The Hopeful Christian in Hopeless Times, Part 3 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #49)

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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 3 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #49)
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The most powerful thing we have learned so far from this passage is that we as Christians have a cause and reason to hope even when we are facing negative situations. Perhaps, right now, you are thinking of a situation or circumstance that you could not imagine yourself being hopeful in. However, we saw last week that the Christian can “greatly rejoice” even when being afflicted by many temptations, trials, and troublesome situations. One reason why we can be hopeful is that our trials, our temptations, and our troubles have a purpose. This is what we will look at today.

Peter writes, “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.” This verse tells us several things about the troubles we face in life.

First, we see that trials are tests of our faith. Why would our faith need to be tested? Well, until you are tested, you can never know how strong you really are. It is one thing to say, “I have faith in God,” when things are going well for you spiritually, physically, financially, and materially. It is a completely different thing to say, “I have faith in God,” when you feel cut off from God, when your finances are suffering, when your relationships are broken, or when you are sick and in the hospital.

God does not test us so He can know how strong our faith is. He already knows. He tests us so WE can see where our faith is deficient and then take the steps necessary to grow in faith. So the testing of our faith is actually a good thing. Charles Spurgeon said, “Indeed, it is the honor of faith to be tried. Shall any man say, ‘I have faith, but I have never had to believe under difficulties’? Who knows whether thou hast any faith? Shall a man say, ‘I have great faith in God, but I have never had to use it in anything more than the ordinary affairs of life, where I could probably have done without it as well as with it’? Is this to the honor and praise of thy faith? Dost thou think that such a faith as this will bring any great glory to God, or bring to thee any great reward? If so, thou art mightily mistaken.” One man put it quite succinctly when he said: “Trials are not only to approve, but to improve.”

If you are a Christian, every negative situation you face should be seen as an opportunity to increase your faith and trust in God. God counts our faith in Him as “more precious” than gold. Gold is the most precious metal on earth. However, it is not more precious than your faith in God. God does not want our faith in Him to falter, much less perish. That is why He allows us to experience difficulties in life — so that our faith can be strengthened, polished, refined, and purified.

Peter goes on to state that, ultimately, the goal is for our faith to “be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” God will reward us for our faith at the “appearing” or second coming of Jesus Christ. At the end of our lives on Earth — whether we are taken in the Rapture or die on this side of Heaven — all of the trials and adversity that we face today will be worth it. These difficulties are part of God’s plan to make us a fit bride for His Son, Jesus Christ. When we see His face, it will all make sense.

However, we do not have to wait until we see Him to rejoice. We do not have to wait until we get to Heaven to have true hope. Peter tells us, “Having not seen [Jesus], ye love [Him]; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Because we believe in Jesus and because we know that He is working out His good and perfect plan in us, we can rejoice even now with “joy unspeakable” — joy you can’t describe with words. Wayne Grudem said this phrase “occurs only here in the New Testament, and describes a joy so profound as to be beyond the power of words to express.”

This joy is different from worldly joy. It is not joy that depends on people, places, or things. It is not joy that comes only when life is perfect. This “joy unspeakable” is evident in spite of people, places, and things. This is joy that the Christian can have in hopeless times when everything in their lives seems to be going wrong. Why? Because we know that God is using our afflictions to increase our faith in Him and make us fit for Heaven.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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 Society.com 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.

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