1. Theme of Peter’s First Letter is STRENGTH THRU SUFFERING.
a. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he writes to Christians living in some of the most difficult times ever for Christians.
b. Not unlike our brothers in Sudan, or China, or Indonesia.
c. The price paid for being a Christian is sometimes death.
PERSPECTIVE is everything. Right one? Helps. Wrong? Hurts.
• How do we see things? What angle are we taking?
• If we view suffering only in light of ourselves, it can be overwhelming & lonely & oppressive!
• But if view it in light of others, in light of eternity, in light of what Jesus Christ has done for us…
• We can grow. We can persevere. We can encourage others.
THE Bible is full of REAL LIFE, DOWN TO EARTH men & women who suffered greatly for their faith.
• One of those men is our brother Paul, the apostle.
• Flip over now to 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
I would encourage you to pick up the book “Foxes Book of Martyrs.”
• Christian after Christian, standing strong in their faith.
• Some modern day books highlighting strength through suffering are “Jesus Freaks 1 & 2” and “Profiles in Faith” by Harold Sala.
• In light of our brothers & sisters, our suffering is put into perspective. Something we need in these last days!
YET Jesus is the one who suffered… look at v18.
I. (3:19) JESUS CHRIST SUFFERED!
1. (13-15) Submit yourselves to EVERY ordinance.
a. Without the suffering of Jesus, we wouldn’t have any.
b. But because he suffered, we suffer as His followers.
NOTE: Jesus said it would be so.
John 16.33 (NLT) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."
Acts 14.22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."
• Peter mentions it in 5:9
NOTE: But Peter is sharing with us more than just the temporary sufferings we experience. He’s speaking of Jesus’ FINISHED Work!
• Jesus suffered ONCE for sins.
NOTE: This is one of the clearest, most wonderful verses on the cross of Jesus Christ in all of the Bible.
• He suffered once FOR sins, the just, for us the UNJUST!
• The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ never has to be repeated again!
• Jesus meant it when He said from the cross…
John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
THIS passage is so powerful… so wonderful.
• It undermines the false teaching that say Jesus is continually being sacrificed through the MASS in the Roman Catholic Church.
• The Bible says NO, He died for sins once, for all.
• He doesn’t have to be resacrificed by a priest on an altar!
• It’s over. It’s finished. It’s done.
• Your salvation is secure by faith in Jesus Christ.
YOU KNOW when we celebrate communion together.
• We celebrate a work that is finished & complete!
• The bread speaking of Jesus broken body… broke ONCE for us.
• The cup speaking of Jesus spilled blood… spilled ONCE for us.
• We look back and enjoy the blessing of KNOWING we are saved.
LOOK: You don’t have to wait until you face God to know that you are saved. That would be tragic to not know.
• But it’s God’s will that you would know you are saved and live in the assurance of His finished work!
1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
BUT A constant enemy of ASSURANCE is doubt & unbelief!
• These keep a believer wandering, wondering, & weak!
• Doubting is being ’uncertain, unsure, distrustful, disbelieving, and/or lacking conviction.’
• And like the so many around us, we fail at times in our faith…
• Sometimes doubting our salvation.
• The thing about doubt is that we really DON’T want to.
• The truth about doubt is that we really DON’T have to!
• FAITH is what brought you into His Family, and FAITH will keep you until the end.
John 10.27-29 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
It’s sad guys… Really sad. Grieves my heart!!!
I know of many churches that teach that there’s NO WAY you can be assured of your salvation. That’s a sad place to be.
• In order to control their congregation, the pastor is taught to always keep them guessing and depending on man!
• But Jesus desires and commands that our trust be in Him alone.
• The object of faith is not a human, not a teacher, not a priest, and is not even faith in faith…
• It’s in a PERSON: the risen & powerful Jesus
Hebrews 12;1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
• Oh how v18 is so CLEAR, SO PLAIN, SO POWERFUL.
• But v19-22 seem to be so confusing…
• Some have called this one of the most difficult paragraphs in all the Bible. Let’s jump in & see what the Lord has for us.
II. (3:19-22) PREACHING THE GOSPEL
1. (19-20) Jesus Preached.
a. So we move from one of the most precious, clearest, wonderful verses in the Bible to some tough ones.
b. But don’t be intimidated by them.
c. God has a reason for us and a lesson to learn.
IT says here in v19, that Jesus preached to spirits in prison!
• Where & when did He do this?
• Let’s walk through this together…
As Jesus hung there on that Roman cross, he looked over at one of the others hanging next to Him. Let’s look at it: Luke 23:42-46
So when Jesus died, where was His body?
• After He died, it was placed in a tomb.
• There His body stayed for 3 days according to His Promise.
Luke 11.29-30 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 "For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.
So where did His Spirit go? To Paradise…
Romans 10.7 or, " ’Who will descend into the abyss?’ " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
Eph. 4.9 (Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
Flip over to Luke 16.22-26
Before Jesus death, no one ever had their sin removed.
• It was only covered… awaiting the final sacrifice!
NOTE: All of the believers who died before Jesus Christ looked forward to the coming Messiah and died before He came.
• They could not go directly to heaven. WHY?
• Because Jesus had not yet died for their sins.
Heb. 11.13 (These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
• The blood of Jesus was not yet shed.
• So when they died, they went to the good side of Hell.
• The Bible tells us that Jesus went and preached to them and led them from that captivity into heaven for eternity…
• WHAT ABOUT those on the other side? They’re still there.
• Hades is sort of a temporary holding place of the dead who rejected Jesus Christ until the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
• Then all unbelievers will stand at the Great White Throne Judgment and give account for their life.
• The books will be opened… the question asked.
• What did you do with my Son Jesus Christ?
• Then those not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire…
• Gehenna where there will be weeping & gnashing of teeth.
So Jesus descended into HADES… not to suffer, but to deliver!
Be careful here. Jesus didn’t give those in Torments a 2nd chance.
Heb. 9.27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
Jesus emptied Abraham’s bosom and took them directly into the presence of the Father! REF: Eph. 4.8-10
• All of the faithful believers who died waiting for the promise, from Adam to the thief on the cross were taken out of Hades!
• That’s why today Paradise is not described as being in the lower parts of the earth, but today it is heaven!
Rev. 2.7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." ’
2. (21) Baptism Does NOT save.
NOW one more thing here that is troubling in this passage that people misuse all the time.
• Many will take you here to prove that water baptism is NECESSARY for salvation.
• (We spent a whole study on this, pick it up.)
• But it’s enough to say… BAPTISM DOES NOT SAVE ANYONE!
• Only believers are baptized, folks that are already saved.
EVEN THOUGH I Know you will meet people who try to hang a water baptism legalistic trip on you. Don’t let them!
Peter is not talking about WATER BAPTISM here. It’s not the context at all, anywhere in this passage!
• He’s talking about water, but a whole lot more!
• Was it the water that saved Noah? Not at all.
• Who got the water in Noah’s day? Right!
• It was the water of judgment!
• So with Noah, what saved you? Getting in the ark!
The ark is a fabulous picture of the solid, unsinkable work of God in saving a soul. How does He do that today? Through Jesus!
• Getting in the ark saved. & Getting in Jesus saves you today!
NOTE: We don’t talk about Noah & the water today!
• We speak of Noah and the ark God prescribed for him.
• And when they went in, how were they secured…
• Flip over to Genesis 7.13-16 Don’t know if you ever noticed this or not but it’s beautiful!
Acts 4.12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
WHEW… I love this section. Tough at times, but simple!
• Let’s end where we started… 1 Peter 3:18.
• We need Jesus & His finished work!