Faith + Suffering = See the Lord more Clearly

Good Morning church family I want to first thank Pastor Larry for giving me this opportunity to speak to you in regards to 1 Peter 3. This is a tough chapter to discuss because it is covering a lot of information from marriage, suffering to do good, and lastly Baptism. During these times as pastor Larry has pointed out in this time period there is a lot of suffering going on hence the title I have selected. But before we go any further lets go to the Lord in Prayer before we unpack this chapter.
Have you ever thought about the words we use can lead to two different outcomes. They can lead to intense change or nothing. In the case for 1 Peter 3 we are dealing with a situation where many do not have any kind of influence in the world specifically women. 1st Century Women were dealing with this. So what could they do how can women have any kind of influence? Well this is what Peter is addressing. How can Women influence change that God has called? Have you ever herd the expression Action speaks louder then words. We have see this in many examples. I am sure we could agree we have seen this in many influential movies and Tv shows we might have watched where people have made change by not there words but by there reaction to the situation
Actions Speak louder then Words
1 Peter 3: 1-2 “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
So what is peter saying here? Wives be subject to your husbands even if they are not a committed be, but continue to be subject to them? I do not know about you but I do not know many women today that would put with to this. Many women today would at some point say to themselves i am out, but that is not what peter is trying to say. What he is getting to is Wives have the ability to influence real change in the lives of there husbands by there actions by showing true christ centered selves by being respectful and through there conduct as it says at the end of verse 2.
1. The actions of Wives can and will influence the unbeliever.
Even when Peter is addressing this he is trying to help the entire situation because if we think about it when ever we have confrontation in our lives what is the one thing that usually happens. This usually leads to some kind of argument. Peter was trying to show the wives at this time if there took the strategy of arguing it would lead to nothing but to put there unbelieving husbands against the wall and ultimately will lean to them getting defensive. That is why God is calling the believing wives to approach this situation with showing quality in there actions by being gentle and respectful.
2. We must always first think of our actions before acting.
Matthew 26 Is this not what Christ did as well with the guards? He was arrested in the garden He did not attack and ague the reasoning why he was there to be arrested He went with them with no confrontation even know they were beating Him on the way to be before the teachers of the Law. Now this is a more brutal example but think about it if Christ can withhold himself from being confrontational when getting waled on any argument that a wife can make with their husband is much smaller then anything Christ went through from Matthew 26 and further. But we also need to see also that Peter is trying to lookout for both the husband and the wife. Peter probably knows that arguments will lead to no change anyways and it definitely will lead to no change in the unbeliever considering the culture on how things are between a husband and a wife. The ultimate answer is to win the unbeliever through genialness and a quite spirit.
Peter takes it a step further and addresses wives appearance as well and says
1 Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
Even know that this was an issue back then I believe that this is become a much larger issue in our society today. Our world is influence by what the next style is to the hair, clothing, technology, and so on that our culture has become blinded by this area of inner beauty that ultimately leads to people thinking this is what will make me show that I have specific qualities that Pater just mentioned. I think it was intentional that God had Peter write this in this section of his writings because if we think about it this topic of outwards beauty is heavily influenced on women then men. I am not saying men do not but look at it from this perspective. Every-time we turn on a tv reality show it is usually surrounded by what a women could put on that can make them look more beautiful that lead them to finding there partner for life. If I could just look like this then they will see that I am this amazing women that has a gentle heart and spirit. When have we ever seen that work out in reality TV? There is usually a good amount of drama on those shows as well because of this. It is also interesting to see though that you learn a lot about the person in-between those scenes of how they are hitting who they are and a lot of times they have these qualities of inner-self as peter is talking about but there is such a more heavy influence on the outwards beauty then the inner. Putting our society aside Peter is trying to share with the wives of the 1st century that God believes that the inner self is much more important then the out. Why? Well the inner self does influence the actions that we take right? So what does peter do he illustrates this by putting together the story from the Old testament of what this can look like as he says
1 Peter 3:5-6 “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”
Now after that what does peter do he now focuses on the husbands and here is the interesting part he starts the conversation the same way he does with the the wives. Likewise. this word Likewise is used many times throughout the old and new to address a call to action as I would put it, but with peter he is sharing that
1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Now as we look at this verse we need to address this word weaker vessel. I am sure many today would say Peter is saying this because he is a man and she is the women and it must be some kind of male dominance thing. We that could be true. But we must also consider that women had no influence in the world at that time. They has no public voice or civil rights they had to do everything through there husbands as a defence to anything they might say. But we also need to consider that this might have been Gods way of showing his pattern of the home as well.
For the husband this did not give them the ability because of the time to have some kind of crazy dominance, controlling, and abusive manor over their wife. Although it did happen but what Peter was saying that Husbands need to treat their wives with respect even while they are submitting to them because it will effect the Home if they are not. when we think of this word in the beginning of chapter 3 wives submitting to their husbands what does that mean?
Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
The bible does not say that Women have no rights to express themselves or think for themselves. Biblical submission should never be separate from the Biblical responsibility.
Col 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
As much as submission is mentioned to wives in the beginning of chapter 3 we need to know that this goes both ways as Col 3:19 just said but Submission is both important to the wife and to the husband because their is a connection to the servant spirt of Christianity. If we miss this part we miss the point.
1 Peter 2:13-17 “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
Suffering that leads to doing good can lead to the Transformation that God calls us to by Gods Grace
1 peter 3: 8-12 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.””
So what does peter mean by this? The unsaved answer is that we could get even by doing exactly what they did to you. But what does that solve? Nothing but even when we have the gift of salvation we do not do good because we may get something out of it. We get nothing.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Paul uses Abraham as an example in
Gal 3:6-12 “just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.””
The point is faith in God will prevails over anything even when we do good works in this suffering part of life because we are showing transformation to be more like Christ during these challenging times. When we go down the rabbit hole as I like to call it as evil for evil we are showing that the transforming has not truly happened by God Grace.
I think it is very easy for us to want to do evil for evil and fall down the rabbit whole because we run into so many things.
You know this title faith + suffering = seeing the more clearly there is one man from the old testament that I can think of that battled through this and that is Joseph,
Now I am sure that many of you in this room know the story of Joseph but just in case you do not I am going to tell it anyways because it has such a powerful example of faith and suffering. Now Jospeh is the son of Jacob and he was already favored by his father because he was born in his old age. This made his brothers jealous.
He was then sold into slavery for 20 shekels of silver
English Standard Version (Gen Chapter 39) 1-5
Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5 From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had, in house and field.
Potiphar’s wife
Prison but the lord was with him and the keeper put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners.

