Fortress: Fortifying the Focus of our Hope, March, 6, 2016

– 1 Peter 1:1-25
– Foritfying the focus of our hope (v.13)
1. Our cjob is to fortify the focus of our hope
A. that is the primary exhortation in this passage
B. what it means to “rest your hope fully”
  1. it means to “set your hope perfectly, unchangeably, without doubt and despondency”
  2. as the NASV puts it: “fix your hope completely on the grace…”
  3. therefore Peter is exhorting us to make our hope one that is complete, strong, and not wavering
C. the cultivation of a strong hope is therefore a Christian responsibility
  1. we have a duty to develop and fortify our hope
  2. just as we need to cultivate patience, self-control, etc., so we need to cultivate our hope
  3. for without a hope that is strong…
    a. our faith may waver
    b. we are subject to fear, doubt, and depression
  4. yes, the cultivation (or fortifiction) of our hope is essential to living joyfu and victorious lives as Christians
2. Identifying the focus of our hope
A. as defined in verse 13, our hope is…
  1. the “grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”
  2. i.e., the unmerited favor that we will receive when Jesus comes again
B. as alluded to in the preceding twelve verses, our hope is…
  1. the “inheritance…reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4)
  2. the wonderful praise, honor, and glory we shall receive when He comes
  3. the complete and final salvation of our souls from sin and its effects
  4. the receiving of our wonderful inheritance, the heavenly city, which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that does not fade away
3. What is necessary to fortify the focus of our hope
A. “Gird up the loins of your mind”
  1. “gird up” is an oriental expression
  a. it refers to the act of gathering up around the waist the long, loose robes warn by those in the east
  b. such “gathering up” was necessary or one’s progress in running or some other act of exertion would be impeded
  2. with the use of this metaphore, Peter is saying…
  a. we must put out of the mind all things that would impede the free action of the mind in connection with developing our hope
  b. we must put out of the mind such things like worry, fear, or obsession with material possessions
  3. i.e., remove anything and everything that is not conducive to having a strong hope in the coming of our Lord
  a. such as carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life (Luke 21:34-35)
  b. such things as these “choke” us and hinder our ability to bear fruit (such as the fruit of a strong hope) (Luke 8:14)
B. “Be sober”
  1. the word “sober” means “to be calm and collected in spirit, to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect”
  2. it is that state of mind in which the individual is self-controlled, able to see things without the distortion caused by worry or fear
  3. i.e., to fortify the focus of our hope requires a calm and serious attention to the task at hand (Luke 21:36)
  4. we cannot cultivate and fortify a strong hope if we are so “weak-minded” that we allow things to divert us away from our true calling

Conclusion
1. And what is our calling?  To sojourn through this life as pilgrims, but with a hope that is resting fully upon the grace we will receive when Christ comes again!
2. The problem with many Christians today is NOT that they have no hope…
  a. But that their hope is weak and shallow
  b. And that is because they are preoccupied with the affairs of this temporary life
3. To remain faithful to the Lord, we need to heed Peter’s exhortation to fortify the focus     of our hope by…
  a. Freeing our minds of those things which would hinder us
  b. Being more serious about the kind of lives our Heavenly Father  would have us live