1 Peter 1:13(c)

Sermon preached on October 27, 1996 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 1996. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

I grew up about two miles from a place called Sydney Mines. And of course the reason it was called Sydney Mines was because there were coal mines there. And all the while growing up I was certain of one thing—that I never wanted to be a coal miner. And the reason I didn't want to be a coal miner wasn't because it was hard, backbreaking work. It wasn't because it was filthy dirty work. It wasn't because in the winter the days were so short that you went down underground in the dark and when you came up again it was dark. No, the reason I didn't want to be a coal miner was because it was so dangerous. You were always hearing of accidents, of fires, of cave-ins. And the worst of all was the thought of being trapped far underground. It has happened to miners numerous times and stories from the Springhill disaster were at that time fresh and recent. I don't know if any of you remember that mining disaster but it occurred in the 1950's and many miners were killed and many were trapped underground. Some of those trapped survived for up to two weeks before they were rescued. But not all of those who were trapped survived. And from what I remember it wasn't the physical condition of the men that was the determining factor in who survived and who didn't. What determined who lived and who died before rescue came? To a large extent it was hope. People that survived said
, "I never gave up hope." One of the common threads in the stories of the survivors was that they never gave up hope. And the ones that died, some of them were the ones that gave up hope.

In a situation like that whether you have hope or not can have a great impact on whether you live or die.

And what we should see about our text is
that whether you have our hope set on the proper thing or not can greatly impact how you live as a Christian. Hope is a mysterious and strange thing. It is something that can greatly affect us. The Holy Spirit tells you that you should to set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. So what I want to do this morning is to look at what the Holy Spirit is telling us here about the kind of hope that we should have.

It's important that we have our hope set properly. In a certain way we need to be
like Peter while he was walking on the water. All the time that he kept his eyes on Jesus he was okay. But as soon as he became afraid and took his eyes off Jesus—he began to sink. And Peter is telling us here to focus on Jesus and focus on Him a certain way.

It's like this little
bookmark that I have. (The bookmark that Florence gave me.) You can look at it two ways. If you look at it up close and you focus on the brown markings—you can't make anything out of it. It looks like a foreign language. But if you look at the yellow—you can very clearly see that the yellow spells out the word 'Jesus'. It all depends on how you look at it.

And what Peter tells us here is that
we are to look at the second coming of Jesus a certain way. He writes,

"set your hope fully
on the grace to be given you
when Jesus Christ is revealed."

Sometimes in Christian circles you hear the phrase, "Keep looking up." But here we have Peter saying in effect, "Keep looking up and forward."

There are three things here that we are going to look at this morning. First, the Holy Spirit tells us that we are to set our hope on the second coming. Second, He tells us that we are to set our hope on the grace that is to be given to us on that day. And thirdly, that we are to set our hope fully on it. I want to look at each of these in order.

Now the first thing is that is very simple but it is one that you need to put into practice in your life.

you are to look forward to the second coming.

You Christians are to be looking forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus. You are to be thinking of the day when Jesus will come. It is to be much in your thoughts. You are not to be like the scoffers that Peter talks about in 2 Peter 3. Peter wrote, (2 Peter 3:3f)

"in the last days scoffers will come,
scoffing and following their
own evil desires.
They will say,
'Where is this 'coming' he promised?
Ever since our fathers died,
everything goes on as it has
since the beginning of creation.'"

We are not to be like that. Quite the contrary, we are to be anticipating, longing for the Lord's second coming. In 2 Timothy 4:7f the apostle Paul talked about how he was near the end of his life and how there was a crown of righteousness waiting for him and how the Lord would award it to him. And then he continued,

"and not only to me,
but also to all
who have longed for his appearing."

We are to be longing for the second coming. Shame on us that we do no focus on it more. In Romans 8:19 the apostle Paul talks of how,

"The creation waits
in eager expectation
for the sons of God to be revealed."

We, the ones that are going to be on center stage on that day- are to be longing for it. As the Holy Spirit tells us in Romans 8:23,

"but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly
for our adoption as sons,
the redemption of our bodies."

It is to be one of the compelling hopes within us.

We are to be like
Abraham. In Hebrews 11:10 we read that,

"he was looking forward
to the city with foundations,
whose architect and builder is God."

And in Hebrews 11:16, we are told that Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham,

"were longing
for a better country
—a heavenly one."

That should be our desire as well. Paul described the Corinthian Christians as, (1 Corinthians 1: 7)

"eagerly waiting
for the Lord to be revealed."

That should be our posture as well. Our attitude ought to be the same as that of the apostle John at the end of Revelation, (22:20)

"Come, Lord Jesus."

Now the second thing I want to draw your attention to is how we are to look forward to it. In many places we are told to watch and wait. But the particular teaching here is that we are to set our hope on something about the second coming. Why should you be looking forward to the second coming of the Lord? Because on that day you will be given grace.

You are to set your hope on the 'grace' that will be given to you.

Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God bestowed on guilty man. And the point that needs to be emphasized here is that

if you're a Christian the day of Jesus Christ will be a day of grace for you.

And this is a very important point that we need to make sure that we do not miss or pass over lightly.

So many times Christians have doubts about God's love for them.

