11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.“Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.19 After being made alive, nhe went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were save through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
1 Peter 3:10-22
Maybe too tired.
He saw him off in the distance. A man. Not rowing. Not floating. But walking…On the water.
“It’s a ghost!” his friend cried. But the figure responded, “Do not be afraid. It is I.”
Peter’s grimace softened. That was the voice of his teacher, his leader, his friend.
“Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water!” Peter cried.
“Come,” Jesus said.
Peter stood up—the boat rocking from his weight. He lifted his sandled foot over the edge. He took a deep breath. He placed it on the surface. Then, he pushed off.
No splash. He was standing on liquid water as if it were solid ground.
Another step. His confidence grew. Step by step he was filled with rejoicing. He was doing it. He too was walking on water.
But then, a wave. Crashing toward him with the roar of the ocean. Peter panicked. His feet sank. He was drowning! Fear came over him. Panicked ensued. He tried to tread water as the waves picked up, but it was no use. He couldn’t do it.
He needed help. He needed saving! And he called to the only One he knew could do that.
“Lord, save me!”
Jesus walked over. Calmly reached down. Pulled him out of the water.
Jesus saved him.
Fast forward twenty-some years. Peter is older. Peter is wiser. Now he wants to share with you the same wisdom that he learned. He wants you to be saved. He wants you to know your Savior. But he isn’t just talking about making sure that you know Ken the lifeguard’s name down at the local pool.
He wants you to know about your eternal Savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ. He wants you to remind you how you have been saved and/or show you how you can be saved by the exactly same Lord!
I. A Good Savior
First, Peter starts off by describing God our Savior. This is from 1 Peter 3:10. He says, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Back to school recently. Hopefully, you’ve learned your teacher’s favorite goodies. It’s a great way to get on their good side. Find out what they like and bring them a gift. Chocolates, Starbucks, iTunes gift cards. By the way, if you are want to do the same with your pastor, go ahead and grab a bag of delicious Nacho Cheese Doritos, that wouldn’t be offensive.
What does God love? Peter makes it clear. God loves good. Therefore, we are to do good.
And even if you don’t think God exists or you have a different God in mind, then you are already on common ground with Peter’s God.
Good = Good. (Deep thoughts so early in the morning, right?)
The opposite is also true. God loves good and hates evil. Look at verse 12 again, “The face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” That word “against.” It has the idea of being an opposing foes.
Think football for a moment. As ECU or UNC or State or Duke lines up against whatever ACC foe they might line up against, they are opposites. There is no love loss. They are against each other.
God is good and therefore against evil.
But not like humans are against evil. Humans are more like that friend that cheers for other teams in the ACC as long as they aren’t playing State because “I like the ACC.”
In other words, humans are ‘flaky’ on the hatred for evil.
For instance, most humans think it is wrong to text while driving. If you are driving down the road and text, they get upset, “Stop texting and pay attention you maniac!” Then, there’s a buzz. And that same person reaches into his pocket, checks her phone, smiles, and starts texting back. “But it’s ok because this text is important!”
God is not like that. He is not against some evil. He is not against most evil. He is not even “against evil unless it benefits Him.” God is always against evil all the time.
And God isn’t like the football fan who pushes up his glasses after his team gets crushed and powerlessly sighs, “We’ll get ‘em next year.” Powerless to do anything about it.
Nope. God always gets what he wants done.
EXAMPLE -- People of Noah's Time. Hundreds of thousands of people all against God. All in love with evil. All opposed to everything he stood for and all of the morals he upheld. Only 8 people--8 PEOPLE--were on his side.
That’s not good odds.
But it was no problem for God. God verses evil. A few rain clouds later. God wins.
This is God. Good loving, evil hating, and all powerful! He is the One who saves!
II. A Savior from Evildoers
Now…what does this have to do with you? How does he save you? What does he save from? Take a look at verses 13-15. Peter writes, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.”
Peter asks a good question: “Who would harm those who do good?” In theory, the answer should be NO ONE. If you have done good, then there is no reason for anyone to harm you.
That’s not what happens in reality, is it? Here on this earth, people who do good are sometimes (oftentimes) harmed by those who do evil. The temptation is to get revenge. To repay evil for evil.
But here’s where God comes in! Because – remember what we talked about already. Remember Who it is that will harm those who harm those who harm those who do good? It’s not you it’s God. The One who is against all evil!
This is a comforting truth. For our world feels chaotic right now. Chaos and vengeance reign supreme. Hatred in Ukraine, in the middle East, in America, on our streets – in our schools. It seems like Chaos and Hatred reign!
But remember: God is still God. And he’s good. Therefore, in your hearts – set apart Christ as Lord. He still reigns. He will one day defeat evil!
