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Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

1 Peter 3:8-9; God Honoring Conduct: All of You

03/29 1 Peter 3:8-9 God honoring Conduct; All of You

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

Peter has given instruction in how to conduct life in a way that proclaims the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness. We display the attributes of God by submitting to authority, authority in government, authority in the workplace, authority in the home. Our conduct puts God on display even when – especially when submitting to authority that is corrupt and ungodly. Now Peter concludes his exhortation to live in such a way that unbelievers notice our conduct and are drawn to Jesus by giving us five summary attributes that we are to display; unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, tender heartedness, and humility of mind. He begins and ends his list with attributes of the mind or thinking. They are compound words; like-minded and humble-minded. There is a significant focus in the bible on the mind and the thinking:

Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…

Philippians 2:2, 5 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind…Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Unity of Mind [omofronev] – this is what Jesus prayed for in John:

John 17:21-23 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

What does he mean by unity of mind or unity of thinking? What’s your favorite color? That’s mine too. What’s your favorite food? That’s mine too. What do you think about the president? That’s what I think too. Does unity of mind mean that we are all cloned into robots that think the same things about everything? Or is it something deeper and richer than that? It ought to be the sincere endeavor of every believer to so saturate our minds in the scripture that on the great issues of God and salvation we joyfully embrace the same truths. There are secondary issues that are less clear, but on the things on which the bible is clear, we must submit to God’s authority and wholeheartedly embrace his revealed truth. We share a common biblical world view and we share a common aim and purpose. Let’s not leave what this is unstated. God is God and we exist to bring him praise. In Peter’s language we exist (2:9)’to proclaim the excellencies of him’; ‘that they might… glorify God’ (2:12). We glorify God as we direct attention to Jesus with our words and our conduct. Our world view must be God centered. How do we make progress toward unity in thinking? It requires saturation in the word of God both individually and corporately. It requires fellowship and communication, effort in study and a teachable spirit.

Sympathetic [sumpayeiv]– Sympathy is entering into and experiencing the feelings of others. Not only are we to be on the same page with the truths of scripture, but we are to bear one another’s burdens; grieve with those who are experiencing sorrow, and rejoice with those who are experiencing joy (Rom.12:15). This requires effort of a different kind. Some people are hard wired to be sympathetic – my wife is one of these. Our cat just had kittens this week, and she was entering into labor right along with our cat. She is by nature a sympathetic person. But whether this comes naturally to you or not, we are all called to be and do all of these. The things that come less naturally to us, we must exert special conscious effort.

Brotherly Love [filadelfoi] – this is the centerpiece of the five admonitions. Peter has already pointed us to this in 1:22:

1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

(also Rom.12:10; 1Thess.4:9; Heb.13:1; 2Pet.1:7). In Christ we have become siblings and we are to have brotherly affections toward one another. This is the mark by which others will know that we are Christians (Jn.13:34-35).

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The first and the last words in this list have to do with the mind. The second and fourth have to do with the emotions. This word ‘brotherly love’ is more than emotion. This involves the will. It is an action word. You won’t often find brothers sitting around saying ‘I love you’ to each other. But brothers do love and it is a love that runs deep. It is a love that is expressed in action. Love at its core is seeking the highest good of the person loved. Here’s one way my brother expressed his love for me: my brother was a smoker. He once told me ‘if I ever catch you smoking, I will kill you’ – and I knew he was serious. At least in that instance, had my highest good in mind. Brotherly love can be costly. Seeking the highest good of the person you love may require you to inconvenience yourself greatly. Because ‘God caused us to be born again’ (1:3), we are his children. In Jesus Christ we are now brothers and sisters. We must love one another.

Tender hearted [eusplagcnoi]- Literally translated, this term ‘eusplangknoi‘ is ‘good boweled’ The bowels were thought to be the seat of emotions. In fact, we say ‘I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach; my stomach is in knots; I have butterflies in my stomach; or this is my gut feeling.’ This refers to the deepest of human emotions. The verb in the gospels is used exclusively of Jesus:

Mark 1:41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”

Mark 6:34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.

Luke 7:13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

This is being good hearted or tender hearted, sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. This was the emotion that motivated the good Samaritan in Luke 10:33; it was what caused the father to run to embrace his prodigal son in Luke 15:20. In Ephesians 4:32 we see that this emotion toward each other is rooted in the mercy that we have experienced from God in the forgiveness of our sins:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Humble Minded [tapeinofronev]- Peter has highlighted attitudes of the mind, emotions, will, emotions, and now back to the mind. First he said we are to have unity of mind; now he says we are to have ‘humility of mind’. What does that mean? Are we to be so modest in our thinking that we don’t claim to know anything for sure? Here’s a tension I want to highlight. We are told:

