Set Your Hope (1 Peter 1:13-25)July 10, 2022 | Meritt Raup
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Well, good morning, everyone. It’s great to be with you all today as we open God’s Word together. So, if you have your Bible with you, please turn to the book of First Peter. First Peter one, verses 13 through 25. If you don’t have a Bible with you, you’re welcome to use one from the seat back in front of you. And you can find our passage on page 981, the classic movie from 1939, Dorothy, and her dog Toto are whisked away to the magical land of Oz after a Tornado rips through their town in Kansas. And this leads them on a great adventure with a scarecrow, a tin man, a lion. And of course, a wizard. When perhaps the most famous line from this movie is when Dorothy realizes something, she says, todo, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. And I wonder if you’ve ever felt this way yourself. I wonder if you’ve ever felt different. And what I mean by different is out of place, like you don’t belong somewhere. And even though this is a famous line from a movie that was made 83 years ago, now, I think it captures at least a little bit of our experience as Christians today. We feel like we don’t belong here. We’re in an unfamiliar place. We don’t fit into the system of the world around us. Maybe as a parent, you consider the values that our society tells you, you should be instilling in your children. And those values don’t line up with what we know to be true from God’s Word. Or as a student, when your classmates pressure you into participating in things that you know, are wrong. They try to fit you into a certain mold of what you should be like, are in the business world when profits are prioritized over integrity. And you feel stuck, you’re not sure what to do. We often feel this pressure when we consider all the hot topic issues in our society today. You know, someone on this side says one thing, and then someone on the other side says another thing. And we often feel like neither option fully captures all that God’s word calls us to. We feel somewhat like an exile. Like our home is not here on Earth. We belong to another kingdom. Well, the book of First Peter was written to Christians who felt this tension to their believers in Jesus, yet they’re living in this world, that seems to NOT honor GOD. So our passage today, I hope will encourage you and equip you to live in the midst of this tension. faithfully, we want to live in this world as Christians. And so Peter does this by giving us one main command, and then three instructions that will help us. So we see that our command comes at the beginning. And this command is to set your hope on Jesus. So read with me first Peter one, verse 13, says, Therefore, with mines 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. So there’s our command set your hope on Jesus. And notice that our passage begins with the word therefore. And as Shane helpfully reminded us last week, whenever we come across that word, therefore, we have to ask the question, what is the therefore therefore? Well, this means that everything that Peter is about to say in our passage today, is based on the previous verses the previous section, verses three through 12. In this section, Peter praises God for what He has done through Jesus Christ. Look with me, verse three, if you’re able, he says, 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 spoil, perish or fade. Isn’t that an awesome verse? That’s the hope that we have as Christians, that God has given us new life. We have a living hope, and we have an eternal inheritance.
Peter explains more about this hope that we have as believers. He says we’ll fully experience this inheritance that we have when Jesus returns, and then we enter into heaven and even the process If it’s pointed forward to this, when they wrote the Old Testament, they were longing for the day that Jesus would come. And even the angels themselves long to see the plan that God has to redeem His people, really is a glorious picture of our salvation. So this is what Peter has in mind when he starts verse 13, with therefore. So what he’s saying is, because you have been born again to a living hope, and because you have this perfect inheritance waiting for you in heaven, because all the prophets were pointing forward to this, therefore, this is how you should respond Christian, set your hope, on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. This is how we should respond when we feel like exiles in this world, in the midst of this tension. When you look at the condition of our society with so much sin and brokenness that we just prayed about, set your hope on Jesus. When your coworker maligns you for your faith, set your hope on Jesus. And when your classmates reject you, because of your faith, set your hope on Jesus. Because when Jesus returns, He will set all things right regarding sin. And then we’ll experience this glorious inheritance that we have in Jesus. But notice, too, that the command to set your hope on Jesus requires an active response. You know, consider your average Cubs fan, for example. You know, I’ve been here three weeks now and think every single week, there’s been a Cubs illustration, so I gotta throw it in there. You know, your average Cubs fan hopes that their team does well, right? Very rarely, unfortunately. Does this actually turn into a reality? It’s simply wishful thinking. You know, I can say this coming from Pennsylvania being a Phillies fan. It’s been my experience as well. See, there’s not much you can do to change the situation. But you hope for it you long to see your team win. Or consider a young couple going on their first date. What a nervous experience. You know, the young girl gets her hair all done, she puts on her makeup, does her nails all nice, she picks out a cute outfit. She probably even consults her closest friends for a few hours to get ready for the evening. And the whole process takes almost the whole day, practically. And while she’s doing that, the young man hopefully takes a shower and picks out one of his nice shirts. He only has a couple of them anyway. And he’s ready to go in about 10 minutes. And so they go out for a meal. And you know that the entire time both of them are thinking the same thing. I hope he likes me. I hope she likes me. And so they’re hoping is primarily in their hearts. It’s something they long for their affections. It’s more like a feeling to them than an action. And I will in this passage, we’re taught that when we set our hope on Jesus. It’s not primarily a feeling that we have. It’s not wishful thinking or unfounded optimism. Rather, when we set our hope on Jesus, it’s it’s a resolve to live in a way that’s consistent with this new life that we have in Christ. It’s a confident looking forward to the hope that we have coming true. We believe that what God has promised will come to pass. And we have a resolve to live like it’s true. You know, verse 13, says, Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober. In order for us to set our hope on Jesus, our minds must be alert. And we must be fully sober. When it says sober, don’t think primarily about alcohol, but think more of being sober as the ability to control yourself. It’s the self control that is part of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians chapter five, we must be in the right spiritual state of mind, so to speak. And being fully sober is closely related to having an alert mind.
