ROOTED | Living Scattered, Not Shattered | 1 Peter PART VII | Rooted Living | 1 Peter 3:8-22
Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 Peter 3:8–22
Rooted Living 1
Good morning, Mercy Fellowship. Hope you are all doing well this morning. If you don’t know me, my name is Curtis, I serve as an elder candidate. Honored to be preaching today. We are continuing in our series of 1 Peter today, on being Rooted in Christ, and learning about although we are scattered Christians across the globe, we in fact are not ultimately shattered by the weight of suffering & persecution.
Peter has been writing to a group of Christians, who are suffering persecution and loss due to their faith in Jesus. And so he writes to them, to encourage them in this time about what is true and to praise God. Why? Because they have been born again to living Hope. And although they’re losing much in this time of persecution, whether relationships, jobs, or social status. Peter reminds them that because you’ve been born again, there is an inheritance that is undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you.
This is their hope, that causes them to go on in the current suffering.
And from this, Peter calls on them to be obedient children and be holy as our God is holy. God has a standard to which He calls His children to live by, by imitating Jesus. And so we think, “Okay, I’ve got Jesus and my bible, I’m ready to grow in holiness.” And Peter would reply with “no. This is not how you grow in holiness.” Yes, you need your bible, yes, you need Jesus, but you also in the church.”
You and I need community if we are going to grow in Christ-likeness. Peter will go on to say that we are all “Living Stones” who have been rejected by man but are precious in the sight of God, and He is the one who is building us up into a spiritual house, who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
So as a community of believers, pulled out of the world to be a chosen race, a holy nation unto God, Peter teaches us about how we are to live in relationship with governing authorities. How we are to live in relationships between servants and masters. How we are live in relationship between a husband and wife and for us today, how we are to live in a suffering community.
REDEMPTION & BLESSING:
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.” 1 Peter 3:8-12
Rooted Living 2
The bible’s claim that we are known not primarily by what we believe, but rather, how we behave. Let’s focus on those first 2 verses where Peter talks about the actions and reactions of this Christian community. Five attributes that are to mark a Christian community, including ours.
Unity of Mind: Unity of mind is not uniformity in all things, but rather working together for a cause, despite our differences. There’s obvious things we all have to agree on if you are going to be a Christian. Jesus, both God & man. The resurrection. The nature of sin. How we are saved by faith alone. The great commission. Within the church however, we have distinctions in practice.
Sympathy: In our dictionaries define it as ‘feeling pity or sorrow for someone.’ The greek goes farther than that though. It literally means to share the experience with others.
Brotherly Love: Very self explanatory. It means to love your brothers and sisters in Christ. Peter mentions brotherly love in the beginning of His letter, here in the middle of the letter and he will mention it again at the end of the letter. Why? Because it should be the hallmark of the Christian
community, that’s why. Things that are important are worthy of being emphasized more than once.
A Tender Heart: Able to feel and have emotions towards the sufferings and afflictions of other Christians.
Humble Mind: “If we are not humble-minded we will be lead to pride and haughtiness in despising our neighbor, rather than loving our neighbor.” - John Calvin
Now, this is what Peter tells us to pursue in our communities, that these are worthy things to strive towards as a community. But what happens when you pursue these things in community, and the same kindness you are seeking to give is not returned? How are you to react?
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.
This is where the world and the church split. Where the world wants vengeance, and repayment for wrongs done to them, it is the Christian response, to bless those who have hurt you.
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. - Luke 6:27-31
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This is what Jesus calls us to do. To bless rather than curse, so that we may obtain a blessing.
Although we do not do any of these perfectly, there are plenty of churches that hold these characteristics well. *Story of church helping families.
Peter says we have are to strive for these characteristics as a suffering community and he reminds us of our hope we have in Jesus, for the purpose that we may endure in hardships and suffering.
HOPE FOR SUFFERERS:
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. - 1 Peter 3:13-17
All of these verses really ground themselves and surround around a single point and it is this idea of Hope. He starts off with saying “How are you going to suffer for righteousness sake? Because of hope. Why should you suffer for doing good?
Hope is this great idea in the Bible, that God will do great things in the future because of His tract record in the past. If He saved His people in the past, He will do it again in the future.
I feel a burden for our church in this, that we can tend to be just like the world in this and be incredibly pessimistic due to our surrounding circumstances. Yeah, we dealt with Covid. Yeah, there is a war going on currently, we’re not denying reality. I believe it is possible for Christians to at the same time, mourn our current circumstances and be filled with hope for the future, because of who are God is.
Peter is making the case, that people should look at your and my life during these current world circumstances and ask us for the reason we have hope. Let me ask you this morning, do you have hope? Hope for the Christian lies in the resurrection of Jesus, what we’re celebrating next week, and the reality is this. If Jesus did in fact walk out of the grave, anything is possible.
Rooted Living 4
We do have many troubling things going on right now, but I want you and me to have missionary mindsets and here’s why. Missionaries are incredibly hope-filled optimistic people. They go into horrible settings, where no one really knows Jesus, and seeks to tell them about Jesus, who He is and what He’s done for them. *Grandparents story
*C.S. Lewis Story
And Peter wants you and I to suffer well, by making sure that we understand why we are suffering for Jesus.