Jude 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

How do we reconcile this command to fight for truth with the command Peter gives us here to be ‘humble-minded’? In 1908, G.K.Chesterton, a British writer said:

“What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert – himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt – the Divine Reason… We are on the road to producing a race of man too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table” [Orthodoxy, p.31-32; cited in Piper, Brothers We are Not Professionals, p.162]

Humility of mind is not the abandonment of conviction but a subordination to God and his truth. Jesus said ‘you will know the truth and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). Speaking truth is an instrument for salvation of unbelievers and as such it is an essential part of love. We do not know everything; 1 Corinthians 13:12 says ‘now I know in part’; and yet we are told:

Titus 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Humility of mind is not being wishy-washy about the truth. If it were we could have no real substantial unity of mind. That’s why Paul can put unity of mind together with striving for the faith of the gospel:

Philippians 1:27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

True humility is a gift. If it were something we could attain, we would be proud of attaining it. Humility of mind is the gift of receiving the good news and standing firmly on the rock solid truth of the good news, knowing that we did nothing to deserve it. Anything we know we know by the grace of a merciful God who chooses to reveal himself to us. And what God has revealed to us in his word we can proclaim with absolute confidence and with humility of mind.

So we are to embrace fellow believers mind, emotions and will; with brotherly love, with sympathy and a tender heart, with unity and humility of mind. But we are to go beyond this. Peter says:

3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling…

One commentary I read said that verse 8 addresses the Christian’s relationship with fellow believers and verse 9 addresses our relationship with unbelievers. An older commentary I read got it right. This was written in 1658, so the language is more difficult to follow. Alexander Nisbet said ‘The children of the Lord may resolve not only to meet with hard usage and bitter language from the profane or those that are without, but even from their fellow professors’ (p.129). He’s right. I have learned from personal experience that the most painful blows you take in ministry with other Christians are the ones you take from within the group of believers. You are on the front lines of ministry and you take a bullet. That’s no surprise. The surprise comes when you examine the wound and you realize the shot came from behind – from one of your own. Brothers and sisters, that ought not to be, but it is. And Peter, writing to believers living in a hostile community, knew that this would be the case for them as it will be for us, and he gave us some clear instruction on how to deal with it. When that happens, whether you receive evil, whether you receive insult from the world outside or from those that claim to be your brothers and sisters, do not repay with evil and with insult. When that happens, your flesh rears its ugly head and demands retribution. We might even justify it as righteous indignation. We have been hurt, we have been wronged, we have been sinned against and we want it to be made right – or more than right. That is what the laws of retribution were for – an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I feel that if you took out my eye, I am justified in taking your head off. If you knocked out my tooth, I have the right to kick all your teeth down your throat. But the New Testament takes us further than simply not paying back more than is deserved. It takes us even further than not demanding immediate justice at all but leaving room for the wrath of God. Peter calls us to more than relinquishing our rights or passive inaction. Peter calls us to bless those who insult us and do evil against us. Don’t be satisfied to simply let it go; do good to the person who wronged you and pray that God would bless them.

Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Jesus taught us:

Luke 6:27-36 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (cf. Matthew 5:38-45)

This takes us back to what Peter said in 1:15 ‘but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,’ – our being kind to those who mistreat us reflects the character of God who was kind to us when we were his enemies.

Peter gives us the reason for this conduct:

9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

We have been called to bless those that injure us. This is the fourth reminder in Peter that God acted to call us to himself; in 1:15 ‘as he who called you is holy’; 2:9 ‘proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness’; 2:21 ‘to this you have been called’. In 2:20-21 Peter encouraged servants that suffering for doing good is what they have been called to do:

2:20 …But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

All the way back in Genesis 12, God’s called Abram to be a blessing to all the nations.

Genesis 12:2-3 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

We are called to be a blessing to those around us, even to our enemies; especially to our enemies.

Now this all sounds good. It sounds right – until we walk out those doors and someone says something or does something to us that isn’t right. Then it all comes apart. What do we do? How can we possibly respond the way Peter commands us to respond?

“when Christianity calls upon us to do what does not seem humanly possible it shows us its genius – supernaturalism. Peter, of all men, should know what the grace of God had done for him in this respect. He had been not only fast with the sword; he had been quick with his tongue.” [D.J.Kenyon, He that will Love Life, p.197; cited in Hiebert, p.214]

Here’s the point. We cannot do this apart from the grace of God at work in our lives. The power of God has to be at work in my life to create the desire to respond this way to the various circumstances that confront me each and every day. This is not normal or natural. This is supernatural. And Peter tells us ‘if you respond this way, if you allow the power of God to work in your life so that you bless your enemies, you will inherit a blessing’. We’re going to look more at what that means next time.

