Have you ever been caught between two bears? What on earth, you ask..Today, our pastor shared this story about two hunters. They were going out hunting bear. Suddenly a bear appeared and in a panic they ran. One climbed a tree, the other ran in a cave. The bear not being too hungry decided to sit and wait them out. It watched the guy in the tree and then toward the cave. Suddenly the man in the cave ran out, stood there for a moment and then ran back into the cave. This happened several times before the man in the tree shouted down, "What are you doing? Stay int he cave the bear is still out here!" The other man shouted back, "There's a bear in the cave!!" Caught, between two bears. Some times, as Christians we feel as if we are caught between two bears. We must deal with the stresses of life, whether its from work or home, there is always something it seems tearing at us. Then there are those who are seeking to persecute you for your faith. The best thing to do for that, is to live in a way that proves everything derogatory being said is proven untrue.
Why, should we bless God? Why should we feel joyful and praise Him?
1) We have a living hope (v3)
*Motivated by His mercy. There is nothing we can do, to earn His mercy, it is given in His grace. (If we think we can earn it in some fashion, then we also think we can lose if if we fail to do what earned it) Once we experience God's gace and mercy, we can never lose it. We are held protected.
*Delivered through His resurrection. Because Christ Jesus rose again, we will rise again. We need not fear death, it is a done deal that we will rise again, death is not the end, through death, we will be with Christ. Because He conquered death, we have that message of hope.
2) We have a permanent inheritance (v4-6) When we know Christ as Lord and Savior and have been born again into His kingdom.
*Imperishable; the Prodigal Son squandered his inheritance. Our inheritance, that is our hope in Christ, can not be lost.
*undefiled; the world is tarnished and defiled by sin. The inheritance of God's hope, is free of defilement of sin or even the possibility of there to be any sin.
*unfading; earthly treasures decay, fade with time, losing their luster. God's hope does not fade because it is kept for us in Heaven. ( Matthew 6:19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.)
3) We have a tested faith (v7-9)
Gold is a precious metal. To be cleansed of impurities it must be melted, where the impurities come to the top to be removed. Once cooled it is melted again and again, the impurities removed each time. Once all of the impurities are removed the reflection of the metal worker can be seen.
The Christian faith is one where we are tested time and again to purify and strengthen our faith. Once purified, with all of the impurities removed we see the reflection and the revelation of Christ in us.
*valuable; more precious than gold is what we have in Christ.
*Revealing, our faith when pure, reveals the reflection of Christ in us.
* Productive, brings us salvation, even when life is hard, we have faith. When we totally surrender to Him, When we give in to His Lordship, totally surrendering to Him, giving Him everything.. we have, the living hope. We have the joy nothing else can give.
Thank you Pastor Sandy for this powerful message of truth..