"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"
Preparing For Persecution (1 Pe 3:13-18)
1. Having described the proper conduct of Christians in various
relationships, Peter now turns more specifically to the subject of
2. That the first recipients of this epistle were experiencing or would
experience persecution is evident from 1 Pe 1:6; 1 Pe 4:12-19; 1 Pe 5:8-10
3. Now, under normal circumstances, what Peter writes in verse 13 is
"And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what
4. But there are times when Satan will make every effort to bring harm
to those who try to follow the will of God (remember Job?) - cf.
1 Pe 5:8-9; Re 12:17
5. How, then, should Christians prepare themselves so that they might
be victorious in overcoming whatever persecution might come their
[In verses 14-18, we can glean at least five points in "Preparing For
I. REMEMBER, YOU ARE BLESSED IF YOU SUFFER FOR CHRIST (3:14; v 17)
A. THIS TRUTH IS STRESSED TWICE BY PETER IN THIS EPISTLE...
1. In our text - 1 Pe 3:14
2. Even more definitively in 1 Pe 4:14
a. Where he adds that the "Spirit of glory and of God rests
b. Those who suffer for the cause of Christ are fortunate, for
God is with them
B. THIS REINFORCES WHAT CHRIST TAUGHT...
1. That those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are
blessed - Mt 5:10-12
2. In this passage, two reasons are given for such blessedness:
a. Your reward will be great in heaven
b. You are in the company of God's prophets of old
C. CERTAINLY YOU ARE BETTER OFF SUFFERING FOR CHRIST, THAN SUFFERING
1. As Peter writes in 1 Pe 3:17
2. Suffering for evil is what WILL happen if we are not willing
to stand up for Christ
3. Suffering for Christ is only temporary, but the suffering
for evil is eternal!
II. SANCTIFY THE LORD IN YOUR HEARTS (1 Pe 3:14-15)
A. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "SANCTIFY THE LORD GOD IN YOUR HEARTS"?
1. The word "sanctify" means "to set apart"
2. Thus it means to set the Lord up on the throne of your heart,
to make Him the Lord and Ruler of your life
a. Ruling over your own desires
b. His Will taking precedent over your own will and that of
B. THIS IS THE KEY TO FACING PERSECUTION WITHOUT FEAR OR WITHOUT
1. For unless we sanctify the Lord in our hearts, we will be
afraid of what man might do, or be troubled by what he
2. But when we make Christ and God Lord, we will not fear what
man might do - cf. He 13:5-6
III. ALWAYS BE READY TO GIVE A DEFENSE FOR THE REASON FOR YOUR HOPE
(1 Pe 3:15)
A. OBSERVE CAREFULLY WHAT PETER IS NOT SAYING...
1. He is NOT saying that we need to be ready to give an answer
for EVERY question on religious matters that someone might ask
2. Unfortunately, some have used this verse as a proof-text
3. While we should certainly strive to be able to explain why we
do what we do in matters of religion, that is not the point
Peter is making here
B. INSTEAD, PETER IS SAYING...
1. To always be ready to give a reason why you have the HOPE you
a. I.e., to explain the basis of your hope (your strong desire
b. This implies that our desire and confidence for the future
is so strong that it is observable by others
c. Even in the midst of persecution, we are demonstrating joy
over the hope we have - cf. 1 Pe 1:6; 1 Pe 1:8
2. To do so in the proper spirit
a. In the spirit of MEEKNESS
1) This pertains to our attitude toward men
2) We should be humble, not arrogant or angry
b. In the spirit of FEAR
1) This pertains to our attitude toward God
2) It should be reverent, not flippant
IV. KEEP YOUR CONSCIENCE CLEAN (1 Pe 3:16)
A. A REASON TO KEEP YOUR CONSCIENCE CLEAN...
1. As given by Peter in our text
2. That this together with your good conduct will likely cause
your enemies to be ashamed for mistreating you
3. If not ashamed in this life, they will certainly be ashamed on
the day of judgment!
B. ANOTHER REASON FOR A CLEAN CONSCIENCE...
1. A guilty conscience will not enable one to face the threat of
death without fear and trembling
a. For before we can stand before men without fear...
b. We need to be able to stand before God without fear
2. That is impossible without a clear conscience! - cf. 1 Jn 3:21
V. REMEMBER THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST (1 Pe 3:18)
A. HE SUFFERED FOR OUR SAKES...
1. That He might bring us to God - 1 Pe 3:18; cf. also 1 Pe 2:20-25
2. So we see that suffering for good can sometimes accomplish
much good in the long run
B. WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE...
1. As Peter already indicated in 1 Pe 2:21
2. And which he does again in 1 Pe 4:1
1. More will be said later in this epistle on the subject of how to
deal with persecution
2. But in this text, we find five good ways to prepare ourselves...
3. By applying these five principles to our lives...
a. We will be more useful to the Lord, ready for whatever may come
b. Even if we are not faced with the prospects of physical
persecutions in our lifetime, it will help in times of social or
In this lesson, we noticed the value of having a good conscience; in
1 Pe 3:21, Peter speaks of that which he calls "the answer of a good
conscience toward God" (i.e., baptism). Have you considered what else
he says about it in that passage...?
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