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

March 29, 2009 Posted by | 1 Peter, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Peter 3:7; God Honoring Conduct – Husband Honor your Wife

03/15 1 Peter 3:7 God honoring Conduct; Husband Honor your Wife

3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives– 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing– 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

We’ve been looking at Peter’s instructions on how to glorify God in daily life (2:12), especially if you find yourself in less than ideal situations. His focus is on proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light (2:9) by living in such a way that unbelievers see our God exalting good works and want what we’ve got. He’s pointed to our relation to governmental authority and urged us ‘for the Lord’s sake’ to give honor and submit (2:13-17). He pointed to the situation of servants or employees and urged us to be mindful of God as we endure sorrow while suffering unjustly (2:18-20). He pointed us to Christ as the supreme example of one who suffered the ultimate injustice and continued entrusting to God who judges justly (2:21-25). Then he addressed wives who had husbands who were hostile to the gospel (3:1-6). He instructs them in how to win their husbands to Christ without a word by a lifestyle that lets the inner beauty of a submissive God-exalting heart shine through. His argument is from the greater to the lesser. If women with husbands who are hostile to the gospel ought to respond to them in an attitude of graceful submission, how much more those who have husbands that share their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, submission to authority in no way implies inequality or inferiority. This will be clear in the next verse. The authority structure in the marriage relationship is not a result of the fall, but rather has its roots in the created order. God created man and God demonstrated that it was not good for man to be alone, so he created a suitable helper – and boy do we need help! God made man as male and female – in his own image and he created them together to rule over and care for his creation.

But the roots of the ‘equal in personhood but submissive in role’ relationship of husbands and wives runs even deeper than the created order. It finds it source all the way back to the triune God who created us. The Son, although equal with the Father in every way, voluntarily and joyfully submits himself to the will of the Father. Jesus said:

John 8:28 …I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 …I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

Luke 22:42 … not my will, but yours, be done.”

This in no way indicates that Jesus is inferior to his Father in any way. It is this relationship of the Father’s gracious purposes and the Son’s willing and joyful submission in full unity and equality that the marriage relationship is meant to display.

This truth of scripture is being attacked in our culture, the same way God’s truth was attacked all the way back in the garden. Satan said to Eve ‘did God actually say…’ and there are bible scholars today that are asking that question ‘did God actually say that wives are to submit to husbands?’ And it couldn’t get much clearer than our text: ‘wives submit to your own husbands … as Sarah obeyed Abraham’. The next thing the snake said was it’s not true – ‘you will not surely die’. Yes, God may have said that, but he certainly didn’t mean it. This is a medieval relic leftover from a very different time that has no relevance for us today. We can accept the serpent’s lie to our own harm and the harm of our relationships, or we can submit to the authority of God’s word and humbly receive what God has to say to us as wise and loving instruction from the one who invented man and woman and the marriage relationship. That’s what I hope to do today.

In verse 7 he turns his attention to the husbands. Husbands, too can either bring glory to God by their conduct, or bring reproach to the name of Christ by the way they conduct themselves, especially toward their wives.

7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Peter starts out saying ‘likewise‘. This is the same word he has used in 3:1 to address a new category of readers. He has addressed citizens and slaves and wives, and now he addresses husbands. The difference from these other categories is that here he is addressing the person with the authority rather than those who are under authority. Because of this, he does not use the word ‘submit’ or ‘be subject’ as he did with the other three groups. He says ‘husbands, because it falls upon you to lead, you must lead in this way’.

The first thing he says is ‘live with your wives in an understanding way’. The assumption is that the husband and wife are cohabiting. That should go without saying. You can’t follow these instructions if you have separated. The model is clear from Genesis – leave your father and mother and cleave to your spouse. One man and one woman until death do us part. Cling to one another. Be one flesh – in all that that means. God says ‘do not deprive one another’ in 1 Corinthians 7:5. His instructions here are specifically to the husband:

He says ‘husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way’. Literally it says ‘live with your wives according to knowledge‘ – there are things you need to know and can know about your wife that will make your relationship go well. There is an inclination in many books and seminars to exaggerate and highlight the drastic differences between men and women to the point that there is no hope for ever understanding the opposite sex. I think this is a reaction to our culture – a culture that has eliminated any difference between the sexes and demanded equality on every level. I think this is an over-reaction. You will never ever be able to understand women, so just resign yourself to live together peaceably. Give up hope of ever understanding your wife. Stop wasting effort on understanding her and just follow these 27 steps to achieve a better marriage. According to this text that is wrong and bad advice. Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. Peter tells us to live with our wives ‘according to knowledge’. There must be some attainable knowledge that he expects us to embrace that will help in our relationship both with our spouse and with God.

Men, here’s what you need to know about women. Here’s what the bible says. Truth #1 She was created by God; handmade by God; therefore she has inherent dignity, value and worth – so treat her with the respect that is due to God’s creation. Treasure her. Thank God for her. When God was done, he said it is ‘very good’. Don’t disagree with God on that one. Truth #2 She was created by God to be your helper – so let her help – you need help – she finds God given purpose when she helps – that doesn’t mean she was created to make your lunch and wash your dirty underwear and bring you a beer from the fridge as you hold down the couch. She was created to rule creation along side of you. She’s probably better than you are at a lot of things. Let her function in her strengths. You can fall off either side of the wagon here. This doesn’t mean you can abrogate your authority in the home and say ‘she’s better at leading than I am, so I’ll just sit here on the couch and let her lead’. God gave you the responsibility to lead, so step up to your God given responsibility and learn from God what it looks like to lead in a way that gives him the glory. Truth #3 Woman was taken from man’s side – so she is different but complimentary – she has what you lack. There ‘s a piece of you that is missing, and she has it. When you marry her, you become whole. She completes you. You are strong in areas that she is weak; she is strong in areas that you are weak. So value the part she plays in your relationship. Honor her for who God created her to be. Recognize you are incomplete without her. Truth #4 She is a sinner in desperate need of the grace and forgiveness of God – just like you are. She has inherited Adam’s fallen corrupt self-centered sinful inclination – just like you did. So be patient with her. Encourage her. Lovingly point her to Jesus. Pray for her. Truth # 5 She is an individual. She has a unique fingerprint, one of a kind DNA. There is no other woman on the face of the planet just like her. And you have an exclusive relationship with her. No one else has the legitimate opportunity to get to know her like you do. So get to know her. Become an expert on you wife. Find out what blesses her, what pleases her, what brings her delight – and do those things. Find out what annoys her, what irritates her, what frustrates her – and stop doing that. Talk to her. Listen to her. Hear her. Get emotionally involved in her life. Find out her strengths and encourage her in them. Find out her weaknesses and shelter her.

Live with her ‘according to knowledge, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel’. Husband, you are to honor your wife. She is worthy of honor and you are to give her that honor. Treat her with dignity. Value her.

Honor in God’s sight belongs to those who are or make themselves last or least in the eyes of the world;

Mark 10:42-45 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

If your wife has voluntarily sacrificed of herself to serve you, she is great in God’s sight and she will be honored for that.

I want to look for a moment at what Peter calls women here: the ‘weaker vessel‘. Ladies, you might have been offended when we read that. Don’t be. Hear what he says. He calls you a vessel – that’s a container used to carry something. This metaphor is used throughout scripture to refer to human beings. In Genesis 2 we are told that God formed man out of dust and filled him with the spirit or breath of God. We are containers made to carry God’s image.

Isaiah 64:8 ‘We are the clay, and you are our potter’

2Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

2Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Our purpose as vessels or containers is to carry God’s image; to hold the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; as Peter has put it ‘to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light.

The text says that the woman is the weaker vessel. She’s not the weak vessel as opposed to the strong vessel. She is weaker – husband, you are weak. Both husband and wife are frail vessels used by God for his purposes. The word here translated ‘the woman’ is found only here in the New Testament – it could be translated ‘the feminine one’ This may refer to average physical strength. Or the wife may be considered weak because of her role as wife. By marrying, she has accepted a position which is in submission to her husband, and she has made herself vulnerable and subject to exploitation [Hiebert, p.206].

The reason stated for husbands to give honor to their wives is because they are fellow-heirs of the grace of life. This is a radical statement for a first century Jew living in Rome to make. Women in their culture got no inheritance. Yet Peter boldly proclaims that wives are joint-heirs of the grace of life. Within the marriage relationship, the roles of husband and wife are complementary and different. But individually in their standing before God they are equal. They are accepted by God on the same basis. They believe in the same Savior, are redeemed by the same ransom, live by the same grace, and look forward to the same eternal destiny. Wives share with their husbands in the ‘inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you’ (1:4). In fact, Peter has already addressed the situation where a wife is on her way to heaven without her husband if he remains hostile to the gospel, but the hope is that she would bring him to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. She, like any individual, is saved by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The result is given in the final phrase of the verse: ‘so that your prayers may not be hindered‘. The implications of this are massive! If you do not live with your wife in an understanding way giving her honor, then your prayers will be cut off. God will not listen to you. Your relationship with your spouse directly impacts your relationship with God. God puts such a value on the husband/wife relationship that he will interrupt his own relationship with someone in loving discipline to get their marriage back on track. This is a specific restatement of a general biblical truth.

Matthew 5:23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Our horizontal relationships have direct implications on our vertical relationship with God. Do you feel distant from God? Feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Consider your attitude toward your spouse.

7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

March 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1 Peter 3:1-6

03/08 1 Peter 3:1-6 God honoring Conduct; Wives Submit to your Husbands

Peter is written to those who have become aliens to their culture because of their newfound faith in Jesus. Their values and morals and actions and attitudes are radically different from the community in which they live. They have a transformed world view. They live life in a revolutionary counter-cultural way. They are to pattern their lives around the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter’s instructions are as shocking and counter-cultural today as they were to his first century readers in Roman occupied Asia Minor. So I want us to prepare to have our culture and our ideas and our values confronted and challenged and shaped by God’s true word.

2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives– 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing– 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

The first thing Peter says is ‘likewise’ or ‘in the same way’. And if we look back at the context, we’ve seen that Peter is addressing his readers in the context of their relationship to the people that live around them:

2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

And he is speaking evangelistically – our purpose in life is to ‘proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light’ (2:9). Our proclamation in this context is primarily through our conduct; we must live in such a way among unbelievers that they ‘see our good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation’. He has specifically addressed us as citizens being subject to our governing authorities (2:13-17), and he has addressed household servants or employees being subject to our masters, particularly in the difficult situation when those masters are unjust and crooked (2:18-20). Peter reminds us that it is our calling as followers of Christ to suffer like he did. He holds up Jesus as our example of how to respond when suffering unjustly (2:21-25). Now he proceeds to the relationship of wives to their husbands, particularly unbelieving husbands (3:1-6).

He says ‘even if some do not obey the word’. Disobedience to the word is another way of saying that they rejected the good news:

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

1Peter 2:7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”

1Peter 2:8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

1Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

So this command applies to all Christian wives, even those with unbelieving husbands. The command is clear; ‘wives, be subject to your own husbands’. Is this some carry over from the dark ages that equates a wife with a house slave who lives in servile fear and unquestioning obedience to a domineering male? Is this something that is so wrapped up in an unenlightened first century foreign culture that it has no relevance for us today other than a historical footnote in the biblical text?

Keep in mind that this is coming from Peter. Many people view Paul as a male chauvinist pig that undervalued women, but this is from Peter, and we know from the bible that Peter was a married man. Jesus healed his mother-in-law in

Matthew 8:14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother–in–law lying sick with a fever.

and Paul said in

1Corinthians 9:5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

that Peter was taking his wife along with him in his missionary endeavors. I wonder if Peter had his wife look over his manuscript and give him suggestions as he wrote these words.

I do not believe this is irrelevant and obsolete. I am convinced that this is God’s authoritative word and wise instruction for us today as much as it was for Peter’s readers. I believe this is God’s wise and good instruction for us to live differently than the culture around us for our own good and for the glory of his great name. So let’s look at what he has to say to us with minds eager to learn and hearts eager to obey.

The command is for wives to be subject to their own husband. The word ‘be subject’ or ‘submit’ is the same word found in 2:13 of citizens to ruling authorities and in 2:18 of slaves to their masters. There is an authority structure that God has built in to the marriage relationship. If this is not clear enough, we see what he is instructing by the example he gives in verses 5 & 6. He holds up the holy women of old who submitted to their husbands like Sarah who obeyed Abraham. Submission is illustrated by obedience to her husband. To submit is to yield or surrender to the will or authority of another

Stay with me. Let’s keep the focus and purpose in mind. Back in 2:12 we are told to keep our conduct among unbelievers honorable so that they will see our good deeds and glorify God by turning to him. Now wives in particular are told to act in a specific way so that their unbelieving husbands will be won to Christ by their conduct. The purpose is a silent proclamation of the glory of God. There is a word play between the husbands who are disobedient to the word and the wordless witness of the wife that is ultimately persuasive. Sometimes the best witness is a wordless witness. Rarely is a husband nagged into the kingdom. The language implies that the husband heard the word of the gospel and rejected it while his wife embraced it. He knows the message but needs persuasive evidence of its power lived out in the life of someone close to him.

Before we go any farther, we need to clarify something. How does one get into this situation where the wife is a believer and the husband is not? Peter is not recommending this arrangement. If you are single, the bible does not permit you to get involved in a relationship with an unbeliever. If you’re contemplating that course of action, we have some people here who are in that situation and I’m sure they would share with you the hurt and heartache that is involved. Don’t go there! What happened here, was the gospel was being preached for the first time in this pagan culture, and there were women who heard the message and embraced Christ but their husbands did not. This in itself was radical in that culture. Plutarch said “A wife should not acquire her own friends, but should make her husband’s friends her own. The gods are the first and most significant friends. For this reason, it is proper for a wife to recognize only those gods whom her husband worships and to shut the door to superstitious cults and strange superstitions.” [Conj. Praec. 19, Mor. 140D; from Schreiner, p.153]

This gives us a hint at what this kind of submission is NOT. We are not talking about a doormat ‘whatever you say honey’ kind of submission. This is not a passive leave your brains at the altar and go along with whatever he says because he’s smarter than me kind of submission. These women had heard the gospel and embraced Christ independent of their husbands. On the most significant issue in the world, these women disagreed with their husbands and would not bend. Nor does Peter encourage them to bend. Rather, he encourages them to strategize to win their husband to Christ. This is bold and this is daring and this is totally counter-cultural. Peter is affirming that these women are right and that their husbands are disobedient and wrong and need to be converted.

