Today we’re diving into Lesson 1 of Week 1 of our study, Looking for the Blessed Hope. We will use the analogy of a cruise ship as we go through our study, and we’re beginning by “Charting Our Course,” the subject of our first week of study.
Yesterday we explored reasons to study Bible prophecy and today we will begin examining the objectives of our 10-week study:
- To exhort the Body of Christ (the church) to be ready for Jesus’s Second Coming
- To exhort the Body of Christ to action
- To provide a framework from which to view today’s events through the lens of Scripture
Our study will be guided by those objectives, and today the focus is on exhorting the Body of Christ to be ready. Our text for today is 1 Peter 1:3-5, 13-16. Take a moment to read that passage.
Verses 3-5 remind us that we are born again to a living hope and have obtained an imperishable inheritance, reserved for us in heaven! What a gift!
With that in mind, verses 13-16 instruct us how to be rapture-ready! We are to:
- Prepare our minds for action. Some translations say “gird up the loins of your mind.” The Apostle Peter’s audience knew the idea of girding up loins. In those days, men wore long robes down to their ankles. When it came time to run or to engage in hard work, it was cumbersome to do so. Thus, the long robes would be pulled up and tied around the waist so they could really get down to business. Today, we are to remove those things that are cumbersome and that prohibit us from thinking clearly and righteously. Worry, doubts, fears, thoughts of vengeance, and “keeping up with the Joneses” often hinder us and keep us from being ready for Christ’s return.
- Keep sober in spirit. Most of us understand “sober” as being the opposite of drunkenness, implying that one’s ability to reason is not clouded by the effects of some substance. A person who is drunk doesn’t think clearly and typically does not make good decisions. His physical ability even suffers. There are plenty of things today that cloud our ability to reason spiritually. False teaching abounds, lack of faith in God’s Word hinders us, and man’s fallible reasoning is often given authority over God’s Word.
- Fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ. We live in a world that is losing hope. People are desperate. Murder and suicide abound. School children are taught they are simply the result of evolutionary processes, thus life has no meaning. Yet, as believers, we have hope…a Blessed Hope, named Jesus Christ. That hope is fixed completely on the grace that will be revealed to us at His revelation! Don’t turn from the grace of our Lord!
- Not be conformed to former lusts. We can all remember our days before Christ, can’t we? We were driven by our own selfish pleasures and desires. Some may have had harsher consequences than others, but sin ruled us all. Yet, Jesus took our sin and we were made righteous in Him when we were saved. Be aware and avoid the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16).
- Be holy in all behavior. Have you ever noticed that the harder you try to be holy, the worse it gets! Friends, I suggest that too often we attempt to make ourselves holy by doing “holy” things, rather than completely yielding to the God of the universe and giving Him freedom to do as He pleases in us and with us. Let’s give up “trying” and entrust ourselves to the One who created us.
Our Bridegroom is coming, so let’s be ready for His appearing. To finish the day, read Psalm 139:23-24 and make it your prayer.