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Summary: Despite Persecution, we are called to live as Christians in a corrupt world. Peter tells us to maintain Christian conduct, to live wisely (with common sense), and to fear God instead of man.

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Text: 1 Peter 3:8-14

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

10 For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.

11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.

12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil."

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled."

Basic Outline --

Introduction: The ease of cynicism

Despite Persecution:

I. Maintain Christian Conduct (8-9)

A. Unity (8)

B. Compassion (8)

C. Brotherly Love (8)

D. Tenderheartedness (8)

E. Courtesy (8)

F. Blessing, not Cursing (9)

II. Live with Common Sense (10-12)

A. Honestly (10)

B. Seeking Good (11)

1. Turning away from evil (11)

2. Doing good (11)

C. Peaceably (11)

D. Knowing God's Attention (12)

III. Fear God (13-14)

A. EVEN IF you are persecuted, what really matters? (13-14)

B. We will stand before God in the end (14)

Application

Introduction

The Ease of Cynicism

When you're beaten around time and time again, your body forms scars. It can be the same way emotionally -- we can form these scars that help us superficially cope with reality. Have you ever had a friend or coworker who has frustrated you so much that you started to respond to them harshly or with a gut feeling of anger or spite? It's very easy to get in a rut of cynicism and desired vengeance, isn't it?

What would the world say?

- Do good to those who do good to you… (essentially only 'bless those who bless you')

- Do to others as they do to you… (as a means of vengeance)

And yet as Christians, we are called to love our neighbor -- a very broad statement from Jesus -- and to treat others the way you want to be treated (i.e. well)! We are to bless even those who curse us! Whether it's doing something kind for someone who is mean to us, or whether it is leaving a waiter a good tip despite bad service or what have you, we are called to bless and NOT scar over in our conscience as we react.

Our text is 1 Peter 3:8-14, where Peter addresses believers who have been in a society that could potentially wear them down by means of hateful persecution. Believers are not to lash back or retaliate with cursing. God is the one who is the ultimate Judge, and He will defend your cause as you are faithful to Him.

Peter tells his audience that Despite Persecution, we need to live as Christians in the midst of a corrupt culture by…

- Maintaining Christian Conduct

- Living with Common Sense

- Fearing God

Before we go more in-depth, let's open in prayer.

Opening Prayer

(8-9)

Maintain Christian Conduct

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

Unity

Compassion

Love

Tenderheartedness

Courtesy

Bless those who curse you

Result of the obedience to this calling?

- Blessing (from God)

Compare with the Early Church -- what were the results of the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of the new believers?

Acts 2:42-47

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,

45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Post-conversion -- Fruit of the Holy Spirit in the Early Church:

A. Devotion (2:42)

i. To Apostles' teaching

ii. To Fellowship

iii. To Breaking of Bread

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