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1 Peter 4:10-11; The End is Near – Use Your Gift

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20090531_1peter4_10-11.mp3

05/31 1 Peter 4:10-11 The End is Near: Use Your Gifts to Glorify God

10 ekastov kaywv elaben carisma eiv eautouv auto diakonountev wv kaloi oikonomoi poikilhv caritov yeou 11 ei tiv lalei wv logia yeou ei tiv diakonei wv ex iscuov hv corhgei o yeov ina en pasin doxazhtai o yeov dia ihsou cristou w estin h doxa kai to kratov eiv touv aiwnav twn aiwnwn amhn

4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter puts on his sandwich board sign that says ‘the end of all things is at hand’ and because the only thing holding back justice and the final judgment is the mercy of our longsuffering God, because the end could come at any moment, he gives us instruction; four things we should be devoted to in light of the end. The first was prayers – we must keep a level-headed vigilant attitude – we must organize our life and think clearly in order to pray more effectively. Highest on his priority list is love – love for one another – earnest unceasing love – because if we truly love each other the way Jesus loves his church, then we will be able to put up with a lot of things that would otherwise irritate and separate us. We will have the highest good of the other in mind and that will rule all our thoughts and feelings and words and actions. This love must extend to practical acts of generosity and hospitality – and without the complaining that would ordinarily accompany frequent and repeated guests and meals and cleaning and preparation and laundry and all the labor that goes into doing hospitality.

The end of all things is at hand; history is moving toward a fixed goal – the culmination of everything is right around the corner. Because the end is near, we must be disciplined in prayer, earnest in love, cheerful in hospitality, and Peter gives us one last instruction in light of the end; he moves from mutual love to mutual service; he says ‘make use of your gifts to serve one another’.

4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter is talking here about spiritual gifts. This is an essential passage to consider when looking at the gifts of the Spirit. Paul gives extensive lists of spiritual gifts in various places. Peter doesn’t give us a long list of specific gifts – he gives much more generalized instruction concerning the gifts. He gives us the big picture ultimate purpose of the gifts.

The Extent:

He starts by telling us:

4:10 As each has received a gift,

His basic assumption is that every Christian has been gifted by God. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have at least a gift. Every member of Christ’s body has a function and a role. There are no useless members. There is not one of the Lord’s people who has not received some gifts from him that they can use to bring good to their fellow believers and glory and praise to God.

Each has received a gift. The word ‘gift’ is ‘charisma’ [carisma] and the root is ‘charis’ [cariv] ‘grace’. Gifts are exactly that – gifts; gracious undeserved outpourings of God’s goodness as the supreme giver. Free gifts flowing from the undeserved grace of Almighty God.

The Purpose – To Serve

His assumption is that we have all been gifted by God. His admonition is that we use our gifts, and that we use them properly.

4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Our gifts are not for our own benefit. My gift is for your benefit; your gift is for my benefit. God does not give his gifts so that we can boast and gloat and promote and display or draw attention to ourselves – they are gifts that we did nothing to merit. Since all gifts are rooted in the free and sovereign grace of God, there is no room for pride in the one who has received. We must not overvalue ourselves as if we had earned God’s favor; and we must not undervalue our gift and hide it as if it were not important and did not exist. We are to use our gifts. The proper use of our gifts is to serve one another – as Paul puts it ‘for the building up of the body of Christ’

1 Corinthians 14:3-5 … so that the church may be built up.

Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

Peter calls us stewards – someone who manages the resources of their master. We have been entrusted with a responsibility to manage God’s resources. God’s gifts are a weighty responsibility. We are stewards; we can be good and faithful servants or wicked and slothful servants with what God entrusts to us. In Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25, the unfaithful servant buried his gift and returned the exact amount to his master. We are expected to take inventory of what we have been given and wisely invest and risk and creatively explore ways in which we can utilize our gift in such a way that the return is maximized for the glory of God.

We are to use our gifts as we have received them – ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another’ – they were graciously and freely given to us out of the abundant generosity of our great God. We ought to use them freely, graciously, and with abundant generosity for the good of those around us.

