Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Living in the Power of the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. 6/05/2011
1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, (unbridled lust, shamelessness) lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, (level headed, of sound mind) and watch unto prayer.

When Christians do not go along with the world anymore, do not think it strange as they think it strange. All will give account of their behavior. One must be in their right mind, level headed and watch unto prayer. Just because someone is saying that Jesus is coming soon, they must not be taken in by every crack pot. In one's right mind, one should pray so that one could stay above all the predictions of the coming apocalypse. Be level headed, do not panick. Be in prayer and be mindful of what the Scrpture says.

God has not revealed the precise moment of His return, but rather has told us continually that there is a day coming when all things will end. Peter was writing this in the 60's, but he still wrote that the end of all things is at hand. Be level headed and be in prayer. Know who God is and function in that understanding.

8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.
9 Use hospitality (be generous) one to another without grudging.(murmuring, muttering)
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

He calls on the church to love fervently (earnestly, intently) one another and in the same way that God overlooks our sins because of His grace, we are to do the same, for in doing so we will cover a mulititude of sins. Be nice to one another without grudging. Do it cheerfully, not muttering under our breath. We should not have looks of disdain and dissatisfaction with one another. We should use the gifts, minister to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. As the end approaches, this is what we should be found doing. He concludes this section by saying that our whole life is given to us to live in the life that God has given us to live. He knows how to take care of His affairs. Allow Him to do what He does and we should do that which we are called to do.

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery (burning) trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

The trial that he seems to be referring here is the refining process, which can be compared to the refining of gold. We are to live in this patiently, rejoicing in this suffering. He seems to be going over this concept over and over again. We are to glory in suffering when it is done for God's glory, and we are to suffer rightfully when we have been doing things which are not in agreement with the will of God. When we do the right thing and suffer, we should not be afraid, but we should praise God because we are suffering in His will which will bring about His purposes.

The judgment must begin at the house of God. If the refining begins with us, how will it be for those who are not obeying the gospel of God. For believers it is a refining process, but for unbelievers it is a judgment that is designed to lead to repentance to faith. Therefore we are called to suffer according to the will of God, committing our souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. On the basis of the end, God is refining us to strengthen us and also so that we will do that which He has ordained that we do for His body. The resurrection has delivered us from death, and through life's suffering we are delivered from our selves, so that we may fulfill our God's purposes in this life.

As we read through the last chapter of the Apostle Peter's First Epistle, being familiar with his restoration and recommission by Jesus on the shores of the sea of Tiberias, we think of the words that our Lord spoke to Peter at that time. Specifically in this 21st chapter of John, we remember the the three questions that Jesus asked Peter, the answers that Peter gave and the remainder of the conversation. Here is the dialogue:

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

Peter had learned a lot from the time that he first met Jesus (John 1:42). until the day that he met Jesus in His resurrected form at the sea of Tiberias. When our Lord had called Peter, He had spoken the words "follow Me" (Matthew 4:19) and as Jesus ends this discussion in which Peter is rrestored and recommissioned, the same two words are spoken to Peter, "Follow Me," but our Lord added the pronoun, you, saying, "You follow me!"

Peter was with the Lord for around three years. He heard the words "follow me" early on, but it was not until the end of our Lord's life that he was able to better understand what they meant, it was upon receiving the Holy Spirit that he began to experience it for himself, and consequently to live his life in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came to understand what it meant deny himself, take us his cross and follow Jesus. So then he wrote about it for those in Asia minor as well as for the Christian church for all time. That leads us into our text today.

KJV 1 Peter 5:1 The elders (presbuteros) which are among you I exhort, who am also an (fellow) elder, and a witness (martyr) of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker (partner, sharer) of the glory that shall be revealed:

He lists three ways not to be and contrasts them with how to be.
2 Feed (nourish, tend) the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight (oversee, look after) thereof, not by constraint, (by force) but willingly; not for filthy lucre, (not for monetary gain) but of a ready mind; (an eager mind)
3 Neither as being lords (domineering) over God's heritage, but being ensamples (examples, patterns) to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

The Apostle now writes to the elders (mature in faith) calling himself a fellow elder, and not an Apostle which would have given him place to dictate to them, but rather he writes as a co laborer and not as someone who is superior to them. Peter writes about the suffering, for he had seen the suffering of Christ. Rather he says, that Christ gave him to be a partaker of that glory of God that shall be revealed. Peter understood the glory and honor that comes with being identified with the person and the cause of Jesus the Christ.

