1 Pet 3:17-22
INTRO: I have read more verses than we have been attempting to consider in our studies of 1 Peter. But I feel that the scope of our study insists that there is one very profound thought which leaps from these verses. Yes, each verse does have its interesting and vital thoughts. But as I read the verses as a unit, the thought which seems paramount is thisthe impossibility of a Christless message. It could be so easy to become involved in interesting speculations and discussions...to the extent that the power or validation of each thought is lost. But Peter does not allow us to do that. Whatever else there may be here, Christ is most assuredly uplifted. Now think for a moment...
I. THE ATONEMENT WITHOUT CHRIST? 3:17,18
A. The aim of atonement is to bring man back to God
1. we know sin separates us from HimIsa 59:1,2
2. this has been mans experience from the beginning
3. but God just was not willing to leave it at that...Jno 3:16afor God so loved the world
4. but how-in His nature-could God effect this atonement
B. The 18th verse tells us...through Jesusthe details?
1. satisfying demand of justice...Jesus did forusHe plainly did not die for His own sins (yet, he was accused)
2. satisfying the holiness of God...the perfect Jesus died for usjust for the unjustnoone else could have filled that need
3. satisfying the universality of God...one sacrifice for sins forever (and for all)Heb 10:12 & 2 Cor 5:14 God is no respecter of
4. take Jesus out of the atonement, and there is nothing left that He might bring us to God
II. THE OLD TESTAMENT WITHOUT CHRIST? 3:19,20
A. Peter expands the scope of Jesus for His readers
1. do you think Jesus has only recently come on scene?
2. do you think church, atonement are new thoughts?
3. by a most unusual illustration Peter says Jesus has always been involved in (a) history (b) religion
B. Christ in Noahs day? Yes, exactly
1. what does this passage tell us? that Jesus-after His death-went into Tartarus to preach to evil dead? No!
2. notice 2 Pet 2:5 & 1 Pet 1:10,11 Christ, though Noah, was preaching to those disobedient people...they didnt change, and Peter explains they are now in prison
3. note, too, Gal 3:8,16,17 gospel preached to Abraham
4. point: Christ, though the prophets, was speaking thentake Jesus out of the O.T., and there is little left
III. BAPTISM WITHOUT CHRIST? 3:21
A. Baptism was/is universal point of entry into Christ
1. all of people whom Peter wrote had this in common
2. Peter certainly knew the Lords wishes regarding baptismhe was there in Mk 16:15,16; and in Acts 2:38
3. had a thorough understanding of this ordinance!
B. And he knew that efficacy of baptism rested in resurrection
1. Paul confirms...1 Cor 15:17
2. true, faith of one being baptized is necessary, too
3. but whole matter depends on one great fact which one believes...that Jesus did rise from the dead and that we are united into His death, burial and resurrection in baptism (Rom 6:3-5)
4. take Jesus out of baptism, and it becomes only dunking
IV. HEAVEN WITHOUT CHRIST? 3:22
A. Peter had earlier seen Jesus ascending
1. Acts 1:9-11 had no doubts about where Jesus was
2. and so many things might have been said here about what that all means and signifies (as in Phil 1:23)
3. but to Peter only one thought was needful just here...
B. Christ in heaven spoke of Jesus unequaled in authority
1. what had Peter heard the Lord say? Mt 28:18
2. in the church-indeed, in everything-Jesus was and is Lord
3. note Col 1:16-18 in all things....preeminence
4. take Jesus out of heaven, and the church loses head
CLOSE: Whatever the discussion, Christ is all that there is. Every point of life and doctrine, every anticipation and hope must begin from Jesus Christ. For any preacher of righteousness, then, a Christless message is truly impossible.
Cecil A. Hutson
02 December 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)