
1 Corinthians 12:13
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Baptism provides the believer with the opportunity to identify with Christ and to be incorporated into the church. Gathering to grow was a priority. I almost missed the importance of the very last phrase in verse 48: “Then they asked him to remain for some days.” Peter was willing to linger in order to help them learn more about the Lord. He continued gathering with them so they could grow.
If your rationale for staying away from your church family hasn’t been carefully defined, you run the risk of never returning to church. If you do not draw a line in the sand right now and determine when you will return to worship, you may never return. You will find other things to fill your Sunday and commitment to your church will slowly fade away.
Please understand I’m committed to grace and not trying to be judgmental. Everyone has to wrestle with these complicated issues and come to their own conclusion. If you want to be saved today, you can be…or maybe the Holy Spirit interrupted this sermon and you already trusted Christ! Let’s hold on to these seven essential ingredients of the grace Gospel.
1. Assert that the gospel alone brings peace.
2. Acknowledge Jesus as Lord of all.
3. Absorb all Jesus did and said.
4. Agree that Jesus died on a tree.
5. Affirm that Jesus was raised from the dead.
6. Admit you deserve judgment.
7. Accept Christ by faith alone and receive forgiveness.
“Hope That Never Dies”
1 Peter 1:3-9
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, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
Faith, hope and love are all tied to the resurrection of Christ. The three Apostles whose works we are reading, from all personally experienced what they were writing about! They all gave eyewitness testimony of seeing Jesus after He was raised from the dead! They all had first-hand knowledge of the great faith, great hope and great love because of their assurance of Christ’s resurrection!
There’s great power in that kind of testimony…the testimony of people who are certain about spiritual realities. Today we look at the great power in hope from the pen of a man full of hope.
Consider this tremendous Bible passage on hope from the writings of the Apostle Peter.
Peter penned these words many years after Christ’s death and resurrection. He was writing to encourage the persecuted Christians of Asia Minor.
They were being abused by overbearing bosses (2:18), threatened by unbelieving spouses (3:1,6), and ridiculed by skeptical neighbors and associates (4:14). On the horizon loomed the possibility of a much more violent form of persecution (4:12-18). It was a very anti-Christian society.
How do you cling to hope when your life is undergoing these kinds of tests? What do you do when life seems to have more questions than answers?
You’ve got to have hope to keep on going. You’re going to have to have "a hope that never dies" the Bible speaks of in verse 3.
I want to answer three questions today about this powerful hope:
1) What is it? 2) How can you get it? 3) How does this hope empower you?
1. WHAT IS THE "HOPE THAT NEVER DIES?"
First of all you need to realize that the New Testament idea of hope is different from the way we use the word hope today. We plan a cookout and invite some friends over and we say, "I hope it doesn’t rain." We’re referring to the uncertainty of future events. You might be surprised to know that…that is not the same thing as the Bible meaning of hope.
When the Bible speaks of hope it is talking about the very opposite of uncertainty. It is communicating with assurance, with confidence that these future events spoken of are going to take place.
It’s essential that you get this difference fixed in your thinking. Re-read some of our text passage with me with this meaning in mind and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
1 Peter 1:3-5
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.
From these verses contain certainty after certainty after certainty. The Bible concept of hope involves certainty – not uncertainty. But there’s another thing about "a hope that never dies" you also need to understand. It might be easier to explain by considering the opposite of a living hope, to a dead hope.
It’s like "dead faith." Do you remember what the Apostle James said about dead faith?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
One of the themes in James’ writings was "faith without works is dead." (James 2:20)
True faith produces results and change in the life of the person who has faith. If a person has not changed, since professing faith in Christ then his or her faith is really dead. It’s not a genuine faith. True faith produces true change, not perfection, but moving away from the wrong way of life and moving toward the right way of life.
Now apply that same principle to hope. "A hope that never dies" is going to produce something. It’s a productive entity. It has power to change how you think, how you talk and how you live! That’s a very good thing! We need hope to face life’s challenges just like the original recipients of the Apostle Peter’s letter needed hope to face their tests.
"A hope that never dies" is a reassuring thing. It’s positive. It deals with the future in certain terms and so it produces positive results!
Several years ago Parade Magazine carried the story of the self-made millionaire Eugene Land and how he greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem. Mr. Land had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. What could he say to make a difference in the lives of these students, most of whom would eventually drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these kids from poor neighborhoods to even look at him.
When he arrived at the school and stood before the class of innocent faces he scrapped his notes and decided to speak to them from his heart.
"Stay in school," he admonished, "and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you." At that moment the lives of these students changed forever. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, "I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling." Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school!
That’s the power of hope! And what God offers you if more fabulous than anything even a millionaire can offer you! That’s the answer to our first question.
1. WHAT IS THE "HOPE THAT NEVER DIES?"
(1) It’s something for sure, something certain. (2) And it’s something that has the power to produce positive change in your life!
The next question is…
2. HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN THIS "HOPE THAT NEVER DIES?"
How can you activate this powerful promise in your life? The answer is given in verse 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”.
To have "a hope that never dies," you must be born again. How can you be born again? Being born again, or spiritual birth, is by faith in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The Bible expands on this idea later in this same chapter.
You have been born again, and this new life did not come from something that dies, but from something that cannot die. You were born again through God’s living message that continues forever.
1 Peter 1:23-25
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because, “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
So, first of all, you obtain this hope by being born again. Secondly, verse 3 says, "This hope is ours because Jesus was raised from the dead."
