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Sun, Mar 27, 2016

Part 02

Duration:23 mins 49 secs

How many of you have studied or know of Jean-Paul Sartre the French philosopher?

What I didn’t know was that he was also (amongst other things) a playwright.

He wrote a play called “No Exit” in which he gives us his own vision of hell…

  • It’s a room (there are others rooms in this place) where a man and two women stay.
  • It is a room that although there are no instruments or threats of torture, these people will stay there with no sleep or eyelids forever.
  • A place where nothing can be hidden or changed (think about that – no hope).

Sartre eventually gets us to the point where he expresses his famous line “Hell is other people”.

The moral of the story is a depressing line penned by Sartre “You are – your life, and nothing else”.

The implication of this play is that hell starts where hope ends.

But as depressing as that sounds, Sartre’s image of hell falls far short of what God has revealed in the Bible… where God’s judgment exposes sinners not simply to the lidless eyes of other sinners, but to the all-seeing gaze and action of God himself.

And yet Sartre stirs in us a reminder of just how desperately we need hope. Not just for this life but beyond death in the next.

And what is amazing about this day that we celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead is that through His resurrection we can have hope forever.

1 Peter 1: 3

Peter writes this letter as a letter of hope to suffering Christians. A letter of sure hope for now and eternity through the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

  • Peter had lived with Jesus for 3 years
  • His hopes of Jesus bringing about the Kingdom of God had been rising all the time…
  • Until of course Jesus had died on the cross…
  • With Jesus death, Peter’s hopes were dashed
  • And he was also left sinking further and further into guilt about how he had denied Jesus three times
  • He could find no relief
  • But then on that 3rd day the women said Jesus had risen
  • Peter had gone to the tomb and seen the evidence
  • Jesus appeared to him and forgave him his denials
  • Jesus had risen from the dead!
  • Hope was reborn in Peter
  • More than that his Hope was resurrected and living
  • Later with the indwelling Holy Spirit he would remember the reason why Jesus had to die (forgiveness of sins, back with God)
  • And he would remember the significance of the resurrection and he would write that passage I read to you about his living hope

No wonder he starts with “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”“Praise” … or “Blessed” or Peter could be saying “I adore with immense gratefulness” … the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Why such praise, blessing and adoration of God?

“Because in His great mercy” – in His vast, extreme yet tender compassion…

“he has given us new birth” – He had not left Peter and his readers in their first, old birth in which they were spiritually dead and had no hope and no salvation and remain separated from God and under His judgement. God has given them new birth into new spiritual life, eternal life, salvation and…

“into a living hope” – a living hope because they are alive through the new birth… a hope that is now living because Jesus is living… victorious over sin and death, having accomplished the salvation He set out to achieve through His death and resurrection. He is their living hope.

Which is why Peter says it is “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”

If Christ had just died, like all others, death would have conquered Him, like it does all others. But He is raised from the dead victorious over sin and death.

And so Peter and his readers can rejoice that they too are part of this victory through faith… 1 Peter 1: 4 – 9. (Note also future hope 5 + 7 / sign of the new birth 8 – 9)

By the resurrection of Christ, God has given life, not only to Christ, but to us so we can have faith in Him. We are given new birth by God. We become children of God by the resurrection of his Son. In Christ’s victory God makes all things new, beginning with us.

This is all a work of God (1: 1 + 3 / 2: 9 - 10) and that is what fuels our praise and adoration of Him and not ourselves.

So here you sit this morning

What do you think about what you have just heard?

What do you feel about what you have just heard?

  • Does the resurrection of Christ seem the same to you as any other historical truth?
  • Does the resurrection of Christ seem like a bit of a fairy tale to you?
  • Does the resurrection of Christ seem like the sort of thing religious people get excited about but not you?
  • Would you rather be somewhere else?

You think and feel that because you have not yet been given the new birth…

  • It’s not that you are intellectually free, unhindered by a primitive religious mind-set
  • It’s not that your experience has taught you something better
  • It’s not that you have found a more rewarding, exciting lifestyle
  • It’s not even that you have weighed it all up and found Christ wanting

It’s just that you are still spiritually dead, unable to appreciate true freedom and the really good life.

Your spiritually dead heart and mind has played a cruel trick on you enabling you to value things of no eternal value over things that have eternal value.

You have put your hope in things and people that will deliver nothing… it is false hope.

But when God in His great mercy gives someone the new birth…

  • They come alive spiritually
  • The blinkers put there by sin fall off
  • They are able to see the unseen
  • And when they see it, it is breath-taking
  • It fills them with praise, adoration and hope!

But maybe as you sit here this morning, you have felt something like hope rising up in you for the first time?

Maybe you came in with disinterest, scepticism and deadness…

But now it feels like something is coming alive…

That might be God in His great mercy giving you the new birth…

So let’s meet and help you come to grips with what’s happening [Jade]

Maybe it’s still not for you?

Well then I want to pray for you:

  • God in His great mercy will give you the new birth
  • And the living hope won by Christ through the resurrection
  • That we will see you back here in church as part of what God is doing in your life

Would you like to speak to someone some more about this? [Jade]

Maybe your heart is filled with praise and adoration to God for the new birth and the ability to have the hope won for you through the death and resurrection of Christ your Lord.

Then tell Him that right now… and ask Him to help you show that in your life (the rest of 1 Peter shows what that would look like – even in suffering).

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