He then calls them to feed the flock, overseeing them, not because one is forced to, but eagerly and willing, not for money, but of a ready mind. Not as a lord, but as an example, or a pattern, a type, a model, a shepherd like Christ. When Christ shall return, one will receive a crown of glory that fades not away.

Let us consider a few other references concerning the role and responsibility of leaders in the congregation. As always, we must first follow Jesus' life and words before looking to further instruction from the non-Gospel teachings of the Scriptures. He is the Pattern as we see from Matthew's writings.

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

The Apostle Paul speaks to his son in the Lord, Timothy in this manner:

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

And these two references from Hebrews speak to the responsibility of the congregation.

Hebrews13: 7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Hebrews 13:7 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject (under) one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Humility: Meaning: 1) the having a humble opinion of one's self 2) a deep sense of one's (moral) littleness 3) modesty, humility, lowliness of mind

Pride: Meaning: 1) showing one's self above others, overtopping, conspicuous above others, pre-eminent 2) with an overweening estimate of one's means or merits, despising others or even treating them with contempt, haughty

Grace: Meaning: 1) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech 2) good will, loving-kindness, favour 2a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ...
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:6-10

Did you hear about the clever salesman who closed hundreds of sales with this line: "Let me show you something several of your neighbors said you couldn't afford."

Pride is the dandelion of the soul. Its root goes deep; only a little left behind sprouts again. Its seeds lodge in the tiniest encouraging cracks. And it flourishes in good soil: The danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness. David Rhodes

The story is told of two ducks and a frog who lived happily together in a farm pond. The best of friends, the three would amuse themselves and play together in their waterhole. When the hot summer days came, however, the pond began to dry up, and soon it was evident they would have to move. This was no problem for the ducks, who could easily fly to another pond. But the frog was stuck. So it was decided that they would put a stick in the bill of each duck that the frog could hang onto with his mouth as they flew to another pond. The plan worked well--so well, in fact, that as they were flying along a farmer looked up in admiration and mused, "Well, isn't that a clever idea! I wonder who thought of it?" The frog said, "I did..."

It was John Riskin who said, "I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a ... feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them." Andrew Murray said, "The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because ... he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility." M.R. De Haan used to say, "Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have."

Humility and a passion for the praise of God are a pair of characteristics which together indicate growth in grace. The Bible is full of self-humbling (man bowing down before God) and doxology (man giving praise to God). The healthy heart is one that bows down in humility and rises in praise and adoration. The Psalms strike both these notes again and again. So too, Paul in his letters both articulates humility and breaks into doxology. Look at his three descriptions of himself quoted above, dating respectively from around A.D. 59, 63, and 64. As the years pass he goes lower; he grows downward! And as his self-esteem sinks, so his rapture of praise and adoration for the God who so wonderfully saved him rises.

I am the least of the apostles. 1 Corinthians 15:9

I am the very least of all the saints. Ephesians 3:8

I am the foremost of sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15

Cultivate humility and a passion for praise if you want to grow in grace. James Packer

How do we cultivate humility and resist pride?

"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ...
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:6-10

Many years ago, Christian professor Stuart Blackie of the University of Edinburgh was listening to his students as they presented oral readings. When one young man rose to begin his recitation, he held his book in the wrong hand. The professor thundered, "Take your book in your right hand, and be seated!" At this harsh rebuke, the student held up his right arm. He didn't have a right hand! The other students shifted uneasily in their chairs. For a moment the professor hesitated. Then he made his way to the student, put his arm around him, and with tears streaming from his eyes, said, "I never knew about it. Please, will you forgive me?" His humble apology made a lasting impact on that young man. This story was told some time later in a large gathering of believers. At the close of the meeting a man came forward, turned to the crowd, and raised his right arm. It ended at the wrist. He said, "I was that student. Professor Blackie led me to Christ. But he never could have done it if he had not made the wrong right."

