Living in Hope
Exiles November 13, 2016 1 Peter 1:1-12 Notes
How should we live as Christians when the dominant cultural and political forces are at odds with our faith? The apostle Peter’s first letter says that we should live as exiles. In fact, he refers to the first century Christians as exiles three times in his letter. So, over the next three weeks we’re going to look at those three instances. In Peter’s first letter, he told believers who were living as exiles in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) that they could live with great hope in Jesus Christ. We too are living as exiles in a hopeless world and can experience a life of hope through Jesus Christ.
Alright, good morning, church. We’re starting a new series this morning entitled, “Exiles.” This series is taken from the book of 1 Peter, where that word, “exile,” occurs three times. And since it occurs three times, we are going to talk about it over the next three Sundays. Today we will talk about what it means to be in exile; the identity of an exile. Today, we will talk about how to live in hope, how the one who lives in Christ lives in hope. That’s where we will be camping out today in 1 Peter, first chapter.
Look at that first occurrence of the word, “exile.” Now, what does that word, “exile,” mean? In the Greek language, it literally means, “one who is just passing through.” Just passing through. Synonyms might be words like, sojourner, pilgrim or stranger. It’s the idea of one who has dual citizenship. They are living in a country that they were not born to live in. And as we talk about this today, we will be talking how, as Christians, we’ve been born from on high. We’ve been born again, into a new identity in Christ, which causes us to recognize that we live in this world but we are not of this world. That’s what we are talking about today.
Now, as we reflect back on this past week, when our country elected a new president and elected new governors and so forth; you might be in dismay this week. Maybe you feel like, “Well, my candidate won.” Others may feel like, “Well, my candidate lost.” But here is what I would say to you, as exiles, as believers, rather than identifying yourself as a Republican or a Democrat, or even as an American, why not find your highest and truest identity in Christ. Then you will never lose! You will always have your hope in the One who is the King of all, the Creator of all. The One who is the salvation of all. Those things that we are seeing right now in our country are just evidence of the fact that we live in a sinful world. We are called to live as elect exiles, the book of 1 Peter says. This idea of putting our eyes on another country because this country is not really our home.
Now, when America was first envisioned, and the founding fathers envisioned it, they had this idea, this ideal. And they set forth something that I think God gave them the inspiration for. But then sinful people tried to put it together and sinful people today are still trying to do that. It’s only a foreshadowing, it will never be, don’t make your patriotism become your idolatry. Don’t make a political party or someone who is running for office; don’t put your hopes there. Instead, put your hopes in Jesus. Because He is the Living Hope. And then your hopes will never be dashed. That’s what we are talking about today.
I don’t know how you are doing. I don’t know where your hope is today. You may be coming in today feeling like you are losing. Maybe you are losing because you are out of work and you have lost a job. Maybe a relationship has been broken and you feel like you are losing in a marriage or a friendship. Maybe you feel like you are losing when you check your bank account. Maybe you feel like what’s going on in America has gotten you disheartened. Or, on the other hand, you are all fired up because you think it’s all going to change, but here is what I want to say to you. I am not trying to say to not have hope that God is at work here, but you shouldn’t base your hopes on “stuff” here. It will always let you down. But Jesus never will. He will never fail you. That’s what we are talking about today.
In Peter’s letter, he was writing to elect exiles. That’s who we are! Guess what? There was another election that took place a millenia ago. God elected you. He chose you for salvation. And that’s what Peter is talking about today. You are one of his elect exiles if you have said “Yes” to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. We are talking about being exiles and who we are today, and over the next few weeks we will talk about the implications about how you would live. Today we are going to “camp out” on making sure we set our hope in the right direction. Toward Jesus.
We are going to looking at three ways, as the apostle Peter encourages us, to set our hope in the Living Hope of Christ. Are you ready to dig in? Here we go!
1 Peter 1:1-12 (ESV)
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time[a] the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
This is God’s Word. Amen?
