Feb 10, 2023 Hope: A Strong Word – Words of Grace – February 10, 2023
I’ve been thinking about hope this week because the sermon text for Sunday is 1 Peter 1:13, “…set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
While being encouraged by my study, I have found myself a bit concerned that a sermon on hope will come across as light and vague, with a bit of inspiration but not much power. I think that’s because we often use the word hope this way.
Hope has become a slogan word. Slogan words are by their very nature vague. They are designed to inspire but not be too specific. They usually don’t say enough to give real direction. Slogans about hope seem more like encouragements toward wishful thinking without concrete action or any real expectation.
In 1 Peter, hope is strong and serious. Hope is a promise that has power. We are commanded to hope and to set our hope on something specific. Our lives depend on hope.
I won’t give you the whole sermon outline, but here are a few thoughts on hope that may help you prepare for Sunday. But first, read 1 Peter 1:1-13 to hear what it says about hope.
Hope is alive. Peter said we are born again to a living hope. When we are made new in Christ, and when we place our faith in him, hope for this life and for the next one comes alive in us.
Hope is in something specific. We are told to set our hope fully on the grace of God in Christ. Picture yourself gathering up your sins and putting them before God to be disposed of through the mercy of granted forgiveness. That is to fully hope in the grace of the cross of Christ, where he paid the penalty for our sins.
Now picture yourself collecting up all your days on this earth, all your energy and time and resources, all your people who you love, and placing them in the gracious hands of God to care for them and to get his glory through them. That is fully hoping in God.
See your future. Not next week, but your life after you die. See yourself placing the full weight of that future on God’s grace alone, trusting that he will bring you into his eternal home to share in the glory of his Son Jesus Christ. That is hope.
Hope motivates action. The people who set their hope on the grace of God go on to obey him, to pursue holiness, to love well, and to long for his word. To hope in God’s grace is to know we are his, we have a reason for being that comes from him, and we are called to do the things he commands. The prospect of Christ’s return with abounding grace is a power that keeps us prepared for action now.
This weekend, prime your mind and pray with me for our time together on Sunday. May the great grace of God be the resting place of our hope.