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Fortified Life | Part 1 – Fortified Hope

Not every church that calls itself “the church” is in the Word of God. OK, so come and find out what a church believes before you join, but note it is the 21st of April, two-hour class. Dinner will be served and childcare will be provided. For those of you who have been through it, it’s a blessing, isn’t it? Those who have, know what I mean. See, even she enjoyed it. Did you hear that? That was Hebrew for, “You’re right, Pastor, OK.”

Alright, let’s open our Bibles to First Peter, chapter one. We’ll cover verses one through twelve. Now, while you’re turning your Bibles, remember that song we just sang? I absolutely love it; I almost even told Steve to change the invitation time because I wanted to sing it again. Here are some words I want you to remember from that song: “I will build my life upon your love.” So many of us are worried about building our retirement, our legacy, our families. But man, I want to tell you, it’s amazing: “I will build my life upon your love.” That’s what we’re going to be talking about today—fortifying our lives.

The next slide affirms it is a firm foundation. Now, I don’t know if you were a child and remember learning this song: The wise man built his house upon the rock—thank you—and the foolish man built his house upon the sand. See, I knew you guys would know that! Why don’t we sing that during church time with the hand motions and everything? You remember that song, man: “The rains came down, the floods came up.” Jeannie, you’re even shaking your head; you know this song, don’t you? OK, Jeannie, then what happened to the house on the rock when the rains came? It stood, didn’t it? And what happened to the house on the sand? Splat. Ohh. I knew it; I knew you guys would know that part.

OK, so why not build upon a strong foundation? Jesus Christ. Let’s not build it upon New Life Baptist Church or any other church. Let’s not build it upon Kevin White; I’ll let you down. Let’s certainly not build it upon Steve Sprecker; I’m just going to share that right now. OK, but let’s build it upon Jesus Christ. The next slide says, “I will put my trust in You alone and I will not be shaken.” Can you guys agree with me? This world’s crazy. OK.

I don’t mean to point you out, but we have a law officer here, and brother, first of all, let me just thank you for your service. Can we just give him a round of applause for what he does? I honor you. You’re pretty incredible. And anyone else who has served in that capacity, just by a nod of the head, this world’s gotten crazy, wouldn’t you agree? OK. Thank you. I didn’t get a nod of the head, sermon’s over. We’re going to beat the Methodists to the restaurant. Let’s go, man. Right there, that’s all it takes.

I’m just telling you, man, don’t wait. It’s gone crazy, and there are things out there that shake us. But when we build our foundation on Jesus Christ, man, I will not be shaken because of who Jesus Christ is. And then there’s a last phrase that towards the end of the song it says, “And lead me in your love to those around me.” This world is so dark and so ugly right now. They need to see not the light of this church, not the light of you, but the light of Jesus Christ. That’s what they need to see.

So when I share all that and I ask you the words, and I say the word “fortified,” you don’t say that lightly, do you? What do you think of when I say the word “fortify”? It makes us think of strength, doesn’t it? Hope. Security. And just as we construct things in our lives to fortify things around us—cars, for instance, have been fortified. Now, you may not be as old as I am, and some of you are older, but I won’t point you out—certain section right over there, third row. OK, anyway. But do you remember cars without seat belts? What was your seat belt back then? Your mother’s arm. And also back then, they made dashes that were solid metal, with gadgets that were guaranteed to knock you out, so you wouldn’t feel yourself exiting the vehicle. Now they’ve got pads and airbags.

I mean, we do all that to create more security. We do that in our houses. Our houses are constructed to provide more security and to fortify them. I’ve been reading some fantastic stories about buildings in Taiwan that survived due to amazing engineering processes designed to fortify against fire, floods, or earthquakes. Even our cities have fortifications to help with flood control. We try to fortify our lives by eating healthy and exercising to strengthen ourselves. So, is it not logical that we seek to fortify our spiritual lives? And that’s the rub. So many of us think about fortifying our house for security, fortifying our cars for safety, fortifying the things around us. But are you fortifying your spiritual life? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, are you fortifying your spiritual life? The text that we read here and the series that we’re in is all about fortifying our lives. There are so many ways to do this and countless areas that need to be fortified, and I challenge you to seek areas of your life that are in need of being fortified, strengthened, reinforced, and then allow God to work in those areas.

