Summary: Baptism is the Pledge of a Good Conscience toward God!
BAPTISM SERVICE APRIL 7, 2002 PM SERVICE
I PETER 3: 13-22
INTRODUCTION: THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO ACHIEVE HAPPINESS ON THIS TERRESTRIAL BALL. AND THAT IS TO HAVE EITHER A CLEAR CONSCIENCE OR NONE AT ALL. --Ogden Nash.
Oswald Chamber of MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST states: Always keep your life measured by the standards of Jesus. Bow your neck to His yoke alone, and to no other yoke whatever; and be careful to see that you never bind a yoke on others that is not placed by Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one liberty, the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: This is the focus of what I want to speak on for a few minutes. Hear His word on a Good Conscience toward God.
THESIS SENTENCE: Baptism is the Pledge of a Good Conscience toward God!
I. A GOOD CONSCIENCE BEFORE GOD IS FREEDOM FROM FEAR (13-17)
A. Fear comes to the-would be believer as well as to those who have trusted Christ as Lord.
1. Satan’s ploy is to render you helpless because of fear. And, he will use everyone he can to push you away from surrender to Christ. This is where we pick up the text, especially VERSES 13 AND 14. “WHO IS GOING TO HARM YOU IF YOU ARE EAGER TO DO GOOD? BUT EVEN IF YOU SHOULD SUFFER FOR WHAT IS RIGHT, YOU ARE BLESSED. DO NOT FEAR WHAT THEY FEAR; DO NOT BE FRIGHTENED.”
2. The interesting thing about this text is that Peter is showing off his scripture knowledge. He is add libbing Isaiah 8: 11-13. Hear the word of the Lord spoken through the Prophet Isaiah. “The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow they way of this people. He said: Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread...”
3. If you are here tonight and have not surrendered to Christ, it is because you have allowed Satan to cause you to fear and fear the wrong entity at that.
4. If you are a believer in Christ, Satan will not relent, he will put people in your way who, for a variety of reasons, will cause you to fear, to be afraid of, STANDING UP FOR CHRIST. PETER SAYS, “What big deal is it to suffer, even if you do, YOU ARE BLEST!!!!!” YOU ARE APPROVED OF BY GOD. YOU ARE IN THE COMPANY OF CHRIST.
B. The real issue here is where is your focal point. It must be on Christ and Christ alone. (VERSE 15)
1. “BUT IN YOUR HEARTS SET APART CHRIST AS LORD.”
2. “If he is not Lord of All, He will not be Lord at all.” He must become greater to you than your greatest fear.
ILLUSTRATION: CHRIST LORDSHIP OF. 715
C. When Christ is Lord, He is the answer to the blessed hope that is within us. In verse 15, Peter proclaims, “But in your hearts set apart 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.”
ILLUSTRATION: THIS IS OLD, BUT STILL MAKES THE POINT: A BOY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL WAS ONCE ASKED, “WHAT HAS FOUR LEGS AND FEET, IS GRAY AND BROWN IN COLOR, LIKES TO CLIMB TREES AND EAT ACORNS?” THE LITTLE BOY LOOK UP AT HIS TEACHER WITH A PUZZLED LOOK ON HIS FACE AND SAID, WELL I GUESS THE ANSWER IS JESUS, BUT IT SURE SOUNDS LIKE A SQUIRREL TO ME.
1. Two things should happen here:
a. When we do not fear, people should be asking why!
b. When they ask, we should be ready to let them know.
2. There is also a formula as to how we are to describe this hope and our baptismal candidates as well as all believers need to hear this!!
a. ABUT DO THIS WITH: gentleness and respect!!
b. Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
ILLUSTRATION: SLANDER ANSWERING SLANDER.
THE BOTTOM LINE THEORY HERE IS VERSE 17: “IT IS BETTER, IF IT IS GOD’S WILL, TO SUFFER FOR DOING GOOD THAN FOR DOING EVIL!! WE ARE TO PEOPLE WHO DO GOOD REGARDLESS OF THE OUT COME FOR WE HAVE MADE CHRIST THE LORD OF OUR LIVES.