Hope in Christ our Only Hope

Worship Service for June 7, 2020

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Our leadership team will be meeting next Sunday to decide when to reopen our sanctuary for corporate worship. Please pray that time will come soon.

But I am happy to announce that we can gather in our church parking lot today to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. You can start arriving any time after 11:30 am. As you pull in, you will be handed a plastic bag for every person in your car. Each bag will contain a Communion scripture, a plastic cup with a wafer, a cup with juice and a Communion prayer. Then pull in and park, filling the far lot first, please. At 12 noon, please read your scripture. Then watch for me standing on a step ladder at the corner of the two sidewalks. When I lift up the bread, receive the bread. When I hold up the cup a moment later, receive the cup. Close the ceremony by reading the Communion prayer. Then you are free to leave if you wish. If you brought your offering, you are welcome to bring it in the lobby and put it in the box for that purpose.

If you would prefer to mail your offering, our mailing address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

If you cannot come to the church for Communion, there will be a Communion liturgy as part of this written service. I would advise you to prepare your elements now and have them on hand for later.

Now let us turn our thoughts to God in worship as we consider some of Paul’s words to the Ephesians:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

Ephesians 1:3-7

SONG OF GRACE

Amazing Grace

Newton, John/Excell, Edwin/Rees, John P.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

Majesty (Here I Am)

Smith, Martin & Garrard, Stuart

Here I am, humbled by Your Majesty.
Covered by Your grace so free.
Here I am, knowing I’m a sinful man,
Covered by the blood of the Lamb.

Now I’ve found
The greatest love of all is mine
Since You laid down Your life,
The greatest sacrifice.

Majesty, Majesty,
Your grace has found me just as I am,
Empty handed but alive in Your hands.

Here I am, humbled by the love that You give,
Forgiven so that I can forgive
Here I am, knowing that I’m Your desire,
Sanctified by glory and fire.

Now I’ve found
The greatest love of all is mine
Since You laid down Your life,
The greatest sacrifice.

Majesty, Majesty,
Your grace has found me just as I am,
Empty handed but alive in Your hands.

Singing Majesty, Majesty,
Forever I am changed by Your love
In the presence of Your Majesty, Majesty.

©2002 Kingway’s Thankyou Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, our God, with Paul we celebrate Your amazing grace and pray that our time spent here will be advantageous for us and an offering to You. We pray in Christ’s name, Amen.

GOD’S OFFERING

As we consider our calling to be wise stewards, let’s receive some counsel from the Apostle Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (9:7).

PRAYER SONG

Psalm 23

Morgan, Trevor

The Lord is my Shepherd
And I shall not want
He makes me lie down in green pastures
And He leads me beside still waters
And He restores my soul
He leads me in paths of righteousness
For His Namesake

Even though I walk through the valley
Of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
For You are with me
Your rod and Your staff
They comfort me
Oh, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil
My cup overflows

Even though I walk through the valley
Of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
For You are with me
Your rod and Your staff
They comfort me
Oh, they comfort me.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever…forever.

Even though I walk through the valley
Of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
For You are with me
Your rod and Your staff
They comfort me
Oh, they comfort me.

CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Kevin Sparks

God, thank You for appointing us a Shepherd during these hard times to lead us through this valley of darkness. Although it is not clear as to the reasons why, we give thanks and praise that He is leading us down the path of righteousness. We rest assured that He is taking us to the higher ground and to the warmth and security of Your everlasting love.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

SCRIPTURE

Before the scripture, I would like to review and point out a potential pitfall.
We began this sermon series based upon First Peter by noting that the theme of the letter is hope. The recipients needed hope because they were experiencing persecution; seizure of property, prison, and even death at the hands of the Roman Empire.

We began with the “living hope” Peter introduces in his topic sentence, “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1:3).

Next we put the car in reverse and backed up to the first two verses (the salutation) of the letter and linked them with 2:4-10 because together they speak of nurturing hope through The Church.

Last week, in 1:13-16 and 2:1-3 the focus was on maintaining hope by making sure our good behavior matched our good beliefs about God or we might be in danger of losing our hope in God.

Today, we are starting with 1:17 and concluding the chapter, noting that Peter returns to the theme of salvation. It’s almost as if Peter recognizes that his admonition to them to be holy (last week) coupled with the persecution they are enduring might tempt them to give up the faith. And so he feels the need to remind them that God has acted graciously toward them through the blood of the cross. On this Communion Sunday, that’s our focus too.