Now let’s get into the text. Peter was writing to dispersed, suffering Christians with a message of hope. It was during the reign of Nero. Nero was vicious and cruel to Christianity, and it was spreading, and Peter knew it was only going to get worse. Nero would literally take Christians and, to punish them and make them suffer, would light them on fire to illuminate his gardens. That’s how cruel this man was. And so these were persecuted Christians, many of them in Rome. It was beginning to spread even more, and some of them were giving up hope. But Peter understood that this suffering was brutal, yet we had hope in Jesus Christ. In this letter that he writes to these dispersed Christians, he helps them to understand and to find strength and hope during the trials and struggles they were facing. He reminds them of the foundation of hope found in Jesus Christ and that if the foundation of the house is not going to stand, the house will fall. Therefore, we find out that Jesus is the chief cornerstone to build our foundation upon. Folks, if you’re building it upon religion, you’re going to miss it. God’s not interested in religion. He wants a relationship with you, a loving relationship with you. And so today’s message is entitled, as we look at this letter and the first 12 verses, “Fortified Hope.” You feel like your hope needs to be strengthened? Sometimes when you look at this crazy world, I do that. I need fortified hope. So let’s get into it, man. And I want you to know that in the book of First Peter, in every chapter, the word “grace” is mentioned. And that’s part of the fortification, the foundation that we have.

The first point that I have for you is that we’re fortified in the hope of Christ. Now, how many of us put our hope in the wrong things? I’ve asked this many times and I’ll ask it again: Has anyone here been let down by the government? Ohh. OK, I got that one.

Has anybody been let down? Ohh. Wait. OK, you guys are a lot like family over here, so you don’t have to answer this part. You guys get a pass, OK? Has anybody been disappointed by family? Thank you for holding off. I didn’t want to do, you know, counseling or anything like that. Yes, family has this way. How about church? Has anybody been disappointed by church? Yes. Pastors. I haven’t let myself down. OK, yes. So what do we fortify our lives with? Well, let’s look at the first two verses of First Peter. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those chosen, living as exiles, dispersed abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient, and to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

Now let’s just take those two verses. He’s talking about fortified hope, his first words going, “Hey, let me give you some encouragement.” Now, if you’re discouraged when somebody comes up to you, you don’t want to hear about everything going wrong in their life. You’d like to hear some encouragement, wouldn’t you? You certainly don’t want to hear, “Well, you know what? This is going on in your life because of what you’ve done.” You don’t want to hear that; you already know what you’ve done. What you’d like to hear is some encouragement. And Christians, listen to me, can depend on God’s grace to see them through the fiery trials. Many of you have been through fiery trials. You’ve had the death of a loved one. Maybe you went through a divorce. Maybe you’ve lost a child. Maybe you’ve lost a job. Maybe you’ve taken bankruptcy. Whatever it may be. Maybe you’ve been disappointed by those around you, been hurt by somebody—that is happening in life. And because of Jesus Christ, my hope is in Him.

And so he’s talking to these dispersed Christians. Isn’t that bad enough as it is? They were dispersed. What does that mean, dispersed? Well, persecution came upon Christians in such a way that they had to flee. And that’s terrible, man. Losing your home, losing everything that you have. And yet, God has them. And eventually, we find out that was a good thing because what happened? Well, in the first century, there was a mighty movement of Christianity because these Christians couldn’t stay at home in their local and regular areas. They were dispersed. And he’s telling them, “Hey, hang in there. It’s like a farmer who scatters seeds so that he can produce fruit. There’s a purpose,” and that’s what you can find hope in this—that sometimes in our life. Now listen when I say that sometimes in our life, we’re all scattered; that doesn’t mean you need to get up and leave church right now and say, “Well, I’m scattered, OK.” Don’t do that, OK? But you know what I’m saying. Everybody gets my point that I’m trying to make, he says, “Man, you are dispersed, but you’re chosen by God.” Because Satan wants us to feel like we’re all alone, doesn’t he? Now when you’re in depression, when you’re in anxiety, when you’re in fear, what does Satan like to do? “Ohh, look at you. You’re the only one. Nobody else struggles like you do.” Let me just tell you something. All these guys were in the same boat. And our hope is in Jesus Christ. In helping them understand this, Peter lays out God’s divine and perfect plan to save his people. Because of Jesus, you have hope. He first gives the Trinity laid out. Here he talks about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Not different gods, all the same God, just the different character or the different actions that God took.