So let’s look at his strategy. Verse 2 says ‘when they see your respectful and pure conduct’. Literally this could be translated ‘as they observe your pure conduct in fear’. Everywhere in Peter, fear is directed toward God alone and never toward man. They will observe your pure conduct in the fear of God. The good conduct of the wife is motivated not out of respect for her husband but from her relationship with God. Out of a desire to please God, she maintains her purity. The fact that her husband is not a believer does not sever her marriage covenant and set her free to flirt with the men at church. Out of her fear of God, she maintains her purity. This purity is motivated not out of respect for the husband but for God, but it benefits the unbelieving husband and he will notice it.

Next Peter addresses the issue of beauty. Beauty was a big deal in that culture, and it is a big deal in our culture. Almost every sidebar advertisement I see on the internet shows what you can look like with this new wonder treatment. Eat these berries and you can drop four sizes. Follow this rule for a flatter stomach. Try this cream and wipe away the wrinkles. Here’s how the celebrities do it. Hair, jewelry, clothes, fashion. Stop! All those things are external. The focus of our whole society is about 1/8″ deep and lasts about 2 minutes in a windstorm. Peter says ‘Do not let your adorning be external’. And he gives three examples that were relevant then and are still relevant two thousand years later: hair, gold jewelry, clothes. Peter is not forbidding you to braid your hair. He’s not forbidding you from wearing gold. If that were the case, then it would follow that he was also forbidding you from wearing clothing. Fix your hair. Wear a ring. Put on some clothes. There’s nothing wrong or sinful about any of that. Peter is drawing a contrast. That’s not where your beauty comes from. Genuine lasting beauty comes from the inside. How much time do you spend in front of the mirror trying to beautify the external and how much time do you spend in the mirror of God’s word seeking to have your inner person transformed? By the way, this is addressed specifically to women, but this is applicable to all of us, is it not? ‘Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit’. This is good news. Fixing up the externals is expensive and it doesn’t last. What Peter is talking about is imperishable beauty. My mom used to give herself a ‘permanent’ every few months. She even gave me one once. Thank God it wasn’t ‘permanent’. This is good news. Peter has talked about our ‘inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you’ (1:4) and that ‘the tested genuineness of our faith’ is ‘more precious than gold that perishes’ (1:7); he says we were ransomed ‘not with perishable things such as silver and gold’ (1:18) and that we ‘have been born again not of perishable seed but of imperishable’ (1:23). Now he tells us that we can adorn ourselves with a beauty that is imperishable. Here’s what this imperishable inner beauty consists of. You don’t have to sign up for nine monthly payments of $39.95 to get the secret. Here it is: a gentle and quiet spirit. When you hear ‘gentle’ don’t think ‘wimp’. Think Jesus. Think strength under control. This is the same word translated ‘meek’ in Matthew 5:5

Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Jesus said of himself:

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

So Peter is not saying be a doormat; be a wimp; he is saying be like Jesus. Gentle and quiet. Quietness does not refer to silence, but to a demeanor of peace or calmness; not agitated or disturbed.

These characteristics are not only attractive to an unbelieving husband, but God views them as lavish or expensive. God himself views this kind of attitude as rare and extremely valuable.

Now Peter brings in the Old Testament illustration. ‘this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.’ You could make a long list of women who are praised for their virtue in the Old Testament. They are called ‘holy women’ or women set apart for God. We have no photographs of Sarah. We have no idea what kind of hairstyle she wore. Old pictures can be embarrassing. I can’t believe we dressed like that and thought that hairstyle looked good! But the inner beauty of these Old Testament saints shines through the narrative. She still looks good after thousands of years! Sarah is in her 70’s and the leaders pointed her out to the Pharaoh, who took her into his harem because of her beauty (Gen.12). Years later she’s a 90 year old lady and is brought into the harem of another king (Gen.20). Sarah is an encouraging example, because she didn’t start out that great. She made some stupid mistakes. Hagar. Ishmael. But she grew in her faith and her inner beauty. She is a great example of a wife’s submission to an unbelieving and disobedient husband, because there were several occasions where Abraham, although he is known as the father of the faithful, acted out of fear and made some stupid decisions. Twice he passed his wife off as his sister, and put her integrity in jeopardy. She submitted to his foolish plan and kept trusting in God to protect her and keep his promises. It’s very interesting what Peter picks out of the Genesis narrative to highlight her attitude. He pulls one word out of Genesis 18:12. This is where God shows up at Abraham’s tent and tells him that he’s going to have a son with his aged wife Sarah. Sarah is listening in the tent and laughs to herself at the thought. She says:

Genesis 18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”

This seems at first glance like a random thing to pick for a text. But as we look closer, this is a vulnerable moment where here private thoughts are laid bare, and even in her disbelief of the promise of God, in her inner thought life, she was in the habit of addressing her husband with a term of respect and honor.

