Continuing along in our study of the third chapter of First Peter we now focus on verses about suffering, more specifically persecution for doing good. Therefore Christians must prepare themselves for the battle that will be brought on by evil.
One way we can prepare for the suffering that awaits us involves acknowledgement of the fact servants of Jesus Christ are blessed, especially when we suffer for doing good.
“13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” (1 Peter 3:13-14)
Trust in the Lord and His plan for your life. Keep focused on your purpose in this life so you can reap rewards in the next life. Fear no evil rather, embrace challenges brought on by the world so you can, through Christ rise to overcome evil, to resist temptation.
Peter then addresses witnessing, calling on his audience to “be prepared to give an answer” to those who are curious as to the hope that dwells in believers. As such, all Christians should have their testimony written out both in a short version, for quick answers, and a more detailed version that features the character of the individual before, during and after he or she was born again. Those without a testimony are in danger of failing their mission found in the following verses:
“15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (! Peter 3:15-16)
With this in mind and the fact all Christians are to expect persecution, Peter calls on his readers to be gentle and respectful in their testimony. Always remember one of the most powerful things a believer can do is share his/her testimony because it is indisputable.
Peter then continues writing about suffering focusing on the fact it is better to suffer for doing good rather than for doing evil. Peter teaches that Christians must be willing to suffer just as Christ did on His way to, and on the cross for our sins, so that we could live, forever.
“17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:17)
Peter then writes about water baptism, not meant to clean outwardly instead intended to symbolize the spiritual death and rebirth of one’s soul. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are saved, through baptism in the spirit we are justified, through baptism in water we publicly acknowledge our spiritual rebirth.
“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 symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward 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.” (1 Peter 3:18-22)
In these verses the “same water” symbolizes the power of God, that which raised Jesus from the dead, the same power that will allow us to spiritually rise after death, for all eternity.
Those who are in Christ must be baptized, not only in the holy spirit as we allow ourselves to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus but also baptized in water, a willing act of submission described by Martin Luther as “excellent, glorious, and exalted.”
If you are a believer but have not yet been baptized in water, I invite you to seek out a water baptism near you or if you plan on visiting the Tampa Bay area, to call on this ministry to schedule a baptism in the Gulf of Mexico, a most serene location where baptisms and breath taking sunsets are plentiful. Water baptisms are held the first and third Saturday morning of each month downtown St Petersburg, call or email for details.
Those among you already baptized in water need to call on brothers and sisters in Christ to seal their covenant with God through water baptism. It is not only our mission to spread the word and facts about baptism, it is our duty. Let’s pray!
We thank you for this day and for your servant Peter,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of Peter.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we witness onto those around us
Allow our testimonies to touch others, to lead them to you,
Fill our hearts Lord with your love, your power, with your wisdom,
Guide us to abide by your word as we endure through the trials of this life
Becoming examples of faith through humble obedience.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre