Listen to this Sermon: 07152012FirstPe3.18-22DonRuhl

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The Just Suffered for the Unjust

Think on what Jesus did for us!

First Peter 3.18–22

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 15, In the year of our Lord 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Lake – First Peter 3.15–17


  1. Was there any point to the suffering of Christ? 
    1. His suffering included
      1. betrayal by a disciple,
      2. abandonment by the other disciples,
      3. denial by a another disciple,
      4. rejection, spitting, and beating by His people,
      5. rejection, beating, and scouring by the world,
      6. abandonment by God, and finally
      7. death by crucifixion.
    2. What was the point of all that, especially since He could have avoided it?
  2. Jesus did something beyond wonderful with His hard-to-imagine suffering. 
    1. I will show that to you in this sermon, and then
    2. in the next sermon I will show you that our suffering
      1. helps us to fulfill that which Jesus did for us.
      2. Without the wonderful thing Jesus did for us, and
        1. without something He wants us to do,
        2. we cannot enter heaven.
    3. If we want to go to heaven, we have to
      1. see what Jesus did for us, and
      2. see what we can do for Him.
  3. If you read First Peter, when you come to 3.13–17
    1. you will discover that Peter encouraged us to follow what is good, because
    2. generally people will not harm us for such things, but
      1. he added that if we should suffer,
      2. we are blessed, and
        1. we should sanctify Jesus as Lord in our hearts and
        2. be willing to suffer for doing good.
          1. Then starting at verse 18 he showed why it is better to suffer
          2. for doing good rather than for doing evil.


  1. First Peter 3.18–20 – Jesus Brought Us to God

    18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water (1Pe 3.18–20).

    1. Peter said of Christ,
      1. that He suffered once for sins,
      2. that He, the Just, suffered for the unjust, and
      3. that His suffering to brought us to God.
        1. Now, this is the main point of verses 18–22,
        2. so do not miss it.
          1. Previously, we were separated from God,
            1. separated from eternal life and heaven,
            2. destined for hell.
          2. However, through His appalling suffering,
            1. He brought us to God, because
            2. what Jesus did was sufficient to remove the problem
              1. separating us from God,
              2. which was our sin.
        3. You were far from God,
          1. so far that there was nothing you could do about it, but now
          2. Jesus has removed the barrier, and taken us and brought us to God!
    2. Peter continued to say at the end of verse 18,
      1. Christ died in the flesh, but
      2. He was made alive by the spirit.
        1. He died hellishly, but
        2. He did not stay dead, and
          1. in a few moments,
          2. Peter will reveal what that means for us.
    3. In verse 19, Peter revealed
      1. that Christ by the spirit preached to the spirits in prison,
      2. the spirits were in prison, in Hades when Peter wrote this letter, but
        1. verse 20 reveals the time when Jesus preached to those spirits.
        2. He did not preach to them in Hades, but
          1. through Noah Jesus preached to those people who were disobedient.
          2. They were disobedient when Noah built the ark, and
            1. when he preached to those people.
            2. Peter already mentioned Jesus preaching through the prophets,

              10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1Pe 1.10, 11).

    4. Likewise, Jesus preached through Noah during the time of God’s longsuffering.
      1. Jesus had no desire to destroy those people in the massive worldwide flood,
      2. so through the preaching of Noah, Jesus gave them a chance to obey.
        1. However, they remained disobedient, and
        2. they paid for it by destruction in the Flood, and
          1. they are currently in prison in Hades.
          2. During the time Noah preached and built the ark,
            1. only eight souls, Noah included, were spared destruction,
            2. the washing washing away of the sinners and their sin,
              1. simultaneously lifting the ark above the earth.
              2. Noah and his family were saved through water.
    5. Verse 20 refers to God’s longsuffering with Noah’s generation,
      1. the most wicked generation that has ever lived on the earth.
      2. Moses said of that generation,

        5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent 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 He was grieved in His heart (Gen 6.5, 6).

        1. However, He did not destroy them right away, but
        2. He waited many years,

          3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred twenty years” (Gen 6.3).

          1. God gave the world 120 years to repent!
          2. For 120 years, He let extreme wickedness exist on the earth,
            1. as Noah built the ark, and
            2. as Noah preached to those people.
    6. Peter brought this up to lead us to the next thing
      1. that he wants to show us that Jesus did for us.
      2. Jesus, through His suffering, brought us to God, but
        1. to do so, we needed a good conscience, and
        2. He did that by being made alive by His spirit,
          1. He was resurrected, and
          2. He has us do something that connects us with His resurrection,
            1. that connects us with the salvation that Noah experienced, and
            2. that connects us with Christ’s spirit through a good conscience.
  2. First Peter 3.21 – Jesus Gave Us a Good Conscience

    21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ… (1Pe 3.21).

    1. God used water to save the eight souls of Noah’s family, and
      1. God uses water now to save souls desiring to avoid the wrath that is coming.
      2. God used the water in both cases,
        1. which neither glorifies nor denies the necessity of the water, but
        2. makes God the Savior.
          1. If you are drowning and
          2. someone throws a rope out to you, and pulls you in,
            1. you do not say the rope saved you, but
            2. you could not be saved unless you grabbed the rope!
              1. You say the person saved you
              2. when you grabbed the rope that he threw out to you.
    2. Jesus made it possible for us to have a good conscience through water baptism.
      1. Peter connected baptism and the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
      2. so that in some way baptism imitates His resurrection, because
        1. it is His resurrection that makes baptism part of how He saves us,
        2. as illustrated by Paul,

          3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom 6.3, 4).

    3. Today, after having believed that Jesus is the Son of God, and
      1. after believing that God raised Jesus from the dead, and
      2. having been baptized as Peter taught,
        1. we can approach God with a good conscience,
        2. knowing that He has forgiven us of our sins.
    4. Since baptism takes place in water,
      1. Peter wanted us to know that it does not remove the dirt on your skin, but
      2. is the answer of a good conscience toward God.
    5. Baptism here stands for the whole of salvation.
      1. We are not saved by baptism alone, but
      2. we are saved by Jesus,
        1. remembering that Peter said in verse 18
        2. Jesus suffered for us to bring us to God, and
          1. part of what He does to accomplish this
          2. He does through baptism.
    6. The same flood waters
      1. that destroyed the people of the earth,
      2. saved Noah and his family,
        1. even as the same water that destroys our sin,
        2. saves us.
  3. First Peter 3.22 – Jesus Sat at the Right Hand of God

    22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him (1Pe 3.18–22).

    1. Once Jesus had accomplished all the things that Peter mentioned, and
      1. especially after saying that Jesus had been raised from the dead,
      2. He then ascended into heaven,
        1. after giving instructions to the apostles, and
        2. when He reached heaven,
          1. He went to the right hand of God,
          2. so that angels, authorities, and powers are subject to Him.
    2. See what Peter pictured in this verse.
      1. First, see Him go up from His disciples on the earth,

        9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1.9).

        1. It does not surprise me to read the next verse,
        2. that they “looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up” (Acts 1.10).
      2. Second, see Him come up to heaven, as Daniel saw,

        9a “I watched till thrones were put in place,
        And the Ancient of Days was seated…”
        (Dan 7.9a)

        1. Daniel saw God seated on His throne.
        2. Then Daniel foresaw what Peter pictured,

          13 “I was watching in the night visions,
          And behold, One like the Son of Man,
          Coming with the clouds of heaven!
          He came to the Ancient of Days,
          And they brought Him near before Him.
          14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
          That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
          His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
          Which shall not pass away,
          And His kingdom the one
          Which shall not be destroyed.”
          (Dan 7.13, 14)

          1. Daniel foresaw what Peter and the apostles saw and taught.
            1. Peter saw it from the earth.
            2. Daniel saw it from heaven.
          2. Peter showed that Daniel 7 has been fulfilled, and
            1. Jesus reigns in heaven, but
            2. does He reign in your heart?


  1. All of this means nothing, 
    1. if you have not yet confessed your belief that Jesus is the Anointed One of God.
    2. Is that something you believe?
  2. Have you been aware of what Jesus did according to First Peter 3.18–22
    1. What do you think of it all?
    2. Is it not all magnificent?
      1. Do you see what He did for you?
      2. Yes, He had you in mind when He did all the things that Peter taught.
  3. What do you think you should do about it? 
    1. While in other places of Scripture the Bible tells us what to do,
    2. here Peter shows, or implies two things:
      1. First, rely upon the work of Jesus.
      2. Second, submit to baptism.
  4. Do you believe that Jesus did these things for you? 
    1. Do you see how He did something beyond wonderful for you?
    2. Have you been baptized to save your soul and to have a good conscience?