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Prepare For Suffering    1 Peter 3:13-4:6    April 15, 2007


Introduction 

       We believe some groups use the phrase, “. . . Baptism, . . . now saves you . . .” in an incorrect manner. Baptism does not save, Jesus does. The next phrase talks about a clear conscience, not the cleansing of the flesh. A persons cannot be saved and neglect baptism without receiving continual conviction from our Lord. So the example is not salvation of the soul, but the saving of ones conscience, and the granting of peace. Proclaim this around some of these people and then get Prepared For Suffering from their seemingly endless rebuke.

 

1.   Prepare For Suffering Through . . Righteousness.        3:13-15a

       A.   Be Righteous Through A . . Passion For Good.        3:13

13 And who will harm you if you are passionate for what is good?

 

       B.   Be Righteous Through . . Purposefulness.  3:14-15a

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed,

              15 but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts,. . .”


       In verse 15 we receive the instruction to raise up in our hearts Jesus as Lord. This needs to be a sanctified or, set apart position. Only Jesus can rightfully be Lord; for He is Lord! We need a passion for this principal of Lordship, and if we do this our lives will also have purpose.


 

2.   Prepare For Suffering Through . . Readiness.   3:15b-16

       A.   Be Ready With Your . . Defense For Good.       3:15b

            “. . . and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that

              is in you.

 

       B.   Be Ready With Your . . Demeanor Of Gentleness.  3:16

16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.


       We can be ready for suffering if we prepare for it, and learn to give an answer for the hope the Lord gives. Recently, I listened to a taped message by Ravi Zacharias. He shared that once, after giving a lecture at a university, he met with the faculty. He noticed they were very quite. Ravi ask why are you so quiet; and one man said something like this, “It is difficult to talk when all your defenses just got holes poked in them.” Few of us will be as ready to defend as Ravi, but we can continue to grow in our ability to share our faith, and the hope Jesus gives.


 

3.   Prepare For Suffering Through . . Reminders.        3:17-22

       A.   Be Reminded Of God’s . . Will.    3:17

17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

 

       B.   Be Reminded Of God’s . . Way.    3:18

18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.

 

       C.   Be Reminded Of God’s . . Waiting.     3:19-20a

19 In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison

              20 who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an

              ark was being prepared;. . .”

 

       D.   Be Reminded Of God’s . . Word-Picture.  3:20b-22 

“. . . in it, a few—that is, eight people —were saved through water.

              21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh,

              but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

              22 Now that He has gone into heaven, He is at God’s right hand, with angels, authorities, and

              powers subjected to Him.


       Life generally produces some times of suffering. Some suffer much more than others, and many times we must say “Only the Lord knows why, but someday we will understand..” Simon Peter said, “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will,” and we can voice a hearty Amen!” As we wait God may reveal some of the reasons behind suffering. In verse 20a through 22 we gain a word picture of how obedience in baptism allows us to have a clear conscience. Note Noah was not saved “by” the water, but “from” the water. Jesus stated at His baptism that it was an act of righteousness. Paul tells us we are not saved “by” acts of righteousness.


 

4.   Prepare For Suffering Through . . Resolve.       4:1-6

       A.   Be Resolved Through The . . Savior’s Example.      4:1-2

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same resolve —

              because the One who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin —

              2 in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.

 

       B.   Be Resolved Through . . Shunning Evil.     4:3-4

3 For there has already been enough time spent in doing the will of the pagans: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry.

              4 In regard to this, they are surprised that you don’t plunge with them into the same flood of

              dissipation—and they slander you.

 

       C.   Be Resolved Through . . Scriptural Entreaty.   4:5-6

5 They will give an account to the One who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.

              6 For this reason the gospel was also preached to [those who are now] dead, so that, although they

              might be judged by men in the fleshly realm, they might live by God in the spiritual realm.


       Jesus suffered according to God’s will. We can learn from His example. As we follow His example, we will base our actions on the scriptures, and they will lead us to shun evil. Some in the grip of the Devil will slander us but we enjoy the privilege of intercessory prayer for them. What a joy to see some of these folks saved, and desiring to live a godly lifestyle. These kinds of prayers greatly add to our ability to Prepare For Suffering. Amen? Amen!