Suffering for Righteousness – 1 Peter 3:13-17

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
February 19, 2023

Suffering for Righteousness
1 Peter 3:13-17


Turn again to 1 Peter. We began our study of this book last August, and if all goes as planned, we will be concluding it in May. This is not a book I chose to preach through because I was excited by its theme. I choose it despite its theme because what Peter wrote in A.D. 64/65 to the church in Asia Minor is a necessary message for the church today. In the last few generations our society has been fundamentally transformed as it has declined into the moral depravity described in Romans 1. The sexual revolution of the 1960’s seems antiquated and nearly Victorian compared to what has occurred since the contemptible Obergefell decision in 2015. The rise within American society of anti-Christian sentiment and persecution of Christians has been exponential. Paul warns in 2 Timothy 3:12 that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” How have you responded to suffering for the sake of righteousness that you may have already experienced? Are you prepared to respond in godliness to suffering in the future that will come because you strive to live in righteousness?

The theme of 1 Peter is Preparing for Persecution. It can be outlined thematically as follows: A) God’s Grace and Salvation (1 Peter 3:3-2:10) in which Peter teaches what God has done in bringing about salvation from sin and the believer’s identity in Christ. The true Christian is chosen by God, sanctified by the Spirit and cleansed by Jesus; born again by God’s mercy and redeemed by Christ’s blood; a “living stone” being built up as a spiritual house as part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a people for God’s own possession making the believer an alien and stranger in this world and a slave of Jesus.

B) God’s Grace and Submission (1 Peter 2:11-3:12). Peter applies the believer’s identity in Christ to practical areas of submission in life. The Christian’s submission to God is to result in proper submission to lines of authority that extend from God in human institutions, the workplace and the home. That submission to God also limits the Christian’s submission to any authority that seeks to have you either do something contrary to or refrain from carrying out the commands, precepts and principles of God’s word. “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

C) God’s Grace and Suffering (1 Peter 3:13-4:19) is the section we will begin to study this morning. This is the heart of Peter’s letter. It is tied directly to the previous two sections because you cannot experience God’s grace when suffering if you do not have or do not know your identity in Christ and are living in submission to God. If you were not here or missed the sermons on those previous sections, I encourage you to go to our website and catch up so you will understand better the basis for what Peter says in this section about how the Christian is to understand and respond to the suffering that may come into our lives because of our striving to live in righteousness. (See: 1 Peter Sermon Series)

D) God’s Grace and the Saints (1 Peter 5) is the last section of the letter in which Peter gives specific direction to the Elders and the people in the churches.

This morning we will only be getting through 1 Peter 3:13–17. Please follow along as I read. 13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

Zeal for what is Good – 1 Peter 3:13

Peter begins this section on God’s Grace in Suffering with a return to an idea he had expressed earlier in 2:12 – “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Though you may be slandered as an evildoer by those who are worldly, if you keep your behavior excellent according to God’s moral standards, you may be the cause of them changing their mind and glorifying God instead. In this passage Peter will describe attitude and good behavior Christians should have when facing those who would try to harm them so that they will be put to shame.

Peter begins this passage in verses 13 with a rhetorical question with an expected negative answer. And who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? Peter has already acknowledged that they were being distressed by various trials that were testing their faith (1:6-7), had been slandered as evildoers (2:12), had ignorant, foolish men speaking against them (2:15), had suffered unjustly (2:19), and been insulted and treated with evil (3:9). He will also acknowledge later in the letter that there would be those who would try to intimidate and harm them (3:14), slander and revile them (3:16), cause them to suffer for doing what is right (3:17), and will face a fiery ordeal and share in the sufferings of Christ (4:12-13). Yet the answer is still negative. If they are zealous for what is good they should not expect to be harmed for it though there will be those that will try. How can Peter say this? This seems contradictory.

