Faithlife Sermons

Sermon for May 17, 2020

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Sermon for May 17, 2020

Good morning everyone,,, watching by video.
J'D. messaged me this morning and made me aware of how quiet it was outside before I went out.
Even the birds were quiet this morning and there was hardly any traffic.
The quietness reminds me of how much this virus has taken out of all of us,,, just by just keeping us apart,,, but God is still with us and He will get us through this,,, and when we do get through,,, I'm praying that we don't forget it,,, and ever take for granted again,,, our church time spent together in worship of our mighty and great God!
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Before I begin with my sermon,,, I wanted to begin this morning with an opening prayer and lead into the Lord's prayer like we usually begin our worship service. That way if you like,,, you can join me in saying the Lord's prayer.
Invocation and Lord's prayer
Dear Lord, I thank you for your continued presence among us today and every day. I thank you for those that are listening and watching by video. I ask for continued guidance for them and others. So we ask for healing for all of those that are sick this morning,,, we ask for safety and guidance for our healthcare workers and all others that must work during this time. Lord,,, I pray for all of those that are still working on clearing storm damage and helping others. We ask for comfort and rest for each of them.
We ask these things in Jesus's name who taught us to pray, by saying:
Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever.
Amen.
This morning I'll be reading 1 Peter chapter 3 verses 13 through 22.
I'll be reading from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
1 Peter 3:13-22
We are back in 1 Peter,,, which was written to new Christians so that they would be encouraged and hold on to their faith even in the face of persecution. The verses that we will read this morning are talking about undeserved suffering.
1 Peter 3:13–22
13 And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, 15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm. 19 In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison 20 who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared. In it a few—that is, eight people —were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22 Now that He has gone into heaven, He is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.
God bless the reading and the hearing of your word this morning.
Let us pray:
Dear Lord,,, as we begin this morning,,, with everyone listening and watching by video,,, we ask that you open our ears to hear and our hearts and minds to receive the message that you have for us today,,, In Jesus' name I pray,,, Amen
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The scriptures that I read this morning are titled in my study Bible as "undeserved suffering".
Peter is trying to give advise to the early Christians that would be facing persecution to urge them to not give up,,, to hold onto their faith,,, that better days are ahead,,, and their faith in Jesus Christ was the answer.
That message is still relevant today and deserves our study of these verses.
Hopefully we can use them to help us in our study today and they will help us to live better Christian lives tomorrow!
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Verse 13 says: 13 And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good?
When we read this,,, at first we might think that this means we will be safe from everything,,, but we know from other passages that this isn't true.
Jesus says in Matthew 10:22: You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.
So verse 13 is actually saying,,, that nothing on earth can separate us from God,,, no matter what kind of trial we go through,,, when we stand true in our faith!
Verse 14 gives us a little more information about this.
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Verse 14 says: 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed,
Peter is saying that if we do suffer because of our faith in God,,, then we will be blessed.
He says this because when we are wrongly accused,,, we can in a small way,,, identify with Christ and the way that He suffered for our sins.
My Faithlife Study Bible says: They can have joy because they honor God through their suffering and know that God will vindicate their faithfulness one day.
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Verse 15 says: 15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
When we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior,,, we should always be ready to tell others what God has done in our life.
I want to take just a minute and challenge each and everyone of you to write down exactly what God has done for you,,, write about what happened when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
You will see that once you have it written down that it becomes easier to explain to others when the time comes.
And if we are living a Christian life like we should be,,, then someone might ask you about it and you need to be ready to respond.
Then verse 16 gives more information on how to tell others.
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Verse 16 says: 16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.
My Bible Knowledge Commentary says
A believer’s testimony should not be given in an arrogant manner but with gentleness and respect.
One of the worst things that you can do,,, is to be judgmental when answering the demand to explain your Christian life.
This kind of attitude has turned away more people from church than any other,,, it seems.
If your answer is given with gentleness and respect,,, then the ones that are accusing you will be put to shame unless they change their own way of life.
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Verse 17 says: 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
God doesn't cause all the suffering that we go through.
But,,, He may use something to make us better when we come out of it.
And if we are going through something without doing anything wrong,,, then we can feel better about bringing it to God for help.
But if we are being punished for something that we have done wrong,,, then we won't be able to ask God to help us.
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Verse 18 says: 18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.
My Bible Knowledge Commentary says that J.M.E. Ross wrote that verse 18 is “one of the shortest and simplest, and yet one of the richest summaries given in the New Testament of the meaning of the Cross of Jesus”.
