Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Way Connection Group. 1 Peter 3:13-22

Name: Jeff Sandberg
Class:  The Way Connection Group     Topic:  1 Peter 3:13-22
Date:   11/17/2019

Last week, we turned to the subject of marital submission. "Likewise," we were told, wives should be in subjection to their husbands. Verses 1-12 very explicitly and adamantly exhorts men to dwell with women "in knowledge, giving honor" as we dwell together as co-heirs with Christ. Christ calls us to obedience, not because it's pretty or makes a lot of sense, but because our obedience to God in Christ is how we win souls. It all, again, points back to the urgency of suffering in preaching.

This week, we unpack the greatest “work” a Christian can do. Peter reminds his readers, “[It] is better, if it is the will of God, that you suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” The good he speaks of? “[Giving] an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and reverence.” The example that Christ gives us suffering in order that He might bring us back to God. Let us also be the avenue that God uses to bring someone to the foot of a blood-stained cross.
13 And who is he who will harm you if you be followers of that which is good?
This comes across as a rhetorical question seeing he doesn’t feel the need to provide an answer. Will some, possibly many harm followers of that which is good? Yes. Yet, Paul follows the logic of Solomon, still considered the wisest man the world has ever known 2nd only to Jesus.
Pro 16:7. When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
14 But even if you suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”
Pragmatism says, “Do it because it works.” Don’t trust it.

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. Because when I am weak, then I am strong.

Phil. 1:29. Because, to you, it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for His sake,

Luke 12:4-5. 4 And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” 5 But I will forewarn you whom you should reverence: Reverence Him who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, reverence Him!”

Think also of Elijah. In spite of being enemies to the evilest woman who ever lived, Jezebel, God has this to say to Elijah even after wanting the Lord to kill him. 
1 Kings 19:18. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him.
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and reverence;
In the King James, this is part of the previous thought. 

To sanctify is to “render venerable,” or to willingly attribute or acknowledge respect, hallow. Because we understand that Jesus suffered because 1) he testified that our deeds were evil and that he 2) was bringing us back to God, we shouldn’t be surprised at the trial we’re going through. Instead, worship and honor God.

Numbers 20:12. Moses and Aaron are told to go before the rock that the Lord showed them and speak to it. In being triggered by the congregation, Moses allows his anger and disbelief in God’s promise to overtake him, and instead of speaking to it as the Lord commanded, he strikes it twice in anger.
     1 Peter 3:12 says the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and the face of the Lord against them that do evil. Moses, God’s prophet, did evil and wasn’t allowed into the promised land, but had to die looking into it from the top of a mountain.
     If we take the whole of Sacred Scripture in light of our passage, in sanctifying the Lord, we are also believing the Lord. It is a willingness to obey when we don’t know what the outcome of our suffering is. Many use this verse to support their apologetics ministry, and, yes, we should engage in spiritual conversation with the Lord, answering their questions and, if necessary, enter into some debate. However, our only out is the Lord.
     As usual, with most (if not all) verses, there is simply more to the story than just what meets the eye. 

Be ready. Psalm 119:46. “I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.” We must be ready for suffering. It should come as a surprise when people respond positively, not when unbelievers revile us. Daniel and his three men certainly sanctified the Lord in their hearts, believing that he was the one true God to be worshipped and not Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, knowing God is able to deliver them our of the king’s hand, “but if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image with you have set up.”

And, what also does it mean to sanctify the Lord in your hearts? It means that the whole of our lives is due to God. Why am I a teacher? God. Why am I a husband? God. Why am I a father? God. If there is one point in our lives that is not founded in God, we will be found “believing Him not.”

Give an answer. John MacArthur: Peter is using the word, defense, in an informal sense (cf. Phil. 1:16–17) and is insisting that the believer (inferring all believers) must understand what he believes and why one is a Christian, and then be able to articulate one’s beliefs humbly, thoughtfully, reasonably, and biblically.

