The Importance of Identifying With Christ Even in the Face of Persecution: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Occasion: Sunday Worship Fall 2014

Text: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Purpose: Peter refers to the faithfulness and deliverance of Christ and Noah to encourage these persecuted believers to have godly thinking and faithful living as they wait for the coming judgment of God on their persecutors.

Proposition: God wants you to be faithful no matter what you are facing.

Interrogative: How can this passage help you be faithful?

Step 1: Interpret the passage:

The Key statement: 3:17 It is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

What does he mean by doing good?

  • Identify with Christ publically, by professing your faith through water baptism.
  • Live faithfully to Christ in all areas.
  • Do not compromise, even if it means you will suffer.

What does he mean by doing evil?

  • Refuse to be baptized, out of fear of the consequences.
  • Divide your life into areas that are submitted to God and areas that belong to you.
  • Compromise, because it will cost you too much to do what right.

How does he illustrate his teaching?

  • Christ: 3:18, 22 For 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, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
  • Noah: 3:19-20 By whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

Why are these illustrations important? Patience, perseverance, deliverance, and glory.

  • Both trusted and obeyed God:
    • Every aspect of Christ’s life was lived in full dependence upon the Father.
    • Noah spent 120 years building a boat on the land, preaching God judgment, with rain which had never been seen, got into the ark, and shut the door before he saw a drop of rain.
  • Both suffered as they did the will of God.
    • Christ was mocked, beaten, despised, falsely accused, stripped, and crucified.
    • Noah was mocked, and lived during the wickedest time in human history.
  • Both were delivered once they had done the will of God.
    • Christ rose from the dead after three days.
    • Noah was rescued with his whole family.
  • Both were instruments of God’s judgment and grace:
    • With Christ’s crucifixion, He sealed judgment on the Jews, and all men who reject His offer of salvation, and provided a complete salvation for all who will trust in His finished work.
    • Noah’s obedience sealed judgment on his entire generation, and preserved his family, people, animals, and God’s plan of redemption.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

  • Peter’s primary application: If you suffer for doing good as they did, your obedience will result in your deliverance from their persecution and their judgment.

Acts 2:36-42 Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…Be saved from this perverse generation.

James 5:7-11 Be patient, until the coming of the Lord…for the coming of the Lord is at hand…Behold, the Judge is standing at the door…we count them blessed who endure…the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Step 2: Apply the passage:

  • Remember what God has done for you, so you could be saved: If there had been no Noah or Christ, there could have been no salvation.
  • Respond with a thankful heart: God’s grace was at work for you, long before you trusted in Christ and were saved.
  • Trust God no matter your circumstances: God will deliver in His time, so trust Him.
  • Obey in every area of life: God does not make room for you to compromise. Every area of your life is important to God.

2 Peter 2:4-9 If God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell…and the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the Day of Judgment,

Conclusion: God wants you to be faithful no matter what you are facing.  Are you doing it?

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