Jesus died on the cross,,, once for all of our sins.
He did this because of His love for us,,, even though we were sinners and didn't deserve His love.
God's love and Jesus' sacrifice,,, allows us to be in a relationship with God where nothing can separate us.
Verse 18 ends with Jesus being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.
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Verse 19 says: 19 In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison
My Bible Knowledge Commentary says this has been subject to many interpretations,,, and gave several examples,,, but none of them gave an absolute answer.
It says that some believe Peter here referred to the descent of Christ’s Spirit into hades between His death and resurrection to offer people who lived before the Flood a second chance for salvation.
However, this interpretation has no scriptural support.
It goes on to say that others have said this passage refers to Christ’s descent into hell after His crucifixion to proclaim His victory to the imprisoned fallen angels referred to in 2 Peter 2:4–5,,, equating them with “the sons of God” Moses wrote about in Genesis 6:1–2.
Though there's a lot that makes this view a possible interpretation,,, the context seems more likely to be referring to humans rather than angels.
The “spirits”,,, again according to my Bible Knowledge Commentary,,, are described in 1 Peter 3:20 as those who were disobedient when God waited patiently for Noah to finish building the ark.
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Verse 20 says: 20 who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared. In it a few—that is, eight people —were saved through water.
The people of Noah's time had rebelled against the message of God during the years the ark was being built.
God declared He would not tolerate the people’s wickedness forever, but would extend His patience for only 120 more years,,, and that’s found in Genesis 6:3.
Since the entire human race except Noah was evil,,, also found in Genesis 6,,, God determined to “wipe mankind … from the face of the earth.”
The “spirits” referred to in 1 Peter 3:20 are probably the souls of the evil human race that existed in the days of Noah.
Those “spirits” are now “in prison” awaiting the final judgment of God at the end of the Age.
And the Wesleyan Commentary says: It is relatively easy to observe what Peter said,,, but extremely difficult to understand what he meant.
The labor and effort of scholars to interpret the passage are not to be made light of,,, but at the same time,,, neither are some of their fanciful theories to be blindly accepted.
It would seem best to be concerned with what one does understand,,, and someday perhaps,,, Peter himself will tell us what he had in mind.
In other words,,, that may be a question that gets answered after we get to heaven!
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Verse 21 says: 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
My Wesleyan Commentary says The baptism reference,,, has been taken by some as a definite support of “baptismal regeneration” and by others as the teaching of the traditional view of the “believer’s baptism”,,, which is an outward witness to an inward grace,,, and of course,,, that's what we believe as United Methodist.
But Wesley wanted us to understand that the difficult understanding of verses 19–21 should not over shadow the glories of the conclusion that's shown in verse 22.
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Verse 22 says: 22 Now that He has gone into heaven, He is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.
Christ is credited with the ultimate victory,,, because it's through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,,, who is now at the right hand of God,,, having gone into heaven,,, where angels and authorities and powers,,, are subject unto him.
Every part of the Christian gospel depended upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It's to Jesus Christ that we must look for strength,,, and from Him,,, that help will come,,, and victory is assured.
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Our future depends on the resurrection of Jesus Christ because that's what our belief is built upon.
That's why it is very important that you study and find the evidence that you need to convince yourself that this is true.
And for me,,, it was the strength of the disciples after they seen the resurrected Jesus,,, compared to the scared,,, confused,,, and lost group of disciples before that resurrection Sunday!
There were many other examples and you need to study and make up your own mind about that because it's very important when it comes to defending our faith as Christians to others.
That's why I mentioned writing down your testimony so that would help you to be able to tell it to someone if they asked.
And they are watching and wondering,,, just waiting for a glimpse of Jesus in us to show,,, then they will ask.
That's why we need to be prepared!
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These scriptures this morning,,, as I told you at the beginning,,, were written by Peter,,, to help the Christians during that time to hold onto their faith in spite of persecution.
Here in the United States,,, we aren't subject to that type of persecution,,, at least not like the Christians faced then.
However,,, it almost became a reality to a certain extent,,, and it could still happen,,, if we don't get out and vote like we should as Christians today!
But,,, even just sharing our testimony with someone can be threatening to a point.
That's why we need to pay attention to these verses and be sure that we really live our life the way that Peter is talking about.
Being sure that when we are asked about our Christian faith,,, that we do respond with gentleness and respect the way that verse 16 says,,, because our answer is going to be critical to the future of someone's life in heaven.
And we don't want to jeopardize anyone's future just because we gave a snobbish or a hurried remark to someone.
It needs to be given in a way that shows truly what God has done in your life and how He has turned things around to make things better for you.
That's what they are looking for,,, that's what they want to hear,,, that's what they need to hear!
And just like Peter promised the Christians in these verses,,, God was with them,,, and He is with you today as well!
And He will help and guide you through anything in this world,,, so that others can see Jesus the way that they should,,, when they watch you every day!
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