Categories of Gifts:

We are to be good stewards of God’s varied grace. God’s gracious gifts are multi-faceted and infinitely variable. Paul in several places in his letters lists some of the various gifts (Rom.12:6-8; 1 Cor.12:8-10, 28-30; Eph.4:11). None of the lists is the same, and even within each gift, there are infinite variations and unique manifestations. Our God is a God who can craft each snowflake with an unique and distinct signature and pattern, and he can gift his people with an infinite diversity of degrees and styles and combinations of giftings. Peter here is not interested in specifying any of the different gifts; he lumps them into two broad categories and focuses our attention on the proper use and ultimate purpose of all the gifts.

11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies

His two major categories are speaking gifts and serving gifts. Speaking gifts would probably include apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, exhortation, wisdom, knowledge, tongues and interpretation. Serving gifts would probably include giving, leading, mercy, service, faith, healing, miracles, distinguishing spirits, helping and administration. [see chart]

Means of Using the Gifts

The one who employs a speaking gift is to use it as one who speaks oracles of God. This phrase is used in the LXX to refer to the words of the Lord revealed to the prophet Balaam:

Numbers 24:4,16 the oracle of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered:

It is used in the New Testament to refer to the OT scriptures

Acts 7:38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us.

Romans 3:2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,

It is an incredibly serious thing to say ‘thus saith the Lord’.

Ezekiel 13:6-8 They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the LORD,’ when the LORD has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. 7 Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the LORD,’ although I have not spoken?”8 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord GOD.

God is against the one who claims to speak for him when he has not spoken. James says:

James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

This is a weighty responsibility, not to be taken lightly. Paul says:

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth

Paul tells young Timothy:

2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

He tells Titus:

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

When the people heard Jesus teach:

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Luke 4:32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.

We have been entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must authoritatively proclaim God’s truth. The authority is not inherent in the messenger, but in the message. In so far as the message is true to God’s word it carries the weight of God’s authority. The noble Bereans were praised as they listened to the apostle because:

Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

God’s word is our authority. We must be faithful to his word.

2 Corinthians 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

The one who serves is to serve not their own strength but in the strength that God supplies. God’s gifts must be operated with God’s strength that he abundantly supplies in order to be fruitful. Jesus said:

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Jesus told Paul:

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” …

We must own our total inability apart from the power of God at work in us. And we recognize that when God’s power is working:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

When you speak, speak with God’s voice and God’s authority (not your own); when you serve, serve with God’s strength and God’s supply (not your own).

The Goal

What is the goal? The ultimate purpose for our speaking and our serving is

–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

‘When those who speak utter God’s words rather than their own and those who serve do so in God’s strength rather than their own, God through Jesus Christ receives the glory … the provider is always the one who is praised’ (Schreiner, p.215). This must be our motivation for everything we do – that we do it in such a way that it is evident that the words are divine words and the power is divine power so that the glory goes to the divine enabler and not to the channel through which the divine work flows. That’s the only way we can obey what Jesus is telling us in:

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

This is the ultimate purpose of everything:

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

We exist to bring glory to God. We were created to bring him praise. But we can only bring glory to God through the person of Jesus Christ. We cannot come to God on our own.

Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

We must have a mediator

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus, fully God and fully man, was the only one capable of satisfying the wrath of God against our sin by his death as our substitute.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God

It is through Jesus that we are brought to a place where we can give the glory to God that is his due.

The Doxology

Peter is compelled to worship this great God:

To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

God owns the right to all glory. Whenever we glory in a lesser thing, we commit idolatry and treason and rob God of his due. He alone deserves our praise and he demands our worship.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 48:11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

God’s glory is eternal and his rule will never end. He alone is worthy of our undivided adoration and affection. Let’s give him the glory that he is due.

Romans 12:6-8

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

1 Corinthians 12:28-30

Ephesians 4:11

1 Peter 4:10

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interpret

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Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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May 31, 2009 Posted by | 1 Peter, podcast | , , , | Leave a comment

1 Peter 4:7-9; The End is Near!

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20090524_1peter4_7-9.mp3

05/24 1 Peter 4:7-9 The End is Near: Prayer,Love, and Hospitality

4:7 pantwn de to telov hggiken swfronhsate oun kai nhqate eiv proseucav 8 pro pantwn thn eiv eautouv agaphn ektenh econtev oti agaph kaluptei plhyov amartiwn

-Intro:

