Off with a brand new teaching series, Unshakeable. And I just kind of think about, you know, where we’ve been together as a community, as a nation over these past two, two and a half years. There’s a lot going on, right? It’s just a lot happening. Kind of just blows your mind when you’re walking through something that we’ve all walked through. We kind of just forget because you’re just in it all the time. But then when you step back, and you think about it, it’s a lot happening. There’s a lot that has happened in the last two and a half years. That we’ve all gone through together as a nation, as a community of faith right here in our Church, from a Global pandemic to political division to racial tension to now-massive rise in inflation and stability in the economy. You say, man, what is happening like literally what is happening in this world?
Well, here’s what I’ve learned. What is happening is often not what’s really going on. Think about that. What is happening is often not what is really going on in your life, your marriage, your business, your family, your kids, your work, and your school. What is happening is often not what’s really going on. You say, well, what’s going on? Well, the key verse for this new series is Unshakable. It’s in Hebrews, chapter twelve. It said this in verse 26 when God spoke from Mount Sinai, that means when God showed up, and he spoke these Ten Commandments to Moses, the Prophet. And the leader of the people, as they were rescued from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. And now he’s bringing them out into their own, developing them now as their own nation. They need a culture. They need values. They need a way to organize themselves into a new nation. You’re talking about 400 years of slave mentality. And now he’s bringing them out as he promised.
And when God spoke to Moses on top of that mountain, his voice shook the Earth. But now he makes another promise. Listen, don’t miss this. Once again, God says, I will shake not only the Earth but the heavens also. This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed so that only unshakable things will remain. I believe that we as a community, as a nation find ourselves today in Hebrews 12:26 moment, where when God is speaking, he’s speaking to all creation so that it will be shaken, that the very foundation of our world is being shaken so that only unshakable things will remain. Listen to me. What is happening when you read the news? When you scroll through your social media feed? When you listen to late-night talk shows? When you listen to radio commentary and political pundits? What is happening is not what’s going on.
There is a lot happening right now. I mean, you think about it. We weren’t even able to meet consistently for about two years, like all the other churches around our country and really around the world. We felt and continued to feel the political polarization and racial tension. We sense the rise of anger, anxiety, and depression in our culture. We watch what’s happening now in Europe with the war in Ukraine and now the instability and uncertainty of what’s happening in Asia and China. And you just read those headlines. We now feel the economic impact of this rising inflation.
There is a lot happening in our world, but I’m less concerned about what’s happening and more concerned about what’s going on. So what’s going on? Well, maybe, just maybe, God is shaking the shakable things in our world. I think God is shaking some things in our world right now. I think he’s shaking some false insecurities and some false identities. I think God is shaking some false assumptions and some false narratives. God is shaking some false idols and some false ideologies. I know, and I’m guilty of this myself, that we have some tendencies as human beings to put our trust in temporal things. And these last few years, our confidence has been shaken in these man-made things. But that is not a bad thing, and maybe you’ve had your confidence shaken. I know I have. When I think about leading our Church Family through these past two and a half-three years, I can’t tell you how many times I felt overwhelmed at night thinking, do I really have what it takes? Am I enough to lead our Church Family through this season? I don’t even recall when I was in seminary ever taking a class on how to lead your Church through a global pandemic. I never saw that syllabus.
I know I can’t be the only one that has had to wrestle with some of these questions, like, am I enough? Am I too broken? Am I too flawed? Am I too exhausted to even keep on going? And so here’s my prayer for this new series. My prayer is that God and his sweet spirit that’s in this place right now, over these next few weeks ahead of us, will flood your heart and your soul and your mind with unshakeable hope. I pray he does it for you. And I pray he does it for me because, you know, in this world, there’s a lot of things that can be overrated. Isn’t that true? I think about it a lot. It’s overrated. I mean, movies. Have you ever gone to a movie that’s been overrated? You’re like, really? Restaurants can be overrated, right? Vacation destinations, they can be overrated. Your favorite sports team can be overrated. Lots of things in this life get overrated. But hope is not one of them.
