Being Courageous In Christ

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In verse 13 of chapter 3 Peter picks back up his them of the born again believer’s response to persecution. Peter again addresses how exiles and sojourners are to suffer. In his day suffering was rampant and potentially violent. Great pain and loss could come as a result of professing faith in Christ. In these verses we began looking at last week Peter again reminds his readers what they should be when the trials and tribulations come.
I am going to pick up at the end of verse 14, Pastor Josh really unpacked for us the idea of suffering as a believer last week and how the Scriptures remind us not to be surprised when persecution comes.
At the end of verse 14 Peter calls those who have been born to,

I. Be Fearless (14b)

He calls those who are followers of Christ, those who desire to love life and see good days, to
Have no fear of them,
Peter wants those who are in Christ to know, they do not have to be scared of, afraid of, or have any fear of these evil, unrighteous men who threaten, revile, slander, and may even physically harm them.
How in the world can Peter have this kind of confidence, how is it that he can say “don’t be scared of those men who may beat you and may behead you?
Somebody, might even say to Peter, how can you say that Peter when you denied Christ three times?
How is all of the sudden, Peter writing with all of this authority about being fearless in the light of persecution?

A. Peter’s Progression in Fearlessness

1. Peter had the teaching of Jesus.
Matthew 10:28 ESV
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Even though Peter knew Jesus teaching was that enough to prepare Him to suffer without fear? No, he denied Christ after Jesus told him this.
2. Peter saw the resurrected Jesus.
Think back to after the resurrection, Jesus had that beautiful time of restoration with Peter where after Peter professed his love for Christ, Jesus told him,
John 21:18 ESV
Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”
Was this enough to cause Peter to be perfectly fearless, seeing Jesus and being call to follow Jesus?
Remember Peter’s response?
John 21:20 ESV
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”
John 21:
It is still like he doesn’t full understand how to be fearless in the face of persecution for Christ.
3. Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:29 ESV
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
We know the rest of the sermon, Peter confidently and courageously preaches the gospel in the midst of thousands.
This is why by chapter 4 we read,
Acts 4:13 ESV
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Acts 4
Acts 5:40–41 ESV
and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
Do you think Peter had the field cred to right to believers of His day,
Have no fear.....
nor be troubled,
What is Peter saying here, don’t be troubled?
Don’t worry, don’t be anxious, don’t fret...
Here the world troubled means,

to cause acute emotional distress or turbulence—‘to cause great mental distress.

Now, how many of us can say that since becoming a believer, we have grown in boldness in our preaching, teaching, witnessing. Not that we are where we want to be but we can see growth.
Maybe the first time you went out to knock on doors or the first time you shared the gospel it caused great mental distress....But now it is a little easier, you don’t get quite as nervous, you look forward to talking about the gospel instead of fearing sharing the truth.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Those who are afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who fear God have no more fear of men.”
Doriani, D. M. (2014). 1 Peter. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (p. 139). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.
This brings us to the next command Peter gives the church,

II. Be Prepared with Gentleness (15)

Before we discuss the call to being prepared to preach the gospel, we must consider the contrast to what Peter just exhorted us to do.
Have no fear, nor be troubled, and

A. Honor Christ as Holy

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,
What does it mean to honor Christ the Lord as holy in your hearts?
Pastor David defines it this way, “To sanctify Christ in one’s heart, to honor Christ the Lord as holy, is to worshipfully esteem him as gloriously set apart in his person, words, and works. In your hearts…in your inner and true man - honor, sanctify, set apart Christ in distinction and honor and holiness.”
John MacArthur states, “when believers sanctify Christ as Lord in their hearts they affirm their submission to His control, instruction, and guidance. In doing so they also declare and submit to God’s sovereign majesty.”
In other words, I think of it this way, anytime a potential situation of righteous suffering arises set your mind and affections on Christ. Think of Him, think of who He is (person),
Son of God
Son of Man
Son of David
Second Person of the God-head
Lamb of God
Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Think of His Work,
Sinless life (active obedience), He lived a holy life ever second of His life, to cover every sinful second of our life...
Sacrificial death on the cross. He died so that the debt that you and I owed could be paid.
Substitutionary Atonement, He hung their in mine and your place.
Propitiatory work - satisfying the Father’s wrath...
Supernatural Resurrection
Sitting on the throne right now ruling and reigning.
What is that doing for our fear of man? How about,
Revelation 6:1–2 ESV
Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
Revelation 6:1-
Now, honor Him, He is the coming conqueror with a voice like thunder! Who in the world had any power over Him....
If we honor Christ as holy in our hearts will others notice? Will those around us be able to tell something is happening to us?
Absolutely, when someone loves Jesus you know it. Think about it, is it obvious when someone loves their wife/husband and children? Yes,
What do they do?
They talk about them.
They can’t wait to spend time with them.
They take care of them.
They protect them.
They devote their lives to them.
Tom Schreiner writes, “setting apart Christ as Lord in the heart is not merely a private reality but will be evident to all when believers suffer for their faith. The inner and outer life are inseparable, for what happens within will inevitably be displayed to all, especially when one suffers.”
Therefore, Peter continues, we must,