Peter is writing to believers in Asia Minor who were undergoing persecution and suffering, or would soon be suffering for the the sake of Jesus. Because of their relationship with Jesus, they had become strangers, outsiders in their own communities. Peter gives clear direction that when suffering comes, and it will come (we have been called to suffer – 2:21), this is how we must respond; we are to follow the example of Jesus. Jesus did not suffer for any wrong that he had committed, so we must not bring suffering on ourselves by sinful action. While suffering, Jesus continued entrusting everything to his Father who judges justly. Jesus suffered for the good of others – ultimately in order to bring us to God. In Jesus’ suffering, he won the decisive victory over sin. Since he suffered in the flesh and conquered sin once for all, our battle with sin is a battle against a defeated foe. When suffering comes our way, we might be tempted to use it as an excuse for sin – we think we have a legitimate reason to indulge ourself because life is hard. Instead, we can fight against sin by arming ourselves with the attitude of Jesus toward suffering – we can resolve to face the suffering that comes to us knowing that it is the will of our loving Father and it is for our good. We know that it is temporary and will soon be replaced by inexpressible joy. For Jesus, and for us, suffering is the pathway to victory. We can be done with sin and instead passionately pursue the will of God. Jesus now is seated at the right hand of his Father, with angels, authorities and powers having been subjected to him. He now stands ready to judge the living and the dead. Everyone will give account to him, and those who have suffered for him will be richly rewarded. It is infinitely worth it to suffer in the service of Jesus. This thought of this final judgment leads Peter to give instruction in light of the end:

4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self–controlled and sober–minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies––in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter’s instructions are somewhat unexpected. The world is coming to an end! You are about to stand before your Maker! The Judge is ready! The end is near! I would anticipate …Doom and gloom. Fire and brimstone. Flee. Repent. Sell everything and look up in the sky. or Hurry and do something crazy to get everyone’s attention and tell them about Jesus before it’s too late.

He’s got a shaggy beard and unkempt hair and he just put on his sandwich board sign that says ‘the end of all things is at hand’ and he steps out into the busy street and this is what he says: “Be self controlled. Be sober minded. Pray. Love each other. Show hospitality. Make use of your God-given gifts for the glory of God.” That’s not what I would have expected. I would expect something more radical, more urgent than ‘keep your head so you can pray and love each other’. But that’s exactly what he says. Let’s look at what he says and why.

First, his statement ‘the end of all things is at hand’. The word ‘end’ indicates the goal or consummation. The goal of everything is near. Peter wrote these words some 2000 years ago. Was he wrong? What did he mean? This is the same word that both John the Baptist and Jesus used about the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The same word is used in Luke 22:47 of Judas, who was near enough to kiss Jesus.

Luke 22:47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him,

The point is that there is time for action, but there is no time to waste. Peter said that he ‘is ready to judge’. James says it this way:

James 5:8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

Jesus made it clear that although no date could be set, the disciples were to be always ready for his return:

Matthew 24:42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. …44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Jesus promised to come quickly and he has not come back yet. Is that a problem for us? It was already for the early church, and Peter addressed this question in his second letter:

2Peter 3:4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? … 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Jesus is at the very door, ready to burst in at any moment. The fact that he has not yet is sheer undeserved mercy. Every moment he waits is another opportunity for repentance. Never in the bible is the end mentioned merely to satisfy our curiosity. It is always mentioned as a motivation for action and right living.

Because the consummation of all things is right around the corner, this is how you should live: He mentions four things: (1) prayer and the necessary mental attitude for prayer, (2) love toward one another, (3) hospitality, and (4) the use of our gifts for serving one another for the glory of God. We’ll look at the first three and save the last for next time.

First, because of the nearness of the end, he tells us to ‘be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers’. Our inclination in light of the soon return of Christ would be to lose our heads and act irrationally. Instead, we are to be sensible and alert. Peter has already told us to be sober-minded:

1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober–minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Here he focuses our sober-minded self-controlled attention on the duty of prayer. We are to enhance our effectiveness in our prayers by clear thinking about the end. We should not be surprised or irrational in our praying, but rather enlightened by reality as seen from God’s perspective, calling on and submitting to his authority. We must recognize that the time is short and implore God to act in the time that still remains. Realizing that God is in control of these last few moments of history should cause us to focus our attention on him and lean on him more. We should be constantly looking to him for power and guidance to make our last moments here count. “It is only through clear communication with headquarters that a soldier can effectively stand guard” (Davids, p.157). We must stay connected with God and there are some things that we can practically do to maintain an effective prayer life; namely being self-controlled and sober-minded.