You know, this phrase is translated with mines that are alert. A literal translation would read something like girding up the loins of your mind. This is a metaphor that anyone in the ancient world would have gotten very clearly. Because back then everyone wore these these long tunics right and it’s difficult to run or get work done if you’re wearing a long tunic and so what they would do is they would they would reach behind and grab the back of their tunic and then they would pull up between their legs and tuck it into their belt to stick Hear it. So it turned our tunic into something more like a pair of shorts. And this would allow them to move freely and to get work done or to run. So this process was called girding up your loins. So that’s the image that Peter wants us to visualize when he says, have your minds have your minds alert? You know, I think a helpful modern phrase might be something like, roll up the sleeves of your mind, get ready to go. Strap yourself in, start your engines. Before we can set our hope on Jesus, we must resolve in our minds to pursue it. It’s not something that will automatically happen to us. We must think clearly about in our minds, and we must be ready to go when the time comes. So that’s our command, set your hope on Jesus. But this is only the first verse, we have plenty more to go. And now that we have this command, I think we need some help on how to actually obey it. What does it look like to set your hope on Jesus today? Well, Peter goes on in this passage by giving us three instructions now on how to set your hope on Jesus. So the rest of our time, we’re going to unpack these three instructions. And the first instruction that Peter gives is to set your hope on Jesus, by being holy, by being holy. Look with me, verses 14 through 16 says, As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy, and all you do, for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. So that’s the that’s the instruction, we have to set your hope on Jesus by being holy. And to understand why or what it means for us to be holy, we must first understand what it means that God is holy, because that’s the reason why we have this instruction, isn’t it? Did you notice that? Twice, we see the holiness of God as the reason why you and I should be holy. He says, just as He who called you is holy, so it’d be holy. And then again, when he quotes, Leviticus 19 Two, says, Be holy, because I am holy. Our call for holiness, stems from God’s holiness. This isn’t a light subject to talk about. Holiness, by definition means completely other different. God is morally perfect. He’s absolutely good. He is altogether righteous, far above any other authority in the world. You know, when I think of God’s holiness, I think of Isaiah chapter six, where, where Isaiah, I guess, this vision, this glimpse of the throne room in heaven, God is seated on his throne, he’s high and lifted up, and there’s smoke fills the room. And there’s these these Sarafem, these angelic beings, they have six wings, and two of them cover their eyes because they can’t even look at God. Because God is so glorious. And they call out to each other. They say, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory. And the ground shakes at the sound of their cry. And Isaiah seeing this vision, he falls on his face and he says, Woe is me, I am ruined. He just can’t stand to be in God’s presence looking at this vision. And that’s what God’s holiness does to people. I think of of Moses in Exodus 33, and 34, where he goes out Mount Sinai to receive the 10 commandments for the second time, because the people sinned after the first time and he wanted to see the glory of God says, God, show me your glory. I want to see it. And God says, no, no one can see my glory face to face and live, you will surely die.
