Hope to shout about!

1 Peter 1v1-9

I wonder if you have been so excited about something that you want to shout it from the rooftops, you want to get above all the noise and tell everyone about it because it is such good news.

There are times in our lives when good news comes along…. babies, engagements, new job, new house, healing, all sorts of things that we want to tell the world about.   These are the moments in our lives when we feel an enormous sense of joy and we want to tell people. 

People receive good news in different ways.   Some go woo hoo!  They jump up and down and spin round and round.  Some just shout ‘yes’ and punch a fist in the air. Depending on the news, some heave a huge sigh of relief as weight is lifted from their shoulders.  Some cry because of the emotion connected with the news.

And Peter this morning in the passage we read together, is telling us good news. It’s good news he has received and it’s good news he is shouting from the rooftops.  Praise, he says, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!   Peter is praising God, why?  

Because in His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, AND into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Peter is rejoicing in what God has done – he has given us new birth through the resurrection of Jesus

Peter is rejoicing in what God is doing – he has brought us into a living hope for today; He is shielding us by God’s power

and Peter is rejoicing in what God is going to do – He’s coming again; He’s going to take us into an inheritance that cannot perish, spoil of fade.  That inheritance is kept in heaven for us.

Peter shouts from the rooftops,  Praise, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for what He’s done, for what He’s doing, and for what He is going to do.

Concerning what?  Concerning salvation.  God’s salvation..  God’s salvation from sin and death. 

When we kicked off this series in 1 Peter, we said that God the Father loves us so much that He wants to spend eternity with us and so He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross as the punishment for our sin – to take the punishment for what separates us from Him.  And God raised Jesus from the dead so that we can know new life – a life free from the chains of sin, a life with God himself, the Holy Spirit, dwelling in us.  That’s what God has provisioned for us – He took the initiative because He loved us that much.

But we need to understand the necessity of the death of Christ and the meaning of His resurrection for ourselves.

We have to accept Christ’s work on the cross for us, that we cannot know eternal life unless we believe in him and accept Him as our saviour.   And when we accept him into our lives, the provision of God gets applied.  The blood of Christ cleanses us from sin, redeems us from the penalty of sin and the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and gives us new life and we become the chosen of God.  Grace and Peace can be ours in abundance.  Hallelujah!  

This is the salvation that Peter knows and this is the salvation that Peter is so excited about, because it gives hope. 

In the film Despicable Me, Gru is downcast. The bank have stopped lending him money to build a rocket to go to the moon.  There is no money left.  He suggest his Minions look for other jobs and get their resume’s in order.   He says they are doomed.  Then the 3 girls he is fostering give him their piggy bank – it has a few coins in it.  Then a minion produces a dollar, then another a watch, and all of a sudden Gru has hope – they will build their rocket with the money from the piggy bank and whatever else they can find.

Hope is used today to inspire.  Used by leaders to inspire the aspirations of what could be, the difference you can make as an individual – what could you discover, what could you build, what kind of society could you be involved in creating.   But hope today in this world is based on a what could be type of hope – an aspirational hope.  It’s not a sure hope;  people might say hope in the world today is a hope against hope – for example some may say I hope Donald Trump will be a good US president, but they don’t actually believe he will.

Peter writes of a sure hope because…. God’s salvation in Jesus, that Peter is so excited about, is a sure hope – it is a hope that holds the future in the present because it is anchored in the past.

It is a hope that is anchored in the past: for Jesus rose! 

Peter says in verse 3, that God has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus was a life changing reality for Peter.   When Jesus died on the cross, it was the end of Peter’s hopes.  He knew the sorrow of his own denial of Jesus. The cockerel crow still ringing in his head.

But Jesus did not stay dead.   On that Easter morning, the women discovered the tomb empty, a young man dressed in white telling them Jesus was alive – to tell his disciples, and Peter, tell that Jesus was alive, the women then saw Jesus alive; Peter heard the message from the women, he ran to the empty tomb to see for himself.   He left in wonder. He appeared to Peter.  He restored Peter.  Hope was reborn in Peter.  Jesus, his master, was alive.  He has seen the living Lord and now he writes to tell us to praise God for that new birth because jesus rose

Hope is alive, for Jesus is alive. He is resurrected from the dead. Our Sin for which he died is defeated; death has been conquered.  Jesus rose!

But it is also a hope that remains in the present: for Jesus lives!  

Christ’s resurrection spells hope for us not just because He lives, but because, by God’s mercy, we live

Again, verse 3, In his great mercy, he (that is God), has given us new life into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Now when we speak of new birth, we often speak of the change that God works in us when we accept Christ into our lives.  The old has gone, the new has come.  We are brought from a place of spiritual death into spiritual life.  But if we only think of the change of what happened to us when we accepted Christ, then we miss something.

When we accepted Jesus, we became united with Him, we are now in Christ. and so in God giving life to Christ, God gives life to us. We have eternal life now.  Peter is declaring what Paul also declared when he said, when Christ rose, we rose.  It is a present tense, living hope that we have today, because our hope is not just based on fact that Jesus rose, it is based on the fact that Jesus lives!  And because He lives, I have life, because I am united with Him in life.   Col 3v3 My life is now hidden with Christ in God

He has brought us into a living hope.  Because he rose I can have new birth and because he lives I  have life and that gives me a present tense living hope.  He lives and he lives in me and I live in him and the reality of our lives that are united by the Spirit of God tells me that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world, tells me he will never leave me nor forsake me, tells me I can talk to him anytime, anywhere about everything, I have a relationship with the living God.  I have a living hope because Jesus lives. 