Next, and Peter says ‘above all, keep loving one another earnestly’. Second only to love for God, is the importance of loving his people. John tells us that this is the main evidence of our love for him.

1 John 5:1 … everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

Because of the nearness of the end, and the difficulties that will bring, we are reminded to keep on loving one another earnestly. When we face suffering, it is natural to turn our focus inward. My problems are big. Someone needs to help me and alleviate my suffering. Peter turns our focus outward. Even when you are suffering; especially when you are suffering, you need to care for the needs of others. In the middle of your trial, you need to know that because of what God has given you, you have something to give to those around you. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly. This is almost the same as what he said in:

1Peter 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,

The word ‘earnestly’ indicates stretching out to full capacity, like a horse at full gallop. Our love must be constant and enduring, not slacking off. Jesus predicted that in the end times, love would suffer:

Matthew 24:10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Peter’s reason for our persistent intensity of love for one another is that love covers sins. Peter’s idea comes from:

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

The idea is not that we justify our sins or ignore each others faults. We are to ‘stir up one another to love and good works’ (Heb.10:24) and to ‘reprove, rebuke, and exhort’ (2Tim.4:2) with all authority (Titus2:15). Jesus himself taught:

Luke 17:3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, …

But he goes on:

…and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Love does not excuse or overlook sin, but love does not seek to destroy because of sin. We all know the difference between someone who has been watching us hoping that we would stumble and they are eager to kick us while we are down and wring every drop of juicy satisfaction out of our failure that they can, drag our name through the mud and put our sin on public display; and those that genuinely care for us and although they confront us about our sin, it is privately and for our own good, with the purpose of restoring us to fellowship both with God and with them. If we are truly in the last days as Peter says, we have a common enemy. We don’t need to be seeking occasion to destroy one another. Instead we should cover each other and care for each other with love – as we would like to be treated. Love is eager to forgive and will overlook the faults of others in the church so that together we can stand against the schemes of the devil (Eph6:11). In the face of persecution, this is an essential attitude of the community of faith. Above all, keep on loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Peter goes on: ‘Show hospitality to one another without grumbling‘. Hospitality literally is being a friend to a stranger. It typically implied offering food and lodging. In a situation where people can barely meet their own needs, hospitality is a costly act of love. The word is plural – referring to repeated acts of hospitality. The early church did not often have public facilities available to them for meeting, so hospitality would be put to the test as the church would meet regularly in someone’s home. The persecuted church would also put hospitality to the test as Christians fleeing persecution would be in great need, but would also bring the threat of danger to the family who gave them shelter. Peter not only commands hospitality, but specifies the attitude that is to go along with it. Hospitality is to be cheerful, joyful hospitality. It is not to be grumbling hospitality.

2Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Because the time is short and the days are urgent, we are to extend practical love and hospitality with generosity to our brothers and sisters in need. We are to earnestly love and be eager to forgive. We are to think clearly in order to pray more appropriately and effectively. And we are to use our various gifts to serve one another in order to bring glory to God.

4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self–controlled and sober–minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies––in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

May 26, 2009 Posted by | 1 Peter, podcast | , , , | 1 Comment

1 Peter 4:1-6; Victory Through Suffering

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20090510_1peter4_1-6.mp3

05/10 1 Peter 4:1-6 Victory through Suffering

1 cristou oun payontov sarki kai umeiv thn authn ennoian oplisasye oti o paywn sarki pepautai amartiaiv 2 eiv to mhketi anyrwpwn epiyumiaiv alla yelhmati yeou ton epiloipon en sarki biwsai cronon 3 arketov gar o parelhluywv cronov to boulhma twn eynwn kateirgasyai peporeumenouv en aselgeiaiv epiyumiaiv oinoflugiaiv kwmoiv potoiv kai ayemitoiv eidwlolatriaiv 4 en w xenizontai mh suntrecontwn umwn eiv thn authn thv aswtiav anacusin blasfhmountev 5 oi apodwsousin logon tw etoimwv krinonti zwntav kai nekrouv 6 eiv touto gar kai nekroiv euhggelisyh ina kriywsin men kata anyrwpouv sarki zwsin de kata yeon pneumati

Peter is encouraging suffering believers that it is worth it to suffer for Jesus’ sake. Suffering is the pathway to victory in the Christian life. There is no need to fear, because Jesus also suffered and he was ultimately victorious. He will ensure that we who are suffering for him will be brought victoriously to God. The rescue of Noah and his family illustrates the triumph of Christ and the preservation of his people. We looked at the goal of Jesus in his death as our substitute to bring us to God:

3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, …

And we ended up last time with a view of Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father having conquered every spiritual power by his resurrection from the dead.

