Summary: Today from this passage Peter will outline five key principles that should characterize our lives as we respond to a hostile world and take a stand for Christ.
Take a Stand for Christ with your life!
I read yesterday that there is a theory that has been around for some time now about “How to boil a live frog”. The theory states that you can boil a live frog in a pot of water, if the water is heated slowly enough — according to the story, if you place a frog into boiling water, it will immediately jump out, but if you place it in cold water that is slowly heated, it will gradually acclimatize itself to the increasing temperature and be unable to jump out before it is too late.
Whether or not that legend is factually correct – I believe it is clearly being demonstrated in the growing immorality of our society and not just the apathy and indifference towards Christianity, but the outright hostility and opposition being demonstrated on a number of fronts towards the Christian faith.
Had the enemies of Christianity in this country, back in the 1940’s and 50’s, and perhaps early 60’s instigated a full frontal and radical attack to ban public displays of Christmas and call for the removal of “In God We Trust” from our money and the removal of the 10 Commandments from the court houses, the acceptance and legitimizing of homosexual marriage, the recognition of pedophilia as as a consitutionally-guarded "personal freedom".
There would have been an immediate, massive, and passionate rejection of these views from by far the greater majority in this country that such a plan would have been relegated to only a mere handful of proponents on the lunatic fringe.
So rather than throw “the frog” into a pot of boiling water, they have been willing to bide their time and just ever so gradually and imperceptibly turn up the heat to the point where the frog has become complacently comfortable in the water without realizing that it’s death is immanent.
There comes a point of no return in this process where the frog loses control of its ability to save itself and control is then in the hands of the one turning up the heat. It would seem in many respects that we have already reached that point in this society.
The environment in which Peter wrote his letter was certainly one that was hostile to Christians and so it is as applicable to us now as it was to his hearers almost 2000 years ago:
Today from this passage Peter will outline five key principles that should characterize our lives as we respond to a hostile world and take a stand for Christ.
Read Scriptures: 1 Peter 3:13-17
I. We should be passionate about doing good.
Vs. 13 “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?”
When we are eager or zealous for doing the good thing and the right thing it is much harder to criticize and attack – not impossible, but certainly less likely. It becomes a lot tougher for the opposition to find stones to throw at us when we are passionately pursuing kindness and mercy and generosity and humility and thoughtfulness and consideration of the needs of others.
When doing good is the driving force of our lives then the wrong things quickly start to lose their fascination and attraction for us. When you are zealous to bless and enhance the lives of others in whatever way you are able, with a humble and serving heart, it has a powerful way of neutralizing destructive, aggressive, and foul passions both within us and within others towards us.
So the first response to a hostile world and taking a stand for Christ that is for us to be passionate about doing good.
II. Accept the possibility of Suffering.
Vs. 14 “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed."Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
Peter wants us to understand that goodness on our part is not a 100% guaranteed blanket protection from all attack.
Jesus came among us as the very essence of all goodness and yet the darkness plotted and planned and tried in everyway possible to get rid of Him, to no avail of course.
So even as you and I pursue goodness we are to accept the possibility and likelihood of suffering. It comes with the package. It is part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in this world.
Jesus said, "If you want to be my disciple, then take up your cross and follow me".
He said: “In this world you will have tribulation”. But thank goodness he didn’t just leave it there – He went on to say, “But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”. God’s blessing, God’s presence will never leave us and His comforting and strengthening presence is particularly promised to us when we suffer in His name.