Three ways on how to live in a hopeless world:
Here’s the first:
1) Recognize Christ as Your living hope.
Recognize Christ as your living hope. Look at verse 3. What we see there, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Why? Because according to His great mercy He caused us to be born again to a living hope. Not a dead hope. Not an empty hope. A living hope! Not a hope that’s like a cloud or a mist that you can’t get a hold of but a hope that has substance. A living hope. And then he says it’s anchored in the resurrection of Jesus. Our hope is not in a system, a political party or a bank account. Our hope is a person. His name is Jesus, and He is alive. He’s resurrected. I have said this before, but it’s the best way I can get my mind around this. Hope is like a rope. Biblical hope is like a rope. It’s anchored in the resurrection so you can see it’s tied off in the past. It’s tied off in the historicity that Jesus really was raised from the grave. So there’s the hope. It’s anchored right here, and it passes through our present. It’s passing through the present beyond the veil into the heavenlies where the Holy of Holies is where the Father is. And there is Jesus, who has carried His own blood and sprinkled it up on the Mercy Seat. And so that’s the hope.
Our hope is not just this stuff like, “I hope the Panthers win today.” Based on the way things are going….. It’s not that kind of hope. It’s not like, “I hope, you know, it doesn’t rain tomorrow.” It’s not like that. It’s like this hope that’s anchored in the resurrection of Jesus. It’s living hope; you can take hold of it. And when storms come, you can hang on to it. When things don’t go your way, you can hang on to it. It is anchored on both ends. One in the resurrection and one in the fact that He is there with the Father now as your advocate and your high priest and He is returning again. Your hope is a living hope! This is what Peter is saying; you have this born again, living hope. The word born again, in the Greek means, “born from on high, born from above, born up.” It has this idea you have been caused to be born anew, born from on high. And he describes us as elect exiles. That means you have been chosen; selected.
Now, some of us who have been Christians for a long while recognize that Peter is an old blue-collar working fisherman that Jesus called, but boy, he has gone high and mighty in his conversation now. He is talking deep doctrine when he starts talking about the doctrine of election. He just barely gets started in verse 1 when he says “elect exiles.” Doctrine of election? What is that? I think the best way to understand election, the doctrine of election, is that God chose you before He made you. It is to understand it in context with the word, “foreknowledge.” You see that in verse 2, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” What is foreknowledge? It literally means, “pre-knowledge.” The Greek word is where we get the word, “prognostication,” or to have a prognosis. It means “previous knowledge.” So here is what God has; He knows what is going to happen tomorrow. He knows who is going to win the football game today. Like that matters, but He knows it. He knows everything. He has previous knowledge. So when you put “election” and “foreknowledge” together, you start understanding something that Peter is telling us here. He chose us because He already knew us before He made us. He already knew that He would choose to show us the gospel and we would say, “Yes” to it. And so you put those together and it begins to help you understand but not yet because you are not God. And God is beyond, listen, we will never put God in a box. And every time you try to, you end up going too far.
C.S. Lewis tried to explain the conundrum of time and God. He says, “Time is a timeline. It goes back into ancient history and it’s like a line with an arrow on the end and it goes all of the way and it has an arrow on the end pointing to the distant future. And here I am and here you are. We are a dot on the timeline.” I can’t remember back to 1958; at least they tell me that was when I was born. A long about ’62, I can actually remember stuff like birthday parties and things like that. I can’t really remember what happened yesterday, but I am pretty good on ’62. But I have a limited memory from my perception of just my own perspective. I don’t know everything, but I know what I saw from like 1962 to November 13, 2016. From my perspective, very limited, I am this little dot and so are you. You have a little timeline, too. And C. S. Lewis says, “God is the piece of paper that the line is drawn on. He sees past, present and future in one glance just like you would. He looks at it just like this and He says, “I see it. I see it just like that.” He is not trapped by time. He created time. “In the beginning (that’s a time word), God created the heavens and the earth.” He created time, matter and space – the three dimensions. He created it; He is outside of it. God is impossible to completely understand, but Peter is giving us a hint here, friends. He is saying he elected us because he had foreknowledge that we would make us and before time he decided to give us Christ to save us. Can you get your minds around this? I am trying. I can’t. But I want to continue pressing in because it is wondrous. He chose me so I might know Him. God made you for Himself. You are exiles. Just passing through. Sojourners.