21 …through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Peter now goes on to draw practical instruction for us:

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

We are at war. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you are at war. You are in a war with sin. Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s how I’m going to tie this passage in with Mother’s Day. My mother recognized the battle that is raging for my soul and she engaged in the war. She wore out a pair of knees praying for me and my siblings. And during some critical years in my life when she saw the spiritual forces of temptation and sin that were seeking to destroy me, she did battle every morning. She would get up before school and fix my breakfast, and then, while I sat to eat, she would take up the Sword of the Spirit and read me a Proverb – whether I liked it or not. This passage deals with how to obtain victory in the war with sin. So, although this would probably not be my first choice of a passage for Mother’s Day, this is where we are in our study of 1 Peter, and I think that it has some important things that we need to know as we wage war for our souls and for the souls of our children.

Peter is drawing instruction from the example of Jesus, and he puts it in military terms.

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

The military metaphor for the Christian life is common in Paul’s letters:

Romans 13:12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

2Corinthians 6:7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;

2Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…

1Thessalonians 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Here, the weapon we are to take up in our spiritual battle is a mindset, a resolve or intention. Peter has given us a similar idea in:

1Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober–minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

This is something we decisively do. We are to arm ourselves with this way of thinking. That means that we need to study, to ask ‘what was the mindset of Jesus?’, and ‘how practically can I resolve to think the same way?’

Here, the mindset we are to have is the mindset of Jesus toward suffering.

Luke 9:44 “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”…51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem….53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.

Jesus was resolved to go and suffer.

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Jesus knew that suffering was a necessity. He had his mind set on the things of God, in contrast to Peter, who was setting his mind on the things of man.

John 12:27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour‘? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.

Jesus kept his purpose in mind.

Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Jesus was willing to set aside his own preferences for the will of God.

Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus looked past the suffering to the ultimate goal.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

The suffering was once. It had a definite end, and there was a good purpose.

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

We arm ourselves with the resolve to suffer the way Jesus suffered, recognizing the purpose of God in our suffering, knowing that it is the plan of God and it is necessary, knowing that our suffering will be short, that it is the pathway to glory and it will result in victory over sin.

Peter gives us great encouragement here. He tells us that ‘whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin’. Peter is not holding out the possibility of sinless perfection; there are too many clear passages of scripture that rule that out (1Ki.8:46; Pr.20:9; Ecc.7:20; Jas.3:2; 1Jn.1:8). What he is saying is that someone who has resolved to obey God even when it means physical suffering is engaged in a mindset where obedience is even more important than our desire to avoid pain. We must abhor sin so much that we would willingly suffer for righteousness – like Jesus did. When we come to this place – where there is no more enjoyment left in sin – then we are done with sin. We will no longer live for sin. We will stumble. But we have made a clean break with sin. We live for a higher purpose. Peter draws the contrast in verse 2:

…whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

We are no longer driven by human passions. Peter has already told us:

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

We are no longer motivated by what motivates the rest of humanity. Our fleshly cravings lead us in many different directions to find satisfaction. We now have a single unifying goal. We live for a higher purpose. We live for the will of God. Our driving purpose and passion is what God wants, not what we want. Our desires fall in line with his desires.

…whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

The Psalmist expresses the thought well:

Psalm 119:65 <TETH> You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word. 66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. 68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. 69 The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; 70 their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. 71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. 72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Peter goes on to give us reasons for our willingness to suffer for righteousness.

3 The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.

Parties, alcohol and sex. A shameless lack of personal self-restraint; trying to satisfy the inward cravings in things that leave you empty. If I become a Christian, will I have to give up _______? I’d like to follow Jesus, but I’m not sure I’m ready to give up ______. Stop filling your mouth with gravel and come to the living water and drink, drink, drink. You’ve wasted enough time and energy and life in pursuit of worthless things. Don’t spend any more days building future regret. Social parties, drunkenness and sexual gratification – Peter concludes his list with ‘lawless idolatry’ – worshiping, pursuing, loving something that is not God, pouring out your affections on anything beside God. Stop wasting your life! Wherever you are today, the time that is past was more than enough. Don’t continue in it; don’t look back; don’t go back. It’s all idolatry.