OK, and he talks about God the Father who has chosen you in Christ. Do you understand what that means? It literally says that He chose you from the foundation of the world. That’s pretty special, isn’t it? Come on, that is special. I was talking with Jeremiah, and I said even in the book of Jeremiah, and he goes, “Yes, chapter one, verse 5,” because of course, it’s his life verse, and it says that God knew you before you were in your mother’s womb, He knew everything about you. I don’t know why you think that’s not special. God chose you. So before you sit there and think, “Well, I just chose God,” no, wait a minute. He chose you. And listen, He knew that Adam and Eve were going to sin. So from the beginning of time, before Adam and Eve, He had a plan. And that plan was that He said in the second part, He sent His Son Jesus. That is God in the flesh, to come down onto this earth and to pay the penalty for sin. Someone must pay a penalty. There must be consequences to have a just God. That’s what real judgment is. I’m sorry, you’re the only police officer here. I can refer to you, sorry, but to have real justice, there has to be an equal balance of justice, doesn’t there? I don’t want to tell you there are times I watch our justice system and go, “Have I taken crazy pills?” OK, there’s not real justice, but for real judgment. Listen, if there’s good judgment, then there needs to be serious judgment on the other side. Consequences. And that’s what we see here. So the Son, Jesus, saved you when He died, and He rose again. That’s our salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.

And then the Holy Spirit. That’s God in the Spirit, which, by the way, Christians, you guys understand, Jesus lives within you. We don’t have to go meet Jesus. He’s with me. I love that old song, “In the Garden.” He walks with me and he talks with me, man. He’s with me every part of the day because of who Jesus Christ is. And He says, “Man, the Holy Spirit then comes and convicts us of sin.” And it takes our surrendering to the Spirit to seal our life, obeying the good news, the gospel, and repenting. Understand, there cannot be salvation without brokenness over sin. Not sorry that you got caught, but broken that you were found in sin. And Paul’s reminding them you went through all this. God chose you, Jesus saved you, and you responded in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Some of you need to respond to the Spirit. Today, the Holy Spirit is telling you that you need Jesus; respond to Him. Somebody needs to respond in baptism and say, “Man, I need to do that; man, if He didn’t drown Mackenzie, you got a chance.” Her dad wasn’t wearing a gun, I thought about that. I’m just going to say that right now, OK? Just kidding. Just kidding. Some of our other guests are going, “Wow, this guy’s nuts.” No. Yeah. OK, I’ll own it. I’ll take part of it. I would never do that. I love Mackenzie. Listen.

But in thinking about how we were chosen and we have hope, just listen to me very closely. It’s sad to know that nonbelievers are without hope. What a terrible place to live. And it should strike the hearts of compassion in us, shouldn’t it? See, some of you that may not know Jesus, my heart

should break. Christians, we’ve got to stop judging. We have to stop picking their flaws and attacking. We need to sit there and go, “Man, Lord, reveal Yourself to them as You did to me.” If you see the need to fortify your life, is this not important? Spiritual fortification is important, right, Mel? Right. It’s important, man. We have to do what we need to do to be fortified. If not, have you guys ever wondered why Christians sometimes start off so well, but then they fade away? Because we forget to fortify our lives in Jesus Christ.

Secondly, let’s move on to being fortified in hope through faith. So it’s not by what we do, it’s by what God has chosen us for, but by faith. And there’s something about that. He literally says, well, let’s look at verses 3 through 9, a powerful text. He says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ because of His great mercy. Because of His mercy, what has He done? He has given us new birth into a living hope, to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials, so that the proven character of your faith, more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire, may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Let’s just jump into this.