B. Be Prepared to Present the Gospel

always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
Do you see the flow of the text, suffering in Christ leads to setting apart Christ as holy, which leads to speak of Christ as our sure, and steady confidence!
Christians suffer for doing good,
Christians see Christ as their example in suffering,
Christians set apart Christ in their hearts,
Christians speak of their eschatological hope in Christ.
Here is the question, does this mean we need to be prepared to defend every disputed doctrine, and answer every question or so called supposed contradiction in the Scriptures?
for the hope that is in you;
No. Now I am not saying we don’t study to show ourselves approved. And we should be seeking to grow in our “apologetic.” However, what Peter affirms here is our preparation to share the gospel. Our being ready to point people to Christ at the drop of a hat. When we have 1-3 minutes we are ready to give people the gospel in way that may enable them to cry out to God for salvation.
Schreiner affirms, “it (be prepared) envisions instead informal circumstances when believers are asked informally about their faith.”
Pastor David wrote, “The call to a prepared defense is a call to be able to articulate the fundamental elements of the gospel— consistent with what would be expected of one being baptized as they publicly affirm their understanding.” (Crowe pg. 37)
We are to give a defense for the hope that is in us;
What is this hope?
1 Peter 1:3 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:21 ESV
who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
We have a living hope, confident expectation that God has caused us to be born again.
We have a living hope, in the resurrection of a living Savior, Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead.
That is why Paul could say to the church at Thessalonica,
1 Thessalonians 4:13–14 ESV
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
1 Thessalonians 4:
We have a hope in God who raised His Son from the dead after crushing Him for sinners like me and you, he not only raised Him but gave him glory, through the ascension and sitting Him at His right hand!
Are you ready to give a defense of your gospel hope?
Let’s take a couple of practice runs, I am going to need some volunteers.
Your neighbor comes to you and says, “why do you all leave early every Sunday morning and go to church?”
Your child or grandchild asks, “why don’t you let Billy play travel ball and play in the Sunday tournaments?”
Your coworker says, “hey we are going to the bar after work to have a few drinks why don’t you go with us?”
Notice what we didn’t hear.
“You filthy sinner you are going straight to Hell if you don’t repent.”
“You depraved wretch you drunkeness is going to send you straight to the lake of fire.”
“You perverted pagan you have been given over to the desires of your wicked heart.”
Now there may be truth to all three of those statements that need to be explained, but is that the way we are to share the gospel? Why?
Because, Peter says,
be ready with a defense.....

C. Be Prepared with a Christlike Repsonse

yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Here is the deal, there is nowhere in Scripture where we are called to be harsh and disrespectful or hardhearted and hateful, or rude and condescending…Am I wrong?
Why would it be any different when we are sharing the gospel. We have one example of Christ getting rough, and that is when he turned over the tables.
He did call the Pharisees,
A brood of vipers,
Whitewashed tombs, etc...
But I would be careful trying to imitate Jesus’ when it comes to these events. Remember, he had a perfectly righteous indignation, and he never sinned, he did not have a selfish prideful heart as we do. Therefore we are to be gentle and respectful....
Matthew 11:29 ESV
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Consider Jesus’ teaching here. Does he ever command us to run around and turn over tables? Does he ever command us to call people a brood of vipers, whitewashed tombs?
No, but he does tell us to learn from him, to learn from his example of gentleness and lowliness. And what will we find.
Now, think about the contrast here. Have you ever been in a situation where you responded, arrogantly and disrespectfully? We would probably all say YES.
Did you feel good about it when you left the situation? Did you go home and rest well because of your pride and rudeness? Or have you ever went home after one of these encounters and been under conviction and had to return and repent?
How about the opposite? If we have responded with gentleness and respect knowing that to the best of your ability you have responded in a Christlike manner, you have exhibited the fruits of the Spirit? Did you go home, humble, calm, and with a sense of peace?
Learn from Jesus!

Have your doctrinal views, and all your knowledge of Christ, packed away in a handy form so that, when people want to know what you believe, you can tell them. If they wish to know why you believe that you are saved, have your answer all ready in a few plain, simple sentences; and in the gentlest and most modest spirit make your confession of faith to the praise and glory of God. Who knows but what such good seed will bring forth an abundant harvest?

