Sunday July 5, 2020 Minster Avery Ford
The Joy Arising from our Hope!
In our world today, probably like it’s always been, there’s nothing new under the sun, t’s clear that we align our joy or happiness with what we have or hope to have. With access to technology, social media in particular, we are constantly bombarded with what we could have and why we should have it. We equate our value as people to status symbols and equate our worth with tangible and temporary things.
Perhaps mental illness is on the rise because many may feel that happiness is unattainable. Or how can we be happywithout status symbols?Technology, for all its pros also has its cons. Today many people are made aware of what they don’t have as opposed to what they could have. I know it may sound like a play on words with the difference going to be determined by the actions of the viewer. Hope will lead to joy. Covetousness leads to jealousy, hatred, greed, and more often than not depression. We’re talking about the joy of arising from our hope! As believers our hope is in the truth of Gospel!
Let’s consider the Scriptures in today’s lesson.1 Peter 4:1-2, 12-19
1 Peter 4:1-2
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
1 Peter 4:12-19
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:nBut rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Unlike most, if not all of us,Christ knew that he was born to suffer.But he also knew that his suffering will bring great joy for him, and us that believe, throughout all eternity. He chose temporary suffering for eternal joy. He chose the will of the Fatherover his own will.
In today’s text Peter encourages us to have the same mindset that Christmodeled.
This hope produces joy and provides the needed motivation to do God’s will when His will is contrary to our own.Some people call this delayed gratification. And oftentimes is used as a principal of success to obtain material things or wealth. However, it’s more important that we use it to obtain spiritual things or spiritual wealth.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Peter tells us plainly to expect the worst and to be happy about it because the best is yet to come. He cautions us however not to suffer forwillful sin. I believe more specifically he’s saying for us not to conflate all sufferings of the Christian as suffering for Christ’s sake.
As believers we need to first judge ourselves. The problem has never been judging as an act. Judging and discerning are synonymous terms. How is right and wrong determined without discernment? Look at yourself and judge what are you doing right? What are you doing wrong? Consider you and whether or not you are in the faith.
If we judge ourselves honestly, the less shocked we’ll be hearing it from someone else. We have time now to change not in the future but right now! So, as we get ourselves together don’t expect everything to go your way all the time. Do the opposite expect the worst and when suffering comes take joy in the fact that this suffering is not from sin.
Be grateful for God’s mercy! Truth be told, sinner and believer alike exist because of God’s mercy. If you were to add up everything that you feel like you suffered, it would not add up to a recognizable percentage of what you should have suffered. That by itself should give us joy today.
Considering the hope that we have an eternity to spend with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ should cause joy unspeakable to arise in us!