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(1 Peter 3:9-17) A Believer's Response to Evil

1 Peter   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Peter challenges believers to respond to evil like Christ responded to evil in his work on the cross. Specifically, we are to return wrongdoing with kindness. (1 Peter 3:9) This kindness God see's and blesses us with eternal and earthly blessings during those struggles. Further, living a Holy life, even when faced with evil, is a witness to those who persecute us.

Notes & Transcripts
INTRODUCTION:
There is one universal expectation when you go to a Military boot camp:
You are going to be yelled and ridiculed from day one till you ship out on a bus to your fist command.
I remember my first few minutes arriving at Great Lakes Naval Station.
I got off the bus at 2 in the morning,
they lined us up,
and then yelled at us for about an hour.
Then I got in trouble for not remembering all 10 places they told us to go.
You yelled at me for the last hour, and no I don’t remember what 10 places you yelled at me to go.
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But it’s universally known that part of the process would be being yelled at unreasonably;
and so at least for that time we endured what ever wise cracks and irradic screaming came our way.
That is what you do if you want a career in the military.
What is amazing is how self-controlled we were.
If someone on the street had yelled at us that way; the very least we would have responded with anger and yelling back.
Not all of us came from good places and so some of us might even turn around with physical violence.
But in that environment, very few of us responded with anything but commited endurance.
I reflect on my own heart.
If I was yelled at today that way, without the military context, would I respond with anger and yelling.
We live in a fallen world in which it is not out of the ordinary to deal with someone who is angry and wants to be malicious to you.
From the challenges of family, to your neighbors, to your coworkers.
We live in a world in which people often respond with anger and mal intent, even when we have done nothing wrong.
Our passage today gives us a Biblical response to anger, abuse, and evil from others.
1 Peter 3:8–17 ESV
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:8-1
Peter challenges us,
Let’s first look at this command.
It is stated in a very clear way in .
1 Peter 3:9 ESV
9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
What is the automatic response for most people when someone is purposely malicious to them?
The natural response, our defense mechanism, is to lash back out.
We might be the vocal type - you yell at me and I am going to yell at you.
We might be the vocal type - you yell at me and I am going to yell at you.
We might be the passive type - I might not make a big deal now, but when you least expect it, I will get my revenge.
And really do this in all of our relationships.
If I am attacked at work - then I yell back, or plot a way to get that person.
This is why corporate business is often known for political maneuvering and back stabbing.
If my wife or husband attacks me - then I verbally or in some other way - get back at them.
Fine, you won’t fix my laundry room, then I won’t wash your clothes.
ILLUSTRATION:
When I was growing up I thought it was comical how are neighbors sometimes would act.
I remember one incident in which they got mad at me for blowing our drive way off.
My dad told me to blow off the driveway, and so I did.
But our neighbors didn’t like it, Because they had a built-in pool; and they didn’t want it dirty.
So what did they do?
We had a big loop driveway that was connected between our and theirs.
So they would take a water hose and wash all the dirt from their side of the driveway onto my side, so I had to clean it again.
This, you get back at me and I will get back at you response is found all over the place.
Work Relationships - If I am attacked at work - then I yell back, or plot a way to get that person.
This is why corporate business is often known for political maneuvering and back stabbing.
Marital Relationships - If my wife or husband attacks me - then I verbally or in some other way - get back at them.
Fine, you won’t fix my laundry room, then I won’t wash your clothes.
We even do this in our
Child-Parent Relationships -
You know know what I as your parent did for you.
I birthed you.
I feed you.
I taught you.
For older children;
I paid for your college
I helped you move into your first apartment.
And so you ought to .... and fill in the blank.
We even treat our children as though it is a one for one relationship.
Our attitude is summed up this way:
If you are good to me, I will be good to you.
If you are malicious to me, I will be malicious to you.
But is this the biblical model we are given?
And that answer is no!
Recall the model Peter preached to us earlier in .
