1 Pet 3:15,16
INTRO: In some respects the world is an unfriendly place. It can be harsh and hard to the point of lethal to its inhabitants. In the past few years Ive read of an African country which is literally being gobbled up by the advancing desert. Or weve read of several major earthquakes which have displaced and killed people by the thousands. As if these natural calamities were not enough, there are then mans inhumanities to man. Personal and political interests cause the fear, anguish, starvation...and slaughter of who knows how many people! Its a harsh world! And Christians may face a third harsh reality...harshness because of conviction. What should one do when he encounters that harshness? Should one live a timid Christian life hoping no unpleasantness will come?
I. SET YOUR HEART ON GOD (3:15a)
A. We must come to grips in our discipleship with the supremacies of life
1. what things are going to be most important
2. if anything, anyone is more important to you than God is, you will not be able to long stand in an unfriendly situation...the importance of that thing or person will soon squeeze God out as being dispensable
B. Peter is talking here of a surrendered heart
1. everything has become subordinate to God
2. the use of the word Lord tells us what Peter means by sanctify...in your hearts
3. that word means God is owner, master...in authority!
C. In fact, self grows more and more unimportant
1. Gal 2:19b,20 Christ liveth in me
2. here is where selfishness & pride really threaten to undo us...we have a hard time turning loose of our desires, wants, ways which run counter to Gods
3. but listen: 2 Cor 5:14,15 compelling love
D. How long does it take for others to know youre a Christian
1. if God is truly in control in our hearts, not long
2. Acts 4:13 there will be differences which can be seen
3. Ex 34:29 we will not have this physical phenomenonbut our communion with God will change us in discernable ways! you cannot hide Christian light...even in an unfriendly world
II. SET YOUR RESPONSES IN GODS WORD (3:15b)
A. Be ready to answer! (no timid discipleship here)
1. there is the answer of defense2 Tim 4:16
2. but Peter has more then that in mindhe uses the terms always and to every man
3. the kind of life we live (God as Lord in our hearts) will cause people to wonder, to inquire...to askthis seems the answering Peter has in mind here
B. What does one do when asked?
1. change subject? joke about it? refuse to discuss it?
2. give an answer! center your answer in Gods word, and explain the hope that is in you
3. Col 4:3,4 as I ought to speak
C. Too, desire to share hope will impel us to seek opportunity
1. Mk 1:17 each of us, too, is a fisher of men
2. Isa 62:6 keep not silence
3. Ps 39:2,3 then spake I
III. SET YOUR MIND ON CONSISTENT LIVING (3:16)
A. This is what er may call the non-verbal response
1. it is making right responses in choice circumstances
2. this, of course, is what others see in/of us
3. non-verbal response often prompts inquiries!
B. We may call this the convincing life
1. Isa 52:11 the challenge of consistent living
2. I frankly confess that its not too easy to dobut it is necessary for at least two reasons:
a. so that others may recognize the seriousness, the worthwhileness of our commitment, and...
b. so that our conscience may be pure
3. nothing can more detract from the message of the gospel than the unChristian living of Christiansnote Phil 4:9 here is our challenge and obligation.
CLOSE: Someone has said, A saint is someone whose life makes it easier to believe in God. That is exactly the point of how Peter tells us to live in the unfriendly world!
Cecil A. Hutson
25 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)