Hope is not one of them. See, when we get trapped in a tunnel of discouragement that points to the light at the end, when we get stressed out and worn out and burned out. It’s hope that gives us new energy when we get tempted to throw in the towel and quit. It’s hope that keeps us going when we lose our way and are confused in amazement, and uncertainty. It’s hope that takes the edge off the panic when we struggle with a lingering illness, it’s hope that sees us through the pain when we live one day at a time through a crippling addiction. It’s hope that refuels our recovery when we find ourselves unemployed, it’s hope that reminds me that I still have a future when we find ourselves rejected, it’s hope that reminds me I’m not alone. A lot of things get overrated in life, friend, but hope, come on, is not one of them.
There once was a man, he was a commercial fisherman, and he loved the sea. He made his life on the sea. He was rugged, strong willed, very passionate, and expressive. Maybe blindly courageous, somewhat even overconfident. He was an optimist at heart being a fisherman, especially a commercial fisherman. I’m looking at my buddy Eps over there. He’s a fisherman. You’ve got to be an optimist, don’t you? You can’t go fishing and just think, Well, I’m not going to catch anything. You always think, well, just one more cast. I know, baby, we got to go. But one more cast. Come on, and it’s going to hit on this one. Just give me one more try. Right. This is the kind of guy who was so optimistic, just so positive about the future. And then when this guy, his name was Simon, later became Peter. He met Jesus, and it radically changed his life and his confidence, his optimism, I mean, it shot through the roof. He had hope for a new kind of life. He had hope for the success of Jesus in his Ministry. He had hope for his own success and his own future. But this hope was a hope that left him shattered when he saw his best friend Jesus die on a blood-stained cross. Yeah, Peter was an optimistic, positive-thinking, dreamer, and visionary. But he never really understood unshakable hope until an angel appeared and spoke to two women who went to the tomb of Jesus after his death. And he said this, He has risen. Jesus is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, go, Mary and the other Mary, go and tell his disciples. And Peter, Oh, I love this. And Peter, Pete needs to know this. This is news that he can use. He needs to know there is hope beyond the grave. He needs to know of all people that there is hope beyond your own sin. Pete needs to know there is hope beyond your own screw-ups in life and your worst moments. He needs to know that there’s hope even beyond your own failures. And make sure, the angel said, tell Peter that Jesus has risen. He is alive. You know, those words infused hope into this old Fisherman’s life. A few days later, Peter stood face to face once again with Jesus.
You see, on the night Jesus was arrested, Peter stood right outside of Caiaphas’s house while he was on trial with that priest. He stood there warming himself by a fire. And Peter was recognized by some of the people in the crowd trying to listen to what was happening in the trial inside. And a little 14-year-old girl, she’s like, hey, aren’t you one of those guys with Jesus? He’s like, no, I don’t know what you’re talking about. And another one in the crowd says, no, I recognize you. You are what? No, I don’t know what. I don’t know the man. You got me confused with somebody else. And then another one said, no, I know. I can tell you’re with that Galilee by your accent, the way that you’re dressed, the way you shape your beard. And Peter denied him a third time, even now to the point of cursing. I don’t know the man. And as soon as he did that, they brought Jesus out in shackles, chained, and his eyes locked with Peter’s eyes. And all of a sudden, what raced through Peter’s mind was what Jesus himself told him before the Rooster Crows, three times, you’ll deny me. Three times you’ll deny me. And he ran away from that scene, crushed and heartbroken that he failed his friend. That was when he needed him most. He tucked his tail, and he ran. He denied even knowing him. And now here we are. Three days later, Peter went back to his commercial fishing business. He’d been out fishing, and he brought his boat in from the catch that he had. And he was warming himself by a fire on the beach. And he’s making some fish sandwiches for the morning, much better than what you get at McDonald’s. And all of a sudden, here comes Jesus. I think Jesus does his greatest work over a fire pit. Here he is three days later, having warmed himself by a fire and failed his friend. And now he finds himself over another fire. And Jesus gives him, Peter, this opportunity to now reaffirm what he had denied three times. Pete, do you love me? You know I do. Jesus. I know what I was thinking. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. No, no, Peter, do you love me? Yeah. I just told you I love you. I’ll do anything for you. No, Peter, do you love me? At that moment, he used a different word for love, like, will you give your life for this movement, this new Kingdom that I’ve come to bring to Earth? He says, yes, Lord. And here now, he reaffirms three times what he had denied three times. And he’s restored his relationship. And Jesus knew he had to have that moment with Peter because he knew Peter was carrying around this failure in his heart, thinking he screwed up so bad.