And Peter gets to the core of the issue. They hoped in God. Sarah’s hope was not in Abraham. He let her down over and over again. Her hope was in God. Nothing can shake this kind of woman. Her character is defined by her hope in God. God, not her husband is where she finds her strength and protection and future. Because of that, wherever conscience allows, she can gladly submit to her husband’s authority, confident that God will reward those who put their trust in him.

We are called sons of Abraham through faith (Rom.4:16; Gal.3:29)

Here, women who follow Sarah’s example of submission to her husband out of fear of the Lord are called ‘children of Sarah’, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Again it is demonstrated that submission is not out of fear of the man. A woman who refuses to worship her husband’s gods and chooses to follow Christ may have much to fear. But she is not to fear her husband or the disapproval of society. Rather, her submission is an act of freedom and strength, demonstrating that she fears God and that her hope is in God. She can boldly do good in order to bring glory to God and put God on display in a persuasive way in the hopes that she will win her husband without a word to faith in Christ.

Hope in God. Proclaim the excellencies of him who called you. Conduct yourselves in such a way that unbelievers see your good works and come to glorify God by embracing him as Lord and Savior.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

March 8, 2009 Posted by | 1 Peter, podcast | Leave a comment


20090301 Baptism


We are going to baptize some people today. So I want to take some time this morning to explore what God’s word has to say about baptism. I want to look at why we baptize, who we baptize, and what baptism means.

The Command to Baptize

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It is Jesus’ command to his followers that compels us to baptize. We baptize followers of Jesus in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus’ command here is simple: ‘make disciples of all nations’. That is the command. If disciples are to be made from every nation or every ethnic group, then ‘going’ will be necessary. A disciple is a student, a learner, or a follower. There are two primary things Jesus commands that we do with his disciples. We are to baptize them and teach them. Baptism is the initiatory rite that indicates to everyone that they are beginning the life of a disciple, following a new master. Teaching what Jesus taught is the continuation of the process of disciple making.

Jesus is clear as to what his disciples are to be baptized into. In that day it was common for someone who was not Jewish by descent but wanted to worship the God of Israel to be baptized into Judaism as an indication that they had left their old gods behind and had turned to YHWH. John, who was know as ‘the baptist’ or the one who baptized, came with a radical message. He preached a baptism of repentance – calling Jews to turn from their formal outward religion and prepare their hearts for radical transformation.

Jesus here tells his followers to baptize disciples ‘in (or into) the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. Jesus does not tell us to baptize into an -ism or a group, but into a name; into a person, into a relationship. One’s name stands for their character, nature or reputation. The word ‘Name’ is singular, as Israel was so clearly taught that ‘the Lord our God is one Lord’.

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

There is one name, one character or nature, one God. And yet Jesus tells us that we are to baptize into the name of three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is one of many reasons why orthodox Christianity since the time of Jesus has held faithfully to the doctrine of the triune God: One God eternally existent in three distinct persons. We baptize into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The duration of this command is also stated by Jesus in this verse. How long are we to make disciples, baptizing and teaching? And where does the authority lie? Jesus said ‘all authority has been given to me’. I have no authority – Jesus has all the authority, and Jesus said ‘I am with you always’. The person who does the baptizing is nothing. Jesus carries his own authority. Jesus said ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age’. So as long as this age lasts, we will go on making disciples, baptizing them into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that he has commanded us, with the confidence that he promised to be with us.

Who Can Be Baptized?

What is the prerequisite for baptism? Baptism is to be done in the disciple making process, so it is for those who have become disciples or followers of Jesus.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Peter said that repentance was what must precede baptism. To repent literally means to turn. I was going in this direction trusting in my good works and thinking I was fine with God, but then I felt the weight of my sin and recognized my good works are filthy rags in God’s sight. Jesus apprehended me and I had to turn around and leave my good works behind and cling to Jesus alone and what he accomplished for me on the cross to forgive my sins. A few verses later, Luke tells us that:

Acts 2:41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

When Peter proclaimed the good news that ‘everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (v.21) and that the crucified Jesus is the Lord that we must call to for salvation (v.36), those who received his word became followers of Jesus and were baptized.

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Both men and women were baptized in response to their belief in the good news message about Jesus.

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas ‘what must I do to be saved?’, they told him:

Acts 16:30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

Belief in Jesus as Lord brought salvation to each individual in this household. In response to their faith, they were baptized.

Acts 18:8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.

