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Christ Died So We Can Live

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Christ's death was not in vain. He died so that all who put their faith in Him may live, and live eternally.

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Introduction

Good morning and welcome!
This weekend, as many of you already know is Memorial Day weekend.
A time when we pause to remember those who have fallen defending our freedom and our ability to come and freely worship as we do.
We owe them and all veterans a great debt of gratitude for their service.
Because, without them the truth and hope that we have in Jesus Christ would not be able to be shared like it is.
And since Memorial Day is a remembrance of sacrifice, I could think of no greater a sacrifice than the one that Jesus Christ made for us all.
This morning we are going to continue in our study in 1 Peter, and today we are going be looking at , if you would like to begin finding this passage in your Bibles.
We started in 1 Peter last week, first Sunday morning being reminded of the fact that regardless of where we are or what we are doing, God is Watching and God knows everything that is going on.
Then we moved forward in the chapter a bit, understanding that since God is watching, then what harm is there in doing good?
While some, who are under conviction may not like the good that others do, ultimately, there could be found no bad or no harm in doing good.
We ended with verse 17, that tells us that . . .
1 Peter 3:17 NIV - Anglicised
17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Acknowledging to some extent that suffering will happen because that is part of life, but suffering that comes as a result of doing good is far better than the suffering that comes from doing evil.
And Peter is talking about eternity here.
We suffer now, for a little while, but later there is glory, there is peace, there is happiness, there is eternal life.
But for those who do evil, who turn from the Lord, there is nothing but death, destruction, hell, and suffering for their eternity.
Which brings us up to our passage for today, where Peter offers the people hope.
And today as we work through this passage, I want you to also remember that this hope was not just for those people in Peter’s day, but for all people, everywhere, everyday.
Again, we are reading from , and I am going to be reading verses 18-22.
, stand with me if you are able as we read . . .

Scripture Focus

1 Peter 3:18–22 NIV - Anglicised
18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolises baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Life Through Death

So, as I said earlier, in the beginning part of this passage Peter is laying out the case for following Jesus Christ to the people and he ends in having them consider the two distinct possibilities:
Temporary suffering here and eternal life.
Temporary fleshly desires and evil ways, and eternal damnation.
And when we put it this way, for us it would seem like a “no-brainer,” but honestly if it were that easy, why wouldn’t everybody be on board?
The main reason is what we talked about last week, a fundamental rejection of the truth.
The unwillingness that humans have to submit themselves fully to God.
The unwillingness to give up control to God and allow the Holy Spirit to be their guide.
And to some extent this is true everywhere, but in Western nations, like the United States that has been greatly blessed by God, it is even more evident.
Our society in general has what used to be called the “Spoiled Child Syndrome.”
We are so used to getting our way and doing pretty much whatever we want, that as a society, it has become increasingly difficult for us to accept the fact that we cannot save ourselves.
Our eternity is not determined simply by what we want to do, but rather our eternity is determined by our faith in Jesus Christ.
Which is the exact same message that Peter is trying to get across in our passage here.
Again, he writes in verse 18 . . .
1 Peter 3:18 NIV - Anglicised
18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,
And what I want us to focus on here first are the words once for all.
Many will want to cheapen and reduce the significance of Jesus’ death by denying that His death was sufficient for the forgiveness of the sins of ALL OF US.
People will say things like “I’ve done too much that was wrong, I’ve been too bad, Jesus can’t cover what I’ve done.”
And some of the people who say this may have committed horrible crimes against other people, and I do not want to minimize what they have done, but Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient.
Most, if not all of us sitting here this morning, do not fit into the category above.
But yet, Satan has us so convinced that we are horrible people and things we have done are so awful that we cannot be forgiven.
Folks, that is a lie straight from the pits of hell.
Christ died for sins once for all . . . .He died once and for all and died FOR US ALL.
There are no exceptions to this.
If you are here this morning, Jesus Christ died for you.
No matter what you have done, where you have been, Jesus Christ died for you.
Peter says that Jesus was the righteous who died for the unrighteous.
Jesus was completely 100% innocent.
Jesus was righteous.
Jesus was without sin.
Jesus was perfect.
And, he died for us, the unrighteous.
And, I know we do not like to think of ourselves as unrighteous or “unworthy,” but the truth of the matter is . . .
Romans 3:23 NIV - Anglicised
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
When, Paul said this, he did not make exceptions. ALL OF US HAVE SINNED.
But, there is a solution. . . .That solution being Jesus Christ . . .
Romans 6:23 NIV - Anglicised
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And this eternal life is something that is offered and available to ALL PEOPLE.
Peter reiterates this point in that he says that Christ died for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
The entire purpose was so that we could be reconciled with God.
The question though for us is do we believe it?
Do we believe that Jesus Christ died for us all?
And, do we believe that we are part of that all?
Was Jesus’ death sufficient for us?
If you believe the Bible, then believe this . . .
Romans 8:38–39 NIV - Anglicised
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you believe it, and do you accept it?