There’s no coming back from this. There’s no way I can recover from this. I’ve screwed up so bad. It’s over. I have no future. I have nothing new to look forward to. So I’ll just go back to what I used to do. And as Peter stood face to face with the resurrected Jesus, his friend, for the first time in his life, his heart was flooded with this unshakable hope.
This unshakable hope, so much so that he spent the rest of his life telling people about this kind of hope, that he became a leader in this new movement now called the Church. And he literally gave his life to make as many people as possible aware of the fact that there is good news in Jesus and that there is hope that it brings an unshakeable hope. So here’s what I want to do. I don’t know if you want to do this, but here’s what I want to do. Over these next three, four, or five weeks, I want to spend some time walking through a book of the Bible that was written by this guy. It’s actually a letter. It’s called First Peter. And together, I want us to study this book of the Bible first. Peter. Does that sound like fun to anybody? Study the whole book, right? All right. Good. Awesome. Glad you’re with me. There’s this book. It was written by Peter to a group of followers of Jesus that were going through, experiencing some extreme persecution. I mean, to say that they were living in difficult, uncertain times would be a massive understatement persecution had broken out against the early followers of Jesus in a very short period of time after his resurrection and then subsequent ascension back into heaven, and when I say persecution of that early Church, I’m not talking about mask mandates. I’m not talking about vaccine mandates. I’m not talking about travel bans, and I’m not talking about social distancing tips 6 feet apart. I’m not talking about limited numbers and public gatherings. What I’m talking about is people being arrested, people being beaten, people being tortured, harassed, and even sometimes being beheaded just because they were a follower of Jesus Christ and believed, and many of which saw with their own eyes Jesus in his resurrected state, so many of them for their own safety, they scattered. They fled Jerusalem.
Throughout this book, we’re going to see Peter say time and time and time again. He’s going to be reminding these early followers of Jesus about that gang. He’d say it this way. I know this is bad, and I know it hurts. And I know what we’re going through is hard, but I want to remind you we’ll see it again and again. We’re only temporary residents of this place called Earth. This is really not our home. We are just like strangers here. We’re here for a little while, and then we’re going to be gone, and I just want to remind you, I know it hurts, but listen, Earth is not our home. There’s something more that’s going on that you might not see or understand. When you look around what’s happening, there’s a lot more going on. And so remember, listen to me. You only have one life to live. And it’s not as long as you think. So I want you to make it count, man. I hope you hear that. I hope I hear that. I hope we hear that collectively, that is the time that we get here in this world. This Earth is so short. And even if it’s hard, we want to make it count. Come on. Does anybody else want to make your life count?
Come on, let’s not waste our life. Let’s not give it away for things that don’t matter. I believe that when we get done with this series, we’re going to be able to recenter our lives around what really matters most. That we would be so, like, laser-like focus, that we would live. We would commit to live, really live like Jesus. That we would be people, who would be known for.
Kindness, humility, generosity, friendship, purpose, and most importantly, love. And that no matter what happens to us in this life, no matter who hurts us or walks out betrays, stabs us in the back, it really doesn’t matter because Jesus and his resurrection, we still have an unshakeable hope.
Come on. Are you guys ready to do this? You guys ready to jump in? Come on. So let’s do this. Let’s pick it up. And first, Peter, chapter one, we’ll kick it off here in verse three. We’ll kind of just hang our thoughts around this. We’ll look at a couple more subsequent verses, but let’s just kick it off here. He says this. Remember who he’s writing to? Remember what they’re going through. They’ve literally lost friends, they’ve lost family members, they’ve lost husbands, they’ve lost children, they’ve lost grandparents, they’ve lost businesses that they spent their whole life building, all because they became followers of Jesus. He says, Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ in his great mercy.