I also want to recognize that Peter speaks in this passage of God as Judge, who will judge and reward us based upon our good or bad deeds. Obviously that flies in the face of what we have come to embrace as salvation by grace through faith. Some scholars say Peter is speaking of God judging us as we live this life by either rewarding us with blessing or disciplining us.

Other scholars believe Peter is passing on Pauls’ teaching that after we get to heaven we will receive some kind of heavenly reward for the good we have done and/or some kind of heavenly demerits for the bad.
I’m not sure which to choose, but either way, Peter is using this idea to instill ‘reverent fear’ in his readers so they will, as we saw last week, be motivated to behave wisely.

With all that in mind, let’s hear God’s Word.

Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”

“Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him.

He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.

When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”

He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

Luke 22:7-20

And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the word of the Lord remains forever.

I Peter 1:17-25

MESSAGE

Hope in Christ our Only Hope

I’d like to begin with a couple of profound thoughts on the subject of hope.

I’ve always hoped Whoopi Goldberg would marry my best friend, Ben Cushion.

One desperate guy said, I hope death is a woman. That way, it will never come for me.

I hope this abacus helps me pass my math test. I’m counting on it

Where would you hope a doctor doesn’t sneeze? Achuu youuuuu.

Twenty years ago, we still had Steve Jobs, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope. Now we have no jobs, no cash and no hope.

Although that last one is clever, it’s also true, as over this last week the stock we call hope took a downward slide.

Just as we were in the process of sticking our heads outside, coming out of hibernation to smell the fresh air in hopes that life was about to return to normal, we took a step backwards in America. Perhaps I should say we took several steps back. It’s all so depressing on so many levels. If ever we needed hope renewed, it is now.

Not that we are experiencing the depth of despair the people Peter wrote to were experiencing; although we might be getting close.

And the question for us, the question for all Americans; indeed, the question for people all over the world is, “Where do we turn for hope?”

Some would say humanity’s hope lies in the human spirit, human ingenuity.

For example, the theme of April’s National Geographic, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, is “How We Saved the World; an Optimists Guide to Life on Earth in 2070.” In her contributing article, The Case for Renewal, Emma Marris writes:

What gives me hope? We already have the knowledge and technology we need to feed a larger population, provide energy for all, begin to reverse climate change and prevent most extinctions. The public desire for action is bursting forth on the streets. … I believe we will build a better 2070. 1

Now I am sure all of us are pulling for what she’s talking about. But I don’t think I am going to put all my hopes in that basket of human ingenuity.

Max Tegmark, an MIT professor and co-founder of The Future Life Institute, would have place our hopes in what he calls, “Life 3.0.”

Life 1.0 – Our biological origins.
Life 2.0 – Humanity develops culture and technology.
Life 3.0 – The merging of the human body with artificial intelligence.

Tegmark writes:

The human race is in need of an upgrade. Despite the most powerful technologies we have today, all forms of life we know of remain fundamentally limited by their biological hardware. None can live for a million years, memorize all of Wikipedia, understand all known science or enjoy spaceflight without a spacecraft. None can transform our largely lifeless cosmos into a diverse biosphere that will flourish for billions or trillions of years, enabling our universe to finally fulfill its potential and wake up fully. All this requires life to undergo a final upgrade to Life 3.0, in which we design not only our own software, but also our new hardware. In other words, Life 3.0 is the master of its own destiny, finally free from its evolutionary shackles. 2

I don’t know about you, but I am not going to put a lot of stock in Life 3.0!

It’s ironic though, that the Bible does agree with Professor Tegmark, that the human race is in need of an upgrade.

But the Bible is realistic enough to know that the upgrade we are in need of will not come through the human spirit or human effort of human ingenuity. The last couple hundred years of human history have taught us that.

What many people ignore is that human beings are fundamentally flawed. The Bible calls it sin.

What humanity needs is a spiritual upgrade that will deliver us from sin and as result enable us to live better, more loving lives.

Because of that, some would say that hope lies in religion.

If we just get everybody in the world to join some religion; it doesn’t really matter what religion. It could be Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam; even Christianity can be a religion is its used in that way. But everybody would just join a religion, this world would be a much better place!

