Dinner Church: Victory, 5 May 2019

Dinner Church: Victory

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a celebration which, interestingly, is celebrated more in the United States than Mexico. What does this day commemorate?

The Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is not Mexico’s Independence Day, but it has become a day for us to eat tacos and burritos! Leave it to USAmericans to take a solemn occasion and turn it into a food feast!

Our them tonight is victory. We’ve all had victories and defeats, wins and losses. We will throughout our lives. Not even the New England Patriots or New York Yankees—or that team down south—win every year!

I love sports. I love to play sports. I love to watch sports. And I’m very competitive. I’ve never been fast, but I want to be! I want to win…and I want my teams to win.

Many years ago, I discovered the key to watching sports is to cheer for a person or team.

The most important part of a game is the…end. As many people have found out, it doesn’t matter the score with one second left on the clock or in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs. Anything can happen in those final moments.

As much as I love basketball, for instance, I rarely sit and watch the first half of a game, even if it’s one of my favorite teams. However, if I know the Pistons or Sixers are in the fourth quarter and the score is tied, get out of my way! Some of the great moments in sports history came when a certain defeat became a miraculous victory.

What is one victory you’ve experienced in your life? It could be field day as a kid, a little league game, watching your favorite team win on tv, getting a job you wanted, winning an award, etc.

How did it feel?

How is a victory different from a defeat?

What does it take to be victorious?

I want to suggest often victory requires defeat. I’ve rarely met anyone who is just a born winner and effortlessly succeeds at everything.

Last month Christians around the world celebrated a day called Good Friday. It was actually terrible. Jesus spent about three years creating a movement, a movement which continues to this day, a movement of faith, hope, and love. He spent three years teaching, healing the sick, raising the dead, attracting crowds, mentoring men and women, and then all of a sudden he allows himself to be arrested on false charges, refuses to defend himself, and goes from celebrity status to that of a criminal. Imagine the horror of all of his friends and fans as he is crucified, nailed to a cross, butchered for all to see in the most humiliating and excruciating of executions.

In a word, all was lost.

The life of Jesus. Lost.
The hope of his followers. Lost.

That’s not all. As Jesus died on the cross, the universe began to shift. Literally.

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. (Matthew 27:45)

Even with all of the cloudy, rainy days we have in Toledo, it’s not dark from noon until three in the afternoon! These were the hours Jesus was dying on the cross. Matthew, the writers of one of Jesus’ four biographies called the gospels, wrote,

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matthew 27:50)

He died. There’s no way anyone could’ve survived the beating, torture, mocking, thorns, and nails.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. (Matthew 27:51-53)

Did you know zombies were in the Bible? When Jesus died—and a spear was shoved into his side causing blood and water to flow, proving he was dead—the whole universe went crazy. All was lost. Or so it seemed.

Have you ever had a moment like that? Maybe it was a day, a week, a month, or even a year. Maybe that moment is right now. Life feels like one big loss.

It could be a literal loss, like the loss of a job or a relationship breakup. Maybe your physical health is failing or your finances are a wreck.

If it feels like Friday, I’ve got good news for you. Your story’s not over. In fact, this very moment of pain, struggle, and storm may actually be preparing you for the greatest victory in your life.

Here’s the thing about Jesus and the cross: it wasn’t a loss. Sure, for a couple days all seemed loss, but something was going on behind the scenes. The crucifixion wasn’t an accident. In fact, Jesus had predicted he would die. He told people he would die. Ancient prophecy from hundreds of years earlier predicted he would die. What looked like a loss was just part of a plan.

On the cross, Jesus died to forgive you and me of all of our sins, our mistakes, our junk. Nobody’s perfect, right? Except Jesus.

See, the bad news is God is perfect and demands perfection from all of us. He doesn’t grade on a curve! If our lives are not 100% perfect, he has to reject us. It’s like the measles that are spreading in parts of the country. Nobody wants to get close to someone with measles because it’s very contagious. If you’ve got the measles—even if you’re a nice person and get good grades in school and make a lot of money and volunteer at the Humane Society and support the Toledo Symphony—you’ve got to be quarantined. You’re contagious.