Peter says, (he gives these three benefits from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) “the Father chose you and knows you. The Spirit has sanctified you; is making you holy.” He then says, “you have been dispersed.” Do you see that word in verse 1 – “Dispersion.” That means you have been scattered like seed. Peter, apparently, had taken a tour through what we would call modern day Turkey. He said, “I am writing this letter to those of you who have dispersed from Asia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Pontus and Bithynia.” That would all be modern day Turkey. Those are like regions. He says you have been scattered like elect exiles, believers; you don’t really belong to the Roman Empire. You have just been scattered. Do you know what has happened? Do you know what you are part of this morning? During the week, you have been scattered throughout Eastern North Carolina. Unless you are visiting from way out of town somewhere. You are scattered. You are scattered more if you live out of town. This morning, at this very moment in time, you have been gathered. Right now, in this room, you are in God’s house. You are members of God’s family. This doesn’t feel like exile in this moment because you love hearing God’s Word, you love singing praises to Him and now you are a family. But when you go back, you are scattered again and you live like exiles because out there is not really your home. This feels more like home. This is a foretaste of heaven. This place where we gather around God’s Word and sing praises to HIm and we feel this sense of family. This is a foretaste of that Living Hope that we have in Christ. We are exiles. We have been chosen by the Father. We are being made holy by the Spirit.
Then Peter says this, this is an unusual way of saying this, he says, “for obedience (this is verse 2) to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with His blood.” He says we have been obedient to the Gospel which Christ has sprinkled His own blood on us. Now, this is not Him sprinkling His blood on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies before the Father. This is more the picture of how Moses sprinkled the people with blood whenever they were given the first Ten Commandments when they were first to start the old covenant. This is the same words that Peter is using to harken back to that except now he is pointing to the new covenant. Let me give you a couple of verses to help you understand. Exodus 24:8 “And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, This is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.” It says he took hyssop, which is a plant that has an end on it like a brush that will absorb. He stuck it down into this blood; it was the blood from a sacrifice. He sprinkled it on the people. They said, “Yes, we will,” to the covenant. Here is what Peter is saying: when you have been chosen, when you have said, “Yes, we will,” to Jesus, “Yes I will,” to Jesus, you have been sprinkled with the blood of the new covenant.
Notice how Jesus talks about this the night before He was crucified. Luke 22 “Likewise, He also took the cup, after the supper, saying ‘this cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’'” [I don’t like it when you talk about blood.] Well, I am sorry. That is what the Bible talks about. It says, “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.” He was the only perfect sacrifice. He gave his blood. The way we are sealed, the way we are sanctified, the way we are chosen is that he died in our place and his blood is sprinkled. This is why we remember The Lord’s Supper. It’s helping us have memory of what He has done, that you have been obedient to the Gospel and you have said, “Yes, I need the righteous blood of Christ to cover my sin.” This is who you are. Outside this room, that kind of language sounds really alien. But in this room, I look at your faces and you are going, “I’ve been sprinkled with the blood!” Try talking to your people at your work about that tomorrow. “Hey, have you been sprinkled by the blood of Jesus?” They would be like, “Come on, now. Why would I want that?” This is exile language. This is God’s people language. We have this book that gives us these stories that helps us understand what Jesus has done for us. We understand it and we love to hear it. We set our hope upon the living Jesus who is raised from the grave.
