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May 5, 2013 “A Living Hope” 1 Peter 1:3-12
(Click below to print our lesson or click here for Word document: A LIVING HOPE SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON). Below you will find activities to reinforce the lesson. Enjoy!
I have given birth to four children. Each pregnancy was different. Each brought their own measure of joy, hope and expectation. Each has with them dreams of what can be in their future.
It is not just at the times of an impending birth when one thinks about the future. Our future racks up some big income in the markets. We plan, put aside and save for our future. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I believe God would have us to be good stewards in this area. But we have become obsessed about the future. Many companies are cashing in on either our hopes or our insecurities about the future.
As previously stated, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared. Instead of play to the hysteria of the markets moving up and down, one should invest reasonably and soberly in their future. Especially when it comes to our spiritual future. Sometimes the circumstances of life are not always favorable (like the markets), but if one has proportionally laid up their faith (their stock) in Christ then there is a hope for their future.
This is where this week’s lesson finds us. Peter is writing a letter of encouragement to those who were dwelling in the area we know as modern-day Turkey. His readers were enduring hardships and Peter’s intent was to help them to gain a new perspective. He would not downplay their trials, but he would try to get them to look beyond their trials into the future which they have already invested in through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If anyone wants to know about blessing God, about praising Him, they have to look no further than the book of Psalms. In it, over and over again, the name of the Lord is to be praised “from this time forth and for evermore,” (Ps. 113:20, KJV). In Psalms we are told “praise is comely for the upright,” (Ps. 33:1, KJV). Other Bible versions have translated the word “comely” to say “fitting,” and rightly so.
It is God “which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope.” God’s name is to be “blessed” because of His sovereignty in procuring the plan of salvation for us. It is through the work of “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” that we now possess a “lively hope.”
When Jesus, according to the will and predestined plan of our heavenly Father, went to Calvary’s cross, He did so with one purpose in mind to reconcile mankind back to God (see 2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Col. 1:20). When He shed His blood we “who were sometimes far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ,” (Eph. 2:13, KJV). And when Christ rose from the dead He became the firstfruits of them that slept, 1 Cor. 15:20, opening up the door of opportunity for all who believe in Him to follow the same course.
This is all because of His “abundant mercy” which has “begotten us again unto a lively hope.” It was nothing we have done to deserve the “mercy” of God. It is “abundant” toward us because of His love. His love compelled Him to make a way of escape for man to be freed from his sins. Those who have believed and accepted that gift of salvation have a future to look forward to. Their hope is “lively” meaning it is alive! Their hope is alive because the Savior in whom they placed their faith is alive!
“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” I have this thing about wanting to leave a legacy. One time we went on a trip and along the way we were able to see mountains, rivers and farms that we don’t get to see on our daily route. Passing by these farms made me wonder about the people who lived there. I thought about their children and how they were probably being raised and taught how to run that farm once their parents are no longer here. The thought of building up to pass it on is a beautiful concept to me. I admire these people to work hard to leave a legacy. Nonetheless, I also have reality which lets me know that anything I can build is subject to rot and decay. But the inheritance that God has stored up for us shall never pass away. It is “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”
“Reserved in heaven.” We have in America the Federal Reserve which is responsible for the banking systems in this country. As secure as it may seem, the investments that we have in this system will one day perish. One way or another what is housed there will not endure forever. Be it by robbery, destroyed by events or natural causes over the course of time (aging system and disintegration), the things that we place stock in there will be no more. But when our stock of the future is “reserved in heaven,” it is an everlasting treasure, an inheritance that will never fail nor be taken from us. It’s an enduring salvation.
“Kept.” That word deals with safety. It gives the feeling of being held on to even in the most turbulent of times. Picture a life saver ring. When one is overcome by the water and begins to drown, someone from a more stable place (boat or the shore) tosses them this ring to save their life. God “kept” us and saves our spiritual lives by His “power” through “faith.” God’s “power” is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” (Eph. 3:20, KJV). His “power” can do an extraordinary thing in our life now and that which is to come in relation to our faith.
This “power” is only in operation via “through faith unto salvation.” It’s one’s faith in the saving work of Christ that will be “revealed in the last time.” The cover will be pulled back in that day. No more hiding. The truth will be revealed and those who are dependent on God’s “power” through salvation are “kept.”
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice.” Hard circumstances are not trivial to the one who is going through them. I don’t really take too kindly when people dismiss the suffering of some. If the shoe were on the other foot, as they say, you would want someone to sympathize with you. Peter was not dismissing their hurt and confusion over the events his readers now find themselves in. He himself knows a thing or two about suffering . Unlike the unbelievers, his readers have a hope. This hope is a tool for them to use and employ in the fight for their faith. Since they have such a spectacular future to look forward to they can now, in their current situation, “greatly rejoice.”
“Now” is only a “season” and as with any season it is only allotted a certain amount of time to hang around (although this year, winter had a hard time letting go :)). The “seasons” of this life have to let go and make room for the anticipation of something better.
“Heaviness through manifold temptation” reminds us of the patience of Job and all he went through. Though the word “manifold” is old and not used often now, it still means the same thing – a lot! Have you ever been in a time of life where it just seems that one thing piles up on top of another? These pile-ups can be as catastrophic in our faith if it is not firmly planted in our future in Christ, as a car wreck of multitudes. These “temptations” which here means trials, can be too much to handle if not properly put into perspective through the eyes of hope.
“The trial of your faith.” Let’s turn that around to read “Faith on Trial” because that’s exactly what it means. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac He did not do so for evil intentions. He did it to see where Abraham’s heart was, where his faith and allegiance lay. No test in life or in the spirit is without purpose. Tests are designed to see what is on the inside of an individual be it knowledge (in the natural) or faith (in the spiritual).
“More precious than gold.” Gold symbolizes wealth. Gold symbolizes prosperity. Gold symbolizes endurance and stability. Gold symbolizes power and the best things this world has to offer. Yet, even in its most valued state it is still subject to corruption. Gold is not eternal. It will tarnish and over time it too will perish.
But faith is more “precious.” Honest and true faith is more valuable than any amount of gold this world can offer. Since faith is not an actual physical material, it is not subject to perishing. It has an enduring quality that cannot be found in the most precious of materials. A quality that will pass from this life to the next.
“Though it be tried with fire.” Our faith is akin to gold in its refining process. Gold has to be filtered through extreme degrees of heat to purify it from all the imperfections that may tarnish its character. Faith also goes through hard and difficult circumstances to see the purity of it. Eventually, when gold gets on the other side of the fire time will still take its toll on it and it will pass away like any other thing on this earth. But when faith gets to the other side of trials, it does that it “might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” When Jesus Christ comes back it will be clearly shown who had genuine faith and who did not.
“Whom having not seen, ye love.” Jesus told Thomas after His resurrection, “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed,” (John 20:29, KJV). 2 Corinthians 5:7 declares, “For we walk by faith, not by sight,” (KJV). “Yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Since you are walking by what you “believe” and not by what you see, in the end you will be rewarded with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God has in store of us (Is. 64:4).
“Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” Pay day is coming after a while. You will “receive” what your faith has invested in “the salvation of your souls.” Psalms 37:18 declares this wonderful truth, “The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever,” (KJV). The “salvation of your souls” is the forever inheritance!
Vs. 10 – 12
For years it had been prophesied and for years it had been “searched diligently” for, but the “prophets” themselves never laid a natural eye on the “grace that should come.” Jesus Himself admitted, “That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them,” (Matt. 13:17, KJV). But with their spiritual eye they testified beforehand the suffering of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”
It was “revealed” to them to “minister” to us now. Peter said, “The things, which are now reported unto you by them have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” We are the benefactors of that foretelling and it is now “preached the gospel” via the “Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.”
“Which things the angels desire to look into.” Despite what many believe, angels are ministering spirits and do not have omniscient ability. They are not God. They work on God’s behalf but they do not possess the same authority and power that God does. We see a lot of people unduly worshiping angels. When people tried to bow down and worship angels in the Bible, the angels themselves quickly set them straight (see Rev. 19:10; 22:9). And of their knowledge in that coming day, Jesus said not even the angels in heaven know of it (Matt. 24:36). Here, like the prophets, the angels “desire to look into,” to fully understand. But the believers now are “receiving” what they themselves could not fully comprehend.
Below you will find Coloring Pages and Activities to help reinforce this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
A Living Hope Draw the Scene B&W: A LIVING HOPE DRAW THE SCENE BLACK AND WHITE
A Living Hope Draw the Scene Colored: A LIVING HOPE DRAW THE SCENE COLORED
Here are some great activities to help suppliment this week’s lesson:
Take a regular manila folder and fold in half. Using the following coloring sheets (reduce the sizes to 3.5 x 5) and this lesson title sheet: A Living Hope Title Page your students can make a lapbook to remind them of the different aspects of this week’s lesson. (Coloring sheets used are: “Born Again” Coloring from Church House Collection, “Treasures in Heaven” from Sermon4kids, “P is for Power” Coloring from Twistynoodle.com, “Rejoice” Coloring from Cortright.org, “F is for Faith” from Ministry to Children, “I Love Jesus” from Twistynoodle.com). Have your students decorate the inside and out! Have fun with it! Enjoy!
This week’s lesson is based on “a lively hope.” The word “lively” means living. What better way to represent this than with the use of a puppet that moves (as if it’s alive, Pinnochio anyone?). Let your students put together one of these printed out (on cardstock) from Free Coloring and Crafts. This is an excellent idea that tells your students our faith is alive! They can move them and play with them and just have fun. I used brads instead of string (my preference, it seemed easier). There are several options to choose from. If your students are too young a paper bag puppet may be a better choice. Go to ABCteach.com for some great choices to choose from. The one I did is pictured below. Enjoy!
Here’s an easy last minute put together idea. Print out this puzzle template on cardstock from DLTK. Let the students draw and color any picture that reminds them of hope in today’s lesson. Next, simply have them cut it out (you may have to help younger children). Don’t forget to take sandwich bags for them to carry this activity home in. Enjoy!
Below are other activities and coloring idea links by verse. Different teachers like to focus on different things therefore there are lots to choose from. Enjoy!
Vs. 3 – “Begotten Us Again”
“Look on the Inside” from Sermons4kids
“Born Again” Coloring from Church House Collection
“Born Again” Handwriting Worksheet from Church House Collection
“Born Again” Maze from Church House Collection
How Many Words Can You Find in “Born Again” from Church House Collection
“Born Again Butterfly Magnet” Craft from Sundayschoolcrafts.net
“Born Again” Activities from Kids Sunday School Place
“New Creation” Activities and Coloring from Calvarycurriculum
“Butterfly and Caterpillar Crafts” from DLTK
“Born Again” Sermons, Activities and Coloring from Sermons4kids
“The Butterfly” Sermons, Activities and Coloring from Sermons4kids
Vs. 4 – “Inheritance . . . Reserved in Heaven”
“Inheritance in Heaven” Coloring from Abdaacts
“Treasures in Heaven” from Sermon4kids
“Heaven” from DLTK
“Heaven” from MSSScrafts
“H is for Heaven” from Ministry to Children
“Heaven” from Calvarywilliamsport
“Heaven” Printables from DLTK
Vs. 5 – “God’s Power”
- Sunday School Lesson “Standing Firm in Hope” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 9-17 (wordforlifesays.com)
- Sunday School Lesson “Living With Hope” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11 (wordforlifesays.com)
- Sunday School Lesson “Promises Kept” Luke 24:36-53 (wordforlifesays.com)
- Sunday School Lesson “New Power to Proclaim the Truth” Acts 2:1-13 (wordforlifesays.com)