Explore the Bible Study: A Living Hope

5:24 PM

Is following Jesus worth it? This was a question asked by missionary, Nik Ripken, which led him down a journey on which he overwhelmingly concluded that the answer is “yes”! Nik's journey as a missionary was captured in the new movie, “The Insanity of God,” which recently premiered in theaters. We all face difficulties in life, but, as this week's Explore the Bible study: A Living Hope will cover, as believers, we have a living hope that sustains and strengthens us even in the midst of suffering. We know that our faith can be stronger than the circumstances we face. Yes, following Jesus is worth it! But it doesn’t mean we won’t face difficulties. That is when the hope in the One in whom we have placed our trust is strengthened. We can rejoice in the hope we have in Christ.

Consider using one of the following videos as introduction options for this study. Even if you don't use them on Sunday you could send the link out to your group as a means of challenging them to attend the Bible study group as you begin this new study of 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude.


WordBoard-1Peter from Northside Baptist Church on Vimeo.


LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.
  • Display: Write the word HOPE on a markerboard.
  • Discuss: How would you define hope? When are people most likely to be tempted to lose hope?
  • Illustration: Imagine you were in Louisiana during the recent floods and your home was one of the 60,000 that was damaged. Imagine you were a one of the family members who lost a loved one during the flood. Or, imagine you were a member of one of the 60+ Baptist churches that were flooded. (See complete illustration at LifeWay Extra Teaching Helps)
  • Ask: How would you respond if someone came to you and said, “Don’t lose hope”?
LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

1 Peter 1:3-4
  • Ask: How is God described in this passage? (Father of our Lord Jesus Christ)
  • Explain: While Peter opens with a doxology similar to those found in the Psalms and other Old Testament prayers, God is addressed here in a way never revealed in the Old Testament.
  • Ask: Why did Peter use the name, “Lord Jesus Christ” when talking about Jesus? What is significant about this?
  • Explain: Lord refers to His deity, Jesus to His humanity, and Christ to His messianic ministry.
  • Ask: Why did Peter say “our” Lord Jesus Christ instead of “the” Lord Jesus Christ?
  • Explain: Peter makes this personal. It is to those who truly know Jesus Christ as Savior.
  • Direct: Reread 1 Peter 1:3-4 and substitute the word “me” for the word “us” in the passage. Which phrases in this passage cause you to praise God for the hope we have in Him?
  • Discuss: Why did Peter focus on Jesus’ resurrection as the basis of hope instead of just on His death on the cross? Why is our hope multiplied by knowing Jesus Christ was resurrected? Would we have as much hope if we didn’t know that Jesus arose from the grave?
  • Someone Read: 1 Corinthians 15:12-19; 1 Thessalonians 4:14.
  • Explain: Without our Lord’s resurrection, there is no way to be assured that His death has saving value. Because of His victory over death, we have a pledge of our own future resurrection. – ETB Leader Commentary
  • Ask: This is the first of five instances in which Peter uses the word “hope.” Why did Peter describe hope in this instance as a “living hope”?
  • Explain: Peter called this hope living because it grows in those who are walking with Christ.
  • Identify: What else did Peter say about this living hope?  Imperishable--It cannot be harmed by natural disaster, enemy, or theft; it is permanent. Uncorrupted--It cannot be touched by evil or sin; it is pure. Unfading--It never has an expiration date; it is perfect. Kept in Heaven for you--It isn’t kept by us but by God. It is in heaven; therefore it can’t be destroyed. It is personal! It is kept by the Holy Spirit – See Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Discussion Options:
  • If you are a believer, how should this promise help you deal with whatever circumstances you might face?
  • How should it help you respond to the unrest taking place in our country today?
  • How should it help you respond to the uncertainties in your job or the economy?
  • How should it help you face the suffering you might be going through in life?
  • If someone were to ask you why you should praise God even during difficulties, how could you explain it to them based on these passages?
  • Would you consider your hope right now as stagnant, confident, shaky, or non-existent? If someone were to describe your life would they describe it as one who has a living hope in Christ?
Illustration Option: Yeast – Sugar – Water
  • Place a pack of yeast in an empty glass and add a spoon full of sugar and water.
  • Direct: Keep your eyes on the yeast and let’s see what happens. (It should begin to expand)
  • Ask: How is living hope similar to this? (It should grow as our walk with Christ grows stronger.)
1 Peter 1:5
  • How do we know we are being protected? (through faith)
  • How are we protected? (By God’s power; the term protected was used in military contexts. It implied something—such as a city or a king—that was kept safe because it was carefully guarded. – ETB Leader Commentary)
  • What is that faith based upon? (our salvation)
  • Based on Peters explanation regarding our salvation, is salvation something that is yet to take place or is it already complete? (Key word – ready to be revealed; it is already ready but has yet to be revealed.)
  • If we are saved now, why did Peter describe salvation as something to “be revealed in the last time.”
  • How does understanding the future tense of our salvation help us hold onto hope today?
  • Why would someone not want to respond to the gospel knowing all this about the hope we have in Him?
  • Is it easy for us to forget about this future hope when confronted with the difficulties of the present? Why or why not?
1 Peter 1:6-7
  • Ask: Did Peter say we rejoice in the trials when he said, “you rejoice in this”? (No, we might not rejoice in the trials, but we rejoice because of what we know regarding our future hope – this relates to what has just been stated.)
  • Explain: “Rejoice” implies a continuous joy no matter what we may face. This should be our ongoing response to all the blessings and promises described in verse 3-5. This knowledge and joy can sustain us during difficult times.
  • Ask: Why is genuine faith more valuable than gold? Do you consider it more valuable than anything else? If it is more valuable, how do you nurture that faith? How do you lean on that faith? How do you use that faith?
  • Identify: What does Peter say will be the result of our faith if we don’t lose hope when our faith is tested by fire? (Praise, glory, and honor will be the result when we see Jesus Christ! – we will honor Him and He will honor us!)
1 Peter 1:8-9
  • Emphasize: You love Him – ongoing, genuine love for Jesus. You believe in Him – ongoing faith. Though you don’t see Him. Your continuing hope for being in His presence one day gives you hope!
  • Read: Hebrews 11:1
  • State: These people had no expectation of seeing Jesus during their lifetime, but they knew they would see Him when they died or when He returned.
  • Identify: What would be the result of their hope? (inexpressible joy)
  • Ask: Share a time when you watched someone respond to trials in a way that was truly unexplainable except that they had hope and faith in Jesus Christ? How did their testimony help you?
LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.
  • Challenge: When people endure suffering, whether mental, physical, or emotional, they need real hope that can only come through Jesus Christ. If you know Christ, you can offer and demonstrate that hope to others. If you don’t know Christ, your only source of true, lasting hope can only be found by receiving Christ as your Savior.
  • Explain: When we hear of the floods in Louisiana and those who have lost their homes and loved ones, or when we hear of the current storms pressing down on the Gulf coast and Hawaii, we need to realize that many of them are going to be struggling with hope. While we might be directly impacted by those disasters, we know individuals around us who are struggling with hope. The trials and circumstances of life have beaten them down.
  • Discuss: Based on these verses, how would you explain hope to someone going through a difficult season?
  • If you don’t know Christ, then you need to take the first step toward hope. You need to receive the gift of salvation that He offers you today. This is the only hope that will last for eternity. Consider talking with someone following class if you need to know more or need someone to pray with you.
  • As believers, look for ways to offer hope by providing help and the gospel to those without hope. Most importantly, demonstrate hope through how you respond to your own personal trials and suffering.

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