Sin is contagious, and we’ve all got it…and God can’t get close to it. We were all—all—destined to go to hell when we die. Don’t get freaked out about a place with guys in red suits wearing horns and carrying a pitchfork. Hell is simply where God is not present. It’s not a good place, but it’s where we all deserve to go because we’ve all got sin.

But the amazing thing is Jesus—perfect Jesus—died to forgive our sins, to bring our score to 100%, to cure our sickness, our measles, so we can know God, so we can be with God, so we can go to heaven. Heaven is where God is, and you can experience heaven before you die, and even more after you die in the next life.

But heaven is not for people who are good. You have to be perfect…or know someone who is! Jesus came, lived, and died so you could know God, do life with God, and experience the love, joy, peace, freedom and hope that come only from God.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible says,

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15, NIV)

On the cross as Jesus died, the real loser was sin, evil, and death. He made a public spectacle over satan and demons.

Jesus took the beating. His body was broken. His blood poured out. For you. For me.

The cross was actually a victory for all of humanity, anyone who would say yes to Jesus, say yes to the cure he offers for our sin disease. And guess what? It’s a gift! You can’t earn it. You can’t buy it. You can’t do enough good things to deserve it.

If someone offers you a gift—a wonderful gift—what do you have to do? Take it!

Tonight I want every one of you to experience sweet victory. I’m not talking about self-help, positive thinking, cheerleading. I mean take your junk to Jesus…your fears, failures, hurts, habits, and hangups. Let go and let God.

“Our God loves triumphing over what looks impossible.” – Lisa Bevere

On the third day—the day we celebrate on Easter—Jesus came back to life. He rose from the dead.

Dr. Tony Campolo famously said, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”

There’s a lot of talk about Christianity dying in this country. I think some of it has to do with abusive priests, power-hungry pastors, and hypocritical Christians. I’m very sorry for that, by the way. Christian means “little Christ” and a lot of Christians don’t look like Jesus…including me, sometimes. I’m very sorry.

But a lot of people have no need for God. They say they don’t need a crutch. They feel like they’re experiencing victory. But it never lasts. Eventually every team loses, every champion retires, every dollar is spent, every breath is breathed.

If you don’t need God, thanks for coming tonight. I hope you enjoyed dinner and made some friends.

But if there is any part of your soul that needs healing, any part of your heart that needs love, any part of your mind that needs truth, or any part of your body that needs healing, I know where you can find victory tonight. It might not be instant victory, but surrendering your life to Jesus, receiving his forgiveness, repenting and turning away from your past life and running to God will change you forever. Forever!

This isn’t about religion or even church. It’s about Jesus.

Steph Curry’s favorite verse is Philippians 4:13

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

If you want to experience victory in your life, I have a short prayer I want to invite you to pray tonight. It’s simply this: Jesus, I give you my life. I believe for some of you, tonight is your night. This prayer is not the end, it’s just the beginning. Jesus, I give you my life.

At the end of the Bible is a somewhat mysterious book called Revelation. It begins with letters to churches and Jesus speaks to an ancient church in what is now Turkey says this to those who followed Jesus:

All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine. (Revelation 3:5, NLT)

That’s victory! That’s eternal victory! And that’s the victory we can experience with Jesus is greater than any Mexican war victory on Cinco de Mayo, greater than any NBA Finals championship, and even greater than winning the lottery!


We Are Victorious, 13 April 2014

Big Idea: We are victorious!


Whether you know it or not, we are at war. It is not a war with Russia or North Korea or Iran—though that could be in our nation’s future. It is not one of the estimated 14,500 wars that have been fought in the past 5300 years (3600 BC to the present). We are at war with a real enemy, satan and demons. Ever since satan’s coup attempt to overthrow God failed, he’s been seeking every opportunity to destroy us.

C.S. Lewis wrote “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight” (C.S. Lewis,
The Screwtape Letters). 