The Apostle Peter was one of over 500 people who saw Jesus after His resurrection.
(1 Cor. 15:5) He was certain that he could place his hope in Jesus because Christ conquered death.
Since Christ rose from the dead you can firmly place your trust in Him. You can place your life and your soul in His hands. You can depend upon His love and care. You can follow His wisdom for your life. You can rest assured that God is for you and not against you!
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.
The moment you accept Christ’s death in your place on the cross and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead the Bible says you are "born again."
That’s how you obtain this powerful hope! You’re born again when you entrust yourself and commit yourself to the truth of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection!
1. WHAT IS THE "HOPE THAT NEVER DIES?"
It’s something for sure, something certain. And it’s something that has the power to produce positive change in your life!
2. HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN THIS "HOPE THAT NEVER DIES?"
You become born again by entrusting yourself and committing yourself to the truth of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection!
3. HOW DOES THIS HOPE EMPOWER YOU?
1 Peter 1:13-15
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.
Being born again, by entrusting and committing yourself to the truth of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection gives you a new set of desires. That’s what the Bible is talking about here. Your new-found hope produces new and holy conduct.
When we say holy, we’re not talking about walking around in robes and repeating chants all day. The Bible idea of holiness is not being sanctimonious. It’s not acting like you’re better than other people. That’s a terrible misconception of holiness. Holiness is being like God, it’s being like Jesus.
But we all know that we have some problems here. Our human nature doesn’t want to be holy. It doesn’t want to be like God. It wants to be controlled by its desires. So, here’s what’s got to happen. Hope has to push those desires out of the way.
Giving in to your sinful desires is the opposite of hope.
Let me give you some examples.
You worry over some future problem, a relationship that’s about to run into a wall or a bill that needs to be paid or whatever. Your subconscious says to you, “If things are going to be that bad tomorrow, I may as well get pleasure today.” A mild form of this would be overeating; a more serious form would be stealing. Or another way that sinful desires may trump your hope is to respond to anxiety by self-pity or depression. You give in to the selfish desire to focus on self.
The Bible answer to this is in verse 13 - "with minds that are alert and fully sober”,. (Circle that phrase – that’s spiritual dynamite!) Put all your hope in how kind God will be to you when Jesus Christ appears.
How does hope empower you? Instead of giving up hope the Bible says: "with minds that are alert and fully sober”. Something very helpful later in this same book of the Bible is:
1 Peter 5:7
7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
You have to think straight and realize that since Christ conquered death He can help you conquer your problems without resorting to the sinful desires of your human nature. You can turn to God with your seemingly hopeless situations. You can turn all your worries over to Him.
So, hope empowers you by correcting hopeless thinking. Hope empowers you by correcting hopeless thinking. Another way you can be empowered by hope is by considering the return of Christ…The middle part of verse 13 says, “set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”
Pay close attention to the fact that it is the kindness of God that the Bible is talking about as the motivation for hope.
When I was a new believer in Christ, I used to think that the main reason I should want to live a pure life in connection with the Second Coming of Christ was because I didn’t want Him to come back and find me doing something bad. I didn’t want to be embarrassed by my behavior. Now, I’m not saying that isn’t a biblical truth – but that’s not the motivation listed here. The motivation listed here is the kindness of God. God is going to be kind to everyone who has been born again, to everyone who has put his or her trust in the resurrected Son of God!
We need to respond to God’s kindness by doing right things. When Jesus comes back, we want to be able to have a track record of good works and not bad works. You should want to please Him because He’s been so kind to you and I!
The Bible mentions this connection between living a holy life in connection with the Second Coming of Christ elsewhere as well.
1 John 3:2-3
2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
The certainty of Christ’s return helps us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy.
If you are born again, God is at work in your life to get you to become more like Jesus! And that process will be completed when Jesus returns! Circle that phrase in verse 2, “we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him,” That’s the hope, the born again follower of Christ has! God’s kindness toward us is that we are being made more like Jesus in this life and in the life to come we will get to be like Him! We won’t be tempted to sin anymore. No faults. No failures. No mess ups!
A young man was trying to establish himself as a peach grower. He worked hard and invested everything he had in a peach orchard. Finally it blossomed, but later came a frost and killed his chances of having a good peach crop. He did not go to church the next Sunday, nor the next, nor the next.
His pastor went to try to encourage him to get back to church. The young man complained, "I’m not coming back to church. Do you think I want to worship a God who cares for me so little that He will let a frost kill all of my peaches?" The old minister looked at him in silence for a few moments, then kindly said, "God loves you more than He does your peaches. He knows that while peaches do better without frost, it is impossible to grow the best men without frost. His object is to grow men, not peaches."
God wants you to experience the power of "the hope that never dies" in your life!
1. WHAT IS THE "HOPE THAT NEVER DIES?"
It’s something for sure, something certain. And it’s something that has the power to produce positive change in your life!
2. HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN THIS "HOPE THAT NEVER DIES?"
You become born again by entrusting yourself and committing yourself to the truth of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
3. HOW DOES THIS HOPE EMPOWER YOU?
A hope that never dies produces holy conduct – it produces the ability to overcome the human desires to do wrong things and do the right things because God has been kind to you.
The Christian life is both a joyful and serious matter. It takes a conscious, deliberate, Spirit filled action to ponder Gods grace and Jesus’ return in such a way that it positively shapes how we live.
Pastor Richard Santos
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