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Summary: This is a sermon on 1 Peter 3:15 and the need for Scripture memorization in order to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have in Jesus Christ.

Please open your Bibles to 1 Peter 3:8-18 which we will read in a few minutes.

Suffering for doing good NIV

Suffering for righteousness’ sake ESV

When you are wronged ISV

Suffering for doing right NRSV/CEV

To be sure, no one likes suffering. Suffering is unpleasant.

We usually think of suffering as physical, emotional or mental suffering which can take on many forms.

Physical …

Hunger/starvation

Injury and disease

Sexual abuse

Emotional …

Infertility

Danger / fear

Rejection and humiliation

Being emotionally assaulted

Loss of job

Death of a loved one

But … we don’t often think of suffering for doing good or for righteousness sake.

For instance, I spoke to someone recently who was concerned about confronting his boss about some dishonest business practices that were taking place in the company.

In that instance there was the definite possibility of possible consequences to his job and his ability to provide for his family.

When the apostle Peter wrote this letter to a group of churches they may have very well been facing all of these types of persecution.

With that in mind let’s go ahead and read: 1 Peter 3:8-18

Somehow we need to know how we should respond to suffering for the sake of righteousness.

Verse 15 is kind of a center point around which that ability rotates.

Verse 15 gives us a three point action plan on how to react with those who need to know Jesus whether we are being persecuted or not.

If we can learn the meaning of verse 15 and apply it to all circumstances of our lives the Lord will be able to use us in ways that will glorify Him and benefit His kingdom.

1 Peter 3:15

“In your hearts revere 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.”

In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. NIV

Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. KJV

In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy. ESV

In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. RSV

Do you see the great connection here?

There are two objects; my heart and the Lord or your heart and the Lord.

There is nothing else in this verse.

We all have a multitude of other things in our lives; relationships, duties and obligations, possessions, etc. but all of these, in the arena of our heart must be subordinate to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God is the foundation of His church here on earth and we as parts of His church on earth must have Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God as the foundation of our lives.

When we see the word Lord in this verse it is not just a title it is a position.

The word Lord designates a position of sovereign authority.

Richard Wurmbrand was a Christian pastor in communist Romania. He was imprisoned and tortured by the communists for fourteen years.

Let me just read a few quotes from Richard Wurmbrand that describe the depth of his devotion to and for Jesus.

These quotes describe what it means to reverence, honor and sanctify Jesus in your hearts.

After communism had taken hold of Romania Mr. Wurmbrand and his wife Sabina were attending a conference:

“My wife and I were present at this (conference). Sabina told me, ‘Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ! They are spitting in His face.’ I said to her, ‘If I do so, you lose your husband.’ She replied, ‘I don't wish to have a coward as a husband.’”

Now, Richard is in prison…

“I have seen Christians in Communist prisons with fifty pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonfuls of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold - and praying with fervor for the Communists. This is humanly inexplicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.”

“(There are) two kinds of Christians: those who sincerely believe in God and those who, just as sincerely, believe that they believe. You can tell them apart by their actions in decisive moments.”

I wonder, how do we measure up when it comes to “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord.”?

The answer to that question determines if we are ready to move on to the next part of the verse or not.

1 Peter 3:15

“In your hearts revere 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.”

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