We have a living hope. Why? Because Jesus Christ is alive. Because Jesus is alive and rose from the dead, and that’s a solid foundation. It is a new hope. It’s a living hope. It’s a new life through the birth of Jesus, through the new birth that you experience in salvation. And with that birthright, we get heaven and we get that hope in us as well.

So there are three things that I see here in this text that I think are important. First, let’s remember we have a living hope. God gives us life and a purpose. Listen, that song that we sang talked about how “my life is yours.” You understand? We surrender. We give it. You might think it’s about your job, you might think it’s about retirement, or you might even think it’s about just your children. No, the life belongs to God. Focus on making that your foundation and you’ll be the best parent you can possibly be, the best husband, the best wife, the best church member. Do you see what I’m saying? We must have that strong foundation, but not only do we have a living hope—something to live for with purpose—we have a lasting hope. Notice in this text, it says that it’s going to be kept for you in heaven. There’s no decay on it and the world can’t destroy it. Do you know what that means? That means I have a promise from God that Tom, you can’t go up to heaven and say, “Wait a minute, can I have Kevin’s spot up here in heaven?” God’s not going to go, “Well, yeah, because I really don’t like him.” He’s not going to do that, is he? It’s kept for me. I’m sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s why the hope for these Christians who were facing death found hope in Jesus Christ.

Why? Because they knew if they were to die, where were they going? But in heaven with Jesus! They can’t lose then. Folks, we have victory in that. We have hope in that. Regardless of how crazy this world is, we have a kept hope, a lasting hope. We have a reserved hope that cannot be stolen from you. And we have a personal hope. I love the phrase “you are being protected even now.” Listen, in the midst of a storm, sometimes you wonder where God is. Don’t you? Come on, agree with me here. How many of you have doubted and wondered, “Where’s God? Where’s God?” Man, I’ve done it. And I want to tell you, even in the face of a storm, these guys are being reminded. Whatever trials he goes through, you may go through trials if necessary, but it’s going to be for the glory of God, because God’s going to take your life and he’s going to do something in it, and people are going to see Jesus in you. If you’re fortified in that living hope and that we have hope in Jesus Christ, it’s that personal hope, he says. But you’re going to be guarded, even in the midst of trials. You’re being protected. Satan wants you to feel abandoned. He wants you to feel alone and until he returns. The believer must go through testing. It’s just going to be there. I wish I could sit there and go, “OK, I promise you, no trials for you.” That’s not life, is it? I can’t promise you anything, but I can promise you this: if you’re in the foundation of Jesus Christ, you can get through whatever you’re facing because your hope is in him. And I like this statement, “A faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted.” That’s what going through trials tests the genuineness of our faith.

Turn quickly over to Romans once again, an author writing to suffering persecuted Christians that were facing Nero and all the things that were happening. And listen to what he says about faith’s triumph. It’ll be on the screen for you. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into His grace in which we stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because even in trials God will be glorified. Even through suicide, even through cancer, even through flooding, God will be glorified. How many stories have you watched? And there’s been great devastation. And they say, ‘Hey, I just want to give glory to God, that we’re all alive, man.’ God will be glorified.”

Well, let’s continue on, he says. “And also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance. Hang in there, keep going. Endurance produces proven character or genuine faith, and proven character produces hope. Wow, what a message! This hope will not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Wow, what a text! Our suffering is but for a season, as the Lord sees it, but His glory will be forever. And we’re going to be refined like gold.

Now, many of you know that I worked for several years in gold mining, and I was the chief refiner there for a period of time. I literally poured 60 lb. gold bars and 30 lb. gold ingots. The gold ingots that I poured were 92-93% gold, so they were just beautiful. And I know that I would pour the silica sand and the borax, and the soda ash in there, and it would all help to get rid of the impurities. And as we’re refined, we had to heat up to 21150°F to burn off everything else, and what you had was gold. And as I read about these texts in the Bible, it reminds me that, wait a minute, that’s what God does. As one author says, it’s like a prospector who brings in a rock to an assay office. What they do there is they crush that rock to almost a powder form, mix some other chemicals with it, and then they heat it to fire. As we heated it to fire, everything else would burn off and what was left there was gold or silver or copper, whatever we were looking for.

