I just got back from a youth conference trip to Indiana with some of the teens who attend our youth ministry here at Pike. On this trip, we had the opportunity to hear from different speakers who focused around the theme for this year, “The Reason.” This comes from 1 Peter 3:15 where Peter challenges those he is writing to, “…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account (some translations say, “the reason”) for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…”. This isn’t a suggestion from Peter but a command. “Be ready!” As believers we should be getting questions directed at our hope. Our hope should be so evident and its impact on the way that we live so clear that it causes others to point and wonder, “Why?”, “Where?” or “Who?” this hope comes from and the reason for it. To “give an account” is literally to “spell it out.” In Peter’s day there were those who questioned out of offense, anger, and misunderstanding. They just wanted to hear the name “Jesus” so that they could inflict punishment. Peter knew this firsthand (see Acts 4) but his instruction was simply, “Don’t fear. Don’t be intimidated or troubled when you are put in this position (1 Peter 3:14). Just tell them (vs. 15).”
With that said, what is your answer? If you were put on the spot today, would you be able “to give an account”? Do you know “why” there is hope for Christians or what “the reason” is? Of course, to be able to answer this question we first need to know that we do have hope. If someone came up to me today and asked, “Can you tell me all of the benefits of being a boy scout?” My answer would surely fall short. I could give my outsider opinion. I know some people that have been in boy scouts or are currently active in it but I have had no personal involvement or investment in it. I don’t have the right relationship to give an answer. Well, Peter tells us that to be ready and to have this hope, we must “…sanctify Christ as Lord in [our] hearts…”. We won’t have an answer if Jesus is not our Lord. We won’t know hope if Jesus is not our Lord. This is where/who the answer comes from. This is also where the impact on our lives is found. It is in knowing Jesus as Lord and serving Him in this way.
The believer’s hope is something that is certain. It cannot be taken or shaken because it has been made secure by Jesus. He made the way for our forgiveness by taking our place in the face of God’s wrath at the cross, He made the way for our acceptance by His righteousness, and He made the way for our eternal life by His resurrection. This is our hope which enables us to face today and live out whatever God has for us, in light of whatever the situations or circumstances we come to. God will bring those who are His through, with even more confirmation of this hope that He has given to us. I pray that we would be asked about this hope and that God would change hearts and minds through the answer we give.
So Thankful For The Reason For This Hope, Pastor Rudy