Sunday School Material
5-5-13: Living Hope

(I Peter 1:3-16; 5/5/13)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is believers are called to live as those who have a living hope in the promises of God. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live as those who have a living hope in the promises of God.

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Read I Peter 1:3-5

I. Hope Founded. Peter calls for his readers to praise God in our Sunday School material. They are to praise Him for the living hope found in Christ. Their hope is compared to an inheritance kept for them in Heaven.

Applications -

- Praising God. Notice in vs. 3 the people of God should be known for praising God. There are too many people who claim to be saved but yet have such a silence and stillness about themselves, in even the worship service.

When we think about how good God has been, is being, and will be, it should be hard to get us to be quiet. Let’s work on praising God. It is embarrassing when sports fans make more noise about their team than Christians make about our Christ.

- Hope of eternal life. Notice in vss. 4-5 of our Sunday School material that our hope is in having eternal life with God. It is absolutely awesome to think about how no matter what happens down here, believers have eternal life with God, after this world is over.

Think about no more terrorism threats, congressional gridlock, cancer, or family drama. Think about joy, worship, and harmony among God’s people. Our Christian journey can become tiresome, but we have a hope that can help us endure.  Let’s remind one another of our hope of eternal life with God.

Read I Peter 1:6-9

II. Believers Refined. In our Sunday School material the readers are to rejoice. Even though some suffering may have to be endured, they are to rejoice about the great things that are to come. Troubles come to prove the genuineness of their faith. Pure faith is said to be more valuable than gold, which perishes.

Applications -

- Praise in spite of suffering. Notice in vss. 6-7 of the Sunday School material that believers may have to suffer. However, the time spent suffering is “a little while,” when compared to eternity. As we endure our periods of suffering, we should praise God for how He keeps us and allows us to keep our faith in Him.

As you read these notes, you can probably write a book on suffering. But thank God, suffering doesn’t last always. Thank God there is eternity with the Lord, after our temporary period of suffering. Thank God that as bad as things may have been, God allowed us to keep the faith.

There are so many who claim to start with the Lord, but they fall by the way side, when troubles come. Let’s praise God, in spite of our suffering, because of our hope in God.

- Faith and love. Notice in vss. 8-9 that believers are to be known for faith and love. To have faith should include obeying God’s word with the expectation that God will do what He said He would do. To love is to demonstrate long-suffering kindness.

The second greatest commandment is to love others, as we love ourselves. There are too many church-goers who are known for church attendance, church cloths, and some are known for being hypocrites. Let’s work on being known for our faith and love.

Read I Peter 1:10-12

III. Plan Fulfilled. In our Sunday School material Peter talks about how the prophets of old did not understand the time line of the Messiah’s suffering. They came to understand that they were not serving for themselves, but for future generations. Even the angles longed to look into the timing of the Messiah issues. 

Applications -

- Faithful in spite of ignorance. Notice in vss. 10-12 that God works according to His timetable. There was a time for the prophets to simply prophecy and trust God’s timing. And there was a time for people to see the prophecy being fulfilled.

In like manner, there are times when God allows us to understand what He is doing. And there are times, when we don’t know what God is doing. Especially, when we don’t understand God’s will, we should work on simply doing our part and trusting God with the bigger picture.

Let’s work on being faithful, even when we don’t understand the bigger picture. We can trust God to work all things out for the good of His people.

Read I Peter 1:13-16

IV. Holiness Required. Peter calls on the readers to be alert and sober in our Sunday School material. They are to set their hope on the grace found only in Jesus. They are not to confirm to the evil desires that they previously had. They are to live holy as God is calling them to be.

Applications -

- Sober, alert, and hopeful.  Notice in vs. 13 the urging to be alert and sober minded, as we set our hopes on the grace of God. On one hand, we are not to praise God so much and be in such a state of peace that we ignore what is going on around us. We are called to be alert.

On the other hand, we are not to be so alarmed by what we see that we panic. We are called to be sober. What helps us find the balance between alertness and soberness is our hope in the grace of God.

We should be thankful that our hope is based on God’s grace and not our goodness. Our goodness is so unstable. But we can trust the amazing grace of God. Let’s work on being alert, sober, and hopeful.

- Obedient holiness, instead of conforming to sinful desires. Notice in vss. 14-16 of our Sunday School material that we are called to be obedient and holy, instead of simply conforming to our former desires.

First, to be obedient and holy (i.e., set aside and distinctive) includes loving God and others, as we love ourselves. So many in this world do not love God, nor do they love others. They are their own gods. Thus, to obediently love God and others, as our selves makes us distinct and set aside.

Second, as holy as we may claim that we are today, there was a time when our desires used to be so unholy. Third, a great way to avoid conforming to our former desires is to focus on obedient holiness. It seems rather futile to sit up and simply say what we will not do.

We seem to use our energy better by focusing on what we will do. In doing good, we find ourselves avoiding bad. Let’s work on obedient holiness, instead of conformity to sinful desires.

ConclusionLet’s work on living as those who have a living hope in the promises of God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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