I just love this. Like, in other words, we serve a God who’s a God of mercy. We serve a God who didn’t wait for us to take one step toward Him. We serve a God who took ten steps toward us. We serve a God of mercy. When we deserved justice for our sickness, God gave us mercy. Are you thankful? Come on. We serve a God of mercy today that you don’t get what you deserve. Come on, you get what you need. And that is the mercy he has given us. What is this new birth? Oh, I love this. When you really have an encounter with a living God, when you have an encounter with Jesus and experience his presence.
As we heard Sapphire say earlier today, it changes everything. This is a new birth. It’s not just like you get to try again. It’s not like you just get a do-over. It’s not like you just get a second chance. No, you get a brand new life. Come on. For the old is gone, and the new has come. Everyone in Christ is now, therefore a new creation. This is just not like a refurbished, rehab version of the old. It’s not. You just turn over a leaf. You get a brand new leaf in Jesus Christ. Come on. Aren’t you thankful for that today? Come on. If you are, you ought to give him Praise. You get a new life. And he goes on, and he says, into a living hope, and what is that hope based on? The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You see what this guy is saying? I mean, their friends and family members are dying around them. They’ve had to abandon everything they spent. Their whole life working just so their wife and their kids would be safe. They lost all of their financial income and way to earn a living, many of them just refugees. But he says, listen, you have now a living hope. Through what? A dead man that came back to life just as he predicted. You see, here’s the story of Christianity. It’s not based just on the teachings of Jesus. The story of Christianity is not based on the miracles of Jesus. Christianity? Dare I even say this? Don’t throw anything at me. Christianity isn’t even based on the Bible. They didn’t have the Bible yet in the form that we have today. Christianity is based on a historical event that took place 2000 years ago when Jesus rose from the dead. Over 500 eyewitness testimonies to this fact. The whole thing, the gospel, the good news, Christianity itself, it hinges on this. Resurrection is the hinge upon which everything swings. An event took place and the world. Has never been the same since. Come on.
Twenty years ago, Rome had all of the power. Caesar was Lord. In his own mind, he thought himself a God. And here we are, 2000 years later. Can any of you even name five of the Caesars? I doubt it. Now, over half of the Roman Empire today are followers of Jesus. And Caesar is a salad. Come on, somebody through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance. Listen, here’s your inheritance. Listen, don’t miss this part because if you’re suffering and you’re hurting like these guys were, I mean, if you think it’s over, it’s done, lights out.
No, there’s an inheritance that can never perish or spoil or fade. I highlighted these two words, hope and resurrection. You know, in the New Testament, the word hope is used 71 times. Think about that. It’s used one time before the resurrection and 70 times after the resurrection. Now, listen, I’m not a rocket scientist, but you don’t have to be too smart to figure out where our hope comes from. Our hope comes from the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Our hope has a name, and his name is Jesus. And he is alive today. He is our living hope. And we have an unshakeable hope that this world cannot take away.
Now, the word hope. Here’s the interesting thing about the word hope. It can be used both as a verb and as a noun. Now, most of us, when we use the word hope, we use it as a verb. Think about it. Man, I hope I get the job. I hope I get the girl. I hope I get the house. Or I hope I get the girl who gets the job, who gets the house. Come on, somebody, right? And we use hope as a verb. And sometimes we hope for fun things. Like, I hope the Mets win the World Series this year, but it’s still April. We’re the best team in baseball, but June is coming. I’m a long-suffering Mets fan, but I hope. Sometimes we hope for fun things, but then sometimes we hope for very serious things. Like, I hope he comes back. I hope she forgives me. I hope it’s not cancer. Serious things. I hope I get the job. I hope it’s not terminal. But can I just tell you, with all love, if it’s not cancer, it’s going to be something else eventually, right? There are two things in life that we can count on. Death and taxes, right? Two things, I mean, the last time I checked, the death mortality rate, it’s one out of everyone. Those are the odds, and so if it’s not cancer or if it’s not, you know, something else, eventually everything we put our hope in will disappoint us. That’s the problem with using hope as a verb. Every time we use hope as a verb, everything, every situation, every circumstance, eventually, everything we own, everything we care about will eventually break down, wear out, burn up, rust, and be decayed. And that’s the problem when we use hope as a verb. The reality is, one day, illness and death, it comes to us all. And the fact is, we’re all aging. If you don’t believe me, just go home and dust off your high school yearbook, find your picture, look at it, then look in the mirror. Everyone’s got it again. It’s pretty rough, right? It’s pretty rough.