First, the end of the clause is conditional. If you prove to be zealous for what is good. Zealous (zhlwthvV / zālōtās) describes someone who is deeply committed to something, which in this case is to what is good (ajgaqovV / agathos) which is a general term for positive moral qualities. The condition set is being characterized by the avid pursuit of what is good. If that condition is not met and you do what is evil, then you can expect to suffer the consequences. Those who are worldly do seek revenge and return evil for evil and insult for insult. Yet, even in an evil society, it is still abnormal to be purposely harmed because you were doing good.

With that in mind, be careful to examine yourself and actions before claiming you were treated wrongly because you are a Christian and for doing what is right before God. Back in 2:20, Peter already pointed out being treated harshly can be a result of your own sin. Yes, Christians are persecuted for being Christians and for striving to live in righteousness. However, don’t fall into the trap claiming you are suffering for your righteous stand when the truth is that you are having negative reactions related to your own sin including being obnoxious instead of polite. The Jehovah Witnesses use persecution as a sign they are doing God’s work when the truth is that they are doing the devil’s work in spreading their false gospel.

Second, and more to the point being made here, Peter is well versed in the Old Testament, and this statement is akin to what is stated in Isaiah 50:5–9, 5 The Lord Yahweh has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back. 6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. 7 For the Lord Yahweh helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. 8 He who vindicates Me is near; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me. 9 Behold, the Lord Yahweh helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them.” He was being humiliated and physically attacked, yet he saw past the present to an eternal reality that transcended it. The Lord Yahweh helps him so that he could stand firm knowing he was vindicated before God while his persecutors would suffer destruction.

Paul expressed the same line of thought in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Paul continues on to state that even though Christians may suffer in this life, they will ultimately conquer because God is the one that supplies and justifies us and nothing can separate us from love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Peter is not denying in anyway that the godly will suffer at the hands of the ungodly, but his reference here is related to the hope the Christian has that transcends the troubles of this world. Whatever harm we suffer in this life is minor compared to promises God has given to us for eternity. The ungodly may do evil against us, but ultimately, they cannot harm us, for God is the judge and He preserves our souls. Paul’s statement in Romans 8:18 is a succinct summary of this point, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Blessed when Suffering – 1 Peter 3:14

Verse 14 is a fourth class conditional clause of future less probability – “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.” This verse shows that Peter is not stating a promise that if you are zealous for good that no one will harm you, but it does back up the point that such harm would be abnormal. That is simply not what most people will do even if they are unbelievers. At the same time, there are people that are that evil. I would suggest that such people are most often found among the lower levels of criminals and among government officials who either are or want to be totalitarian in their sphere of authority. Criminals pursue cruelty for the evil pleasure of it, and totalitarian officials react against anyone that places a higher allegiance to God (or anyone else). And when a low class criminal ends up in a position of government authority, it is even worse.

The life of Jesus is this general truth. The vast majority of people were favorable to Him. It was the self righteous religious leaders that were against Him and the cause of the troubles and suffering He endured. They demanded that everyone bend to their traditions and rules which included the corrupt Temple market. Jesus’ righteousness was a threat to their prestige, authority and graft since it set a contrast that exposed them for what they were in reality.

Peter adds that if you do suffer for the sake of righteousness you are blessed. This goes back to what Jesus taught at the end of the Beatitudes in Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:10-12). 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus gives three reasons for being blessed, being able to rejoice and be glad, in the midst of such persecution. 1) It is an indicator that you do indeed belong to the kingdom of heaven (James 1:12; 2 Peter 1:11). 2) You will receive a great reward in heaven (Matthew 25:21; Mark 10:30; Psalm 58:11; Proverbs 11:18). 3) You are being treated the same way the prophets were treated for the same reason. Being equated with the prophets of old is an honor.