JESUS, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS HAS ALL THINGS SUBJECTED TO HIM: 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. - 1 Peter 3:18-22
Jesus, Our Righteousness:
I love verse 18! It has everything we need to know for why Jesus died for you and for me. Jesus suffered once for sins. There’s not a second or third time that needs to happen for our sins. It’s not Jesus did 50% and we do the 50%. No, we sing in church “Jesus Paid it all!” He, the righteous, died for the unrighteous, you have a substitutionary atonement taking place. Finally, Jesus did all of this, so that “He might bring us to God.”
If you grew up going to church, you probably had someone say that If you repent of sin and trust in Jesus, you will go to Heaven someday, which is true, but misses the mark. Heaven is a Kingdom, but who is the King of this Kingdom? God. Jesus died, to bring us to God and being close to God is the definition of Heaven, because He is the one who will redeem everything.
Beyond that though, the call to suffer for righteousness sake finds an example in Jesus of what I will call “purposeful suffering” looks like. Because the worst thing that could happen in your and my life, in large part I think due to living in the West, is that suffering comes upon you and me, and we think, “What a waste.” How useless is this suffering that I am going through.
Peter points us to the suffering of Jesus and what it enabled him to achieve: he brings us to God; he is raised from the dead; he makes proclamation to the spirits in prison; he makes possible the
Rooted Living 5
cleansing and salvation that baptism symbolizes; and he is raised to the pre-eminent position of power and glory.
Such suffering was obviously far from pointless and was in fact the will of God for Christ and could be God’s will for his followers. This is not in the sense that they could die to bring others to God, but that the pattern of suffering leading to glory is one that Jesus called his followers to take. -New Bible Commentary
We endure purposeful suffering, for the cause of bringing people to Jesus. And I am persuaded by this, that the church globally, has grown due to Christians being missionaries in their communities or abroad, and purposefully taking on suffering so that the world might be changed for the better and people may know God.
PROCLAIMED TO THE SPIRITS:
Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is the sole event in history that declares to the world His victory. Victory over evil, Satan & demons, sin and death. And when Peter writes that "Jesus went and proclaimed to the Spirits in prison because they did not formerly believe when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah,” two schools of thought come out of this.
1) Some interpreters believe that Jesus was “In the days of Noah” and was preaching the gospel to them that they needed to repent and turn to God, and get on the ark if they wanted to be saved. These are called a “Christophonies.” Where Jesus shows up in the O.T. to speak with people, but is never clearly communicated as being Jesus.
2) The second option though, is that Jesus, post resurrection, went into hell, and that the spirits that Peter is referring to, are fallen angels. And Jesus is communicating to them not only, His victory over them, but He is sealing their doom.
I am persuaded by the second option over the first, due to the word “spirits” because it is commonly used to refer to angels, so it makes more sense that Jesus is speaking, post resurrection to angelic-beings who were dis-obedient.
Regardless of where you land on this verse though, it is aiming at letting you and I know about how Jesus is trustworthy. You say “How so?”
Noah and the flood:
Think about Noah and the flood. Peter could highlight much from their story, but one of the things he highlights his that there was 8 of them that were saved. Only 8. And when it comes to suffering and believing what we believe, it often feels like we are small in number, doesn’t it. When you have all these voices that are telling you, what you believe is wrong, how you act is wrong, how could you believe such foolish myths, you begin to think “Am I believing the right thing? Is this true?”
In fact, in the Psalms, it is a theme amongst them, where the Psalmist is crying to God “Don’t let me be put to shame for trusting in you.” And what happens in the Psalms is what happens in Noah’s day, He saves them.
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Perhaps you’re the only one in your family that trusts Jesus. Just so you know, Jesus is trustworthy, He is mighty to save.
Don’t let the surrounding voices around you dictate what you know to be true. Let God be true and every man a liar.
Baptism also ties in to the story though, to where Noah and his family were saved by the waters, so you and I, when we get baptized it is a picture of placing our faith in Jesus and being saved. Next week, we are doing baptisms for Easter, if you have yet to be baptized and publicly declare your allegiance to Jesus, next week is the time is the time to do so. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward confession.
Victory over all things:
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. - 1 Peter 3:21-22
Let me just end with this. We win in the end. All authority belongs to Jesus and all other authorities are subjected to Him. And how we win, is not by taking up arms and fighting a holy war. No, we win by being salt and light in the world, wherever God would place us.
“In October of 2006 a gunman took hostages in a one-room Amish schoolhouse at Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He shot ten children ages seven to thirteen, five of whom died, and then he committed suicide. Within hours members of the Amish community visited both the killer’s immediate family and his parents, each time expressing sympathy for their loss. The Amish uniformly expressed forgiveness of the murderer and his family. The forgiveness and love shown toward the shooter and his family amazed many. Numerous voices called Americans to emulate the Amish and become more forgiving. Four years later a group of scholars wrote about the incident. One of their main conclusions was that our secular culture is not likely to produce people who can handle suffering the way the Amish did. They argued that the Amish ability to forgive was based on two things. First, at the heart of their faith was a man dying for his enemies.…”
Our building is marked with a cross, an emblem of suffering and shame and if it communicates anything to our communities, hopefully it communicates that our church is a home for suffering people. But more than that, it shows where are values lie. We worship a man who loved so much that he suffered and died for them, to bring them to God, and now He has called you and I to follow after Him, by loving our communities and people around us so well that we would suffer and die for them if necessary.
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