First Peter 3 8-17
Read 1 Peter 3:8-17 This morning we come to a passage that tells us how to use our tongues. Because we have previously spoken on the negative aspects of our speech let me just briefly go over those.
Don’t’ pay back evil for evil or insult for insult. Nor is there to be deceitful speech. That is the example of Jesus 1 Peter 2:21-23. I love the New English Bible translation of verse 9. “Do not pay wrong with wrong or abuse with abuse; on the contrary, retaliate with blessing.” It is hard to be deceitful when you are in the business of blessing someone.
An important work of the tongue besides the blessing in v. 9 is in verses 15 – 17. The directive is - always be prepared to tell people about Jesus. How this is done is clearly set before us – with gentleness and respect and keeping a clear conscience by good behavior in Christ.
In v. 15, Peter tells us in very plain terms to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts. This is the very central truth we must understand. Christ must be your Lord. I do not believe a person can accept Christ as Savior and then later as Lord. Scripture says to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes we can refuse to submit some part of our life to Jesus but He is still Lord and always will be. In any given area of life you can submit to God or not. That can be a daily event. Why does Peter say in your heart?
Your heart in a spiritual understanding is the center of your being. It is from the heart every issue of life flows. Your thinking/understanding comes from your heart, your speech, your volition (will), your emotions, your behavior, all come from the heart. Not the physical organ.
The words “set apart” shows the giving over control of the heart to Jesus. The word “consecrate” would fit in well here. A giving as dedicated to God. It is a willing giving of your life to God.
Peter goes on and says always be ready to tell anyone who asks the reason for the hope you have. He assumes someone is going to ask. Why? Obviously, if you are one who lives under submission to the government, to your boss, to your husband, or a husband loving his wife as a precious, beautiful and delicate gift of God people are going to ask you why do you live like that? When people see you living a changed life some are curious enough to ask.
And yes, if you have received Christ in your life people will see Him in you. As one person told me when you believe in Jesus be prepared to tell people what happened to you because Jesus has a way of being seen in your life. He will change you. So be ready to tell others about the Lord Jesus.
The word for reason is apologia from which we get out term apologetics. I like the word reason better because apologetics to me sounds like you are apologizing for what you believe. It is really giving the reason for what you believe and what you are communicating with your lifestyle.
Are you prepared to answer? Can you tell someone who asks you the reason for your hope?
The foundational truths of Scripture should be what every Christian can verbalize. The hope we have is the fulfillment of our salvation in Christ as we spend eternity with Him.
Some foundational truths you should know:
1. The Bible is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Sprit. 2 Tim. 3:16
2. All mankind are sinners and the wages of sin is death. Romans 3:23; 6:23
3. That Jesus Christ is God the Son who willingly took upon Himself the sins of His people even though He was sinless. God therefore brought His wrath down upon Jesus who stood in our place on the cross. The blood of Christ as required for our forgiveness. IS. 53:4; Matthew 26:28
4. That Jesus rose from the dead as our living Lord, showing that the punishment for our sin has been paid in full. Totally by God. Heb. 9:27-28
5. A person must come to Jesus by faith, trusting in Him alone to save you from your sin. Eph. 2:8; Acts 16:30
6. Those who believe in Christ will never lose their salvation. John 10:27
7. Anyone who does not believe in Christ stands before God condemned. John 3:18; 1 John 5:12 Before Christ they will hear these words depart from me I never knew you. Matthew 7:23
Well, then, how do you tell others of this glorious hope? With gentleness and respect! We are to be witnesses, not prosecuting attorneys! Our desire is to see people saved, not win an argument or condemn people.
It would do us well to read through the Book of Acts and see with what gentleness and respect Christ was shared even with the authorities. In closing, let us look at the way Paul presented the hope he had in Acts 26:1-32.