Unafraid of Intimidation or Trouble

Peter continues on in verses 14 with a quote from Isaiah 8:12-13 which is as follows: 12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. 13 “It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.” This passage sets a contrast between the fear of people and the fear of the Lord which Peter does as well when he continues in verse 15 to command them to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” and gives directives on how to do that.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). The fear of the Lord is also a fountain of prolonged life (Proverbs 10:27; 14:27) and lead to riches and honor (Proverbs 22:4). But fools despise wisdom and instruction and hate knowledge so they turn away from the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7, 29). Proverbs 1:20-38 explains that this lack of fear of the Lord results in a turning away from wisdom and suffering the consequences of that. Evil itself arises from a lack of fear of God as explained in Romans 1:18-32 description of man’s descent into depravity. What begins as a failure to honor and worship God descends into substituting something else to worship instead of God and then finally refusing to acknowledge God. The result is a corresponding descent into yielding to impure lusts, then degrading passions and finally depravity of mind which has become so prevalent in our own time among our societal elite.

Peter uses the prohibitory subjunctive to give them the command that if they did encounter those who would cause them to suffer for righteousness they were to neither fear nor allow themselves to be troubled by them. The word fear (fobevw / phobeō) had an original meaning of being startled and running away and from that it developed into a description of an unpleasant emotional anticipation of an uncertain future which will be negative. There is something being faced that could be dangerous. The level of fear can range from mild to extreme, from being concerned to being terrified. The word troubled (paravssw / parassō) adds to this description for it means to physically stir up, trouble, agitate (John 5:7) or to cause acute emotional distress (Luke 1:12) as it is used here.

Peter paid attention to what Jesus had taught about these things. In Matthew 10:28-31 Jesus taught His disciples, 28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Keeping the eternal perspective in mind enables you to face fearful situations in the present time with confidence that God keeps His promises. Jesus encouraged them in John 14:27–28 saying, 27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

Was that not the point of Jonathan’s sermon a couple of weeks ago from John 16:32-33? 32 “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  (See: Strength for Today & Bright Hope for Tomorrow)

Christians are to be courageous and not give in to either emotions of fear or agitation when facing suffering at the hands of evil people because of our pursuit of righteousness. It is to be with us as it was in Isaiah 50. Because we know that Yahweh will help us in such distress, we can set our faces like flint in frightening circumstances.

Sanctifying the Lord – 1 Peter 3:15-16

Peter addresses this proper focus on God that overcomes fear and agitation when facing circumstances of suffering with the command to “sanctify the Lord in your hearts.” Sanctify, aJgiavzw / hagiadzō, is to hallow, regard as holy, to honor as holy (Louw-Nida). This is Peter’s summary of Isaiah 8:13 – “It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.” Proper fear belongs to God, not man. Our trust is to be in God and His promises in all circumstances including the difficult ones. Peter’s point is that your response to your circumstance will reveal your beliefs and trust in the Lord. Being able to remain calm when facing frightening circumstance is a demonstration of trust in God – Isaiah 26:3, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.”

Peter understood the importance of this truth from his own experience. When Jesus was arrested and tried, Peter denied Christ three times. He had boasted earlier that he would die before he would deny Jesus (Matthew 26:34), now he was afraid of being associated with Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). He did not sanctify the Lord. After Jesus restored Him (John 21) and the Holy Spirit came upon Him (Acts 2), Peter never looked back. The man who was so afraid became bold in preaching the gospel to anyone and honoring the Lord even if it meant suffering for it. In Acts 5 the apostles had been arrested again for teaching in Jesus’ name contrary to the commands of the Sanhedrin. The answer of Peter and apostles to them was “We must obey God rather than men” and though they were flogged for it, they rejoiced to be considered worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ name and then continued to teach and preach Jesus every day even in the Temple.

And please note that Peter’s command here is to sanctify the Lord in your hearts because that is the origin of true godliness. While outward actions of honoring the Lord are better than flagrant disobedience, unless it comes from the heart, the seat of your will and purpose, God will still judge for He searches the heart (Jeremiah 17:10). In Isaiah 29:13 the Lord condemns the people because they “honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of traditions learned by rote.” I will add here that such lip service to the Lord will not withstand the threat of persecution as Peter had already learned.