Here is what it says in 1 Timothy, “We have our hope set on the living God who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe.” Last week, we reset our clocks, we fell back, right? We got to get that extra hour of sleep, although this morning I couldn’t feel any difference, but last week it felt great. But anyway, you reset your clocks, right, twice a year? Once for daylight savings time and then you fall back in the Fall. And so are used to that. We do that. But here is what Peter is saying, here is what the Word is saying: Set your hope on Christ. Lift your hopes up from back accounts, political parties or whatever you are setting your hopes on. Set your hope on Christ, the Living Hope. Lift up your eyes. In Hebrews, it says this, in chapter 6: “Therefore, we have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope.” As we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is strong and trustworthy. It is an anchor for our souls and it leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us; He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Hope is like a rope. It’s a living hope. Hang on to Jesus, anchored in the resurrection and passing beyond the veil. Hang on to HIm. He is a living hope. Recognize Him. Church. Recognize you are exiles. Just passing through. Hang on.
2) Depend on Christ for a lasting hope.
We are in verses 4 through 7 now; we are just going to look at a few things. A lasting hope. A permanent hope. A hope that you can depend on. A hope that you can count on. He says, in verse 4, that you can have an inheritance. You become joint heirs. Whatever Christ has, whatever belongs to Him, is now yours. You are rich beyond compare, exiles. Not in the things of this world but in the things that will last. Look what he says as he describes it; he says that you have an imperishable inheritance. You have an undefiled inheritance, an unfading inheritance. These are features of it. Romans 8 says this, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs.” Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Whatever Christ has is yours. That is why He says, “Ask anything that you want in My name.” Put My name to it because it all belongs to me.
My wife and I share a joint checking account; it has both of our names on it. But Jesus says He wants to share a joint checking account with you and He says whenever you write a check, sign the name of Jesus to it. [I can’t forgive that person.] Yes, you can; write it against the check of forgiveness. Jesus has an unlimited account of forgiveness. An unlimited account of grace. Yes, you can. You are joint heirs. Imperishable means it will never corrupt or decay. It is imperishable. Undefiled means unsoiled, unspoiled. It is not debased, it’s force and vigor remain. Undefiled. Unfading, it means it never fades, it is perpetual.
I like to try to find things my wife likes and I don’t like to shop so if I can find two or three things that she likes then it becomes [ok I know how to do this now] and it’s hard to figure out because she is such a sweet lady that if I get her something that she doesn’t like she doesn’t tell me she doesn’t like it. She just says, “Well, thank you.” She likes roses; I figured that out some years ago. On Mother’s Day, several years in a row, I bought rose bushes and we would plant them along the side of the house. I had to switch to something else now because we filled in that whole side. We have a bunch of rose bushes in different colors. Sometimes, when it’s my day off (she works on the day I am off, I work on the day she is off) I work in the yard and usually think of those rose bushes. When they are in bloom, I try to cut one or two and put them in a glass vase with water and have it waiting for her when she comes home. The beautiful, long stemmed red roses will last the longest; they will stay beautiful for a week or so. If I cut it too late, the house heat will get to it and the petals will fall off in a couple of days. The roses will always fade; even when I clip them on the right day, at the right time, at the perfect moment. They fade. Now, I have tried buying artificial ones but they just don’t get the right result. Even the plastic ones get dusty and defiled. Have you noticed, no matter what, everything in life always loses that “new car smell?” Have you noticed that? Everything runs down, tears up, breaks down.
Stop depending on things of this world, where things are defiled, blemished and running down. Instead, think about that inheritance that belongs to you in Christ. Place your hope in the imperishable, undefiled and unfading that is kept in Heaven. Preserved in Heaven by God’s power. He is the one doing it and then he says “being guarded” and he is not talking about the inheritance now when he says being guarded. He is talking about you. Look what it says; “Who by God’s power, (in verse 5), are being guarded through faith for salvation.” So, He is not only guarding your inheritance, He is guarding you. That word, “guard,” means to garrison, which has the implication of the angelic hosts protecting you in Jesus’ name. He is protecting your salvation. He is guarding it. You are exiles. Stop letting your hopes be on the things of this world; instead, place your hopes on the riches you have, the inheritance you have in Jesus’ name. It is a lasting hope. A hope that will not perish or fade.