I mean, the reality is we’re all aging. The reality is, from about the age of 27, your bones begin to get brittle. Your muscles begin to shrivel. One day you looked down at your hands, and you’re like, oh, my God, I have my parents’ hands. Why does the skin just stay up there? Like, what is going on? Your weight begins to shift from the poles of your body to the equator of your body. And the hair that you want to grow in a particular place will no longer grow there. And it begins to boldly grow where no hair has grown before on your body. Isn’t it true? Because one day, everything we hope for in this world will eventually disappoint us, every circumstance, every situation. And that is the problem when we use hope as a verb. But Peter, when he uses the word hope, he doesn’t use it as a verb. He uses it as a noun. Big difference. With our remaining time, I just want to show you the drastically significant difference between Peter’s view of hope as a noun and oftentimes our hope as a verb. Here’s the first thing I want to point out. Number one, hope, unshakable hope, noun. It Springs from what is behind you, not what’s happening around you. Take a note. Go ahead and write that down. Hope, unshakeable hope. It Springs from what is behind you, not from what is happening around you. Peter says, we have a living hope. In other words, all other forms of hope are dying hope. But our unshakable hope, it Springs. It hinges on it being based upon the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Jesus took the worst thing ever, death, and he turned it into the best thing ever, life. And Peter says, this is our living hope. This is our living hope. In fact, he goes on in verse four, and he said, it’s an unshakable hope because it’s a hope that can never perish, spoil, or fade. Think about that. A hope that can never perish or spoil or fade. Perish means it’s untouched by death. Spoiled means it’s uncontaminated by sin, and fade means it’s unaffected by time. This is the kind of unshakeable hope that we’re talking about. It’s a hope that endures. It’s a hope that endures through global pandemics. It endures through mental illness. It endures through a divorce. It endures through cancer. It endures through aging bodies. It endures through downturns in the economy. It endures when you get laid off. It is an unshakeable hope that endures that listen. It will never perish or spoil or fade.
We have an unshakeable hope, Peter says, because it Springs from what is behind you, not based on what’s happening around you. Peter. He goes on in verse four, and he says, this inheritance is kept in Heaven. Where is it kept? I got to remind some people today, because remember the original words. Remember what they’re going through. Think about what you’re going through. I know it’s hard for many of you right now, but let Peter’s words speak to your heart today. Listen, he who has heard, let them hear today. There is an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you. It’s your inheritance.
It’s part of the death benefit policy of Jesus’s death on the cross. One of your death benefits is that if you’re a follower of Jesus, there is an inheritance. There is a home. There is a place for you in Heaven who, through faith, are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. I want you to know there is a place in Heaven. Come on, there is a room with your name over the door, and God is protecting that, and he’s by his power, protecting you until his son Jesus comes again. And I know it’s hard sometimes, but listen, we have an unshakable faith. It’s based on flows out of contingent upon what Springs from what’s behind me, not from what’s going on around me. Here’s the second thing Peter says that differentiates this type of hope now versus oftentimes the word hope that we use as a verb unshakable hope turns opposition into opportunity. It turns opposition into opportunity. And I know for some of you, the challenges and the circumstances that you are going through right now, the things that you’re suffering from, it just seems like everything in this world has turned against you, like everything is opposing you.