A Ready Defense of Your Hope. Peter continues on in verse 15 to give very practical ways in which the Lord can be sanctified in your hearts. The first is to “always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and fear.” There are several elements to this clause. The first is “always ready.” That means you have worked at preparing yourself in advance. Even though there is a mystical element in talking to people about matters of faith since it is the Holy Spirit that is involved in enlightening someone to understand and believe the things of God (1 Cor. 2:6-14), and it is also the Holy Spirit that enables you to remember what needs to be said as you are talking with them (Mark 13:11; Acts 4:8; 1 Cor. 2:13), you still have to have a base of knowledge. Pastors / teachers equip the saints for the work of the ministry building on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:19-22; 4:11-16). In other words, the Holy Spirit is not going to bring to your mind a Scripture which you have never read. He will bring to your mind many scriptures with which you are familiar that will perfectly fit the situation. So much so you can be surprised by it.

Being always ready to make a defense, ajpologia / apologia – a speech in defense, does not mean you will be able to answer any question anyone may ask about Biblical Christianity, but it does mean you can humbly answer even the question designed to stump you. You simply say, I don’t know the answer to that question, but I will find out and get back to you, or I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know someone that might. Let’s go talk to him.” Being always ready does mean that you will be actively learning more about God and what He has revealed in His word so that you can answer more questions. If you think you have to be able to answer every question, you will be afraid to talk to others and therefore completely fail what Peter is commanding to be done here. Answer what you can. If you don’t know the answer, then search for it. Keep learning. That will help you to be able as well as willing.

Your defense is to be ready for “everyone who asks,” That is inclusive encompassing both those who are friendly and curious and those who may be hostile. The specific questioning we are ready to defend concerns the hope that you have within you. Peter has already referenced this hope three times. In 1:3 it is God’s mercy that “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” In 1:13 you are to “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” In 1:21 we are believers in God who have “faith and hope in God.” You should be able to explain to anyone that asks about your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation from sin and the hope you have that transcends this life. Hope is not a wish. It is a patient and confident expectation for the future due to God’s promises. The Christian is confident that his sins are forgiven, that he has been adopted as a child of God, and that Jesus is returning to take him to be in heaven with Him for eternity.

One of the reasons that we make such an emphasis on personal evangelism in this church is directly related to this passage. You should know the gospel and how to present it to others in any situation that arises. If you do not know how to do this or are afraid to do it, the basic evangelism class that will be starting on Saturday, February 25 is for you. See Dominic Bonasio for details and to let him know your interest. Be ready to give a defense, a reasoned explanation, of the hope you have in Jesus Christ so that they too may believe and be saved.

Gentleness & Fear. Peter gives a qualifier concerning the manner in which the defense is made. It is to be with gentleness and respect. Peter has already stated that Christians are not to return evil for evil or insult for insult and give a blessing instead, so we cannot respond as the world does. Gentleness in this verse refers to both attitude and action and is a contrast to the harshness of the ungodly. We do not disparage the other person, call them names, be rude or deflect the question. Those are tactics of those that do not have an answer but still want to win the argument. We give a defense – a explanation of what we believe and why – without being defensive. Even if reviled and attacked, we are to give a calm and reasoned answer. Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” One of the fruits of the Spirit that is to characterize the Christian is gentleness (Galatians 5:23). Reverence here, fovboV / phobos) can be translated fear, but in this context it used in its connotation of reverence / respect in the same way it was used earlier in 3:2 of the wives having chaste and respectful behavior toward their husbands.

A Good Conscience. The final way Peter mentions here that you can sanctify the Lord is to “keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” Conscience, suneivdhsiV / suneidāsis, refers to the psychological faculty which can distinguish between right and wrong (Louw-Nida) prompting to do and commend the right and causing an avoidance of and condemning evil (GELN). There is a certain innate aspect of the conscience for all people are born with a knowledge that certain things are bad even if they do those things themselves (Romans 2:1-3, 14-15), but the conscience is also trained. It can be trained in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16) in which case it will be an aide in living in righteousness (Acts 24:6; 1 Tim. 1:5). But the conscience can also be weak subjecting it to being wounded and defiled (1 Cor. 8:10, 12), seared (1 Tim. 4:2) and even becoming evil (Hebrews 10:22) and the understanding of what is right and wrong become corrupted or even reversed.