But God says, Okay, I’m gonna hide you in Iraq. I’m gonna hide you behind this, this crevice and I’m gonna put my hand over you. And then I’m going to walk by, and you’re just gonna get a glimpse of the backside of my glory, with my hand covering you to shield you from it to protect you. And then afterwards, Moses, when he goes back down to the people, His face shone so bright, that he had to wear a veil because the people were blinded. Just as a reflection of the glory He had experienced just a glimpse of it, the backside as Gods passing by him. That’s what the holiness of God is like. And Peter says, If we want to set our hope on Jesus, we must be holy to because God is holy, we should be holy. That’s the instruction but but what does it look like for us to be holy, because we can’t be perfect in the same way God is perfect. We’re not worthy of worship, the way God is worthy of our worship. Well, it’s crucial to remember that the first three words of verse 14 starts with As obedient children, As obedient children as a short phrase, but it’s really important because there’s a real in terrible danger in pursuing holiness, to try and become God’s child to earn his favor. So that’s a false gospel. That’s not what Peter is saying here. Instead, we pursue holiness, because we are already God’s children. You see the difference there. It’s crucial, it’s really important. This is gonna be helpful, because later on in verse 22, we’ll see a Peter says, You have purified yourselves by obeying the truth. So later on, when we get to that verse, we have to remember this, that it’s not our works that earn us God’s favor, the Bible is crystal clear on that it’s only by his grace, it’s a gift, not from our own works. It’s when we’re called to this holiness. It’s not to convince God to lead us into heaven, because we’re good enough. Because we do the right things or say the right words, our pursuit of holiness, is a response to the adoption that we have already received from God. Now there’s a really helpful book by by Jerry bridges. It’s called the pursuit of holiness. And he describes this pursuit as two things. One, it takes effort. And then two, it’s a lifelong process. So in other words, pursuing holiness means putting in effort to become more like Jesus. Verse 14, it says, Do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. As Christians, our conduct should be different than what it was before we were Christians. We should sin less, and do good more, should strive to be different than the rest of the world. We don’t live like that anymore. And while we put in effort, we also realize that God is the one who gives us the growth. We’re like, we’re like the farmer who tilled the ground and plants the seed and waters the field. But God is the one who ultimately provides the growth. So at the same time that we put in effort, our pursuit of holiness is also a lifelong process will never be made perfect in this life. Until we enter into eternity, we’re a work in progress. Eugene Peterson has another helpful image when describing this, he he calls the pursuit of holiness, a long obedience in the same direction. And I really liked that image, a long obedience in the same direction. You know, our pursuit of holiness is not a perfectly straight line, often. And you all know this, if you’ve been walking with the Lord for a while. Some days, it feels like you take two steps forward. And then the next day you take one step back. But the key is that we’re making long term progress, we’re getting closer to the goal than when we started. We’re going in that direction. And so ask yourself, especially if you’ve been a Christian for a while. Have you made progress? Look at your life a year ago, five years ago, 10 years ago, even have you grown in your holiness? Do you look more like Jesus today than you did before? Take encouragement from knowing that your pursuit of holiness is not a grade on your perfection, but on your obedience.
So are you striving to grow today? Do you long for God’s word? Do you look forward to worshiping together as a church family each week? Do you let others speak into your life and identify areas for you to grow in? Are you willing to receive that feedback? These are just a few probing questions that I hope you ask yourself as you consider your own pursuit of holiness this week. So that’s the first instruction set your hope on Jesus, by being holy. In our second instruction, we see that we should set our hope on Jesus by living fearfully living Usually when we see this in verses 17 through 21, so look at them with me it says, Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work in partially, live out your time as foreigners here, in reverent fear, for you know, that was not with perishable things such as silver or gold, that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him, you believe in God, who raised him from the dead, and glorified Him. And so your faith and hope are in God. So we see our instruction there at the end of verse 17. Says, live out your time as foreigners here, in Reverend fear. You know, as foreigners, we think back to how we started today, those who don’t belong in the world, those who aren’t in Kansas anymore, we feel like exiles and Peter is calling us to live out our time here in a type of reverent fear. It seems odd to say that but but what does it mean for us to live fearfully? Doesn’t the Bible say we should have no fear? Well, there’s two things. First, we fear the Lord. What does it mean to live in a reverent fear? Well, we fear the Lord. We don’t. We don’t fear other humans. We don’t fear man. What are they going to do to us? So we fear God. And we have verses like proverbs 2925. It says, fear of man will prove to be a snare. But whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. We don’t seek ultimate approval from other people, because they’re not God. They’re not able to give us the hope that we have in Jesus. So we fear the one who is worthy of our fear. Only God, Proverbs 910 says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. So it’s good for us to fear the Lord. But secondly, as believers, we fear the Lord as our Father. We don’t fear Him as judge or we fear Miss Father, look at verse 17, says, Since you call on a Father, now we don’t fear punishment from God. Because we know we are part of his family. There’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, we’ve been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. We are His children. I think the experience of Moses again is really helpful here that the same scene that we, that we talked about earlier, where Moses asked to see the glory of God, and God says, No, because you will surely die. Just picture yourself in Moses shoes for a second. God says, okay, but I’m gonna put you behind a rock. And I’m gonna put my hand over you to protect you. And then I’m gonna, I’m just gonna walk by, I’m not even gonna do anything, I’m just gonna walk by, and you’re gonna get a glimpse of my backside as I’m going, but you’re going to be covered in my hand, you need to be covered in my hand, or else you’ll perish. I must have been a terrifying experience for Moses. To know that all God needs to do is remove his hand, and He’s toast. He’s just gone. God’s glory will just obliterate Moses. Because Moses is sinful. He was surely filled with fear. But at the same time, he’s also confident in God’s goodness to him in the presence of God’s great power and holiness, he’s safe. He’s on God’s team.