We will go through “stuff;” Peter says you are going to go through “stuff.” He says, (verse 6), “You are rejoicing about that, but sometimes you are grieved by various trials.” When you go through those, just recognize (it says in the next verse), he says, “your faith is like gold.” When someone tests for the purity of gold, they apply heat. As the gold become liquid, the impurities rise to the top and then the one who is testing it will sloth off the impurities so that only pure gold remains. That heat is the trial; that heat is the suffering you go through so that your faith will be purified, so that you will be ready and sanctified, so that you can obtain which is already yours. You will be fit for that which is already yours. So, don’t focus on the suffering; don’t focus on the test, the difficulties, the disappointments. Don’t focus there, instead focus on what you have, a lasting hope, and know that even the testing God will turn into good for you. Focus there. We have a lasting hope.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe says, “A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.” It’s not real faith if it doesn’t get tested. That is how you prove that it is genuine. In the book of Matthew, Jesus is speaking, He says “Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” You have a lasting hope. He says to make that your treasure, focus there. In the book of Ephesians, Paul is praying, he says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance.” May you focus on that. Stop worrying about your 401 K. Focus on that hope.
I don’t know where the stock market is going; it went all of the way to nothing the night of the election and the next morning it jumped up again. Who knows how that stuff works. I don’t know how the people that do it know how it works. But I know this; we have confidence, we have hope like a rope that is living and lasting. Hang on to that. Live like exiles. Have you heard about this word that some called “planned obsolescence.” Have you heard of this? Recently I read an article in the New York Times entitled, “Cracking The Apple Trap.” They were accusing the Apple Corporation of planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence is when a maker of a product builds into the product a break down date; they will sell them, make a fortune, and they will fail on this date and they will sell them more of the same product. Planned obsolescence. What the article was accusing Apple of was that they made the IPhone 4 or the IPhone 5 and then a year later, they had a software update that then caused it to run slower and the battery not to last as long. Then everybody was talking about the IPhone 7; let’s get the next one. And so they were accusing them of planned obsolescence they were building into their plans. This thing is going to run down so you are going to have to buy another one. Whether they meant to or not, every product runs down. Whether you plan for it not, if you plan to live forever, the only plan that will work is God’s plan because if you continue to live how you are, you will have unplanned obsolescence because sin leads to death. The only thing that truly lasts is our faith in God and that inheritance that we have in Jesus. Stop laying up treasures on this earth. Start depending on Christ. He is the only thing that truly lasts.
3) Look to Christ with a longing hope.
We are in verses 8-12 now. Longing has a sense of hope that I want it so badly, like an emotional urge, that I want it and I can’t live without it. Peter is saying you should have that kind of a hope towards Christ. Verse 8 says, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him.” Noone here has seen Jesus. We didn’t live 2,000 years ago. You haven’t seen Him. But something inside you, believer, listen; you are in the house right now. We are in here together. We are the gathered exiles. We love Him. We love Jesus. We love His Word. We have this in common. We have never seen Him but we love Him. And then Peter says, “You believe in HIm.” You don’t see Him now but you believe in Him. Don’t you long to see Him? Do you feel the urge here in what Peter is saying? Peter saw Him. Peter couldn’t say that with the exiles. He saw the living Lord. He saw Him crucified. He saw Him raised from the grave. He saw Him as sin. He saw Him raised from the grave. He is a witness. He is an apostle. He is sharing the truth of the gospel. But he is saying that you have never seen Him, yet you love Him. You have never seen Him, but you believe in HIm. Why? Because God elected you to be one of his exiles; one of his people passing through, one of the sojourners that would just move through this world until He calls you home. You are one of them. He talks about how you have this joy.