Many Christians ignore satan and demons. In fact, more people believe in angels than demons. Satan is not an impersonal force or a guy in a red suit with a pitchfork! At the same time, we must not give him too much credit. He is not God. He is powerful but not all-powerful.

How do I know satan is real? Pick up a newspaper. Check out Open your eyes and ears! Death and decay is all around. Homelessness, abuse, divorce, murder, violence, injustice, starvation, slavery, pride, self-righteous religion…this world is messed up!

A few weeks ago I spoke with the father of my friend who died from cancer. He told me never before has he felt death as an enemy. It’s not right! Present reality is a far cry from the Paradise God created for Adam and Eve to enjoy. Ever since sin entered the world through satan’s temptation we have been surrounded by pain, depravity and brokenness.

Often people talk about spiritual warfare in either a creepy or corny way. They get spooked about demons or think the armor of God is a costume for kids to wear on Halloween. Because satan masquerades as an angel of light, spiritual warfare is often subtle—so much so that more people believe in angels than demons, God than satan. Yet something has to account for the brokenness, pain, suffering and death we are exposed to every day on this planet that God originally called good.

After spending more than five chapters telling the early church about its identity in Christ and offering instructions for Godly living he concludes

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (10-13)

We are to be strong not in our strength or wisdom or experience or knowledge but in the Lord and in His mighty power. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). “Be strong” literally means “be strengthened.” The battle is the Lord’s, but we are not to merely hide. The devil is real and he is scheming. He is smart and crafty. He destroyed Job. He tempted Jesus. He plots destruction. The greater your passion for Jesus and the Kingdom of God, the greater threat you are to the enemy.

Paul wrote to the church in the city of Corinth…

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

Part of the reason people are unaware of the battle is it often rages in our minds. Paul continues…

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Paul says that battle is not against flesh and blood. People are not the enemy. Atheists or other non-Christians are not the enemy. They are merely deceived pawns of the enemy. The enemy is a spiritual creature that tempts humans to sin. There can be no greater contrast between the two sides of the spiritual battle.

God loves you.
Satan hates you.

God is life.
Satan is death.

God is true.
Satan is the father of lies.

God is light.
Satan masquerades as light.

God is for you.
Satan is against you.

God forgives sin.
Satan tempts us to sin and then accuses us of doing it.

Why, then, are we surprised when trouble enters the lives of Christians?!

We are at war and must know our enemy, be prepared to fight and be ready to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (14-17)

belt of truth
(against the father of lies)

We are to have the truth wrapped around us. If you don’t have your belt, you can lose your pants! Keep it on!

breastplate of righteousness
(say no to sin and yes to righteousness)

The breastplate is defense for the front torso and vital organs. It was often composed of a solid piece of metal, but it could also contain many small pieces that were sewn to leather or cloth that overlapped much like the scales of a fish. These scales could number as many as 700 to 1,000 per “coat.” When the sun shone directly on the armor, it could become very hot. So to avoid being burnt, or even pinched, by the moving metal plates, the soldiers always wore a sturdy robe under the armor. We are to wear the robe of Jesus’ righteousness.

The breastplate covered the front, but not the back. We are to stand firm and never retreat, never run away, never surrender.

boots of peace
(Jesus is the Prince of peace, our most powerful weapon)

Keep your boots on! Soldiers wear them to bed, always ready for battle.

shield of faith
(an internal conviction that leads to an external action)

The shield was the first line of defense for a warrior. It could protect the entire body when the soldier crouched down. Jesus’ blood is our first defense against satan’s arrows of deception, temptation, and accusation. When temptation lodges in our body, it’s too late. We must be alert, anticipating the schemes of the enemy that will entice us toward greed, lust, envy, rage, discouragement, fear, and worry.

helmet of salvation
(helmets guard the mind; never forget your salvation)

The mind controls the body. It is our most vital organ. All of our actions begin in our mind. What do you think? What do you feel? Who do you think you are?!

The sword of the Spirit.
The other tools shield and protect. The sword is the weapon. It is what we use to fight. The Word of God is truth. It is offensive to the lies of the world. It spreads truth and sets captives free.

