Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. In today's message titled Overcome Evil with Good, Rich will show how our acceptance into God's eternal community equips us to love and bless our earthly community.
We can love because we have been fully loved, and that love allows us to build bridges into the lives of others. Our passage, 1 Peter 3, 8-13, reminds us to love regardless of how others treat us in return. This is the third segment from this message which was first preached November 13, 2022. This is your new disposition as people who are free. When he says on the contrary, it's like he's calling us to be countercultural.
Christians, it's okay to be countercultural. We're called to that. And here's where he's quoting Psalm 34, verses 12 to 16. But one note I want to make. Verse 11 of Psalm 34 says, I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
So look at it this way. When you might be in the marketplace and somebody discovers that you're a Christian and they give you a look or they say a snide remark or something like that, your disposition as one who is free can look at them with compassion and love and say, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. How's that for a calling?
Three things. Number one, bless. He says, but on the contrary, bless. This is the word from which we get the word eulogy, eulog-o. And right now you're saying, yeah, you know, there's some people that treat me, I would love to speak their eulogy.
Right? That's not what he's talking about. It's a common word. It's not just speaking of funerals.
But eulogy is a word that simply means to speak well of. Somebody maligns you, somebody revolves you in public. What is he calling you to do? To bless them. Meaning you speak well of them. This is in the biblical principle of a soft answer turns away what?
Wrath. It's true. But it also speaks of your confidence as one who is free. You don't need their opinion of you. Their opinion of you is inaccurate. And you don't need their affirmation of you. That's taken care of in Christ. So that confidence shines through.
And a soft answer, a blessing in the context of reviling, will disarm the opponent, and it will dismantle walls. How many times in conversations in public, when we're talking about controversial things, are we so successful at building walls instead of tearing them down? Two things you can never talk about in public.
What? Religion and politics. Why do people get so hot on those issues? Because they're not confident. That's why.
I'm saying it right there. Arrogance and insecurity are like this. But if you are confident, you don't need to be arrogant.
You don't need to be. Because you don't need their agreement, you don't need their affirmation, you don't need to win this argument. And so Peter is saying to the people, he says, instead of returning their derision, bless them. Speak nicely to them. Speak nicely about them.
Give them a soft answer. And it'll turn away wrath. It'll dismantle walls so that you just might have an audience with them when you're ready to plant seeds of truth. Secondly, do good. Do good. Verse 11, let's keep reading in the text here. For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
So that's controlling what we say. And then verse 11, let him turn away from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it. So do good. First of all, bless. Secondly, do good. Turn from evil. In other words, you be the change you're looking to experience. You be the change you're looking to encounter in your world. Here's my challenge to you this morning. Here's what you can do.
Look for a way to show kindness to one whom your flesh thinks doesn't deserve it. I heard a collective, hmm, in the church. I have news for you. There's bad news and there's good news. Here's the bad news. You can't do that. Here's the good news. Christ can.
Is this true? If Christ is living in you, you are free. You can do this in Christ.
Look for someone to show kindness to whom your flesh thinks doesn't deserve it. Maybe they don't, according to the flesh, but not in the economy of God's kingdom. You're free to do this. This is what Peter is calling the people to as they go out in the marketplace, as they get messages from neighbors, from people in the public, from the government. And they hurl all kinds of accusations against them. And yet these people are speaking kindly to them and about them.
They don't know what to do with that. Thirdly, seek peace and pursue it. Let him seek peace and pursue it, verse 11. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his eyes are open to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. When he says seek peace and pursue it, what he's asking us to do is to eliminate any disposition that you might have or we as a group of people might have that's us versus them. Us versus them. We don't look at people as opponents because that's not where our fight is, is it? We don't battle against flesh and blood.
Seek peace and pursue it. To illustrate that, let me read to you a very ancient text. It's called the Epistle to Diognetus. It's a second century letter to a Roman official that's describing Christians.
And here it is. The difference between Christians and the rest of mankind is not a matter of nationality or language or customs. Christians do not live in separate cities of their own, speak any special dialect, nor practice any eccentric way of life. They pass their lives in whatever township, Greek or foreign, each man's lot has determined, and conform to ordinary local usage in their clothing, diet, and other habits. Nevertheless, the organization of their community does exhibit some features that are remarkable and even surprising. For instance, though they are residents at home in their own countries, their behavior there is more like transience. Though destiny has placed them here in the flesh, they do not live after the flesh. Their days are passed on earth, but their citizenship is above in the heavens. They obey the prescribed laws, but in their own private lives, they transcend the laws. They show love to all men, and all men persecute them. They are misunderstood and condemned, yet by suffering death they are quickened into life. They are poor yet making many rich, lacking all things yet having all things in abundance. They repay curses with blessings and abuse with courtesy. For the good they do, they suffer stripes as evildoers. I don't want to hear any more complaining out of Christians today.
We've got it good. And in the context of abuse, disdain, and public reviling, Peter writes this to the Christians. Let's live as people who are free. And when he talks about pursuing peace in your conversations with others, and you know what? You may encounter someone in public that they're having a conversation with you, and then they discover that you're one of those Christians. And that makes them very unhappy. And you are called to pursue peace.
That looks like three things. First of all, they need to see in you compassion. That you are a person who actually cares for them. You are a person of grace. Secondly, they need to see in you reason, solid reason.
We're going to get into that. You recognize very well one of the verses that Nathan read this morning, didn't you? Set the Lord apart, set Christ as Lord in your hearts, and be ready to give a reason for everyone who asks you for the hope that is in you. Christianity and the faith of biblical Christianity is solidly anchored with reason. Don't let anybody ever tell you that faith and reason are opposites. It is a lie.
And it only goes to show that they have not done their homework at all. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-24 14:12:22 / 2023-05-24 14:16:25 / 4