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Hope in Hostile Times



Hopelessness is on the rise in these difficult and hostile times. What can followers of Jesus do to display hope to a hurting world? Ben Stuart brings an encouraging and challenging word about the hope that we have in Jesus and how to share it with those around us.

Key Takeaway

Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what He did, we get to say, "I'm with Him." If we are with Him, we may suffer, but there's a God above us and good beyond us, so we have hope, and we do not fear. As we hope on a dangerous day, people will want what we have...Jesus.

1 Peter 3:15 we are told to always have a reason for our hope.

How To Be Ready

  1. You HAVE hope.
  2. That your hope is so evident that people become curious as it is put in DISPLAY in your life.
  3. You can EXPLAIN it.

Peter repeats his perspective. If you suffer, you are blessed. It's not our normal human default setting. It's not normal at all by the world's standards. The previous verses lead us into 1 Peter 3:13-22.

Peter reminds them of the good that they are doing, they have been transformed from the inside out and it is evidenced by the characteristics of 1 Peter 2. He reminds them of their suffering, that they can expect slander and malice. See 1 Peter 4:3-4. It's not often what the Christian does, but what the Christian refuses to do that gets him maligned. But Peter also reminds them that they are blessed, a privileged recipient of Divine favor. 1 Peter 4:14 says that the Spirit of God will be on you when you are insulted. He is saying, you may suffer now, but God is with you and there will be praise, honor, and glory for you.

In 1 Peter 3:13, Peter has just finished quoting a psalm that talks about God knowing them, seeing them, and turning His face against those who do evil, so he can easily ask in the next verse, "Who then can harm you?" The answer: someone, somewhere for a limited time, but ultimately no one.

How can you walk and not be afraid?

You get a bigger fear. When you fear the Lord, He doesn't become a dread to you, He becomes a sanctuary.

Where does the hope come from?

You have good coming for you in the future. Why? You have a God above you right now and He actually likes you. Just like Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, that Lion leads you. It is a beautiful picture. Imagine a Lion bearing down on you, the size of those paws, that massive face and teeth that could sink into you and not let you go, the hot breath in your face. Then imagine it licking you. That's the gospel. The Lord of angel armies, the Host, Jesus Christ Himself, the Lion of Judah comes to you with all that power and brings grace. So, if someone is slandering you, that's not your problem, it's theirs. God is bigger and you are on His side. This allows you to be gentle and respectful in your response.

How do they see hope in you? What good is in your future?

Because they will see you are not afraid. The hope is rooted in the fact that greater is He who is in you than who is in the world. Stephen possessed this in Acts 6-7. Stephen said, "Father, don't hold this against them, they don't know what they are doing." He prays for his enemies as they are killing him because that is what He saw Jesus do on the cross. Christians don't retaliate, we respond with gentleness and respect.


What do you do if you are scared?

Honor Christ as holy. Set your eyes on Him. The more your eyes are on Him, the less scared you'll be of them. The less scared you are of them, the greater hope you will give them, that they could know the Jesus that has so settled you. This is the important task of the believer; that they see us trust Jesus. When they see us really believe it, they will want what we have.

Verse 17. Does God will for suffering to come into your life? Yes. Does He want to hurt you? No. Does God condone sin? No. Does God allow sin that causes suffering? Yes. Why? Because when your friends see you go through what terrifies them and you're not afraid, they will want to do what you're doing, they will want to know who you know.

Note the progression. I hope in Jesus. There's something good above me and beyond this circumstance. As I hope in Jesus, I am not afraid. As I am not afraid, they ask about my hope. I give them a reason: Jesus- and they made fun of Him. As they make fun and revile Him, they see my good deeds and gentleness and respect. They see I'm not mean. They then want to know the God that I know. It silences their foolish talk and makes them want to put their hope in Jesus so they glorify God on the day of His visitation.

What if no one is asking you about your hope?

You need to set apart Christ as holy, the more you block things out and spend time getting to know Him, the more you will look like Jesus. They will slander you and you'll be misunderstood. Go back to the progression.

Verse 18. This is proof of context, look at Jesus! The Son of God entered suffering for us. It looked like the enemy won, but God had predestined for it to occur. Does suffering lead to blessing? Yes, see the cross.

Verse 19-22 gets a little weird and there are a few different views.

  1. Jesus preached to evil people in Noah's day through Noah. The Spirit of Christ was in the prophet. So maybe God was using Noah in the Old Testament to proclaim. (This doesn't really make sense since the sequence of the text is died, raised to life, then proclaimed.)
  2. Jesus died in the flesh and while he was still buried, He descended to the lower regions and preached the Gospel to maybe give people a second chance or tell demons that there is no hope for them and then raised to life. (Again, this sequencing of the text goes against this view. He died, was made alive, then proclaimed. Also, there is a dichotomy between spirit and flesh that is more platonic than scriptural. Jesus died FULLY and was raised FULLY. He didn't die with a body and was raised only in spirit, He was raised in a body. This is why He proved He wasn't a ghost to His disciples. The Holy Spirit raised Him to life, that's what "made alive by the Spirit" means.)
  3. Pastor Ben thinks this view is closer to the text. Peter was writing to a small persecuted people. Christians today are still a persecuted people. People don't believe us and they mock us, very much like the 8 faithful people that believed God and were saved from the flood. Noah was a man renowned throughout Asia Minor. Regardless of religion or beliefs, all cultures and societies revered this man named Noah. They knew his story and had flood accounts. What's interesting is that before the flood, certain creatures were so evil and wicked that God decided to flood the world. Jude verse 6 talks about angels that stepped outside of their position and have been cast into a prison of darkness awaiting judgment in Tartarus, a pit. These powers, authorities, and angels were terrifying and practiced pervasive evil. When Jesus rose, He said to them, "I now rule over you". Peter grabs the thing that would have scared them the most, the evil surrounding Noah, and says Jesus is over them too. The point is: that whatever terrifies you, Jesus wins.

The baptism that saves you is not a cleansing with water, but of a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what He did, we get to say, "I'm with Him." If we are with Him, we may suffer, but there's a God above us and good beyond it, so we have hope, and we do not fear. As we hope in a dangerous day, people want what we have.


"You can know you are blessed even in the midst of difficulty because you know there's someone bigger than your suffering and there's something beyond your suffering."

Ben Stuart

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Scripture References

  • 1 Peter 3:13-22
  • 1 Peter 4:14
  • 1 Peter 1
  • Isaiah 8:12-13
  • 2 Peter
  • Jude 6
  • Acts 7:60
  • Luke 23:34
  • 1 John 4:4
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.