The experience that Job went through is not unique to him. Throughout history many, many Christians have experienced things similar to what Job went through. Bad things happen to Christians. We are faced with sickness, suffering, death. Very often we are not rewarded for doing good, but we get punished or criticized for it. We go through trouble after trouble. And sometimes we end up like feeling like David in 1 Samuel 27:1. He was being chased by King Saul and he said to himself,

"One of these days
I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.
The best thing that I can do is to escape
to the land of the Philistines."

Or we feel like Elijah when Queen Jezebel was trying to kill him. He said, (1 Kings 19:4)

"I have had enough, Lord,
Take my life."

He was discouraged and disheartened.

But what is Peter telling us here? He is telling us that there is
light at the end of the tunnel. We Christians ought to be like trapped miners when they are trying to find their way out and they first see a glimpse of light. It fills them with joy and gladness because they know that they have found the way out. They are saved. It is just a matter of time and they will be out basking in the sunlight, having enough to eat and drink and being able to be with their loved ones.

That's what the last day will be like for us. It will be a day of grace. It will be a day for you to receive things that you do not deserve. You will be blessed with so many good things.

What are some of the things that we will be given?

Wonderful things are going to be given to you then.

We will be freed from sin. We will be freed from the consequences of sin. We will be made glorious. Think of what is going to happen on that day. In 1 Corinthians 15:52 the apostle Paul tells us what will happen to those Christians who are still alive on earth.

"In a flash,
in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet shall sound...
we shall be changed.
For the perishable must clothe itself
with the imperishable,
and the mortal
with immortality."

But what if we're dead when He comes? 1 Thessalonians 4: 13f tells us that Jesus will bring their souls with Him, and their bodies will be called out of their graves- they will be transformed just like the bodies of those who are alive. In Philippians 3: 21, Paul tells us that Jesus,

"will transform our lowly bodies
so that they will be
like His glorious body."

And Colossians 3:4 tells us that,

"When Christ,
who is your life appears,
then you also will appear
with Him in glory."

That day will be the beginning of eternity of being with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17

"And so we will be
with the Lord forever."

This will happen to all Christians.

Imagine it! And this will not just happen to you—but to other Christians as well. When Peter tells you to set your hope on the grace to be given to 'you' when Jesus is revealed, the pronoun that he uses is plural. He doesn't just want us to think personally about this—but he wants us to see it in all its fullness.

On that day we are going to see grace in action.

Peter, the one who denied the Lord—he is going to be made perfect. David, the murderer, he is going to be made perfect. They are going to be made glorious. Paul, the one who persecuted the church—He is going to be made glorious.

And think of the Christians around you.

Think of them, those you know so well—with all their faults and failings. They too are going to be made glorious. They are going to be transformed and be made like Christ. Imagine it happening. How wonderful it is going to be! How glorious.

And it will all be because of grace.

We will not deserve any of these things. It will all be because of Jesus, because of His love. We will be rewarded. Not because we deserve it- but because Jesus earned these things for us. He procured them for us. They will be all be because of grace.

Now what this means for us is that

we should have a great sense of how much we owe Jesus.

None of these things will be because we deserve them. They will all be from grace. As Paul said in Ephesians 2:8,

"For it is by grace
you have been saved,
through faith—
and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God..."

Love Jesus. Adore Him. Thank Him. Praise Him.

The last thing I want to say to Christians is that you should,

set your hope 'fully' on the grace to be given to you.

You are to set your hope 'fully' on these things. The word means 'fully, perfectly, completely'. It demands that Christian hope not be halfhearted. Such hope should be characterized by a finality that leaves no room for doubt or uncertainty. We are to set our hope fully on the grace to be given to us on the day of Jesus Christ.

How much you should be thinking about the last day. But not only the last day, but what the last day will mean for you.

How it should affect how you live.

The point that Peter is making here is that by keeping that hope in our thoughts and minds we will be better able to live for the Lord. The context here is about Christian living, about being holy, about being like our Father in heaven.

Indeed, this passage reminds me of
1 John 3. Everyone who has this hope purifies himself. And that's what Peter is doing in this verse. He is giving us an incentive why we should be holy. The next few verses are all about being holy.

What Peter is doing here is calling us away from the world. If we direct our eyes to this
, this world is crucified to us, and we to the world.

Now to those who aren't Christians.

You too need grace. If Christians were to be judged on their works—they would never get into heaven. No one will ever get into heaven on the basis of works. (Romans 3:20)

I love a story that was told about
Robert E. Lee. Apparently a young soldier who was accused of some infraction was brought before the general. The young fellow was standing there in front of the great general shaking. He was frightened to death. The general looked at the soldier and said, "Don't worry, son, you'll get justice here." The young soldier replied, "That's why I'm shaking, sir."

You see, he didn't want justice. If he was going to be treated justly—he was in a great deal of trouble. And it's the same way with us. We don't need justice. We need grace.

If there is no grace for you on the last day—what will there be? There will be wrath, misery and suffering. It will be like the story that Jesus told in Matthew 22:11f. He said,

"But when the king came in
to see the guests,
he noticed a man there
who was not wearing wedding clothes.
'Friend,' he asked,
'how did you get in here
without wedding clothes?'
The man was speechless.
Then the king told the attendants,
'Tie him hand and foot,
and throw him outside,
into the darkness,
where there will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth.''

Accept Jesus. He will ensure that grace will come to you.