Peter even fleshes this out further for us, in our third command to,

III. Be Blameless (16,17)

having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
when you are slandered,

A. Being Blameless Brings a Good Conscience.

Peter flows into what happens as we defend our faith and share the gospel of Christ with gentleness and respect. We will have a good conscience.
Pastor David wrote, “A good conscience is when one’s own inner man, who knows one’s thoughts, one’s intentions, and one’s unobserved acts, does not condemn them…where there is a sincere and active pursuit of righteousness and ready/quick repentance when there is failure.”
those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
A good and clear conscience is tied closely to a gentle and respectful declaration of Hope. Remember, all of this is because we are in Christ. This is why we respond confidently, yet with humility. This is why we respond courageously, yet with fear not of man but of God.
We have no right to be prideful and arrogant of our salvation, justification, adoption, sanctification, or our future glorification. Therefore, we respond with confidence in Christ, but with a correct view of ourselves as beneficiaries of God’s grace, not self - righteous, proud, arbiters of all that is good.
1 Timothy 1:18–19 ESV
This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,
1 Timothy 1:
Notice what Peter says about our blamelessness,

B. Being Blameless equals Good Behavior in Christ.

so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Who is getting the glory, honor, and praise for our being slandered? Christ! Our good behavior has not come because of our ability. Our good behavior has not arisen out of our own wisdom. Our good behavior is not a fruit of our own works. Our good behavior is a fruit of the work of Christ, and the work of the Spirit of Christ.
Colossians 1:13 ESV
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
Colossians 1:16 ESV
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Mine and your good behavior is blood bought behavior,
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 ESV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
1 Corinthians 6:1
Mine and your behavior is Spirit wrought behavior,
Titus 3:5–6 ESV
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Titus 3:5 ESV
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Galatians 5:22 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Because of our behavior being brought about by the Spirit and enabled by the Work of Christ, we respond respectfully, holding a good conscience, standing strong even when slandered,
because, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Peter encourage us in that, if as believers we do all things from our witnessing to our works with good behavior those who slander us will be the ones who receive the shame, the embarrassment, and apart from repentance eternal punishment.
Think about it for a moment, have you ever been made fun of for your faith. What are some names you may have been called or some slanderous statements that have been said toward or about you?
Prude, Goody to shoes, holier than thou, Jesus freak,....
Yes these things may be hurtful, but if a believer has been imitating Christ by, honoring Him as holy, by responding with gentleness and respect who is it that should be ashamed?
The slanderer not the Sojourner!
Listen to
Proverbs 1:32–33 ESV
For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Why is this? Why is it that we should be willing to suffer for doing good than for doing evil?
Simply put,

C. Being Blameless is Better than Being Evil.

17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
First of all,
Is there any question,
Sanctified behavior is better than sinful behavior?
Christlike behavior is better than corrupt behavior?
Spirit filled behavior is better than Satan pleasing behavior?
Christ exalting behavior is better than evil behavior?
God fearing behavior is better than man fearing behavior?
Or as Peter puts it is better to do good than evil.
But Peter adds if that should be God’s will,
Even in Peter’s day when persecution of the church was rampant, it was not happening everyday to every believer. However, every believer should be prepared to face this persecution and suffering. Some may even escape life without being persecuted. But, many would experience it. Peter wanted the church to be encouraged that if it was God’s will for them to suffer it was a good thing, it was not just better to behave rightly, but to suffer in light of that behavior.
not just better to behave rightly, but to suffer in light of that behavior. For this may be God’s will for you life. As children of God we recognize that God is in control of every aspect of our life, that even means is we suffer for doing good. We may initially think, God I am trying to witness to the goodness of the the gospel, why am I being rejected, mocked, made fun of, even suffering. Then we remember so was Christ who is the Gospel!
For this may be God’s will for you life. As children of God we recognize that God is in control of every aspect of our life, that even means if we suffer for doing good. We may initially think, God I am trying to witness to the goodness of the the gospel, why am I being rejected, mocked, made fun of, even suffering. Then we remember so was Christ who is the Gospel!
John 15:18–22 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
John 15:
I want to leave you with these words from Robert Leighton,
“But the children of God, in their sufferings, especially in such as are encountered for God, can retire within themselves, and rejoice in the testimony of a good conscience, yea, in the possession of Christ dwelling within them. All the trouble that befalls them, is but as the rattling of hail upon the tiles of the house, to a man who is sitting within a warm room at a rich banquet ; and such is a good conscience, a continual feast. The believer looks on his Christ, and in him reads deliverance from condemnation, and that is as strong comfort, a cordial that keeps him from fainting in the greatest distresses. When the conscience gives this testimony, that sin is forgiven it raises the soul above outward sufferings.” - Robert Leighton
Anyone want to share how these truths from this passage will impact your thinking, praying, daily walk, and worship?
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