Those who believe in the Lord, those who call out to Jesus for salvation, who repent or turn from whatever they were trusting in to Jesus, those who become disciples or followers of Jesus are baptized as a public declaration of their new faith.

What Is Baptism?

We’ve looked at Jesus’ command to baptize disciples, and we’ve looked at repentance and faith as the biblical prerequisite for baptism, but just what is baptism and what does it mean? First, a definition of the word itself will be helpful. The word is actually an untranslated carry – over from the Greek language that the New Testament was written in. Rather than translate the word with an English word that has the same meaning, the Greek characters were simply replaced with English characters and [baptizw] became ‘baptize’, a new word in our language. When we study how the word [baptizw] was used in New Testament times, we find that it means ‘to dunk, dip, plunge or immerse’ in water. It might help us understand what the bible is saying if we replace the word ‘baptize’ with the word ‘immerse’.

Baptism is an Illustration of Death, Burial, and Resurrection

Romans 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized [immersed] into Christ Jesus were baptized [immersed] into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism [immersion] into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Water baptism is a picture of what spiritually happened to us when we trusted Christ. We have been immersed into Christ Jesus, and specifically immersed into his death. Going down into the water pictures our death and burial with Christ. It is an effective picture, because if the one doing the baptizing is not strong enough or not kind enough to bring the person back up out of the water, the picture will become a reality. Jesus referred to his coming crucifixion as a baptism in Mark 10:38-38 and Luke 12:50. Coming up out of the water illustrates our resurrection and new life as believers. Paul is arguing in Romans 6 that we cannot continue to live in sin because we have died to our old sinful way of life, and we are now alive to God in Christ Jesus. As disciples of Jesus, we will live differently, not because we are under a new set of rules, but because we have a new resurrection life in us that has different desires. Paul goes on in the next verses to describe our baptism with Christ as being united with Christ:

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.

We have been crucified with Christ and now we are free from sin.

Baptism is Similar to Circumcision as the Sign of the Covenant

In Colossians 2, baptism is compared to circumcision, the sign of the old covenant. Circumcision was the cutting off of physical flesh; in Christ, our fleshly nature is put off.

Colossians 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

This resurrection power comes to me ‘through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Jesus from the dead.’

Paul goes on to describe our desperate condition and what God did:

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Baptism Follows Justification by Faith

In Galatians 3, Paul is explaining that all the promises of God come not to law keepers, but to those who believe in Jesus. Notice how many times the word ‘faith’ or ‘believe’ occurs:

Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized [immersed] into Christ have put on Christ.

Justification – being absolved of our sins – comes through faith in Jesus Christ. But justification changes us. As we are immersed into Christ, we become so saturated with Christ, that we wear Jesus around and drip him all over everyone we come in contact with.

Baptism Unites with the Body Of Christ

Paul goes on:

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Our immersion into Christ destroys all ethnic and social and economic barriers. We are now united in a spiritual connection with our brothers and sisters.

1Corinthians 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized [immersed] into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit––just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Baptism Pictures Washing Away Guilt

Peter compares baptism to the ark that brought Noah and his family safely through the waters of the judgment of God.

1Peter 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Peter is careful to clarify that it’s not the water of baptism that removes dirt from the body that has any spiritual significance. Rather, it is the removal of dirt from the conscience by crying out to God in faith. Our conscience is washed clean by the blood of Jesus and we are free from guilt because Jesus bore all our sins and paid for them in full.

Baptism in Water or Baptism with the Spirit?

This raises the question ‘what is the difference between baptism in water and the cleansing of the conscience by faith in Jesus?’ John the baptist said:

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

So there is a distinction between water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism. John did the water baptism, Jesus would do the Holy Spirit baptism. John immersed people in water to symbolize their repentance. Jesus would submerge and saturate people with God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus, when he appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, told them:

Acts 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The disciples experienced this, and when Peter preached his first sermon, he said:

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is given in response to repentance and faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. Water baptism is a picture of this spiritual reality.


Jesus commanded us to baptize believers because baptism is a symbol rich in spiritual significance.

  • It illustrates our baptism by Jesus with the Holy Spirit when we believe in him.

  • It pictures our connection with Jesus in his death and resurrection, demonstrating that we are dead to sin and have new resurrection life so that we can live pleasing to God.

  • Because we have been immersed in the Spirit, we have become one with all other believers.

  • Baptism is done in response to repentance, turning from our way to God’s way, and faith or trust or belief in Jesus as Lord and King, and his finished work on the cross – where he took the punishment in full for my sin.

  • In baptism, we are identified with the name of the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – as being owned by him.

  • By being baptized, we are declaring to all that we are now disciples, followers of Jesus, submitted, committed and devoted to him.

Jesus said:

Matthew 16:18 …I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 20 …And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Therefore, we can make disciples, baptizing and teaching them.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

March 1, 2009 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , | 1 Comment