It will take some work to have and keep a good conscience because it will require aligning it with the truth of God’s word. You will need to hear, read, study, memorize and mediate on it so that it permeates your mind and takes every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. To remain ignorant of what God has revealed about Himself and His will only allows your conscience to be perverted by your own desire and the world.

A good conscience is a great aide in living in righteousness and resisting the temptations to be like the world. Paul pointed this out in his defense before both the Sanhedrin and Governor Felix that he had lived his life with a perfectly good conscience before God and did his best to maintain it as blameless (Acts 23:1; 24:16). Peter points out in verse 16 that having a good conscience will help you maintain good behavior in Christ resulting in those who slander and revile it will be put to shame. Their speaking against what is good and spiteful mistreatment will set a contrast that should shame them.

Maintaining a good conscience that results in being gentle and respectful even toward those that are the opposite toward you does not mean you become passive or easily pushed around. It simply means that you remain calm, coherent and logical in your defense while others lose it emotionally and mentally. They will be wrapped up in trying to win the argument while your focus remains honoring the Lord and trying to win their souls by your words and example.

Suffering in the will of God – 1 Peter 3:17

Verse 17 begins a new sentence and thought, but it is so closely tied to what Peter has just said that it is a fitting, though sobering conclusion for today’s sermon. 17 “For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.” Peter continues on to show that Christ is the example of this, but also gives the reason it is so important to respond in godliness even when suffering for righteousness at the hands of evil people. It is better, it is superior, it is advantage. This is a repeat of the point he made in 2:20 and which he will expand upon in 4:16, 19.

There is nothing commendable about suffering for doing wrong. That should be expected as part of justice. But suffering for doing right and responding in godliness and maintaining a good conscience is commendable because it demonstrates trust that God in His providence has a plan for what is happening. It may be part of our spiritual growth and refinement as indicated in Romans 5:3-9 and James 1:2-4. It could be part of His condemnation of the sinner, or the means of them understanding the gospel. There is a reason for the old adage that the blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the church. It could be for the purpose of exalting your righteousness as in the case of Job. Whatever the particular reason God may have for it, it is following the example of Christ which we will look at next week.

Sermon Notes – February 12, 2023
Suffering for Righteousness – 1 Peter 3:13-17


Theme of 1 Peter: Preparing for Persecution

  1. A) God’s Grace and _____________ (1 Peter 3:3-2:10)
  2. B) God’s Grace and _____________(1 Peter 2:11-3:12)
  3. C) God’s Grace and _____________(1 Peter 3:13-4:19)
  4. D) God’s Grace and the ____________(1 Peter 5)

Zeal for what is Good – 1 Peter 3:13

1 Peter 2:12 – Keep your behavior ___________even when slandered for that may cause them to glorify God

A rhetorical question with an expected ____________answer

_________& testing (1:6-7), slandered & reviled (2:12, 15), suffered unjustly (2:19), insulted & treated evil (2:19)

Harmed (3:14), slandered & reviled (3:16), suffer for doing right (3:17), _____ordeal & suffer like Jesus (4:12-13)

Conditional clause: If zealous – deeply committed – to good. It is ____________to be harmed for doing good

Harsh treatment could be because of _______ _______sin, attitude, actions

Isaiah 50:5–9 – he saw past the present to an eternal reality that ____________ it

Romans 8:31f – Christians ultimately conquer because ______ supplies, justifies & we are secure in His love

The godly will suffer at the hands of the ungodly, but we have a _______that transcends the troubles of this world

Blessed when Suffering– 1 Peter 3:14

A fourth class conditional clause of future _____probability – harm may come for doing right but that is abnormal

The example of _________: The vast majority liked Him. The self-righteous religious leaders were against Him

____________ if you suffer for righteousness – Matthew 5:10-12

1) You belong to God’s kingdom. 2) You will receive a _________in heaven. 3) You are treated like the prophets