KJV James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

There is a CC music group called Tenth Avenue North and they have put a video on youtube which can briefly be described as follows:

Video. From a Youth Pastor: Two young people had sex in the car, someone told them that they saw them, they were horrified that someone saw them. The pastor went on to say that God saw them and that He already knows about it. The conversation went on to say that it is harder to confess to people than it is to God. God has given us this blessing so that we have the privilege of confessing to another. We cannot save ourselves, we try to be our own Saviour. We suffer from the Rocky syndrome, "I have to go fifteen rounds," (he was trying to be his own saviour by his own performance). The Gospel is "I am a bum, I need a saviour, James 5:16a It helps us to see that we cannot save ourselves, for healing begins when we confess our sins. KJV James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

Here are statements made by those in the music group.

“When we were going through songs and writing songs, we weren’t worried about whether or not this record was going to take,” Jamison says of the album’s potential. “The No. 1 priority is the songs and the lyrics. We want to create strong songs that hopefully draw people in to experience Christ.”

Donehey agrees, “I carry this ache with me and I don’t know if that’s common to a lot of people, but I know Paul says in Romans ‘I have unceasing anguish for my brothers who don’t believe.’ I don’t have unceasing anguish, but I do get a taste of what he’s talking about when I get up on stage and I’m talking about the truth and Christ and redemption. I look into the faces of the crowd and you can tell that some people have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”

Owen feels the first single “Healing Begins” encapsulates the theme of the new album. “It’s where the title of the record comes from. It’s basically about confession -- confessing your sins to one another that you might be healed, which is a scary thing to do. You can believe in God and love God, but confessing the things that you keep secret and hold on to -- that keep you tied to your past and weigh you down --confessing those things is not easy. You can experience such freedom in telling someone else. You know that God knows everything about you, but telling someone else is an entirely different thing.”
Here is a recent song, entitled: Healing Begins

So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do
So we think that you're good
And you can't believe it's not enough
All the walls you built up
Are just glass on the outside

So let 'em fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won't disappear

So let it fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now
We're here now, oh

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don't fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

The attitude of lowliness does not come from the false representation of lowliness. It is the understanding of self in relation to God. A young person in the faith is placing themselves at the disposal of God and when the time comes, God will lift this person up. Do not usurp the position of being a young person, but wait your time in order to be exalted by God Himself. During that time, allow every concern that is before yourself to be cast upon God, who cares for you. If you are eager to advance in the church, be careful not to desire to step up before it is your time.

Be level headed, be alert, be watchful, for the one who wants to accuse you, the devil, your opponent, goes about like a roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour. This adversary refers to one who brings an accusation before you. The devil, who is attempting to bring one down, goes around trying to get a younger person to refuse the advice of the elders and do their own thing. This is an excellent place by which young people are given direction as to how they are to conduct themselves in the church. When we as young men/women conduct ourselves in a self serving manner, we will be found an easy target, for twe are opening the door for ourselves to be deceived.

10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (establish firmly)
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.
13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

The God of all grace, who has called you/us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after one has suffered for awhile, will make us perfect, stablish us, strengthens us and settles us. To him be the might forever and dominion forever. Finally, there are some greetings that are given. Stand firm in the grace of God, he tells them. Peter most likely had this Epistle written through the pen of Silvanus,

Babylon seems to be a reference to Rome. Peter never went to Babylon. Marcus is called his son, and this is more than likely to be John Mark. This is not his son physically, but an affectionate term for a brother in Christ.

We do not have the custom of kissing one another when greeting, but in the Eastern countries it is done. We do the same thing with a warm handshake and we say God's Peace to one another as we extend the peace of God to them and wish them His Peace.

Conclusion to the Epistle of Peter: Tribulation was either present or it was imminent. He is telling them that God is overseeing all things, they must imitate the actions of Christ, entrusting themselves to God in the same way that Christ entrusted Himself to God. We are to imitate Christ and in so doing, bring glory to God through our lives.

Be of good cheer, "For the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 05 Jun 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Living in the Power of the Resurrection: Suffering
As Peter continues to reveal the nature of the kingdom of God into chapter three, he begins with the word, "Likewise" which tells us that at least the initial part of chapter three is to be understood and interpreted in relation to what he has been speaking about in the latter part of chapter two.

