Sunday School

 

June 7, 2020 Minister Tajuana Miles

Theme: The Basis for Our Hope

The Point: Only Hope in Christ is sure and certain.

Jesus the Hope of Glory.  Ephesians 1:11-1411In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The Apostle Peter wrote this letter to encourage believers who would likely face trials and persecution under Emperor Nero. The theme of this letter is Hope.  Peter wrote to Jewish Christians who were experiencing persecution for their faith.  He wrote to comfort them with the hope of eternal lifeand to challenge them to continue living holy lives. Those who suffer for being Christians become partners with Christ in his suffering.  As we suffer, we must remember that Christ is both our hope in the mist of suffering and our example of how to endure suffering faithfully.Our salvation and security rest in the free and merciful choice of almighty God; no trials or persecutions can rob us of the eternal life he gives to those who believe in him.The hope of eternal life: John 17:33And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

1 Peter 1:1-9

1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Strangers: Those who lives as aliens

Peter (also called Sion and Cephas) was one of the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus (Mark 1:16-18; John 1:42) and, with James and John, was part of the inner group that Jesus singled out for special training and fellowship. Peter was one of the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, God’s Son, and Jesus gave him a special leadership role in the church (Matthew 16:16-19).  Although during Jesus’ trial Peter denied knowing Jesus, he repented and became a great Apostle.

This letter is addressed to “the strangers scattered” or “to the Jewish Christians scattered” throughout the world. The first Believers and leaders of the early church were Jews.  When they became Christians, they did not give up their Jewish heritage.  And because of Persecution, these believers had been scattered throughout the Roman world(this scattering is mentioned in Acts 8:1-4). Persecution did not quench the Gospel; instead, it introduced it to the whole empire.  Thus, the churches to which Peter wrote also included Gentile Christians.

Acts 8:1-4                                    

  1. And Saul was consenting unto his death.
  2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
  3. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling* men and women committed them to prison.
  4. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

The term Father does not suggest that God created Jesus but that they existed in eternity in this unique relationship, both fully God but as separate persons (fully Man). There is only one true and living God who simultaneously and eternally exists as three distinct persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. The three distinct persons possessequally the fullness of the one divine nature so that they are not three Gods but one God.  All the blessings of salvation flow from God the Father through the work of God the son.

This verse mentions all three members of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All members of the Trinity work to bring about Salvation. The Father chose us before we chose him (Ephesians 1:4).  The Son died for us while we were still sinners (romans 5:6-10). The Holy Spirit brings us salvation and sets us apart (sanctifies us) for God’s service (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

Elect: The Greek term eklektos has the meaning of “being selected or Chosen.”

Foreknowledge: Literally “to know beforehand”; because God is both omniscient and omnipotent, He not only knows but work through people and events to accomplish His eternal plan.

Natural Attributes of God: Incomparable, Invisible, Inscrutable, Unchangeable, Unequaled, Unsearchable, Infinite, Eternal, Wise, Omnipotence (All-powerful), Omnipresence (Ever-present) and Omniscience (All-knowing).Omniscience also involves perfect knowledge (is the accurate possession of all facts), perfect understanding (is the full perception and interpretation of the facts) and perfect wisdom (is the proper application of the facts). 

Expression of God’s Omniscience *Foreknowledge (to have prior knowledge of, foresee) *Foreseeing (to know beforehand) *Foretelling (to predict; and *Foreordained (to predestine)

Moral Attributes of God: Goodness, Hatred, Holiness, Impartiality, Justice, Longsuffering, Love, Mercy, Truth, Vengeance, Wrath

Sanctification is the Work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, resulting in increasing personal holiness. Sanctification, or in its verbal form, sanctify, literally means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy.  1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Regeneration  is a re-creating and transformation of the person by God the Holy Spirit.  Through this process eternal life from God Himself is imparted to the believer, and he becomes a child of God and a new person.  He no longer conforms to this word, but is now created after God “in righteousness and true Holiness”.

