Summary: Truth brings freedom. Christ is Lord over all creation. We can answer evil with blessing. We are prepared to share hope.
FREEDOM’S TRUTH: HONOR CHRIST AS LORD (Outline)
July 5, 2015 - Pentecost 6 - 1 PETER 3:9-15
INTRO.: Satan tempted Adam and Eve with a lie. It sounded good, almost like the truth. Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” The truth has been under attack for centuries. Today people call truth whatever suits their desires. This is called relative truth. Such relative truth makes people slaves to their own selfish, limited thinking. As believers we are blessed to know the truth that really matters: God’s truth. "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’" (JOHN 8:31, 32). Today we celebrate God’s truth that sets us free from sin, death, and the devil. FREEDOM’S TRUTH: HONOR CHRIST AS LORD. I. Believers answer evil with blessing. II. Believers are prepared to share hope.
I. BELIEVERS ANSWER EVIL WITH BLESSING.
A. This was a dark period in the history of the world and the church. Christian persecution flourished.
1. Verse 9. The Lord encouraged believers not get even or take revenge.
2. The persecution was unfair and brutal. Believers were to repay evil with blessings.
B. Verse 10. Blessing would come from tongues that were not evil or deceitful. Truthful blessings.
1. Verse 11. The believers were not to give in to the wicked darkness of their day.
2. Instead the believers needed to turn away from evil. They were to chase after peace.
3. Chasing after peace would drive out evil from their hearts and lives. Blessings answer.
C. Verse 13. Their blessing attitude would defend them against their enemies. Persecution continued.
D. The Christians during this time faced some of the worst persecution in history. It seems as if history is repeating itself once again. We have heard of the anti-Christian rulings handed down by the Supreme Court. We hear the world cry out against what is true and right in the sight of Christ. Immorality rules. We might get so angry that we want to get even with the enemies of Jesus. “How can we make them pay for such miscarriages of justice?” The Lord gives us a much higher standard than the world. By grace we do know the truth. We do know what is right. Anger only feeds more anger. We are to bring blessings. "On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (ROMANS 12:20, 21). May we never allow evil to overcome us. Goodness overcomes evil.
E. It is challenging not to get caught up in the way our society reacts. People think the one who wins the argument is the last one talking who is shouting the loudest. It is disgraceful to watch the many discussions end up in a shouting match. This is what happens when evil insults are traded with one another. Wicked words will only end up hurting feelings. Worse they may even lead to physical violence. Remember the Lord has given us high standards as believers. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (PROVERBS 15:1). Confronted with insults blessings will turn aside anger.
F. How are we repay evil and insults with blessings? We recognize such a reaction is not a natural part of our sinful nature. Our old Adam within us is always looking to pick a fight. God gives us the challenge to live our Christian lives above the fray. Our heavenly Father gives us a high standard for our lives. Our Christian lives of love is challenging. Without any challenges our lives would be pretty boring. Jesus gives a place to start for training ourselves to repay evil with blessing. "But I tell you: Love your enemies bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" (MATTHEW 5:44, 45a). Jesus reminds each of us that we are children of our heavenly Father. Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters. As God’s children we know our heavenly Father’s great love for us. We are reminded to love and bless our enemies. Not easy. The Lord also reminds us to pray for those who persecute us. That is a good place to start. Yes – pray for the President, the Supreme Court, and all in authority. Pray for them over and over.
FREEDOM’S TRUTH: HONOR CHRIST AS LORD. We want to answer evil with blessings.
II. BELIEVERS ARE PREPARED TO SHARE HOPE.
A. Verse 12. These believers faced great persecution. The Lord’s eyes still watched over them.