Sunday, Aug 21, 2016
Suffering 102: When Hostility Presents an Opportunity
Passage: 1 Peter 3:13-17
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Suffering 102: When Hostility Presents an Opportunity (1 Peter 3:13-17)

1 Peter 3: [13] Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? [14] But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, [15] but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; [16] and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. [17] For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

Luke 21: [12] “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. [13] It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. 

Introduction

Suffering for righteousness’ sake is an inescapable & indispensable aspect of Christian experience (Rom 8:16-17; 2 Tim 3:12). When we find ourselves facing unjust hostility & slander for following Christ, we will be presented with opportunities for God to be glorified and His kingdom to be advanced if we respond with a clear, verbal witness of our Christian hope set against the validating affirmation of a godly, transformed life.

A.    Lives that Provoke Questions

  1. Zealous for the good (13; cf. 3:8-12; Tit 2:14, 3:1-2,8,14; Acts 10:38; Rom 13:3; 1 Tim 5:10; Heb 10:23-24)
  2. Undeterred by mistreatment (14a; 1 Pet 2:19-20; Mt 5:10-12; Lk 6:22-23; Acts 9:16; Phil 1:29; Jas 1:12)
  3. Unintimidated by adversity (14b; cf. Rom 8:31-39; Luk 21:12-19; Isa 8:11-14, 41:10-14; Mt 10:28; Jn 14:1, 27)
  4. Surrendered to Christ as Lord (15a; cf. Num 20:12; Is 5:16,29:23; Phil 2:9-11; 1 Cor 8:6; Rev 17:14; Rom 10:9)
  5. Ready to defend Christ (15; cf. Ps 119:46; Dan 3:16-18; Acts 4:8-12; Col 4:6; 2 Tim 2:25)
  6. Focused on the future (15c; cf. Acts 23:6, 24:15, 26:6-7; Rom 8:24, 15:4,13; Gal 5:5; Col 1:5; Tit 1:2, 2:13)
  7. Uncompromised in our integrity (16; cf. Prov 28:13; Acts 23:1,4:16; 1 Tim 1:5, 18-19; 2 Tim 1:3, 3:9; 2 Cor 1:12)

B.    Lips that Provide Answers

  1. The defense of our hope (15b): always ready to explain
  2. The reason for our hope (15a): Jesus Christ → as Lord → sanctified → in our hearts
  3. The basis of our hope (15c):
  4. His incarnation (1 Pet 1:20-21)
  5. His death (1 Pet 2:24; cf. 1:11)
  6. His resurrection (1 Pet 1:3; cf. 3:21)
  7. His ascension (1 Pet 3:22a)
  8. His exaltation (1 Pet 3:22b; cf. 3:15; 4:11; 5:10)
  9. His return (1 Pet 1:13; cf. 1:7; 4:13; 5:4)
  10. His salvation (1 Pet 3:18; cf. 1:2-3,9,19; 2:5,21-25; 4:1)

Conclusion

To suffer for doing good is “better” than to suffer for doing evil (17) because: (a) it results in praise, honor, and glory (1 Pet 1:6-8); (b) it perfects, confirms, strengthens & establishes us (1 Pet 5:10); (c) it brings glory to God he receives no other way (1 Pet 4:16); (d) it presents opportunities to defend our hope & lead others to repentance (1 Pet 3:16); and, (e) it produces eternal blessing & great reward (1 Pet 3:14; cf. Matt 5:10-12).