1. Live in Hope - Milo Wilson (I Peter 1:1-12) Living HOPE




Living HOPE Series
  • When Jesus asked his disciples. "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" Peter responded "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus promised Peter that upon the Rock of that confession He would build His church. The truth of who Jesus is empowers common man to speak the message that opens the doors of heaven to sinners. Join us to learn strong principles for Godly living and reach new heights in our faith as we work our way through Peter's writings which evangelize the lost and instruct the church.
1. Live in Hope (I Peter 1:1-12)
  • Those who come to faith in Christ have an eternal inheritance in heaven, a salvation that is the basis on which one can live in hope for the future with joy in all things in the present.
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance - What are the central ideas of this text?
    • God is omniscient and knows who His children are. – I Peter 1:2 & 3
    • The future “inheritance” of salvation for all those in Christ is a certainty. – I Peter 1:4-9
    • The path on earth to future glory in Christ may include suffering, which prove and refine the reality of one's faith. – I Peter 1:6-9
  • Implications - What questions should the listener be asking?
    • What does it mean to you that God knew you were to be His child even before you chose to follow Jesus?  What does it mean to you that you are His child?   
    • How is your hope in Christ a “living” hope?  What does it mean to you for living that your salvation “can never perish, spoil or fade?”  IN light of this, what should your attitude be (cf. I Peter 1:8)?
    • If you have trials and suffering in this life, what does that say about your faith?  How should your faith help you with your living in the midst of trials and suffering?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide 
  • Interpretation - What is the text telling/showing us?
    • What does it mean to be “chosen” by God according to His foreknowledge?
    • What is the “sanctifying” work of the Spirit? 
    • What is the reason that God the Father is “blessed?” (verse 3)  List what God has done for those He has “chosen.” 
    • Define what it means to have a “living hope.”  Where does that living hope come from? 
    • How does one obtain such a living hope, and what is the outcome of that living hope?
    • What does faith have to do with one's living hope?  How is one's faith shown to be real and lasting?  
    • What should be the source and basis of our rejoicing in life?
    • What should be our view of trials and suffering we face in life?
    • What was the source and meaning of salvation to the prophets of old?  Did they understand that concerning which they were prophesying?  For whose benefit was their prophetic word about salvation and the Messiah?
  • Implementation - What should the listeners response be?
    • Why were you “chosen” by God?  What part did you play in your own salvation?
    • What are the bases for which you bless God the Father?   
    • What is being “born again?”  What is that to you?  How were you born again?
    • What does it mean to you to “live in hope?”    
    • How certain is a living hope according to God?  How certain is your living hope to you
    • Describe what is certain about living hope to you and why that grounds and enables you for your life on earth?
    • Do you have trials and sufferings?  How should you handle such?  What does it mean that such trials and sufferings are for “a little while?”
    • What is the outcome of your salvation?  How does that outcome empower you to live in the now?
    • What is the cause of your rejoicing in life?  Are you rejoicing?  If not, shouldn't you be, and what can you do to have that attitude and mindset?
    • Are you thankful that God revealed the truth of His plan to bring salvation through Jesus Christ to you?
Sermon Teaching Notes (as compiled by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation - What's generally going on in this area of scripture?
We begin a study in these Notes of the New Testament letter we call I Peter. The letter purports to be written by Peter, the apostle of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:1), and scholars generally agree that Peter was in fact the author, though with the input of his co-worker, Silvanus (I Peter 5:12). What form that input took is not known; perhaps Peter dictated his general thoughts for Silvanus to put the specifics into his own words; perhaps Peter wrote or dictated the letter and Silvanus simply edited. We don't know. However, the letter clearly comes from the mind of Peter no matter how specifically delivered, and speaks with the authority of the one who followed Jesus as a called out apostle (Mark 3:16-19), who witnessed Jesus' death and resurrection (I Peter 5:1), and who preached the gospel particularly to the Jews (Galatians 2:7- 10) and was a leader in the early church (I Peter 5:1).

We see in the book of Acts that Peter was the one who preached at Pentecost and was the primary focus of the first 13 chapters of that book, until the focus shifts to Paul. Peter's ministry was first in Jerusalem, but moved out of that city to preach to Jews elsewhere (Acts 12:17b; Galatians 2:11). It is probable that Peter continued to minister in Asia Minor and ended his ministry in Rome where he was apparently martyred near the end of the reign of Nero. In this letter, Peter writes to the “elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappodocia, Asia and Bithynia” by God's foreknowledge (I Peter 1:1). Who are these people? These were Jewish believers who were living outside of the Holy Land (therefore a part of all those Jews who no longer live in – are dispersed from – the land of Israel and who are therefore the “exiles” from among God's chosen people).

