Sermon Notes for 1 Peter 1:13-22 / The 3 R’s of Encouragement


Slide6

1 Peter Part 14a

The 3-R’s of Encouragement

1 Peter 3:13-22

AUDIO FOR THIS SERMON CAN BE FOUND HERE

 

Peter, having brought his main thought thus far in this letter to the fore in 3:9 – 1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

 

And, as having the self-identity of God’s “elect exiles, shown us how the principle can be lived out in 3 contexts:

With Governments

In Work Environments

In the Home

 

And, having exhorted us on how to encourage and support one another in the Body of Christ when trials, tribulations and persecutions for the name of Christ come our way –

 

Peter now goes on to give us some powerful, useful and practical tools to encourage and equip us.

 

This is what occupies the text from 3:13-3:22.

 

We can only unpack the beginning of those this morning, in vss. 13-17

 

The 3-R’s of Encouragement

 

  1. 13-14 / Redefining HARM: As Citizens of Christ’s Kingdom.
  2. 15a / Realigning our UNDERSTANDING: How the universe works under Christ’s Lordship.
  3. 15b-17 / Remembering our MISSION: As Christ’s Emissaries in the world.

 

 

  1. 13-14 / Redefining HARM: As Citizens of Christ’s Kingdom.

 

1 Peter 3:13–14 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,

 

1. Note first, that some may indeed harm us, even when we do good. This is reality, and to be expected.

 

We ought not be too surprised if in this fallen world we suffer some injustice.

 

Wasn’t Jesus’ crucifixion the single most unjust act ever committed by human hands?

 

Should it shock us then if we are treated wrongly at times?

 

This is sin’s unmasked face. It is grotesque, ugly and fearsome.

 

2. But note secondly that God does not define harm as we so often do.

 

Identical words can mean different things to different people in different contexts.

 

Bee in one’s bonnet

Here: Something’s bothering them

England: A bug inside their car hood

 

A pebble in my boot

Here: Something in my shoe

England: A stone in the truck of their car

 

Here, Peter echoes Jesus’ words from Luke 21:16–18 “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. “

 

Harm in this life can be but physical and emotional, and at that, temporary.

 

Compared to eternal spiritual harm, such is nothing.

 

Oh to keep that balance in our hearts when tested in this way.

 

This reminds us of Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the fish in Jonah 2.

 

Jonah 2:1–2 “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.”

 

How does a prayer of thanksgiving fit at this point? Alive, but in the belly of this fish?

 

Because, he IS alive, when in fact he was deserving of and preserved from the Hell from which there is no return.

Yes it is hot.

Yes it is smelly.

Yes it is dark and uncomfortable and the future is uncertain – but it is not eternal separation from God and under His undiluted wrath.

ANYTHING is better than that.

When one has been so close to utter destruction, being saved by only an inch, is cause for celebration.

 

Note 3rd, that as Citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, He has promised that irrespective of the “harm” the World may think to do to us, it will in NO WISE diminish our blessedness.

 

In fact, part of the redemptive work of Christ on our behalf, is to so govern His people, that evil perpetrated against us by the World or the Devil, is actually utilized for our good!

 

Now the correct balance on this is important.

 

For the Believer, evil does not cease to BE evil.

 

But such is God’s sovereignty, that one and the same event can have evil intent by one party, and yet good intent from our God.

 

This was the pronouncement of Joseph in Gen. Genesis 50:15–20 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

 

Joseph does not deny their evil motives, nor baptize their actions as though they actually did a good thing.

 

He acknowledges their evil intent – but notes God’s own GOOD intent in the very same event.

 

Much like Acts 2:22–23 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

 

They are not commended for having accomplished God’s will in Christ’s crucifixion, but in fact are condemned for their wickedness.

 

Or as in Mark 14 when Jesus us speaking of Judas’ betrayal: Mark 14:21 “For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

 

Because God provided salvation through the shed blood of Jesus, does not vindicate Judas from His vile treachery.

 

We do not pronounce evil good and good evil in recognizing Christ’s redemptive work in making our sufferings the source of blessings for us.

 

But we DO glory in that such is both His power and love toward those who believe.

 

  1. 15a / Realigning our UNDERSTANDING: How the universe works under Christ’s Lordship.

 

1 Peter 3:15a “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,”

 

a. Jesus Christ is Lord of ALL!

 

The one who loves us with the infinite love of God.

 

The One who came to die in our place, bearing the full wrath of God upon human sin for the salvation of all who believe.

 

He is Lord, not others nor the circumstances.

 

b. This Jesus who loves us with infinite love and gave His very life for us – HE IS LORD!

 

He is not a disinterested bystander.

 

Christ actively rules in His universe. There is no such thing as chance or randomness.

 

Caesar is not Lord – nor any government or ruler.

Circumstances are not Lord.

Christ is Lord of all.

 

Isaiah 40:12–31 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14 Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 18 To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? 19 An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. 20 He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. 21 Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. 24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 25 To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. 27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

 

c. He is holy. And as ontologically holy, He cannot sin against us but can only act for our good;

 

and let those considerations govern our thoughts and attitudes, rather than whose hands it is we suffer directly from.

 

  1. 15b-17 / Remembering our MISSION: As Christ’s Emissaries in the world.

 

1 Peter 3:15b–17 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

 

Thirdly we note, this response to such treatment, is so counter-intuitive to normal human responses that it will evoke wonder from those who observe it in us.

 

I know that this verse is often cited generically as a reference to apologetics, but Peter’s statement here is specific to Christians suffering.

 

That in our suffering – and most especially in our being persecuted for living for Christ in this fallen world – that our hope in Christ in it all – is so profound and evident, that observers are compelled to find our why we are not hopeless and hapless but content, at peace, fearless and rejoicing!

 

This then serves as a means to redeem that suffering and make it a means whereby the Gospel is preached and Christ it put forward before men.

 

This is the hope that is so remarkable, men cannot help but wonder where it comes from.
Note lastly – that we make our response to them not as though defiant and self-triumphant, but with gentleness and respect.

 

Their being put to shame for treating us badly is not to be a means of revenge for us, but a means of showing God’s grace and mercy for the sake of their souls.

 

Proverbs 24:17–18 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.”

 

I worry at just how counter scriptural it is, and how unlike the Spirit of Christ it is, when I hear self-confessed Christians dancing on the ruined reputations and lives of those who have opposed us.

 

Think in terms of the present political context, and how much venom by supposed Christians gets spewed at candidates we dislike, and especially if some dirt from their past comes out or they get defeated.

 

Why we do not hate them any more than we fear them, and maintain our joy and hope and peace – is to be expressed with GENTELNESS and RESPECT!

 

How far popular American Christianity has fallen from this kind of thinking and acting!

 

Now who but our wondrous God would have put forth such a pattern to follow? Oh what a glorious God we serve!

 

So HOW, are we to live this supernatural life that Peter has reminded us we are called to in a dark and hostile world?

 

First and foremost, by mastering the 3-R’s:

 

  1. 13-14 / Redefining HARM: As Citizens of Christ’s Kingdom.
  2. 15a / Realigning our UNDERSTANDING: How the universe works under Christ’s Lordship.
  3. 15b-17 / Remembering our MISSION: As Christ’s Emissaries in the world.

 

 

 

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