KJV 1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

The focus has not changed here, for what is being said is that suffering/bearing patiently in a marriage in which a husband is not a believer works the same way that it did in the earlier passages. The unbelieving spouse is going to be scrutinizing the life Jesus Christ in the words and actions of the believing spouse. For the life of grace that is lived is often that which can open the eyes and heart of a non believer to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ as they watch and scrutinize the life of a believer. A close relative of mine once told me that he was given the grace to stay at home with his wife (who would not attend church with him) instead of going to church each Sunday without her. This went on for many years until one day she came to see and experience the grace of God in a clearer manner and even though he did not say it, it was apparent to me that his ability to see his role in serving her spiritual needs by staying by her side each Sunday morning was a contributing factor in her growth. They now attend the same fellowship together on a regular basis.

Peter continues to elaborate on this thought by saying that the adornment is not in the stuff one wears, but it is what is inside. It is not that braided hair is forbidden, (in Greek this means an elaborate hairstyle in which they weaved gold) or that to wear gold is forbidden, or that the wearing of clothes is forbidden, but the point is that adornment should not be in outward things. The putting on should be in the immortal, inner things of the heart. He again brings the contrast of gold which can perish. He points to the meekness of spirit which is lived in during the trials of life that one is going through. In this case, it is in the case of a wife who patiently bears the difficulty of an unbelieving spouse who may resist their walk of salvation. The value of this hidden meekness is much more valuable than outward golden adornments. Earlier he spoke of gold twice, (1:7) and (1:19) pointing out that as valuable as gold is, it is perishable.

An illustration from the Old Testament is given from the life of Sara. She placed herself in deference (humble submission) to her husband. This was her husband, and this is the example that is for married women. We need to be reminded that taken in context this is much more than principles of how to be a good wife. It is that yes, but what is being shown here is the importance of a wife laying down her life for the desired blessing for her husband in salvation. Jesus modeled and demonstrated this humility when he washed the feet of the disciples. He performed a menial task for them, which indicated that he came to serve. Yes, he was their Lord and Master, He told them that He was so, that he had the authority over them, but yet He performed the menial chore for them. So He calls upon the believing wife to so do for her unbelieving husband.

Sometimes for a person has to live with a husband who is not in faith, it can be a fearsome type of relationship. But by trusting in God , by placing oneself at his disposal, one can be relieved of the fear of any circumstance. He is telling them all to live without fear in all of their tribulations that may be in the future. God is watching over us all, and when we place ourself at His disposal, we do not have to live in fear.

7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with(live with) them according to knowledge, giving honour (placing value)) unto the wife, as unto the weaker (less strong) vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

As husbands we are to give honor to our wife, to consider them important from the heart. Is he saying here is that boys are stronger than girls? Most men can lift more weight than woman, just because they have testosterone. As men we must know that we are stronger than woman, but we are called to show honor to them and to live with them on the basis of this knowledge.

Now in relationship to living with this vessel who is weaker, there is a temptation to rule over the weaker vessel. But we are to alway show deference to people who are weaker than us. Jesus did this, for he washed the feet of those who were weaker than him. This is speaking to us as husbands.

How are a husbands prayers hindered? It occurs when our attitudes and motives are in opposition to what God calls us to be to our wives. For example, if we are praying that our wife be submissive to us in an unbiblical manner, we are praying in opposition to the will of God. In that way we would be praying against God's will. Would God answer our prayer if we were praying for our wife to like a slave to us? Would he hear our prayers when we treat our wife as a possession and not a person?I think not..

8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, (tenderhearted) be courteous: (friendly, kind)
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing:(reviling, speaking reproachfully) but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:(deceit)
11 Let him eschew (avoid) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.(follow after)
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Peter uses the word finally, which indicates to us that he is making some concluding remarks in this particular section which began at 2:11, where he told them "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation (behavior) honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."

He tells them that there is no need to return abuse for abuse, for their inheritance is awaiting them in glory. We do not have to take things in our own hands, since God's eyes are over the righteous, his ears open to their prayers, but his face is against those who do evil. We understand that we are not to use our tongue and lips wrongfully, for God is watching over us, and He is the one who is taking care of those who do evil. So there is no need to react against the wicked, for God is well aware of what they are doing. There is no value for us to return something bad for bad. There is greater value in seeking and pursuing peace.

