Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

The Hopeful Christian in Hopeless Times, Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #48)

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TEXT: 1 Peter 1:3-9

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,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The Hopeful Christian in Hopeless Times, Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #48)

Last week, a pastor and church family in Florida held a funeral for the pastor’s three daughters who were killed in a car crash as they returned from a church convention. A fellow musician who was traveling with them as well as the woman who lost control of her truck, causing the crash, died as well. None of us who have children can imagine losing one child, much less losing all of your children in the same day in such a tragic manner similar to how Job lost his children all at once. One daughter was starting a fashion line, one was about to sign a record deal, and another was getting ready to go back to school to become a nurse. We can only begin to imagine the heartache and hopelessness that this pastor and church family must feel at this time. How can they have hope at a time like this? We find the answer in God’s Word.

Last week, we learned that one of the reasons we have hope in hopeless times is because we have “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven” for us. No matter what happens in this world, no matter how hopeless things seem, we have an inheritance waiting for us in Heaven. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian and Hopeful glimpsed a sight of their inheritance as they were on the straight and narrow way. The Bible tells us about this inheritance — our eternal union with God and peace in Heaven where there will be no more strife, no more tears, and no more dying. And where we will be reunited with saved loved ones. That is what allows that pastor and church family in Florida to remain hopeful even as they go through what looks like a hopeless time.

But, Peter isn’t done telling us about our inheritance. You might say to yourself, ‘How can I be sure that I gain this inheritance? How can we as Christians be certain that we will reach the incorruptible and undefiled future that God has promised in His Word?’ Peter tells us that it is not our perseverance that ensures that we gain this inheritance, but it is God’s power that ensures that we gain this inheritance. He says we “are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation…”

The hope of our Heavenly inheritance is certain because we are kept by the power of God. It is God’s power that enables us to endure and to persevere to the end. It is God’s power that saves us and continues to keep us saved. If salvation was in our hands, and if we could lose our salvation, many of us would have lost it a long time ago. But, thanks be to God, the security of our salvation is in God’s hands, and He has promised that nothing and no one can take it away. It is His power that causes us to persevere through faith unto salvation. That is why we can have certain hope of Heaven. We obtain it not by our own means but by God’s power. F.B. Meyer said, “To have been told that our inheritance was reserved in heaven could have yielded us little comfort, unless that assurance had been followed and capped by this, that the heirs also are being kept for its full enjoyment.” Just as the rewards of Heaven are being reserved for us, we are being preserved for those rewards.

Now, this is where the rubber meets the road: the text says, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice…” Rejoice in what? Rejoice in the hope of Heaven. “…Though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” Peter is saying that while we are undergoing “heaviness through manifold temptations” we can still rejoice because of the hope of Heaven.

The hope that the Christian has is not a Pollyannaish perspective on life, one of absurd optimism or unreasonable cheerfulness. In this life, we have to face the fact that, sometimes, bad things do happen — even to Christians. Peter acknowledges this in the lives of his readers when he says, “if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” The word translated “need” is the Greek word “dei” [DAY] which means “it is necessary” or “there is need of it.” The word “heaviness” in Greek means “to make sorrowful, to affect with sadness, or to cause grief.” The word translated “manifold” literally means “of various colors” or different kinds. And the Greek word translated “temptation” in this verse means “a trial, a testing, or a proving.” It also means “adversity, affliction, or trouble, sometimes, sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s character, faith, or holiness.”

When we put all of this together, we see that, in the Christian life, it is often necessary for us to face sadness and grief caused by trouble, adversity, affliction, and trials of many kinds. Our brothers and sisters in Florida are facing such grief right now. But we must not lose sight of the first part of this verse. It says, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice although now for a season…” To put it simply, Peter is saying, ‘You can greatly rejoice because trouble won’t last always.’

The trouble, adversity, and trials that cause sadness, grief, and anxiety in our lives will only last for a while. They won’t go on forever. We can have hope today because, once we get on the other side — once we reach the inheritance that is promised to us, all that we have suffered in this life will appear as nothing compared to eternity.

It is likely that you are facing some difficulty in your life today — some trouble, some adversity, some trial — and this difficulty is tempting you to lose faith and give up hope. However, if you place your faith and hope in God — the God who is preserving you and keeping you, the God who is holding you up in the midst of your difficulty — you can keep the faith and you can hold on to the true hope that all Christians have

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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.

First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.