4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;

Your old friends are shocked at the change in you. The community is offended that you no longer participate in the status quo. There has been a clean break from your old lifestyle. You no longer plunge with them into the torrent of pleasure seeking. This is the word that described the prodigal’s living in Luke 15:13. The word is ‘a-sotia’ [aswtiav] – the negative of saving. They plunge into everything that is devoid of any saving quality. When you refuse to join them, they defame you. The word here is literally ‘blaspheme’ – they slander your name, and insofar as you are following Christ, they are blaspheming God himself. No-one slanders God’s holy name and escapes punishment. Peter goes on:

5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Just as Peter has pictured our salvation as ‘ready to be revealed’…

1 Peter 1:5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

…So the One who is to be the Judge of all mankind stands ready to call all people to give account for every careless word:

Matthew 12:36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

The living and the dead is a way to say that no one is excluded. Those who slander and persecute the believers will give account to the Judge. Even the dead cannot escape the final judgment. Peter takes his phrase ‘the living and the dead’ and expands on it to give further encouragement to us to persevere.

5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

Your former friends do not understand the change that has taken place. It is a continual surprise why you no longer join them in their fun. ‘Come party with us!’ From their perspective you are missing out on a great deal of enjoyment and you have nothing to show for it. Christians die just like everybody else and they end up as worm food pushing up dandelions just like everyone else. ‘You say you have received new life. What’s the great advantage of following Jesus? You give up all the fun and have nothing to show for it in the end.’ This is why the good news was preached (past) to those who are dead (present). People who heard the gospel and believed it, are now dead, and according to human judgment – in the flesh – they are just dead; they wasted their life; but according to God – in the spirit – they have real life – eternal life. Those who received the gospel are not just dead – they are the ones who have real life. Even though the immediate result of receiving the good news is condemnation and disapproval in the eyes of the world, the ultimate result is eternal salvation.

-summary

Jesus has suffered for sins once in order to bring us to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. Resurrected, he is now seated at the right hand of God with angels, authorities and powers having been subjected to him. Since he suffered in the flesh and conquered sin once for all, our battle with sin is a battle against a defeated foe. We can fight against sin by taking the attitude of Jesus toward suffering – we can resolve to face the suffering that comes to us knowing that it is the will of our loving father and it is for our good. We know that it is temporary and will soon be replaced by inexpressible joy. And we know that our suffering is the pathway to joy and will result in victory over our sins. We no longer live chasing our own desires; we live the rest of our few short days pursuing the will of God. We’ve wasted more than enough time already chasing pleasure in things that don’t satisfy. We are slandered by our old companions who feel condemned when we refuse to join them in wasting life. The judge stands ready and everyone will answer to him for how they spent their life. Believers who have died already and seem to have gotten nothing for their faith have been brought successfully to God and are enjoying their reward. It is worth it to suffer for Jesus’ sake! Life is our reward. Peter has quoted Psalm 34:

Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 …those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.’ 11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. [1 Peter 2:3; 3:10-12]

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

May 10, 2009 Posted by | 1 Peter, podcast | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Peter 3:18-22; Christ Triumphant!

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20090503_1peter3_18-22.mp3

05/03 1 Peter 3:18-22 Christ Triumphant!

18 oti kai cristov apax peri amartiwn apeyanen dikaiov uper adikwn ina umav prosagagh tw yew yanatwyeiv men sarki zwopoihyeiv de pneumati 19 en w kai toiv en fulakh pneumasin poreuyeiv ekhruxen 20 apeiyhsasin pote ote apexedeceto h tou yeou makroyumia en hmeraiv nwe kataskeuazomenhv kibwtou eiv hn oligoi tout estin oktw qucai dieswyhsan di udatov 21 o kai umav antitupon nun swzei baptisma ou sarkov apoyesiv rupou alla suneidhsewv agayhv eperwthma eiv yeon di anastasewv ihsou cristou 22 ov estin en dexia yeou poreuyeiv eiv ouranon upotagentwn autw aggelwn kai exousiwn kai dunamewn