And I want to tell you something, in assay offices, they give you a certificate if they find ore in that, and they say this is how much ore there is—an ounce per ton, three oz per ton, a quarter ounce per ton. And as the prospectors and the assayers were saying, literally, that certificate is worth more than what that rock with a little bit of gold was in it. That certificate is what you want. Listen to me, folks, that’s what we want. We want that certificate knowing that we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ, and when we go through that, that’s our certificate. And I made it through this world. And folks, it takes courage to get through this world nowadays. It takes courage to be a genuine Christian in this world today. And God says you have hope. And then we love Him even more, because our goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls. Whatever trial you’re in or have been through, know that God loves you and has not abandoned you.

Lastly, fortified hope. It has amazed generations. There’s a problem with the Christian churches in the world today. We don’t stand amazed in the presence of an Almighty God.

We ought to be blown away by the presence of God, shouldn’t we? What are we doing? We’re not. Every day that we get a breath, we ought to be amazed at the goodness of God. Every day that he brings you home safely, I think, “Thank you, Lord, for what you’ve done.” But for generations, fortified hope has amazed them. Look at verses 10 through 12. This is very important for us as we wrap this up concerning this salvation. The prophets who prophesied about the grace that would come to you searched and carefully investigated. They inquired into what time or circumstance the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when He testified in advance to the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you. Notice that when we go through trials and sufferings, like they were going through, it may not be for you, but for your children, for the next generation that is faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it says, “And these things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,” and then listen to this last phrase, “Angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.” I don’t know about you, but if I see something that talks about angels wanting to catch a glimpse of it, what’s that saying? They want to catch a glimpse of God working in you. That’s amazing. Ohh. Come on, folks. Am I the only one amazed by that statement? You know, I’d be the laziest angel in heaven right now, going, “I don’t really care. I just sat up here enjoying life, you know?” But these angels are amazed by it. The message. Now, what is Peter trying to say? The message of hope is not new. In other words, there’s nothing new under the sun. Once again, Satan wants to make us believe that we are the only one going through such trials. And what brings hope is—wait a minute, they went through these trials before, guys, and God got them through, and we cherished that. Well, guess what? Listen to me, please. As the praise team’s coming, when you listen to this, God will get you through if you put your trust in Him. I can’t say it’ll be quick. I can’t say it’ll be slow. I just know the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. They understood the messianic sufferings and the glories that would follow. And it was so amazing, this gift of salvation and this living hope that angels desire to look into these things. Angels have a prominent place in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. They are mentioned in connection with the birth of Christ, the dictation of Christ, His agony in Gethsemane, His resurrection, but what is their purpose and plan? Listen. The one thing that Jesus Christ didn’t do for them that He did for us, the gem of God’s creation, is that He came to save us. Listen, angels are amazed at the wonderful work of salvation because for them, they’ll never experience it. He didn’t come to die for angels. He came to die for you and me, man. Isn’t that hope? My hope is not in this world. My hope is in Jesus Christ. So believers, let’s rejoice. Let’s stand amazed at the living hope today. That’s fine. Encouraged. Let’s seek to fortify our lives by obedience to His leading. Whatever is your commitment this weekend, be it being a godly father, a godly mother, fortified in Christ. And for those who have yet to receive this gift, surrender. Just give in. Christians, seriously. Amen. Maybe if you’re in agreement, but there’s nothing like that moment when you finally say, “I give up, God. Amen. Man, I’m done running from you. I’m done fighting. I trust my life to you. What are you going to do today? Let’s stand, let’s sing.”


New Life Baptist Church is a small, community-centered church located in Hillsboro, Oregon. With a warm and welcoming congregation, the church strives to provide a safe and loving environment for individuals and families to come together in worship and fellowship.


Address: 3440 E Main St, Hillsboro, OR 97123
Phone: +15036484547


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