Really? Were you aware that The Encyclopedia of Wars has it that out of all the 1,763 recorded wars, 123, or 7%, had religion as their primary cause. 3

By the way, what I mean by religion, human beings making themselves acceptable to God by engaging in religious activities. The teachers of the Jewish law came to believe that they could be acceptable to God by obeying God’s moral law. But Paul is so clear about this in Romans 3:20, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands.” That’s because keeping the law still does not deal with the fundamental problem plaguing humankind: sin and its consequences.

But religion is so attractive to so many. Do you know why? Because religion keeps us in control. Religion would never dare trust someone else with something so precious.

This is why in 2013, 100 million people made a pilgrimage to the place where two other rivers joins the Ganges in India. The 55 day, every 12 years religious festival is called Kumbh Mela. The religious goal is for the pilgrims is to bathe in the Ganges River for spiritual cleansing. Isn’t it ironic though that the Hindus wash in the Ganges River for cleansing, since it ranks in the top five most polluted rivers on the planet. 4

But making that long pilgrimage, mostly on foot, and enduring those dreadful conditions of overcrowding as they attempt to get into the river keeps those people in control. I’ll do it my way.

And look where that kind of thinking got those religious leaders in Jesus’ day. Or should I say look where it got Jesus. In their religious zeal, they killed the most loving and kind person who ever graced this planet.

Yea, that right, humanity’s hope is in religion! Not!

No, Peter says, our only hope is hope in Christ.

Biblical hope is not wishful thinking. Biblical hope is a confident expectation in God and His promises. And Peter gives one of those here.

For you know God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. (1:18-19)

In the Roman world, slaves could be set free if someone paid a sum of money, a ransom. In God’s world, slaves to sin who are in bondage can only be set free if someone pays a ransom. Peter reminds us Jesus paid our ransom with His own blood, more precious than the most expensive currencies of silver and gold. The emphasis here being not so much on the act of paying the ransom as the cost of it. He’s warning us not to take the cost of our redemption for granted. That way to avoid that is by remembering the cost; something we do each time we take communion.

What can wash away our sin and its consequences? Can the human spirit? Can human ingenuity? Can religions? No, no, a thousand times, no!

What can wash away our sin? And Peter answers, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

Howard Marshall, in his fine commentary on I Peter writes:

Peter is saying that the readers were caught, with no possibility of escape, in a futile way of life that would end up in condemnation from the judge who judges everybody according to their works. Christ’s self-offering to God as a sacrifice; however, constituted the ransom price by which they were set free from the old way of life and brought into the new life as children of God. Christ’s death as a sacrifice for sin has set them free from the prospect of condemnation and enabled them to escape from the downward path. 5

Humanity, left to its own devices, more often than not, takes the downward path!

But Peter give us great hope when he continues:

Through Christ, you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because He raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brother and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. (I Peter 1:21-24).

Based upon that, in my humble opinion, humanity’s only hope is more and more people coming to faith in the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sin. For as Peter writes these people will be born again to a new life, in which they learn to love all people.

That was Peter’s experience. Are you aware that he was weaned on the idea that prejudice toward non-Jewish people was actually God’s will. But through his encounter with the Lord in Acts 10 and John 21, Peter’s life was transformed and he came to love all God’s children. His experience bleeds through this letter of hope.

My favorite preacher, Charles Swindoll, after giving an overview of the ups and many downs of Peters’ life as an early disciple of Jesus, writes:

The point of Peter’s letter, to put it simply, is that Christ gives hope in hurtful times. Who better to know how to keep hope ablaze in a cold world of dark despair than one who has lived his earlier life in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gloom? 6

One of the first pilgrims to the Holy to record her experiences was a woman named Egeria who spent three years there beginning in 381 AD. (Check out the link after my footnotes to read the amazing accounts of her travels). She was eager to visit the holy sites, one of which was a church in Galilee, known as the Place of the Coals, where the Risen Christ built a charcoal fire to feed His disciples fish as recorded in the aforementioned John 21. This was an important destination for Egeria because it recalled a moment in time that transformed one man’s life. That man, of course, was Peter, who was forgiven there and recommissioned by Jesus to love others. A new church has been built on the original foundation of the one Egeria visited, and in addition, pilgrims can see a beautiful life-size statue of Jesus standing above a kneeling Peter.

If we were to visit there, we would sense what Egeria knew: something momentous took place there, and it speaks not just of Peter but us too.

One night in a church service, a young woman felt the tug of God on her heart.