And it is a hope that will be completed in the future: for Jesus is coming!

verse 5 says that we are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.    Jesus is coming.   And when Jesus comes we will enter into an inheritance – that is kept in heaven for us.

The movie Brewster’s Millions tells the story of a Monty Brewster. He is a Minor League Baseball pitcher with the Hackensack Bulls. He and his best friend Spike Nolan, the Bulls’ catcher, are arrested after a post-game bar fight and cannot afford bail. A stranger offers bail, if they will come to New York City with him. At the Manhattan law office of Granville & Baxter, Brewster is told that his recently deceased great-uncle Rupert Horn, whom he has never met, has left him his entire fortune but with several conditions.

Brewster is challenged to either take $1 million upfront, or spend $30 million within 30 days to inherit $300 million. If he chooses the former, the law firm becomes the executor of the estate and divides the money among charities (after taking a fee). In the latter case, after 30 days, he may not own any assets that are not already his, and he must get value for the services of anyone he hires. He may donate only 5% to charity and lose 5% by gambling, and he may not waste the money by purchasing and destroying valuable items. Finally, he is not allowed to tell anyone, even Spike. If he fails to spend the entire $30 million, he forfeits whatever balance that is left and inherits nothing. Brewster decides to take the $30 million challenge and the movie tells that story.

Now that’s quite an inheritance to be offered, beyond our wildest imagination, to receive especially from a great uncle you’ve never met.  

And sometimes we can view the inheritance that is kept in heaven for us a little bit like that.  God is our great benefactor that will give us a vast sum of money, and a vast mansion that caters for our every whim when we get to heaven.  It will be paradise but only if we’ve been good people here on earth – only if we’ve stored up treasure in heaven.

But it’s not an inheritance like that – it is an inheritance that is already in heaven, kept for us and it’s an inheritance that will not perish.  It cannot be destroyed.   It is an inheritance that will not spoil.  It cannot be defiled.  It is an inheritance that cannot fade.  It cannot dry up or wither.   Peter uses this language to describe something so much better than even the best of this world has to offer.  There is only one thing I know that will not perish, spoil or fade.  Jesus said ‘heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.’  John says that the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was speaking of Jesus.  Jesus will never pass away – he will not perish spoil or fade.  Our inheritance is Jesus, is God himself, to be with him forever. 

Because our inheritance is in heaven, nothing on earth can alter it or destroy it.   Jesus is ascended. He is kept in heaven until he come!

Our inheritance is not simply a land, a city or even a new earth.  It is all that God will give us – His Salvation and our salvation is in Jesus.   God has prepared His salvation for us.  In verse 5, Peter says that it is ready to be revealed. Jesus is ready to come at any moment.  Father just needs to say the word.  Christ is coming for us so that where He is so shall we be forever.

Not only is our inheritance kept for us; we are kept for our inheritance.   We are shielded, verse 4, by God’s power until that great day when the completion of our salvation will be revealed.  We have eternal life now. His Holy Spirit in us guarantee, a seal. We are kept, through faith.   Faith is the confidence of what we hope for, the assurance about what we do not see.  In other words we know of the reality of Christ alive in us now so we have confidence ,in our inheritance and the truth that one day we will be with  the Lord forever.

Conclusion

Have you been so excited about something that you want to shout it from the rooftops, you want to get above all the noise and tell everyone about it because it is such good news.

Peter leads the way for us this morning.  The man who denied Jesus, the man whose hope was  gone, is the man in whom hope was reborn and who who has accepted the living Lord and received the salvation of God. Is the man who leads us is praise to God this morning for his great salvation in Jesus. 

We could not even begin to accomplish it, and we do not in any sense deserve it.  But it is something that has been given to us when we accepted Jesus as our saviour.   It is a sure salvation – it is a sure hope that holds the future in the present because it is anchored in the past.

Our hope is anchored in the past: Jesus rose!

Our hope remains in the present: Jesus lives!

Our hope is completed in the future: Jesus is coming!

As those who know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we are trophies of God’s grace, and we have the privilege of praising the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Father.   The excitement and praise Peter gives in verses 3-5 is not a formula, it is the goal of God’s work in bringing us to salvation that we may praise and glorify His name. 

I wonder, where is your hope?  

There is a saying ‘we live in hope’ – to hope that something you want to happen will happen one day.   Is that the hope you have this morning?

Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  That’s a pretty gloomy outlook on life.  Anything good that happens is just a bonus.

But Peter found something sure that thrilled him; that excited him; that he wanted to shout from the rooftops – to let the whole world know.   God’s salvation.   Jesus Christ who has risen from the dead!  He has given us new birth and because He lives; I live; and He is the inheritance that is kept in heaven for us, and through faith we can live in that sure future today until He comes.

We can should aloud His praise, we can praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s not be ashamed of what Christ has done, what He is doing, what He will do, for Christ is our hope, the hope of Gods salvation that is anchored in the past, remaining in the present and completed in the future. let’s shout it from the rooftops, let’s invite our friends to church, invite our families to church, let others know how great the salvation of God is. Let others come and meet Jesus so they too can know this good news, nay… this great news of Gods salvation.

Amen.