In the context of slave and master relationship,
the model and example we are given is Christ.
1 Peter 2:21–23 ESV
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
May I suggest that next week we will look at the following paragraph, in which Peter brings this up again.
He declares the model we are to follow is Christ - who did not fight back, but trusted God.
Peter specifically commands us in this passage to follow Christ example.
That is not to return evil to evil,
but Return blessing to evil.
To respond with kindness towards evil.
What is the biblical response to anger and malicious acts?
Find ways to bless those who do evil to you.
I love the way the ESV translates this, “but on the contrary, bless”.
I don’t know if there is a golden rule for how to do this.
It requires us to not respond in anger, like our minds and bodies will want to.
Instead, it requires us to respond with kindness towards those who are angry and malicious at us.
And we will have to use wisdom in knowing how to do that faithfully.
ILLUSTRATIONS:
Sometimes that is as easy as putting a clipboard in a certain place because it brings peace to the situation.
Sometimes that means you sacrificially bring them a book on their favorite subject.
Sometimes that means apologizing for the wrong that they perceive.
What ever is wise in that conflict,
we are called to follow Christ by not returning evil,
but blessing those who are angry and malicious against us.
Now we have looked at the command - which is fairly strait forward,
but certainly requires us to deeply consider ourselves and it’s application in our lives.
In this passage, you are going to need to do the hard work that I can’t do for you.
I so much wish I could sit down and show you each what this looks like in your life.
Not because I am perfect and have it together,
but because it is essential for us to truly and maturely follow Christ as our example.
What does it mean to truly be transformed by the Gospel?
At least part of that is that your response to angry people is kindness. You do not fight back, but you look for a way to be kind in the midst of their anger.
And that is an incredible change of heart and mind from how we normal react.
So how do you do that hard work of Gospel transformation?
1) Consider how you have sinned in this way. Because I guarantee you have.
2) Plan ahead for how you will respond the next time you are attacked.
(For me that is probably going to be memorizing this passage with the intent of using that knowledge to change my heart when I get angry.)
2) Plan ahead for how you will respond the next time you are attacked.
(For me that is probably going to be memorizing this passage with the intent of using that knowledge to change my heart when I get angry.)
3) And wisely apply this in your situation - how can I practically return kindness to those who are attacking me.
3) And wisely apply this in your situation - how can I practically return kindness to those who are attacking me.
These are applications that I can only superficially answer.
Only you with the Holy Spirit can truly know how to apply the text - that is where your heart fails and what needs to be changed.
I challenge you to do the Hard work of meditating and applying this passage.
Now I recognize this is not an easy task, so may I encourage with Why we ought to respond with kindness.
For the first part of this sermon I focused on just explaining and challenging us with what v. 9 commands.
1 Peter 3:9 ESV
9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
1 Peter
But this is a difficult task - a task we are going to struggle with and will need to endure.
ILLUSTRATION
But this is a difficult task - a task we are going to struggle with and will need to endure.
So I also want to emphasize why?
ILLUSTRATION:
When we struggle at something, It is often helpful to understand why we need to persevere.
When we struggle at something, It is often helpful to understand why we need to struggle through it.
This is why companies will take time explain to their workers up and coming projects. Because it is motivating to now why you need to do something.
Peter challenges us with 4 reasons why we should respond to evil with kindness.
The first reason:
We see this in Peter’s quotation of .
He quotes that Psalm in .
1 Peter 3:10–12 ESV
10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter
Peter uses this quotation to give weight and authority to what he said.
This portion of Psalm was a challenge by David for how to live a blessed life.
The Psalms starts out with, “Whoever desires to love life and see good days”.
In other words, if you want God’s blessing on your life, then:
Be careful with your tongue.
Don’t speak lies.
Don’t choose wickedness.
Instead, pursue peace.
And why should someone do this?
