PERSECUTION 1Pet 3:13,14,15,16,17-18
PRESENTED BY STEVEN SCHILLER
Having described the proper conduct of Christians in various relationships, Peter now turns more specifically to the subject of suffering
That the first recipients of this epistle were experiencing or would experience persecution is evident from 1Pe 1:6; 4:12-19; 5:8-10
Now, under normal circumstances, what Peter writes in verse 13 is the rule... "And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?"
But there are times when Satan will make every effort to bring harm to those who try to follow the will of God (remember Job?) - cf. 1Pe 5:8-9; Re 12:17
How, then, should Christians prepare themselves so that they might be victorious in overcoming whatever persecution might come their way?
[In verses 14-18, we can glean at least five points in "Preparing For Persecution"...]
REMEMBER, YOU ARE BLESSED IF YOU SUFFER FOR CHRIST 1 Pet 3:14,17
THIS TRUTH IS STRESSED TWICE BY PETER IN THIS EPISTLE...
In our text - 1Pe 3:14
Even more definitively in 1Pe 4:14
Where he adds that the "Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you"
Those who suffer for the cause of Christ are fortunate, for God is with them
THIS REINFORCES WHAT CHRIST TAUGHT...
That those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are blessed - Mt 5:10-12
In this passage, two reasons are given for such blessedness:
Your reward will be great in heaven
You are in the company of God's prophets of old
CERTAINLY YOU ARE BETTER OFF SUFFERING FOR CHRIST, THAN SUFFERING FOR EVIL...
As Peter writes in 1Pe 3:17
Suffering for evil is what WILL happen if we are not willing to stand up for Christ
And suffering for Christ is only temporary, but the suffering for evil is eternal!
SANCTIFY THE LORD IN YOUR HEARTS (3:14-15)
WHAT DOES IS MEAN TO "SANCTIFY THE LORD GOD IN YOUR HEARTS"?
The word "sanctify" means "to set apart"
Thus it means to set the Lord up on the throne of your heart, to make Him the Lord and Ruler of your life
Ruling over your own desires
His Will taking precedent over your own will and that of others
The NU-Text suggests that it is Christ under consideration
THIS IS THE KEY TO FACING PERSECUTION WITHOUT FEAR OR WITHOUT BEING TROUBLED...
For unless we sanctify the Lord in our hearts, we will be afraid of what man might do, or be troubled by what he threatens
But when we make Christ and God Lord, we will not fear what man might do - He 13:5-6
ALWAYS BE READY TO GIVE A DEFENSE FOR THE REASON FOR YOUR HOPE 1 1 Pet 3:15
OBSERVE CAREFULLY WHAT PETER IS NOT SAYING...
He is NOT saying that we need to be ready to give an answer for EVERY question on religious matters that someone might ask
As some have used this verse as a proof-text
While we should certainly strive to be able to explain why we do what we do in matters of religion, that is not the point Peter is making here
INSTEAD, PETER IS SAYING...
To always be ready to give a reason why you have the HOPE you do
I.e., to explain the basis of your hope (your strong desire and expectation)
This implies that our desire and confidence for the future is so strong that it is observable by others
Even in the midst of persecution, we are demonstrating joy over the hope we have - cf. 1Pe 1:6,8
To do so in the proper spirit
In the spirit of MEEKNESS
This pertains to our attitude toward men
We should be humble, not arrogant or angry
In the spirit of FEAR
This pertains to our attitude toward God
It should be reverent, not flippant
KEEP YOUR CONSCIENCE CLEAN 1 Pet 3:16
A REASON TO KEEP YOUR CONSCIENCE CLEAN...
As given by Peter in our text
That this together with your good conduct will likely to cause your enemies to be ashamed for mistreating you
If not ashamed in this life, they will certainly be ashamed on the day of judgment!
ANOTHER REASON FOR A CLEAN CONSCIENCE...
A guilty conscience will not enable one to face the threat of death without fear and trembling
For before we can stand before men without fear...
We need to be able to stand before God without fear
That is impossible without a clear conscience! - cf. 1Jn 3:21
REMEMBER THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST 1 Pet 3:18
HE SUFFERED FOR OUR SAKES...
That He might bring us to God - 1Pe 3:18; also 1Pe 2:20,21,22,23,24-25
So we see that suffering for good can sometimes accomplish much good in the long run
WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE...
As Peter already indicated in 1Pe 2:21
And which he does again in 1Pe 4:1
More will be said later in this epistle on the subject of how to deal with persecution
But in this text, we find five good ways to prepare ourselves...
By applying these five principles to our lives...
We will be more useful to the Lord, ready for whatever may come
Even if we are not faced with the prospects of physical persecutions in our lifetime, it will help in times of social or verbal persecution
In this lesson, we noticed the value of having a good conscience; in 1Pe 3:21, Peter speaks of that which he calls "the answer of of good conscience toward God" (i.e., baptism). Have you considered what else he says about it in that passage...?