3Blessed 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,

In Verses: 3-6 Peter’s words offer joy and hope in time of trouble, and he bases his confidence on what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.

The Term “begotten again” or “born again” refers to spiritual birth – The Holy Spirit’s act of bringing believers into God’s family.  Jesus used this term when he explained salvation to Nicodemus (see John 3).

Those who have been born again through their faith in Jesus have a lively (living) hope. To know “the substance of things hoped for” (Heb 11:1).

Faith comes by hearing. Hearing means receiving instructions. Instructions provide information. Information produces your understanding. Understanding produces trust. Trust is Faith, and Faith conquers All

Those believers, who are suffering for their faith, had a sure hope that would endure even if they died.  They had a confident and assured hope of eternal life through their faith in Jesus Christ, and so do believes today. We are called to live in the hope of eternal life.  Our hope is not only for the future; eternal life begins when we believe in God and join his family.  NO matter what pain or trial we face in this life, we know it is not our final experience.  One day we will live with Christ forever. 

Abundant mercy: The Difference between Mercy and Grace

Grace and mercy is not the same thing although they both come from God.  Grace is what we receive that we do not deserve while mercy is what we do not get that we do deserve.  He gives the one (grace) and withholds the other (mercy) and that is why we ought to give thanks to God for His goodness.  What we do deserve is the wrath of God (John 3:36), instead He refrains from giving us what we truly deserve (mercy) and then extends to us what we could not earn in a million years (grace). John 3:36King James Version (KJV)36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

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

The word for incorruptible is aphthartos, meaning “not liable to corruption or decay.” The term is used of the abiding nature of God Himself (Romans 1:23; 1 Timothy 1:17), and of the resurrected body (1 Corinthians 15:52).Our inheritance in Christ cannot be corrupted from within or without.  No one can take away our inheritance, and nothing can separate us from it.

Undefiled: not made corrupt, impure, or unclean : not defiled : untainted, uncorrupted.  This relates to the purity of our inheritance.  Our inheritance is thoroughly fire-resistant and in every respect unstained by the world.  It is completely and wholly pure.

Fadeth not away.  Our inheritance will never lose its glory.  Other treasures my diminish in their appearance or value over time, but our inheritance in Christwill never grow dull, never become dim, never be destroyed, never fade.

The Jews had looked forward to an inheritance in the Promised Land of Canaan (Numbers 32:19; Deuteronomy 2:12; 19:8).  Christians now look forward to a family inheritance in the eternal city of God.  God has reserved it; it will never grow dim or decay, it will be unstained by sin.  The best part is that it is there for youif you have trusted Christ as yourSavior.

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

God will help us remain true to our faith, whatever difficult times we must face. The “last time” is the judgement day of Christ described in Romans 14:10 and Revelation 2:11-15. We may have to endure trials, persecution, or violent death, but our souls cannot be harmed if we have accepted Christ’s gift of salvation.  We know we will receive the promised rewards.

For the believer to advance in grace, achieve victory over Satan and sin, witness effectively for Christ, and gain final salvation, he must ever have God’s power moving toward him.  This power is an activity, manifestation, and strength of the Holy Spirit working within the faithful believer.  It is the same power and Spirit that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at God’s right hand.

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

God will help us remain true to our faith, whatever difficult times we must face. The “last time” is the judgement day of Christ described in Romans 14:10 and Revelation 2:11-15. We may have to endure trials, persecution, or violent death, but our souls cannot be harmed if we have accepted Christ’s gift of salvation.  We know we will receive the promised rewards.

For the believer to advance in grace, achieve victory over Satan and sin, witness effectively for Christ, and gain final salvation, he must ever have God’s power moving toward him.  This power is an activity, manifestation, and strength of the Holy Spirit working within the faithful believer.  It is the same power and Spirit that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at God’s right hand.

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

Why are Christians the target of persecution?

