Sunday Worship 10th August 2014
Introduction: I would like to introduce you to one of the great heroes of the faith. His name was Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna a city in modern Turkey. As far as we know, he was a personal disciple of the Apostle John. Polycarp was a strong man who fought to maintain doctrinal and practical purity in the church of Smyrna. In his 86th year, Polycarp was arrested and brought to trial. His captors were filled with amazement as they observed his strong, peaceful, and gracious demeanor. As he stood before the Roman proconsul, his accuser sought to persuade him to reject his faith: Swear by the genius of Caesar, repent, and say away with the atheists! Then Polycarp to the shock of the proconsul and angry mob waved his hand at them, and looking up into heaven groaned and said, away with the atheists. The proconsul responded, swear, and I will release you; curse the Christ, but Polycarp said, eighty and six years have I served him, and he hath done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my king who saved me? The proconsul responded: I have wild beasts; if you do not repent, I will throw you to them. But he said, Send for them. For repentance from better to worse is not acceptable. Then the proconsul responded, “If you despise the wild beasts, I will burn you with fire. And Polycarp answered, you threaten the fire that burns for an hour and in a little while is quenched; because you do not know of the fire of the judgment to come, and the fire of the eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly, but why do you delay? Do what you need to do. As his accusers burned him at the stake that day, they marveled at the settled peace he had in doing what was right no matter the cost.
Text: 1 Peter 3:1-2
Purpose: Peter has taught that our position in Christ demands a set apart walk, therefore he takes the time to explain practically what that holy walk demands.
Proposition: God wants us to do right, no matter our circumstances.
Interrogative: How can we do this?
Truth 1: Christians must be committed to always do right no matter the consequences or circumstances
- The condition of our soul is far more important than the condition of our body: Mark 9:47 If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
- God’s way may be lonely and difficult: Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
- God’s way may separate you from family: Luke 12:51-53 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
- Doing right is not always easy.
- Doing right is not always practical.
- Doing right is not always comfortable.
- Doing right is rarely popular.
The Bible is filled with examples of these principles:
Daniel 1:8 Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
2 Chronicles 18:12-16 And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good. And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.
Jeremiah 37:15-16 The princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe: for they had made that the prison. When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into the cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many days.
Jeremiah 38:6 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon…in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.
Acts 4:18-19 Let us straitly threaten them…and they commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
Acts 5:28-29 The high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Why are these examples significant?
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Truth 2: Christians must be committed to marrying Biblically.
Peter writes to those who are already married, but that does not mean he is ignoring those who will one day marry.
- Only marry a believer
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness, or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
- Only marry a committed believer
Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Proverbs 19:13 A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
- Only marry a believer you can honestly respect (ladies) or a believer you can honestly cherish (men)
Proverbs 31:10-12 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
- Honor is a choice
- Obedience is a choice
- Love is a choice
- Why choose to marry someone who you cannot honestly cherish, trust, etc.
Truth 3: Christians must be committed to live Biblically in all circumstances.
Our commitment to walk as a Christian will be constantly attacked. Life is full of tests and opportunities to grow, but how do we respond to God’s word in those situations?
- Likewise: In the same way…
1 Peter 2:21-23 Hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
- Be in subjection: Be arranged under authority, like you have in the military arrangement…
- If any obey not the word: He is speaking about someone who is an unbeliever. Peter is assuming that many people are going to be converted after they are married, and because of the they will have complicated family situations.
1 Corinthians 7:12-16 If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
Truth 4: Christians must realize the power of a godly testimony.
How much has the gospel impacted the way you live? Does your new life since you were converted make your family and friends thirsty for the gospel, or does your life contradict the gospel you claim to have embraced?
- They also may be won: Peter’s desire is to see unconverted husbands trust in Christ.
- Without the word: The husband will not become a believer by his wife’s constant pushing, which will be her natural response.
- By the conversation of the wife: He will watch the way that she lives, and it will draw him to ask questions and be attracted to the faith that has changed her so much.
- While they behold: What you are at home is what you really are, and new person ia new at home as well as at church.
- Chaste conversation coupled with fear: Reverential pure way of life
1 Corinthians 7:14-16 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband…for what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
- God commands you to obey him in all circumstances
- Are you committed to doing what is right no matter what it will cost you?
- Are you willing to obey God in your decision to marry?
- Are you willing to obey God in the marriage you are now in?
- May God give us the grace to do what is right no matter what it will cost us!
 Christian History Magazine-Issue 27: Persecution in the Early Church (Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today, 1990).