Lesson 8

A Living Hope

(1 Peter 1)
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Introduction: In the last few years I have been reading the foundational writings of some other world religions. I was surprised by some of the similarities with Christianity. For example, Islam shares our Old Testament heroes. Buddhism parallels, in several respects, Christ's teaching on how we should live. Christianity is unique, however, in worshiping a God who came from heaven, died for our sins, was raised to life, returned to heaven, and intercedes for us now so that we might have eternal life. This is our "living hope," so let's dive in and learn more from the Bible about our hope!

  1. Praise to God

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:3. Who should we praise according to this text?

      1. What did God the Father do that causes us to praise Him? (He gave us "new birth into a living hope.")

        1. What does it mean to have a "new birth into a living hope?"

        2. How does that change the way you look at today? The way you look at tomorrow?

        3. What impact would this have on your mental attitude?

      2. How did God give us this "new birth?" What does the text say are the mechanics for this gift? (God gave us this new hope by resurrecting Jesus from the dead.)

      3. What makes our hope "living?" (The fact that Jesus is living.)

    2. Let's add verse 4 to 1 Peter 1:3. Read. What else has God the Father given to us? (An inheritance.)

      1. Do you know anyone who inherited a lot of money from a relative or a friend who died?

        1. When you see that happen, what do you think? (I think: "Wish that were me!" My wife told me about a relative of hers who would become friends with the elderly and then "be remembered" in their will. This relative collected quite a bit of money doing this. The "collector" recently died, leaving a good sum of money behind. It crossed my mind that I should have stopped to see the collector more often!)

      2. What kind of an inheritance do we stand to receive from God the Father?

        1. When I was writing the note about the "collector," I was thinking of the couple who were named in her will and got her money (instead of me). I wondered if they put their inheritance in the stock market - and if so, how much is left now. Is this idea about potential loss a concern we have with the inheritance given us by God the Father? (The Bible specifically states that this inheritance from God cannot be diminished!)

          1. Why can't our inheritance be diminished? (It is kept safe for us in heaven.)

        2. Is this inheritance part of your living hope?

    3. Let's read on: Add 1 Peter 1:5. What else, other than your inheritance, is protected? What else is shielded? (You! Verse 4 ends with the note that "you" have your inheritance waiting for you in heaven. Of course, having your inheritance in heaven does you no good if you don't get to heaven.)

      1. How are you shielded? (By God's power.)

        1. How does this shield work?

        2. Is your special shield part of your "living hope?"

      2. When verse 5 tells us that "the coming of salvation" is "ready to be revealed in the last time," what do you understand this to mean? (It could mean a couple of things. First, it could mean that "the coming of the salvation" might not be perfectly clear to us right now. So, don't be arrogant about your understanding of end-time prophecy. Second, it could simply mean Jesus' Second Coming will be revealed "in the last time.")

  2. Hold On

    1. Let's continue with Peter by reading 1 Peter 1:6. How does your "living hope" affect your life? (We greatly rejoice.)

      1. Is it all good? (Our spirits are lifted. We "greatly rejoice" in our living hope. At the same time, the reality of life may not be so good. We may have to "suffer grief in all kinds of trials." The world would expect some one who has trials to be unhappy - but we are not.)

        1. Isn't there a problem with this text? How can we "greatly rejoice" (a mental attitude) and at the same time "suffer grief" (another mental attitude)?

          1. How can these two attitudes be rolling around together in the same brain? (I think the key is the phrase "a little while." I did not particularly enjoy law school. It was a lot of work and tension. I recall clearly sitting in the library looking out the window at the sunshine and grass - wishing I were out there. I didn't leave the library, however, because I knew that after a few years of this I would be a lawyer. My goal would be accomplished. We know after a "few years" our heavenly goal will be accomplished.)

  3. The Reward

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:7. Is there a "silver lining" to suffering grief? (It refines our faith.)

      1. Do you want your faith refined?

      2. What reason does verse 7 give for refining your faith? (Faith is an extraordinarily important possession. Verse 7 tells us it is of greater worth than gold.)

        1. Wait a minute. Do you agree that faith is of greater worth than gold? Why is faith even compared to gold? (At first thought, it seems that faith and gold have no connection. Ask yourself this: Why would you like to have gold (money)? Isn't it because of the security and freedom that money brings? Faith gives us security and freedom! It is better than gold (money) because the stock market, or thieves, or decay cannot take away your faith.)

      3. Verse 7 tells us that the result of faith is praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Does this mean that the "fruit" of our faith - praise, honor and glory - will only come at Jesus' Second Coming? (It means at least that. However, I think that a refined faith "reveals" Jesus right now. That is why praise, honor and glory can be present in our life now, even during trials.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 1:8-9. We just discussed that faith gives us security and freedom now. What else does Peter tell us faith provides? (The salvation of our soul. The ultimate goal of faith is not simply security and freedom here on earth. The ultimate goal is our salvation.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 1:10-12. We have been discussing the Second Coming of Jesus as a time when our faith will be fulfilled. What time period were the prophets trying to figure out? (The time these verses point to is the First Coming of Jesus - His coming to earth as a baby, living with us, His perfect life, His sufferings, His death and His resurrection.)

      1. Verse 12 has a very interesting statement. It says that prophets "were not serving themselves but you." What do you think that means? (The prophets were looking to a time in the future - and that time, Peter says, is now!)

      2. Why do angels long to look into these things? (The plan of salvation, our living hope, is a study even for the angels.)

  1. The Plan of Action

    1. Read 1 Peter 1:13. What is our role in getting ready for our salvation? (Preparing our minds.)

      1. What do you think it means to "prepare" your mind? (Our lesson (Thursday) points out that we make our choice for or against Jesus with our minds - the battle for the soul is won or lost in the mind. The rest of verse 13 tells us to be self-controlled and to set our hope on the grace that comes from Jesus. While we cannot win the battle against sin on our own, we can decide to put our minds in the best possible position to accept the grace that Jesus offers. This grace has won the battle against sin.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 1:14-16. Friend, we have a living hope, we have been offered a gift, we have a choice, will you chose to accept the gift and to be holy as your heavenly Father is holy?

  2. Next Week: Hope and "The Delay": Part 1

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