Now you might be thinking. “Well…when’s that happening? Can God hurry up with that? Destroy evildoers already! I know you made a promise not to send a worldwide flood, but God, why don’t you break that promise and totally destroy all the evil people. Why don’t you get rid of everyone who’s ever done any evil at all?!”
PUMP THE BREAKS!
Do you really know what you’re asking? Do you really know what the destruction of any evildoer means for you?
III. A Savior from Ourselves
Heard that word before? If you have, how would you define it? Sometimes we say “problems” or “mistakes” or “oopsies.” But really the Greek word used for “sin” in this text means “missing the mark”! As in God set up a target that we were to aim to live our lives according to. Actions, words, and thoughts are to land on God’s prescribed mark. And remembering what we said about God being good, we know that he only prescribes actions, words and thoughts that are good.
So...If you sin and you do the opposite of the prescribed good action, then you haven’t done good. You’ve done evil.
And now, in our humans are good and can do anything they put their minds to culture, prepare for a shockwave thought: How is it that good humans are doing bad? Where does the bad come from?
Those new Coke machines in restaurants where you have over 200 flavors that you can make when you add it all up. Those are pretty cool. But, try as I might, if I head over to the Coke machine and I start looking for Pepsi, I can’t find it!
That’s because Coke comes from the Coke machine. And Pepsi comes from the Pepsi factory.
The same is true with good and evil. Good comes from good. Evil comes from evil.
The SAD TRUTH is this: If you have sinned, you are not good.
Now, I know you don’t want to hear this. No one does, but this is the most important news about yourself that every human must face. We are not good. Not God’s definition of good. We might be our definition of good. The "at least I didn’t kill anybody definition of good,” but God has much higher standards. He can’t bend for even one sin OR He himself would no longer be good!
And the SADDER TRUTH: is that we CANNOT SAVE OURSELVES. Just like Peter couldn’t pull himself out of the water, no matter what he did, so a person drowning in his own sins cannot pull himself out of sins! Not by ‘trying hard’; not by ‘doing better’; not by doing ‘good’ things. The efforts of one already stranded in the depths of his sin only result in him still being in sin!
Which leads to the SADDEST TRUTH of all. God, who loves us, has turned his face against us. His threats are now against humanity. Against us. Against me. Against you.
Therefore we need a Savior. We need someone who is standing on firm ground. We need someone who is entirely good. We need someone who is entirely God.
We need the exact Savior that Peter introduces in verse 19, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” Safe and sound. Out of the depths of our sins, out of the wave of God’s wrath, back into God’s good graces.
Listen to how Christ did it:
1) He was put to death in the body – Jesus, who had no sin, took your sin. He became what he loathed; he punished what he loathed; he suffered for what he loathed, and he saved what he loved --- you.
He defeated sin once for all. Once for us. Once...for you.
How certain is this? Peter says, “Christ was made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison that is hell who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.”
Jesus went to hell, but not to surrendered. He went there to trash talk the devil. To tell whom he won. To declare to him, “You are a loser! Your plans have failed. I have died to save the world and I will save many! Whoever believes in me will not perish, but have eternal life!"
2) He saves us through his promises. Verse 20 explains how God bring this salvation to us. “In it (the ark) only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God."
Now normally when we think of the flood, we think of destruction. But Peter has an interesting perspective. He says the water saved 8 people. They floated on top of it and were saved.
That water from the flood, then symbolizes the waters of Baptism. Waters which don’t symbolize, but waters which really save. Look at verse 21 "Baptism now saves you also!" It saves because it holds out God’s promises. Promises that say, “You are now my child. In the name fo the Father, you are forgiven. In the name of the Son, you are washed. In the name of the Holy Spirit you are saved.”
Believe God’s promises to you in your Baptism. If you haven’t been baptized, believe that God’s promises will be true and be baptized!
And believe, not because of your own believing power OR your age OR your emotional attachment to Jesus.
Believe because of the awesome power behind Baptism. Look at the ends of verse 21-- Baptism saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. In other words, you are saved by same power that defeated death!
Now, you know death. It’s ugly. It’s scary. It’s frightening. It’s unbeatable. It’s evil.
But not to Jesus. He died and came back to life. The only One ever to do so on his own! And he is the same one who will save you from death too.
Think back to Peter. There he was drowning, flailing, scared. And Jesus reached out. With his hand to lift him up.
The truth is. You might feel just like Peter. When you consider your relationship with God, you might be flailing, drowning, scared. Know that God is reaching out for you, too. Not just with one arm, but with both – on that blessed cross.
Whether you have believed in it before OR this is a brand new concept to you, listen to the Lord’s call today.