Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. -1 Peter 3:13-15 ESV
No matter what is going on in the world, we are to be Holy as God is Holy. Holy and sanctified are synonymous. To sanctify something is to set it apart for God’s special use and purpose, to make holy similarly is to separate from the world and consecrate to God. Sanctification, and Holy is a matter of separation from the world by learning, and adopting, a different standard—God’s standard. Jesus spoke of Himself as being sanctified in John 17:19; in other words, He is holy and “set apart” from sin. His followers are to be similarly set apart from sin and for God’s use, for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16). When we understand the Bible, and the WORDS in the Bible it helps our FAITH, it gives us HOPE. Again Faith and Hope, 2 words used throughout the Bible, are very closely related. Today, let us focus on verse 15, and the part of the verse that many have heard, many times; Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the HOPE that is in you. The Gospel is called the GOOD NEWS, because it gives us HOPE when all around us are HOPELESS, or are HOPING for the World and man to get better! However if you read THE WORD, the World and Man, do NOT GET BETTER, they get worse and chaos increases as the ‘Time of the Gentiles’ comes to a close, but as followers of Jesus Christ we are to be a LIGHT in the DARKNESS. We are to bring CLARITY to the CONFUSION, HOPE to a HOPELESS WORLD! Our Hope is not in Biden, or in Trump. It is not in a vaccine or in Herd Immunity! If we don’t know where our HOPE IS, then how can we tell others where our HOPE LIES?
Leader, Dec 19, 1996 ‘Our Daily Bread’ states: ‘The English poet Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.” But where does man turn when hope dries up? The director of a medical clinic told of a terminally ill young man who came in for his usual treatment. A new doctor who was on duty said to him casually and cruelly, “You know, don’t you, that you won’t live out the year?” As the young man left, he stopped by the director’s desk and wept. “That man took away my hope,” he blurted out. “I guess he did,” replied the director. “Maybe it’s time to find a new one.” Commenting on this incident, Lewis Smedes wrote, “Is there a hope when hope is taken away? Is there hope when the situation is hopeless? That question leads us to Christian hope, for in the Bible, hope is no longer a passion for the possible. It becomes a passion for the promise.” This is why we must know the WORD of God and know HIS PROMISES, to know HIM is to have HOPE, to know HIS WORD is to have HOPE in the confusion. This is why we can truly only be effective on this ‘rescue mission’, we can only be ‘soul winners’ if we have HOPE! The GOOD NEWS of JESUS CHRIST and His ministry of reconciliation is the REASON for the HOPE THAT WE HAVE! Even God tells us that we can not please him without this HOPE, because HOPE and FAITH go hand in hand! And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 1:6)
Conduit, the FAITH HALL OF FAME in Hebrews 11 starts by defining FAITH, and here God ties FAITH to HOPE! Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith, Hope, and love are B.S.- Belief Systems. These three are closely tied together and they are important in the life of a true believer…God even tells us in1 Corinthians 13:13 of the value of these 3; And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. HOPE is defined as: to cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment, desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment, and lastly hope is defined as, to expect with confidence! That last definition is also a plausible definition of FAITH- to expect with confidence! In today’s ever darkening America we must KNOW HIS WORD. Many people identify as “Christians”, little Christs, followers of the Risen King, yet they know NOT His WORD, HIS WAY nor HIS WILL! Many Christians are hoping that Joe Biden can do this, and that the vaccine can do that, or that the economy might do this- they have their HOPE in things of this world and in the ways of man. We are to rejoice and grieve based on those things that bring Joy and Grief to our Father, who art in heaven, not on the things of the world. But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) Today, be DIFFERENT, be SET APART and BE HOPEFUL. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) Be Hopeful, be HOLY, be READY! Amen.