So in a similar way, we fear God because of his holiness. It’s good for us to do that. But we fear Him as His children, knowing that his gracious hand protects us. He loves us, we’re as children. So we fear Him as our father. You know, the verse that we read earlier in the service from Psalm 147, verses 10 and 11. It says His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior. But the Lord delights in those who fear him who put their hope in his unfailing love. When we set our hope on Jesus by this Reverend fear, God is pleased. He loves when his children honor him in the way that he deserves to be honored. So I want to pause for a second and speak to those who might be listening who are not yet believers in Jesus, you’re not a Christian. This passage tells us that God judges each person’s work impartially. His standard is perfection. And falling short, the punishment is death. So if you’re not yet a Christian, you can’t call on God as your Father. His gracious hand doesn’t protect you from his holiness. And I don’t want this to be your experience, your silver in your gold, they can’t buy it, they’re going to perish to just like all of us. But there is hope. We can live for eternity you can be redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. So put your faith in Jesus today and experience this everlasting hope. So I hope you consider it today. So how do we live fearfully as believers? What does it look like to live with this reverent fear? How can we grow in this area? Well, one easy yet powerful way is by reminding ourselves of the gospel every day. Because because that’s what that’s what Peter’s doing here in this passage, do you notice that he’s reminding them of what God has done, how God has saved them? You know, when we consider this the gospel, we can’t help but be filled with this Reverend fear of God. Now Jesus was killed for us. He willingly submitted Himself to torture for our sake. The physical pain didn’t even compare to God’s wrath that was poured out on him. That was supposed to be you and me. We deserved that. The praise God that Jesus took our place. He didn’t stay dead. But he rose again, declaring victory over sin and death. We’ve been saved by His grace in through faith. So if we truly consider this reality, it ought to fill us with a reverent fear, a healthy fear that wants to please our Father, because of the high price that he has paid. So rehearse this in your mind every day, consider what God has done through Jesus, and you will grow in your Reverend fear of God. And when we do this, we display an incredible hope to the world around us. So those are the first two instructions on how to set your hope on Jesus, be holy, and live fearfully. So our third and final instruction from this passage is to say your hope on Jesus, by loving deeply, by loving deeply. Look at verses 22 through 25 with me, says now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply from the heart, for you have been born again, not have perishable seed, but have imperishable through the living and enduring word of God. For all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you. So we see our third instruction at the end of verse 22. Is love one another deeply from the heart.
