January 22, 2023 | Jess Rainer
Magic Capsule Animals - Anyone know what this? This isn’t the blue/red pill from the Matrix…I loved these capsules as a kid. I always thought it was cool that something big could fit in a small space. I would be the kid that sat there and watched it – wondering what animal would reveal itself. What does it take for these capsules to grow? Water. These capsules are designed to grow in one environment. If I throw them in the sand or on the moon, they won’t do what they are designed to do. But once they are put in water, growth begins to happen. As Christ-followers, the same holds true for us, but spiritually. We are tasked to grow spiritually. We are called to become more like Jesus. But that doesn’t happen if we spiritually sit on our hands. Our growth comes when we are intentional about growing! (Crazy, I know…) There are some key spiritual ingredients – key environments – that we can make sure we have in our lives. Some of you have been living in spiritually dry land and you are wondering why you struggling to remain confident in the hope of your future. It’s time to get back to the place where God wants you to be. Peter gives us commands on what the right environments are for us to grow. Here’s the truth we see from our passage today: Hope grows in the right environment. My prayer is that our time in our current sermon series: Hope Fully, will produce a full hope. A hope that is not wishful thinking, but a hope that looks to the future with assurance. A hope that knows the future and impacts how we live today. Let’s pick up where we left last week in 1 Peter 1. Peter writes about how we can cultivate our hope. It starts with Hope grows in reverent fear.
1 Peter 1:17-2:3 [ESV] 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever." And this word is the good news that was preached to you. [1Pe 2:1-3 ] 1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation-- 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1) Hope grows in reverent fear. (vs. 1:17-21) There are two big truths happening in verses 17 through 21 that show us what it means to live in reverent fear of God. Look at the end of verse 17: 17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” I’ve been using the term “temporary residents” or “exiles” a lot already (and I’ll continue to use it), so let’s make sure we understand what that means. Immigrants vs. Tourists vs. Exiles: When someone leaves for another country, there are three options:
- An immigrant is someone who moves to a new country with the intent of making this country their new home
- They will adapt the culture, pour their own resources into the country, and identify with the culture
- MI: It’s like when Tennessee beat Alabama this past football season and Robbie started wearing Tennessee shirts all the sudden
- A tourist simply takes in what the country has to offer and has no real concern for what happens
- It’s a short-term mindset
- Exile is best articulated as a temporary resident
- Peter writes “during your time”
- An exile is a temporary status
- It’s someone who lives in a foreign land that will invest in what’s around them, but will not maintain their identity with their homeland
Here’s the first big truth in verse 17: Spiritually, we are exiles. We are temporary residents. We will make the best of this world knowing that our true is home is in heaven with God. Christians must maintain this mentality that this world isn’t our permanent home. That means we will hold different values, different believes, and different authority than other people around us. What’s the second big truth in verse 17? Peter tells us that we must live in reverent fear of God while we are exiles. “Reverent fear” can be a strange term. You might be thinking, “Jess, telling me to live in an environment of fear doesn’t really seem to grow my hope in Jesus!” The word fear in this context doesn’t convey “being afraid”. “But Jess, it says that God will judge or reward me. That creates some fear in me!” God wants us to know that truth: that everyone will be judged. But as Christ-followers, we don’t fear the final judgement because what Peter writes in verse 18-21. 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. 21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
When we have truly repented of our sins and profess Jesus as Savior and Lord, we no longer stand in terror of God because God has provided us a way to eternity. As Christ-followers, we have confidence in Christ that allows us not to be afraid before God. What Peter is telling us is we are to be in awe before God. Being in reverent fear of God is where hope grows. We know what’s coming, we know what we deserve, but we also know what we will get. Quote: “The Christian is to live life with a conscious awareness of the reign of God as Judge.” – Karen H. Jobes. Good driving is defensive driving. When you know the Judge and what the Judge is capable of, and yet, knowing the Judge will give you what you don’t deserve, that is hope. Let’s go back to the magic capsule. The only way this capsule can grow is because someone created an environment for it to grow. The only reason we can grow in hope is because God created a way for us to have hope. We should daily stand in awe of who God is and what He did for us. That’s how hope grows! But wait, there’s more! That sounded like an infomercial. But there is more. Peter makes a shift in verse 22. Our hope can be greatly influenced by what we are allowing in our lives. Here’s what we see next: Hope grows in biblical community.