V. 12, Because God’s eyes are upon the Righteous and he answers their prayers.
You see, God blesses those who seek to do good. Who seek peace in the midst of confrontation and argument.
CLARIFICATION:
Now Let me clarify, you are in wickedness when you deny the work of Christ because you have denied the salvation God has sent.
1 John 2:23 ESV
23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
1
So this blessing, is only available to those who know Christ.
In the context of the Psalm and 1 Peter,
When believers seek peace by returning kindness to those who have been angry and malicious; We are blessed.
God blesses us with temporal and eternal blessings - the riches found in the Gospel.
We already have been told, that Christ did not fight back, but entrusted himself to God.
And we are to follow that example.
ILLUSTRATION:
If we go around the room, each of us could speak about great and small blessings that God providentially has worked out.
And when as believers, saved by Christ’s work alone, follow that example, God blesses us with temporal and eternal blessings - the riches found in the Gospel.
And may we remember that any blessing in this life, is really down payment to the blessings we will experience in eternity.
God is good, and his blessings should motivate us to do this.
You should return wickedness with kindness because God see’s it and blesses it. He brings the justice we so desperately seeking.
You should return wickedness with kindness because God see’s it and blesses it. He brings the justice we so desperately seeking.
But we also should return evil with kindness because:
quoted in also brings a warning against wickedness.
1 Peter 3:12 ESV
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3
To say that the face of the Lord is against those who do evil - is to say God brings judgement upon the wicked.
CLARIFICATION:
Now certainly God does not bring judgement upon Believers. Part of the work of Christ is the satisfaction of God’s judgement.
Romans 1:18 ESV
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Romans 5:1 ESV
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 1:18 ESV
18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
John 18:11 ESV
11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Though we as believers may not be under God’s judgement, we are now God’s children. As children of God, we can be disciplined in order to teach us right.
Romans 5:1
Hebrews 12:5 ESV
5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
Hebrews 12:6 ESV
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Luke 23:16 ESV
16 I will therefore punish and release him.”
Hebrews 12:10 ESV
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
May I suggest, that if we return evil for evil, then God will chasten us.
Hebrews
Just as he judges unbelievers for their sin, God will chasten his children for their sin.
This should be a warning.
ILLUSTRATION:
In industrial areas, they will put big signs saying,
Danger, Heavy Equipment working.
And they do that to warn us that there is danger.
And they do that to warn us that there is danger.
Peter is both commending us, that God blesses believers who seek peace.
But he is also warning us that God brings chastisement on sin.
So it is in our best interest to change how we think in this area. We will suffer for failing to be transformed as we ought to be.
TOZER, on God’s goodness and blessing.

A local church will only be as great as its conception of God. An individual Christian will be a success or a failure depending upon what he or she thinks of God. It is critically important that we have a knowledge of the Holy One,

It is very important that we know that God is good. We read that God is good and doeth good and that His lovingkindness is over all His works

May we seek God’s blessing rather than his Chastisement.
Peter also challenges us that:
People Typically are not punished for Good.
1 Peter 3:13–14 ESV
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
I really love how Peter puts this sentence.
Partly because he uses the word Zealous when he used to be called a political zealot.
It emphasizes the commitment to good works that Peter is describing.
Kindness ought to be a fight that we are passionate and Waring to get.
I love this sentence partly also because it is really logical.
Do people harm those who are doing good to them?
Typically no.
ILLUSTRATION:
As the old saying goes, people know what side of the bread their butter is on.
The point, so long as they are getting something they want, people leave you alone.
Which means,
if we are responding with genuine, sacrificial kindness; then people generally will not want to mess with us.
Why would I want to hurt someone who is a blessing in my life?
And generally, they don’t.
But there are exceptions, and the churches of Northern Turkey are going to be persecuted regardless of their kindness.
The persecutors are people who were trying to stamp out Christianity.
Kindness might change their mind, but they might also hate Christ more.
When faced with affliction for doing right,
we need to remember that God especially blesses those who suffer for doing kindness.