  1. They refused to worship the emperor as a god and thus were viewed as atheists and traitors.
  2. They refused to worship at pagan; temples, so business for these moneymaking enterprises dropped wherever Christianity took hold.
  3. They did not support the Roman ideals of self, power, and conquest; and the Romans scorned the Christian ideal of self-sacrificing service.
  4. They exposed and rejected the horrible immorality of pagan culture.

Romans 5:1-5 1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein  we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

7That 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:

Peter mentions suffering several times in this letter: 1:6, 7; 3:13-17; 4:12-19; 5:9.  When he speaks of trials, he is not talking about natural disasters or God’s punishments, but the response of and unbelieving world to people of faith.  All believers face such trials when they let their light shine into the darkness. Trials teaches us patience and help us grow to be the kind of people God wants us to be.

  1. Trials are difficult. They are hardships that tries our faith.
  2. Trials vary in nature.  They come in all shapes and sizes.
  3. Trials are temporary. God allows us to go through the furnace, but He controls the thermostat.We must accept trials as part of the refining process that burns away impurities, preparing us to meet Christ.  As gold is heated, impurities float to the top and can be skimmed off.  Steel is tempered or strengthening by heating it in fire.  Likewise, our trials, struggles, and persecutions strengthen our faith and make us useful to God.
  4. Trials have a purpose.  A Christian is refined by God to be a reflection of His glory. I Peter 5: 10: But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 
  5. Trials result in rejoicing.  One day we will see and know Jesus fully.  James 1: 2-4KJV.  My brethrencount it all joy when you fall into divers temptations (several, various trials) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience (enduring or capable of enduring hardship)   – Trying – testing: worketh – produces – But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire wanting nothing.  (perfect – mature).  Perfect work: full effect; perfect and entire: mature and complete wanting: lacking nothing

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

Though Peter and the other Apostles had seen Jesus while He was on the earth (John 1:14), most likely none of Peter’s readers has seen Him.  Despite their lack of firsthand experience of physically being with Jesus, these Christians still trusted that Jesus was who He claimed to be.

God is Love, and he who abides in Love abides in God and God in him.  God’s Love is the heart of His nature.  God not only had Love, but God is Love.  The Love of God is the perfection and affection God has which moves Him to give Himself to His creatures continually.  That Love is not merely an emotion.  It is an act of God’s will in which He eternally gives Himself.

True joy is evident regardless of circumstance.  The Spirit-filled believer continues to rejoice even amidst troubles.  Biblical joy is clearly different from earthly, temporal pleasures that are bound to circumstance.  The purpose of joy is to provide blessings for the believer.  Joy enables you to enjoy all that God has given.  As Believers, our joy and peace are not based in doing and achieving, but in believing.  Joy and peace come as a result of building our relationship with the Lord.  Psalms 16:11 tells us that His presence is fullness of joy.You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

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

Hebrews 11:1-3, 11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Facts in regards to Faith:

  1. Faith involves assurance and conviction. The work assurance comes from the term meaning “to stand under” and conviction meaning certainty.
  2. Faith always relates to things yet future. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.  The word hope points to the future.  Faith is like the cement we mix into Hope to harden it into assurance and conviction.  Without it, our hope is nothing but wishful thinking.
  3. Faith has its object “things not seen”.  When we focus the eyes of our heart on the unseen things, we develop an incredible ability to see not only what God had done and is doing in our lives.
  4. Faith is basis to pleasing God. By faith we gain the approval of God.  There is nothing that we can substitute for faith when it comes to pleasing Him.
  5. Faith means focusing fully on God.  Besides trusting in God’s existence, true faith affirms that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.  The Greek term used for seek means “to search diligently, demand.”

The three (3) characteristics of faith are:

  1. Faith in Jesus’ ability to heal is also faith that he does heal.
  2. Faith in Jesus’ desire to heal is not to be equated with psychological certainty.  He will heal when we do not have psychological certainty; and
  3. Faith does not put restriction on God’s ability to act on behalf of his children, for “everything is possible for him who believes.”