These particular “exiles” happen to live in the areas listed by Peter, all of which are in the greater Asia Minor area (present day western Turkey) in which Peter had ministered. Some of these folk may have been from among the Jews expelled from Rome during one of the various purges (cf. Acts 18:2); but the majority of his readers would simply have been those Jews living in the Asia Minor areas already. And all of his readers would have been in the minority within that area; in other words, living in Gentile territory and in the midst of a Gentile and Hellenistic culture. Further, he calls his readers the “elect” ( or the “chosen”) who were such by the foreknowledge of God by means of the “sanctifying” of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus the Son. Without taking a side-trip into what “foreknowledge” means in depth, it is fair to suggest that at least it means that because God is omniscient (knows all things), He knows in advance who will be His and He therefore “chooses” them even before they respond having been enabled to do so by the work of the Spirit in them by which they could become follower of Jesus Christ and obedient to Him.

To these, Peter wrote his greeting, one most typical of letters from Christians of that day: “grace and peace,” and adds that these be “multiplied” to them (or be theirs “in fullest measure,” I Peter 1:2b). In verse 3, Peter begins his message to these Jewish believers who are living as “foreigners” within their own country so to speak. They are, as noted, a minority group within the Gentile/Greek culture of their area. And by minority, we mean as Jews, but moreso as Christians. Hence, Peter's readers would be on the outside of the culture of their surroundings simply by being Jewish, and on the outside of both the culture of their surroundings and of the Jews as well simply by being Christian. Thus, as will be seen throughout, Peter's letter is one of encouragement, of how to live as followers of Jesus in a hostile world among hostile neighbors and under a government that has and continues to persecute such minorities as they are. The overall message of the letter is that followers of Jesus are to “live in hope” in the present, as difficult as it may be, but in light of the glorious future which is guaranteed for them in Christ.

In verses three through twelve of chapter one, Peter writes of the hope that is in Christ, and that we should “live in hope.” In these verses, he writes of our salvation which is the basis of our hope. He writes that our salvation is from God (“he has caused us to be born again,” I Peter 1:3), that our salvation is firm, that it cannot be lost no matter what, that it is kept and maintained for us by God Himself, that it is a sure thing that is both a present and a future reality. He uses strong terms to convey this message: our salvation is “an inheritance” (we will receive what God has willed to us, as it were), is “imperishable” (will not fade of degrade), that is “undefiled” (retains its purity), is “unfading” (retains its luster), and is “kept in heaven.” (I Peter 1:4). And it is God's power that guards His own through their faith for the future of their salvation which will be revealed in the end (I Peter 1:5). In all these things, God is both blessed (I Peter 1:3) and the cause and source of rejoicing (I Peter 1:6, 8). But given that the present life of his readers (and us) is the source of trials and suffering because of our status as His people in a hostile world, Peter places those sufferings in the greater context of our rejoicing in the reality of what He has done for us in the now and will do for us in the future.

He says that any such sufferings will be only “for a little while” (I Peter 1:6) which means a short time in the context of our eternal future with Him. In other words, suffering is temporary; salvation is eternal, even while joy is both now and forever. But even more, such perseverance in present suffering shows the genuineness of our faith by the very testing of suffering, and ultimately leads to the glory that is to come which is the ultimate outcome of our faith, namely the salvation of our souls (I Peter 1:7-9). In short, suffering is both necessary, in a sense, and purposeful: it is necessary as a matter of testing and proving faith in Him; it is purposeful for the producing of joy in Him and sharing His glory. How great is this salvation of which Peter writes to his beleagured readers? As if what he has already written is not enough to show the greatness and value of our salvation for the living of life in hope, Peter adds that ours is the salvation looked towards and prophesied about by the prophets; it is the present result of the reality of the coming of Christ, His death and resurrection; it is the good news the message of which was imparted by the Spirit through God's messengers; it is the fulfillment of things into which angels longed to look into and understand.

All told, this salvation and the living hope that it brings to life is AMAZING! (I Peter 1:10-12) What a message of encouragement for those who were living day to day with at least some amount of hostility aimed their way, and difficulties in living just because of who they were and what they believed. Living hope was theirs; and it would empower them to live every day for Jesus, in obedience to Him and for His glory, taking the “long view” of life, namely that the “best” is yet to come, so “hang in there and live for Him now because He is worth it all.” In reading these verses, one is ready to take on the world for Jesus; one is given the spiritual tools to live victoriously; one is enabled to see beyond the transitoriness of the now to the wonder, beauty and eternality of the future in Christ. How can we then do other than rejoice always with joy that is “inexpressible” (I Peter 1:9)! We have been given the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ; “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:3) who has brought this about in us. Amen!