13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

One of the major themes of this letter again is brought forth by Peter: Suffering for the benefit of others offers us opportunity to give an answer for the reason of the hope that we have. For when we follow that which is good and suffer for it, there are those who are going to take notice and ask us about it. We then are able to tell them, in meekness (gentleness of spirit) and fear,(respect and reverence) that we have an inheritance that is reserved in heaven, that is incorruptible, undefiled and that does not fade away. We can tell them that this kingdom that we live in is not an earthly kingdom, but it is a spiritual kingdom who is governed and ruled by Jesus Christ Himself.

They understood that Christ was living in them and when there was opportunity to give answer of the hope that is within them, they should do so. In other words, the hope that is in us, is greater than the fear that is without. This verse needs to be kept in context, so that when one is in suffering one will not succumb to fear, but will be able to respond in a good way with humility and respect. When one is going through something in good conscience, one will be able to speak with humility and respect.

17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

We will suffer if we do wrong, but when one does right and suffers for good, it is an opportunity to reveal the Christ in us.

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once
the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

He is using Christ as the example, as the one who has suffered wrongly. Christ need not have suffered, but He did and in the place of the unjust. He did it so that they would be brought to God. Even though He was put to death in the flesh, He could not really be brought into death by humans, for they were only the instruments which God used. God ordained this death and Christ yielded his life. (Acts 2:22; John 19:30) He is telling them that since they are alive in the Spirit, they are overcomers, for they are no longer dead in the flesh. We are not look upon our flesh, we are not to look upon our fleshly experience, for we are alive in the Spirit.

v 19...By which he also went and preached unto the spirits in prison; He is alive in the Spirit, as He went and preached to the spirits in prison. So in this Spirit, which He was made alive in, He goes to the spirits who are in prison. Who are they? What does it mean that they were in prison? The spirits probably are not in prison, but something is holding them, and that maybe is death. Are they are being held by death, in being held captive. Now on the basis of His death, but being alive in the Spirit, He went to speak to them. They were disobedient ones, who were captive to death, and what took place seems to have taken place duriing the time of Noah, while God waited patiently. What is God waiting for? For Noah to finish the ark? Is God waiting for the day of destruction? Is He offering them the opportunity to come to repentance? God is waiting patiently, Noah is building the ark, and then we are told that only eight souls will be saved. This is a difficult place to understand.

Peter is speaking about the ark as a means of salvation, for if one is in a boat on the water, they will not perish. They were saved as by the boat. A vehicle is provided that will enable a person to pass through water. The antitype is baptism,

(Antitype: 1. One that is foreshadowed by or identified with an earlier symbol or type, such as a figure in the New Testament who has a counterpart in the Old Testament.
2. An opposite or contrasting type).

It is not of the flesh, it is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This act of baptism is not to be used in the sense of a washing. It is not like taking a bath, and washing the dirt from one's skin, but it refers to a good conscience. The baptism is a figure of the one who is baptized, which points to the resurrection. Baptism is the vehicle by which we are passed through the water, ie, the vehicle by which we are saved from judgment, and the act which makes it efficacious (binding) is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Just as Noah was saved by the ark from the judgment of God, so also we are saved by the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus received the baptism from John, even though He was not a sinner. John wondered about it at first, but Jesus told him that it had to be done to fulfull all righteousness. It needed to be done to complete all that was necessary for the justification of sinners. Jesus was baptized as a sinner, for he came in the likeness of sinful flesh. He was baptized so that He could enter into the human race for sin, we have been baptized into Him through the resurrection. It is not the water that does it, for water is the instrument of judgment. It is the means by which God was destroying the world, and it was the ark that saved them. The analogy here is with the baptism and the ark. We baptize, not for the water's sake, but we baptize on the basis of the resurrection in the joining unto Jesus Christ. When we are baptized unto Christ, we are passing through the judgment.

22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Christ has passed through death for us, and now He is alive. He is seated at the right hand of God, He lives in us by the Spirit, and if we are called to suffer, we are suffering for a good cause, for through this suffering, Christ is revealed through us. We will be taken care of, for God overcame death for us. He was made alive for us, and on that basis, we live. We have been baptized into Jesus Christ, into His death and into His resurrection. Therefore as we continue to live in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, may we live in joy and peace.

In Christ's power,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 23 May 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Living in the Power of the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. 6/05/2011
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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