“The Hope that is in You”

Bible Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-17

A man named John used to come to our weekly Men’s Bible study. He didn’t have a car, so one of the men picked him up each Saturday morning. We’d begin our study by singing a hymn, and I often asked if anyone had a song that they’d like for us to sing. Inevitably, John would ask for some hymn about heaven. I later learned that John had been orphaned as a child, and had lived a difficult life, but you’d never know that from the smile he bore. He was always talking about Jesus and heaven. John was an older fellow, and his health wasn’t so great, so I was not surprised when I got the news of his death. I attended his funeral service. He had no family there, and left behind few belongings. But at his funeral we heard story after story about how he’d talked to others about Jesus and impacted their lives. He was a heaven-bound saint and wasn’t shy about letting others know that. He was glad to share of the hope he had in Jesus!

The context of verse 15 has to do with the suffering any of us might encounter as a result of being a Christian. We are told not to fear or be troubled, but instead to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts, trusting and submitting ourselves to Him in our response. Note this! The verse presupposes that others might ask us regarding “the hope that is in (us)” (1 Peter 3:15). Having been born again to a living hope, there’s to be a manifest difference in the way we conduct ourselves. Is your walk with Christ such that others see the difference in you? The days in which we live are filled with uncertainty. Many are weary and sad. But you possess a living hope, and others need to see the reality of that in you!

You need to be ready to “make a defense to anyone who asks” about the hope that is in you.  Opportunities abound.  Are you ready to do that?  The only way you can be ready is if you are walking by the Spirit and according to the truth of the Word.  Not only can the Spirit embolden you to speak without fear, He can give you the words to speak.  The term translated “defense” is related to our word “apologetics,” which has to do with “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something.”  Whereas books and Bible School courses are devoted to that theme, the matter is relatively simple.  What is your defense or argument as to the source of the hope you possess?  It starts with the gospel, that glorious message of hope.  Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).  Having put your trust in Jesus, you’ve been saved from your sins and given assurance of a future home in heaven.  No matter what happens to you here, you know that you are destined to heaven, and to that inheritance which is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Peter 1:4).  As someone once said, “When it comes to sharing your faith, it’s not a matter of how much you know, but Who you know, and how much you want others to know Him!” 

Our response to others, even in the face of threats and harsh treatment, needs to be “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).  According to the example of Christ, and the example of countless other saints who have likewise testified about Jesus in difficult circumstances (1 Peter 2:21-23; Acts 7:59-60).  The uncertainty of these days has worked to open a door of unprecedented opportunity for us.  “In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” we are to “shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16).  You have hope.  Others need what you have.  The hope you possess in Jesus was meant to be shared!

The Hope You Possess in Jesus Was Meant to be Shared with Others

Heavenly Father. We remember something of what it was like when we were without You and without hope in this world. But then You caused us to be born again to a living hope through Jesus. How incredibly blessed we are to possess such a hope! Forgive us when we are too focused on the troubles of the here and now, and not enough on the glorious destiny You’ve prepared for us. May we be full of hope, as we well should be, and may that hope adorn our words and deeds. Grant us opportunities, as Your ambassadors, to share with others about what You’ve done for us. And when we are thus privileged, grant us compassion to care and the words to speak! That others might be reconciled to You! That You might be honored and glorified in all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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