2) Hope grows in biblical community. (vs. 1:22-25) I want to say this as we look at these next four verses: The community of believers is designed to be a Christian’s primary social context. Look at how quickly Peter connects salvation to community: 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. 23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. Biblical community is birthed out of what God has done for us, it produces in us a love that is unique to Christians, and is fueled by the gospel. When you begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, you become a part of a new family – God’s family. And this family will never fade. It will never go away. We are brothers and sisters for all eternity. We have eternal fellowship. Now, some of you are feeling a little uncomfortable right now because you have been hurt in a church. There are some wounds that may not have fully healed yet and the idea of loving each other deeply with all your heart seems too much. I’ve been church hurt before too. Unfortunately, it’s going to happen because we are sinful. And it’s hard because it’s the one place where we expect hurt not to happen. But if it does, we can’t let Satan begin to tell us the lie that real love can be found outside of biblical community. Any love outside of Christ points to where? Self. The love that is preached throughout our culture is to love yourself. Here’s why I struggle with it (beyond the Bible telling me it’s wrong): I know myself. I know what I am capable. And if the standard of love is based upon myself, I’m in big trouble. But Christian love, biblical love, is based on God’s character. Quote: “The love that binds the redeem flows from the love of the Redeemer.” – Edmund Clowney. When God is the source of our love, we love in a way that unites and edifies each other. Illustration: Putting more than one capsule in the water. The proximity and the friction cause growth. The two capsules rub off on each other and they experience greater growth than if there were isolated. We grow in hope more when we are growing in hope together. Do you see the environment Peter is describing? Live in reverent fear. Live in awe. Live in reverent fear with other Christians. But there’s one more ingredient for seeing our hope grow: Hope grows in spiritual nourishment.
3) Hope grows in spiritual nourishment. (vs. (2:1-3) If I were to take a magic capsule and simply put one drop of water on the capsule, what would happen? There would be some kind of reaction. It would do something. The coating would begin to dissolve. But how quickly would the process stop? Almost immediately because the source of the growth is now gone. God’s Word is our necessary spiritual nourishment. Look at the first 3 verses in chapter 3: 1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. Peter uses a clear illustration of what our relationship to God’s Word should look like. Have you ever heard a hungry newborn baby? When my kids were babies, you could learn their needs based off their cry. There was a certain kind of cry when they were tired, a certain cry when they were dirty, and certain cry when they were hungry. And that cry for some milk was deafening! A baby knows that their survival depends on their nourishment. We should know the same thing as Christ-followers. Our growth depends on our nourishment. Our growth depends on our consumption of God’s Word. If there is one thing we should be addicted to, it’s the Bible. If you want your hope to grow, then you should be consumed with God’s Word. Once you taste the richness of God’s Word, you go back to it time and time again. The more you taste God’s Word, the more you crave God’s Word. I read this week that “10% of everything Jesus is recorded as saying was a quotation of previous Scripture. 10%! He was saturated in it.” If you were to walk out of today with only one lasting call to action, I hope it would be this: Become addicted to God’s Word.
Quote: “The goal of our growth is salvation, the full salvation in Christ that the gospel proclaims, and for which we are kept. Again we see the alpha and the omega of our hope. Peter writes to those who have already been given new birth by the word, who have already come to the Lord and tasted that he is good. Theirs is a sure hope, for their inheritance is kept for them and they are kept for it. Yet their hope is also future; they do not merely wait for it, they grow toward it, like flowers toward the sun. Faith is purified, love is intensified, grace is tasted as we are tested.” – Edmund Clowney
Living in this world requires a grown-up hope.
This 13-week series focuses on 1 Peter where we will look at what it means to have hope as sojourners. This chapter points us towards eternal hope. The Christian hope is more than mere optimism that says things will “hopefully” work out. It is a sure hope, and so we “hope fully” (1 Peter 1:13) through every trial and test of faith.