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”

Brothers came to town during the famin to buy grain.

19 if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, 20 and bring your youngest brother to me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so.

4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.

52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

In the NIV they is suffering
1 Peter 3: 13-18 “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,”
Amen right. I believe when we are slandered it can bring out the bad in us sometimes but we need to be better then that. If you really think about it we should invite slandered into our-lives because two things could happen
If we react to it with Genialness and respect we can see in ourselves that we have truly transformed.
We could save unbelievers life and truly show their shame.
In John 8:2-11 can be a perfect example of what showing shame could look like. If you know the story we know the teachers of the law were testing Jesus to see if they could trip him up so that could have a basis to accuse him as it says in the word. But what does Jesus do?
John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.””
I really like the way this passage is shared through video in Son of God because it is full of drama with Jesus actions and words. In the film they use different words then what is in the ESV . But if you have not seen the movie Jesus is very intentional because he is looking at all sides of the situation. He pics up the rock and looks at the teachers of the law, then at the women, raised his rock ready to strike the women and looks at the rock again. The women is crying but then he reaches out with his stone in front of the Teachers of the law and says I will give my stone to the first man that tells me he has never sinned.
The purpose of this story is to show the teachers of the law were intentionally trying to slander Jesus but in the end through good behavior which jesus always does he revealed there shame of their sin as well.
1 Peter 3:19-20 “in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.”
So what did Peter Just say? I am sure some of you maybe confused on what peter is saying.
Well If your familiar with Matthew Henrys work but he explains this part of the passage in this way.
1. The preacher Jesus Christ. He went and preached, by his Spirit striving with them. 2. The hearers. He probably calls them spirits now in prison; not that they were in prison when Christ preached to them. 3. The sin of these people: they were disobedient. This their sin is aggravated from the patience and long-suffering of God. 4. The event of all: their bodies were drowned. Noah and his family, who believed and were obedient, were saved in the ark. Though the patience of God wait long upon sinners, yet it will expire at last; it is beneath the majesty of the great God always to wait upon man in vain. The way of the most is neither the best, the wisest, nor the safest way to follow: better to follow the eight in the arc.
So what Henry is trying to tell us in versus 19-20 that we should probably go the way of the eight. The eight is referring to Noah and his family. They were obedient to God and not dead in spirit so they lived and made it safely through the flood. In reality we are all in spiritual prison if we we are not following Christ.
Ephesians 2:1–10 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
So where do we go from here? Do we continue down the rabbit hole for evil for evil or do we make the commitment to christ and live our life through christ.
Their are many ways that we can make our commitment to christ one is obviously through prayer. The other way is through Baptism.
Baptism has a much larger Meaning
1 Peter 3: 21-22 “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.”
Have you ever been asked the question does baptism save you. We in the verse it does say now saves you but what happens if do it and then we decide to return to the old ways. Well the simple answer is You have not truly changed because the purpose of baptism is not to just get duncked and conitue on with our life with no change. These versus are trying to show us that
Baptism is a symbolization to a pledge for greater change in our life.
When I served in the national Guard I had to stand before a high ranking officer and pledge my allegiance to the state of Pennsylvania and to the United states government that I would protect this nation from all enemies foreign and domestic.
Now Baptism is not calling us to follow jesus and to kill the enemies of christ.
It is a calling
1. Pick up your cross and follow me.
2. We are giving up our desires and finding life through Christ
Matthew 16:24-26 “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
Friends if you are in this place I urge you to talk to your church family. Talk to your elders and leaders in New Beginnings. It is kind if funny in some ways that your church is called that because that is what Christ is offering us when we choose to move away from sin and into his arms a New Beginning. It is never too late to make the commitment to christ no matter what you have done. Some might be feeling the weight of your sin that it is too much but have you ever thought of the sin of the Biblical characters that wrote the biblical text?
I think of 3 people
David- Killer, adulterer but sill God trusted him with the most important task of all and that his family line would produce the Son of God.
Moses was also a killer but yet He trusted him to lead Gods People out of Egypt and he wrote the first 5 books of the OT.
Paul persecuting christens but yet God entrusted him on writing a pretty good amount of the NT.
So friends please re-think your thoughts it is not too late. God loves you and he can and will create great change in your life. Lets pray.
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