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Sermon8 1Pt3:8-22 Guide

1 Peter 2:1-10, recitation verse 1 Peter 2:9

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

There is a saying, "Satan repays even good with evil and human beings repay good with good and evil with evil, while God repays evil with good.” In our social life, we tend to respond kindly to those who treat us well, but it is often difficult to respond with kindness to those who treat us poorly, i.e., repay evil with evil. However, if we can overcome such intension, it can bring peace to our hearts and improve our relationships with others who did wrong to us. As we have to endure unjust suffering from the emperor, governor, or owner with respect and obedience last week, in today’s Bible verses, even when we suffer unfairly by Gentile people, while living as a minority in a foreign society, we should not only avoid repaying evil with evil, but instead take it a step further to wish blessings upon our oppressors. Even going so far as to say that those who endure suffering for righteousness will be blessed. I hope we can look at this together and share its grace in them.

1) First of all, today's passage begins with a conjunction "finally", which adds to the practical teachings on how Christians should live in pagan society, as found in 2:11-25, instructing them to show respect to the emperor, governors, and masters, even if it means enduring unjust suffering and also the teaching in 3:1-7, where Christian husbands and wives are urged to show gentleness and submission to one another in front of non-believers and then finally in today's passage of 3:8-22, Christians are encouraged to overcome evil with good when their neighbors show hostility and commit various acts of evil and insults against them in pagan society, while also emphasizing the qualities that Christians should possess in order to do so and they are encouraged to endure and triumph like Christ and Noah did in the face of unjust suffering.

2) Today's passage can be divided into three paragraphs. First, in verses 3:8-12, in a society full of hostility towards Christians, believers are encouraged to be of one mind, to sympathize with one another, to love their brothers and sisters, to be compassionate and humble, and not to repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but instead to use their tongues for good, seeking peace and to bless their enemies. For the reason for this is that the Lord listens to the prayers of the righteous, but opposes those who do evil.

3) In the following second paragraph, 3:13-17, regarding the issue of facing suffering even when doing good, it is said that suffering for righteousness' sake is both God's will and a blessing, so that we should not fear or be anxious but rather hallow Christ as Lord, and in the midst of such suffering, always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks for the reason for the hope we have, with gentleness and respect, maintaining a good conscience so that those who speak maliciously against our good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

4) And then finally in 3:18-22, as even though Jesus, who was sinless, died on the cross for us, the unjust, in order to reconcile us with God, God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heaven, making all authorities and powers subject to him and also as Noah, who preached righteousness while preparing the ark and suffered ridicule and insults from all people in the world, was saved with his family, Peter encourages believers in Jesus in the Gentile society to endure and persevere through the insults and persecution, and assures them that God will surely save them.

5) Among today's passage, there’s a really puzzling verse, 3:19, which reads, "in which He went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison." Regarding this verse, there are three major interpretations: a) The first interpretation is that "Jesus descended into Hades for three days before His resurrection and preached the Gospel to those who died during Noah's flood." There are various versions of this interpretation, such as "preaching the Gospel to those who died in the Old Testament" or "proclaiming victory to the angels who were judged and descended into Hades." b) The second interpretation is that "Jesus proclaimed the Gospel through Noah's lips to repent to contemporary those who are now in prison in Hades." c) The third interpretation is that "just as Jesus entrusted His soul to God before He breathed His last, after His death, He was raised to the heaven and there He proclaimed His victory to the spirits waiting for the final victory in the kingdom of heaven." According to Calvin's commentary and William Dalton's book, "Jesus’ proclamation to the spirits: A Study of 1 Peter 3:18-4:6," the first interpretation violates Genesis 6:3, which urges repentance during 120 years before the flood and Hebrews 9:27, which states, "Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." The second interpretation does not fit the current context of the passage that Christ suffered for the elect, so Calvin's third interpretation seems more acceptable. In that case, since the Greek word "φυλακή (phylake)," translated as "prison" can mean "prison" or "refuge", so it would be appropriate to interpret the verse as Calvin proposed, "He went and proclaimed to the spirits in refuge."

6) Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things: first, Peter says that the Christian community should demonstrate qualities that should be shown in a pagan society where unbelievers are dominant, such as being of one mind, sympathizing and empathizing with each other's pain, loving one's brothers and sisters, having a humble attitude, and not repaying evil with evil but rather doing good, seeking peace, and blessing others, where the Greek word "συμπαθής (sympathes)," is English "sympathy" which means to share the same feeling as the other person and to identify with their difficulties, and the Greek word "εὔσπλαγχνος (eusplanchnos)" is "compassion" which means to share feelings as a compound of "com," meaning "together" or "with," and "passion," meaning emotion. Therefore, in verse 8, Peter, not encouraging us to become morally superior saints in a pagan society, but rather exhorts us to be a humble community with one mind that loves and embraces each other's pain and shortcomings. This is something that we, who live in a modern society that tends to be individualistic and focuses on right and wrong, should reflect upon. And secondly, it is about the hardship for righteousness. We often hear that we must fight for justice. However, the Bible says that we must endure hardship for righteousness and also in Mt. 5:10, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, 'Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Why must we endure persecution or hardship for righteousness? Shouldn't we repay evil with evil and insult with insult, but instead endure hardship even to the point of blessing those who persecute us? First of all, as stated in Romans 12:19, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' it is because the ultimate judgment belongs to God and also if we retaliate, we will ultimately lose our peace and be destroyed by our own hatred, in addition that if we repay evil with evil, we will become Satan's victims. Therefore, we must remember that we have been reconciled to God through the death of His Son when we were His enemies (Romans 5:9). Therefore knowing this grace, we should endure persecution for righteousness and even bless those who persecute us. And lastly, we must have a good conscience as Peter exhorts us today. What does conscience means or do? When God created humans, He placed a conscience in our hearts so that it would represent His law, guiding us to live a holy and righteous life before Him. However, after we were fallen, our conscience has become corrupted and weakened, but, as Romans 2:15 says, our conscience still helps and urges us to live morally. But, as we are born again, our conscience becomes more and more sensitive and functional, urging us to live according to God's will. Therefore, as Christians, we should listen to the voice of our good conscience and live accordingly. I pray that our church becomes a loving community that reveals God's character by overcoming evil with good and we walk in a good conscience, bringing glory to God.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 We often think of suffering as a result of sin, but today's passage shows us that there is also suffering for the sake of righteousness, which is God's will and the blessing. Have you experienced suffering for the sake of righteousness in your life? Why do you think it is God's will and a blessing? It will be greatly appreciated if you could share your thoughts with each other.

Q2. Today's passage tells us to be one in Christ. What does this mean? Does it mean that we should have the same thoughts? If not, how can we be one when we have different ideas or thoughts? Galatians 3:28 tells us to be one in Christ, and Colossians 2:2 tells us to be united in love. It’ll be greatly appreciated if you could share your thoughts or ideas or experiences regarding Christian unity. this subject with each others

Q3. Romans 2:15 and today's passage show us that both believers and non-believers can live a morally good life through their conscience. In this perspective, especially we as Christians can have the holy burden of a good conscience for a righteous life after being born again. Have you felt this difference before and after becoming a Christian? It’ll be greatly appreciated if you could share your experience and thought on this with each other.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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