Living for Christ in a Hostile World

Living Hope  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  39:49
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1 Peter 3:13–17 NKJV
13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Introduction: -
We live in a world that is often hostile to our faith and values.
With our everyday changing work within social constructs and over hyped diversity the hate, anger and level of anti-god is on the rise.
The question is how can I live for Christ in world that is so hostile toward the teaching of Christianity.
If you believe that we are living at the end of days then you will see the prophetic words of Christ becoming more evident and real.
Matthew 24:10 NKJV
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
The days are truly dark ones with people loving themselves more than than loving others.
2 Timothy 3:2 NKJV
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
And the list goes on.
We will face opposition, persecution, slander, or even violence for following Christ - How should we respond to such challenges?
How can we live for Christ in a hostile world?

1. Be zealous for what is good (v. 13)

1 peter 3:13 “13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?”
Do not let fear or intimidation stop you from doing good deeds and sharing the gospel
Remember that God is with you and will reward you for your faithfulness
Illustration: Daniel and his friends in Babylon recorded in Daniel 3 “1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 5 that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the g…”

2. Be blessed by suffering for righteousness (v. 14)

1 peter 3:14 “14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.””
Do not be surprised or ashamed if you suffer for doing what is right - Rejoice that you are sharing in Christ's sufferings and glory -
Illustration: The apostles rejoicing after being flogged for preaching Christ
Exalting Jesus in Acts Gospel Ministry Energizes the Minister(s) (Acts 5:41–42)

How do the apostles respond to the threats and the flogging? Two things happen: (1) They rejoice because they’re counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus; (2) they don’t stop preaching the gospel. Remarkably, the persecution energizes the apostles!

Ministry done by the power of the Spirit and focused on the gospel brings a crazy sense of joy and energy to the person ministering. Why do Christians report feeling blessed by going to impoverished countries to love people? Why is it that after a gospel-centered conversation, a Christian’s downcast spirit gets rejuvenated? It’s because gospel ministry actually lifts us up. Passionate gospel-centered ministry energizes us on a personal level, and reports of it will often energize others in the church too.

3. Be ready to give a reason for your hope (v. 15)

1 Peter 3:15 “15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”
Do not be silent or defensive about your faith
Be prepared to explain why you believe in Christ and what he has done for you
Do it with gentleness and respect, not with arrogance or anger
Illustration: Peter's sermon on Pentecost
Acts 2:14-38 “14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: …”

4. Be clear in your conscience (v. 16)

1 Peter 3:16 “16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”
Do not give any reason for your enemies to accuse you of wrongdoing
Live a godly and honorable life that reflects Christ's character
Trust that God will vindicate you and expose their lies
Illustration: Joseph's integrity in Potiphar's house
Opening Up Genesis Joseph’s Integrity

Scanning over 39:1–6, we observe the great faithfulness with which Joseph served in Potiphar’s house. He was worthy of notice (39:3) and eventually of promotion (39:4). In fact, his integrity under Potiphar is summed up in verse 6: “[Potiphar] did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.” Literally, the Hebrew says, Potiphar “did not know what was in his house.” He did not need to. After all, Joseph would take care of things!

What a challenge Joseph is to us! Are we known as the most trustworthy employees in our workplaces? Would our bosses entrust us with their checkbooks? Can we be trusted to be on time, and to obey orders? These are the kinds of believers—the Josephs of the world—whom God uses to adorn the gospel and attract unbelievers to himself.

5. Be willing to suffer for doing good (v. 17)

1 Peter 3:17 “17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
Do not compromise or conform to the world's standards
Follow God's will, even if it means suffering for doing good
Remember that Christ suffered for doing good and died for our sins
Illustration: Stephen's martyrdom
Stephen, who was the first to be killed for his faith in Christ, which is recorded for us in Acts 6-7 can serve as an example to what Peter writes about in 1 Peter 3:17 because he also suffered for doing good, that is, for preaching the gospel and testifying to Jesus Christ.
He did not fear his opponents or compromise his message, but spoke boldly and faithfully.
He also did not curse or hate his murderers, but prayed for their forgiveness and committed his soul to God. He showed that he trusted God’s will and hoped in God’s glory.

What we see in Stephen is faithfulness. What we see in Stephen is boldness. What we see in Stephen is a directness in confrontation in faithfully laying out that message, and the success of his effort is not in the way he persuades the crowd. The success of the effort is in his faithfulness in bringing forth the message of God. So we see here the example of the initial martyr of the faith—someone who’s bold; someone who simply sets forth what God is doing, and then the results are left up to the sovereignty of God.

Stephen never knew that the event that he participated in that led to his death also led to being the first seed that was planted in the life of a figure named Saul, who became Paul. He never saw that on the earth. He only saw it from heaven. And in looking down from heaven and seeing the program of God, what we sometimes see is that the persecution that comes on the church has results that sometimes we don’t appreciate when we’re in the midst of those events. And so the call is to be faithful, and the call is to represent God well. That’s what Stephen did.

Conclusion: - Living for Christ in a hostile world is not easy, not easy in human strength but made easy in the power, and the promise of Christ to help us.
Let us be zealous, blessed, ready, clear, and willing to live for him.
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