Defend the Faith (1Peter 3:15)

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Being a teenager is a trying time.

Teens can be impulsive. They have great desire but little reasoning and can act without thinking at times.

Teens can be ignorant. Because they have a few years of school and life experience their little bit of knowledge appears to them bigger than reality. Most people have heard the saying “Teens, tired of being harassed by parents? Act know – move out, get a job and pay your own bills while you still know everything.” They don’t know what they don’t know.

Teens can be irresponsible. They can remember video game passwords ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA but fail to recall to be home at a certain time or to bring home a school book or a weekly chore.

There was a young man in the Bible like this.

He was impulsive trying to step out of a boat to walk on water (Mat 14:28). Another time he tried to fight and cut someone’s ear off (Mat 26:51).

He was ignorant trying to rebuke Jesus for going to the cross and Jesus had to call out a satanic influence in his life (Mk 8:32-33).

He was irresponsible promising to be a faithful friend when later he would deny him three times (Mat 26:33-35). He was asked to stay awake and pray with his friend but kept falling asleep (Lk 22:45).

This young man was Peter. Yet, for all his faults his life had a marvelous transformation.

If you have a lot of hangups and bad habits, take comfort that just as Peter’s life was under construction so are you and I. We are all imperfect people with flaws and failures relying on the perfection of God who pursues us with grace beyond measure.

If you have a past life that seems like you can never get over, take comfort that just as God forgave and restored Peter, He can do the same for you.

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EXAMINE               1Peter 3:8-16

Today we start a new Bible book study from 1Peter. Next week we will introduce the book with a more formal overview. For now, it would be helpful for you to simply know that

–          Peter, who was an apostle and original disciple of Jesus, is the author of this letter.

–          Peter is writing to other Christians who are exiled/dispersed/scattered across the Roman world which today would be modern day Turkey (Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia).

o       These believers are exiled because of their faith and faithfulness to witness to the life-changing gospel message of Jesus Christ.

o       If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar isn’t. If Jesus is our only hope then the government isn’t – and this became a threat.

o       Therefore, Peter writes to people who are suffering in society, in their workplace and even in their home life. (We will examine these areas in future messages.)\

Today’s passage is a theme of the book and more, it is also the theme for our children’s VBS (1Peter 3:15). As a church family, parents included, we should take note of the topic “defending the faith”.

Defend the faith with unity of community (1Peter 3:8-12)

Peter has exhorted the believers to persevere in faith despite persecution in the various areas of their life. Verse 8 is summary and in response to all that he has previously said. More, Peter has in mind the entire community of faith saying, “all of you”.

Peter understood that if Christians were to stay alive and if Christianity was to advance then believers had to be united together. Peter provides 5 elements to enduring to defend the faith in hardship:

1)     Share unity: Represents striving together toward a common object and objective

–          show how 1 pencil can be broken easily but adding pencils strengthens & protects.

–          àSPBC this is realized through initial faith (baptism) and continued faithfulness.

à        Together seeing people we pray for together come to know Christ, then be raised up as a believer and leader who in turn does the same for others.

2)     Sympathize fully (συμπάσχω/sunpascho = suffer together): References that Christianity is not just thinking but also feeling oriented.

–          sometimes a hug can express greater theology than a sermon

–          àSPBC this can be realized when every member is a minister

à        All praying…

○       ex. all can pray for vbs

○       ex. when people look me in eye and tell me they’re praying for me

à        All participating…

○       ex. all can give in some manner to vbs (inviting, donating, decorating, cleaning, serving, following up…)

 

3)     Show brotherly & sisterly love: Represents genuine affinity and affection as family

–          the gospel is our affinity (1Peter 1)

–           àSPBC this is realized when we take ownership of our groups and our pews.

à         Seeing every believer as belonging to God and therefore loving them in Christian love.

○       My friends, this is why church membership is important. Christian’s belief should lead to a belonging in the body.

 

4)     Show a tender heart: Represents great kindness (εὔσπλαγχνοι / eusplanchnoi = deep internal compassion).

–          àSPBC this sort of tenderness is often measured by tears in weeping with the hurting.

–          This sort of compassion is often measured by our charity and generosity toward the people and things of God.

 

5)     Show a humble mind: Represents dependence and interdependence.

–          We need God. We need each other.

 

These 5 characteristics have numerous applications. Peter lists a few with a quote from Psalm 34:12-16.

–          do not repay evil or reviling with vengeance but instead bless others because

–          1) to this you were called

o       Note: These are signs of Peter’s maturity and growth. Peter wasn’t always sympathetic, compassionate, tender or humble. Yet, God transformed him through many trials and he was able to share help and hope with others.

–          2) that you may obtain a blessing.

o       Some miss God’s blessing because their more concerned about short-term fairness rather than the eternal favor of God. – – – > Let go of bitterness. Choose forgiveness and reap favor. This is the example of Jesus Christ (Mat 5:44; Lk 6:27-29; 23:34; cf. Rom 12:14; 12:17-21; 1Cor 4:12).

  • More, sometimes the blessing is your Christian kindness will lead to their conversion (cf. Romans 2:4).

 

Defend the faith with urgency for conviction (1Peter 3:13-17)

Peter is still writing to the community of faith. His address is in the plural – “ya’ll”. The exhortation of living according to godly character and being “zealous for good” is not likely to receive persecution. However, if it does, Peter says “you will be blessed”.

The blessing comes from a confidence in Christ as Lord (3:15). Since Jesus is the resurrected reigning God and Lord, then we can trust Him regardless of our circumstances. The verb of command is “ἁγιάσατε” (honor/sanctify (set apart)/reverence Christ as Lord).

Peter’s reverencing Christ came through failure and regret.

Matthew 27:69-75 69  Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.”71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.”73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.”74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed.75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

µ     Reverence for Christ comes through fearing God more than man.

–          not fearing persecutors

–          not fearing trouble

–          preparing to make a defense of hope (ἀπολογίαν/apologian = logical defense)

 

–          “anyone who asks you” Your life and faith should provoke questions from unbelievers.

ð    Would people at your school/job/neighborhood be surprised to hear of your Christian faith?

ð    If it were against the law to be a Christian, would there be evidence to convict your life?

ð    How is your life any different since Christ is your Lord?

 

–          Your life and faith should be prepared to provide answers.

○       hope that is in you…

  • we share hope in the midst of hopelessness
  • Christian fears and troubles are momentary in comparison to eternity

 

APPLY/THINK

µ     Hope is your failure in touch with Christ’s faithfulness. In His grace we can move from regret to repentance to restoration. Peter understood this… you can too.

µ     Defending the faith is not just about right doctrine but also about relational impact. Therefore, a true Christian should not just seek to win arguments but to win relationships.

o       Who are the relationships that God is calling you to cultivate so they will have opportunity to ask you for the reason of your hope?

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