A reason. Acts 24:25. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come, Felix was afraid and replied, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” All Christians should reason of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come, for all are under sin, Christ is the believers’ righteousness, and even Christians will be judged by their works.

2 Corinthians 5:10-11
10 Because, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether it is good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest to God, and I also trust are made manifest in your consciences.

16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who falsely accuse your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
What is it to have a good conscience before God? Conscience comes from two words: “con-” meaning with, and “-science” meaning knowledge. In other words, we have been given knowledge by God from day one of what is right and wrong. We deaden our consciences through sin and willful disbelief. As Christians, we are supposed to have a more fully awake conscience than the rest of the world, in part because we have “sanctified the Lord in our hearts.” So, exercising a good conscience according to other portions of Scripture would mean: enduring grief, suffering wrongfully; void of offense toward God and toward men; conducted ourselves in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity by the grace of God; renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, walking by the manifestation of the truth; charity, or love in action; actively purging our consciences from dead works to serve the living God; in all things willing to live honestly.
17 Because, it is better, if it is the will of God, that you suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
18 Because, Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
Again, Christ suffered. Christ being just, us being unjust.

Put to death in the flesh. Remember Psalm 49? The ransom of man is expensive. It took God in human form to save sinful man. Jesus was brutally murdered. Yet, he was made alive by the Spirit. John MacArthur notes, “This is not a reference to the Holy Spirit, but to Jesus’ true inner life, his own spirit. Contrasted with his flesh (humanness), which was dead for three days, his spirit (deity) was alive, lit., “in spirit.”
19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
There is a longstanding disagreement about who the “spirits in prison” are. MacArthur believes these are demon spirits. Others, on the other hand, believe these are Old Testament believers. That said, J. Vernon McGee notes that the word “when” is operative here, saying that Jesus didn’t preach in the 3-day interim. He writes: “When did Christ preach to the spirits in prison? In His day or in Noah’s day? The next verse answers it. “When” is the keyword. It was in the days of Noah. Noah preached the gospel in his day. In Christ’s day, the spirits of those men to whom Noah had preached were in prison, for they had rejected the message of Noah.”

However, when Jesus preaches about those being imprisoned, unless He’s talking about the devil and his angels, it’s to humans he speaks and it’s to bring freedom for their souls. Also, verse 20 indicates that these spirits were “formerly” disobedient. Aren’t all of us “formerly” disobedient, having rejected the Gospel until God got a hold of our hearts?
20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.
21 This is also figurative of that which also now saves us, even baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Baptism, seen here, is the baptism that Paul references, baptism into Christ. There is a baptism by the Spirit that is done apart from water baptism. This baptism Peter says is 1) the answer of a good conscience towards God, and not the removal of filth (likely referring to water baptism), and 2) it’s baptism by the resurrection of Jesus. How does this make sense? First, he refers to Noah in the previous verse. Though Noah and his sons built the ark, it was God who protected and preserved them.
22 who has gone into heaven and is on the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
It’s like, after all of these imperatives, Peter gives us Jesus’ resumé. Why should we believe God, sanctifying Him in our hearts? Because he is in authority. He is in charge, all - angels, authorities, powers, and, by extension, us - having BEEN MADE subject to him. Salvation belongs to our God.
SUMMARY:  Write 4 or more statements describing specific learning from these notes.
  1. Suffering is a key component of the Christian faith. God can save us from the calamity caused by those who reject our message, but even if He doesn’t, we will not worship or bow down to other gods.
  2. In our suffering, we should know our “why.” This is contrary to the popular message of the day which concludes that religion is a personal thing and should not be thrust upon others, which, in turn, is contrary to the scriptures. We, knowing the terror of the Lord, do persuade men.
  3. When we’re not sharing the message with our mouths, we are to demonstrate changed lives with our actions, which in many cases opens the doors to share the good news of the gospel.
  4. We have hope in these things because God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, has made all subject to Him. May we bow in reverence, and act in urgency.

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