Summary: Accept suffering. Say no to fear. Set Christ apart in your heart as Lord!

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"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 [1] ; do not be frightened." [2] 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. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil"1st Peter 3:13-17

Introduction: Black Bart was a professional thief whose very name struck fear as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stage line. From San Francisco to New York, his name became synonymous with the danger of the frontier. Between 1875 and 1883 he robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, Bart did it all without firing a shot. Because a hood hid his face, no victim ever saw his face. He never took a hostage and was never trailed by a sheriff. Instead, Black Bart used fear to paralyze his victims. His sinister presence was enough to overwhelm the toughest stagecoach guard. Today in the Word, August 8, 1992

Transition: Fear is such a strange emotion, I read this week of some fears that are apart of many peoples lives…maybe even your own! Peladophobia: fear of baldness and bald people. Aerophobia: fear of drafts. Porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple. Chaetophobia: fear of hairy people. Levophobia: fear of objects on the left side of the body. Dextrophobia: fear of objects on the right side of the body. Auroraphobia: fear of the northern lights. Calyprophobia: fear of obscure meanings. Thalassophobia: fear of being seated. Stabisbasiphobia: fear of standing and walking. Odontophobia: fear of teeth. Graphophobia: fear of writing in public. Phobophobia: fear of being afraid. Fraser Kent, Nothing to Fear, , Doubleday & Company, 1977.

The Apostle Peter has some reassuring words for us today from 1st Peter 3: 13-17…In Christ there is "No need for Fear". We learn this Lord’s day that:….

Suffering in inevitable

We can say no to fear

There is an antidote for fear.

I: Suffering is inevitable: "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" Peter’s question must have hung in the air for a long moment when the Christians who first received this letter heard it. They were no strangers to suffering and indeed had suffered for doing good. Peter is addressing no run of the mill believers, they were very zealous for the Lord in fact in the original language of the Greek New Testament these were people who "burned with zeal" to desire earnestly! What was it that they were so passionate about? Serving God regardless of the cost!

Peter was not dismissing the suffering that was all to real to them not at all in fact he was "Telling them that as a result of their righteous lives and God’s care, their blessedness would be such as to turn off all the malice of their persecutors and make their suffering itself to be a joy!" Kenneth Wuest word studies volume 2 pg 87

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