We have just started a new section in our bulletin called “Taking the Message Home.” It is designed to help you personally apply the sermon on Sunday, and to be a guide for families and home fellowship groups. Some of you asked for an electronic copy of this section from our bulletin this past Sunday. I’m posting it here for your viewing, and will strive to do so each week. I’m really glad to hear you’re finding this new section stimulating to your personal reflection and family discussion. Please let me know how you’re using it, and how the Lord is at work.
We learn from I Peter 1:3-9 that hope is an essential mark of the Christian’s life, because Jesus has been raised from the dead on our behalf and given us an eternal inheritance. This raises several questions:
- Where do you typically look for hope? Hint: A backdoor way of finding your functional hope is considering what causes you the greatest discouragement and despair in life.
- What is true hope?
- How would reflection on and application of the reality of Jesus’ resurrection dismantle despair in our life and renew true hope?
We’re told in I Peter 1:5 that not only is our inheritance kept for us, but we are kept (guarded by faith) for the inheritance. This is a reason for rejoicing, even if difficulties and challenges are the furnace through which faith is made more precious than gold (1:7).
- The fire of trials burns away the dross of life. Take a moment to write down what God has burned (is burning) away from your life by past or present trials. Take time to recognize His work, and pause to thank Him (Romans 5:3).
- Resurrection wonder is born from wounding grace. Look at your scars. How might God use them to serve those around you, even recreate the world? By his stripes we were healed (Isaiah 53:4).
- If you’re in the midst of a particularly difficult trial and you’re finding it hard to be thankful (a common reality), ask someone you trust to walk with you, and begin by confessing your need to see your present trials through God’s eyes. Take time to pray together, even if it’s awkward or uncomfortable. Push through it by grace and the Spirit (James 5:16). God will show up.
“We are given new birth by God; he fathers us by the resurrection of His Son. In Christ’s triumph God makes all things new, beginning with us.”—Edmund Clowney