Sermon: In Christ Alone, We Have Hope

 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

There is a famous painting of a woman with her eyes bandaged so that she cannot see. She sits with a harp that has all it’s strings broken except for one—and with that one she is playing a wonderful melody. 

 

The title of that painting is “hope,” and it’s intention is to show that despite any trial that might break the strings of your harp, you can still have hope. My question for you is this: where does that kind of hope come from?


I. THE WORLD’S HOPE

 

Our idea of hope is usually very different from the Bible’s idea of hope. We use hope to express a desire or a wish for a future event to happen. I hope my team wins. I hope he asks me to marry him. I hope it rains tomorrow.

 

There is a sense in which everyone, whether Christian or not, has to have some sort of hope to survive. You hear about POW’s who survived their imprisonment by daydreaming of their future after their release.

 

Or, you hear about a sick child who gets better because a teacher comes by to tutor him and he thinks, “They wouldn’t teach a dying boy about nouns and adverbs, would they?” So he has hope and survives.

 

But there is a crucial difference between that sort of hope and the Christian’s living hope. That sort of hope can be killed in an instant. The POW’s hope can be killed with a single bullet. The sick boy could overhear the doctor say something about him having only a few days left to live—crushing his hope.

 

That worldly hope is very fragile. It is easy broken because it isn’t based on anything solid. In many cases it is simply based on a human stubbornness to live.

 

Imagine if the Bible considered hope to be like that! I hope Jesus is the Messiah. I hope Jesus saves me. I hope Jesus comes back again. Why we would be the most miserable of all people if our hope in Jesus was like our hope in the weather!

 

II. A LIVING HOPE

 

The Christian however, has a hope can cannot die. 

 

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 

Peter says that God “hath begotten us again unto a lively hope.” What is a “lively” (or living) “hope” that Peter mentions in this verse before us?

 

The Bible’s idea of hope is one of confidence in a future event. Listen to how strong it is in Hebrews:

 

18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; (Hebrews 6:18–19)

 

Hope is an anchor. Hope is based on God’s character—he does not lie. That’s why biblical hope is so confident—it’s not based on changeable and fallible things like feelings or politicians or whatever.

 

The opposite of a living hope would be a dead hope. It would be a hope that couldn’t do anything for anyone. We have another word for dead hope — it’s called despair.

 

In John Bunyan’s famous book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, the hero, Christian, and his friend Hopeful are captured by the Giant named Despair and thrown into the dungeon where he beats them for days on end, wanting them to kill themselves out of despair.

 

Well, on Saturday, about midnight, they began to pray, and continued in prayer till almost break of day.

 

Now, a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half-amazed, brake out in this passionate speech: What a fool…am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.

 

Then said Hopeful, That is good news, good brother; pluck it out of thy bosom, and try.

 

Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the dungeon door, whose bolt (as he turned the key) gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out.

 

Then he went to the outward door that leads into the castle-yard, and, with his key, opened that door also.

 

After, he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too; but that lock went damnable hard, yet the key did open it.

 

Then they thrust open the gate to make their escape with speed, but that gate, as it opened, made such a creaking, that it waked Giant Despair, who, hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fail, for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them.

 

Then they went on, and came to the King’s highway, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction. 

(John Bunyan, vol. 3, The Pilgrim’s Progress. [Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2006], 142-43.)

 

A living hope is the opposite of despair. A living hope relies on the promises of God who cannot lie.

 

The living hope that Christians have is based on something that can never be yanked out from under us. It can never be killed even if our very life is taken from us.

 

Why is our hope living? Peter says here it’s living “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” Our hope is alive because Jesus Christ is alive. No one can kill him. Only in Christ Alone can this indestructible hope be found.

 

III. HOW TO GET THIS HOPE

 

How did we receive that hope? Peter says that God… “hath begotten us again.” Nicodemus, one of the good Pharisees, came at night to talk to Jesus. This is what Jesus told him:

 

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:6– 7)

 

You are born into this world physically, but you need to be born again in order to

go to the next world, Heaven. 

 

Now, did you do anything to get yourself born physically? Did you get your Mom and Dad together? Did you knit yourself together in the womb? All you did at your birth was to cry out!

 

The same is true in being born again. You cannot make yourself born again. All you can do is cry out to God to save you.

 

Some people come to God and cry that they never did much wrong and they’ve tried to be good. You can’t cry that to God. All you can do is plead with him to save you, not because you are a good person, but because Jesus is a good person and he died for you.

 

Have you cried out to God for salvation? Have you been born again?

 

IV. OUR HOPE AND NEW BIRTH IS BASED ON JESUS’ RESURRECTION

 

Our hope, our being born again, is not based on being good and religious. A Muslim cannot have this hope and new birth. Our hope and new birth is based on something that only Christianity believes. What is it? Listen carefully to the verse again:

 

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 

Our hope and our salvation is accomplished because of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. This is the cornerstone of the Gospel.

 

The resurrection is like God’s stamp of approval on Jesus’ sacrifice. It says, “Paid in Full.” By the resurrection we can know that our salvation is real, that our new birth is living, and our hope is solid.

 

You can’t be a Muslim or a Hindu or some religious person and have the hope that the Christian has. A solid hope can only be found in one place…in Christ Alone.

 

CONCLUSION

 

There’s a new hymn that we like to sing, the first verse goes like this:

 

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song;

this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,

firm through the fiercest drought and storm. 

What heights of love, what depths of peace, 

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease! 

 

One thought on “Sermon: In Christ Alone, We Have Hope

  1. thanks for this very inspiring sermon, its open the heart of every christian that our really hope in this world is only Jesus and his resurrection. ame

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