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On Persecution, Hope, and a Good Conscience

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Sorting out the confusing relationship between persecution and the Gospel.

Text: 1Pet. 3:13-17
Date: 03/01/2020, the Evening service.
Series: "Peter's Epistles: The Sojourners Handbook" Part 18

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Peter launches into a new section of His letter where persecution and the way we respond to that persecution takes center stage. In this passage, Peter addresses the confusing relationship between persecution, the Gospel, and a good conscience. Too often we focus only on what is perceived on the outside, especially when we are under persecution, and we don't check the inner-self to see if the conscience remains good in the midst of it. We will analyze Peter's teaching on this subject and notice how it reflects the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Ultimately, we will find that in order to truly model our Lord and effectively share the hope that is within us, we must be able to do so despite persecution and with a good conscience.

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I. Introduction, Matt. 5:10-16.
II. Exposition of the text, 1Pet. 3:13-17.
A. Context, 1Pet. 3:10-12.
B. Persecution and the Gospel.
1. Protection for the zealous, vs. 13, Rom. 8:31.
a. Not the "prosperity gospel", Matt. 10:28.
b. Speaking in general terms.
c. To follow Christ with "abandon".
d. Encouragement from the Psalms, 1Pet. 3:10-11.
2. Persevering through unjust persecution, vs 14.
a. Suffering for righteousness sake, vs. 14a.
b. Blessing in the midst of suffering.
i. In agreement with the teaching of the New Testament, 1Pet. 5:10, 2Cor. 4:17, James 1:2-4.
ii. The meaning of "blessed", Matt. 5:10-12.
c. Heeding the encouragement of the prophets of old.
i. Wisdom from Isaiah, Isa. 8:12-13.
ii. Trust in the sovereignty of God.
3. Focus on evangelism, vs. 15.
a. Trusting in the Power and Providence of Christ.
i. Focus on the heart.
ii. A deep and reverent respect, Isa. 8:13.
iii. Honoring Yahweh Sabaoth, , Isa. 8:13.
b. The ever-present evangelistic purpose, Phil. 1:21.
i. Be prepared.
ii. The apologetic.
iii. The shotgun approach.
iv. Articulating the reason for your hope.
• A recurring theme, 1Pet. 1:3,13,21.
• Recognizing the source of our hope.
v. Being polite and reverent.
4. Focus on the heart, vs. 16.
a. The spiritual barometer.
b. The power of good behavior.
i. The inevitability of persecution, 1Pet. 3:9.
ii. The triumph of the Gospel, 1Pet. 2:12, 15, Rom. 12:20.
5. Peter's "best practice" proverb, vs. 17.
a. Better to do good than evil.
i. The forgone conclusion.
ii. The best practice for a Christian.
b. Trusting in God's Providence.
III. Application
A. The example of Jesus, Luke 23:34.
B. The example of Stephen, Acts 7:60.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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