Unafraid of Intimidation or Trouble

Isaiah 8:12-13 – a contrast between the fear of people and the fear of the ___________

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, _________& a fountain of long life, riches, honor (Proverbs)

The lack of a fear of the Lord turns away from wisdom (Prov. 1:20-38) and results in ________(Romans 1:18-32)

The command is to neither _______ nor be troubled (agitated) by those who would cause them to suffer

Matt. 10:28-31 – keeping the eternal perspective enables you to face fearful situations ____________ in God

John 14:27-28

John 16:32-33

Christians are to be ____________ & not give into emotions when facing suffering at the hands of evil people

Sanctifying the Lord – 1 Peter 3:15-16

Sanctify – hallow, regard as _____, honor as holy – the Lord in your hearts. This is Peter’s summary of Isaiah 8:13

Being able to remain calm when facing frightening circumstance demonstrates ________in God – Isaiah 26:3

Peter denied Christ because he was __________ for himself instead of sanctifying the Lord

After Peter was restored & filled with the Holy Spirit he sanctified the Lord & was ________ – Acts 5

The heart is the seat of the will & purpose and therefore the _________ of true godliness

God __________ lip service worship – Isaiah 29:13

Always ready – you work at ____________yourself in advance by learning a foundation of Biblical knowledge

A defense, ajpologia / apologia, which includes _________ to say you do not know but will find out

Answer the questions you can, search for answers for what you don’t know, keep __________to be willing & able

Everyone who asks – encompasses the friendly, the curious and the ____________

The hope that is in you – 1 Peter 1:3, 13, 21 – the ___________: salvation from sin, future resurrection & heaven

If you are afraid of personal evangelism, then overcome the fear by getting trained

Gentleness & fear (reverence) is the attitude and ____________ in which we give our defense

____________ – turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1) and is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23)

Conscience – internal ability to ____________ right from wrong. A good conscience prompts righteousness

A conscience that is weak, wounded, defiled, seared or evil will _____________distinguish right from wrong

The conscience is trained to be good by aligning it with the ____________- hear, read, study, memorize, meditate

We are not to be passive or pushed around easily. We are remain ______, coherent & logical instead of emotional

Suffering in the will of God – 1 Peter 3:17

There is nothing commendable about suffering for doing wrong, but suffering for righteousness is ____________

We ________ the Lord even when suffering for we know He is working His will out in our lives and others

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count how many times the word “suffer /suffering)” is used. 2) Discuss with your parents about you are to respond to suffering that may come upon you.

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How has the study of 1 Peter helped you cope with the rapid social changes against Christianity? Why is it important to maintain excellent behavior even if suffering unjustly? Peter asks the rhetorical question of who there is to harm you if you are zealous for what is good, yet in his letter he cites many examples of harm they have already suffered. What then does Peter mean by this? What does it mean to be zealous for good? What if you are not? How does Isaiah 50:5-9 help us understand Peter’s point? How does Paul make the same point in Romans 8? How is Peter’s point demonstrated in the life of Jesus? How can suffering unjustly for righteousness be a blessing? Peter quotes from Isaiah 8:12-13. How does that passage help understand Peter’s point? What is the result of having a proper fear of the Lord? What does a lack of a fear of the Lord result in? How do you keep from being fearful of and agitated by those who seek to cause you harm? What does it mean to “sanctify the Lord in your hearts”? Why did Peter deny Jesus at His trial? What changed that made Peter bold in Acts 2, 5, etc.? What is the relationship between that boldness and sanctifying the Lord in your heart? How can you “always be ready” to give a defense? What do you do if you do not know the answer to someone’s question? What is the Christian’s hope? Why is important to give a defense with gentleness and reverence even to antagonists? If you have not done so already, write out your testimony so that you can share it with others. If you cannot tell others the gospel of Jesus Christ in a clear and understandable manner, get training so that you can. What is a good conscience and how do you train it to be good? How can it help you? What are the dangers of having a conscience that is weak wounded, defiled, seared or evil? What are some reasons it may within God’s will for you to suffer for the sake of righteousness?

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