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 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, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Today we’re going to tackle a difficult passage. I Peter 3:19-21 is one of the most difficult texts to interpret in the bible. Martin Luther said “A wonderful text this is, and a more obscure passage perhaps than any other in the New Testament, so that I do not know for a certainty just what Peter means.” [Luther, p.166]; I have to say ‘Amen’ to Luther. In studying this passage I changed my own view at least four times. But I’m excited for the opportunity to study this text with you today. I’m excited because ‘All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable’ [2Tim3:16] so this text is profitable. All scripture is profitable, but not all scripture is equally clear. Peter himself said:

2 Peter 3:15-16 … as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

And I’ve got to ask ‘Peter, have you read your own stuff?’ Paul is sometimes hard to swallow, but most of it is not hard to understand. People don’t like what Paul says so they try to explain it away, but this passage is just plain difficult to understand.

But here’s where we can profit from a passage like this. It teaches us we don’t have to understand it all. I’m not 100% sure what Peter is talking about here, and that’s OK. I don’t need to understand everything the bible has to say. I will be helped the more I understand of the bible, and you should:

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Part of rightly handling the word of truth is being able to discern the primary teachings from the secondary teachings. The part of what Peter says here that is open to various interpretations is definitely secondary in importance – it doesn’t have anything to do with who Jesus is, the nature of God, or salvation by grace. We are free to hold different opinions on issues of secondary importance. I’m not going to call someone a heretic or question their salvation because they disagree over who ‘the spirits in prison’ in verse 19 are. I will raise serious questions if someone disagrees over verse 18 which teaches the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross paying the penalty for our sins to reconcile us to the Father. Another aspect of rightly handling the word of truth is the ability to discern the obscure from the clear. Maybe Peter’s readers knew exactly what he was talking about, but living 2000 years later, we have to piece together as best we can what he meant by what he said. But there are certain things this passage cannot mean, because there are clear teachings elsewhere in the bible that contradict that interpretation. Here’s an example: Some interpret this passage to mean that after Jesus died, he went and preached the gospel to people in hell, offering them a second chance for salvation. That interpretation contradicts the clear teaching of scripture.

Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

2 Corinthians 6:2 …Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Romans 2:4-5 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Jesus described the rich man who was in torment in Hades

Luke 16:24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’…

26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

Jesus described hell:

Mark 9:48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels….46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, …

The clear teaching of the bible leaves no room for a second chance at salvation after death. We cannot take an obscure passage and make it say something that contradicts the clear teaching of the rest of the bible.

Here’s what we’re going to do today. I don’t want to miss the forest for the trees, so we’re going to look at the big picture of the context of this passage to see what Peter is doing. Although some of the details can be variously understood, the big picture is clear.

Then we will look at some of the different views and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. And we’ll finish up by coming back around to the big picture and seeing how the details contribute to what Peter is saying.

The Big Picture

Peter is writing to encourage believers who are suffering because they are following Jesus. There is no need to fear, because Jesus also suffered and he was ultimately victorious. He will ensure that we who are suffering for him will be brought victoriously to God. The passage concludes with a view of Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father having conquered every spiritual power by his resurrection from the dead. He uses the situation in the days of Noah and the rescue of Noah’s family to illustrate the triumph of Christ and the preservation of his people. The questions come when we try to understand the details of the illustration.

The Different Views:

The main questions we have to answer are: Who are the spirits in prison? What did Christ preach? and When did he preach? There have been various answers to these questions. Here are some of the main ones:

1. Some understand the spirits in prison to be the evil angels who sinned in Genesis 6 before the flood, and Jesus after his resurrection made a proclamation of victory over them.

2. An old interpretation going back at least to Augustine is that Christ ‘in spirit’ was preaching repentance through Noah to the unbelievers who died in the flood and are now ‘spirits in prison’ in hell.

3. Others have understood the spirits in prison to be Old Testament saints who were kept in a place of waiting until Jesus went and liberated them between his death and his resurrection.

3. The Descent into Hell

This last view finds support in the apostle’s creed, an early creed which gradually took shape from around 200 A.D to 750 A.D.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead….

