Summary: To establish that Peter’s discussion of this great event occurred when Noah was building the Ark; during 120 years which culminated by the flood. It was Christ’s Spirit in Noah, that preached to the disobedient people refusing to obtain safety in the Ark; where Noah and his house was saved by God.
1. Christ Preached: Through Righteous Noah
2. Christ Preached: To the Disobedient
3. Christ Preached: To the Spirits in Prison
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing the theme: “Christ's Preaching: to spirits in prison.” This theme has encouraged many arguments that will require great discussion and analysis on how, when and why Christ preached to the souls in prison during the 120 years, leading up to the flood that destroyed all flesh; saving Noah and his house.
2. First, we will consider how Christ preached to the “spirits in prison.” He did such through Noah, called a “preacher of righteousness” by Peter in his second Letter to the dispersed Jews, 2 Peter 2:5. The text outlines that: “The Spirit of Christ” was then in Noah; guiding him in preaching repentance and obedience to the will of God; unto a rebellious and disobedient people. All this occurred while the “longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,” 1 Peter 3:19-20. Noah preached of the pending flood that would engulf the entire world. Yet they heard not the “warning of God.” First to repent, and then “go into the ark” once God’s judgment had begun upon the world: that is “the time of the flood.”
3. Second, we will discuss when Christ preached unto these “spirits in prison.” This was during the time: “When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing,” 1 Peter 3:20. By these two things: 1) the longsuffering of God waited, and 2) the ark was a preparing; we will be able to determine when this preaching occurred. It was then that the Spirit of Christ preached unto the “spirits in prison.” Some have alleged it was during the transition of Christ (the time immediately after His death on the cross, until His resurrection from the dead). This position advances Christ’s preaching was to the disembodied spirits of the disobedient now imprisoned in the Hadean world. However, there appears to be no scriptures that affirm or support this theory. We will note some of them as we proceed in this lesson.
4. Lastly, we will investigate why Christ preached “unto the spirits in prison.” It is important that we clarify this phrase: “spirits in prison”; before we can properly understand why this preaching occurred. The Papacy’s view is, that it was to grant these disembodied spirits opportunity to repent and be saved; from their rebellion and disobedience, during the time of the flood. They call this place of torment: “Purgatory.” This is the time between ones death and the resurrection; that they might be afforded the grace of God. They teach: “Christ went into purgatory and preached to these imprisoned spirits.” We will consider their references in the scripture for such teaching or doctrine. If one dies out of Christ; he or she will rise out of Christ. The “spirits in prison” in our text; were those who acted in (rebellion and disobedience), at the time of the preaching of Noah. This preaching occurred during the same period leading up to and during the time of the flood; and not to any spirits, now bound in hell. With this introduction, let’s consider our first point.
BODY OF LESSON
I CHRIST PREACHED: THROUGH NOAH
A. Peter begins his discourse regarding the suffering of the saint. He encourages the saints to understand as Christ once suffered unjustly; we too will be called upon to suffer wrongfully. He wrote:
1. First, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: And be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear,” 1 Peter 3:15.
2. Further, “Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as an evil doer, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ,” 1 Peter 3:16.
3. Next, “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing,” 1 Peter 3:17.
4. Finally, “Christ’s suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. Consider:
a. Peter affirms, that although Christ was put to death in the flesh; he will ultimately quicken and resurrected from the dead by the Spirit of God.
b. As Christian, we must also understand that our suffering for Christ, for well doing will yield its rewards also for us. We are promised to be raised by the same “quickening power” of the Holy Spirit on the “last day” or “the end” when the Lord Jesus shall return to claim His saint, 1 Corinthians 15:20-26.