The sword of God’s Word will give the beast of Revelation 13 a deadly wound (13:3, 14).

Some have called the two edges of the double-edged sword the Old and New Testaments. It is used against the enemy and for personal use. The Bible is a practical tool—like a Swiss Army Knife—that can be used for every area of life.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (18)

Communication is essential in any battle. We need to know what our Commander is saying. We need to listen for His voice.

Paul ends his letter to the Ephesians by saying

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (19-20)

We must pray for God to give us words to declare the Gospel, the good news, in word and deed.

Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. (21-22)

This is an interesting note as Paul sends Tychicus to Ephesus. Finally…

Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (23-24)




We have come to the conclusion of the book of Ephesians, this incredible book written to instruct us on how to know and live out our identity. Paul arguably saved the best for last, reminding believers that we are not to lounge around in comfort and luxury, but instead be engaged in the battle that has been raging since the beginning of time, a battle that will someday end with a victorious God and a defeated enemy. We caught a preview of this defeat at the cross, a moment we will remember this Friday. It is called “Good Friday” because

“Having disarmed principalities and powers, Jesus made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

Through sin, we all surrendered to satan and were taken as captives in war. Though we were legally satan’s possession because of our debt to him through our sin, Jesus redeemed us through his victory on the cross. His final words from the cross, “It is finished,” declared our liberation. And his resurrection to life signifies His complete victory over Satan, sin, and death in the life of all believers.

In Christ, we are forgiven.
In Christ, we are clean.
In Christ, our captivity has been replaced with a new identity.

Who do you think you are? If you love and follow Jesus, you have a new identity in Christ. serve him, follow him, and call him your Lord and Savior. There’s good news: you have a new identity…in Christ. That means we are…

We are in Christ
We are saints
We are blessed
We are appreciated
We are saved
We are reconciled
We are included
We are heard
We are gifted
We are new
We are forgiven
We are adopted
We are loved
We are rewarded
We are victorious

Grace and peace to you…in Christ.


Some ideas from

Mark Driscoll, Who Do You Think You Are (book and podcast series)
GLO Bible
J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible,

You can listen to this message and others at the Scio podcast here. You can also subscribe to our podcast here.

O Come, All Ye Faithful, 1 Peter 1:1-9, 9 December 2012

O Come All Ye Faithful
1 Peter 1:1-9

Big Idea: Jesus can make us faithful, joyful and triumphant.


Welcome to the second Sunday of Advent. Advent is about expectant waiting and preparation. For generations, the Israelites awaited the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We are awaiting His return. We are in between His first and second visits to our planet. We look back and forward.

During these four weeks during our preparation for Jesus’ birthday celebration, we’re looking at four classic Christmas Carols, their lyrics, and their biblical message. It is my hope and prayer that as you hear these songs, you’ll not only hum the melody, you’ll think about the timeless message.

This morning’s carol is
O Come All Ye Faithful.


"Adeste Fideles," the original Latin name for the song, was likely written in the 13th century, most likely by John Francis Wade. The original four verses of the hymn were extended to a total of eight, and these have been translated into many languages. The English translation of "O Come, All Ye Faithful", by the English Catholic priest, Frederick Oakeley is widespread in most English speaking countries.

O come all ye faithful Joyful and triumphant O come ye O come ye to Bethlehem Come and behold Him Born the King of angels
O come let us adore Him O come let us adore Him O come let us adore Him Christ the Lord
Sing choirs of angels Sing in exultation O sing all ye bright Hosts of heav'n above Glory to God All glory in the highest
Yea Lord we greet Thee Born this happy morning Jesus to Thee be all glory giv'n Word of the Father Now in flesh appearing
- C. Frederick Oakeley | John Francis Wade

O come, all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant!

Have you been faithful to God’s calling? Have you been obedient to everything He has asked you to do? Has your faithfulness matched His?

Let’s move to the second line. Joyful and triumphant.

Are you joyful? Triumphant?

If you’re like me, you often feel more defeated than triumphant.

I can’t say I’m always joyful—certainly not always happy.