If we want to set our hope on Jesus, we must love deeply. You know, Peter here, quotes a familiar passage from the Old Testament from Isaiah 40. He says, All people are like grass, and any glory they can muster up is like the flowers, and eventually the grass will wither. And over time, the flowers will fall. But God’s word lasts forever. God’s word lasts forever. No at a wedding. One of the most important decorations are the flowers. I’m very familiar with this topic myself. And so all the bride and the bridesmaids have their bouquet as they walk down the aisle. And the whole room is just adorned with these beautiful freshly picked flowers and the groom even gets to wear a boot and tear on his jacket. It’s really beautiful. It’s awesome. But one thing about flowers is once you pick them, they die eventually. So what you do is you you put them in a vase with water to try and preserve them as long as you can. This is what we tried to do with our wedding flowers, but even a week later, what happens they start to wilt and wither and die. And if you’ve ever had fresh flowers, you know know this to be true to all our glory is like flowers, they fall. Or think about the grass at your own home, especially during the summer. If it rains a lot, what happens, the grass grows really long, and you have to cut it every two or three days. And it can be kind of annoying. But it stays this deep green color. And it’s, it’s really beautiful. But when it gets hot and warm, especially if you have a whole week or two of really hot and dry weather, the grass turns this ugly shade of brown. And there’s not much you can do to keep it alive. Or in the winter. The grass dies anyway, so So the grass dies. We know this to be true and all people are like grass. But God’s word is not like the grass. God’s word is not like flowers. God’s word endures forever. This original quote from Isaiah, it was given to people who were literally in exile. They were from Israel, they’re living in a different country. They were taken away from their homeland. And they were tempted to forget God’s promises to them, because God had promised them. This is the land that you’re supposed to live in. This is the land that I have picked for you as my chosen people. So they’re tempted to forget that God had promised them that. But Isaiah is reminding them that God’s word never fails, it will surely come to pass. It lasts forever. And the last line of verse 25 shows us that this word, the word of God is referring to the Gospel, the truth about who Jesus is and what He has done for it. So look, your present circumstances might seem difficult, it might feel like you’re an exile. But remember, that everybody in everything will soon pass away, they’re not going to last forever. But the Gospel is true for all of eternity, it will last. So love one another deeply. That’s the instruction, all of the empty and meaningless things that we do, will pass away, their impact will not last forever. But anything we do out of love to love one another, for the sake of the gospel will last. Because we’ve been born again, not have a perishable seed it says, but in imperishable one, one that will not fade away. When those two that Peter says they already have this love, did you notice that says so that you have a sincere love for each other. So they’re already doing this, they already have this love for for one another. But he’s telling them to keep doing it. He needs to give them this instruction. So loving one another deeply is not a one time experience. Even if we’re doing well in this area, we can always use encouragement to keep going. Let me just say that, in my short time here at City View, I felt this, Sara and I have been warmly welcomed by all of you. And we feel your love for one another, and for us even already. So I echo what Peter is saying here. You have a sincere love for one another. But keep doing it. Keep doing it. But loving one another is easy. When you like the other person, isn’t it?
It’s really easy to love someone that loves you back. But how about the people that you don’t really like that much? Even people who might be part of our church who you don’t get along with? Maybe you’ve been wronged by them in the past. Maybe you’ve wronged them before. See, there’s no conditions on this instruction to us. The call to love one another deeply is not dependent on how you feel that day. Or whether or not you like the person you know the there’s so many one another commands in the Bible. serve one another. Consider the interests of others more important than your own. Encourage one another weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice. And we could go on. So keep doing this. You have this but keep doing it. And how you might grow might be in loving others that you might not want to. Because these are the things that will last loving one another out of the gospel is what Jesus has done for us. That’s what’s going to last when the rest of the world is fighting and divided. We want them to look at us and see our love for each other, and then see the hope that we have in Jesus. And then when we do that we can point them to the word that was preached to us the gospel, and they can have the same hope that we have. So these are the three instructions, set your hope on Jesus, as exiles in this world, by being holy, living fearfully, and loving deeply. So if we grow in these, I’m convinced that there will be people who see us and want to know more, you’ll get questions that work, why are you so different? Your classmates will notice. And you’ll have an opportunity to point them to the reason for the hope that you have this eternal living hope that we have in Christ. But don’t expect everyone to get on board though, we’re still going to feel like exiles sometimes still feel like Dorothy, who’s at home in the black and white, but coming into a world of color. But trust that God might want to use you and your faithfulness to bring others to himself. So as a church family, let’s encourage each other in this. Let’s encourage each other to set our hope on Jesus together. We can’t do it alone. We need each other. But by God’s grace, we can do it. Let’s pray together. Father, we, we want to submit to your word we want to obey what you’ve spoken to us. And so we ask that You would help us, help us to set our hope on Jesus. When we feel like like exiles in this world in the midst of this tension, would you encourage us, help us to resolve to live in a way that reflects this inheritance that we have this living hope? So Father, help us to be holy. Help us to live fearfully. Help us to love deeply. Father, we trust that you are able to do this through your spirit. So would you we help us today and we will give you all the glory that you deserve. For us in Jesus name that we pray. Amen.