Week 1: Rejoice in Hope
Key Scripture: “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” – Romans 12:12
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:5-8
“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” – Romans 10:9-10
1. Saving hope
We are saved by grace, through faith and are reconciled to God through Jesus. The Bible says that as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins and transgressions from us (Psalm 103). Already saved. This is in the past.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:4-10
“This is the message of the Gospel: you are far more sinful than you could dare imagine. And yet at the very same time, you are far more loved and accepted in Christ than you could ever dare hope.” – Tim Keller
2. Sustaining hope
We are sustained in Christ through the help and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is available to us now. It is a current, day-by-day process of God making us more like Himself.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:22-24
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6
3. Sealed hope
Through Christ’s resurrection we have hope for not only this life but also for the life to come.
“If Christ has not been raised from the dead then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain… And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we of all people are most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead!” – 1 Corinthians 15: 14-20
“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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 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. 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, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:3-9
1. Andie described the Christian journey as being similar to a hike in the mountains. What image would you use to describe your own Christian faith journey right now (a hike in the mountains, a walk in the park, a roller coaster ride, toes in the sand at the edge of the ocean, etc)? How so?
2. When is it easier to rejoice in the hope of God? What makes it difficult? (Personal examples?)
3. In Christ, we have hope – for the past when Christ saved us, for the present as He continually sustains us by His grace, and for the future in eternal life with Him. How can this encourage you in your own faith journey?
4. Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 as a group. What words, phrases or images stand out to you? How might you apply this to your life this week?