Uh oh!!!

Are you ready for the good news? Jesus rarely calls the joyful and triumphant.

He calls the weary and burdened!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Can you relate?

Wait, just in case you thought Jesus was talking about eggs, a yoke is a device that harnesses oxen together.

Why does He want the weary and burdened? They need rest. They need Him! Have you ever tried to share Jesus with someone who had everything together? There are exceptions, but it seems that the people most likely to follow Jesus are those that are broken and desperate. One of the reasons that serving those in need is so powerful is because those that have physical needs often have the most glaring spiritual needs…and openness.

He not only calls the weary and burdened, He calls sinners.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:10-13)

That’s me!

Here’s even better news: He not only calls the weary and burdened sinners, He doesn’t leave us weary and burdened.

He doesn’t leave you that way!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

He helps us to become a new creation. He is in the transformation business!

How does that happen, you might ask?

First, Jesus helps us to become more faithful.

After the faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11, Paul writes

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

If you’re waiting for God to just zap you with faith and power and discipline you’ll be greatly disappointed. We must join Him in His work. Action is required on our part.

First, get rid of the junk. The sin. The time wasting. The selfish spending. The addictions.

On Thanksgiving Day—upon the invitation of my oldest daughter—I participated in my first race. Well, technically it was a Turkey Trot. Both words were appropriate for me! I didn’t just wake up on Thanksgiving and jog 5K. I had to train. First I had to make it to the end of my short driveway! Later I got up to a mile, then two, then three and I was nearly there.

I did not carry a backpack with me!
I did not carry a bag of groceries with me!
I didn’t even carry my iPad with me!

Runners want to be as light as possible and free from distractions.

I also learned that they need focus. They need a goal.

I ran with a program called Map My Run that would call out when I reached a mile…and two...and three. I set a target distance each time knowing that otherwise I’d just jog to the mailbox and then go eat gingerbread cookies!

On the final days of my training I determined in advance how far I was going to jog (you can hardly call my pace running!) and I refused to stop until I reached that goal. It’s about focus.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

We have to focus on Jesus, not Oprah or ESPN or Facebook…but Jesus. Only Jesus can help you become a new creation. Only Jesus brings true joy. Notice this verse. He experienced joy while He was on the cross. Is that crazy?

Joy is not happiness. It is far deeper. Joy comes from a right relationship with God, and that’s what Jesus had on the cross. His joy was not in the pain and agony He experienced, but knowing that He was glorifying the Father and doing His will.

One of the great things about fixing our eyes upon Jesus is He understands. We’re going to talk about this more in two weeks, but He knows suffering. He knows grief. He knows pain. He knows weary and burdened. He conquered sin and death.

What does it mean to fix our eyes on Jesus? It starts with the Word of God.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

As we saw a few months ago in John 1…

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
(John 1:1)

Maybe your faith is being tried by the loss of a loved one, a dream, a job, health. Look to Jesus. Get in the Word. There is power and hope and joy in the Word.

If it’s hard to read, grab the New Living Translation or the Message. If you don’t know what to read, join us as we read through the entire Bible together at If you missed the first 49 weeks, not problem! Finish this year in God’s Word. Start up again in January. The Word is life. The Word is power.

As an example, a few weeks ago I was discouraged, living in Cleveland, spending my days in a hospital waiting room with my daughter. The Scio Journal passage for the day included this…

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 4:8-10)

Wow! My faith began to rise. I was reminded that God was with me, that He understood, and that there was a purpose in my trouble—to let Christ overflow in my life and comfort others.

We need to fill our minds with the Word of God. The word of the world too often fills our minds with lies.

As we are in His Word, our faith grows. Jesus helps us to become more faithful.

Jesus helps us to become more joyful.

Our joy comes from a right relation with God, not something we produce.

Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Joy (depends on Jesus) and happiness (depends on happenings) are worlds apart.

In Luke 2—the most detailed account of Jesus’ birth—it says

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:8-11)

Good news of great joy. For all the people. That’s Jesus!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Peter and Paul had a thing about long sentences! Notice that he is speaking in the present tense.

