1 Pet 3:13,14
INTRO: As we have moved through this third chapter of 1 Peter we have seen marvelous advice given to Christians about the hows of living as Christians. The advice has been practicable and workable, and the outcome of following that advice has been generally good...as experience has shown. But Peter lived in perilous times of hostility toward Christians...and it would be a situation which would worsen. Thus, Peter begins to look toward handling the possibility of persecution. The two verses before us are a kind of thesis for advice that will follow. Peter begins, then, to write about the possibility of suffering because of righteousness.
I. GENERALLY HARM WILL NOT COME TO RIGHTEOUS FOLKS (3:13)
A. Now, we must establish the sort of people intended here
1. followers of that which is goodimitators
a. thus, imitating God (Eph 5:1), Christ (cf. 1 Pet 2:21)
b. or following the example of apostles, etc.
2. good here certainly covers whole spectrum of goodof Dorcas; of a Barnabas who was simply called a good man
B. But some MSS have zealous instead of follower
1. unbounded enthusiasm for good
2. comment on Zealots among Jewspatriots for whom no price was too high to restore Israel!
3. that is the word used hereburningpassion
4. this is not a hot and cold manner of life...note Isa 59:17 and clad with zeal
C. Too, this leads to concern for motive of goodness
1. certainly this would have a bearing on what one might do if persecution should occur
2. is goodness motivated by fear; peer pressure; by socio-economic considerations?
3. or is it true enthusiasm for goodness of life?
D. Such a lifestyle has little to fear (3:13)
1. Acts 2:47a the thing generally expected
2. such a lifestyle engages in helping, assisting
3. its intent is to benefitnever hurt or harm
II. BUT ONE COULD SUFFER FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE (3:14)
A. Why would such a thing happen?
1. if peoples traditions threatenedMt 15:1-3,12
2. if an unholy government should cease to recognize the principles of ChristRev 20:4
3. if people are unholy and are made to feel guilty and insecure by a good lifeJno 3:19,20
4. note Mt 5:10-12 and 2 Tim 3:12 persecution!
5. see also Heb 10:32-34 & 13:3
B. Your reaction, response? happy are ye (14a)
1. what would a normal response be?
2. so often people feel unhappy, underprivileged, unfairly treated, neglected by God and others when their goodness is treated negatively (as perhaps in the case of Heb 10:36-39)
3. happy here is not a feeling of elation or joy
4. rather, it is realizing high privilege
5. in the text of Mt 5:12bthis puts you in good company
C. No reason to fear, to be troubled (14b)
1. easy to say...but not so easily accomplished?
2. in other wordsdo not be influenced to change your course because of threats
3. worst they can do is take ones life...but they have not harmed his soul! Mt 10:28
4. note Isa 8:12-14a if we will have the proper fear of God, He will be our sanctuary, our protection
5. and, too, Isa 12:2I will trust, and not be afraidcant we all say we need to learn to trust God more and ourselves (or the worldly) less?
CLOSE: Through our lives we must learn to concentrate on God, His word, His promises...and not to be distracted by real or imagined threats. We must be zealous of good...believing that this is really the only worthwhile manner of life.
Cecil A. Hutson
18 November 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)