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Our Wonderful Savior Jesus Christ
1 Peter 3:18-22
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 3, 3013
*Nobody is like Jesus! -- He is our wonderful Savior!
*I love the way this old hymn puts it:
“O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.”
*Jesus is our wonderful Savior.
-And in these verses we can see how wonderful He is.
First, we see Jesus’ perfection.
*Leading up to vs. 17&18, Peter had been talking about believers suffering for the cause of Christ.
Then Peter said:
For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
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,
*“Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust.”
Jesus is perfect.
He is the Just One, -- The only one who never sinned in thought, word or deed.
The Just died for the unjust.
The perfect, only righteous one died for the unjust!
*And we are the unjust.
Richard Wilson explained by saying, “Some folks think they are good really good people.
Let’s suppose that a person only sins three times a day: A sin in the morning, a sin during the day and a sin at night.
*Sounds like a pretty good person!
But if that person lives to be 70 years old, they will commit 76,650 sins in their lifetime.”
*And Church: That doesn’t count leap years!
-- We are the unjust.
-But here in vs. 18, we see Jesus’ perfection.
2. We also see His purpose for suffering.
*Verse 18 tells us that: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. .
*You surely won’t get to the Heavenly Father without Jesus!
As the Lord said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
And Jesus wants to bring us to God.
*What a glorious trip it will be for all who trust in the Lord!
-But that trip for us home to Heaven came at the highest cost.
-It was Jesus’ purpose for suffering on the cross.
But here in these verses we also see Jesus preaching.
*Of course Jesus preached during His earthly ministry.
But here in vs. 18-20, we see something very different.
And we are going to spend a good while on this preaching, because it’s a difficult passage of Scripture.
*Peter said:
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,
19. by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20. who formerly were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
*The mystery in these verses is about preaching to the spirits in prison.
And the mystery centers around:
-Who the “He” is in vs. 19.
-What He preached.
-Where He preached.
-And who He preached to.
*Some people believe that Jesus went to hell to preach salvation to those who were lost.
But that cannot be true, because it is contrary to the rest of Scripture.
*Another view is that the “He” in vs. 19 refers to the Holy Spirit, who spoke through Noah when he preached during the building of the ark.
*My view is that the “He” in vs. 19 is talking about Jesus, and vs. 18-19 could read this way:
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,
19. by whom also (Jesus) went and preached to the spirits in prison,
*To see why, I think this is the answer to the mystery we have to answer two questions.
[1] The first question is this: When saved people in the Old Testament died, where did they go?
*We tend to think they went to Heaven, but I don’t know of any Scripture that tells us that.
On the contrary, let’s look at evidence that saved people did not go to Heaven before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ:
*The Gospel of John makes this statement just before Jesus began His earthly ministry: “No one has seen God at any time.
The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18)
*Then in John 3:12-13, Jesus said this to Nicodemus:
12. “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”
*Well, if Old Testament believers didn’t go to Heaven, when they died, where did they go?
Jesus tells us in Luke 16.
There a saved beggar died, and in Luke 16:22, Jesus said: “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom.”
*In this same passage a lost rich man also died.
And starting in Luke 16:23, Jesus described what happened to the lost man:
And being in torments in Hades (the KJV says “hell”), he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
*The Old Testament believers went to Abraham’s Bosom.
It was a temporary place of rest for them.
But the only way the Scripture all fits is if before the resurrection of Jesus there were two sections in hell: One section for the saved who would be rescued by the crucified and risen Savior.
The other section was for the lost.
[2] This explanation makes more sense when we answer the second question which is: Where did Jesus go when He died?
*In Luke 23:43, Jesus said this to the saved thief on the cross: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
We hear that, and we assume that Jesus was talking about Heaven.
*But remember what Jesus said to Mary after He rose from the dead.
At first she was overcome with sorrow, because she thought someone had stolen the Lord’s body from the empty tomb.
She also thought the Risen Lord was the gardener.
But when Jesus called her name, she grabbed Him and held on tight.
But in John 20:17.
Jesus told her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
*Also listen to part of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2. Peter talked about the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Then starting in Acts 2:25, Peter said:
For David says concerning Him: `I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh will also rest in hope,
27. because You will not leave my soul in Hades (again the KJV says “hell”), nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in Your presence.'
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