In this sermon from 1 Peter 3, Pastor Mark teaches that Heaven & hell start in this life, that God can use your worst misery for your best ministry, and that, ultimately, Christianity is about Christ.
Living for Heaven in a World Gone to Hell: 1 Peter 3:8-22
- We live in a geographic desert. This time of year, climate pushes people to find oasis.
- We also live in a cultural desert. People are also seeking an oasis.
- Jesus’ Church should be that oasis to refresh & renew people.
- Roman Empire – #1 superpower self-destructing w/infighting, division, & selfishness
- Christians were a minority group caught in the middle feeling the escalating pressure
Heaven & Hell Start in This Life:1 Peter 3:8-12
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 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. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
FINALLY – all that he’s said to this point now culminates in action
Culture of hell
- Repay evil for evil – vengeance & escalation toward lose-lose
- Return reviling for reviling – slander, defamation, mockery, lying, destroy a reputation
- Tongue that speaks evil and deceit – lying, fraud, deceitful, crafty
- Do evil against God – a coward that gives in to the godless mob
Culture of Heaven
- Unity of mind – unity vs uniformity; division vs distinction, Open vs Closed Hand
- Sympathy – costly compassion seeking to understand someone’s life (I wanna help)
- Brotherly love – caring vs using
- like is an emotional feeling
- love is a willful doing (I put the other person’s needs above my own)
- Tender heart – like family
- Humble mind – willing to listen & learn
- A loving relationship with a humble person increases the odds of influence
- Endure evil (deeds) and reviling (words) – respond to God not them (lose-lose)
- Do good & bless others – not agree/enable, seek their best & remain silent as needed
= Start with those closest to you and work your way out
5 Things God promises if we war against hell’s culture by pursuing Heaven’s counter-culture
- Help us love life
- See good days (around us vs in us)
- Enjoy peace (internal, external, eternal)
- Answer our prayers
- Deal with evildoers
Your Worst Misery is for Your Best Ministry: 1 Peter 3:13-17
1 Peter 3:13 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, 15 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.
2 ways to get in trouble as a Christian
- Doing what is wrong (gets you in trouble with God not the world)
- Doing what is right (gets you in trouble with the world not God)
2 responses when you get in trouble
- They control your heart -“Fear” & “troubled” = make you a compromised coward PETER
Winston Churchill “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last”
- He controls your heart – “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord” = makes you courageous
When the battle rages
Luther “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.”
- Your worst misery is for your best ministry.
- Your Christian convictions will be tested in life’s battles.
- Connect before you correct.
- Live your faith, then explain your faith.
- Let the message of Christ be offensive, not the messenger (“gentleness”, “respect)
Christianity is About Christ: 1 Peter 3:18-22
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
-The Christian needs to stay on mission and message & not get sidetracked
-Every issue must come back to the life, death, burial, resurrection, and reign of Jesus Christ
- Jesus Christ suffered for our sins
- Jesus Christ is righteous, everyone else is unrighteous
- Jesus Christ is God who became a man to bring men to God
- Jesus Christ’s body died on the cross looking defeated
- Jesus Christ’s spirit endures the cross in victory
- Jesus Christ rose from death to conquer hell and open Heaven
- Jesus Christ rules over everyone & everything right now from His Heavenly Throne
- Baptism is how the Christian makes their private faith in Jesus Christ public
- If God can save Noah and His family, He can find a way to save yours if you obey Him
- God waited, watching sinners for 1600+ years from Adam
- God saved Noah, said that in 120 years He would judge sin & flood the earth
- God told Noah & his family to build an ark 1,400,000 cubic feet, shaped like a modern day battle ship, big enough to house some 522 modern day railroad box cars
- Noah built the boat & preached repentance of sin for 120 years while everyone mocked
- Noah did this in the desert
- Many commentators believe it had not yet rained on the earth…ever
- They did not believe a judgment by water was coming, We do not believe a judgment by fire is coming
- Noah & his family trusted God, obeyed, and invited others to join them
- Jesus is our Ark
- We need more husbands/fathers to lead their families through the storm