She responded to God’s call and accepted Jesus as her Savior. The young woman had a very sordid past, involving alcohol, drugs, and even prostitution. But the change in her life was evident. And as time went on, she became a very faithful member of that church.

The day came when she caught the eye and then the heart of the pastor’s son. The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans.

However, a handful of people didn’t think she was suitable for the pastor’s son. One night at a church dinner, a few people got into an argument about it and the longer it went the louder it got. The young lad began to get upset as one man in particular felt the need to remind everyone of her past.

As she began to cry, the pastor’s son stood up and said, “My fiancée’s past is not what is on trial here tonight. What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin and enable a person to live a new life in Christ. Tonight you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin . . . or not? 8

Anyone in Christ, that is, we, all of us, are like that young woman. We too have made mistakes; in fact, we continue to make mistakes. But we, like her, know what it is to discover the joy of forgiveness and to live a new life in Christ, to walk the upward path, where as we grow in Christ we learn to love.

What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make us whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
O precious is the flow that makes us white as snow.
No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage you to pray as you feel led.)

COMMUNION SONG

Nothing but the Blood

Lowry, Robert

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

O precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing, this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
O precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

O precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

O precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

©2003 New Spring Publishing, Inc. (ASCAP)
(a div. of Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

COMMUNION PRAYER

Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ. Your Spirit anointed him to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to announce that the time had come when you would save your people. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ate with sinners. By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.

When the Lord Jesus ascended, he promised to be with us always, in the power of your Word and Holy Spirit. On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:

“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

(Receive the bread).

When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said

“Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

(Receive the cup).

And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith: “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again” and as we sing, Worthy Is the Lamb.

Worthy is the Lamb

Zschech, Darlene

Thank You for the cross, Lord.
Thank You for the price You paid.
Bearing all my sin and shame,
In love You came
And gave amazing grace.

Thank You for this love, Lord.
Thank You for the nail-pierced hands.
Washed me in Your cleansing flow,
Now all I know,
Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb,
Seated on the throne.
Crown You now with many crowns,
You reign victorious.
High and lifted up,
Jesus, Son of God.
The Darling of heaven, crucified.

Worthy is the Lamb.
Worthy is the Lamb.

Thank You for the cross, Lord.
Thank You for the price You paid.
Bearing all my sin and shame,
In love You came
And gave amazing grace.

Thank You for this love, Lord.
Thank You for the nail-pierced hands.
Washed me in Your cleansing flow,
Now all I know,
Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb,
Seated on the throne.
Crown You now with many crowns,
You reign victorious.
High and lifted up,
Jesus, Son of God.
The Darling of heaven, crucified.

Worthy is the Lamb.
Worthy is the Lamb.
Worthy is the Lamb.
Worthy is the Lamb.

Worthy is the Lamb,
Seated on the throne.
Crown You now with many crowns,
You reign victorious.
High and lifted up,
Jesus, Son of God.
The Darling of heaven, crucified.

Worthy is the Lamb.
Worthy is the Lamb.
Worthy is the Lamb.
Worthy is the Lamb.

©2000 Darlene Zschech/Hillsong Publishing
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood; may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21

1 Emma Marris, ‘The Case for Renewal,’ National Geographic. Volume 237, Number 4, April 2020, page 20.

2 In the Age of Artificial Intelligence. (Alfred A. Knoph, © 2007), page 29
Source: Max Tegmark, Life 3.0: being Human
https//www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2018/march/human-race-is-in-need-of-upgrade.html
submitted by Jerry De Luca, Montreal west, Montreal, Canada.

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war#:text=According%20to%20the%20En cyclopedia%20of,the%20world’s%20100%20dealiset%20atrocities.

4 Eric McKiddie. SHOW THEN TELL; Illustrations for Believing and Living the Gospel. [© 2013 by Eric McKiddie]. Page 30.

5 Howard Marshall, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, I Peter. [Downers’ Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, © 1991]. Page 55-56.

6 Charles Swindoll, Living Insights New Testament Commentary, James, I Peter and II Peter. [Carol Steam, Illinois: Tyndale House, © 2014]. Page 149.

7 Gary Burge, The NIV Application Commentary; John. [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, © 2000]. Pages 594-505.

8 https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/81207/revival-by-vernon-price?ref=TextIllustrationsSerps

Link to Egeria Travel Records: https://www.ccel.org/ccel/mcclure/etheria/files/etheria.html

Randy K'Meyer

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