Peter writes this in verse six. Listen, this is from God to you in all this you greatly rejoice, though. Now, for a little while, you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. The reality is that as a follower of Jesus Christ, you don’t get like some hall pass. You don’t get the skate through life, problem-free, pain-free. You don’t get some kind of exemption from going through pain and suffering just because you’re a follower of Jesus. In fact, sometimes, because you’re a follower of Jesus and you’re a threat to The Kingdom of Darkness, the heat in your life actually gets turned up. We’re going to see that here in just a moment. So don’t think just because you’re suffering or you’re going through hard times that you’ve done something wrong. No, friend, you are smack dab right in the middle of God’s willful plan for your life. And he is working on your behalf in places and going to meetings you can’t attend. And he is in rooms that you’re not allowed to be because he’s working on your behalf. And I know it hurts, but it’s only for a little while.
I know as you suffer, and I know the sleepless nights, but it’s only temporary. Peter says he’s saying to a group of people who are being harassed and persecuted, families broken up over this stuff, losing everything. I know it hurts, but just hang in there. It’s going to come to an end. This won’t last. Temporary. You know, the fact of the matter is we can put up with a lot of pain in life when we know there’s a purpose to it and that it’s only temporary. Isn’t that true? Like you all can put up some of your ladies ought to be like yeah, I know what you’re talking about, Pastor. Some of you women know if you’ve ever given birth, we’re going to celebrate all the moms here in two weeks. But yeah, a woman giving birth can take a lot of pain. She can suffer a lot of pain.
Come on. Where’s all the women, say Amen to this. Man, come on. You can all blame your first mom, Eve, for that one. I’m just saying, anyway. But a woman could take a lot of pain in childbirth because she knows something good is going to come out of it, and it’s not going to last forever. I’m here to tell you guys. Listen to me. Something good is going to come out of it. Something good is going to come out of it. Something good is going to come out of it, and it’s not going to last forever. It’s not going to last forever. Let me encourage you today. Hang in there. Don’t give up. Some good is going to come out of it, and it’s only temporary. That’s why we should greatly rejoice. In fact, he goes on, and this is what he says, these have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith. What’s the purpose behind my pain? So that the genuineness, the character of your faith, the authenticity of your faith, whether it’s real or not, of great worth, of greater worth than even gold, which perishes even though refined by fire. But it may result in Praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. He’s saying, he’s reminding them, and they would understand this. And a lot of us don’t understand it unless you’re a jeweler, you know how gold is made. But when they take gold, they put it into a cauldron, and they heat it up to massive high temperatures.
And what happens is all of the impurities within that gold, because gold is so heavy, all the other impurities that are within the gold itself, they rise to the top as they’re being refined by the fire. And all of that is, called dross, is scooped off. And what remains is pure, pure gold, 24-carat gold. And he’s saying that’s how it works when you make gold in the physical realm. But here’s how it works when you make gold in the spiritual realm. That when the heat is turned up in your life, and you’re going through it, and it hurts. And you don’t understand that. There’s chaos, and there’s confusion, there’s uncertainty. Listen, I know a lot is happening, but it’s not what’s going on.
He’s saying that in the same way we make gold refined by fire as your character, as your process of being formed and molded and made into the image of Christ himself, so that you can become mature in your faith, you can’t get mature unless you go through some stuff. Come on. Some of the older people ought to say, Amen to that. Let me call you formerly young people. Where are you at? You’ve been through some stuff. How many have been through some stuff in life? You’ve been hurt by people. Your dreams come crashing down, the rug ripped out? Sucker, punched. How many know what I’m talking about? I’ve been there, too. But you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing because of all of those experiences.
Come on, they’ve molded me and helped. Shape my leadership, my character, my integrity, and it’s helped make you. You wouldn’t be who you are today had it not been for that trial, had it not been for that addiction, had it not been for that issue that you struggled with, or how you were hurt so many times. We got all these helicopter parents. I fight the tendency to oh, we don’t want my little boy to get hurt. We don’t want my little girl to get hurt. We just want to scoop them all up. Oh, God forbid anything ever hurts. No, what do you mean they didn’t win? What do you mean they didn’t get a trophy? What do you mean they didn’t get a ribbon? Oh, you’re going to hurt my little kids’ feelings. Stop that. Stop that. Stop it. I’m not telling you not to protect your kids. But I’m telling you you are who you are today because of what you went through.