We ought to return kindness when we are faced with Evil because we know that we may suffer loss in this World, but God will always bless us for living for his Name.
And the final reason why we should return kindness to those who are doing evil is because:
In Jesus’s final words, we are given a very simple command.
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
People Typically are not punished for Good.
And as Christians having been raised in America, how do we assume that happens?
We imagine a world in which we have complete freedom to do that.
Now praise God we do live in a world where have the legal freedom and protection.
Now praise God we do live in a world where have the legal freedom.
But may I suggest, that often that commission is carried out to people who are still in rebellion against God.
And so they hate Christians and the Christian Gospel because they hate God.
May I suggest that the norm of history is that Christians were persecuted for witnessing.
And that is what these churches are facing.
But Peter challenges them return love to those who harm them. Why?
Not because their persecutors deserve it,
1 Peter 3:14
but because that is what Believers are called to do.
1 Peter 3:14–17 ESV
14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
Notice, what we are commanded to do.
We are to fear not.
How easy it is to forget God’s great blessings and love and instead tremble before the obstacles in our lives.
We all fear something, but we all need to turn that fear over to Christ.
Instead, we are to honor Christ in holiness.
Why do we live lives that return evil with kindness?
Because we desire to give Christ the honor and glory he deserves.
And we give him honor when God is able to use our own steadfast love and kindness to bring people to belief in the Gospel.
I have often heard this passage, especially v. 15, as being about being prepared to give the answer.
But is that the main thrust?
No, he assumes you know the Gospel of Christ and believe.
If you are truly a believer, then you have everything you must know in order to tell people how to be saved.
Does that mean we should not consider how we do evangelism? And I would we should consider how to wisely and soberly tell others of Christ, but that is not what this text is saying.
This text assumes that you have the hope of Christ and that is what you are going to share.
Instead, this is call to holiness living lives that honors Christ - Particularly, that kindness to those who do evil is what is supposed to be what convicts people with the reality of Christ.
When people look at your lives, can they look at it and deny Christ because sin and anger.
OR
When people look at your lives, do they see someone who goes out of their way to love others, even to those who mean them harm?
And which live truly is a life that witness’s the reality of Christ?
The 4th reason why we should return evil with kindness is because it is a witness to unbelievers.
CONCLUSION:
So, Let’s review this passage.
PROPOSITION: We are commanded as Believers to respond to evil with kindness.
Now this is opposite to how we normally respond to those who are angry and malicious. It will require us to change our thinking and our minds.
But that is the example of Christ and our calling.
We as believers ought to respond to evil with kindness.
Transition: and this Text gives us 4 reasons why?
Why is helpful in helping us endure the handwork of Gospel transformation.
We ought to return kindness for evil because:
1. Believers are Blessed for Doing Good.
2. Believers are Chastened for Doing Evil.
3. You are blessed greater when you suffer for kindness.
4. You are called to be a witness.
So the next time we are faced with some who is angry seeking harm to us;
May we respond with sacrificial love.
Perhaps it will be your neighbor, or coworker.
Or perhaps even your spouse, parent, or child.
In either case,
don’t follow your natural reaction.
Don’t allow your mind to manipulate yourself into justifying your sinful reaction.
Instead, pause, remember this verse, and change your thinking.
Respond to that person with a Christlike love.
Knowing that God will bless that kindness.
and knowing that you can be a witness to that person by doing so.
John
John 13:35 ESV
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 1 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. 19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Much of us have talked about how to help our church grow. Certainly witnessing of the Gospel is part of that.
But may I suggest, this passages tells us that our steadfast, patient, sacrificial love for others, is also apart of the witness.
You as Christian ought to be purposely and tangibly seeking to find ways to show love to those around us; and especially those who dislike us.
We live in a culture in which, we are demanding proof of Christ existence.
There is no greater proof of Christ existence then the person who has had their love transformed by the Gospel.
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