It is interesting to note that the earliest forms of the creed did not include the line ‘he descended into hell’. Even though this is very old, it is not infallible scripture. But some see support for this in passages like:

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

But the descent mentioned in these verses most likely refers to the incarnation, not a descent into hell. Jesus told the thief on the cross:

Luke 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Jesus died around 3pm. The two thieves died later, after their legs were broken. That day ended at sundown, about 6pm. If Jesus went to hell between his death and his resurrection, it was a very short trip!

The other two views are much more plausible.

2. Christ Preaching through Noah

We could paraphrase the passage to explain this view: ‘in the spiritual realm of existence Christ went and preached through Noah to those who are now spirits in the prison of hell. This happened when they formerly disobeyed, when the patience of God was waiting in the days of Noah while the ark was being built’ [Grudem, p.239]

In support of this view, 2 Peter 4:5 mentions Noah as a ‘herald of righteousness’, using the noun form of the same word we find here translated ‘proclaimed’. We find support for the idea that the pre-incarnate Christ could be seen as empowering Old Testament prophets in:

1 Peter 1:10-11 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

But this doesn’t fit well with Peter’s phrase that Christ ‘went and proclaimed’. If he is talking merely about the spirit of Christ in Noah preaching, it would seem out of place to picture him as ‘going’.

Another major obstacle of this view is ‘spirits in prison’ is not a normal way to refer to unbelieving people now in hell. ‘Spirits’ in the plural in the New Testament almost without exception refers to angelic beings, not human beings. The term used for ‘prison’ is used in scripture for evil angels, but it is never used to refer to the place of punishment for human beings after death.

1. Victory over Fallen Angels

Genesis 6 describes the time leading up to the judgment of the flood:

Genesis 6:1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. 5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

These ‘sons of God’ could be the angels that Jude refers to:

Jude 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day––

Peter may also be referring to the same incident when he says:

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;…9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,

This understanding fits the language ‘spirits in prison’ much better. This view fits the time sequence well; Jesus

18 …put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,

And it fits the conclusion:

22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

The question with this view is ‘what did Jesus preach?’ This word is not the word ‘evangelize’ that is common to the New Testament. This is the word for a herald to make proclamation. It is also used of the preaching of the gospel in the New Testament. But this cannot be an invitation for the fallen angels to repent.

Hebrews 2:16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.

Rather, the same message – the message of good news of eternal life in Jesus – is a message of death to those who are perishing (2Cor.2:16). In this context, Jesus after his resurrection would herald his victory at the cross to these fallen angels imprisoned and awaiting their final condemnation.

Parallels between Noah and the Readers

Regardless of which view you take, the illustration Peter uses of the days of Noah would hit home with Peter’s readers. They, like Noah are a small minority of believers surrounded by hostile unbelievers. Noah witnessed boldly to those around him; Peter’s readers are encouraged to give reason for the hope that is in them, even suffering if necessary. In the days of Noah, God was patiently awaiting repentance; God is now patiently waiting for the repentance of unbelievers, but he will surely bring judgment on the unrepentant. Noah was finally saved with only a few others. Even if the majority does not convert, we will be saved because Christ has triumphed and we will share in his victory.

Baptism Now Saves You

Peter now draws a parallel between the waters of the flood and the waters of baptism. The flood waters represented God’s judgment and fury at sin. Noah and his family were rescued from the judgment of sin because of God’s grace. The waters of the flood brought death. Baptism pictures that immersion into the waters of death and judgment on sin. We have been crucified with Christ. Our sin nature has been put to death. But because we are united with Christ, in his resurrection we come safely through the waters of judgment. Because Jesus triumphed over death, we can now walk in newness of life.

Peter is careful to clarify so that he is not misunderstood to teach that the outward act of baptism has any saving effect. It is NOT the removal of dirt from the flesh. It is the appeal to God for a good conscience. Facing the waters of judgment and wrath against our sin we cry out to God as sinners in need of a savior and he wipes away our guilt through the substitution of Jesus for us. It is the spiritual reality that the outward act pictures that is significant. Because of our resurrection with Christ, we are empowered by the Spirit to live new lives. It is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But that is not all. Jesus suffered to bring us to God.

through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Jesus is now at the right hand of his Father. He was victorious over everything. His work finished, he sat down:

Hebrews 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

And yet he never tires of applying his work to us sinners day after day after day:

Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died––more than that, who was raised––who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

And his victorious resurrection power is at work in us who believe:

Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us–ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

May 7, 2009 Posted by | 1 Peter, podcast | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment