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Sermon4 1Peter1 Guide

1 Peter 1:3-12, recitation verse 1 Peter 1:5

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks worshipers who worship with spirit and truth.

Because of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 in 202, we entered the "Age of Hyper-Uncertainty," coined by Barry Eichengreen, an economics professor at UC Berkeley in 2017, leaving behind the "Age of Uncertainty" that John Galbraith spoke of in 1977. In this era of hyper-uncertainty, many companies faced an economic crisis and went bankrupt. Amidst this, global protectionism manifested through events such as Brexit and by the influences of Trumpism, causing polarization between nations and societies. Furthermore, with the fourth industrial revolution including artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), etc.. there has been a paradigm shift in daily life, the economy, industry, society, and culture. This era of hyper-uncertainty has led to increased anxiety so that we are living in difficult circumstances both internally and externally. As Christians, we has been challenged too how we should live in this anxious time. In this week, by investigating the First Epistle of Peter who is known as the Apostle of Hope in which we can find people lived a holy life, enduring sufferings with a living hope and joy regardless of their circumstances, we may learn also how to live in this age of hyper-uncertainty with a living hope.

1) Today's passage comes from the first Epistle of Peter, which is a letter written by Peter before his martyrdom, between AD 64-68, to the churches scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, which are in the central and northern regions of Turkey. This area was where Paul intended to preach during his second missionary journey, but the Holy Spirit, who wanted him to preach in Macedonia and Achaia of Greece, did not allow him to do so that he could not preach the Gospel there. And according to Jewish historian Eusebius, Peter is said to have preached in this area. Although there were Jewish diasporas in this area, most of the proselytes were the Gentiles so their commitment to Christianity made their life changed and rejected to worship the Roman Caesar and it led to persecution from Roman authorities, while they experienced also the rejection and ostracism from their communities and neighbors. Therefore they had to endure suffering of a painful life. So through this letter, Peter wanted to encourages them to live a holy life during their time as pilgrims, just as Jesus Christ suffered for us and received glory through his suffering (1:11; 5:1), so that they too may receive heavenly glory through their suffering.

2) In particular, in today's text from 1 Peter 1:3-12, Peter urged believers to hold on firmly to the living hope that has been given to them through the resurrection of Jesus Christ in God’s great mercy, despite the trials they may face on earth. He explains that these trials serve to refine and purify their faith, and ultimately lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ may return to His world. Moreover, Peter emphasizes that God will protect and strengthen their faith, leading to the ultimate salvation of their souls.

3) In order words, the ground for Christian hope is mercy—indeed, “great mercy” (poly eleos) that results in the person’s new birth spiritually (cf. Tit 3:5 and Eph 2:4–5). The assurance for Christian hope is rooted in “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” A realization of the basis of their hope will affect both how the saints embrace the suffering that comes their way and their standard of conduct before a watching world. [1]

4) Through today's test, we would like to share some grace. First of all, suffering is extremely important in the process of Christian sanctification. This is because suffering refines and purifies our faith, making it firm. That's why Peter even encourages us to rejoice in the midst of suffering. However, the reason we receive such refinement through suffering is because we have been born again by God's grace and have become His true people. Just as gold, silver, and iron are refined in the furnace because they are real, and there would be no need to refine them if they are fake, we also receive the refining of our faith through suffering because of our true identity as God's holy people. Therefore, when we face trials of suffering, we should not lose hope, but rather realize that we are truly God's children and rejoice with a thankful heart.

5) Another reason why we should rejoice and be thankful is because God will surely sustain us, as verse 5 says, "And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see (NLT).” Here, the Greek word φρουρέω (phroureo) which is translated as "to protect" is a military term used to describe a guard protecting someone from danger or preventing them from escaping. So, this passage means that God not only protects us from external enemies who might threaten our faith, but also preserves and sustains us from our own weaknesses so that we do not lose faith. And the Korean translation of this passage uses the past tense, "received protection," which makes us be confused its meaning, but since original Greek text uses the present participle form, indicating that this protection is a continuous action. This means that God's protection begins the moment we have faith, continues even now, and will last until the day we receive the salvation of our souls. Therefore, under the secure protection of our Lord, we can rejoice in any circumstance.

6) Finally, we spoke of the living hope since we have obtained through our regeneration in the mercy of God and by the reality of Jesus' resurrection. But also it is called as a living hope since this hope has life-giving power to help us grow and bear fruit. Our regeneration, based on God's great mercy and by the resurrection of our Lord, includes not only the spiritual rebirth and but also the sanctification that leads to a continuous transformation. Therefore, we give thanks to the Lord for his great love and grace, as he died on the cross to atone our sins when we were still sinners, and rose again to make us righteous and new, so that we may live a life of gratitude according to his will as Romans 5:20 says, "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" and also Luke 7:47 says, "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." And also we should also be thankful in the midst of our trials because they produce in us the fruit of our character and bring glory to God.

7) I pray that on the second Sunday of Easter, the great mercy of God and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ will give us the living hope in our hearts so that we may endure sufferings in joy and grow and bear fruit within this living hope.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 In John 20:29, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed," and in today's passage, Peter says, "Though you have not seen him, you love him." This is because we come to realize the great love and amazing grace of our Lord which we can find in our salvation. I hope that you may share with each other about the love and grace of the Lord that you have experienced and come to understand.

Q2 In today's passage, verse 3 says that we have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is based on God's great mercy. This hope is certain and even enables us to endure suffering even in joy, since it leads us to glory. In order for our hope to become a living hope, we need to consider three questions: who is the source of our hope, what is the content of our hope, and finally, the identity of the recipient of our hope, that is, whether we are capable of bearing the weight of that hope. As an example, the disciples who were heading to Emmaus had a hope that was focused on Jesus, but it was a misguided hope that expected Jesus to immediately save Israel from Roman oppression as a political Messiah. So when Jesus died on the cross and even though they heard news of his resurrection, but still did not meet him, they became disappointed and returned home. What is your living hope? Have you considered whether your hope comes from Jesus, what its content is, and whether you can bear it when it is fulfilled? After you think about these questions, I hope you may share with each other what you have realized and thought.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

( ) God ( ) !

Thanks for ( )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( ),

please forgive (heal) me and help me not to ( ).

I learned that ( )

Please help me (or someone) to ( )

I pray in ( ) Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 300). Zondervan.


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