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Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 17, 2020 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Easter

Passage: 1 Peter 3:13–3:22

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: 1 Peter 3:13-22
Date: May 17th, 2020; Easter 7; Series A
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • We heard in our Epistle lesson that St. Peter encourages us to be prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in us.
  • In Greek, the word for defence in our text is apologia and this is where we get the english word “apologetics”.
  • The discipline of Christian apologetics might sound like we are apologizing for something, but what it really means is that we are giving a defence for the hope that is in us.
  • To defend our hope it is important to be crystal clear on what we mean by hope.    
  • What is this hope that is in us?  What is this hope that St. Peter is talking about?  
  • What do you hope for?  What do you put your hope in?  
  • When we reflect on these questions, we can probably come up with a lot of answers. 
  • I hope that this pandemic comes to an end soon so that we can gather together at church to receive God’s gifts.  I hope that I can spend time with my family and friends in person in the near future.
  • I hope that we will have nice weather this summer and that my golf game will improve and that the NHL resumes so that the Edmonton Oilers can win the Stanley Cup.  
  • And hoping for things like this isn't necessarily bad or wrong.  
  • But it wouldn’t be very hopeful if this is all I had to put my hope in. 
  • Yet, this is the reality for so many people - and, we too, as Christians can fall prey to this type of thinking.  
  • Our hope is focused only on the things of this world. On comfort.  On wealth.  On hobbies.  On getting everything that we want.  
  • I hope for lots of money and success.  I hope we can go on that vacation.  I hope we can get that new house and new car.    
  • Hopefully, all of these things will fall into place – because then we will be happy, then life will be everything we think it should be.        
  • But, as we know, often things don’t go the way that we hope they will.  
  • Things come up – maybe there is a change at work and we are left with no job or we end up with an addiction that strips away any hope that we have inside of us. 
  • Our hopes and dreams can quickly slip away from us.
  • But even if we do happen to achieve our hopes and dreams - they never seem to fulfill or satisfy us the way that we anticipated.  
  • Soon our satisfaction fades and we are left wanting more.  
  • Along with King Solomon, we discover that it is all vanity (Ecclesiastes 1).
  • When our hope hinges only on the things of this world and on ourselves - instead of God - we are left disappointed, lost, and confused.  
  • The reason we will feel like this is because true satisfaction, true fulfillment, true peace, true life - can only come from God.  
  • The things of the world might work for a while, but they are not lasting.
  • St. Paul, in his letter to Timothy, urges him to teach this truth.  He says, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).  
  • Living in Canada, where we have been so blessed with everything we need and so much more, it is easy to fall prey to putting our hopes in our uncertain riches, in the things of this world - rather than in God.
  • St. Peter warns us not to be conformed to our passions – to our desires for the perishable things of this world.  
  • Our “stuff” will do us no good when it comes to God’s mercy.  It will do us no good when it comes to our eternal lives. 
  • If we put our hope in the things of this world, in ourselves, rather than in God – we will perish the same way that everything in this world does.  
  • Earlier in his letter, St. Peter provides us with a great description of where our true hope lies, “…you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake, 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” (1 Peter 1:13-2:3). 
  • Our hope is not in perishable things like silver and gold, good jobs, nice houses, nice cars, or vacations – our hope is in the truth that we have been ransomed, we have been set free from sin and death, by the precious blood of Christ.  
  • Our hope is in the Lamb of God, who is without blemish or spot, who takes away the sin of the world.
  • Our hope is in Jesus, who assures us that he is always with us - even when we are facing those times when things do seem hopeless.
  • Our struggle with sin can leave us feeling hopeless.  We know we shouldn’t keep doing it and we have promised ourselves and God that we will stop so many times.  
  • But then we find ourselves with the shame and guilt of having fallen again.  These times can leave us feeling lost, with no control.  Hopeless.
  • But there is always hope in Christ who calls you to repent of your sin so that you can receive His forgiveness and life.
  • The Holy Spirt works in and through your baptism to create and sustain your faith and to make you a new creation.  Through the waters of your baptism you are in Christ.
  • And St. Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • Injuries and illness can leave us feeling hopeless.  The pain and suffering.  The inability to do those things that bring us joy.  The difficulty of having to rely on others.
  • But there is always hope in Jesus who is the Great Physician.  He gives his peace that surpasses our understanding and he promises that he will heal us.  Our health and vitality will be restored.
  • That healing might be in this life or it might be in the life to come when “the lame man shall leap like a deer” as the prophet Isaiah puts it (Isaiah 35:6).
  • Conflict and fighting with those we love can leave us feeling hopeless.  The things that they have said and done hurt deeply.  There is shame and guilt over the things we have said and done.   
  • But in Christ there is always hope because he has reconciled us to God and to each other.  We seek and receive Christ’s forgiveness and reconciliation in our relationships.  
  • St. James encourages us, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16).
  • The death of a loved one can leave us feeling hopeless.  
  • But in Christ there is always hope because he is the resurrection and the life and whoever believes in him, through he die, yet shall he live.  There is hope because there will be a great reunion in heaven.  We will be with our loved ones who have departed in the faith again!
  • Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is true hope.  This is certain hope.  This is everlasting hope.
  • This is the hope that St. Peter encourages us to defend.  
  • And we are not to defend our hope to simply prove that we are right and everyone else is wrong.  
  • We are not to defend our hope with a “holier than thou” type mentality.  
  • St. Peter teaches us that we are to defend our hope with gentleness and respect.  
  • We are to defend our faith in order that all of those around us can also come to know  and believe that there is true hope in this world.  
  • We defend the truth that God has given us true hope in his Son, Christ Jesus.   
  • I truly do hope that this pandemic ends soon, and this summer is warm, and my golf scores are lower, and that Connor McDavid will have a victory lap hoisting the Stanley Cup. 
  • But God has given us a hope in something that far surpasses all of these things.
  • In Christ, we have the certain hope of victory over death and eternal life,  “…of this he has given assurance to all by raising [Christ] from the dead” (Acts 17:31).  Amen. 
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The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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