Christ was Made Alive

However, as significant as Jesus’ death was, it is only 1/2 the story.
Jesus did not stay dead.
If he had, he would be no different than any other “good person” throughout history who has died.
No, Jesus had to DEFEAT death, hell, and the grave.
Defeating in that Jesus had to OVERCOME these things, by raising himself back to life.
And to that Peter writes that he was put to death in the body by made alive by the Spirit.
And this in itself gets people hung up too . . .
They will often misinterpret this verse as saying “he was put to death in the body but made alive in the spirit.”
But that is NOT what the verse says.
Breaking it down, Peter tells us that Jesus was put to death in the body.
This we know and we have established.
The Romans crucified him and he was laid in a tomb.
History itself, apart from religion do not dispute this fact.
But notice again () Peter says he was made alive BY the Spirit, with a capital “S.”
It does not say that Jesus’ spirit was raised to life and his body remained, which some try to argue.
No, the Bible says that Jesus was raised to life, but that the Spirit , or the Holy Spirit participated in this.
Jesus’ spirit was not separated from
And we do not know exactly how, but it makes perfect sense.
If Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God, then why would they not participate together in the actions of God?
All of the people that witnessed and interacted with the resurrected Jesus Christ, did not see a ghost or a spirit, they say the RISEN JESUS CHRIST, in the flesh if you will.
Jesus completely defeated death, hell, and the grave.
It was and IS a complete victory.
And we have to understand that in order to gain a full understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
It had to be a complete resurrection in order to accomplish the work of the Savior.
But again, the question for us is do we believe it?

Preaching to the Prisoners

With this in mind now Peter is going to venture into some territory that make many uncomfortable to think about.
And it is not what Jesus does, but rather our lack of ability to really understand how he does it that people get uncomfortable about.
We can’t explain it well, so we don’t like.
We can’t exert control over it, so we don’t like it.
But we are going to dive into it.
Peter writes starting in verse 19 . . .
1 Peter 3:19–20 NIV - Anglicised
19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
1 Peter 19-
So, through the combined work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus not only died and rose for all of us but also, according to Peter, went and preached to the spirits in prison, going all the way back to those who disobeyed when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.
And this is a very, very controversial passage.
Now, don’t confuse this with us getting a second chance after death to change our mind.
Particularly when you put Paul’s teaching from into the mix.
This was specifically an act of love, mercy, and grace by God given to those who had never had the opportunity to put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:7–9 NIV - Anglicised
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?
From this, we learn that Christ first descended into hell, and then he ascended or rose again.
Many put Paul’s words and Peter’s together to conclude that while Jesus was in the tomb, he was there for three days because before he rose again, he descended into hell and preached the Gospel to those there who had died before he came and never had the opportunity to hear it.
Others completely reject this saying that even before Jesus, people had the opportunity to follow God and those who did not, suffered their fate and there are no second chances.
They say that Jesus’ descent was simply to go and proclaim his victory to those who were in hell waiting on God’s final judgement, particularly those who died while Noah was preaching that a flood was coming.
Whichever one you personally believe, and not to sound harsh, it really doesn’t matter.
What matters to us is simply the fact that Jesus did it, and we take it by faith that it accomplished the task that God intended it for.
What also matters to us is that Jesus went and came back, rose from the dead, defeated death, hell, and the grave.
And because of His victory, we now have hope in eternal life.
Whether Jesus went to proclaim victory or to give people a chance to hear the Gospel, we need to realize THIS IS OUR CHANCE.
We will not get another chance once we draw our final breath.
And whatever we believe about the past, which we cannot change anyway, we had better pay attention to our PRESENT and our FUTURE.
Because both are being determined right now in this moment.
We have a decision to make as to whether we are going to follow Jesus or reject Jesus.
We cannot change history but we can certainly make our own.
But we have to make a choice. Will we believe or will we not believe?

Baptism as a Sign

So, all debates aside, Peter actually has a purpose for bringing up Noah.
He says there in the end of verse 20, In only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.
And we know that these eight were Noah and his family.
Water both destroyed the inhabitants of the earth but water also saved Noah and his family.
They did not drown in the water but rose above it.
Water brought both death and life.
So, Peter explains . . .
1 Peter 3:21 NIV - Anglicised
21 and this water symbolises baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
People ask why we baptize with water.
It is a symbol, not only of Jesus’ Christ saving and delivering us, but also it symbolizes death and the grave but also Christ’s defeat of death and the grave.
The water, like in Noah’s day symbolizes both death and life.
It symbolizes both the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The entirety of the salvific power of Jesus Christ.
To which Peter follows up with the ultimate hope.
Because Jesus not only died, not only defeated death, hell, and the grave, not only rose again but also . . .
:
1 Peter 3:22 NIV - Anglicised
22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
He ascended to heaven, took his place at the right hand of God and now has authority over all creation.
The authority to seal our eternal life.

Altar Call

The question is, like it has been all morning though is do you believe?
Do you believe in the death of Jesus?
Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus?
Do you believe in the power of Jesus?
If you do, have you accepted Him?
If you do not, or if you have not accepted why?
What are you waiting on?
Right now Jesus sits on the right hand of God, but He is coming again.
One day God the Father will give the command and Jesus will come again and gather His Church.
Will you be ready?
There are needs here today and the altar is open, will you respond?
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