02 Aug A Living Hope – 8/2/2020
Welcome to a little different service this weekend! We have, in the Sanctuary, hundreds of bees.
That’s right, God’s little creatures, intended by Him to serve his creation as pollinators, have chosen to inhabit our roof structure. Hundreds of the poor dears are flying into, somehow, the room itself, dying, and falling to the ground throughout the worship space. We have moved worship this weekend to the Parish Hall, where there is no recording equipment at all – so if you have a moment, get your Bible and let’s talk 1 Peter together.
Grace, Peace, and Mercy to you from God our Father and from His Son Jesus, the Christ!
You’ll remember last week we looked at verses 1 and 2 of Peter’s first letter – this week let’s dig a little deeper.
Go to verse 3 and following, through to verse 12.
Notice that in God’s great mercy, He has given to us a re-birth, maybe a better word there is regeneration, a making new again – through His Spirit giving us faith. As Paul so eloquently says, that rebirth and faith through grace is not of our own doing, but only because of God’s great love for us (Ephesians 2:1-10).
Born into what? A living hope. A forgiveness of sin that in our faith is assured, constant, lasting – note Peter says a “living hope,” present tense. Do you see that life is a characteristic or quality of that hope, not its object (Cleon Rogers et al, 1998). The Hope is Jesus Himself, who through His resurrection from the dead has shown what a living faith will accomplish for us.
Peter calls that an inheritance, our inheritance, as brothers and sisters in Christ, the firstborn from the dead. And here Peter uses 3 adjectives to describe that inheritance: imperishable, undefiled, unfading. That inheritance in the family of Christ, life eternal with Him, is untouched by death, by the evil in this world, by time itself. The word Peter uses for “unfading” refers to flowers, which normally fade pretty quickly. When used so expressively in this context these three words together reflect immortality, purity, and beauty (Beare, 1981).
In verse 5 Peter reminds us that this inheritance, promised and delivered by the Son of God, is being kept “guarded, through faith, for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” We live in the now, of course, and recognize our full inheritance, salvation, is prepared and kept in heaven by God Himself, in the not yet. We might make a mess of our lives from time to time, and the impacts of a fallen world are pretty obvious especially now, but in the not yet is perfection and peace in God’s grace. How does Peter put it? See verse 6: we rejoice, though now for a while we are grieved by various trials, so that the genuineness of our faith will result in “praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” – the last day (verse 7).
Our opening hymn this day – if only you could sing it with us – is “When Peace, Like a River.” Many know it by “It Is Well With My Soul.” The writer, Horatio Gates Spafford, wrote it in 1874, sailing to Wales to retrieve his wife, who with their four daughters experienced, in mid-Atlantic, a collision resulting in the deaths of 300 people, including their 4 daughters. Talk about being grieved by a trial. And, in his faith that God’s plan is certain and good for those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28), Spafford was able to produce this enduring hymn. That is a miracle of faith.
Keep reading. Verse 10 speaks of the prophets of old, moved by the Holy Spirit to seek the time and manner of God’s grace breaking into human history. They could not know, of course, except that God said from a single seed would come The One who would strike the head of Satan. The sufferings of Christ, and His glory soon after, can be read in the Old Testament, Psalm 22, and many places in Isaiah.
Peter writes, verse 12: “It was revealed to them (the prophets of old) that they were serving not themselves but you” that is, the people to whom Peter was writing then and we people eagerly awaiting Christ’s return now. The Good News has been announced, preached, read and spoken, studied and loved – these things “into which angels long to look.”
The Good News that we are saved by grace, through faith, is contained in the Word we cherish. I am sorry we could not post a video this weekend – chased out of the Sanctuary by bees, a new one on me.
Prayerfully we’ll be back in there next weekend, and able to post a video of the service – please look forward to joining us then. Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you!