Listen to this Sermon: 07012012FirstPe3.13-17DonRuhl

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What a Good Life Will Bring You

What should you do, if someone persecutes you for doing good?

First Peter 3.13–17

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 1, In the year of our Lord 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Dan Calvert – First Peter 3.10–12


  1. Do you want to love life and see good days? 
    1. Peter showed us in First Peter 3.10–12, when he quoted David in Psalm 34,
    2. how to experience a good life.
      1. If you refrain from hurting people,
      2. even the people who hurt you, and
        1. if you do good and seek peace,
        2. you will see good days.
  2. What if people do harm us?


  1. First Peter 3.13 – Harmlessness

    13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? (1Pe 3.13).

    1. For the most part, the world does not bother us,
    2. if we follow what is good,

      “It is mighty hard for anybody to mistreat people who are zealots for goodness, i. e., for doing what is beneficial to others” (Lenski, page 146).

      1. Do you harm people for doing good things?
      2. So, people treat us similarly.
  2. First Peter 3.14 – Blessedness

    14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled” (1Pe 3.14).

    1. Peter wants us to know
      1. that following what is good
      2. does not guarantee protection from all persecution.
        1. The world does not like Christianity, and
        2. will ultimately seek to find things wrong with us.
    2. However, even in the midst of persecution,
      1. we can look up,
      2. knowing that God shall bless us.
    3. What Jesus said to Nicodemus rings true for the world against us,

      19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3.19–21).

    4. If we do suffer for righteousness’ sake,
      1. we know that we are blessed, and that
        1. keeps us from getting discouraged,
        2. keeps us from becoming bitter against God and man,
        3. keeps a cheerful disposition within us,
        4. sets us up for victory, and
        5. encourages us to continue to be zealous for good.
      2. Remember what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount,

        10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
        For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
        11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5.10–12).

    5. To back up the blessedness of suffering for righteousness’ sake,
      1. Peter quoted the last part of Isaiah 8.12.
      2. Earlier Peter quoted from Isaiah 8.14 in First Peter 2.8.
        1. Then in First Peter 3.15, we will see the apostle allude to Isaiah 8.13.
        2. In Isaiah 8, [explain background]

          12 “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’
          Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,
          Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.
          13 The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
          Let Him be your fear,
          And let Him be your dread.
          14 He will be as a sanctuary,
          But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
          To both the houses of Israel,
          As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
          (Isa 8.12–14)

        3. Christians are to be the same way.
          1. Do not listen to conspiracy theories.
          2. Do not let the enemy frighten you.
            1. Peter has already quoted verse 14 in First Peter 2.8.
            2. Isaiah’s point, and Peter’s point is just focus on the Lord.
        4. Do not be afraid of their threats, for
          1. they will try to scare us.
          2. They will threaten us with lawsuits, or violation of the constitution.
        5. Do not be troubled.
          1. They want to confuse us.
          2. They want us to believe that we are violating people’s rights.
          3. They will be happy when they have total control of
            1. schools, government, universities, scientific projects, etc., and
            2. when we are so frightened of
              1. imposing our standards on them (as they put it),
              2. that we do not object to anything they want to do.
  3. First Peter 3.15, 16 – Happiness

    15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed (1Pe 3.15, 16).

    1. Remember in verse 14, Peter quoted the last half of Isaiah 8.12, but
      1. in First Peter 3.15, he continued Isaiah’s reasoning, for Isaiah 8.13 says,

        13 The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
        Let Him be your fear,
        And let Him be your dread.
        (Isa 8.13)

    2. Therefore, we need to prepare for a defense.
      1. First, sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts.
        1. Other translations are better than NKJV.
        2. What does it mean to sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts?
          1. Sanctification means to set something apart as holy.
          2. Therefore, let us set aside Christ as the Lord in our heats,
            1. so that we will not make anything or anyone else our Lord.
            2. Then we will not be afraid or troubled by their threats,

              1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
              Whom shall I fear?
              The LORD is the strength of my life;
              Of whom shall I be afraid?
              2 When the wicked came against me
              To eat up my flesh,
              My enemies and foes,
              They stumbled and fell.
              3 Though an army may encamp against me,
              My heart shall not fear;
              Though war may rise against me,
              In this I will be confident.
              (Psa 27.1–3)

      2. Second, always be ready to answer anyone who asks about our hope.
        1. Hope lives in us, because
          1. Peter said in 1.3 that God has caused us to be born again
          2. to a living hope.
        2. “To every one who asks an account we are to give an account” (Guy N. Woods, page 97, emphasis in the original).
          1. We have to know
            1. what we believe,
            2. why we believe it, and
            3. be able to tell others.
              1. We can listen to teaching and preaching, but
              2. that cannot substitute for our own time in the word of God.
        3. We never know when someone will ask, or make a comment.
          1. In Klamath Falls, at the Post Office, I got in a discussion with the clerk about the oneness position of the UPC.
          2. At our bank over there one of the tellers asked me about homosexuality.
          3. While Kerri was delivering Melissa, one of the nurses starting asking me about instrumental music.
      3. Third, answer with meekness.
        1. Unbelievers do not understand how we think or how we see things.
        2. Therefore, we cannot answer them roughly, or impatiently, but
          1. remembering where we were once in our thinking,
          2. we work with them gently and patiently.
      4. Fourth, answer with fear.
      5. Fifth, have a good conscience.
    3. In the difficulties that life presents to us, especially persecution,
      1. we cannot be defeated in our minds, but
      2. let us see these things as opportunities to let our life shine.
        1. Why do we need to let our light shine?
        2. Because we live in a world of darkness.
  4. First Peter 3.17 – Fearlessness

    17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1Pe 3.17).

    1. Remember what Peter said back in 2.20,

      20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God (1Pe 2.20).

    2. We can suffer for doing good or for doing evil.
    3. Which is better?
      1. Peter said that it is better to suffer for doing good.
      2. Sometimes that is God’s will.
        1. Peter emphasized in this letter several times,
        2. the value of suffering for doing what is right
    4. If we suffer for doing evil, that means we have sinned.


  1. What Peter taught us we can also read in Psalm 118,

    6 The LORD is on my side;
    I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?
    (Psa 118.6)

    1. Therefore, when persecution or other hard times come our way,
    2. we do not have to be like the world, filling our hearts with fear, but
      1. we can see opportunities for blessings.
      2. We can see those blessings,
        1. if we have cultivated our friendships with one another (vv. 8, 9), and
        2. if we have been doing good.
          1. This is why the psalmist was able to say next,

            7 The LORD is for me among those who help me;
            Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
            (Psa 118.7)

          2. While we depend upon the Lord first, yet,
            1. He is among His people, and
            2. He ministers to us through His people.
              1. So then, if I have worked on those relationships,
              2. filling my life with doing good,
                1. then my brethren will be there for me
                2. during those hard and trying times.
  2. Let us not complain about persecution, for then 
    1. we take away from the glory that God wants to give us
    2. for suffering because of our righteousness.
      1. We should not threaten lawsuits against our persecutors.
      2. We should not take up carnal weapons against those fighting Christianity.
  3. You can go through life without God or with God. 
    1. You make the choice.
    2. However, many of us have tried life without God, and
      1. later we tried life with God, and
      2. we will all tell you
        1. that life with God is the way to go.