Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Today's message titled Boldly Unfurl Hope pulls from 1 Peter 3, 14-22. As Rich digs into this passage, he challenges us to champion what is right, true and good, regardless of what it may cost. Because of our reality in Christ, our position before God and the promises that become ours in Christ, we can face suffering and ridicule with calm assurance and trust for the sake of the Gospel. Let's listen in.
You have your copy of the Scriptures open to 1 Peter. As we conclude chapter 3 today, we're making our way through the book. The title of this series is Live as People Who Are Free, and this current sub-series is entitled 12 Characteristics of People Who Are Free.
Today we're on number 10. The 10th characteristic of people who are free, free people boldly unfurl hope. Free people boldly unfurl hope. We're in chapter 3 verses 14-22.
Unfurl is like spreading out a flag if you have, if you can envision a college football game and they've got flags, flag wavers representing the school, the banner of the school, the logo of the school. But remember, as Peter writes this, what is the context in which he writes this? To whom is he writing this? A people who have been probably to some degree displaced from their homes. This comes right after the great fire of Rome, which got blamed on the Christians, and many of them were driven out of their homes either because of the fire or because of the reviling of Roman citizens. And so this is something that's going on nation, fire wide, is Christians are being maligned. They're being reviled.
There's a general disdain for Christians. And what does Peter say? Boldly unfurl hope. You are a people of hope.
It doesn't matter how people are treating you. You have hope. You are a people of hope because you worship and serve the God of all hope.
Now he's going to give us a basis for that. A hope. And this hope that we talk about isn't just a wishful thinking kind of hope. Or it's my faith gives me hope.
No. Who is the anchor of our hope? That's what we have to understand.
This is what Peter unpacks for us today. He says, beginning at verse 14, now we ended last time, verse 13, now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? We can think, well, you know, I can think of some people that might harm us if we're zealous for what is good.
But let's hang on to that thought right there of being zealous for what is good. Listen, there is nothing in this passage and in all of Luke's, Peter's writing here, where did Luke come from? In all of Peter's writing, it must have been from Sunday school, that's what, ABF. In all of Peter's writing, there's nothing in this that suggests living a passive Christian life. Nothing about it.
It is active, it is intentional, it is bold. Because we're a people of hope, and hope is confidence. Hope is confidence.
And we're going to talk about that more as we continue. But he says in verse 14, but even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Even if you should suffer for righteousness sake.
Now let's think about this for a minute. Whether it's, we're talking about the first century or the 21st century. Today, followers of Jesus, we who speak truth and we're willing to speak truth, and we do not affirm the behavior of a fallen, broken world, the behaviors of darkness. In other words, our message and our life is contra, the prevailing narrative of society.
Those that go against the word of God. Now when that happens, we will find that we may be slandered. People will talk ill of us, they will speak falsehoods against us behind our back. We could be called names.
There may be some of you in here today who might have already experienced that. Particularly if you work in the public arena. People might gossip about you. It may be the case that maybe an associate has disowned you, has pulled away from you, or a neighbor has pulled away, and maybe even a friend or a relative has distanced themselves from you because your life and your message do not affirm the prevailing narrative of the day.
It could be that you know somebody that has lost a job because of this, or at least has lost the prospect of advancement in their job. Maybe some of you have felt blacklisted. I don't want to come up here and talk about how, oh, we're just suffering persecution. Listen, when it comes to really true persecution, we don't know what that is yet, okay?
We don't. I encourage you to read Voice of the Martyrs. If you really want to see what living for Christ looks like at a cost, read Voice of the Martyrs. We're just now getting barely, barely introduced to that. And we're going to have to get used to it because we're not used to following Christ at a cost in our culture.
We're used to being the dominant worldview of our culture. And so the church and Christianity have been given deference all through our history, but that is changing. And it's coming where we, if we are to follow Christ faithfully, we may have to pay a cost.
This is what Peter is referring to. So how do we do that? We do that, this is what he calls us to, to champion what is true and right and good regardless of what it may cost. To champion, what do I mean by champion? To, to live what is true and right and good, to communicate what is true, right and good. To affirm what is true, right and good. To defend what is true, right and good.
What did we study right at the beginning of chapter three? We discovered, we studied the marriage relationship, husbands and wives, Christians, and possibly even being married to an unbelieving person. And what does that look like but one who champions what is good and right and true. And if we are to do that in our marriages, church listen to me, we are called to champion that. We live what is true and right and good with regard to marriage.
We are called to pursue the marriage relationship in a particular way according to God's purpose and design. And we, if anybody, should be about championing that before the world. If and when we do that, there's something we need to understand. A couple of things that I want to point out that Peter makes clear from this text today. Two things that I want you to remember. As we, as we anticipate pushback as we champion what is good and right and true.
Anticipate, Peter talks about that in this text. There's a very interesting text before us here today because there's, there's, there's three elements of this text that are, that just really stand out to me. One is a, one of the most well-known verses in all of the New Testament that we're quoting all the time. Sanctify the Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense.
You know that, right? But there's another one, there's another verse in here that talks about the Gospel and it is just a nutshell of the Gospel all packed into one verse, verse 18. But then also in this text before us this morning, there is probably the most enigmatic text in all of the New Testament. And I'm going to cover that in half an hour. Alright, here we go. Two things that I want you to remember. As we, as we champion what is good and right and true, we can anticipate that there is going to be pushback. Listen, Jesus promised that that would happen. He foretold it. He said be ready for it. Don't be surprised by it. That's something else that Peter is going to communicate to us as we get further on into this letter.
But here's the first thing I want you to think of. First of all, persecution, or shall we say pushback, is fear. Pushback, persecution, is fear driven.
Understand that. The world, the context of the world in which we live is dominated by fear. And we as a people of hope are contrary to that. The world is dominated by fear and persecution is fear driven. Why? Because we are different and they don't understand what it is we live for and because of that they feel threatened by it.
Now Peter's going to give us an example of that from the Old Testament. But truly what it is is a fear of the light. Men love darkness better than light.
Why? Because the darkness hides their selfish ambition and self preeminence. And so it is the fear of light by those who walk in darkness. What is it they're afraid of? They're afraid of exposure, but they're also afraid of obstruction.
Whatever the light represents is going to be an obstacle to my agenda for my life. They're afraid of that. And when people are acting out in fear, then you as one who is a person of hope, a person of light, who champions what is true and right and good, you may feel the impact of the blunt end of their brokenness. This is what the Christians in the first century that Peter was writing to, this is what they were experiencing. And yet he calls them to be a people of hope, to unfold, to boldly unfurl hope before the world among whom they live.
Here's another point I want to point out that Peter makes very clear here. Suffering is not the opposite of blessing. Christians, are you listening? Suffering is not the opposite of blessing.
As Brian was concluding his adult Bible fellowship about the lives of the apostles this morning, part of that conclusion was recapping how each one of them died. 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 / 2023-05-26 17:14:47 / 2023-05-26 17:19:21 / 5