They have been given new birth into a living hope.

“That’s great,” you may be thinking, “but that was then and this is now. You don’t understand my messed-up life.”

Peter is writing to people that are in the midst of suffering. Look at the next verse:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (1 Peter 1:6)

How can they rejoice in the midst of suffering? How can we? It’s really quite simple: what is your hope?

Pastor Tim Keller says this so beautifully: any hope that is a finite object will disappoint. If your hope is in your health, family, job, wealth, fame…it can and will eventually be gone. For most people hope is a circumstance that can change, but if our hope is a living hope, it is fixed; it is not based upon circumstances.

Let’s go back for a moment to the previous verses…

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Without the living hope, you either have joy or sorrow.

These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)

When you put gold into the fire, it gets brighter and more refined. A living hope not based upon circumstances means the sorrow actually drives you into joy and into Christ. Sorrow kicks on the joy. Sorrow doesn’t kill the joy because it’s not circumstantial.

The joy enables the sorrow. When most people experience grief, they run into indifference or anger.

With a living hope, sorrow makes you wiser. You don’t run from it, it deepens you. The joy gets brighter with the sorrow like the stars get brighter as it gets darker.

Your heart with a living hope is always great and growing.

Earlier we looked at Jesus’ joy on the cross.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

He sweated blood. He screamed on the cross. He had a living hope.

is the living hope?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

It is an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

It is kept. It is secure. It is guaranteed. It cannot be removed.

It is the coming of the salvation…the last time, the end, but what is it?

These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)

Those who believe…praise, glory and honor…we will praise, glory and honor Jesus, right?

No! It says your faith may be proved genuine. The Greek grammar is not referring to praise, glory and honor to Jesus, but
from Jesus.

We are going to get praise, glory and honor on the last day!

Jesus prayed at the end of His time on earth…

I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus took everything that we deserve. If you believe in Jesus, you get everything that He deserved.

This isn’t about what you have done, but what the death and resurrection of Jesus did. At the end, you will receive everything that Jesus deserved! Love, applause, approval, perfection, and purity.

It is kept! It is secure.

This is the new hope. What’s coming is the ultimate wealth, the approval of the King.

The foundation of your character is not your personality but your hope.

The Gospel is not if I try hard, maybe God will bless me someday. It is because Jesus died for me, I have a hope that is kept for me and someday I will be changed forever and even now it gives me hope so I can handle anything.

Religion: trying to be good, gambling that someday God will accept them; you’re saving yourself; I give God a righteous record and He owes me

The Gospel: live in the light of being accepted; you receive and rest in His salvation; God gives me a righteous record in Jesus Christ and I live for Him

To be born again is to live in the living hope that it is kept.


Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Unspeakable joy!

Jesus was even able to have joy at the cross. What was Jesus’ living hope?

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)

Us! Being with us forever!

You being His living hope is what makes Him your living hope.

Love Him!

Is this just for superstar Christians?

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: (1 Peter 1:1-2a)

Peter is writing to all of the Christians in the region. It’s for everyone. It’s for you!

Jesus helps us to become more triumphant.

We often feel defeated. Life is hard…but God is good. Our God is an awesome God. Our God will someday soon right all wrongs. The enemy may be winning some battles, but our LORD will win the war!

Isaiah understood Jesus was not just an 8 pound, 6 ounce sweet baby Jesus.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

That’s our God. That’s our King! He will rule and reign forever!

The baby in the manger is the Creator of the universe, the King of kings, …

There is power in the presence of God.
There is faith in the presence of God.
There is joy in the presence of God.
There is victory in the presence of God.
He is born the King of angels.
We have come to adore Him.

Come all ye faithful (He is faithful even when we are not)
Joyful and triumphant
He is Christ the LORD


Jesus calls the weary and the burdened. Some of you need to come back to God.

Credits: Series theme and various ideas from Craig Groeschel,

Some notes from Tim Keller,
Born Into Hope sermon

You can listen to the podcast here.
You can view a music video of
O Come All Ye Faithful from here.