Then he tends to backtrack when he says, “concerning this salvation (verse 10) the prophets were looking forward [here’s the cross and they are over here and wondering when that is coming and when is the Messiah coming] concerning this coming salvation that all of our sacrifices here are like checks written on a future deposit.” They are not good until the deposit of Christ’s death is made; all of those bulls, all of those lambs whose blood was shed were only as good as the paper they were written on. Just a check; just faith in a future deposit. All of the prophets were trying to figure out how God is going to make this good. In verse 10, the prophets were searching and inquiring and listening. In verse 11 it says, “inquiring person or time, the spirit of Christ.” They were wondering how this coming as they were looking forward. And then it occurred to them; it was revealed to them in verse 12 that they were serving not themselves but you. They wrote all of this down but they never got to see it, see, the whole old testament, they never got to see the crucifixion, the resurrection of Jesus. The whole time they were looking for His first coming and they wrote it all down for you. They were longing to see the salvation and they are with Him now. They long no more, but their life was spent in longing hope.
Now here is where we are, Peter says. Now we are over here. We didn’t see it but we love Him. We didn’t see it but we believe in Him. But now we are longing to see Him for His return. You see, we are on the other side of the cross. We look back, we weren’t there, but we believe it happened. We long for His return. In the last verse, Peter says, “things into which angels long to look.” Even the angels wonder why He made these little, weak creatures, they sinned against Him but He loves them so much that He sent His Son to die for them. The angels are longing to understand the love of God that He would so elect us, choose us for Himself. They long to peer in and look at this salvation it is so wondrous to see it for themselves.
Do you have this sense of longing? Jesus said in John 20, he said to Thomas, “you believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” They believe based on God’s Word and the urging of the spirit. Is that you? Do you believe even though you have not seen” Do you love Him even though you have not seen? Now if you do, you have a longing to see Him when He returns. You have a longing hope. Hope that just won’t be fulfilled by no matter what you taste of in this world it won’t fulfill. You have longing for another home. For our country that is not on planet earth. Something that will last.
The book of Hebrews speaks of these people or these prophets, these kings, these leaders like Abraham and Moses and all of these. It says in Hebrews, chapter 11, “God’s faith hall of fame.” All of these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers. Exiles on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country that they had left, they would have had opportunities to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared a city for them. He has prepared a place for you. Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God believe also in Me. In my Father’s house, there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go there to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also.” Let not your hearts be troubled. He is the living hope. He has given you a lasting hope. And that longing you have in you that you have tried putting things in your heart that won’t fill it, it is because your heart wasn’t made for that. It was made for Jesus. He made you for Himself. You have been given a longing hope. In John 17, Jesus said, “I am not from this world and neither are my children. Neither are those who have believed in Me.” He says they are in the world but not of the world. We are not from this place. Philippians 3:20 says our citizenship is in Heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our citizenship is in Heaven.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will talk more about what it looks like to live as an exile. Some of you may ask, “What does that mean for when it is time to vote?” I think one thing it means is be careful what you say on Facebook. Recognize where your real hope lies. Don’t overinvest in temporal things that will never last. Instead, lay up treasure in heaven because everything down here is running down. We are going to talk about this over the next few weeks but today I wanted to lift up the idea of pulling your affections off of the world and putting them on Christ. Here is what C.S. Lewis says about this longing we have: “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.” A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim, well, there is such a thing as water. I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
Friends, you were not made for this world. You have been born from above when you received Jesus. Those of you that don’t know Jesus today, that longing that you have in you is for the Creator who made you. He sent Jesus so that you might know Him. You can say “Yes” to Him today; you can have this living hope, lasting hope, this longing hope that He offers to you today.
A song I heard often when I was growing up was entitled “Wayfaring Stranger.” This song reverberates and keeps going through my head, especially since in the verses it speaks of a father and a mother, both of which for me are already in that place, kept and guarded. My mom and dad are already with Jesus. I don’t know who you have on the other side.
[Pastor Gary sings the song, “Wayfaring Stranger”]
Where is your hope? Do you have the confidence in Christ or are your eyes still on the things of this world where everything passes away? We are just passing through. Let us pray.